December 26, 2016

From Creative Commons Library to Liability

I love copyright law, as ugly as it is.



My previous legal publication dealt with personal jurisdiction: Wonky Walden: The Dizzying New PersonalJurisdiction Rule.

December 01, 2016

Introducing "Lifey" and "Lifey Health"

This is a little different. I want to brag for a moment about my little brother, Alex, the founder of Prepare to Serve. This post is completely uninvited and unreviewed by him, though he's sitting across the office from me as I type...

Alex recently launched two major projects, both of which I fully believe in and I hope many people will soon learn about.

The first project is called Lifey Health. It is a budding massive database of candid personal interviews and surveys of people suffering from chronic physical and mental illnesses across the spectrum. As I understand it, his goal is to get virtually every chronic illness represented in a way that fosters a sense of hope, perspective, and community for those recently diagnosed, as well as a machine to de-stigmatize physical and mental illnesses for the public at large. I admit bias, but to me, it's an inspired project, just like Prepare to Serve. He has interns assisting him and already has roughly 300 videos featuring people with personal experiences with illnesses of many kinds (and he only started in September!). To me, these projects are helping #LIGHTtheWORLD.

The second project is to help people create free life histories through an efficient and innovative process at his studio. Yes, FREE. My little brother is CRAZY, but in all the good ways (except for the fatal flaw that he doesn't own a car... haha). The "Lifey" personal history process (life+selfie) is perfect for the older and often less tech-savvy. People can schedule a time to come in for three hours and talk about their lives, with the help of an outline and prompts. It only takes an hour for the browsable, embeddable, 4K "Lifey" to be prepared after that.

Check out this 90-second explanation of that brand new personal history project! If you want to schedule a "Lifey" for yourself or someone you love, go to lifey.org. I imagine time slots will fill up quickly.

November 17, 2016

REVIEW | Mifold Booster Car Seat

Some things to know before you buy the hottest new car seats for your kiddoes. Candid review of the Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat by a father of three young kids who has used a fair number of car seats and booster seats in the past.



November 09, 2016

America's future is bright

Like many, the last 24 hours for me have been intense. I have been among the most stubborn ranks of the #nevertrump crowd. I put my all into doing everything I thought I could to keep Donald Trump from being elected. And yet, Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States of America.

I have said it before, but I'll say it again: I believe so strongly in the American people that I believe we can stand united, even in the face of sometimes disappointing and even divisive leadership. America is, and can always be, as great as We the People make it. And today, from my vantage point, we are making America a light on a hill.

My Facebook feed has become flooded with inspired messages of hope, peace, and love from people from all walks of life and political leanings.




I am beyond grateful to live in a country where I am surrounded by such amazing people. America is already great. And, We the People are making it better every day. God bless America!





November 07, 2016

Official Evan McMullin Endorsement | Third Party Debates Founder

Dear Supporters:

Since I launched my petition a couple months ago, nearly twenty thousand people have signed. Thank you for your support. Your active and civil engagement this election has been inspiring.

I fully recognize that we came together from diverse backgrounds. Some of us came as strong supporters of a particular third party candidate, others came undecided. None of us were willing to settle with the binary choice thrust upon us by the two major political parties.

My personal experience this election has involved a growing dissatisfaction with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. For reasons not worth rehashing here, I simply cannot trust either candidate. That said, I am praying for a peaceful transition after tomorrow. I will try to see the best in whomever we elect president. Even if turns out to be Donald Trump. Even if it turns out to be Hillary Clinton. I will condemn none for voting differently from how I voted. We can agree to disagree. The freedoms of speech and conscience are sacred; they make America great.

I find myself in an interesting position. Through some twist of fate, you all have shown me a significant degree of trust by signing my petition and giving me the opportunity to reach you. I am humbled by this. I have debated long and hard about whether it would be appropriate for me to use this unique opportunity to attempt to unite us behind the individual that I believe to be the best third party presidential candidate for our country at this particular time. I have decided that while we may not agree on all things politically and we may ultimately vote differently from one another this election regardless of endorsements, I know that my personal freedom of speech is safe with you. So, I am going to use it. I encourage you to do the same in the comments on my blog post or on our Third Party Debates Facebook page and, of course, anywhere and everywhere else you deem appropriate. I also specifically invite Jedi Knight (yes, that is his actual name), who has helped me as co-admin of the Third Party Debates Facebook page, to share his own official endorsement of the candidate that he has decided upon because he has chosen to support a different candidate than I have. Do I look down upon him? Do I consider myself his moral or intellectual superior? Of course not! I love him to death and I fully respect his freedom to make his own voice heard.

It is with that lengthy introduction that I announce my official endorsement of Evan McMullin and his running mate, Mindy Finn. Before August, I was leaning towards Gary Johnson. His track record of reigning in budgets and his pledge to shrink big government appeal to me. However, I don't see eye to eye with him on other issues. Still, he appeared to be a better option than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

But then, Evan McMullin suddenly burst into the picture. I have followed Evan McMullin with deep interest since his announcement early August. This video attempts to recap some of what I have witnessed over the past few months. To me, Evan McMullin's momentum has been nothing short of miraculous, especially in light of the fact that his campaign has only had a fraction of the funding and time of all other campaigns. To me, this kind of momentum in spite of the odds, is the mark of a true leader. A leader who inspires.



In addition to following Evan McMullin in the media, I have had the chance to meet him in person. I trust him. I like him. I have also met Mindy Finn. I feel the same way about her.

I have researched their stances on the issues, both on their website and elsewhere online. I don't agree with them on everything, of course. Also, both are human, just like the rest of us. I also recognize that he did not enter the race at the ideal time. But I don't fault him for crossing his fingers for someone with more name recognition and political experience to enter the race and carry the banner of his cause. I admire him beyond words for taking a stand when no one else would, no matter how late in the game.

Like any candidate gaining traction, McMullin has been the victim of misinformation. I have tried to address some of the common myths about him here

It is with great confidence and enthusiasm that I issue my endorsement of Evan McMullin. I pray for unprecedented voter turnout tomorrow. I pray that each voter will at least research the McMullin-Finn ticket and consider casting a vote in that direction. And I pray that each and every voter will vote her or his conscience (even if that means she or he votes for someone else).

One final thought: I believe so strongly in the American people that I believe we can stand united, even in the face of sometimes disappointing and even divisive leadership. Whatever happens tomorrow, whomever is elected, America is, and can always be, as great as We the People make it.

God Bless,

Adam

November 05, 2016

Open letter to Evan McMullin | Guest Post

by Becky Turley Rasmussen
Here we are in the last stretch. A little more than 72 hours remain until Election Day polls close. This morning, at 9:00 a.m., my phone chimed and I dismissed a notification from my timer declaring, “Pray for Our Nation!” I stopped folding laundry, closed the door to my room, then knelt in prayer.

Nearly five months ago, my heart sank when the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees were announced for the 2016 Election Cycle. I felt a deep sense of sadness and hopelessness for both my children and this land that I love dearly. In that moment, I remember sending a silent heavenward plea, “Dear God, Please help us!”

A couple of weeks later, on June 30, 2016, I read an article about the possibility of Mitt Romney entering the race. "My wife and kids wanted me to run again this time, interestingly enough," Romney said. "I got an email from one of my sons yesterday, saying 'You gotta get in, Dad! You gotta get in!'"

Hope soared nationwide! Yet Mitt never announced a Hail Mary bid for the White House.

On the eve of Independence Day, I felt so sad. I struggled to muster enthusiasm for our upcoming 4th of July festivities. At church, we sang patriotic songs and I literally cried knowing that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump could provide America the future she deserves. I came home and posted this message on my Facebook timeline:

 "On July 4th 1776 it was necessary to absolve from the British Crown. In our day, July 4th 2016 it is time to absolve both the democratic and republican parties. You don't have to choose between a corrupt criminal and a fraudulent buffoon for your Commander & Chief. America, raise a worthy candidate for President and elect an Independent president for 2016! If you haven't read the declaration of independence recently, read it now. You'll be astounded at how we sought independence from Britain for the same tyranny that our two party system is delivering now."

I spent that day fasting that in some way our God would raise a worthy candidate to save this nation. Little did I know that a man named John Claybrook and a man named Joel Searby had quit their jobs and put their lives on hold in an effort to recruit such a man. I had no idea that two courageous men were fighting my battle as warriors on behalf of me, my children, and millions of other Americans. Their task proved more difficult than they expected. As John and Joel pleaded with former presidential candidates, well known congressman, and celebrity status household names they continually received rejection. Alas, by the end of July, John went home to Austin, Texas, in the face of defeat.

Early in the morning of August 4, John received a text message from Joel Searby announcing, “We have a candidate!” He immediately, booked a flight to meet and interview the candidate, Evan McMullin. In the process of clearing him as a man worthy to represent Americans, they learned that the only questionable detail in McMullin’s background was a speeding ticket from a couple years prior.

It’s important to note that I don’t have access to television in my home. We don’t subscribe to any local or national networks. But on August 8th, 2016 I walked next door to borrow an egg. While I was in my neighbors living room their television announced that, “Evan McMullin, a 40 year old CIA agent and Brigham Young graduate was announcing his bid for the White House.

I couldn’t believe my ears. I immediately ran home and searched for Evan McMullin’s website. I registered as a volunteer and donated money to your campaign. It wasn’t much, maybe $15 or $25. 

On Wednesday, August 10, I received a phone call from John Claybrook, your Deputy Campaign Manager asking me if I would be willing to contact all of the supporters that had registered in Utah and invite them to a campaign launch at the Hub in Salt Lake City. That day I rallied around the table with my children Giana (17), Alia (15), and Isaac (14). We called, text messaged, and left voice mail for everyone on that list.

A surge of hope filled my heart. John expressed so much gratitude and kindness toward our family. He demonstrated the kind of gentleman-like behavior that is missing in our society. As our family engaged in contacting your supporters we learned that so many of them had been praying for someone to save us from a Clinton or Trump presidency.

That night we assembled at the Impact Hub and began our meeting by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I felt chills as our pledge thundered through the room with meaning. I listened to you address hundreds in a crowd at the Impact Hub. I stood nearby and listened to you take questions from skeptical and condescending reporters. I observed your brilliance and candor first hand with a new sense of optimism.

I brought home petition packets and engaged family, friends, neighbors, and perfect strangers in the effort to get you on the ballot in Utah. I felt so honored to act as a courier for the petition signatures. When I delivered Utah County’s petition signatures into the hands of Brian Henderson at the Utah State Capitol I felt like I was truly engaged in a great cause.

Over the next few weeks, I continually promoted you, but began to feel discouraged. It seemed like I was drowning in a pool of apathy and negativity. So many Americans were resigned to our terrible and awful state. At that point, I realized that only God could soften our hearts. I began to pray regularly asking God sincerely, how I could help this campaign. One morning after I offered a sincere prayer, I wrote a Facebook post, that elicited a response from an old friend. I sent her a very long-winded reply that was personal and genuine about why I felt like voting for you was not a wasted vote. That post went viral with more than 5000 shares in one week I had newspapers calling me and people all over the country asking me how they could get involved.

I shared this experience in a closed Facebook group, “Americans for Evan McMullin.” A fellow supporter from the south, meekly asked, “Would it be weird if we all started praying at the same time each day?” Hundreds immediately felt enthusiastic. One supporter from Hawaii said she would wake up at 6:00 a.m. each morning to pray as a nation with us. For the first time in so long we weren’t Mormons vs. Jews or Evangelicals vs. Catholics. We were Americans who loved God and loved one another. You brought us together in an election that has been so divisive.

Within just a few days the campaign started picking up momentum. Pretty soon we were leading Utah and getting national media coverage. Now, here we are just 3 days away from the outcome. I want you to know that no matter the outcome, I am so eternally grateful for the hope you gave us. This election has taught me that God hears and answers our prayers. Even if this election doesn’t end the way I want it to, I know with certainty that God fearing citizens are fighting for goodness in a society that is abandoning principles. I know that a loving father in Heaven blessed this effort and the hands of those who labored on your behalf. My children learned what it means to be latter-day warriors.

I’ll cherish memories of sitting in a conference room planning grass roots efforts with you. I’ll cherish the friendships that formed through this campaign. I’ll work to raise sons that demonstrate the courage that you Joel, and John demonstrated during this election. You are my friend. You are my hero! Thank you for doing what nobody else would.

I want you to know that I have contacted every man and woman in my contact list on your behalf. As I prayed on your behalf this morning I literally wept with tears of gratitude for how close we are to realizing our goal. As I typed this letter to you, I received a text message from my friend Cheryl that reads: Have you voted yet? Are you planning to vote Tues? I’m encouraging my family and friends to vote and make your voice heard!..... (I know you have, but I was inspired by your post and I am working my way down my contact list!) #GoEvan

My vote is my voice! My vote counts and I voted for you! We love you, Evan! I don’t know if I’ll see you on Monday because I have to set up electronic ballot boxes at Freedom Elementary School as the TST Election Worker on Tuesday, but I’ll be celebrating all that we have achieved with you on Tuesday!

When I walk into our Election Party, I will be #ComingHome #McMullin4President.

November 03, 2016

2016 Election Miracle: Evan McMullin

WATCH THIS VIDEO! THEN READ ON...

Myth #1
To be gaining this type of momentum, Evan McMullin must have some big money donors.

Fact
Evan McMullin's campaign has had only $1.0 million to work with this election. None of it has been outside money. That means none has come from super PACs, party committees, or 501(c) "dark money" interest groups, like the Clinton Foundation.

In contrast, Donald Trump has received $59,389,531 in outside money.  An alarming $189,453,103 of outside money has poured into Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Just how much money have the other campaigns had to convince you that you should vote for their preferred candidate?

Hillary Clinton? $687.1 million.
Donald Trump? $250.0 million.
Gary Johnson? $11.4 million.

Don't believe me? Proof.

Opinion
What Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn have done with only $1 million in a little more than three months is nothing short of a #2016miracle. If money is not responsible for their success, what is? Simple. Message.

Myth #2
Evan McMullin received $12,000 from the Clinton Foundation.

Fact
The Clinton Foundation has paid Evan McMullin nothing. Zero dollars. As mentioned, McMullin has received nothing from any 501(c) and that includes the Clinton Foundation.

Opinion
This obvious and weak fabrication reflects poorly on those who perpetuate it and the candidates they support. But it does prove one thing. Evan McMullin is much more than a #nobody. To the opposition, he is worth libeling.

Myth #3
Evan McMullin is not married because he is a homosexual with "two mommies."

Fact
McMullin's mother is married to another woman. But Evan McMullin advocates for traditional marriage and has promised that he would not leave office without finding a First Lady.

Opinion
McMullin has been uniquely prepared to foster a desperately needed environment of inclusiveness and tolerance toward the LGBTQ community in this country, while simultaneously standing firm for his personal beliefs regarding traditional marriage.

Myth #4
Only 11 states can vote for Evan McMullin.

Fact
This map.
Opinion
How electrifying would it be to be in one of those states that gets to write in Evan McMullin! I am honestly a little jealous that I live in a state where he is on the ballot. It would be so satisfying to every democratic and patriotic fiber in my soul to go through the ballot check, check, check, and then stop, slow down, and correct the ballot's deficiency by carefully writing in bold, undeniable letters, "E-v-a-n M-c-M-u-l-l-i-n" and chuckle a little as I hop the final hoop of writing in vice presidential ballot placeholder, "N-a-t-h-a-n J-o-h-n-s-o-n," knowing I am really backing Mindy Finn.

Myth #5
Standing up with Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn is a waste of time.

Fact/Opinion
This unfortunate rhetoric exalts a perception of practicality over principle and conscience. This video makes it clear that when you stand up with Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn, you stand on bedrock American principles. And you do not stand alone. Far from it. McMullin's message is sweeping the dry political fibers of this country like a wildfire.

When you #standupwithevan and #standupwithUtah, you join the ranks of millions who have abandoned their fears and dared to hope for a #2016miracle.






October 12, 2016

Forget #DENY270, Evan McMullin could win outright

For the first time this election, a third party candidate is in a statistical tie for the lead in a state: Evan McMullin. You can thank Utah for making America hope again. But you can bet the tie won't last long. McMullin will surge to major margins in Utah. Mark my word. McMullin, a true conservative who entered the race only in August, still suffers from low name-recognition and low funding. That will change as fast as you can say V-I-R-A-L. Thank you, internet.

Utah is as conservative and anti-Trump as states come. Many who are currently planning on voting for Clinton or Johnson to stop Trump will flock to McMullin, who is much more in harmony with the bulk of Utah voters on the issues than Clinton or Johnson. Those who are voting Trump out of fear of Clinton will hear the bell. Once they realize McMullin is not only a legitimate contender, but a probable winner of the state, they will abandon the sinking Trump ship or derailed Trump train (pick your metaphor) to keep any possible chance of a Clinton victory out of reach. As it has been said, "Everything Trump touches dies." Utah will not die. Utah's six electoral vote will go to McMullin. This will not help Clinton hit 270. The only candidate this will help hit 270 is Evan McMullin.

This momentum will inspire hope in Americans across the country. There is an option that meets them at the intersection of feasibility and conscience. Most of the country believes America is on the wrong track with Obama. McMullin is the only legitimate path to smaller federal government and more state power. Johnson suffers from the condition of being liked by a few in many places, but without the focused firepower to likely take a state, except for maybe New Mexico. Even if he takes New Mexico, he'll only have five electoral votes, while McMullin will win six. In a 12th Amendment scenario, this would make McMullin the third party candidate on the table before the House, where he was most recently a chief policy director. That alone gives America hope that it will not have to elect a candidate that is arguably impeachable out of the gate. There is a reason the 12th Amendment exists. Its process does not strip power from the voice of the people or the states, but does precisely the opposite. It allows the representatives elected by the people in each state to come together and cast one vote that represents their state's best interests. It gives each state essentially a veto vote power against divisive, disliked, or distrusted front runners (or in this case, all of the above). It is a genius safeguard. Thank you, Constitution. But we may not even need a 12th Amendment scenario.

Clinton has more experience than any candidate, perhaps in history. But hers is not the kind of experience most American's are impressed by. Arguable gross negligence in handling national security matters is just one fatal flaw in her resume. Perhaps even more importantly, she represents a move further down the path of big government, which cuts contrary to the American spirit. A Gallup poll shows that nearly 70% of Americans not only say that big government is wrong, but America's biggest threat.

This is why Gary Johnson has gained some national traction this election, even though he is the same person he was in 2012, when he only took 1% of the popular vote. But the thing is, McMullin also offers a major course correction away from big government, without giving the Libertarian party and its other, more radical ideas, a windfall this election. Also, even though Johnson has been a governor and McMullin has never been elected to office, McMullin is leaps and bounds more competent and capable when it comes to national and international issues. This is likely why Johnson has avoided the offer by some news organizations to host a debate between him, Stein, and McMullin. Even though Johnson supporters want to see a debate like that, Johnson is apparently afraid of McMullin, as he should be.

Because big government is a major threat in the eyes of most Americans, Hillary Clinton is a major threat. Some polls have suggested huge swaths of America voting for her, not out of affection for her but out of utter loathing for Trump, the antithesis of peacemaker and arguably the worst possible poster child to carry the conservative banner.

But the American base no longer has to settle. Utah has given the country a glimmer of hope. An option that is not only #NeverTrump, but #NeverHillary. A sane option. A decent option. An option our children can look up to. An option who is a peacemaker that inspires. An option who is fostering productive and unifying dialogue regarding bedrock American principles. An option that should dominate the discussion in the final month leading up to the election, thanks to the internet. An option that will spread across the dry political fibers of this nation like a wildfire. We are about to witness something unprecedented and jaw-dropping. Never again will the Republican or Democratic party be able to put forward nominees that mute the voice and conscience of the vast majority of Americans.

Having Evan McMullin win the election outright should now be our goal. And it could happen. More than enough states will have the option of voting for him for him to win the election outright. 


Everywhere that can't check a box or officially write him in, can still write him in and help send a message to the House in the event McMullin falls short of 270. And how electrifying would it be to be in one of those states that gets to write him in (whether it is "counted" in the traditional sense or not), rather than just check a box! I am honestly a little jealous. It would be so satisfying to every democratic and patriotic fiber in my soul to go through the ballot check, check, check, and then stop, slow down, and correct the ballot's deficiency by carefully writing in bold, undeniable letters, "E-v-a-n M-c-M-u-l-l-i-n" and chuckle a little as I hop the final hoop of writing in vice presidential ballot placeholder, "N-a-t-h-a-n J-o-h-n-s-o-n," knowing I am really backing Mindy Finn. 

Do you not like big government?
Vote McMullin / Finn.

Do you want more power restored to your state?
Vote McMullin / Finn.

Are you tired of powerful lobbyists and political spenders determining the course of elections?
Vote McMullin / Finn.

Do you want to send a message to the world that hope, not fear, is the driving force of America?
Vote McMullin / Finn.

Who are Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn? 
Google them. If you do, the more read, the more you will like them.

Give them a chance.

If you do, together we will make history. 

The kind of history our children will look back on and smile.


-------------------------
Dig this kind of thing?
Check out this video and get pumped.



If you thought that was fun, watch this!


Another great video (this one was produced by a close friend)!

September 17, 2016

Guns and Humanity: Solving the refugee crisis | Evan McMullin interview

refugee photo by Mstyslav Chernov
I recently sat down with Evan McMullin, independent presidential candidate, at his Salt Lake headquarters for an exclusive, thirty-minute interview on the refugee crisis, terrorism, and religion.

McMullin has a unique perspective on those issues. He lived in Jordan and worked for the United Nations. There, he helped refugees from various countries, including Syria, through the screening and resettlement process. He later returned to the Middle East and worked for the CIA. 

Watch 
Full | Part I | Part II | Part III


Listen
Full Part I |Part II | Part III

Transcript (English) (español abajo)

Balinski: Every day 34,000 people leave their homes to escape conflict, persecution. Currently, there are 21 million refugees worldwide, more than half of them are youth, minors. What is to be done?

McMullin: Well, it's a great question and I would add to that you have so many million refugees but you also have people who are designated Internally Displaced Persons as you probably know. These are people who haven't been forced out of their countries, they've been forced out of their homes, but they're still in their countries. The acronym is IDPs. I think when you include IDPs, the number of people . . . is over 60 million—well over 60 million, so it's a huge crisis. What do we need to do? Of course, the answer depends on the situation, but war is a major cause for massive refugee flows. In the Middle East, for example, we see evidence of that. Another cause for major refugee flows is the abuse of dictators of civilian populations which can be a part of war too. In the Middle East right now we see all of the above—we see a brutal dictator, one of the world's worst, most brutal dictators Bashar al-Assad in Syria who is carrying out mass atrocities against Syrian civilians.

Balinski: You mentioned Syria, I want to zero in on Syria because nearly five million refugees come from Syria, about a quarter of the refugee population comes from Syria. Now there's some interesting data about refugee mindsets in the United States, 71% of Americans say they're generally open to the idea of having refugees come here and even 15% say, "Hey, just come and stay in my home." But when it comes to Syrian refugees the mindset's completely different, the majority of Americans say "stay away." Why do you think that is?

McMullin: Well I think it's because our leaders—many of our leaders—have vilified Syrian refugees in a way that I think is really unnecessary, unproductive and just misguided all around. You know ISIS said that it would put its terrorists in the refugee flows and that they would come if the United States took refugees from Syria that there would be their personnel in that mix as well. The reality is though of course ISIS is going to [say] that because they want us not to help the refugees because that reinforces this Muslim vs. Christian, United States vs. Middle East narrative that they want to further because it helps their cause. It doesn't help global peace, it doesn't serve our interests, it serves their interests, so that's what they've been promoting, and some of our leaders have foolishly bought into that.

Balinski: So are you saying that's a vain threat then—that ISIS is going to sneak in terrorists with the flow of refugees from Syria?

McMullin: Well, they've done it into Europe, but in Europe it's a little different because you can—it's easier to get to Europe from the Middle East than it is to get to the United States from the Middle East. If you are a refugee or a terrorist from the Middle East and you want to get to Europe you can walk across land, you take a boat or two—there are a lot of challenges in this process, but it's still easier than getting to the United States. If you want to get to the Untied States as a refugee if you really are a refugee or if you're a terrorist pretending to be a refugee, then you've got to go through a vetting process that takes a year and a half to two years. We start with people who are already less likely to threaten us in the first place, so we're talking about..

Balinski: Do you believe that the current vetting process is robust enough at this stage or should that be . . .

McMullin: I do, I think it's very robust, sure it could be made better. I mean we can always improve and I think we should always try to improve, make improvements, but the important point is when we select people to come to the United States through the refugee process, we first choose people who already aren't likely to threaten us. So, we're talking about children, or maybe a single mother with five children and she just cares about providing for her children—highly unlikely to be a terrorist—or an elderly couple or people who have suffered immensely, maybe they've been tortured by for example the Assad regime or by ISIS. These are people who are clearly aligned with us, not with our enemies and not with the people who would want to send terrorists here. So we start—this is a very important point—we start by choosing people who are less likely to threaten us, and then we put them through a year and a half to two years of vetting. And if you are—let's say Adam that you are a terrorist leader and that you wanted to get one of your terrorist operatives into the United States—probably the worst way to go about it would be to have them come as a refugee because you're going to subject them to all kinds of scrutiny that they wouldn't get if they just flew to Mexico and just walked across the border, or you could find one of your terrorist operatives in Europe with a European passport and they could just fly in without a visa, so there are just many better ways to do it—the worst way would be to go through the refugee process.

Balinski: So the White House recently announced that next year we're going to accept 110,000 refugees, but only 10,000 are going to be from Syria. Is this enough? Can we do more?

McMullin: Well, I think we could do more, certainly. I mean there are a lot of refugee crises, obviously the worst are in the Middle East right now, especially with Syria. I think that the most important thing though and this is something that the Obama administration has not focused enough on, is solving the core problem that creates the refugees.

Balinski: And what's that core problem?

McMullin: The core problem starts with Bashar al-Assad—his brutal mass atrocities against the Syrian people which I have been outspoken about over time and there've been a lot of media coverage about it. That has pushed people out, it's created a lot of refugees, it's also created a dynamic in which ISIS and other terrorist organizations thrive. These terrorist organizations—they look for dictatorships because they know that under especially brutal dictatorships they can—these terrorist organizations can come into the populations and generate support from the populations as an alternative to the brutal dictator, and they can also foment divisions between people in those environments where governance is weak. So, bottom line is dictators end up creating terrorists—in the short term or the long term. That's what Bashar al-Assad has done both by torturing the Syrian people, and by in general depriving them of their universal liberties. ISIS has come in to then make the problem worse. So you asked what the solution is. The solution is to defeat ISIS. The solution is also to constrain Assad and to deprive him of his sources of power so that we can negotiate his departure from Syria and then get the region back on track and allow Syrians to move back to Syria and rebuild Syria, which is what they want.

Balinski: So you mentioned some things about Syria specifically and to me it seems a little bit reminiscent, almost of, maybe not quite to the magnitude of, but approaching the magnitude of the holocaust, and what happened to the Jews in Germany. And before that time period you know there were some polls done and the American people by and large the super majority—67% of them said we don't want to take these people in and they kind of gave a cold shoulder to these people who were just trying to escape the holocaust conditions. What can be done to change the American mindset today so that we don't give the cold shoulder to these Syrians because they're from Syria, if that should even be the case?

McMullin: Well I think it begins with leadership. Your points are so valid and so important and in retrospect we look back on our actions during World War II and during the holocaust with a bit of shame. There was a boat—I forget the name of it—but a boat with a lot of Jewish refugees from Europe that came to the United States seeking refuge and we turned it away. And that's a dark you know episode in our American history.


McMullin: Luckily, finally we did the right thing and we stood up for what was right and many of our soldiers sacrificed their lives in Europe to free Europe and also to stop the holocaust, but I think our leaders need to remind us of some of our core ideals as Americans and remind us of the fact that we are a nation of immigrants and part of that is refugees. I mean, my family first came in the United States in the 1600s before it was the United States. They came to Massachusetts and they were seeking economic opportunity, but they were also fleeing the lack of liberty that they were experiencing in Ireland. And then about two hundred years later they joined the church and ultimately made the trek across America.

Balinski: And when you say church, you mean the LDS church?

McMullin: The LDS church, exactly, the Mormon church and they then also seeking religious liberty made the long and arduous trek across the country here to Utah, but that's not where it ends for me. My mother's family—they escaped Europe and the holocaust, some of them were of the Jewish faith, the Jewish background and they escaped the Nazis in Europe and came to the United States and settled in Philadelphia. And you know, all of that—these are classic American stories, many Americans can tell stories like these about their ancestors and others frankly, we acknowledge were brought here in captivity and their fight for freedom lasted longer and occurred here in the United States. So we haven't always been exactly perfect, but this, we are a country of refugees and of immigrants and it has made us strong and why has it made us strong? It's made us strong because we've always, we've been a place where people from around the world believe they can come and find liberty. That means people with the best ideas in science and technology—feel that they can come . . .



Balinski: Einstein was a refugee.

McMullin: Einstein—exactly, can come to the United States and build their dreams and then as a result build us and make us stronger and give us a better opportunity to be a force for good in the world.

Balinski: You shared some personal things regarding your family history and the way they can relate to refugees coming for opportunity, liberty. I'd like to go down the personal path just a little bit more.

McMullin: Sure, yeah.

Balinski: So you worked in Jordan for a little bit vetting and helping refugees get settled for the United Nations and then later you returned to the Middle East and you worked as an operative for the Central Intelligence Agency. How did those experiences shape the way you see the refugee crisis?

McMullin: That's a great question. You know what I've learned both working in the humanitarian space and in the national security space, is that humanitarian crises and national security are not separate things. They are not, they shouldn't be categorized separately. and I think a lot of people do that, and I remember I used to be a senior adviser on national security topics in congress. I remember when I was in discussions for that job, I was asked, do you think that solving terrorism is more of a humanitarian issue, a governance issue, or is it more of a military issue- we need to attack and defeat and kill the terrorist? And I thought, this is interesting, that the question is set up so that it's either/or- it's actually both. National security issues and humanitarian issues are part of the same picture in my mind, and that's what one of my primary take ways was from having worked in the humanitarian space and in the national security space and so when I for example see that there are over 5 million Syrian refugees now and that doesn't include the internally displaced people that we talked about earlier- the IDPs- that's another several million inside Syria and these people are living like refugees, they're just still in Syria. When I look at that, I see a humanitarian issue, but I also see a national security issue. Because why? Because half of those people are children and these are children that are adolescents that are not, that are being under-educated. They're not in school, they're not in school enough, they're being many times, they're not being nourished the way they need to be, they're at risk for being exploited and then radicalized as well, and so in an environment, in a place that's flush with terrorists, the last thing you want is a whole generation of youth that isn't in school and that isn't being, you know, isn't being brought up in a healthy way, and so this is both a humanitarian issue and a national security issue and I think we need to see it- most Americans care unfortunately, they tend to care more about national security issues than humanitarian issues, but my argument would be they're the same, they're part of the same picture. We need to care about these giant refugee problems, especially in the Middle East. If not for moral reasons which I think are valid and should be very powerful for us, for national security reasons.

Balinski: Now in the past you've spoken on amping up the ideological attack on terrorism, on these radicals. What do you mean by ideological warfare?

McMullin: I mean that we have to win the battle of ideas. So the war on terror- it happens on the battlefield and in the dark alleys, and I was a part of that as an Operations Officer with the CIA, but we also need to win the- just as we did in the Cold War with communism- we need to show that our ideas- the principles on which our society has been founded, and on which it thrives- are those that are freedom and diversity- you know principles of individual liberty and self-rule and the empowerment of people. We need to continue to make the case to the world, and especially to those in the Middle East who might be vulnerable to radicalization by a a radical Islamist. We need to make the case to them that liberty and freedom and the tolerance that needs to come with that is a better way. And I don't think we've been very good at that. Al-Qaeda and ISIS has been so good at digital media and social media and it's very well accompanied their success on the battlefield and they've been able to merge those two so that they recruit a lot of people. So we just need to be better about fighting the battle of ideas. What does that mean? It means engaging on social media. It means helping our Muslim partners and our Muslim allies in the region, make the case to their fellow Muslims that that's not true Islam, that's not the kind of Islam that should be advanced or practiced, we need to do better coordinating efforts within the US government. We have one agent doing one thing and another doing another thing. We need them to be better organized. I think we need the effort to be better funded. But we also need to do a better job, and there are efforts under way- I'm not suggesting that nothing is happening- there are international efforts that we play a role in, but I just think they need to be stronger and better orchestrated.

Balinski: If we could jump back again to your personal experiences. Were there any defining moments for you, or key individuals or refugees that you personally met that have impacted you and the way you look at things?

McMullin: Yes, absolutely, so there's one in particular. I worked with a lot of refugees when I was in Jordan and many of them, most of them were resettled, if they were resettled they were resettled to Europe or to Canada, but and I don't know fully where all of them ended up going, but the one that I know who came to the United States- he was a young man who had, he was an Iraqi. Refugees I worked with were Somali and Syrian and Iraqi mostly.

He was in college and was seeing the kind of torture and abuse that Saddam Hussein was carrying out against the Iraqi people- terrible things and I could if we had more time, I would share stories. So he opposed Saddam Hussein and he printed out leaflets that called for the opposition, for people to rise up against Saddam Hussein and he distributed them around, left them around his university campus and the intelligence service, Saddam's intelligence service discovered that he and a couple of friends had been responsible for this, and so they arrested him and they took him to prison and they tortured him. And while he was in prison he witnessed horrible torture of other people too, and as he was being tortured he witnessed the torture of other people.

Eventually they let him out. I think his people paid a bribe and he was let go- that's how things work in dictatorships, and he then went into hiding and his family raised more money and they paid a smuggler to take him out to the desert of Iraq headed towards Jordan, and- it's just a remarkable story- and he then, the smuggler dropped him in the middle of the desert, pointed him in the right direction and he just walked for days towards Jordan and eventually he got there.

He could've died doing that, but he crossed the border in the desert and was discovered by some basically nomads in the Jordanian desert and they took him and they brought him to safety and ultimately he made his way to Amman where I interviewed him and I was responsible to begin the vetting process with him. We had many long interviews where I challenged his story to make sure that it all held together and I had already worked for the CIA for some time. Before I was doing that, I took a year off and I was then working for the UN, and so I knew a lot about Iraq and a lot about the environment and I could tell if stories made sense or not, and his story checked out and I assessed him to be a good young man- somebody who could then be further vetted by whatever country, and eventually the United States said, OK, we think we want to vet this guy, so they spent a year and a half vetting him and he came to the United States and now he works with the US military, training special forces before they go out on counter terrorism missions.

And that's, that's a typical American story and a typical refugee story. I think it's an outstanding one- it's one in which somebody fought for freedom where they were. They fled when they were abused because they wanted their basic universal rights, and they're one of the few who made it to the United States and he is now more patriotic than many Americans, and doing more to protect our liberty and freedom here in the United States and the cause for freedom around the world than most Americans will ever do. And I think that's something that I wish more Americans would know- that story, they will hopefully after watching this video. But this is why, this is one reason why refugees are so important in this country.

Balinski: Let's change gears for a second. let's talk about religion and the role this plays in the discussion we're having here. Four out of five Americans, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll say that they they think that it's very likely, or at least likely that a major terror attack is going to happen in the near future. And the majority of those believe it's going to be at the hands of extreme Muslims. What role, if any, should a refugee's inclination towards Islam impact the way they're welcome here?

McMullin: We will face other terrorist attacks in this country. I think- I'm sad to say- but I think that's the case. We've been very fortunate under President Bush's leadership and I know that can be controversial, but after 9-11, we avoided having another major terrorist attack or any terrorist attack in the United States. We've been less fortunate recently, in recent years, there's a lot that goes into that. Part of it is the fact that we've allowed the Islamist terrorist threat to spread in an unprecedented way with ISIS, so I think that Americans' concerns are valid, and frankly that's one of the reasons why I'm running for President, that I know from day one what we need to do to increase our security here in the United States in a way that none of the other presidential candidates do. And I just think it's so important that we have a president who knows how to lead on that issue.

Balinski: So you're saying that the concerns are valid, but to what extent should someone's Muslim affiliation or Muslim religion play into the. . .

McMullin: Well I think what we need to do first of all is decouple the idea that Muslims, Islam= terrorism. That's not the case. That's just not the case. There are very tiny percentage of Muslims who are terrorists. That's the reality. There's a lot of frustration in the Muslim world about a lot of things and that can lead them sometimes to be supportive of terrorism, some of them, when they are not themselves terrorists. That's a problem too. But the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists and they're not supportive of terrorism, and that's where we need to start.

Balinski: Sorry to interrupt you. In the past you've talked about how Muslims have been vital in the counter-terrorism efforts. Can you elaborate on that?

McMullin: Absolutely. Yeah, and look, I would say first of all Muslims have been more attacked, more killed, more harmed by terrorism than even we as Americans have, that we need to realize that far more Muslims have been killed by terrorists than Americans of any kind- Muslim or Christian, Jewish, or any other kind of faith, so they get it too. The majority of Muslims, again, are opposed to terrorism and so we have to recognize that. So, with that as a basis then we can understand that we have Muslim allies in our efforts against terrorism and their countries and their people, right. When I was working in the CIA there were countries that did a lot to help us and there were also individuals who outside of their, whatever their government was doing- they stepped up to help us. And frankly we could not have had and do not have success against terrorism without the support of our Muslim partners and allies. And it's either because they were in the battle with us- they were there in the fight with us- or it's because they allowed us to use their, you know place where we could base our special forces or CIA operatives, or traditional military forces. They allowed us to fly over their country on a counter terrorism operation, these we- in order to be successful against Islamist terrorists, we need the support of Muslims and they want to help us because they- the vast majority of them are also opposed to terrorism. They see what it's doing to their faith- it's destroying- not destroying it- it's harming their faith, as well as it's creating refugees who are mostly Muslims in the region. They see it too, and they want to solve it. But actually they're looking to leadership from the United States- they need our leadership because we know how to organize these efforts better than any other country and they see us not leading now and that's been a major source of frustration, and then when we have presidential candidates who attack Muslims and other people based on their faith, or ethnic backgrounds, that also harms their willingness to work with us, or their feeling like they can work with us, because they think, 'What's happened to America? America doesn't' stand for personal liberty and religious liberty and tolerance like it did before.' And I'm going on about this, but it's just such an important topic. When that happens, it harms our national power- our national power comes from many different sources, one of them is our core values around liberty and tolerance that comes with liberty, religious freedoms. Other countries see this, and they say they aspire to it, other people aspire to it. And they trust us as a result of this- it generates a lot of good will and that means that these countries are willing to work with us- they trust us to come, for example, base some of our military equipment and military personnel on their territory which is actually a very unique thing. Most countries would not invite the military of another or a major power, especially onto their territory, because it would pose a threat to their country. But countries allow us to do that- even beg us to do that- because of the good will that is generated by our ideals, and so when we have a presidential candidate who is violating those ideals and who is desecrating those ideals it is a direct assault on our national power.

Balinski: We have time maybe for just a few more questions. This issue is bigger than you- it's bigger than any one leader. What can everyday Americans do to pitch in to the cause and combat against refugee crisis, the war on terrorism?

McMullin: Great question. The first thing is, we need to all across the, in this country advocate for our leaders to have a comprehensive strategy for defeating ISIS and for stopping the mass atrocities that Bashar al-Assad is committing against the Syrian people and for helping countries develop better governance that leaves them less vulnerable to terrorist takeovers which create these refugee crises. We have to demand from our leaders that they have a plan, and a commitment to that plan, because if not, the situation is going to get worse and worse. On a daily basis refugees are settled all around the country. People should find organizations that help refugees become integrated into our society, and find jobs and learn English and all of that. All Americans have the opportunity to get involved in that effort, and they should. And that's what I would say and then the lastly in the case where there are leaders who are attacking refugees and vilifying refugees, we need to stand up to those leaders. And we need to demand that they speak the truth, that they acknowledge there is a process to vet refugees and that terrorist organizations do have a harder time getting terrorists into the United States through a refugee process than they do through other ways that are way more efficient and that have a higher probability, unfortunately of success. We need to make sure that our leaders speak the truth, because many times, all too often in national security topics and on refugees, our leaders have been responding to a mob mentality that they've helped generate and they have not spoke truth to the American people. We must call those leaders out, and make sure that when they do that, they can't get away with it.

Balinski: Evan McMullin, thank you very much.

McMullin: Thank you.


*Special thanks for helping with the Spanish captioning: Miriam Allred, Christina Morgan, and Naty Maluenda Brown

Transcripción (español)

Balinski: Cada día 34,000 personas se van de sus casas para escapar de conflictos y persecución. Ahora hay 21 millones de refugiados en todo el mundo, y más de la mitad de ellos son menores de edad—juventud—que se puede hacer?

McMullin: Buena pregunta y quiero agregar de que tienes millones de refugiados pero también tienes personas que son designadas Personas desplazadas internamente, como probablemente sabes. Estas son personas que no han sido forzadas a salir de sus países, que han sido obligados a abandonar sus hogares, pero todavía están en sus países. El acrónimo es IDPs. Creo que cuando incluyes personas que han sido forzadas a abandonar sus hogares debido a los conflictos y otras situaciones en todo el mundo es más de 60 millones—más de 60 millones, es una enorme crisis. ¿Que necesitamos hacer? Por supuesto, la respuesta depende de la situación, pero la guerra es una causa importante de los flujos masivos de refugiados. En el Medio Oriente, por ejemplo, vemos evidencia de ello. Otra de las causas principales de los flujos de refugiados es el abuso de los dictadores de la población civil que pueden ser una parte de la guerra también. En el Medio Oriente en este momento vemos todo lo mencionado anteriormente: vemos un dictador brutal, uno de los peores, los dictadores más brutales del mundo, Bashar al-Assad en Siria que está llevando a cabo atrocidades masivas contra los Sirios.

Balinski: Usted ha hablado de Siria, quiero concentrarme en Siria porque casi cinco millones de refugiados provienen de Siria, cerca de un cuarto de la población de refugiados proviene de Siria. Ahora hay algunos datos interesantes acerca de la mentalidad de refugiados en los Estados Unidos, 71% de Americanos generalmente están abiertos a la idea de tener refugiados aquí y 15% dicen ”vengan y quédense en mi casa.” Pero cuando se tratan de refugiados de Siria la mentalidad es completamente diferente, la mayoridad de Americanos dicen “Mantente Alejado”. ¿Porque cree que es así?

McMullin: Bueno, yo creo que es porque nuestros líderes—muchos de nuestros líderes—han vilipendiado refugiados Sirios en una forma que creo que es realmente innecesario, improductivo y simplemente equivocada por todas partes. Se sabe que ISIS dijo que pondría terroristas en las corrientes de refugiados y que vendrían si Estados Unidos toma refugiados de Siria que habrá personas en la  mezcla también. La realidad es, sin embargo, por supuesto que ISIS va a hacer eso porque no quieren que  ayudemos a los refugiados y eso refuerza Musulmanes contra Cristianos, Estados Unidos contra el Medio Oriente narrativo que quieren aún más, ya que ayuda a su causa. No ayuda a la paz mundial, no sirve a nuestros intereses, que sirve a sus intereses, así que eso es lo que han estado promoviendo, y algunos de nuestros líderes han comprado tontamente en eso. 

Balinski: Está diciendo que es una amenaza vana entonces—¿que ISIS va a meter terroristas en las corrientes de refugiados de Siria? 

McMullin: Bueno, lo han hecho en Europa, pero en Europa es un poco diferente porque puedes –es mas fácil entrar a Europa desde el Medio Oriente que entrar a los Estados Unidos desde el Medio Oriente. Si usted es un refugiado o un terrorista del Medio Oriente y quiere llegar a Europa se puede caminar por la tierra, se toma un bote o dos hay una gran cantidad de desafíos en este proceso, pero todavía es más fácil que entrar a los Estados Unidos. Si quiere entrar a los Estados Unidos  como refugiado si realmente es un refugiado o si usted es un terrorista pretendiendo ser un refugiado, entonces usted tiene que pasar por un proceso de investigación que lleva un año y medio a dos años. Comenzamos con personas que ya son menos propensos a amenazarnos, en primer lugar, por lo que estamos hablando . . .

Balinski: Usted cree que el proceso de selección actual es lo suficientemente robusta como en esta etapa o debe ser que

McMullin: Si, creo que es muy robusto, seguro de que se podría hacer mejor. Me refiero a que siempre se puede mejorar y creo que siempre hay que tratar de mejorar, hacer mejoras, pero el punto importante es cuando seleccionamos la gente a venir a los Estados Unidos a través del proceso de refugio, primero elegimos las personas que ya no son susceptibles de amenazarnos. Por lo tanto, estamos hablando de los niños, o tal vez una madre soltera con cinco hijos y ella sólo se preocupa por ofrecer a sus hijos—altamente improbable que sea un terrorista—o una pareja de ancianos o las personas que han sufrido mucho, tal vez han sido torturadas por, por ejemplo, el régimen de Assad o ISIS. Estas son personas que están claramente alineados con nosotros, no con nuestros enemigos y no con las personas que quieren mandar terroristas aquí. Empezamos—este es un punto muy importante, empezamos por escoger las personas que son menos propensos a amenazarnos, y luego los tenemos entre un año y medio a dos años de investigación de antecedentes. Y si usted—digamos Adam que usted es un líder terrorista y que quiere mandar uno de sus agentes terroristas a los Estados Unidos—probablemente la peor manera de hacerlo sería que vengan como refugiado porque vamos a someterlos a todo tipo de escrutinio que no obtendrían si sólo volaran a México y apenas cruzaron la frontera o podrás encontrar uno de sus terroristas operativas en Europa con un pasaporte de Europa y pueden entrar en avión sin visa, entonces hay mas mejores maneras de hacerlo, la peor forma de entrar es por el proceso de refugio.

Balinski: Así que la Casa Blanca ha anunciado recientemente que el próximo año vamos a aceptar 110.000 refugiados, pero sólo 10.000 van a ser de Siria. ¿Es suficiente? ¿Podemos hacer más?
McMullin: Bueno, creo que podremos hacer más, sin duda. Quiero decir que hay una gran cantidad de las crisis de refugiados, obviamente, que los peores están en el Medio Oriente en este momento, especialmente con Siria. Creo que lo más importante, sin embargo, y esto es algo que el gobierno de Obama no se ha centrado lo suficiente en, está resolviendo el problema central que crea los refugiados.

Balinski: Y cual es el problema central?

McMullin: El problema central comienza con Bashar al-Assad— Sus brutales atrocidades masivas contra la gente de Siria, que han estado francos sobre el paso del tiempo y han tenido una gran cantidad de cobertura mediática sobre él. Eso ha empujado  a la gente, que ha creado una gran cantidad de refugiados, también se ha creado una dinámica en que ISIS y otras organizaciones terroristas prosperan. Estas organizaciones terroristas buscan dictaduras porque saben que bajo las dictaduras —especialmente brutales —pueden entrar en las poblaciones y generar el apoyo de las poblaciones como una alternativa al dictador brutal, y también pueden fomentar las divisiones entre las personas en aquellos entornos en los que el gobierno es débil. Así, en el fondo son los dictadores  creando terroristas—en el corto o largo plazo. Eso es lo que Bashar al-Assad ha hecho al torturar tanto la gente de Siria, y, en general, privándoles de sus libertades universales. ISIS ha llegado a hacer que el problema aun peor. Preguntas  ¿cuál es la solución? La solución es derrotar ISIS. La solución es  impedir Assad y privarlo de sus fuentes de alimentación de modo que podemos negociar su salida de Siria y luego obtener la región de nuevo y permitir que los Sirios regresen a Siria y reconstruir Siria, que es lo que quieren.

Balinski: Así que usted ha mencionado algunas cosas sobre Siria y en concreto me parece un poco reminiscente, casi de, tal vez no del todo a la magnitud de, pero aproximación a la magnitud del holocausto, y lo que le pasó a los Judíos en Alemania. Y antes de ese período de tiempo se sabe que hay algunas encuestas realizadas y al pueblo estadounidense. Por lo general la gran mayoría—67 % de ellos dicen “no queremos tomar estas personas” y se les da la espalda a estas personas que están tratando de escapar de las condiciones del holocausto. ¿Qué se puede hacer para cambiar la mentalidad americana de hoy para que no demos la espalda a estos Sirios porque son de Siria,  si eso debería ser el caso ?

McMullin: Creo que comienza con el liderazgo. Sus puntos son válidos e importantes en retrospectiva miramos hacia atrás en nuestras acciones durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial y durante el holocausto con un poco de vergüenza. Había un barco—se me olvidó el nombre—pero un barco con muchos refugiados  Judíos de Europa que vinieron a los Estados Unidos buscando refugio y los rechazamos. Y eso es un oscuro episodio de nuestra historia en los Estados Unidos. Por suerte, finalmente hicimos lo correcto y nos pusimos de pie para lo que era correcto y muchos de nuestros soldados sacrificaron sus vidas en Europa para liberar a Europa y también para detener el holocausto, pero creo que nuestros líderes tienen que recordar algunos de nuestros ideales como  Americanos y recordarnos el hecho de que somos una nación de inmigrantes y parte de eso son refugiados. Mi familia vino por primera vez en los Estados Unidos en la década de 1600 antes de que fuera los Estados Unidos. Llegaron a Massachusetts y que estaban buscando oportunidades económicas, sino que también estaban huyendo de la falta de libertad que estaban experimentando en Irlanda. Y después de unos doscientos años más tarde se unieron a la iglesia y, finalmente, hicieron el viaje a través de América. 

Balinski: Cuando dices la iglesia ¿te refieres a la iglesia Mormona? 

McMullin: La iglesia LDS, exactamente, la iglesia mormona y entonces también buscaban  la libertad religiosa, hicieron el largo y arduo viaje a través del país hacia Utah, pero eso no es donde termina para mí. La familia de mi madre se escapó de Europa y el holocausto, algunos de ellos eran de la fe judía, y el fondo se escaparon de los nazis en Europa y llegaron a los Estados Unidos y se establearon en Filadelfia. Y sabe que todo eso—estas son cuentas clásicas Americanas, muchos Americanos  tienen cuentas así de sus antepasados, y otros reconocemos que fueron traídos aquí en cautiverio y su lucha por la libertad fue más larga y ocurrió aquí en los Estado Unidos. Por lo tanto, no siempre hemos sido exactamente perfectos, pero esto, somos un país de refugiados y de inmigrantes y nos ha hecho fuertes y ¿por qué nos ha hecho fuerte? Nos ha hecho fuerte, porque siempre hemos sido un lugar donde la gente de todo el mundo creen que pueden venir y encontrar la libertad. Eso significa que las personas con las mejores ideas en la ciencia y la tecnología—sienten que pueden venir.

Balinski: Einstein fue un refugiado. 

McMullin: Einstein exactamente, pudo venir a los Estados Unidos y construir sus sueños y luego como resultado nos construyó  y nos hizo más fuertes y nos dio una mejor oportunidad de ser aún más fuerte para el bien del el mundo.

Balinski: Usted compartió algunas cosas personales con respecto a sus antepasados familiares y la forma en que pueden relacionarse con los refugiados procedentes de la oportunidad, la libertad. Me gustaría ir por el camino personal, sólo un poco más.

McMullin: Por supuesto.

Balinski: Así que usted trabajó en Jordania por un tiempo investigando y ayudando a los refugiados a instalarse en las Naciones Unidas y, después, regresó al Medio Oriente y trabajó como un agente de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia . ¿Cómo han estas experiencias dado forma a su visión de la crisis de refugiados?

McMullin: Esa es una gran pregunta. Ya sabes que lo que he aprendido trabajando en el espacio humanitario y en el espacio de la seguridad nacional, es que las crisis humanitarias y la seguridad nacional no son cosas separadas. No son, y no deben ser clasificados por separado, y creo que mucha gente hace eso , y recuerdo que solía ser un asesor en temas de seguridad nacional en el Congreso. Recuerdo que cuando estaba en conversaciones por ese trabajo, me preguntaron, ¿cree que la solución de terrorismo es más una cuestión humanitaria, un tema de gobierno, o es más de un militar emisión- tenemos que atacar y matar a la derrota y ¿terrorista? Y pensé, esto es interesante, que la pregunta estaba configurad de modo que  uno o el otro, en realidad son los dos. temas de seguridad nacional y las cuestiones humanitarias son parte de la misma imagen en mi mente, y eso es uno de mis caminos principales para llevar es de haber trabajado en el espacio humanitario y en el espacio de la seguridad nacional y por lo que cuando , por ejemplo, veo que hay más de 5 millones de refugiados sirios ahora y que no incluye los desplazados internos que hemos hablado antes- el IDPs- eso es otro varios millones dentro de Siria y estas personas están viviendo como refugiados, sólo están todavía en Siria. Cuando miro , veo un problema humanitario , pero también veo un problema de seguridad nacional. ¿Por qué? Porque la mitad de esas personas son niños y estos son niños que son adolescentes, no reciben educación . No están en la escuela , no están en la escuela lo suficiente , que muchas veces no están siendo alimentados adecuadamente , que están en riesgo de ser explotados y luego radicalizaron también, y por lo que en un ambiente, en un lugar que está a ras con los terroristas , la última cosa que quiere es toda una generación de jóvenes que no está en la escuela y que no se está , ya sabes, no está siendo criada en una forma saludable , y por lo tanto se trata de una cuestión humanitaria y un tema de seguridad nacional y creo que tenemos que verlo- Muchos Americanos tienen interés desafortunadamente, tienen mas interés en problemas de la seguridad nacional  que los problemas humanitarias, pero mi razonamiento es que ambos son los mismo, son parte del mismo imagen. Necesitamos preocuparnos de estos problemas gigantes de refugiados, especialmente en el Medio Oriente. Si no es por razones morales, que creo que son válidas y deben ser muy poderoso para nosotros, por razones de seguridad nacional.

Balinski: Ahora bien, en el pasado usted ha hablado de fortalecer el ataque ideológico contra el terrorismo, contra estos radicales. ¿Qué quiere decir con guerra ideológica?

McMullin: Quiero decir que tenemos que ganar la batalla de ideas. Entonces la guerra contra el terror - sucede en la manera normal pero también en secreto, y yo fui parte de eso como Oficial de Operaciones con la CIA, pero también necesitamos ganar - tal como lo hicimos en la Guerra Fría con el comunismo - necesitamos mostrar que nuestras ideas - los principios en que fundamos nuestra sociedad, que la ayuda a prosperar - son los de libertad y diversidad - Usted sabe, los principios de libertad individual y autogobierno y al darle poder a las personas. Necesitamos continuar a hacer el caso al mundo, especialmente a los del Medio Oriente quienes podrían ser susceptibles a la radicalización de un Islamista. Necesitamos presentarles la idea que la libertad y la tolerancia que la acompaña es una mejor opción. Y no creo que hemos tenido éxito con eso. Al-Qaida y ISIS han utilizado la prensa digital y las redes sociales, y les han acompañado muy bien en su éxito en el campo de batalla y han podido combinar ambas para reclutar muchas personas. Entonces necesitamos mejorar nuestra lucha en la batalla de ideas. ¿Qué quiere decir eso? Quiere decir que participemos en las redes sociales. Quiere decir que ayudemos a nuestros socios musulmanes y nuestros aliados musulmanes en la región, ayudar a los demás musulmanes ver que eso no es Islam verdadero, no es el tipo de Islam que debe avanzar ni ser practicado, necesitamos mejorar los esfuerzos de coordinación dentro del gobierno E.E.U.U. Tenemos un agente que hace una cosa y otro agente que hace otra cosa. Necesitamos que sean más organizados. Creo que necesitamos que el esfuerzo sea financiado mejor. Pero también necesitamos hacer un mejor trabajo, y hay esfuerzos ya - no digo que no - Somos partes de esfuerzos internacionales, solo creo que necesitan ser más fuertes y mejor orquestados.

Balinski: Si podemos volver a sus experiencias personales. ¿Hubo algunos momentos determinantes para usted, o individuos claves o refugiados que usted ha conocido personalmente que lo hayan impactado a usted y su perspectiva?

McMullin: Sí, absolutamente, hay uno en particular. Trabajé con muchos refugiados cuando yo estaba en Jordania y muchos de ellos, la mayoría de ellos fueron reasentados, si fueron reasentados fueron reasentados a Europa o Canadá, pero no sé completamente a dónde fueron todos ellos, pero el que yo conozco que vino a los Estados Unidos, era un hombre joven quien tenía, él era un iraquí. Los refugiados con los cuales yo trabajaba fueron somalíes y sirios y iraquíes más que todo, y el era universitario y veía el tipo de tortura y abuso que Saddam Hussein llevaba a cabo contra el pueblo iraquí- cosas terribles y si tuviéramos más tiempo, compartiría historias. Entonces él se oponía a Saddam Hussein él imprimió folletos que exigían la oposición, que la gente se levantara en contra de Saddam Hussein y él los distribuyó en todas partes, los dejó por su campus universitario, y el servicio de inteligencia, el servicio de inteligencia de Saddam, descubrió que él y algunos de sus amigos habían sido responsables, entonces lo arrestaron y lo llevaron a prisión y lo torturaron. Y mientras estaba en prisión él presenció la tortura de otras personas. Eventualmente lo liberaron. Creo que su gente pagó un soborno y lo liberaron- así funcionan las cosas en las dictaduras, entonces él se ocultó y su familia recaudó más fondos y pagaron a un contrabandista que lo llevaran al desierto en Irak camino hacia Jordania - es una historia increíble- y el contrabandista lo dejó en medio del desierto, le señaló la dirección correcta y él caminó muchos días hacia Jordania y eventualmente llegó. Podría haber muerto haciendo eso, pero cruzó la frontera en el desierto y fue descubierto por algunos nómadas en el desierto jordano y lo llevaron a seguridad y al fin él fue a Ammán donde lo entrevisté y yo era responsable por empezar el procedimiento de investigación con él. Tuvimos muchas entrevistas largas donde yo desafié su historia para asegurarme que todo era correcto y yo ya había trabajado en la CIA por mucho tiempo. Antes de eso, me tomé un año libre y en esta época trabajaba para la ONU, entonces yo sabía mucho de Iraq y mucho del ambiente y yo podría determinar muy bien si las historias tenían sentido o no, y su historia si tenía sentido y evalué que era un buen hombre joven- alguien que después podría ser examinado por cualquier país, y eventualmente los Estados Unidos dijo que estaba bien, creemos que queremos examinar a este hombre, entonces pasaron un año y medio examinándole y él vino a los Estados Unidos y ahora trabaja con el ejército EEUU, capacitando a las fuerzas especiales antes que salgan en misiones en contra del terrorismo. Y eso, eso es una historia americana típica y una historia típica de un refugiado. Creo que es una historia excepcional- es una historia en que alguien luchó por la libertad de donde estaba. Huyó cuando fue abusado porque quería sus derechos universales básicos, y es uno de los pocos que llegaron a los Estados Unidos y ahora es más patriótico que muchos americanos, y hace más para proteger nuestra libertad aquí en los Estados Unidos y la causa de libertad en todo el mundo que muchos americanos harán en toda la vida. Y creo que eso es algo que quiero que más americanos sepan- esta historia, y con suerte lo sabrán después de ver este video. Pero es por eso, esta es una razón por la cual los refugiados son tan importantes en nuestro país.

Balinski: Cambiemos de rumbo por un momento. Hablemos de la religión y el papel que hace tiene en el debate aquí. Cuatro de cinco americanos, según una encuesta reciente de Quinnipiac, dicen que creen que sea muy probable, o por lo menos probable, que un ataque grave pasará en el futuro cercano. Y la mayoría creen que va a ser por mano de musulmanes extremos. ¿Qué papel, si hay alguno, debería la inclinación de un refugiado a Islam impactar la manera en que están bienvenidos aquí?

McMullin: Nos enfrentaremos a otros ataques terroristas en este país. Creo- me da pena decirlo- pero creo que es el caso. Hemos sido muy afortunados bajo del liderazgo del Presidente Bush, y sé que puede ser muy controversial, pero después del 9-11, evitamos tener otro ataque terrorista grave o cualquier ataque terrorista en los Estados Unidos. Hemos sido menos afortunados recientemente, en años recientes, hay mucho que añade a eso. Es en parte porque hemos dejado que la amenaza terrorista islamista se difundae en una manera sin precedente con ISIS, entonces creo que las dudas de los americanos son válidosválidas, y francamente esao es una de las razones por las cuales yo me postulo como presidente, sabía desde el principio qué se necesita hacer para mejorar nuestra seguridad aquí en los estados unidos de en una manera que ninguno de los otros candidatos presidenciales sabenninguno de los otros candidatos presidenciales sabe. Y pienso que es tan muy importante que tengamos un presidente que sabe guiar en ese asunto.

Balinski: Entonces dice que las dudas son válidosválidas, pero ¿a qué punto debe la afiliación musulmana o religión musulmana de uno ser parte de…

McMullin: Pues creo que lo que necesitamos hacer primero es disociar la idea que musulmanes, Islam=terrorismo. No es asiasí. Simplemente no es asiasí. Hay un porcentaje pequeñísimo de musulmanes que son terroristas. Esao es la realidad. Hay mucha frustración en el mundo musulmán de muchas cosas y eso a veces puede conducirles a apoyar ael terrorismo, algunos de ellos, aunque no son terroristas. Eso es un problema también. Pero la mayoría de los musulmanes no son terroristas y no apoyan el terrorismo, y necesitamos empezar ahí.

Balinski: Perdón por interrumpir. En el pasado ha hablado de que los musulmanes han sido esenciales en a los esfuerzos en contra del terrorismo. ¿Puede elaborar?

McMullin: Absolutamente. Sí, y mire, yo diría primeramente que que los musulmanes han sido más atacados, más muertos, más lastimados por el terrorismo que aún nosotros como americanos, que necesitamos darnos cuenta que muchos más musulmanes han sido muertos por terroristas que americanos de cualquier tipo- musulmán, cristiano, judío, o cualquier otra fe, entonces ellos lo entienden también. La mayoría de los musulmanes están opuestos en contra delal terrorismo entonces necesitamos reconocer eso. Entonces, con eso como base podemos entender que tenemos aliados musulmanes en nuestros esfuerzos contra el terrorismo y sus países y su pueblo, verdad. Cuando yo trabajaba en la CIA habían muchos países que hicieron mucho para ayudarnos y también habían individuos quienes nos ayudaban afuera de lo que hacía su gobierno. Y francamente no podíamos tener ni tenemos éxito sin el apoyo de nuestros aliados y socios musulmanes. Y es porque estaban en la batalla con nosotros- estaban en la lucha con nosotros- o es porque ellos nos permitieron utilizar su lugar donde podíamos basar nuestras fuerzas especiales o operativos CIAs, o fuerzas militares tradicionales. Nos permitieron volar sobre su país en una operación antiterrorista, para tener éxito contra terroristas islamistas, necesitamos el apoyo de musulmanes y ellos nos quieren ayudar porque ellos, la mayoría de ellos también se oponen al terrorismo. Ellos ven que está destruyendo- no destruyendo-, lastimando su fe, y también está creando refugiados quienes son mayormente musulmanes en la región. Ellos lo ven también, y lo quieren resolver. Pero la verdad es que buscan liderazgo de los Estados Unidos- necesitan nuestro liderazgo porque sabemos organizar esos esfuerzos mejor que cualquier otro país y nos ven no guiando ahora y eso ha sido una fuente principal de frustración, y cuando tenemos candidatos presidenciales quienes atacan a los musulmanes y a otras personas basado en su fe, u origen étnico, eso también lastima su disposición de trabajar junto con nosotros, o sienten que no pueden trabajar con nosotros, porque piensan, -¿Qué pasó con América? América no soporta la libertad personal ni la libertad religiosa ni la tolerancia como antes. Estoy hablando mucho de eso, pero es un tema muy importante. Cuando eso pasa, lastima nuestro poder nacional- nuestro poder nacional viene de muchas fuentes diferentes, uno de ellos es nuestros valores principales sobre libertad y la tolerancia que viene con la libertad, libertades religiosas. Otros países ven eso, y dicen que aspiran a eso, otras personas aspiran a eso. Y confían en nosotros como resultado de eso- genera mucha buena voluntad y eso significa que estos países están dispuestos de trabajar con nosotros- confían que vamos a venir, por ejemplo, a basar equipo militar y personal militar en su territorio lo cual es una cosa muy única. La mayoría de países no invitarían el ejército de otro poder principal, especialmente a su propio territorio, porque sería una amenaza a su país. Pero países nos dejan hacer eso, aún piden que lo hagamos, por la buena voluntad que se genera por nuestros ideales, entonces cuando tenemos un candidato presidencial quien está violando esos ideales y quien profana esos ideales es un asalto directo a nuestro poder nacional.

Balinski: Tenemos tiempo paraor solo algunas preguntas más. Este problema es más grande que solo usted, es más grande que cualquier líder singular. ¿Qué pueden hacer americanos cotidianos para ayudar a la causa y combatir contra el crisisla crisis de los refugiados, la guerra contra el terrorismo?

McMullin: Excelente pregunta. La primera cosa es, necesitamos que todo el país esté a favor de que nuestros líderes tengan una estrategia comprensiva para derrotar ISIS y paraor parar lasos atrocidades que Bashar al-Assad está cometiendo en contra del pueblo sirio y paraor ayudar a los países a desarrollar un gobierno gobernanza mejor que les deja menos vulnerable a adquisiciones terroristas que ayudan a crear estoas crisis de refugiados. Tenemos que exigir de nuestros líderes que ellos tengan un plan, y se comprometaen a este plan, porque si no, la situación se va a poner peor. Cada día los refugiados se establecen por todo el país. Las personas deberían encontrar a organizaciones que ayudean refugiados a integrarse a nuestra sociedad, y encontrar trabajo y aprender inglés y todo eso. Todo americano tiene la oportunidad de involucrarse en este esfuerzo, y lo deben hacer. Eso es lo que quiero decir y finalmente en el caso que haya líderes que están atacando a los refugiados y están haciéndoles villanos, necesitamos resistir a esos líderes. Y necesitamos exigir que hablen la verdad, que reconozcan que hay un proceso para examinar a los refugiados y que les cuesta más a las organizaciones terroristas poner terroristas en los Estados Unidos por medio del proceso de los refugiados que por otros medios que son mucho más eficacesz y que tengan una probabilidad más grande, desafortunadamente, de éxito. Necesitamos asegurarnos que nuestros líderes hablan la verdad, porque muchas veces, con mucha frecuencia en los temas de la seguridad nacional y de los refugiados, nuestros líderes responden a una mentalidad de la multitud que ellos han ayudado a generar y no han dicho la verdad a la gente americana. Tenemos que decirlo a estos líderes, y asegurarnos que cuando hagan eso, no pueden salir sin consecuencias.

Balinski: Evan McMullin, muchas gracias.

McMullin: Gracias a usted.