Do Montana Kids Deserve a Soft Landing?

by William Skink

A recent anti-refugee protest in Missoula has brought the issue of resettling Syrian refugees back into the spotlight. The protestors appeared to be mostly scared-stupid old white people who came to Missoula from other parts of the Pacific Northwest to rail against Muslims and our negro president from Kenya.

That said, I think the efforts of the group Soft Landing to annually resettle 100 refugees in Missoula is equally ignorant. Let me explain why.

First, it should be a prerequisite for anyone entering this debate to be informed about why there is a refugee crisis in the first place: American foreign policy.

America’s imperial crusade to destroy any non-aligned nation is the primary factor in the refugee crisis. Under the sociopath of state, Hillary Clinton, the Libyan state was beheaded as a gleeful Clinton celebrated the execution of Gaddafi. Syria was supposed to be next in line for regime change, but those pesky Russians successfully stopped a Libya repeat in Syria.

If American foreign policy is primarily responsible for the crisis, then we have a responsibility to do something for the refugees, right?

The desire to do something and actual logistics of doing something are two entirely different creatures. While there is a solid argument that America should help the refugees that our disastrous foreign policy have created, I’m extremely skeptical about how the reality of this “help” is going to materialize.

Back in November, the Missoulian reported on these good intentions from Soft Landing. From the link:

Volunteer agencies work directly with the U.S. State Department to sponsor refugee families and individuals. They help refugees in a specific city connect with federal funding, housing, English classes and employment.

On Tuesday, a representative of one such agency, the International Rescue Committee, was in Missoula to get a feel for the community and to look at the resources available.

The initial visit went well and was well-received by community stakeholders, Poole said.

“The IRC was able to give a presentation to our group about the process of becoming a refugee who is placed in the United States, what our resettlement program looks like and an overview of the very rigorous security screenings that take place,” she said.

Unlike the scared-stupid old white people who think resettling refugees is a government-sponsored invasion, security is not something the concerns me about this issue. The reality of what Missoula is, though, does concern me.

Missoula is a beautiful mountain town where, simply put, wages just don’t pencil out with the high cost of rent for LOTS of people. Almost everyone I know from my college days 12 years ago moved away because they couldn’t afford to live here. The person making your fancy coffee drink probably has a Masters degree in biology. When I first moved to Missoula, I was shocked that I needed a resume for a dishwashing job.

But some Missoula moms saw a picture of a dead toddler washed up like trash on the beach and they vowed to do something. Great. Kids are in terrible situations all over the world, even here in Montana. Especially here in Montana.

People outside the crisis happening with Montana’s child protective services don’t know how bad it is, but it is. I had just one conversation with a social worker last week who knows she has several pregnant patients actively using meth, and people would be shocked how bad things have to get in order for a child to be removed. Adult Protective Services is no better–perpetually under staffed and under funded with a critical lack of infrastructure to safely place our increasing aging population.

But I guess there aren’t pictures to break your heart coming out of this crisis so it just simmers as a task force tries to figure out what the fuck to do. Maybe tap that fat rainy day fund, Governor. Or is that nest egg more important as good optics for your reelection effort?

If the well-intentioned Missoula moms want to help, they could be foster parents to help alleviate the quiet crisis happening in their own backyard.

At the very least, it would be nice if they educated themselves about why there is a refugee crisis happening in the first place. If Americans were more aware of what their tax dollars do when militarily directed, maybe they would question how effective quadrupling military efforts against “Russian aggression” will be when it comes to cooling off the war zones refugees are fleeing from.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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22 Responses to Do Montana Kids Deserve a Soft Landing?

  1. Nameless Range says:

    The anti refugee people are morons, but Is it really so obnoxious that people’s compassion has led them to organize to help a portion of people in the world who are suffering? Do you think this post would sway them to see the bigger picture? So many of your posts are a version of the argument:

    “You’re wrong to care about X because there are more important things than X!”

    As if people objecting to anything non-macro is wasteful, ignorant feel-goodery.
    I appreciate your blog and the info you provide, but what are your goals of communication, and how’s that workin out for ya? Of for nothing than catharsis then carry on….

    Oh, and GiveWell has pointed out that for every $3,340 spent, a child’s life can be saved from malaria, so you’re wrong to care about homelessness. At least they are living.

    • do you live in Missoula? this isn’t just about criticizing something that people care about. bringing in 100 people every year who have been traumatized by American foreign policy is a huge undertaking for a town this size with already strained resources and, as I pointed out, there are already children suffering immensely in abusive situations that our state can’t address, so pardon me if I’m not too hopeful that simply good intentions and federal subsidies will be able to support a hundred refugees a year.

      and to answer your second question, no, I don’t think anything I write on this backwater blog will sway anyone from doing what they’re going to do. if Hillary Clinton is the presidential candidate, I bet these moms will happily vote for her despite the fact her hawkish reign as Secretary of State has significantly contributed to this refugee crisis.

  2. Big Swede says:

    Since American is to blame for all ills in the world maybe we should take in everyone?

    I find a little ironic that when the wealth of our nation influences others it’s labeled imperialism. But when we embargoed Cuba by not trading goods and services (evil capitalism) we’re also to blame.

    Let’s call the refugee problem what is truly is, a get out the vote and change our culture drive. Other than the imperialism crap Liz is right. Take care of our own first.

    • I think you’re confusing the wealth of individuals and corporations with “the wealth of our nation”. as for taking care of our own, that’s sort of hard to do when half of every tax dollar goes to policing the world to ensure access to markets for corporate interests.

      • Big Swede says:

        I think you need to check the math when it comes to “half of every tax dollar”.

        • it’s more about what you define as “military” spending. I have seen estimates of 27 cents per tax dollar going to the military and upwards of 69 cents. that latter figure includes stuff like VA and Homeland Security:

          There is much more spending that is really all about war. Not included in that $585.3 billion figure is $70.2 billion in discretionary spending for Veterans Affairs (that’s in addition to $90 billion in mandated spending). This is money to pay for the damages of the nation’s war making — the injured or ailing veterans who served or are now serving in the nation’s armed forces. Then there’s the intelligence agencies’ budgets — the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the DIA, the DEA, the ATF and Homeland Security, etc. — most of which is really part of part of the war machine, thanks to the so-called “War on Terror,” which has re-defined the US itself as part of a global war zone. While much of that intelligence budget is concealed from the public on the spurious grounds of “national security,” it is known to exceed $100 billion a year. Add to that the $24-billion share of the Department of Energy budget that is weapons and war related, and you have a real military budget for 2016 of $707 billion. That’s out of a $1.2 trillion total discretionary spending budget (the rest of the $4 trillion proposed 2016 budget is called mandatory because it is debt repayment or spending on mandated things like Social Security and Medicare, which are funded by dedicated payroll taxes, not income taxes and other federal taxes, and which are promised to recipients like retirees and the sick.

          What this means is that when you look closely, some 59% of the entire discretionary budget of the federal government – things that are funded each year by money that Congress has to appropriate — is being spent on the military. Given that the total amount of taxes collected by the federal government (income, corporate profits, exist, inheritance, etc.) also comes in at about $1.2 trillion, we’re saying that taxpayers this coming year will be pouring not just $707 billion, but 59 cents of every tax dollar into war, planning for war, or paying for war. But it’s actually worse than that because actually the US government operates at a deficit, and doesn’t ever finance its wars on a pay-as-you-go basis. Instead, it borrows the money and then pays interest on that debt. Every year that interest comes to about $240 billion, and roughly half that is for borrowing to pay for past wars and past and current military spending. So add $120 billion to the $707 total and it becomes $827 billion.

          In other words, it’s really 68.9% of every tax dollar you pay this April 15 that’s going to pay for America’s wars and its obsession with militarism.

        • Big Swede says:

          Is there anything you couldn’t attribute to military spending?

          Better yet where exactly would we be if we didn’t spend those amounts? There’s many countries which spend more on the military directly as a proportion of GDP than we do.

        • You just went to great lengths to explain to Swede that much of the military budget is hidden in other programs, like VA and Homeland and god knows how much in black budgets like CIA (which runs ISIS), and like water off a duck he shed it and showed you somebody’s graph of military expenditure, no way of knowing how accurate it might be, probably not very.

          And anyway, you left out NASA, speaking of disguised military. They’ve been siphoning off money for secret weaponry since the 60s.

  3. Big Swede says:

    Regarding the imperialism/refugee guilt trip I agree with with the professor below, do we as American citizens must be punished for the immorality of our leaders?

  4. steve kelly says:

    “So what is the purpose of weaponizing refugees?

    In the book Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion and Foreign Policy, Kelly M. Greenhill, US foreign policy consultant, argues that coercive engineered migration is a strategy which has been used by governments to gain concessions from other governments. In other words, governments often use refugees as weapons in order to exert pressure on other governments for political ends. Greenhill documents over 59 examples of refugees being used as weapons since the Second World War.” – Gearóid Ó Colmáin

    • Big Swede says:

      Liked the last comment from your link Steve.

      “Implicitly exposes how fascist demagogues like Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Michael ”Savage”, Fox, etc who pretend yo oppose, but actually support the far right Al CIA da subversion across the world perpetrated by Soros,, CIA-Amnesty International, HRW, etc. by falsely giving fake ”Left” cover to fascist Soros by absurdly labeling him ”left wing” ”philanthropist” (!) . Search;-”’Soros, land destroyer”’ exposing Soros as all mobbed up with high level Right Wing Neocon Zionist warmongers, Wall Street Banksters, War Profiteer and Fortune 100 imperialists.”- Z .

      • steve kelly says:

        There is much more if you want to dive deeper. Ever hear of Rumsfeld protege General Thomas Barnett? His new book may help with the imperialist blindspot. Globalists do have a plan.

        ‘The former Pentagon general has developed the theory of the ‘Five Flows of Globalisation’ — five flows which must come about if US Zionist imperialism is to dominate the world. These involve the free flow of money, security, food, energy and people. The ‘free flows’ theory means breaking down nation-state structures, thus freeing up resources for pillage by US multinational corporations. The inundation of Europe with immigrants from the Southern Hemisphere is a key feature of Barnett’s geo-strategic thinking. That is why it would be wrong to see the immigrant crisis from Libya and Syria as an unintended consequence of NATO policy as some form of unforeseen blowback.”

  5. Greg Strandberg says:

    I’d like to read more about the problems with Child Protective Services, please.

  6. Eric says:

    “The protestors appeared to be mostly scared-stupid old white people who came to Missoula from other parts of the Pacific Northwest to rail against Muslims and our negro president from Kenya.”

    Say it isn’t so – you are starting to sound like the race-baiters in the Dem party. Please don’t pull the race card on us. I do think though that brining people from the desert to this climate would not be a good fit. Find somewhere warmer for them.

    • JC says:

      Eric, read the Zero Hedge story about the rally, and look at the photos.

      [Zero Hedge:] ‘Here’s what “obviously not a racist” John had to say about The White House and the plan to resettle refugees from the Mid-East:

      “There is a legal way of doing things, an orderly way of doing things. There has been since this country was founded. There’s a right way and they’re doing it the wrong way, and our black Muslim president is trying to bring this country down. And he’s doing a very good job with all of his lapdogs.”’

      Now who’s pulling the “race card” here? It’s no wonder that the U of M is continuing to lose students with all the negative reviews the city is getting these days..

  7. Eric says:

    If that is an exact quote, it sounds like anger, frustration, and a little fear to me.

    I can’t prove it, but I believe The Great Leader has a chip on his shoulder against Christianity, and has shown himself to be so pro-Islam that it wouldn’t surprise me if on Jan 10th next year he would announce to the world that he’s going back to being a Muslim again, as he was when he was a child, and the way the majority of his family in Kenya are.

    Why else would Obama make himself the ‘gatekeeper’ of the Muslim faith, telling the world that the Jihadists are not ‘real’ Muslims, but hijackers of the faith? Especially considering the whole Obama/Clinton/Kerry mishandling of foreign affairs.

    I look at the problems Europe is having with their invasion force of Muslims, and I don’t want them here either. I look at those problems, and I don’t want to see America getting in on that action. If that makes me a ‘racist’ too – so be it I guess.

    I think that if Missoula got those refugees/invaders that it would be poetic justice – let some liberals come face to face with their principles.

  8. Pingback: Missoula County Attorney’s Office Blames Judges For “Frequent Fliers” Because They Are Cowards Taking Cues From Rape Apologist, Kirsten Pabst | Zoom Chron Blog

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