back to article Irish Stripe techie denied entry to US – for having wrong stamp in passport

An Irish Stripe worker was denied entry to America because they had a Somalian stamp in their passport, according to the payment-processing biz's CEO. Chief exec Patrick Collison shared the tale of his employee's clash with US immigration officials to highlight a concern, shared among many in Silicon Valley who rely on skilled …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    serves him right

    I assume he was involved in giving away food for free as part of this "famine relief", an obviously un-American activity.

    Of course if he was involved in some money wasting UN mission that flew first class and sat around in air conditioned mercedes writing reports stressing that something must be done - then I apologise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: serves him right

      I'm all for a bit of yank / Trump bashing where deserved, but sorry to point out a horrible fact. The USofA is one of the most charitable countries in the world, several places higher than the UK.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: serves him right

        In terms of individual charitable giving, yes, the US ranks very high (though much of it is distributed via churches and consequently it tends to be a bit of a postcode lottery for those in need). In terms of government spending as a percentage of GDP, much less so (leaving you free to carry on bashing Trump and most of his predecessors as much as you like!).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: serves him right

          I don't pay taxes for it to be handed over to some organisation I am vehemently against. It's not the governments job to be charitable. It's unacceptable sending so-called Charity to the biggest group of terrorists in the world called the UN. I support Israel.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: serves him right

            It's unacceptable sending so-called Charity to the biggest group of terrorists in the world called the UN. I support Israel.

            Kindly do not contradict yourself, my fellow AC.

            If you so much against the UN, presumably you approve of countries and territories which are not UN members. One of these territories is Palestine, which is not a big friend of Israel.

            Israel, on the other hand, is a full member of the UN - which means that you can't approve of it, much less support it.

        2. RainbowTrout

          Re: serves him right

          "In terms of individual charitable giving, yes, the US ranks very high"

          Which equates to tax write-offs for the person/organization giving the donation.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Charity by numbers

        I'm all for a bit of yank / Trump bashing where deserved, but sorry to point out a horrible fact. The USofA is one of the most charitable countries in the world, several places higher than the UK.

        Care to cite any numbers?

        As far as the international development assistance is concerned, US is indeed the largest single nation-state donor, giving $31B in 2015 (the last year Wikipedia development aid page gives; I am too lazy to look up the original sources). However, per capita, UK is a far larger donor, with the total of just under $19B. So is Germany, with the a bit under $18B to its credit. In fact, the EU as the whole is a much bigger donor, both in the absolute terms ($88B) and per capita ($172 per inhabitant vs $97 p.i. for the US).

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Charity by numbers

          a) Per capita? Since most of the English people I've met are tighter than a crab* I doubt this is a worthwhile statistic. It's the intent that matters, not the forcible removal of tax monies sans polling for opinion of the taxpayers.

          2) You can't cite the EU to support a UKcentric point any more. You are in denial of article 50 mate.

          * before you scream and leap, ask yourself the last time an Englishman DIDN'T complain loudly about tipping when abroad, even when they aren't themselves abroad. Many examples exist in these very comment pages. **

          ** I am English. I cringe whenever I'm in a restaurant with an outraged Englishman defending the sanctity of his wallet against the rapacious waitresses of Aulde New Yorke and their unreasonable "demands". I also worked in the restaurant biz in the UK, which is why I don't any more. The true humour in English jokes about the tight-fistedness of the Scots is in the unrecognized irony. If you want to see something frighteningly funny, say "free bar" in the hearing of some Englishmen and watch the fun. Just don't be the poor sods behind the bar.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Charity by numbers

            a) Per capita? Since most of the English people I've met are tighter than a crab* I doubt this is a worthwhile statistic. It's the intent that matters, not the forcible removal of tax monies sans polling for opinion of the taxpayers.

            Firstly, challenging hard numbers (viz ratios of the international development aid amounts and the population of a given country) requires a bit more effort than citing personal anecdotes of the tipping habits. Every country I've been to has its own tipping etiquette. Some places, tipping is mandatory. Some places, tipping is a serious insult. Some places you must offer the tip three times before it is accepted. Some places you'd put your tip on the card. Some places you must tip in cash even when paying by card. Some places you tip everybody serving you. Some places you'd tip the waiter, but not a taxi driver. Some places you tip 15% of the bill. Some places you tip by rounding up to the next round number. A visitor will invariably get the etiquette wrong in the beginning; some visitors will never get it right. If you are going to get all worked up over this, you'll never stop being angry - which in turn will greatly decrease the chances of you being on the receiving end of a tip.

            Secondly, despite all its warts, the UK is still a democracy. You can make you opinions known during the general elections (there is one under way right now, in case you haven't noticed). You can also write to your MP; you can petion the parliament; you can organize marches and protests; and so on. I won't claim the outcome will always reflect people's will, but saying that your voice can't infuence anything is just plain ridiculous.

            2) You can't cite the EU to support a UKcentric point any more. You are in denial of article 50 mate.

            Obviously I can and I did and I will do so again if my fancy takes me that way.

            As far as the article 50 is concerned, it ain't over until the fat lady sings. Personally, I am sad to see the UK subtracting itself from the greater european project, but in this particular case my opinion is immaterial - that's for you Brits to sort out.

            1. Stevie Silver badge

              Re: Charity by numbers (4 AC)

              " Every country I've been to has its own tipping etiquette."

              And in every one you'll hear an Englishman complaining loudly about the raping of his wallet.

              "Secondly, despite all its warts, the UK is still a democracy."

              One in which about 50% of the electorate is arsed enough to vote on any given issue.

              "saying that your voice can't infuence anything is just plain ridiculous." (sic)

              I didn't say that, you did.

              "As far as the article 50 is concerned, it ain't over until the fat lady sings. "

              Who's in denial now?

        2. jonathan 11

          Re: Charity by numbers

          Per nccs.urban.org, US individual charitable giving for 2014 was $258B.

          This is up 7% from 2013, and continues a trend of recovery from lows of 2008/9, but is slightly below the peak in 2005.

          America, due to philosophy, has always heavily favored individual charity to government "charity". IMO the individualist mechanism for charitable giving is more efficient and produces better results (as with almost everything individualist vs collectivist).

      3. Earth Resident

        Re: serves him right

        I am an American, and as far as being the most charitable country in the world... the US doesn't even come close. But like the other myths of exceptionalism, most Americans seem to believe that the US is some foreign aid behemoth. If foreign aid were counted in bombs, we would be number one.

      4. fajensen Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: serves him right

        The USofA is one of the most charitable countries in the world, several places higher than the UK.

        If you include the depleted uranium, the bombs and hellfire missiles so generously allocated to brown folks then you would be No 1, not merely "one off"!

      5. Paul Renault

        Re: serves him right

        Of course, all those self-reported surveys about helping an old person cross the street, of volunteering at the local Military Veterans Hospital, or helping make Bill Gates pay for someone's medical bills are forgotten by the rest of the world, each and every time we come across a story like this one:

        Indiana teacher fired before undergoing brain surgery

        http://wgntv.com/2017/04/25/indiana-teacher-fired-before-undergoing-brain-surgery/

      6. pauleverett

        Re: serves him right

        the hell it is. you might want to look into it a bit more. if your a church, and pretty much any nutcase can be a church, you can gather tax free wads of cash, from givers. what happens to that cash? does it get spent on things that we would called charity? not mucm. it gets spent on squandering and obscene self praising, stuff. e.g.Have a look at Scientology. its a church, and everything they get is considered tax free, charitable fund. If you take away all that wackadoodle religious obscenity, the yanks are generally tight as f*ck, and they don't do anything without it being deductible and serving a purpose. if you want to look up per head charity giving, minus churches, they are pathetic at giving anything. They will be happy to lend you something though, on their terms, or invest in you. There are some super rich individuals that spend fortunes on charity, but they are just that, individuals, and in no way represent the majority, who either don't have much to give, or are tight ass f*uck.

    2. maffski

      Re: serves him right

      'I assume he was involved in giving away food for free as part of this "famine relief", an obviously un-American activity.'

      Actually the US Gov has a fairly significant food aid programme. Unfortunately it's one that spends much of its funds buying US food stocks and shipping them to areas of need. Which means they generally turn up after the need has abated and just in time to cause a price crash for the local farmers.

    3. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: serves him right

      How did the old UK Army parody go?

      "Go to interesting places, meet interesting people and kill them."

      To this we add:

      "But for god's sake don't feed them."

  2. The Nazz Silver badge

    Well, if it is pure discrimination

    as you imply, then it can only be the fault of Obama.

    Fancy that.

    Fact of life: everyone discriminates.

    1. Notas Badoff
      Unhappy

      Re: Well, if it is pure discrimination

      What do you think the "HR" in "HR 158" signifies? Maybe the import of the sentence "The changes that so concern Collison hail from rules implemented during the Obama administration." escapes you? Congress writes the laws that the administration then has the duty to 'implement'.

      The "pass a law and I won't do it" stunts didn't have much chance before (perhaps) the current administration. Recently, around 85% of appointed executive branch positions still weren't filled. Maybe the tweeter will be able to plead 'inability' to implement laws he doesn't like? Is that a strategy?

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Well, if it is pure discrimination

        HR = House of Representatives. It is where the bill originated. It has procedural importance if the Senate amends the bill.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: HR = House of Representatives.

          It does?

          I always assumed it stood for "Horribly Rong".

      2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Well, if it is pure discrimination

        Congress writes the laws that the administration then has the duty to 'implement'.

        Obama was free to veto it and it finally went through the Senate with 65 yes votes so not enough to override a veto. For those keeping score the 65 were 27 red team, 37 blue team and 1 indy (no, not Bernie).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Merka

    "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to... ahhh, just FCUK OFF"

  4. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Automatic downvote

    for "reached out".

    Top journalistic tip: You have to reach out for the phone or keyboard, not just do a zombie impression and hope that someone will contact you to corroborate your story based on your mad skills.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaAC9dBPcOM

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So if I read this right.... the law was enacted in 2015 yet was "retroactive"? WTF? That would be like passing a law in 2017 that bans anyone who lived in say... Ohio in 2000, from traveling to Kentucky,. Something's really fucked up here to declare an action before the law/rule was passed.

    1. BongoJoe

      Norway did something similar. After the second world war they passed a law which prohibited anyone who served in Norway as a part of the German occupying forces from living there.

      That's retroactive.

      1. Tony S

        @BongoJoe

        There were some 5,000 from Eire that chose to join the British Armed Forces during WWII; either with fellow Irishmen in one of the Ulster units, or on their own in other units, very often under an assumed name. Many of them took part in some of the most bitter fighting and earned considerable numbers of honours for their courage and determination.

        On their return, these men were formally dismissed from the Irish Army, stripped of pay and pension rights, and banned from any state funded employment for 7 years, with their names placed on a so-called "starvation list" which was widely disseminated to ensure that they and their families would be stigmatised.

        Many of them still fear even now, that if their service is uncovered, they will lose pension, housing etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Just to be clear, you didn't have to be a member of the Irish forces to be discriminated against in Eire after WW2 if you had fought in a British unit - perhaps not that surprising, but it is one of the less emphasised moments in Irish history.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Plenty of examples to that. Unfortunately.

      1. bitten

        It was standard. Here people fighting in or for a foreign country lost their nationality. It's not allowed anymore on an international level, so we keep sponsoring fighting now. And as long as our next neighbor has not his huge armies massed at the border waiting for an excuse, it's not really a problem anymore.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not retroactive: if they'd made people who had been on one of those countries and entered the US on a WV before that limitation became active 'un-enter' the country, _that_ would be retroactive ;)

  6. martinusher Silver badge

    Collateral Damage

    This nasty little bill got snuck in with a 'must pass' Appropriations (Budget) bill. The Republicans in the house are always pulling fast ones like this, they know that a budget has to be passed so they dump all sorts of crap into the bill. (That's not to say that Democrats wouldn't pull the same stunt given the chance but typically they don't spend their entire legislative lives trying to ban things and people. They also tend to be less ignorant.)

    The Obama administration would have shrugged and then issued waivers or some kind of executive action to negate it pending a way of getting rid of it. Its a pointless, vindictive act of no value to America or its people. Unfortunately with the change in Administration we're now experiencing the full force of lunacy. My advice is give this place a miss for a few years until it recovers its sanity.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Collateral Damage

      What's the typical half-life for insanity?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Collateral Damage

        Half life of insanity?

        About three full terms of a US President.

  7. werdsmith Silver badge

    Of the many entry to the US schemes like global entry and ESTA, this man was presumably denied entry without leaving Ireland as Dublin and Shannon I think can pre-clear US Immigration for direct to USA flights. Which is far better than having to turn back and do an 11.5 hour flight back from SF immediately after doing an 11.5 hour flight to get there which has happened to many folk.

    But I would have hoped that the whole point of ESTA is to establish any impediment to entry well ahead of the actual flight. Otherwise it's just a data gathering exercise. First time ESTA entry people all have to have all fingerprints of both hands recorded, and have their face photographed at the point of entry.

    They seem to have done away with the iris scanners from a few years ago.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      far better than having to turn back

      I was once nearly denied entry to the US in SF because when asked how long I planned to stay, I made the mistake of saying "a fortnight" which clearly wasn't in the vocabulary of the immigration droid and rather than lose face by asking for clarification he simply reached for the referral paperwork and started stamping lots of things. The process isn't about trying to establish any impediment to entry, it's just about establishing power relationships,

      1. Ahab Returns

        Similar experience first time I visited New York - they wouldn't accept England or Great Britain as a place, and when I wrote "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" they thought I was taking the piss.

        Its a bit like the visa form that asks if you have ever been a terrorist - what the fuck do they expect you to write? I fear the same pen pushing, hat wearing, goose stepping idiots are gradually taking control of Brexit Britain. Welcome to the "UK", please check your brain in with security and collect it on your way out.

        And now it's raining - God I need to get out of here!

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          what the fuck do they expect you to write

          They expect you to write "no", and then if they find out that you in fact were a terrorist they can just boot you out for lying on the immigration form. That's much quicker and simpler than a long and expensive civil rights court case to prove that you might still be a threat or otherwise undesirable, and should be deported.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What no iris scanners?

      I thought that was because they showed up all the Reptilian infiltrators, not because the liberals all complained bitterly that it was an infringement of civil liberties etc.

      We all know that the real reason for all the extra security is to condition people into accepting it as normal, so when these scanners are "required" to get money at an ATM no-one will bat an eyelid.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Why is anyone surprised?

    A few people I know that go to multiple countries have multiple passports. Got a Cuban stamp in you passport, you used to have to forget going to the US, luckily the Cuban's even kindly did separate cards to avoid a stamp in the passport, or how about going between Israel and Jordan or Palestine. Have fun.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is anyone surprised?

      ... or how about going between Israel and Jordan or Palestine.

      Did that in in all technically possible permutations last month :-)

      Luckily, the Israeli no longer stamp your passport upon entry, and for exit by air (you still have to ask for your passport not to be stamped if you exit by land). Which is a good thing - a trip to Israel a few years back, when they were stamping the passports whether you wanted it or not, was the end of my passport as far as most of the Middle East was concerned ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why is anyone surprised?

        In the days after Rhodesia declared UDI it was an officially forbidden place for UK nationals to visit. Apparently the border control would stamp a piece of paper to avoid the problem for a UK passport holder.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why is anyone surprised?

          In the days after Rhodesia declared UDI it was an officially forbidden place for UK nationals to visit. Apparently the border control would stamp a piece of paper to avoid the problem for a UK passport holder.

          South Africa did the same when it was on the list of bad guys.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why is anyone surprised?

        In the 1970s my first passport was issued for a tour for my company in South Africa - which included a necessary residence stamp. Following that I spent a few months working in Israel. It was slightly surprising that my next project in Sweden granted me all the necessary residence permits without a hitch.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why is anyone surprised?

        On my many trips to the middle east, at no time did the border agent scan each and every page of my 48page extended passport.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't feel bad

      You can buy screening wallets and passport holders. Google it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't feel bad

        I did, the problem is that not all of them work.

        Yes they decrease the read range a bit but it is still readable.

        What I do need to do is add a "scumbag detector" to my list of projects, that alerts me via tactile interface if someone is actively scanning and the exact frequency/repeat rate of the device.

        Also handy for avoiding folks using portable card readers to rinse £20 from my card, or other mischief.

        It still amazes me that people leave the NFC/WiFi/BT/etc on all the time, it effectively advertises their presence to thieves and muggers.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: I don't feel bad

          The only reason I renew my UK passport is that places like banks apparently won't accept one as proof of identity if it has recently expired.

          The requirement is for address ID, photo ID and for you to look like the photo.

          So a modern photocard driving license is fine, assuming that people actually know what they are talking about when it comes to the "know your client" things.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I don't feel bad

            "So a modern photocard driving license is fine, [...]"

            Ah - but mine is an old paper one that was issued in 1977 when I moved to the current house. Will get a photocard licence with the compulsory three score and ten renewal later this year.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: I don't feel bad

              "but mine is an old paper one"

              Ditto! In fact, I don't have any photo ID of any kind. Well, there's a company ID badge, but that looks even less "official" than something I could knock out myself on a colour inkjet. I still managed to get eDBS clearance and MoD site access security clearance.

          2. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: I don't feel bad

            Why would a passport be valid if it is has expired, a drivers licence, a bank account?.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't feel bad

      Does anyone know of a foolproof way to prevent anyone reading my ID without actually damaging the chip,

      To read the data from the chip requires that you know the passport number, it's used as a key. There are apps that read the password data by NFC (you can run them on your phone) but they require you to manually enter the number first, which is why border security folks place the passport ID page on a reader. It scans the text, gets the number, then uses that to read the chip. The chip is there simply as a tamper-proof copy of the same info that's printed on the page. If they don't match, it's a sign that the passport has been monkeyed-with. If you do prevent the chip from being read you'll not get past immigration.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't feel bad

      The only reason I renew my UK passport is that places like banks apparently won't accept one as proof of identity if it has recently expired. It was most annoying when my local Barclays branch, with whom I had been a customer for decades, wanted my passport AND a utility bill - just to draw a few hundred pounds in cash.

      They had issued me with a new ATM card which also acted as an Electron debit card. When I asked for the debit function to be removed they said they couldn't do that - so the card was cancelled. Then they told me that my previous card was also automatically no longer valid.

      Even now I have two bank accounts because their system will only accept a debit card for 2FA online banking. One is a dummy with the debit card - even though the 2FA machine happily produces authentication codes with the other account's non-debit ATM card.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I don't feel bad

        "my local Barclays branch, with whom I had been a customer for decades, wanted my passport AND a utility bill"

        Good job I don't put my money in there then! Not having a passport, I might have a problem getting my property back off them, having loaned it to them in the first place.

  10. James 51 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "They told me I had a common name and it was a match ... and they wanted to see if I was the person they were looking for..."

    A system with a huge number of false positives built into it from the start. That's going to be reliable.

    Also, thermal sensor? Hiding stuff? I hope this is just like that scene from the wire with the photocopier and the staff don't actually believe that nonsense.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Telling someone that you have ways (of varying levels of believe-ability) knowing if they are telling the truth or not *usually* results in exaggerated behavior if someone is lying.

      So it's effective in a limited way - certainly better than nothing.

      1. James 51 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Perhaps, but it also undermines the credability of the witch doctor who is insisting their spells and potions will reveal the secerts of the other side. Of course the exaggerated behaviour might stem from 'How on earth can I avoid triggering their magic voodoo landmine when they can move it around and say I triggered it and can't know and can't prove it doesn't work cause science just doesn't cut it any more for these people.'

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          I'd say that in most cases the scenario you describe is probably more accurate. I'm not justifying it, I'm just trying to think down to their level, but I can't hold my breath for that long that low down :P

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "They told me I had a common name and it was a match..."

      I read that they were using the "highly-advanced" (very nearly AI) amazing Soundex algorithm to look for matches.

      An algorithm that was designed for English pronunciations. Not Johnny Foreigner's language.

      An algorithm that was designed In The Year of Our Lord 1918. Nearly 100 years ago.

      Seriously.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "They told me I had a common name and it was a match..."

        I wonder if Soundex works with Redneck or Weegie :-)

  11. Peter Galbavy

    There is a simple solution; Give Amorica (sic) exactly what it wants, no visitors for either business of pleasure, and watch their economy go exactly where it should - it's well on the way already.

  12. James O'Shea Silver badge

    Stone soup

    http://www.gocomics.com/stonesoup/2017/04/02

    http://www.gocomics.com/stonesoup/2017/04/09

    you know that things are bad when plain ordinary non-political comic strips run things like the above.

    Those of you who follow the political strips know that they are far more rabid.

  13. Slx

    While they're busily harassing people at airports and indulging in paranoid xenophobic fantasies about terrifying foreigners (to a level that is now starting to take on an air of McCarthyism), the vast majority of US 'terrorist-like' attacks are still being caused by ... heavily armed Americans exercising their right to bear arms, no matter how unstable or stupid they are.

    If you want to do something about keeping America safe, maybe take a look at the large numbers of unstable teenagers and others with access to insane amounts of military-grade weaponry, who with alarming regularity, decide to take their dysfunctionalism, angst and anger out on their completely innocent school colleagues.

    However, they're not scary foreigners from places far, far away.

    1. jonathan 11
      Pint

      Unstable foreigners

      It seems you are attacking your own point. Regardless of your position on gun control, we clearly have enough home-grown nuts already...why would we want to import any more? If one killer on the loose is bad, inviting a second is not an improvement, right?

      Plus we have the lovely advantage of watching your experience with mass migration over the last decade to take as a lesson. Good luck with that! Personally, I'll prefer a gimlet eye at the gate until things settle a bit.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exemptions for military travel.

    Every time I was required to visit places for 'military purposes' my passport was given a very quick glance before being returned without a stamp. The list includes Canada, UAE, NI and a few nicer places. Not sure if it's just luck or something esle but mine is clean.

    I'm sure some places let you opt out of getting the stamp but I have never been asked. Go figure.

  15. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Two passports.

    This is what the UK Consulate suggested back in the late 70s/Early 80s when travelling in Africa, since seeing the wrong stamp in you passport could get you shot at some borders.

    They also gave you a list of at which borders to show which passport. You didn't want to get this wrong either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      "Two passports."

      Apparently that changed to three passports - as some border controls were asking "do you have two passports?".

  16. VanguardG

    As for not being permitted to go to San Francisco...just walk about with your head tilted about 35-40 degrees to one side, and you get a very similar experience to being there. Very expensive place to live.

    As for charity...well, the United Nations is funded by its 193 member nations. https://factly.in/united-nations-budget-contributions-by-member-countries/. The US pays $3.024 Billion dollars (thousand millions to you chaps, I beleive) to the UN...on top of providing a large chunk of land for it to reside upon and housing for the ambassors and staff at cut rates. The US contribution is 621.9 million to the general operating fund, which is more than the 176 lower-paying nations *combined*...the contribution to peacekeeping is more than 185 lower-paying nations, combined. In terms of foreign aid, 25.6 billion dollars (American accounting) is paid Economic and Development programs and 16.8 billion (again, American accounting) goes to security...which includes military and counter-narcotics assistance. Who get it? Nations like Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, India, and, of course, Israel. For all the hype about Israel, though, only 3.05 million was actually given to Israel in 2016, though 3.1 billion was planned. Palestine got 163 million of 237 million planned. Even Switzerland and Ireland got some small pieces, though neither nation seems among those that are particularly impoverished. Its only tax money.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      @ VanguardG

      Your message is apparently a strong support for the UN, lets hope the current administration feels that way too. But I must add that regarding New York, I would guess the USA would have been "slightly" against having it placed in say London, Paris, Montreal, or Moscow, in short anywhere but in the USA.

      It's a bit like with financing NATO. Had, for instance, Germany and the UK suggested that they want to pay, say half of it, the USA would never have accepted such silliness weakening their position.

      Vise men claim that understanding the past helps you to speak less shit about the present.

      I prefer a simpler explanation, say windmills turning in the wind. Married men who suddenly think they made the wrong decision (I have met some). And as a personal experience, I have sometimes found that with more money in my pocket I tend to go for the Whisky, while then again, with less I just take a beer or I just go home.

      Keep up your support.

      1. VanguardG

        I hate the concept of the Security Council where ONE member can vote down a proposed action before the UN in general can know about it, let alone debate it. Nations with despicable human rights scores nonetheless serve on the UN Human Rights commission.

        I do not like the United Nations, they really accomplish very little of any value. Some dictator somewhere violates international law? Why, a UN proclamation will set him straight, and if not, we'll sanction him! If that doesn't work, we'll reiterate our sanctions every odd-numbered day until that dictator reforms! Really, its a useless bit of nonsense.

        Look at North Korea. The UN wags its forefinger at them and tells them off for being naughty, and North Korea happily wags a different finger right back. Makes me feel safer knowing the UN is doing its usual stellar job with the more recalcitrant regimes out there.

        Their peacekeepers did a bang-up job in Syria, didn't they? They could write a textbook on that operation. They also have a contingent in Haiti, because people on the verge of starvation make ideal soldiers. Disclosure: the US didn't do Haiti any favors, at all, by supporting Duvalier, but I was 7 when he was overthrown, so I don't accept any responsibility for that choice.

        The UN often seems like it has zero respect for the rights of individuals, or national borders. All too often, the UN seems to operate as if it is in charge and national governments are subordinate to it, rather than it being little more than an advisory body.

        As for NATO...well, every country *is* free to choose what percentage of the GDP they contribute to NATO, and this includes money and material - the "expectation" is 2%. But the money is supposed to go to upkeep and improvement over the member's own military forces that are designated as part of NATO's forces should they be called up. So with the largest military involvement in NATO, the US pays in the most. Iceland *has* no military, so they pay very little into NATO. If Germany or the UK *wanted* to raise their contributions, the US wouldn't argue against it, but the nation would need to increase the section of their military that is designated as available for NATO use, to absorb the extra funding, and then politics gets involved. No politician would want to sign off on (potentially) having more of the military taken away from home defense and deployed by, potentially, foreign commanders not even paid by the same government. That caused Pershing and Haig to lock horns during World War One, and wouldn't sit any better in the modern era.

  17. Gareth Douglas

    Quote: "Collison's post highlights the fact that the Stripe employee is an Irish citizen. But were you to assume the individual in question is a blond-haired, blue-eyed white man, you might be mistaken"

    Why would you assume an Irish man has blond hair and blue eyes? Are you mixing us up with Sweden?

    Try red hair and freckles if you like pigeon-holing national appearances!

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