Monday, January 30, 2017

The Koch Brothers Oppose The Travel Ban. So Does My Daughter Emily. So Does The CATO Institute. And, By Golly, So Do I.

      The conservative movement's financial and spiritual doyennes, the Koch Brothers, have unequivocally condemned President Trump's travel ban.  They call it "the wrong approach" and said via their network, "we believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here and contribute and pursue a better life for their families.  The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.  Our country has benefitted tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds.  This is the hallmark of free and open societies."  
     Meantime, my daughter Emily in a public posting on facebook applies some of the analytical thinking she sharpened during her studies at UC Berkeley along with several years as an exec in a rapidly growing hi-tech company based in San Francisco.   Says Emily: "I want to go on the record as stating, DT's xenophobic policies will do nothing but make terrorism *worse.* Why? Imagine the young, uneducated folks struggling under oppressive governments being courted by extreme Islamic ideology and without access to the media. This news will quickly make it's way to IS anti-US propaganda and will enflame the passions of those considering a path to extremism. To fight terrorism, the West should embrace and ally with the moderate Muslim majority around the world; remember that the most gruesome and frequent terrorism incidents happen in Muslim countries (though these rarely make the news with the same gusto as attacks in the West) and moderate Islam is equally if not more motivated and incented to put an end to this viciousness. By preventing the free flow of people (and thus thought) from repressive regimes into the relatively stable West, we alienate the Muslim majority allies that we need critically to end terrorism.
And finally, if we can accept that a human life is a life is a life, and the death of a Syrian is equally tragic to the death of an America, this policy will kill far more people than the infinitesimally small risk of letting in a terrorist posing as a refugee. I get it - terrorism is, well, terrible but it's still a statistically nonexistent as a risk to any one person. The immediate loss of life and increased suffering this new policy far overshadows in net human cost." 

     strongly oppose Trump's ban, myself, but I have to say that when the Koch Brothers and my daughter Emily are on the same side of an issue, something tectonic is going on.  Joining Emily and the Koch Brothers are the conservative thinkers at the CATO institute, who, besides condemning the ban itself, question the choice of countries selected by Trump, noting that "the countries that Trump chose to temporarily ban are not serious terrorism risks."  CATO says that between 1975 and 2015, no Americans were killed here by people from those countries, which produced a total of 17 individuals who were arrested and convicted of carrying out or attempting to carry out a terrorist attack here.  During that period more than 3,000 Americans were killed here by terrorists coming from countries (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Egypt and a handful of others, mainly Muslim by population) that are not on Trump's exclusion list. Concludes CATO:  "These policies will not improve national security and will undermine America’s efforts to combat Islamic extremism and terrorism around the world."  Trump's hasty and poorly thought out immigration plan has been mercifully put on hold by a federal judge, but the methodology reeks of incompetence just the same.  


  1. I imagine the Koch brothers and the South Dakota legislature oppose travel by South Dakotans going to complain about the legislature trying to overturn the voters' passed Initiated Measure 22 anti corruption ban. But I hope to join a lot of other voters in ignoring that ban on Wednesday Feb 1. After all the Koch brothers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat that proposal, but it didn't work, with even a lot Republicans sick of the corruption in our state.

  2. From the Department of Unintended Consequences:

    "Under [President] Trump’s executive order, Baghad’s pilots can’t come into the country for any reason. It doesn’t matter that Iraq owns the fighter jets sitting on the tarmac in Tuscon or that its aviators have come here for two years without incident."

  3. John, I know you and your daughter know your stuff... but the Koch Brothers? Cato? Wow. That's pretty broad agreement that this ban puts America in greater danger.

  4. Well, now that congressional Republicans have permission, maybe they will help do something about King Trump and President Bannon.