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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, January 4, 2007


Britain's Migrants Vs. America's Illegal Immigrants

"Migrants to the U.K. bring valuable skills and ideas with them and help to fill job vacancies where Britons are unable or unwilling to do so. Their taxes help pay for our public services and our pensions, long after many migrants have returned home. Their presence also helps keep inflation low at a time when there are many forces pushing the other way."
-Susan Anderson, who oversees human resource policies at the Confederation of Business and Industry

Britain's Mexico, so to speak, is Romania, Bulgaria and Poland, to name a few. These recently liberated members of the European Union have done for the British economy what illegal immigration has done for the US economy.

Or has it?

"Migrant workers fill an important gap in the U.K.'s growing labor market,"
-Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Britain's biggest labor group

What's the difference between the influx of Eastern Europeans into England and the influx of Mexicans into the US? I can provide the answer in two words: Health Care.

Whatever your particular feelings about Mexicans strolling across the border into the US, you can't argue with the fact (and, yes, it is a fact) that illegal immigrants, those who the Bush administration said only do the jobs that Americans won't do, actually do stretch our resources to the breaking point. Illegal immigrants, and other working and non-working poor, flood our urban emergency rooms, using already over-taxed ER doctors, nurses and other resources, as their primary care providers.

Like their Eastern European counterparts, they take money out of the economy and send it "home" rather than keeping, and spending it here. However, the former Soviet Satellite citizens (say that one three times fast) are joining a British economy where they are contributing.

Here in the US, a large majority of illegal immigrants are working off the books and not paying taxes. Their only economic contributions are limited to the support they bring to the area businesses where they live and work. The rest goes south.

In England, it appears that the contributions made by their immigrants are different. Both liberals and conservatives, alike, seem to be happy about the influx. With health care assured, these people are being welcomed by businesses, who are using the abundant labor to reduce their overhead; and by unions, who contribute to their numbers. With the British system of Socialized medicine, which includes everyone having the ability to see a doctor when they're sick, there is no need pay these new employees off the books. They contribute right out of the box.

"Of course, any country would be unhappy, they think we take their jobs, and we work cheap. (But) in the back of their minds they know that we have a positive impact on the British market."
-Ovidiu Sarpe, a 59-year-old Romanian refugee and restaurant owner

And a single payer universal health care program is the main reason why most Brits must feel that way.

Here in the USA, the only Western (First) world nation without a nationwide health care program, illegal immigrants come across the border in groves and steal American jobs in a time when we have the smallest percentage of able-bodied Americans working as compared to the possible work-force. (According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 64.4 percent of all non-institutionalized Americans have jobs today, as compared to 67.1 percent in the last four years of the Clinton administration.)

Health care for all will help solve some of the problems which illegal immigration brings to us today. health care for all will make employing all Americans easier - even the ones with sick children. Health care for all will create new jobs because people will be able to take a chance and open that new, small business they have been dreaming of their whole lives.

Imagine an America where Americans will do the jobs that the Busies say Americans won't do. Imagine an America where illegal immigrants find it harder to find work because Americans with health care are employed in those jobs. Imagine an America where every American is employed and all who work are contributing to, not only our economy, but our whole society as well.

-Noah Greenberg

Why Those of Us Who Oppose the Iraq War are the Real Patriots

Here's why that those of us who oppose the Iraq War are the REAL PATRIOTS: The American public has seen through the obfuscation of phony "WMDs" and "Saddam instigating the 9/11 terrorist attack" lies. They have voted out the most virulent hawks and hypocrites this past November. I'm a former Republican and I was one of them. Everyone I personally know, including plenty of other intelligent and truly patriotic Republicans and ex-Republicans, Democrats and Independents, did the same.

Patriots would all deplore and oppose the cowboys who decided to invade Iraq without a plan. Their only result has been to kill 3,000 Americans, slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and turn the entire Muslim world against us—for generations to come. Ninety-eight percent of them were Chickenhawks with no military experience whatsoever. These clueless "Beltway Brains" sent untrained National Guardsmen overseas in a time of potential terrorism and rising damage from global scorching; in a time when the Guard were needed in their home states. And it's not only Guard troops, but too many Reservists and active duty men and women have been asked to give too much, over and over, while Bush's and Cheney's children stay home safely. Our troops are patriots and deserve our respect--but now 3,000 are dead and more than half the living ones are wounded, suffering from post-traumatic stress and disillusioned.

Huge numbers of us who protest this war, including myself, are military veterans. We swore a lifetime oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Bush is the most notorious domestic enemy of the Constitution in U.S. history--and every veteran I know believes this. The president of the local veterans' group I belong to, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, and several other members, are home from the Iraq War--but not unscathed. They are also members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). I'm a Vietnam vet, formerly a career Naval officer. The IVAW are growing stronger in numbers by the day because it's now obvious that more than half the troops on active duty in Iraq are sick of fighting for Bush's lies and want to come home--as soon as possible. So do many of their generals, perhaps most of them.

What are we antiwar patriots doing for the troops in Iraq? We are trying to bring home the ones still alive. Last night I attended a solemn candle-light vigil at Philadelphia's City Hall, mourning the loss of the 3,000th soldier dead for Bush's lies. By nightfall the dead numbered 3,003. Our troops in Iraq are the captives of a government which cares nothing about their well-being; hires crony contractors to give them inadequate supplies, including inadequate food. water and armor. This administration has slashed their veterans' benefits, closed VA hospitals, denied treatment for post-traumatic stress. The Bush administration crimes against our troops are many. This is why one of the IVAW t-shirts reads in bold letters: "FREE OUR TROOPS".

What do we antiwar patriots do for the troops in the meantime? We protest. We write. We make phone calls and send emails. We will travel to Washington--as every patriotic American should on January 27th. Antiwar veterans work in USOs, in VA hospitals and at veterans' centers as volunteers. Antiwar veterans are the ones who make sure homeless veterans and mentally ill returning troops are treated. Liberal antiwar websites enthusiastically urged participation in a recent Christmas phone calling card donation drive. I, and nearly every war protester I know, contributed to this calling card drive which allows injured soldiers to make phone calls. And my son, an antiwar Gulf War vet, furnished $200 worth of calling cards, himself, for the wounded. Working Assets alone sent 153 VA Hospitals $93,000 worth of these phone cards, and many antiwar citizens have been purchasing them on their own since 2003. So many from our local Delaware Valley VFA group signed up to deliver Christmas phone cards to the wounded in hospitals, the hospitals could manage to take only a small percentage of us. Delaware Valley VFA went to three VA Hospitals in and near Philadelphia, and are mentioned in the Working Assets International Newsletter.

-Jenny Hanniver

Bin-Laden's Capture "A Success That Hasn't Occurred Yet"

Five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden is still at large -- but that's not a failure of White House policy, says Homeland Security Advisor Frances Fragos Townsend. As she explained to CNN's White House correspondent Ed Henry:

HENRY: You know, going back to September 2001, the president said, dead or alive, we're going to get him. Still don't have him. I know you are saying there's successes on the war on terror, and there have been. That's a failure.
TOWNSEND: Well, I'm not sure -- it's a success that hasn't occurred yet. I don't know that I view that as a failure.

-Forwarded by Victoria Brownworth from a thought by Justin Rood

In response to US Chief Justice John Roberts concern over the constitutional crisis of low judicial compensation: It is time high governmental officials experienced the current reality of shrinking American job opportunities and stagnant wages.

-Robert Chapman

In response to, "So, Saddam Hussein was tried and executed for causing the deaths of at least 100,000 Iraqis. When does George W. Bush go on trial?" Chris Tennant writes:

To be more accurate about the so-called "execution" of Saddam, he was hanged for the murder of only 148 Iraqis who were accused of being involved in an assassination attempt. He was NOT tried for the crime of GENOCIDE, the most heinous crime of all. And why was he not tried for the genocide of tens of thousands of Kurds? Because the truth would have come out regarding US complicity in that criminal atrocity, not only with respect to providing the lethal means for that genocide but also for their failure to condemn or punish Saddam for the same.

Having said that, I nevertheless agree that GW Bush should be put on trial for the genocide of at least 100,000 Iraqis!!!

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-Noah Greenberg