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November 17, 2007

Tom ’n’ Me
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:46 PM *

McCain came to town today. 8:30 am at Howard’s restaurant. I missed it (I’d seen him before, back in 2000). My friends who were there said the place was packed (he’d made the Chronicle although he missed the deadline for the News and Sentinel).

I didn’t go to Whitefield yesterday, either, to hear Bill Clinton, even though the Hillary campaign called me on the phone to tell me about it (technically, to tell me about his event in Gorham—I learned about Whitefield (which is closer to me) when I checked Hillary’s web page to find the location). I didn’t go because we had a Winter Storm Warning, 5-8 inches of snow forecast, temperature hovering right around freezing. Driving an hour to Whitefield and an hour back in blizzard conditions to see someone who isn’t even a candidate didn’t appeal.

But today I went to see Tom Tancredo, because he was in town and having a Town Hall Meeting not 200 feet from my house, and he’d sent me a postcard inviting me. What could I do?

The man himself appeared. A quick count showed that the number of journalists and campaign staff handily outnumbered the audience (six folks, not counting me).

Here’s my impression. Charisma is lacking. He seemed tired. Western Europe, he says, is “lost” since the Islamic inhabitants of same reproduce far faster than “real Europeans.” His main points seemed to be these: Since the Iron Curtain worked so well for the Soviet Union we should have one for ourselves; and, The US should be at war with Islam in general. This guy is an also-ran, right out of the box.

The journalists left early.

Comments on Tom ’n’ Me:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 02:50 PM:

What on earth is a 'real European'?

#2 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Just want to say how much I appreciate your reports, Jim. The point of the NH & IA primaries, after all, is theoretically to allow candidates to meet "regular Americans" in small fora. With your reporting, those of us in sweeping-behind-the-parade states (NJ, in my case) can actually learn something.

Is there a link or tag where I can find all your candidate reports?

#3 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 02:59 PM:

I want Tom Tancredo to walk the Mexican and Canadian borders on foot, all the way across?( I'll give him a pass on swimming the Strait of Juan de Fuca but not the Great Lakes).

Fence, hell.

And the "real Europeans" comment leads me to believe the rest of his grasp of reality isn't any better.

#4 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:01 PM:

What on earth is a 'real European'?

Homo neanderthalis, perhaps?

#5 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Fragano @1:
Een autochtoon, natuurlijk.

Bet he either cited or was thinking of the Netherlands. They always do, and they rarely have any idea what's going on here*.

* I don't either, but I know enough to know I don't.

#6 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:14 PM:

abi #5: And knowing enough to know you don't know anything is half the battle.

#7 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:43 PM:

I'm still trying to understand why someone whose own grandparents were immigrants can be so set against immigrants himself. There's a backstory in there somewhere.

#8 ::: Jurie ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:44 PM:

Why the Netherlands?

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Other than the names of the exact groups, Tancredo's stump speech could have come straight out of a Know-Nothing rally in 1850.

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:48 PM:

But how can you know that you don't know if you don't know?

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:50 PM:

JESR... I think a barrier to protect the USA from all those Yukonians is an excellent idea.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Jim... What about Tancredo's stump speech? Does he want to cut down all those maple trees in Quebec?

#13 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Tancredo...Tancredo...nope, that still doesn't sound like an Iroquois name to me.

#14 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Jurie @8:
Why the Netherlands?

A combination of factors makes the Netherlands the usual poster child of White Europe Overrun With the Brown & Funny Talkin' Hordes these days, as far as I can tell.

First off, there is a large and (perceived to be) poorly integrated immigrant population, particularly in the large cities.

Secondly, there are a few people and events that received global notice, associating the Netherlands with the idea of problematic Muslim integration. The murder of Theo van Gogh in 2004, and the subsequent public actions of his collaborator Ayaan Hirsi Ali gave the image of a Western European country overrun by Muslims.

But most of all, I think it's a product of Dutch culture. They discuss everything*, with astonishing (to me as an American/British cultural mix) bluntness and frankness. This means there's plenty for foreign media to pick up on and quote. It gives the issue more seriousness and weight in the Anglophone press than the Dutch themselves would intend (if they were writing for the Anglophones).

* thus the perceived permissiveness regarding drugs and prostitution - it's the product of a culture that admits that these things happen, and attempts to regulate them, rather than pretending that they don't

#15 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:10 PM:

"real Europeans"
Perhaps he was thinking of Northern Ireland, where a few years ago the Catholic birth-rate was higher than the Protestant birth-rate, prompting Unionist fears that "dem papists gonna outnumber us".

#16 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:21 PM:

He also stated that bi-lingual countries can't survive. This will probably come as a surprise to the Canadians, the Belgians and the Swiss.

#17 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Over here (the UK) we seem to have a relatively low-key racist panic and witch-hunt in progress, driven both by the mass media and the government's movie plot terrorism nightmares (and aggravated by the fact that overt racism is, er, highly illegal).

It's amusing to hear from time to time that someone else's politicians can out-crazy our own ... until the implications sink in. If this guy is staking out the fringe of the Republican campaign with such obvious rubbish, I hate to think what the "reasonable sounding middle ground" is coming out with.

#18 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:36 PM:

lightning #4: Heidelbergensis doesnt' count?

#19 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:37 PM:

Aren't Belgium (Dutch, French & Walloon) and Switzerland (German, French & Italian) both tri-lingual? Maybe that's fundamentally different from bi-lingual in some non-obvious way. And Canada, hrm...they're just too polite to fight out loud.

#20 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:37 PM:

abi #5: That would leave out everybody but the Basques.

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:40 PM:

James Macdonald #16: Not to mention the Spanish and the British...

#22 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Did he have an example of a bilingual country that hasn't survived?

But Canada and Belgiun and Switzerland have to work pretty hard at their bilingualism (in the case of the Swiss, tri- or quadri-lingualism, not to mention the mutually unintelligible canton dialects). The Quebecois have been a pain in the **** to English-speaking Canada for decades (and vice-versa, no doubt) while the Flemings and Walloons migh well separate if they could figure out what to do with Brussels.

But look at the Far East for multilingualism. IIRC Singapore has four official languages (Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil and English) and is doing pretty well.

#23 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Mr. Tancredo stated that the most common name for baby boys in Europe is "Mohamed." I'm glad he was there to fill me in.

#24 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:44 PM:

16 James McD

And also the Italians (besides the differences in regional dialect, Ladino and German are spoken in the Tirol). Spain (Catalan and Castilian (Spanish) are different languages, Basque is very different).

India of course (15 official languages from memory), South Africa (something like 12).

In practice, it's a non issue, because 3rd generation Hispanic Americans don't speak Spanish, or don't speak Spanish much.

#25 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:44 PM:

I know someone (born in London) whose known ancestry includes Welsh, Scottish, Sephardic Jewish, Basque, Chinese Malaysian, Indian, and perhaps a little German for variety.

How can I tell if she's a Real European so I know if I should be scared of her as a member of the Invading Hordes or not? Do I count the nationalities? Do Sephardic Jews count? I mean, they were around in what is now Spain when it was run by the Dangerous Muslim Hordes, so presumably they and all their descendants are collaborators.

#26 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Charlie Stross @17, well put. I find it depressing that he didn't sink into oblivion months ago.

#27 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:46 PM:

#23: The name "Tancredo" indicates that the good Congressman's family lived in the Norman kingdom of Sicily; and given all the intermixture there (Arab, Greek, Norman, as well as "native" Italian) it's highly likely that some of his ancestors also had That Name.

#28 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:48 PM:

I think "Bi-lingual countries don't survive" is a clear and not very difficult to crack code for "Don't mix the races!" or some other freaked out racist wacko commentary. Thanks for this report, Jim. I gives me faith in my country, frankly, that this guy clearly has no chance of winning anything. Makes me wonder about the sanity of those folks out in Colorado, though...

#29 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:51 PM:

There's some amusement here, in that there are researchers looking at medieval documents, discovering that some of those 'real Europeans' of whom Tancredo's probably thinking may very well have Muslims on their trees. Apparently when Spain and Portugal evicted them, there was a lot of editing of genealogies going on in the background.

#30 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Todd @19:
The Belgians are trilingual: Dutch (Flemish/Vlaams), French (Waloon) and German (DGB).

It is possible that Belgium will not survive; there has been no government since the elections in June produced an untenable split between the two largest language groups. A lot of people are talking partition, but there are many forces that make it unlikely.

No bloodshed is expected, however, no matter what the outcome.

#31 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:52 PM:

23 James McDonald

I think he is quoting the Conrad Black-apologiser Canadian journo Mark Steyn, who wrote a book about Europe being overrun by muslims. That factoid about Mohammed is not true, I don't think.

A couple of bloggers slipped aboard the National Review annual boat cruise (on the left, the Nation has one as well). Upon finding out that the blogger was British, a number of people approached him and asked when would he be moving to the United States, to avoid these muslim hordes?

This is an article of faith on the right, that Europe is about to be overrun by moslems.

But actually the numbers don't sustain that. Europe is about 4% muslim (numbers are difficult, because for constitutional reasons, France, for example, doesn't keep track). Probably this could rise to 10%. If Turkey joins the EU, then it would be 15-20%, eventually.

It's a problematic number, but more because of certain isolated minorities and because by invading Iraq and Afghanistan, we have created a casus belli in the minds of disaffected moslem youth in the UK and other countries.

In practice there is a degree of ghettoisation of moslems in Europe, but it varies by country and community. Denmark is bad, the UK is mixed, France ditto.

And a Malay living in the UK is not a 3rd generation Turk living in Germany is not a 2nd generation Moroccan or Algerian living in France. None of the above is the Kazakh woman who serves me at my local pizzeria.

In practice the internal security risk is about a relatively small group of young men (primarily) who are vulnerable to the message of ascetic preachers who tie back to bin Ladin and co, and who are inflamed by our continued actions against moslems in the Middle East. This is a big problem, but it's a long way away from threatening the polis of Europe.

#32 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:52 PM:

In practice, it's a non issue, because 3rd generation Hispanic Americans don't speak Spanish, or don't speak Spanish much.

I know. I'm second-generation German-American and speak very little German, while my third-generation German-American kids speak none. Even in communities that try to maintain the old ways and the old language, the first and second generations speak the local language without an accent, while the third generation has to study the old language at school to learn it.

#33 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:56 PM:

#23 and #31: Well, Tancredo's not far off: apparently Muhammad is No 2 in boy's names in Britain, if you take together the 14 different transliterations of the name. Obviously, Muslims tend to call their boys Muhammad, so it's a common name, even though there are far fewer Muhammads than all the "European" names put together. Just as obviously, Tancredo isn't going to make that clear.

#34 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Good interview with Tancredo in the Washington Monthly, where he explains his extremist strategy:

If I had actually set out to become president, then of course it would be ludicrous for me to do it in the way I'm doing it. I don't have that as my goal; I never have. The only way I can get on that plane and go to Iowa or New Hampshire and spend night after night in hotels in places you've never even heard of is by saying, "Think about why you're doing this, Tom. It is because the issue is important. You are the person that is advancing it." I have the luxury of saying, "I will set the goalposts as far as I can down the field because then I will have a better chance of getting the game played on my side." In one recent debate, we spent the first thirty-five minutes on immigration. That has never happened before.

This is a well-used strategy: it's been effectively used on global warming. Stake out a position that there is no global warming, so then you can argue that you are being moderate when you say 'there probably is global warming but we don't know if humans are causing it' or 'there probably is anthropogenic global warming, but the costs of doing something about it may not be justifiable'.

The press (and the public) falls for this strategy every time. In the case of global warming the 'less extremist' position is now that we should do something about global warming, maybe, one of these days, when we get around to it. The fact that the responsible scientific community is howling about the dangers of continuing on our current course is entirely ignored.

So the 'moderate' position on immigration no longer includes any form of amnesty, and includes spending $7bn on a border fence.

#35 ::: HenryR ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Tancredo? I thought that was the core religious belief of sun worshippers.

::ducks and runs::

#36 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 06:10 PM:

Wow, what an overtly-racist asshole. To put it kindly.

P J 7: I'm still trying to understand why someone whose own grandparents were immigrants can be so set against immigrants himself.

As Senator Rawkins said, "My family's been having trouble with immigrants ever since we came to this country!"

Nix 25: Ooo, does she have a brother?

#37 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 06:12 PM:

I talked with a professor of religion many years ago, (about 20) whose name I cannot recall. He said Britain was becoming a Muslim nation not because of the number of Muslims, but because of their piety. The average attendance at the Church of England Sunday services was something like 4% of the population who identified as C of E, but almost all Muslims attend mosque every week. I have no idea if, in the intervening years, the immigrant population has remained this attached to their religion.

I suspect attendance is still high at mosques in the non-Muslim countries as a way of having community coherence. I wonder, if like language, this will change as there is a second, third, fourth generation who doesn't remember "old country" and the old ways and the old religion. I wonder what Islam will look like in Britain and the US and elsewhere in 50 years.

My grandparents spoke Yiddish and kept kosher. My Dad knew Yiddish, mostly dirty jokes, and knew the laws of Kasrut, but loved shrimp and bacon too much to keep them regularly. I only know a few words of Yiddish - and I'm a Witch.

#38 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Nix #25: I asked the question because I'm a native Londoner whose ancestry is African, Scottish, Jewish, English and Spanish (possibly some Amerind as well). I think of myself as a real European.

#39 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 08:57 PM:

I have checked with my kids. They know how to say:

Was gibt?
Wie geht's?
Macht das Licht aus, Kind!
Mein' Leut' im Himmel!
Donner und Blitzen!

Plus everything the Emcee says in Cabaret.

#40 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 09:15 PM:

Xopher @36: I am relieved that mine was not the only mind running along those tracks.

#41 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 09:22 PM:

Trip 40: you mean my evaluation of Tancredo, the Rawkins quote, or my question to Nix?

#42 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 09:25 PM:

James Macdonald @#39: After being stationed in Germany, one of my sisters came home and taught me a couple of phrases of German:

Nicht verstehen
Qualitatswein mit pradikat

Correct spelling not guaranteed.

#43 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 09:31 PM:

I remember some years ago reading an article about ethnic groups in the US, in which one expert said that the Germans were about the only group that came over and - disappeared. The earlier ones, mostly, are the ones that vanished; the later ones have managed more coherence.

(Think of changes like Neumeister to Newmaster, or Zimmerman to Carpenter: vanishing ethnicity.)

#44 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 12:33 AM:

Jim (39), non-Hispanic New Yorkers learn more Spanish than your kids know German just from riding the subways: El via del tren es muy peligroso.

Tom Tancredo irks me. His immigrant forebears are exactly the sort the Know-Nothings were trying to keep out of the country. He and Mrk Yrk make me want to brandish my ancestry so that in their universe I'll be able to authoritatively pronounce them idiots.

Valuethinker (24), third-generation Hispanic Americans do too speak Spanish, if they're living in a Spanish-speaking area of the United States.

Tancredo and the rest of his racist buddies are pulling that old Karl Rove maneuver where you pretend something that's been around forever is an alarming new development. In this case, it's United States citizens speaking Spanish as their first languge. It's hardly new.

The border fence is an enormous boondoggle. They can't run a fence along the border. For one thing, some of our treaties prohibit it. For another, it would cost a mint, and be nearly impossible to construct. For another, it wouldn't keep out the immigrants. For another, we don't want it to keep them out.

#45 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 12:57 AM:

James D. Macdonald at #39:

About the same here, but add the imperative Raus!
and the odd noun like schmetterling (just because it's pretty enough to have persisted down the generations) and schlagenfenster (just for its sound).

And P J Evans at #43, on the disappearing ethnicity: German-Americans had two World Wars to learn to keep their heads down - my grandfather was involved in a headline-worthy street brawl in 1917.

This conversation reminds me that my father used to claim that the Germans lost the war partially because they couldn't understand each other. ("Was??")

#46 ::: Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 08:33 AM:

Mohammed is meant to be the most common boy's name in Sweden. This may not be a completely bogus statistic.

#47 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 08:53 AM:

Andrew Brown, #46: Fewer boys were named Mohammed in 2006 than were named Neo (190 compared to 224). And that includes a number of variant spellings. The winner in 2006, Lucas, saw 1173 bearers. Mohammed and variants sits at around 70th-80th most popular boy's name in the 1998-2006 boy's name statistics I've looked at. The most popular "un-Swedish" boy's name in the 2006 stats is Liam (643). Clearly the Irish are a much larger threat to our cultural integrity!


And Mohammed's not on the top 100 men's name in the general population at all.


So, "may not be a completely bogus statistic" is not just wrong, but HELLA wrong.

#48 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 09:10 AM:

ethan@7: But Tancredo's ancestors were good immigrants (i.e., they produced him). I find it interesting that someone so far from \any/ border should be making such a fuss about immigrants; it's almost as if he's playing even more on fear (i.e., to solidify his own seat) and less on facts than the rest of the anti-immigrant forces.

Todd@19: on behalf of Romansch everywhere, I resemble your leaving out the closest living language to Latin.

PJ@47: by name, perhaps; my mother's line made Zwingli into Singley (leaving me very confused, since my grandfather used "Lloyd" in preference to "George Bienville" -- I spent some time thinking I was part west-country). As you ~note, much German migration happened when re-spelling was popular (and worse -- a college acquaintance was a Rogow renamed Roberts). But notice the names of the major brewers of American Swill (aka "Continental Light" in beer-judging contests) -- Pabst, Coors, Budweiser (I'll give you Miller but debate Molson?), or Neu Braunfels (sic), the sausage capital of Texas.

#49 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 09:40 AM:

The beermakers are in the group who came in after the 1830s, as far as I can tell, along with the people who settled New Braunfels - my sis-in-law and her son-in-law have Germans from Milwaukee (and Luxemburg), although they weren't beermakers. The ones who came before the American Revolution apparently lost whatever ethnicity they had (apart from surnames) before our Civil War.

#50 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:11 AM:

BTW, it's been an article of faith on the right that Europe is about to be overrun by the Muslim Hordes since at *least* middle of 1979, which is the latest possible date I could have read articles on the subject in The Wanderer and the former Triumph in that particular house and living room where I remember reading them, fulminating about how there were now mosques being built in Italy! and Spain! and in the shadow of Santiago de Compostella, the SCANDAL! and where was our new Charles Martel? and it was all the fault of The Pill and the Secular Humanists causing the Old Europeans to grow selfish and abandon their Catholic heritage, with invocations of the Chesterbelloc ad libitum. (It was probably even earlier, circa 1977, but I can't be absolute sure of that.)

This meme would alternate weekly with how Japan was shortly going to be emptied of all but decrepit senior citizens, due to their embrace of abortion, and how the US social security system was Doomed!Doomed! due to our declining birthrate (along with Western Civilization being Doomed!Doomed due to just about everything, from women wearing trousers to rock music to Neopaganism to the Godless Commies to Monty Python - and no, that last isn't a joke, they were calling for bans and boycotts of Life of Brian back when.)

This pump has been primed for a very, very long time, IOW - way before racist academic Samuel Huntingdon's Clash of Civilizations (1993) came out - and they finally got their chance to unleash all this hard-wrought rhetoric on the mainstream with 9/11.

#51 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Oh, if we're going to allow spelling variants across Europe, my money's on John/Jon/Johann/Ian/Iain/Juan/Giovanni/Jan/Jean. Jan on its own was, at least about 10 years ago, the most common male name in the EU*.

* Unsourced allegation by someone named Jan, I confess.

#52 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:26 AM:

37 Magenta

Actually it's young muslims in Britain who are turning back to the mosque. I doubt moslems as a whole have more than 50% rate of adherence. The salient statistic is that there are more practising Catholics than C of Englanders in the UK (this is also viewed as a considerable threat, in some quarters).

See 'My Son the Fanatic' starring Om Puri for a good, pre 9-11 treatment of this phenomenon (its set in Bradford, in Yorkshire).

The older forms of Islam in the UK are typically more Sufi-like, more mystical, more gentle, in line with the religions in Kashmir, the Sind and Bangladesh. It's the Wahaabi-financed preachers who are flooding in (financed by Arab oil money) to preach to the vulnerable young.

In that sense, modern Islam in the UK is much like American bible-thumping fundamentalism. It has much in common with the 'Left Behind' crowd.

But it's not going to be more than 10% of the population, if that. Nor in France nor Germany. We are going to have problems with muslim minorities, young moslems turning to terrorism (just as young Irish folk turned to the Provisional IRA during the Troubles) and lack of integration, but we are hardly going to be 'overwhelmed'.

Believe it or not, the current mania is about the number of eastern Europeans in the UK, particularly the Poles and the Lithuanians. Many of them tall, blonde and quite attractive. But there are half a million or so, and places in the UK that have never had immigration, now have significant populations.

#53 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:29 AM:

38 Fragano

Real Europeans are Celts. Maybe Celts and Basques.

English and all that proto Indo Aryan stuff are just a bunch of barbarians from the Caucusus mountains and the trans-Caucasian steppe. Hell the Spanish and the Italians are half Moors, anyways.

Eventually we'll get around to turfing you out ;-).

#54 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:46 AM:

17 Charles Stross

If you want to see what mid-level Republicans think, read John Podhoretz (foreign policy advisor to Rudy Giuliani) who basically says we should start the war with Iran, Syria et al *now* to demonstrate our strength.

Podhoretz takes a different line. The problem is not Bush, the "great president," or Rumsfeld, Cheney, or anyone in the US government. On the contrary, Podhoretz is convinced that the savage murders and daily atrocities in Iraq are actually "a tribute to the enormous strides that had been made in democratizing and unifying the country under a workable federal system."

If anyone is to blame, in Podhoretz's view, for setbacks in our war against Islamofascism, it isn't Bush, but Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, and those campus guerrillas of the "hard Left." Why? Because, "exactly like their forebears in the late 1930s" who had "fought against the country's entry into World War II,"

This is not how Podhoretz sees it, however. Spooked by his obsession with elitist and anti-Israel traitors undermining American power, he seriously proposes that US television was "drowning us with material presenting Islam in glowing terms. Worse, "the media," including such august organs as The New York Times, had cloaked themselves in a dangerous "stance of neutrality" between "America and its Islamofascist enemies," which "logically implied that the two were morally equivalent." The only exception, Podhoretz concedes, was the Fox network.

After you've had a few internet conversations with 'libertarians' who talk about the dangers of 'islamo fascism' (you see, there are good muslims, who agree with us, and there are bad muslims, called islamo-fascists who we must destroy) you'll realise how scary people are out there (there's no global warming, either).

On immigration, as in the UK, the way the whole thing is made politically correct is to talk about 'illegal immigrants' and 'immigration through proper channels' and 'immigration on the basis of talent and contribution'. As if immigrants were ever anything but of a different skin colour (post WWII, Italians and Greeks are browner than WASPs) and people prepared to do grunge work that the locals won't do (be it your Polish builder who shows up, reliably at 830am, or his counterpart who is the waitress at your local coffee shop).

So the US anti-immigration forces have adopted the same coded language

ccording to Newt Gingrich, we're now not just at war in Iraq, and at war against terrorists, but now we're also at war with illegal immigrants:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday he is "sickened" that President Bush and Congress went on vacation "while young Americans in our cities are massacred" by illegal immigrants.

Gingrich said that the "war here at home" against illegal immigrants is "even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"The federal government's incompetence, timidity and uncoordinated efforts to identify and deport criminal illegal aliens have had devastating consequences for innocent Americans," Gingrich said, in a newsletter.

It's classic right wing politics: talk out of both sides of your mouth to different audiences. The mainstream hears your concern, the fringe hears that you are really planning to nail it to the group in question. Bush did the same with evangelicals for years (remember his obscure references to Dredd Scott in the Kerry debate? Why does a 19th century ruling on slavery bear on the abortion debate? Because the Supreme Court was wrong then, and it is wrong now on Roe v. Wade-- but no one who wasn't an anti abortion activist would get the reference).

Paul Krugman's latest book 'Conscience of a Liberal' highlights many instances where Reagan played the race card in the same way, a furtherance of the 'southern strategy' originated by Richard Nixon.

with language like '[black] welfare queens driving Cadillacs' and 'big studs' when he spoke south of the Mason-Dixon line.

PS I've recently discovered your books (the UK editions are not as nicely packaged as the American) and have read the Cthulu-series and the Iron Sunrise Series, still working on Accelerando. Lots to say, but the good news is I am telling my friends to buy them.

#55 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Valuethinker #53: From the Basque perspective the Celts (whatever they are) are Johnny-come-latelies.

#56 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:48 AM:

Lest anyone doubt that all this works as a political stratagem, I sat next to a woman from Santa Clara county in California, in a restaurant in Italy. Pleasant, blonde, middle class woman.

She told me that the problem with Oakland California was groups of terrorists killing people. And that the US was sucking itself dry sending foreign aid to Africa.

I somehow think if the murders in Oakland, CA, were being caused by terrorists, we would have heard about it.

#57 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:57 AM:

bellatrys #50: Sam Huntington* (Who Are We? The Challenges to American National Identity, Simon & Schuster 2005) now says that the great dangers are Hispanic immigration, multiculturalism, and racial and cultural mixing. He's gone from 'the Russians are coming!' to 'the Muslims and Chinese are coming' to 'the Fraganos are coming!'

*Ph.D., Harvard 1952.

#58 ::: Per CJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 11:03 AM:

Valuethinker @ 53:

Actually, the Celtic languages are just as Indo-European as Germanic, Italic, Slavic...

#59 ::: James Davis Nicoll ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 11:21 AM:

44: "The border fence is an enormous boondoggle. They can't run a fence along the border. For one thing, some of our treaties prohibit it. For another, it would cost a mint, and be nearly impossible to construct. For another, it wouldn't keep out the immigrants. For another, we don't want it to keep them out."

I came up with a cheap and workable way to isolate the US. A 50 MT cobalt-clad nuclear device could detonated on the ground in Orange Country and another in Houston . This would spread a swath of fallout from California to Florida [1] and if done correctly, would be wide enough that anyone trying to cross it would die of radiation damage. Repeat once every decade or so.

1: It's harder to pull this off in the North without contaminating Canada and obviously the US wouldn't violate international law by dropping fallout on another nation.

shows the issues in the north.

#60 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 11:39 AM:

58 Per CJ

I stand corrected. Which of course brings up the old argument, is the language structure evidence of the origins of the people? American Indians speak mostly English, (I'm sure we could find quite a few who don't speak their tribal tongues), so do American Jews.

Enough. England is under occupation by Sassenach barbarians. Some day we will toss them out and regain our rightful lands, on which to raise sheep, make mead, and practice Druidic rights.

If you remember Michael Moorcock's Runestaff series, the Empire which is devouring Europe is England, and it is resisted by, amongst others, the Cornish.

As a first phase I propose we ally ourselves with Mexican Hispanics in the USA, and with moslems in Bradford ;-).

#61 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 11:43 AM:

59 James David Nicholl

Hence the hypocrisy. Anyone seeking to end illegal immigration simply imposes the equivalent of Sarbanes-Oxley on the Boards of employers. If the company employees illegal immigrants, *they* go to prison. Companies would stop employing illegal immigrants if there is criminal sanction against their executives.

There is also apparently a discrepancy in the way Social Security is collected, that allows you to identify illegal immigrants, although I don't understand the mechanics (its about valid SS numbers not lining up with the amounts collected).

In either case, the employment of illegals would simply cease. The problem is the US economy would more or less collapse. Take 9 million people out of the warehouses, the construction sites, the meat packing and fruit and vegetable industries....

This is all a wonderful piece of political hypocrisy, that publicly rejects the presence of large numbers of poor Hispanics (most people don't seem too concerned about the large numbers of Canadians and Irish working illegally in America ;-) but wants to have the work that they do, done.

#62 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 12:01 PM:

Valuethinker #60 'Druidic rights'? You have the right to be stabbed with a sharpened sprig of mistletoe?

#63 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 12:10 PM:

ValueThinker... Terrorists in Oakland? Of course. And they have training camps in the Oakland Hills too, especially in Belair.

#64 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 12:29 PM:

PJ @ 7: I'm still trying to understand why someone whose own grandparents were immigrants can be so set against immigrants himself.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Patrick Buchanan.

Lizzy L @ 28: Makes me wonder about the sanity of those folks out in Colorado, though...

Hey, my district didn't send him up there.

Although, any city that plays host to Focus on the Family has nothing to brag about...

#65 ::: Sten Thaning ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 01:05 PM:

CD, #46: Probably someone heard that Mohammed is the most common name given to boys in the city of Malmö, and then the factoid mutated. Cite in Swedish only, sorry. (Didn't Fox or someone similar make a documentary about the Horrible Problem Malmö has with Those People, a couple of years ago?)

In 2004, "most common" meant "36 boys". Malmö might be the 3rd largest city in Sweden, but it is not that big.

#66 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 01:16 PM:

62. Urgh..

score 1: nil for you. I am my own worst proofreader ;-).

'Druidic Rights' yes, quite. As in the right to be burnt in wicker, etc.

#67 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 01:22 PM:

To what should be no one's surprise, Tom's campaign managers is Bay Buchanan.

#68 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Valuethinker @61:

Robert X. Cringley wrote a column recently about Social Security Numbers, duplication, and what that looks like to utility companies and credit bureaus.

One of the tidbits from his source is that there are about 20 million US citizens in the gray economy, not just undocumented aliens. A second tidbit is that people drafting on someone else's social are more likely to pay their utility bills, since they don't want to attract attention.

In the next column, he mentions that none of this had occurred to DHS...

#69 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 03:27 PM:

Sten Thaning, 65: Yeah, I seem to remember horrified reports from Fox News about Rosengård from a couple of years back.

And what're you up to these days, anyway?

#70 ::: Per CJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 05:27 PM:

Valuethinker @ 58:

It is an interesting question how much of language change, both specifically and generally, is applicable to migration, and how much to cultural influence (of course, you also get factors such as uneven population growth). Some early scholars believed that the Indo-European languages had spread over most of Europe by waves of invasions. On the other hand, the opposite position is held by the archaeologist Colin Renfrew, who, if I've understood him right, seems to dismiss invasions and migrations nearly altogether, and seems to believe that Europe was Indo-Europeanised by a sort of cultural osmosis (I-E speakers being in command of a higher level of technology). I'm not a specialist in this subject, but I think that that what really happened was a combination of several factors, and something in between: After all, invasions have led to language change in history, so it seems to me that one shouldn't discount movements of whole peoples or parts of peoples altogether when considering prehistory.

#71 ::: Per CJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 05:37 PM:

From time to time I've seen reports in media from outside those countries that there are parts of Amsterdam where non-Muslim women put on hijabs before they enter, or parts of Malmö in Sweden that the police have given up patrolling entirely. But I haven't yet seen news reports that women have been molested for having uncovered hair in the Netherlands, or of Swedish police patrol cars being torched by thugs. I'm not saying that no urban violence is ethnically or religiousy based, or that urban violence is not to be deplored and dealt with in a serious matter, just that one gets so many such factoids that you never hear about again. Of course, it is not uncommon for people to err on the side of caution, and I'm not sure whether I'd like to wander the streets of a banlieu of Paris after midnight, and it could be why Dutch women cover their hair, if they indeed do so, when entering certain districts of Amsterdam.

#72 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 09:04 PM:

Xopher @41: Er, sorry, the bit about Nix's acquaintance. (If only I had not removed the bit about not competing with you for the hypothetical brother, it would all have been clear!)

#73 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2007, 05:30 AM:

Blackadder, of course, has words of wisdom: from the episode 'General Hospital', where Edmund thinks he has captured a spy.

"For God's sake, Blackadder! I'm not a spy! I'm as English as Queen Victoria!"

"So, your mother was German, you're half German and you married a German, eh?"

#74 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2007, 08:56 AM:

Xopher @36, no, but two nephews (but they're 6 and 8 so best not considered for a while). :)

#75 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2007, 09:00 AM:

Fragano@38: Nearly-snap (Scottish, English, both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish, Austrian, German, Romanian and probably Italian and French as well). Of course I think of myself as a Real European but then given that all my ancestors lived there for centuries, and so do I, this is hardly a contentious subject.

Perhaps we should just ditch this nonsense and consider ourselves 'real human' (thus excluding e.g. most of the current slate of Republican candidates, since real humanity includes some degree of empathy and common sense).

#76 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2007, 09:16 AM:

Trip@#72: My acquaintance or her notional brother? (even more notional than mine: at least mine existed at one point, although you'd have to be really *weird* to want to go out with him now).

#77 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2007, 01:30 PM:

Tancredo is my representative. I agree, he's not very impressive. I write to/call him on a variety of issues, but he always responds with a farrago of non sequiturs that work their way around to the Bush-approved talking points.

Luckily I'll have a new representative in 2008, unluckily it will be another lunatic-fringe Republican. One likely lad:
In the last election, Tancredo defeated a Marine and Navy veteran, Bill Winters, 60-40. There are a lot of knee-jerk Republicans here.

#78 ::: SI Rosenbaum ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2007, 02:30 PM:

"Don't you think he looks tired?"

#79 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Nix @#76: The acquaintance. It's probably for the best that I'm not inclined to compete with Xopher in general.

#80 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Bilingualism in Canada is a funny business. Only three of the provinces really have a strong French presence (in my experience), and while we chafe at the enforced bilingualism insofar as it intrudes into the various ways we want to advertise our businesses, run our companies, etc., in daily life we all just... speak two languages. And are pretty good at guessing someone else's language before they speak, and out of politeness try to speak in their language no matter how poor our command of it might be. Thus you will commonly overhear an anglophone and a francophone each mangling the other's language in conversation with each other even though they each understand both quite well. And then there are those conversations where you switch between languages several times per sentence... for me that's a wiring thing: some ideas I learned in french, so I switch to french when I talk about them, and vice-versa.

#81 ::: Daniel S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Chip@48: Your reference to "good" immigrants (indeed, Tancredo's line in general) takes me back to about a year ago, when my ex-girlfriend's parents were complaining about hispanic illegals destroying 'white culture'. I made a comment abour how nervous the phrase made me - growing up with some pretty intense anti-Semitism, I can only imagine how such talk makes other people feel. They're response?
"Oh, it's all right, Daniel. You're Jewish; that's white enough."
God save us all from well-meaning bigots.

#82 ::: Daniel S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Oh, the spelling errors. My humblest apologies.

#83 ::: Gwynplaine ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2007, 01:53 AM:

The alleged 'fact' that Mohammed is now the most commonplace boys' name in Europe is actually a factoid invented by Mark Steyn, a Canadian journalist who lives in New Hampshire and writes largely for British publications. Steyn is a very well-read man, but he never allows the truth to get in the way of a point he wants to make. When some piece of B.S. is more congenial to Steyn's argument than the truth would be, he will ignore the truth and go with the piece of B.S.

#84 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 11:48 AM:

The results of the New Hampshire Recount are in.

Tom Tancredo handily beat Vermin Supreme, 63-43, statewide.

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