Settlement in Challenge of Police Surveillance of Muslims

Photo courtesy Associated Press
Photo courtesy Associated Press

Editor’s note: While this relates to a lawsuit in New York, this figures to be a national issue. On February 9 at the UC Davis Law School, at noon, the Vanguard and Law School are co-sponsoring a forum on Racial Profiling of Muslims.

Landmark Settlement in Challenge to NYPD Surveillance of New York Muslims: What You Need to Know

By Hina Shamsi

A settlement in our challenge to  NYPD surveillance of New York Muslims was announced today, heralding new safeguards to protect against bias-based and unjustified investigations of Muslim and other minority communities.

The settlement was announced in Raza v. City of New York, a lawsuit on behalf of three New York Muslims, two mosques, and a Muslim non-profit organization, who alleged they were swept up in the NYPD’s dragnet surveillance of Muslims. The ACLU, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the CLEAR project at CUNY School of Law filed the suit in 2013. The law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP joined the litigation team soon after. The lawsuit charged that the NYPD mapped Muslim communities and their institutions, sent officers and informants into mosques to monitor innocent religious leaders and congregants, and used other invasive means to spy on Muslims.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, imposes a number of important safeguards to ensure the NYPD’s investigative practices are in line with the protections of the Constitution. These include a robust anti-religious-discrimination policy, safeguards to constrain intrusive investigatory practices, a limitation on the use of undercover officers and informants, and — critically — the appointment of an outside civilian representative to ensure all safeguards are followed and enforced.

This settlement is a win for New York Muslims and for all New Yorkers, who have a right to be free from discriminatory police surveillance and to practice their religion without stigma or fear. It’s also a win for the rest of the country as it marks the first time that any meaningful safeguards have been imposed to prevent discriminatory surveillance of American Muslim communities.  At a time of rampant anti-Muslim hysteria and discrimination nationwide, this settlement sends a forceful message throughout the country, demonstrating that law enforcement can and must do its job without resorting to discriminatory practices.

What did the lawsuit challenge?

New York’s Muslim communities have long known that they were subject to invasive NYPD surveillance and investigation because of their religion. A Pulitzer Prize-winning series by The Associated Press reported that the NYPD placed countless innocent New Yorkers under police scrutiny, based on their religious faith and practice. NYPD officers monitored and mapped Muslim communities and their institutions, ranging from mosques to bookstores to restaurants, simply because they are Muslim. The department also sent paid infiltrators into mosques, student associations, and community events — including a wedding — to take photos and keep tabs on religious leaders, congregants, and community members.

The discriminatory surveillance sowed fear and mistrust, damaging the ability of New York’s Muslims to freely practice their religion. Religious leaders censored conversations with their congregants out of concern that they might be misinterpreted. Organizations and social networks were ripped apart by fears of police informants monitoring innocent conversations. Attendance at mosques diminished.

Our clients brought this lawsuit to enforce two of the Constitution’s most fundamental guarantees: freedom from government discrimination and freedom of religion. The lawsuit was motivated by the concerns of our clients, and those of New York Muslim communities and their allies, about the devastating effects of the surveillance, which stigmatized Muslims and chilled their speech and religious practice because of fear of attracting unwarranted police scrutiny.

How did the settlement come about?

In February 2014, after a new mayoral administration came into office, we and counsel in the Handschu case (described below) wrote to the new head lawyer for New York City, suggesting a meeting to discuss the possibility of a settlement. That meeting took place in April 2014, and all sides agreed to continue discussions.

In the meantime, we continued to litigate extensively. In July 2014, over the NYPD’s objection, the court in our Raza suit ordered the police department to turn over to us certain electronically stored communications of field-level NYPD personnel — including communications among undercover officers and the “handlers” of undercover officers and confidential informants who were involved in investigating our clients. Shortly after that, the parties agreed to stay the litigation to focus on settlement negotiations.

The parties finalized the settlement terms in January 2016.

What would today’s settlement change?

For the first time, the NYPD has committed to a robust anti-religious-discrimination policy, while also agreeing to a series of binding reforms to ensure that its investigations protect civil rights, comply with the Constitution, and are effective.

As a result of the proposed settlement, the NYPD will explicitly recognize the right to be free from investigations in which race, religion, or ethnicity is a substantial or motivating factor. There will now be presumptive time limits on investigations, precluding open-ended and unjustified investigations, as well as mandatory six-month reviews of ongoing investigations. The NYPD will also be required to consider the potential impact of its investigative techniques on religious activity. It will limit its use of undercovers or informants to situations in which the NYPD determines that the information sought cannot be obtained in a reasonably timely and effective way by less intrusive means.

Additionally, to initiate a preliminary inquiry, the NYPD will need articulable and factual allegations indicating possible criminal activity. In other words, the NYPD will not be able to open these investigations on the basis of a mere hunch — or bias. Critically, the settlement would also install a civilian representative within the NYPD, who will have the power and obligation to serve as a check on investigations directed at political and religious activity.

Finally, the NYPD will remove from its website its “Radicalization in the West” report, which sets out a discredited, junk-science-based theory purporting to identify how individuals transform into terrorists. That report provided the analytic underpinnings of discriminatory surveillance against Muslims. The NYPD affirms that it does not and will not rely on the report to open or extend investigations.

Didn’t the NYPD announce in 2014 that these practices ended?

Some people thought these practices ended in April 2014, when the NYPD announced it was disbanding the Zone Assessment Unit — formerly the Demographics Unit — but that unit didn’t cover all of the abuses we challenged, including the widespread use of informants who infiltrated community mainstays to spy on innocent people.

What is Handschu and what does it have to do with this case?

The Handschu guidelines came out of a decades-old class-action suit challenging the NYPD’s unconstitutional surveillance of political groups and activists. The guidelines, spelled out in a 1986 consent decree, regulate NYPD surveillance of political activity. Separately from our lawsuit challenging the NYPD program, the attorneys in the Handschu case brought a claim asserting that the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers violated the Handschu guidelines. We negotiated the settlement in tandem with the lawyers in the Handschu case.

In 2003, the Handschu guidelines were weakened upon the insistence of the NYPD to give the police department wider latitude. If the Handschu court approves the modifications to the guidelines, they will be revised to reflect the safeguards achieved in the settlement. (See the proposed modifications here.)

Will this end the discriminatory surveillance of New York’s Muslims?

It certainly should. We believe that these safeguards will serve as a check against blanket surveillance of Muslim communities, thanks to the NYPD’s commitment to a robust equal protection standard, the additional safeguards that apply when the NYPD opens and seeks to renew investigations, and the limitations on the use of undercovers and informants.

Critically, if the new civilian representative observes violations of the Handschu guidelines, she must record and raise them directly with the police commissioner, who will be required to look into the investigation and report back to the civilian representative. If any violations are systematic, the civilian representative must report them directly to the judge assigned to the Handschu case.

What role can New York Muslims and other members of the public play in the implementation of the settlement?

Because the settlement involves modifications to the court-ordered Handschu guidelines, the federal judge presiding over the Handschu case must approve them so they become effective. Before it does so, that court will hold a hearing at which members of the public can and should weigh in. New Yorkers will also be able to provide input to the mayor about a strong candidate for an outside civilian representative to ensure oversight within the NYPD. The civilian representative will be appointed by the mayor, not the NYPD. The settlement in our case is subject to court approval if and when the Handschu court approves the proposed modifications in that case.


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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52 thoughts on “Settlement in Challenge of Police Surveillance of Muslims”

    1. Frankly

      Question for liberals on this: do you think it makes sense to ignore possible suspects because of their race and ethnicity alone, or else we should stop and interrogate Caucasian and Asian grandmothers and their grand kids at the same rate so as not to appear to be racially or ethnically biased?

      1. Davis Progressive

        good question but you ignored mine.  key word in your question is “possible suspects” to me that means a person who is accused of or suspected of committing a crime.  in this case, the law outlaws police invasive techniques for people simply on the basis of race or ethnicity.  answer is no, actual suspects should never be ignored.  but determining them to be suspects you have to have more than simply race or ethnicity.  now your turn…

        1. Frankly

          But you ignored the actual rub created by your challenge.

          My last airport visit I was putting my shoes back on thinking about how I was damn glad that at least Bin Laden was baking in hell for what he had done to our country and all those families, and a door opens right next to me and out emerge two young Caucasian teenage girls wearing sleepwear followed by a female TSA agent.  Obviously these two were a security threat and needed to be thoroughly searched.

          The probability of being a terrorist goes up significantly if the suspect is a young adult Muslim.

          The same is true if the suspect is a young adult black male within a high-crime neighborhood where young adult black males are significantly over-represented in crime.

          Do you ignore these actual, factual, calculable risk differences, or do you ignore them for the sake of political correctness and sensitivity?

          There are real and tangible risk consequences for ignoring these higher probabilities in the name of political correctness and sensitivity.  And yes, there are also difficult intangible negative consequences to the innocent for risk profiling that targets certain groups.  People can get their feelings hurt.

          But part of me asks why those people that get their feelings hurt are not thinking of the situation differently.  Because they are of the same group that contains the much higher risk of problem, shouldn’t we expect them to be charitable in their acceptance of greater inconvenience and suspicion to help with the goal of keeping everyone else safe?  If Caucasian males in their 50s where the high risk profile, I would accept my misfortune to give of myself in acceptance of greater scrutiny by safety officials because I would be motivated to keep my family, friends and my people safe.

          It is not a black or white issue in my mind.  But, even with a much greater threat, the Israelis do a pretty good job keeping themselves safe from Muslims that would commit acts of terrorism.  They profile.

          I think the framers of this great nation could have never comprehended the challenge we face today with respect to Islamic extremist terrorism.  I think in balance with the need to keep Americans safe and free – the primary purpose of our system of governance – they would have adopted acceptance of these difficult intangible negative consequences.   But good Americans give of themselves for the greater good.  That should be the overriding expectation.

  1. Tia Will


    There are real and tangible risk consequences for ignoring these higher probabilities in the name of political correctness and sensitivity.  And yes, there are also difficult intangible negative consequences to the innocent for risk profiling that targets certain groups.  People can get their feelings hurt.”

    There is much more at stake than people getting their feelings hurt by profiling. I believe that you do not see it that way partially because you do not belong to the group being profiled. So trying looking at this a little differently.

    You do belong to the most violent group of humans on the planet, men. Women are much less likely to be the perpetrator of violent crimes than are men. So should every man be a suspect and subject to special surveillance ?  You have claimed again and again that those who are law abiding should not be targeted or have their rights abridged, and yet that is exactly what profiling does. It targets the individual on the basis of a biologic trait that they are neither responsible for, nor can they easily change.  I am quite sure that you would object strongly to special surveillance, stops and searches, and other invasive monitoring simply because you are a man and men are known to be more violent than women. So why should a law abiding Muslim not feel the same way ? And why should we not stand up for them the same way that I would stand up for your privacy even though you are a male.

    1. David Greenwald

      Good point Tia. The lone gunmen types tend to be white males, so why assume the risk only comes from foreign terrorism rather than a host of different threats?

    2. Frankly

      Uh… well Tia, males due face greater scrutiny and pressure, especially on college campuses in California where the governor signed laws onto the books to help the poor “equal” females that apparently are less able to accept responsibility for their decisions after drinking.  Males in general are guilty until they can prove themselves innocent on college campuses.  They are profiled to the max.  And white males more than any.  And they are routinely falsely accused and persecuted only to find that the claims of their accusers were fabricated.

      And they are profiled by law enforcement too.  Males are over-represented in crime and punishment.   So based on the same argument made about blacks being profiled and unfairly treated by law enforcement, I guess we should just shift this to males and ask why more females are not behind bars.  Seem like there is a lot of gender bias in law enforcement.  I guess cops are giving all those law-breakin’ females more chances.

      But to answer you question, I accept being held to higher suspicion for violence than are women because it is factually accurate that there is greater risk of a male turning violent and doing harm to others than a female.

      And if you could make the case that I belonged to some group owning a much higher risk of being a terrorist, I would calmly accept that I had to accept more suspicion and inconvenience because my contribution would help keep others safe.

      We have our brave young men and women risking their lives to primarily keep us all safe, and I am supposed to feel sorry for the hurt feelings of some Muslim in this country being looked at funny out of suspicion and demand that we purposely turn off our suspicion and increase our risk that we miss a real terrorist?  My ire goes toward the innocent Muslims that complain about this and don’t give of themselves to make it easier to keep everyone safe.

      Walk on eggshells over PC correctness and sensitivity, and more innocent people will end up being dead from a terrorist attack.

      1. hpierce

        So, I guess you feel that Columbine, Aurora, Colombia SC, Sandy Hook, Colorado Springs, the place in Oregon (escapes me), never would have happened if we had better scrutiny of everyone, of any race/ethnicity who happen to be Muslim… got it…

        1. Frankly

          There have been over 3100 people killed in the US by Islamic extremist acts of terrorism.  So just because it is not easy to profile everyone, you want to make the case that we should just ignore what we could do to help prevent more terrorism from Islamic fanatics?

          1. Don Shor

            How many since 9/11? How many have been killed by white male Americans in extremist acts of gun violence perpetrated against random strangers?

        2. hpierce

          Call BS on Frankly… his numbers look like 9/11… yes, some mentally disturbed [my opinion] folk who ‘claimed’ to be working for Islamic causes [Boston Marathon, San Bernadino, etc.]…. Islam is very similar [and, in fact, based on] to Jewish and Christian traditions…  have to think you reject all religions… fine.. your choice… I respect that, even tho’ I have a different ‘spirituality’.

        3. Frankly

          Hmm.  So we will remove 9-11 from the stats for what reason?  Because it is inconvenient to your arguments?

          I am troubled a great deal with your attempts to argue against safety measures from terrorism and the challenge of dealing with people having untreated mental health problems.  “Non-sequitur” seems insufficient to call out that BS.

          Here is the other thing either not understood by you two, or ignored, or else you both like to just roll the dice on safety (hey, it is big country… what are the odds them terrorist bad guys will actually kill someone we care about?).  Our government is a bumbling bunch of dolts for keeping terrorists from coming to this country.  If your position on immigration is the standard “let them come to seek a better life” left view, then you are a part-owner of this problem.  I M O.

  2. Tia Will


    You do realize that some of “our brave young men and women risking their lives” are Muslim, just as were some of “our brave young men risking their lives”  in WWII were Japanese ?  So while these young people were risking their lives, we were destroying the lives of their families by putting them in internment camps. We are seeing the same fear driven mentality playing out now in the religious realm.

    It is quite confusing to me that you, who argue so ardently for individual responsibility are so readily accepting of the concept of group culpability.


    1. hpierce

      You do understand history, right, Tia?  Second-generation Japanese-Americans were not allowed to fight in the Pacific in WWII… only in the European theater… yet you main point is valid… enlistment in the military has traditionally put you on the “fast-track” for citizenship… for Muslim citizens, you are correct… can only think of one exception… the guy in Texas… but don’t think that had anything to do with ethnicity/religion… suspect his elevator didn’t go up to the top floor…

      1. Frankly

        .27 percent of our armed service personnel are Muslim.  The US population of Muslims is .8%.

        Contrast that to blacks, previously enslaved by this country, making up 13.2% of the population and 17.8% of the US military personnel.

        I solute these true patriot Muslim men and women soldiers, but they are underrepresented in the numbers of “brave men and women” fighting to keep us safe.  And with the Fort Hood murdering Muslims terrorist Major Nidal Malik Hasanand there have been numerous others…  I think it is safe to say that with such a small percentage of Muslims in the US armed forces, given that the number of times they have killed American soldiers in the name of Allah, it is practical to profile Muslim soldiers if we care to keep our true patriot soldiers safe from terrorist attacksincluding the other Muslim soldiers that would never commit terrorist acts against the US…  especially since our government does not allow them to have weapons on base to defend themselves.

        1. hpierce

          Frankly, you have truly shown your “colors” … you show no cites, for corroboration… I identified my opinion that the Fort Hood (yeah, just said Texas) dude probably acted out as a “mental case” rather than a ‘religious’ guy… yet you imply it was due to his religion… or ethnic background…

          By the same logic, should all Catholics and Protestants be under the same scrutiny for the “troubles” in Northern Ireland?  Not that long ago…

          All Irish? All Japanese? All Germans?  Where do you want to “draw the  line”?

          Or, do you reject all religious/faith based individuals?  Yeah, perhaps we should scrutinize anyone who is not agnostic/atheist… that [for some] would “solve the problem”…

          Still does not explain Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora, and probably not the SC or OR tragedies…

          1. Don Shor

            If anyone but a Muslim does a mass shooting, conservatives say it’s mental illness. If a Muslim does it, it’s religious extremism.

        2. Frankly

          If anyone but a Muslim does a mass shooting, conservatives say it’s mental illness. If a Muslim does it, it’s religious extremism.

          I’m sorry, but this is one of the most ignorant things you have written on this topic and it indicates just some “inconvenient truth” frustration on your part.

          How about we just stick to the motive of the killer?  If a Muslim does a mass shooting yelling Allah Akbar, then yes, it would absolutely be a motive of religious extremism.

          You do know that there are both medical and legal standard for diagnosing and determining mental illness, right?

          It seems to me that you are drawn to wanting to consider gun killers as all victims of mental health deficiencies so you get on with blaming the guns (and airliners and pressure cookers too I guess).

          National polls for voter priorities put terrorism and safety just a notch below concerns about the economy.

      2. Tia Will


        Second-generation Japanese-Americans were not allowed to fight in the Pacific in WWII… only in the European theater”

        If you re read my post, you will find no reference to where those of Japanese descent were fighting.  Why make the assumption that I was saying something that I in no way even implied?

        1. hpierce

          Japanese descendants did fight in the European theater… one of the most decorated units, in fact… I was trying to clarify…  obviously, clumsily… I apologize for any offense taken…  was not intended…

    2. Frankly

      I am absolutely not accepting of group culpability.  Not at all.  I am only after those actual bad guys that, unfortunately, have the same profile of people that are good guys.

      There is no reasonable comparison between internment camps from WWII and thorough investigation of suspicion to make sure someone is not a terrorist.   You are out of bounds making that comparison.

      The apt comparison would have been allowing security and law enforcement officials to question any and all people based on reasonable suspicious profiles.  In other words, Japanese residents of this country would not be interned, but only kept an eye on and challenged more frequently that others.

      We really have no way of knowing how many American civilian lives were saved by Japanese internment camps, but I am not for imprisoning whole groups of people because of fear.  I am for proactively eliminating fear by confirming that terrorists are not among us.  The San Bernardino terrorists were said to be peaceful followers if Islam by their family members even AFTER they had murdered all those people – their co-workers that just threw them a baby-shower weeks before – so I don’t really trust that this group will help in any way to proactively identify potential terrorists in their midst.  It is clear to me then that our authorities have to do this work to to vet their suspicions and some innocent Muslims in this country will have to accept the inconvenience.

      1. Don Shor

        I am absolutely not accepting of group culpability.

        Of course you are. You keep saying Muslims. Attitudes about extremism and support for terrorist groups vary widely in the countries in the world where Islam is the majority religion. Lebanese Muslims are close to 100% opposed to ISIS and al Qaeda, for example, and probably pose very little threat to your safety. The only basis you have for profiling them is their appearance and their religion.

        1. Frankly

          Within the group of “MUSLIMS” there is a subset of “ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS”.  They also happen to be MUSLIMS.

          I am accepting GROUP CULPABILITY of “ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS”, but not “MUSLIMS”.

          Do you understand group theory, or do I need to put that explanation in caps also for you to “hear”?

          Just like if the Irish Protestants were bent on killing as many Americans as possible, I would accept GROUP CULPABILITY for IRISH PROTESTANT TERRORISTS, but not IRISH PEOPLE.

          But I would accept profiling all Irish people because YOU CANNOT TELL WHO IS THE BAD GUY AND WHO IS THE GOOD GUY.

          And I would expect all Irish Americans to COOPERATE BECAUSE IT WOULD HELP ROOT OUT THE BAD GUYS AND KEEP US SAFE.

          I figured I must need to “shout” this to you since you are incapable of understanding in regular lowercase.

          1. Don Shor

            But you believe Muslims should be profiled because of Islamic extremists. Including, since you don’t qualify “Muslims” by nationality or ethnicity, Muslims from pretty much anywhere. And since there are 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, including majorities in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, etc., AND YOU NEVER MADE ANY DISTINCTION ABOUT WHERE THESE MUSLIMS YOU WISH TO PROFILE ARE FROM, then the “group culpability” you with to enact and which you clearly support, has solely to do with their religion. Not their ethnic origin, not their geographic origin, not their propensity for violence. It is solely a religious profiling YOU wish to implement.
            Which is what we call oversimplification, naivete, or something.
            I understand conservatives need us all to be fearful. That is the premise of the election season, and it seems to be working very well for some of them. But you talk about “Muslims” as if they are a uniform group, when there are 1.6 billion of them, and call for policies to be enacted against “Muslims,” and talk about how they should basically just put up with it. Try applying that broad brush to any other group — ethnically, racially, or based on religious identity — and tell me what we call that.
            We call it bias, if we’re being polite.

          2. Don Shor

            There have been over 3100 people killed in the US by Islamic extremist acts of terrorism.  So just because it is not easy to profile everyone, you want to make the case that we should just ignore what we could do to help prevent more terrorism from Islamic fanatics?

            So we will remove 9-11 from the stats for what reason? Because it is inconvenient to your arguments?

            9/11 makes up 96.7% of your statistic about deaths caused by Islamic extremists. 19 men from Saudi Arabia do not represent the vast diversity of Islam. You are abusing statistics. Meanwhile, since then we have had numerous incidents of domestic terror, and we had a number before 9/11. Groups ranging from Jewish extremists to animal rights activists, people acting from racist motives, people who are extremely anti-abortion, and so on, as well as other attacks by Islamic extremists. Yet the only profiling I hear advocated is “Muslims” and, of course, black youths.

            I am troubled a great deal with your attempts to argue against safety measures from terrorism and the challenge of dealing with people having untreated mental health problems. 

            Actual safety measures from terrorism would entail identifying and focusing surveillance and interdiction efforts on those individuals traveling to and from countries where terror groups are active. That is not, in fact, a large number of countries. A broadbrush focus on “Muslims” such as you have advocated simply wastes resources, among other issues.
            I don’t know what you mean by anybody arguing against “the challenge of dealing with people having untreated mental health problems.”

            I am only after those actual bad guys that, unfortunately, have the same profile of people that are good guys.
            Do you ignore these actual, factual, calculable risk differences, or do you ignore them for the sake of political correctness and sensitivity?

            Actually, simply being Muslim does not create a “factual, calculable risk” of terrorism. Muslims of certain sects and within a particular demographic range who come from certain parts of the world could pose a higher risk. Someone who has traveled back and forth between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and who espouses very strict views, for example. That’s a profile. “Muslim” isn’t a profile. There are millions of Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia, for example, who aren’t any threat at all.

            Conservatives love to talk about political correctness. Invariably it involves their desire to make sweeping generalizations about some other race, religion, or ethnicity. Sweeping generalizations are usually not very factual.

            We have our brave young men and women risking their lives to primarily keep us all safe, and I am supposed to feel sorry for the hurt feelings of some Muslim in this country being looked at funny out of suspicion and demand that we purposely turn off our suspicion and increase our risk that we miss a real terrorist?  My ire goes toward the innocent Muslims that complain about this and don’t give of themselves to make it easier to keep everyone safe.

            Your “ire goes out?” They should “give of themselves?” You mean, their rights should be different? They don’t have the same civil rights you and I do, because of their religion? “Looked at funny” isn’t the same as undercover surveillance, infiltration, and extensive long-term undercover investigations based solely on religious identity.
            I’m sure the NYPD thought they could keep this all secret or something. But you know they can’t. And when it does come out, it decreases trust between the authorities and those religious leaders we need to have cooperation from. This kind of untargeted, broad-sweep behavior by the police makes us less safe.
            We need to have well-trained authorities working in a carefully targeted manner, looking at people who meet a range of demographic criteria and exhibiting specific behaviors. In other words: the government, likely the federal government, needs to have a reason to subject you or me or anyone to those actions. They have to have cause. Just being “Muslim” isn’t cause. It doesn’t lead to any reasonable, factual, evidence-based assumptions about dangerous behavior.
            And in a free society, we do those things within the parameters of our constitution. Our constitution is not selective as to which faith groups are covered by its protections.

            “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release said.

            This man has poisoned America. And your comments reflect that.

        2. hpierce

          Am thinking, based on various comments from several posters, that no spirituality/religion should be tolerated in Davis… good luck with that…

          my bad… this was not meant as a response to Don… meant as an indepenant comment

        3. Frankly


          This is true because I was addressing the general topic; but I absolutely do agree that we focus on profiling on people from specific countries where Islamic extremist terrorism is more likely.

          Bravo for your brilliant detour on the topic Don.  I admit that you found a hole in what I had written.  Not a hole in my opinion, just something I left out.

          But for you to win all the points here you would have to discount the main point that I repeated over and over and over again.   It is that I support profiling of all people based on the risk that they would be a terrorist.  So yes, absolutely, include the country of origin.  And guess what, being Muslim also increases the risk of being a terrorist.

          Say you are a Muslim in this county or entering this country.  Are you a young adult male or female? Where are you from?  Where have you been lately?  Where is your family from?  Who have you been talking to here and overseas?  What Internet sites do you frequent?

          Now why would we want to waste any time doing this for a Caucasian teenager or a black grandmother?  You would demand it for fairness.  That is stupid.

          But say you are a white male adult with indications of mental health instability.  I would also support profiling and extra scrutiny in those cases.  Frankly though any young adult male with mental health problem should be treated the same.  We have had plenty of crazy non-white males going on shooting rampages.

          Maybe think of this as a “personal risk profile for killing others” scale.  That risk profile scale should be based on the known contributors.  It is calculable.  Ethnic origin should be a strong consideration with respect to Islamic extremism terrorism.

          The problem we have with weighing the the risk of people from peaceful Muslim countries as being no risk or even little risk is that they all have a problem with a notable percentage of their population being Islamic extremists.  Even the US has this problem.  Turkey, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Indonesia, Kuwait… they are all previous sources of people that have committed terrorist acts.

          All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.  Fact.

          Our differences on this topic are really quite simple.  You value treating people fairly over measures and actions to increase the probability of safety, while I accept more differentiated treatment of individual people in order to increase the probability of safety.  But the problem is that you and other liberals have taken to denigrating and name calling those that disagree with you… using political correctness and speech code rules to call us racist, xenophobic, Islamiphobic, hateful… you name it.  And in the final analysis that is the real “ugly American” display, and the primary cause of such political divisiveness in this country.  Look in the mirror Don.

          1. Don Shor

            All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim. Fact.

            I’m sorry, but this is one of the most ignorant things you have written on this topic and it indicates just some “inconvenient truth” frustration on your part.

        4. Frankly

          Ok.  Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslim… and by a very wide margin.

          Can you handle that, or still too inconvenient?  You nitpick the word “all” while ignoring the point being made.  That is typical.

          By the way Don, I am not anti-Muslim at all… nada, nothing, zero percent.  I don’t care.  In fact, I probably like peaceful and pious Muslim folk more than I do many secular liberals in terms of what I think is good for this country.

          I am anti-terrorism.  I am pro-American safety.

          People with your views were proved wrong on 9-11.  But now that time has gone by you feel comfortable sweeping that one under the rug as an abnormality.  That is how you people work… never admit that you are wrong… just go silent until enough time has gone by and then claim that old event is no longer valid.  But it is valid, because it demonstrates what these people are bent on doing.  Did you note what happened in France recently?  It is only a matter of time before more similar events happen in this country.

          I am more than irritated and pissed off every time I have to go to the airport.  Why does everyone have to go through a rigorous security vetting?  The answer is 100% related to Muslim people that are religious extremist that would blow up a plane and kill everyone inside for in the name of their religion.  In modern times you cannot come up with any other group that poses this risk and is responsible for what we have to go through at the airport.  When was the last non-Islamic extremist blowing up a jet liner?

          I am tired of political correctness and hypersensitivity causing us to have to search kids and grandmothers so we don’t appear unfair and don’t hurt anyone else’s feelings.  Don’t you get the absurdity of that?  While the TSA agent is frisking grandma in her wheelchair she isn’t paying attention to the real bad guy that just got through.

          We need to profile people as to their REAL risk that they would kill others.

          1. Don Shor

            Ok. Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslim… and by a very wide margin.

            Not in this country, based on attacks carried out. See my link again:

            You nitpick the word “all” while ignoring the point being made. That is typical.

            I’m not “nitpicking” anything. First you just said “Muslims.” Kind of like Donald Trump. Then you backpedaled.

            Why does everyone have to go through a rigorous security vetting? The answer is 100% related to Muslim people that are religious extremist

            No. False again. You just keep spouting false statements. Airport security began when people were hijacking airplanes in the 1960’s and 70’s. Universal passenger screening began in 1973. “Muslim” was not the characteristic most common to airline hijackers.
            Since 9/11, airport security has been increased. But your statement is again, FALSE.

            We need to profile people as to their REAL risk that they would kill others.

            In this country, at this time, that would entail profiling a lot of people. Single mothers with 2nd Amendment obsessions who happen to have mentally ill young men at home with them. Middle-aged white male loners who are obsessed with Planned Parenthood. So if we’re going to really do this, our profiling really should be more specific than just what religion they happen to be. And personally I’d rather have experts from the Dept of Homeland Security doing it than the NYPD.

          2. Don Shor

            People with your views were proved wrong on 9-11.

            I’m not sure what you think my “views” are on this issue. I’m sure, though, that my “views” are a lot more nuanced than yours are, or than what you think mine are.
            9/11 was done by fanatics from Saudi Arabia. I believe that Muslim extremists arising from the Wahaabist sect of Islam (al Qaeda, ISIS) are the greatest present danger to the world. They have been encouraged and financed by members of the Saudi family. Muslim extremists that arise from the Shiite sects are threats in their region, but have not been prone to terror attacks outside of the Middle East. Thus if we were acting rationally with respect to threats to our own country, we would move closer to Iran and away from Saudi Arabia. Israel, on the other hand, has much to be concerned about with respect to the groups Iran has encouraged.

            Did George W. Bush and his advisers learn that lesson? What did they learn from 9/11? How about you?

      2. Tia Will


        I am absolutely not accepting of group culpability.  Not at all.  I am only after those actual bad guys that, unfortunately, have the same profile of people that are good guys.”

        Unfortunately, the bad guys that kill others using guns as their weapon of choice often have the same profile as gun owners who behave responsibly and are law abiding. As a matter of fact, beyond their profile, most of the mass shooters were law abiding right up until the time they started their rampage, so by the logic that you are using we should have much higher surveillance on gun owners than non gun owners, and yet you consistently argue against measures that might lessen gun injuries.

        What about the white armed and belligerently threatening occupiers of land that is not their own in Oregon. Their profile is the same as that of many lab abiding gun owners. So should their illegal actions be used as a pretext for tightening up surveillance on every gun owner since one cannot tell in advance who will occupy the land of others and who will not ?


  3. Biddlin

    Frankly, I think this confirms my previous assertions re: conservative brain physiology. Colonic personality syndrome is panhuman. John Lennon was on to something: Imagine ….

    1. Frankly

      You really don’t add anything to the conversation, and I think you are getting away with breaking of the moderator rules of the vanguard by directing your comments at me personally.

      How about just sticking to the topic Biddlin?  Or if you want to the topic to be conservative brain psychology, then write about it.  I would be interested to learn if there is actually anything to it.  From my research the problem is that the liberal brain is often incapable of thinking broadly about many subjects as concerns over hurt feeling overwhelm it.  I have provided plenty of evidence for this.

      So I understand your difficulty with this and other topics.  At least you are in good company.

      1. Biddlin

        Not psychology, Frankly, physiology. Reading comprehension issues too? Hmmm


        Since you missed the point, I’m saying that dangerous arseholes come in all guises and you’re significantly more likely to be killed by a cop or a car accident than by any brand of terrorist.

        Now, ignorant bigots scare the be Gee zeus out of me.

        1. Frankly

          I love it how lefties will call American Tea Party people “terrorists” and immediately and vitriolically claim, for example, that is was Tea Party “vitriol” that led to Gabby Gifford being shot.

        2. Frankly

          That is the typical liberal pre-9-11 position.  It was the same that they had before 9-11.

          But then, if the odds are so low, then why not stop requiring the TSA airport security crap?  And it is a lot of crap.

        3. hpierce

          Frankly, your 3:08 post just strikes me as “weird”… the assassin, in the ‘Gabby Giffords’ incident [6 killed, 13 wounded] was clearly a mental health issue…not “tea party Republican”, Muslim terrorist, “gun nut”, Catholic/Protestant, Communist/Socialist, “righty/lefty” thing… but you play that “card”… why?

  4. tribeUSA

    The issue of profiling by race or religion (or sex, sexual preference, disability, etc.) is a difficult one, and I guess I come down in the middle on this one; somewhere between Frankly and the most of the other commentors on this thread.

    Why profile? More efficient use of scarce law-enforcement resources, to increase the liklihood of rapid apprehension of the suspect at reduced taxpayer expense–the savings in taxpayer dollars can then be put to better use–i.e. drug treatment, job-training programs, etc..

    Why not profile? Danger of systemic abusive discrimination against a particular race/ethnicity/religion/sex/etc. (can such systemic danger be averted other than by banning any such profiling?)

    Bravo to Frankly for sticking to his guns; the other side writes as though there is no legitimacy to any arguments opposed to their view; I support both some of Frankly’s arguments and some of the arguments of those who oppose his views.

    As one example of the value of racial profiling, suppose a cross is found burning on the lawn of a black man’s home in the deep south, along with other a written KKK screed pinned to the door. I would have no problem with the police/FBI including ‘white male’ in their profile of the likely suspect. Likely neither black nor female.

    Or if a masked/hooded terrorist (who’s ID is not immediately known) posts a pro-ISIS screed and is heard to shout “Allah Ahkbar” after shooting up or bombing a place, perhaps the FBI can include “muslim” in their profile of the likely suspect.

    Perhaps it is possible to agree on carefully drawn up criteria (reviewed by federal courts) that can be used to decide on whether or not racial/ethnic/religious/etc. profiling can be employed. Perhaps statistical profiling can be employed; for example if one particular ethnic group is known to commit certain crimes at a rate that is 10-fold or higher that of other ethnic groups; this can be used in the profile.

    If Irishmen are known to constitute 90% of the drunks in certain towns on Saint Patrick’s day, I would have no problem toasting a police profile that included the word “Irishman”, and offering a mug of grog to the police chief himself to commemorate the occasion!



    1. Frankly

      Well balanced post tribeUSA.  I agree that there are trade-offs.  My libertarian sense don’t want to see any more power given to our police state.  But I see Islamic Extremist Terrorism as a bigger threat and risk than I think my VG opponents on this topic see it.  One concern I have is a significant terrorist even in this country increasing the power of the war hawks.  I think liberals don’t think this far… getting stuck at the hurt feelings part.  I would much rather have a more Israel-style vetting of potential threats to prevent them than to take a “it is so unlikely that we should stand down” approach and have another event that send the electorate into an anger pursuit of revenge.

      This is similar to the situation with the liberal demand for law enforcement to stand down in the high crime urban areas.

      And the rejection of tools like the MRAP just because of the symbolism.

      I find it fascinating that they are willing to put themselves out there as having contributed to so much unnecessary greater harm and death just to protect the feelings of others.   As long as they are willing to accept responsibility for it if and when it happens, I respect that position.  Unfortunately I see signs that they expect to escape responsibility due to their sense of righteousness.  So at least I want to get them on record for if and when it happens so I can help by reminding everyone of the cost of those positions.  I hope I don’t have to.

    2. Don Shor

      If Irishmen are known to constitute 90% of the drunks in certain towns on Saint Patrick’s day, I would have no problem toasting a police profile that included the word “Irishman”

      Following Frankly’s logic, then, the city police department should conduct massive surveillance of Christians, because Irish people are Catholics, and Catholics are Christians, and you can’t tell one from the other (Christians or Irish, really), so they should have paid informants in Greek Orthodox churches because some Irish people who are Catholic get drunk.

  5. Tia Will


    “You cannot flippantly talk about ‘reloading’ and putting people on your TARGET list and not expect some nut to take you literally,” read one typical comment posted to Palin’s Facebook page Saturday. “This is on you partially whether you like it or not.””

    This quote from the article you posted is just as clearly inaccurate as you are when you blame the death of Eric Gardner on cigarette taxes. It is also a nice illustration of dodging personal responsibility for one’s actions, although I do not think that can be said to apply in the case of mental illness.

    1. Frankly

      Tia – you are not connecting the dots well here.

      It is well known that the higher the tax the more black market activity will occur.  Greece has been a great research project for this… as taxes increased more and more of the economy went underground.

      That is the problem with the left love of constant tax increases.  It is part of the Laffer Curve where there is a limit to the percentage of taxation on something that can be tolerated, and will alter the human risk-benefit calculation for avoiding the tax.   The only way to collect all the tax in these circumstances is the police state.

      History is rife with examples of this.  Government keeps increase taxation until the people start finding ways around it, and then government starts to crack heads to enforce the taxation and then people revolt.  If you are wondering where the revolt is please check Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders poll numbers.

      Government created an attractive nuisance by continuing to raise cigarette taxes with the false premise that it was doing so for health reasons.   It was doing so for tax revenue reasons.  But Eric Garner saw the opportunity to sell on the black market.  He could still make a good return buying cigarettes wholesale and then selling them on the street without collecting the cigarette tax.

      And then here comes the government officials to make sure they crack down on this activity so that they get all the tax money they have coming to them.

      So yes, cigarette taxes killed Eric Garner.

      And words by a few people in the Tea Party have absolutely no connection with that.  Absolutely none.  The fact that you would go there again is troubling.  Would you go so far as Nancy Pelosi and call the Tea Party members Nazis?  It is actually funny because the New York tax and tax enforcement power looks more like Nazis to me.

  6. Biddlin

    ” but you play that “card”… why?”

    “Dhont and Hodson believe they have an answer to this, again one based on rigorous abundant evidence. Their theory is that right-wing ideologies attract people with lower mental abilities because they minimize the complexity of the world. Right-wing ideologies offer well-structured and ordered views of society, views that preserve traditions and norms, so they are especially attractive to those who are threatened by change and want to avoid uncertainty and ambiguity. Conversely, smart people are more capable of grasping a world of nuance, fluidity and relativity.”

    1. Frankly

      Ha!  Well this makes sense that these two hard left academics would go there since the liberal brain is wired such that it doesn’t process morality well.  Can’t process it so it must not be a valid cerebral consideration, right?  My guess is that the person in charge of the business that both these men will eventually work for will have that capability.

      Jonathan Haidt explains in his book “The Righteous Mind”:

      Haidt has read ethnographies, traveled the world and surveyed tens of thousands of people online. He and his colleagues have compiled a catalog of six fundamental ideas that commonly undergird moral systems: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity. Alongside these principles, he has found related themes that carry moral weight: divinity, community, hierarchy, tradition, sin and degradation.

      You don’t have to go abroad to see these ideas. You can find them in the Republican Party. Social conservatives see welfare and feminism as threats to responsibility and family stability. The Tea Party hates redistribution because it interferes with letting people reap what they earn. Faith, patriotism, valor, chastity, law and order — these Republican themes touch all six moral foundations, whereas Democrats, in Haidt’s analysis, focus almost entirely on care and fighting oppression. This is Haidt’s startling message to the left: When it comes to morality, conservatives are more broad-minded than liberals. They serve a more varied diet.

      But hey Biddlin, I give elite liberals credit for their tendency to corner the word market.  They pursue language proficiency like elite conservatives pursue business proficiency.  So it is understandable why elite liberals are so angry all the time seeing that B-average lacrosse team captain be so successful and happy in life.

      From my perspective we both need a balance of our left and right ideological wiring because we keep each other from making a mess of things.  Unfortunately the left side has gained too much power and influence primarily from a corrupt and biased media and broken and biased education system,  and is making a mess of things.   It needs to be pulled back to more of that “stupid” moral stuff you have so much disdain for.

      Oh yeah, and conservatives test as much happier than liberals.  Maybe Dhont and Hodson should study that.  Because if having all that education and intellectual/language prowess makes you sad and angry all the time, I’m thinking it is not really such a good thing.

      1. Barack Palin

        …it’s time to put another view out into the mix.

        The implication is that rising mechanistic intelligence is all very well but goes with declining mentalistic intelligence which—as is so clearly evidenced in autism—carries serious social costs. Conservatives, in other words, may score lower on adaptation to a modern technological style of intelligence, but may score higher on traditional social intelligence whose loss we may well live to regret.

        [moderator] edited.

        1. Frankly

          I have always been intrigued with this statistical fact that higher-education correlates with higher incidence of liberal political views.  Of course liberals like Biddlin provide an explanation that he is more enlightened from his education, and more intelligent because either the education, or because he was born with the extra brain juice and leveraged it to attain higher education.. or both.

          But there is something else.  I was frankly bored in college class much of the time.  I was already an executive but pursuing my working-adults MBA… but then developed an opportunity to work as an founding advisory member on a tech start-up, and so I put the MBA on hold and did that for 18 months instead.   I learned more working on the startup than I was learning in the MBA program… and with a financial upside verses money bleeding from my checking account.

          Then in my career I have had many, many highly-educated science types working for me.  People with higher academic skills, but in need of much coaching and direction in how to relate with and work with people.  And how to make decisions.  That was the biggest problem I noted and still do… those people that I work with having a strong academic air about them and a liberal bent have a hell of time making decisions.  They want to analyze a thing to death.  By the time they get around to making a decision the cycles have changed and the opportunities have been lost.

          Of course not all, but enough to suggest a trend.

          So all of this has me questioning the premise that the higher-education is the cause of liberalism as much as there is a filtering of certain personality types and intelligence types that lead people to stay in school longer and get fluffed up with academic credentials.  And these personality types and intelligence types are more likely to be wired with a liberal political bent no matter what level of education they attain.

          Or maybe I am wrong and conservatives are just stupider.

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