Welfare and the Boston Marathon Bombings

One of the memes that is flowing quickly out of the right wing media and blogosphere is the complaint that the Tsarnaev family received some forms of public assistance. It totaled about $100,000 over ten years, apparently. Phyllis Schlafly provides a good example of the poutrage:

Once admitted into the United States, the entire family cashed in on generous U.S. welfare benefits, cash and food stamps. Those receiving taxpayer handouts included the two criminal sons, both of their parents and, ultimately, Tamerlan’s wife and child.

Tamerlan can be said to have financed his radicalization with welfare handouts from our taxpayers. Those were the years when Tamerlan became a more devout Muslim, gave up drinking in order to devote himself to “God’s business” and sought out jihadist websites.

When accused of domestic violence against a girlfriend in 2009, he had the benefit of a taxpayer-funded attorney to get his case dismissed. Welfare was terminated only in 2012 when his wife’s salary pushed their income outside of eligibility limits.

And…therefore…what? What on earth is the point? That we shouldn’t provide food stamps or section 8 housing assistance because someone who receives it might later do something terrible?

When the younger brother, Dzhokhar, was naturalized as a citizen. He would have been required to swear that he renounces “all allegiance” to any previous country and that “I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.” What did our naturalization bureaucrats do to assure that Dzhokhar was not using the Koran-authorized practice of taqiyya, i.e., tell a lie in order to advance Muslim objectives?

Seriously? There’s been absolutely nothing that has come out that would suggest there was even the slightest evidence that the younger brother was anything but a regular immigrant seeking citizenship. To all the world, the family seemed like a quintessential American story, a family that fled persecution and came to the US seeking freedom. Does she think that they walked around with signs on their back saying “potential terrorist”?

Why didn’t our FBI recognize the signal that the older boy was named for one of the most brutal murderers in all history? The name Tamerlan is known throughout Asia as a 14th-century Muslim who called himself the “Sword of Islam” and murdered 17 million people, beheaded many and displayed their heads to showcase his brutality.

This is what passes for a reasonable position by nuts like Schlafly. Should we also reject any immigrant named Joseph? That was Stalin’s first name and he killed millions.

28 comments on this post.
  1. Gretchen:

    Wait, I’m confused. Should we ban abortion because one of those people might grow up to cure cancer? Or should we ban welfare because one of those people might grow up to be a terrorist?

    Maybe we should abort all of the babies because they might grow up to be on welfare.

  2. tynk:

    It totaled about $100,000 over ten years

    So that’s 10k a year, to help support… 4 people?

    I briefly listened into Fox news yesterday and they were on about this, never gave an amount but were talking about a welfare funded Mercedes…

  3. Kevin:

    I think she has something there with the name thing.

    After all, nobody names their son “Adolph” anymore. Because everyone knows that if someone was named Adolph, he’d become a dictator and almost take over Europe and kill 6 million Jews.

    Nope. No more Adolphs. The risk is too high.

  4. jonnewman:

    Almost exactly the same thing happened the UK.

    An unemployed man killed his six children and the right paper the Daily Mail and Conservative government put the blame the “welfare state”

  5. Chiroptera:

    Ed: That we shouldn’t provide food stamps or section 8 housing assistance because someone who receives it might later do something terrible?

    Didn’t the conservatives just admit that “it’s not about innocence or guilt”?

  6. coragyps:

    Why hasn’t the FBI (or FEMA!!) recognized that “Phyllis” is nearly almost kinda sorta like “syphilis,” one of the deadliest scourges of the last five centuries? Why isn’t Ms. Schlafly in a prison somewhere wearing a body-sized condom?

  7. Chiroptera:

    And since we have a party that has made the return of Bronze Age tribal policies a major campaign plank, maybe they should be advocating that whenever a familty immigrates to the US, they must surreneder one of their members to the State to serve as a hostage. That oughta ensure good behavior!

  8. davefitz:

    I really hate the conflation of welfare with terrorism. Sure Welfare gets abused, sure we might miss some terrorism but this new outrage implies welfare (or liberal policies) contributes to terrorism. But it’s a way for the repubs to get their base foaming over public assistance. And 100k over 10 years for a family of 4? $2500 per person per year? Yeah, major outrage.

  9. Ben P:

    What did our naturalization bureaucrats do to assure that Dzhokhar was not using the Koran-authorized practice of taqiyya, i.e., tell a lie in order to advance Muslim objectives?

    This made me laugh. Were they supposed to ask him “are you sure?

    “Son, you just swore an oath to renounce allegiance to any other entity, were you lying?”

    “no, of course not.”

    “are you sure?”

    “yes!”

    “are you really sure?”

  10. jolly:

    Since the U.S. is looking more and more like the former Soviet Union, they probably became confused and thought they were fighting the Soviet Union. They were afraid of being sent to the Gulag (Guantanamo).

  11. Synfandel:

    Attila is a very popular name in Hungary and Turkey. I guess we can’t let any of them immigrate, ‘cuz obviously they’re all violent.

  12. Bronze Dog:

    When the younger brother, Dzhokhar, was naturalized as a citizen. He would have been required to swear that he renounces “all allegiance” to any previous country and that “I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.” What did our naturalization bureaucrats do to assure that Dzhokhar was not using the Koran-authorized practice of taqiyya, i.e., tell a lie in order to advance Muslim objectives?

    I don’t think I can process the full breadth of the naivete and stupidity in this bit. For one thing, oaths aren’t magic spells, and neither is taqiyya. We don’t have magic lie detectors. We don’t even have reliable means of detecting boring old non-magical lies. It doesn’t take some fancy-sounding foreign word to take a deceptive oath. I’d argue that accepting oaths as meaningful would make you more vulnerable to deception and manipulation, rather than less. When they made people take loyalty oaths during the (not quite dead yet) Red Scare, the Communist agents were probably the first in line.

  13. busterggi:

    $100,000 over ten years? They’ve have gotten a lot more a lot faster if they swore alligence to the NRA and they were in Congress.

  14. Jafafa Hots:

    Has Blackwater received any government assistance?
    Have they done any bad things?

    Just wondering.

  15. democommie:

    I would like to help out here.

    This is what I do, you might want to try it out the next time you’re dealing with some bugeyed fuckwad teabaggist.

    Them: Do you know that that there commislamist killer was on teh welfare?

    Me: Well, I certainly do, now. Your point?

    Them Goddamned welfare queen terrarists, it’s all a goddamned liberal plot, ‘scuse my “French”.

    Me: Well, I am reluctant to say that I can’t “pardon your ‘french’” because “goddamned” is colloquial English. However I will pardon your cursing, because cursing is something I do a fuck of a lot of myself and I find it, in general, to be harmless. Otoh, your indignorance and self-induced paranoia are not to be excused you shit-for-brains moron. Do fuck right off*.

    You probably will not win the argument (you can’t argue with someone whose IQ is lower than a warm turd’s) but if you say it forcefully enough, they’ll shut the fuck up and go away-WINNING!

    * I have decided that after reading that I may have said, “Fuck right off” on another comment thread, I have reflected on that and decided that “Do fuck right off” sounds a little “posh”, or something like that.

  16. D. C. Sessions:

    Well, there may be something to this “names” thing. PZ and I both named a son “Alaric.” Look how that turned out!

  17. Modusoperandi:

    Nativism and poor-baiting and an excuse to torpedo immigration reform, all on one plate? It’s asshole Christmas!

  18. Ze Madmax:

    No, see, it makes sense: The Tsarnaev brothers were the beneficiaries of welfare, and then went on to engage in terrorism. Therefore, we should abolish welfare, because:

    a) Everybody knows abject poverty is a miracle cure for terrorism and,

    b) Timothy McVeigh had Army training, and everybody knows that the U.S. Army was dismantled after the Oklahoma City Bombing.

  19. speed0spank:

    Having lived on welfare/foodstamps alone for a while , I wouldn’t put generous and welfare together in a sentence.
    Of course any help was appreciated at that time but I was washing my dishes, hair, and laundry with dish soap instead of driving luxury vehicles.

  20. jnorris:

    What did our naturalization bureaucrats do to assure that Dzhokhar was not using the Koran-authorized practice of taqiyya, i.e., tell a lie in order to advance Muslim objectives?
    First and foremost understand that Phyllis Schlafly is trying very very hard to make herself relevant in the Tea Party Idiotsphere. She is coming from behind and hasn’t mastered ‘batshit crazy’ like her peers. She is a bit old school in that regard.
    *
    Having said that, let me answer her question. Each new citizen has to raise his or her hand to swear the oath. The government officials can clearly see if any of them have their fingers crossed. Those who do end up in Gitmo.
    *
    Allow me to add, administering the oath to new citizens has to b e the best thing about being a federal judge.

  21. Trickster Goddess:

    Wait a minute. She’s upset because someone on welfare gave up drinking and found religion?

    There’s no pleasing some wingnuts.

  22. dingojack:

    Demo (#15) – Do cold turds have a higher IQ? I’ll leave you to test that hypothesis. ;)

    Phyllis Schlafly? Hmm sounds like one of them terrorist furrin’ names. Let’s see ya long (or vault) Birth Certificate… and none of that Catholic Equivocation neither!
    Nope, no good. See it’s not a birth certificate, it says at the top ‘Certificate of Live Birth‘ (What are the chances it’s real anyway? 1 in a 100 gadizzion prillions ‘cordin’ to ‘lord’ Haw Haw), ‘sdes it looks photoshopped to me.
    Warm up the black choppers boys, I think we’ve got another one for Camp FEMA.”

    Dingo

  23. Ichthyic:

    And…therefore…what? What on earth is the point? That we shouldn’t provide food stamps or section 8 housing assistance because someone who receives it might later do something terrible?

    If only we could have made Hitler starve to death…

    :P

  24. democommie:

    There is another aspect of welfare re: The Marathon Bombings (btw, is “4/15″ the new “9/11″?) .

    Kenny Chesney and some other celebrities have started charity drives to help victims of the bombings pay for their medical care and other expenses. Why are we allowing that to happen? I thought that givin’ freeloaders “help” just hurt them in the long run, was there an addendamemo that I missed?

    If we just had universal government mandated healthcare noneathis woulda ever happened. Oh, wait…

  25. DaveL:

    Of course any help was appreciated at that time but I was washing my dishes, hair, and laundry with dish soap instead of driving luxury vehicles.

    I rather suspect the Mercedes to which the wingnuts refer is the one they carjacked at gunpoint. Which is supposed to make a point about an overabundance of welfare benefits, because stuff.

  26. Connery Kappeler:

    The only luxury vehicles purchased with government welfare I’ve seen were the four Mercedes owned by the farmers down the road from where I grew up. They got nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year in no-strings-attached government cash. But ten grand a year for a family of four is far more reprehensible, right?

  27. Nemo:

    I think a better “Western” analogy for “Tamerlane” would be “Alexander”. Everyone with that name, AFAIK, can ultimately trace it back to a man who killed something like half a million people in the brief course of building his empire. But most of us choose not to remember him for that. We may even regard him as one of the founders of our civilization. In certain parts of the world, some people see Tamerlane in a similar way.

    We don’t tend to glamorize conquerors the way we used to, and to me that’s a sign of the moral progress of humanity. But some of the older ones still hold on to a lot of cachet, unjustly.

  28. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!:

    @ ^ Nemo : But remember Alexander was Great whilst Timur was Lame!

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