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30 November 2015

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Paul Escobar

Abu Sinan,

I am speaking of those I grew up with here in Canada. IMO, the ones in my experience would have a corrupting influence on those in yours.

Best,
Paul

Abu Sinan

Paul,

So how many Muslims were you friends with growing up in Canada? Were they religious, secular? My point being that the circle of Muslims you obviously were friends with are not indicative of the wider Muslim communities in the US and Canada. When you made your observation in the midst of your other comments it looked like you were using your personal experience to support the threat against the US.

I grew up in a mainly white community. I knew many teens that were ready to explode, some of them did. I am not afraid of the Muslim community here in the US.

crf

Well, I agree about the EU policies costing Lithuania some of its autonomy.

But as a small country and ecnonomy, it would always have had a lot less autonomy than a large country.

Rejection of migrants is exercising a little of what autonomy the country has left. Of course, accepting the migrants could also be a display of autonomous nationhood. It might also be a good policy, arguable on its merits. But the position of accepting migrants has been conflated with kowtowing to the EU.

This is yet another mistake by the EU. The EU probably didn't need to patronisingly grab power by ordaining a policy EU countries should follow.

The Twisted Genius

Ramojus,

I remember standing before the large reproduction of Matejko's "Battle of Grunwald" at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago. It looked like something out of Tolkien's Middle Earth. I was mesmerized by the scene. I felt generations of history wash over me. We have a family legend that my ancestors took part in the battle and took down a Teutonic Knight. Who knows. The full truth is lost to the ages. I do wonder if I am descended from a pagan Samogitian or a Tartar horseman. I do have cavalrymen among my relatives. Maybe I'll have a DNA test some day.

I'm not sure what position Generolas Plehavicius held during that time, but he surely participated. His later exploits were most heroic. I would consider him the father of the Lithuanian Freedom Army much like Aaron Banks was the father of Special Forces.

Medicine Man

TTG: I have a really minor question — are the wings on the Polish/Lithuanian Hussars historically accurate or just an embellishment by artists and historians?

The Twisted Genius

Medicine Man,

Yes, the winged hussars were real.

The Twisted Genius

David Habakkuk and kao_hsien_chih,

I find your comments both fascinating and enlightening. If you wish, please continue the discussion.

confusedponderer

Ábsolutely!

Medicine Man

Yep, they must have been terrifying to face. In an era increasingly dominated by early firearms and cannon they carried on the traditions of armored cavalry.

jerseycityjoan

TTG,

I do not think these discussions about burqas are laughable. After seeing the recent events in much bigger countries that were never part of the Iron Curtain, I can understand that the Baltic countries are worried about themselves and their futures.

Am I saying they should refuse any refugees or even that I think burqas should be outlawed? No.

But I do think there's a lot to be considered. Certainly that these people will just step into the places of the people who left can't be right. I saw something earlier this year that said Norway figured out that on average each immigrant there costs $700,000.

I found a link to that and here's what it says:

"Finansavisen [Norwegian financial newspaper] has gone through figures released by SSB [Norwegian Bureau of Statistics] and concludes that each non-Western immigrant, on average, costs Norwegian society NoK 4.1 million ($700,000).

...

"This figure includes all taxable incomes minus public expenditures,” according to Erlend Holmøy, senior researcher for SSB.

...

“The cost of it all will have to be covered by the average Norwegian taxpayer, or it will lead to a reduction in capacity and quality of various publicly funded services,” says Holmøy to Finansavisen"

http://gatesofvienna.net/2013/04/immigration-will-bankrupt-norway/

Obviously the Baltics' spending won't be as high because there social benefits wouldn't be as generous but I think you get the point. I cannot blame these people for being afraid about what they may letting themselves in for. Certainly there's no going back to the way things were once the newcomers are there and established.

Medicine Man

Mr. Habakkuk:

Regarding your 3rd point (above). I've read some speculation that the language and themes in the American Declaration of Independence were inspired in some part by the Dutch Act of Abjuration: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Abjuration

Ramojus

TTG,

I attend functions at the Balzekas Museum and know the Balzekas family. If you are ever in Chicago and at the museum, please send word. It would be an honor to meet you.

The reason I ask about Plehavicius was due to a story I had heard in my younger days. A friend's father, who was an aide to the general, claimed that Plehavicius told him that the reason why the apple trees in his orchard were so full and productive was due to the fact that there was a dead Polish soldier buried beneath each tree. I'm sure it was a "tongue in cheek" anecdote meant for a young boy approaching maturity.

Pleahavicius is buried at Kazimerines cemetery in Chicago.

Ramojus

One additional question, are the "Battle of Grunwald" and the "Battle of Tannenburg" the same "Žalgirio Mušis", or am I confused?

The Twisted Genius

Ramojus,

Thank you. If I ever make my way to Chicago again, I will let you know.

It sounds like Plehavicius had the same sense of humor as my father.

As far as the three names for the same battle goes, I think it's just a function of the three languages involved, much like when I would go back and forth with a Polish colleague over the Vilnius-Wilno designation. At least we did it with smiles on our faces.

Farooq

"Maybe I'll have a DNA test some day."

https://www.23andme.com/

It used to be $99 but now they have bumped up the price to $199. I expect the price to go down again. They send you a kit, you spit in a tube and send it back using a pre-paid package provided with the kit. I found it to be very convenient. The results are uploaded to your online account and include ancestry and health reports. You can download your raw data from your account and then use that data file at other opensource free sites like http://v2.gedmatch.com/

The Twisted Genius

jerseycityjoan,

The prospect of taking on a large number of refugees in the Baltics, or anywhere for that matter, does call for serious discussion and planning. One of the things I would consider is the complete embargo on any aid from Saudi Arabia or Qatar. The last thing these refugees need is Wahabbi inspired madrassas and mosques. However the refugees are handled, they can't be ignored only to form another Molenbeek. We have a refugee population of just over a hundred in the Fredericksburg area, mainly Iraqi. They're sponsored by local churches and seem to be doing fine. This kind of neighborhood hands on approach may be something that would work in Lithuania.

Norway provides extremely generous social benefits to its citizens. I would like to see how the cost of those benefits compare to the $700K per immigrant. Wikipedia states Norway spends over $40K per person per year. That sounds similar to the $700K per immigrant.

You're very right in noting "there's no going back to the way things were once the newcomers are there and established." That's why the refugee issue must be addressed right up front. At the same time, the Baltics should address their ethnic Russian populations. I think they should embrace these populations as well as the refugees rather than fear them.

Jack

KHC

You have intrigued me sufficiently to read more medieval history. Would you have suggestions for some books that highlight the political and social environment at that time?

Jack

David

You would be hard pressed to have a discussion about the roots of republicanism and it's implications for the contemporary world even with so called educated intellectuals today. There really is no constituency for personal accountability anymore. Expectations have been built that people are entitled to a certain standard of living. As you point out history shows societies revert to feudal and hierarchical arrangements. I suppose an Imperator is in our future.

elkern

I went to a rally to "Say Yes to Syrian Refugees" at our state capitol last weekend. There were about 300 of us, compared to fewer than 30 at the "Say No" rally on the other side of the building.

I tell this story not to incite the anti-immigrant commenters here, but because of one interesting detail of the rally. I rarely get to share personal experiences here (having no military background), so I'm taking the opportunity now.


Most of the speakers were "the usual suspects": the Unitarian Minister, the Native American (pointedly welcoming anybody who comes here in peace), the didactic campus Socialist, the garrulous (gay?) MC, the charismatic Tunisian intellectual, etc. Notably absent were the liberal Rabbi & Imam (invited and expected, neither braved the cold rain?).

All said what I expected.

But I was surprised by the last speaker - a real live Syrian refugee. There were several families in the audience (including a pair of 4-year old twins dressed like Christmas candy, who looked just like the poster child for war in "Wag the Dog".... hmmm...); you could tell the (adult female) newly-minted Syrian-Americans by the head-scarves.

The thing which struck me about his speech was his insistence that Assad was the real problem, more than ISIS. He contended that "once Assad is gone, ISIS will disappear", which sounds like magical thinking to me. But lines like that drew significant cheers from parts of the crowd - though not other parts. I mumbled "BS" to the (WASPy?) stranger next to me, and she agreed.

My conclusion is that most Syrian immigrants who have made in into the USA already were former Arab Spring types. But I'm a little surprised at the naïvete about ISIS.

One other odd observation: one of the attendees - a young "Middle-Eastern-looking" woman - was wearing a Turkish flag across her shoulders. Which raises a different possibility: were we (naïve liberals) being played, by some coalition of anti-Assad groups? Possible, but unlikely. I think it's more likely that the US expedited immigration for people who had been part of our original "plan" in Syria - peaceful "regime change".

That might not have been such a bad thing. Too bad too many other countries & groups had other plans for Syria. Worse than too bad, we went along with those plans.

Babak Makkinejad

A few weeks ago, in the Iranian parliament, a bill to give Iranian citizenship to children born to Iranian mothers and foreign spouses was defeated by a noticeable margin.

It was supposed to have been able to sail through - on the grounds of care of such families and aide & comfort to the children.

One of the opponents of the bill stated that he did not wish the "Iran-ness" of Iran to be diluted by foreigners.

Another objection was fear of rush by foreign men to get married to Iranian women.

I think it is fair to conclude that there is real negative concern in Iran among MPs about the social consequences of all these Afghans immigrants and refugees. And Afghans are much closer to Iranian culturally, religiously, linguistically than Muslims are to Europe.

Of course, just like Mexicans in US, if Afghans ever go back en mass to Afghanistan, Iranian economy will plunge into a depression.

esq

Why is this Syrian immigration thing of interest to you? Weird. Obviously Lithuania would be better off with 1000 Koreans than 1000 Syrians. What are you up to, exactly?

esq

I live in a small town in Virginia. I don't think if the Mexicans left there would be a depression. Instead, black men would get jobs. There is a lot of black unemployment, yet restaurants, for example, hire Mexicans, not blacks.

The Twisted Genius

esq,

I find the story of the Lipska Tartars to be quite interesting. A semi-Christianized feudal state living in a bad neighborhood grants asylum to a freakin' Muslim Tartar Horde and goes on to prosper for several hundred years. The story defies logic, especially today's logic. People were clearly made of sterner stuff back then.

Ulenspiegel

"Certainly there's no going back to the way things were once the newcomers are there and established."

Yes, this is correct. But must this be a bad thing?

The Baltic states like their larger neighbours Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Hungary lose due to low domestic birth rates and emigration of their young and brightest a lot of substance. To defend a situation that has in principle no future is not useful approach IMHO.

Here a more honest discussion should take place in these countries but has been substituted with nationalism for years.

The other aspect that is usually lost in this discussion: When these countries applied for EU membership they agreed to some principles and it is a littel bit funny that EU money is taken but when it comes to some kind of own contrubution then these countries rise "fences".

And last but not least: When hundred of thousands emigrated from Hungary and Poland (1956 and after 1980, i.e. long before EU membership) for political and economic reasons these people were accepted in neighbour countries, this should give some food for thought and give an interesting background for some official statements from Hungary and Poland.

The Twisted Genius

esq,

I'd like to see those businesses hiring illegal aliens prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Even if the employer was somehow unknowingly hoodwinked by the illegal, he should be cited and fined. If the employer does it knowingly, go for max fines and jail time. If the illegals can't work, they won't stick around. I remember when the economy went south in Prince William County. The illegal population damned near vanished when the jobs disappeared. Before that the County government tried all manner of programs to get rid of them with only limited success.

OTOH, if those Mexicans in your town are here legally, that's life. Maybe the local employers can be convinced to hire locally, but I don't know how that could be done.

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