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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, May 21, 2007

 

What Kind of "Servitude" is This Anyway?

The President says that he is a family-oriented president. There is nothing more important to the new pack of Republicans than the family, or at least that's the image they try to project of themselves. I guess that image doesn't apply to Mexicans immigrants,

One of the major concerns that this new immigration bill, which displeases those on the left and on the right as well, is the part of it which doesn't allow families to reunite. So I guess if Daddy has a skill needed in the US, but Mommy stays home and watches out after the kids, as many on the far right think Mommies should do anyway, then they're just going to have to get used to being apart.

Whatever happened to "It takes a Family?"

It's "virtual servitude, where workers' fates are tied to their employers and their workplace rights are impossible to exercise."
-AFL-CIO President John Sweeney

And trusting industry to "take care of" their workers, without the benefit of real representation, has never been a great idea.

"The similarity between what this bill would do to what Apartheid did in South Africa is astonishing,"
-Ole Pertet, a Kenyan born US citizen and veteran of the current war in Iraq

"The segregationist government of South Africa used black men to work in the coal mines of Johannesburg while enforcing the law which prohibited their wives and children from accompanying them. This created a situation where whatever monies they made were sent back to their families, in effect, bringing these men into forced servitude while and burdening them with an extra household to maintain."
-Pertet

The bill would apply a sort-of guest worker program in the US which would force these new welcomed workers to leave. And what about the premise that these workers should only have "guest" status meaning they should work here, take the jobs away from an American who might be able to, and have to, do that job? How will this affect the lower end of the working American pool. Well, allowing me to answer my own rhetorical questions, It ain't gonna be good!

"America's workers have enough downward pre. The last thing they need now is to have an inflow of millions of more immigrants competing for their jobs at substandard wages."
-Senator Byron Dorgan (DEMOCRAT-ND)

There are some ways to make immigration work in the US. One way is to make those who wish to enter our fair land learn English. At least, in this way, we'll be able to tell who is here legally and who is not.

IMMIGRATION WORKER: I have some questions for you, sir.
IMMIGRANT: Que?
IMMIGRATION WORKER: Okay... You're outta here.

Okay, I'm just partially kidding on that one, but it would be nice if anyone who wanted to work here learned to speak English . (And someday, many of us might learn to speak it as well.) And since we are never going to remove all eleven to twenty million illegal immigrants from our nation, we should attempt to assimilate them as best we can. It should be encouraged that these people bring their families with them. Families bring stability and they bring responsibility. Additionally, families will help keep the dollars which are earned by these people here in the US rather than being sent "back home." If they are here, THIS should be "home".

If we're going to keep the new wave of illegal immigrants out of the US, then we need to do something to get them out of "the jobs Americans won't do." After all, there have always been Americans to do those jobs, so why not now?

High school and college students used to do many of those jobs now performed by Mexican and South American illegal immigrants. When was the last time you saw a bus boy who appeared to be anything but from South of the Border? A simple plan would be to lower their minimum wage (yes, I said LOWER), which would apply to only students (say about five dollars per hour); charge them no taxes whatsoever to high school and college students (up to a pre-determined amount, along with a time limit of about 20 hours per week); and make sure that all of the laws in regard to this program are followed. Working builds character and our students need that.

If we're going to allow those who are now illegal immigrants to stay in our nation, they should contribute to our society, not be a drain on it.

-Noah Greenberg



SPEAKING ILL OF THE DEAD
by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2007 Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.


Rev. Jerry Falwell, one of the leaders of the Religious Right in America, died on May 15th of heart failure. He was 73.

Falwell founded the Moral Majority in 1979 with other evangelicals--

James Kennedy, Pat Robertson and Tim LaHaye. The Moral Majority’s focus was family. Falwell asserted that there were two main threats to the family in America: abortion and homosexuality.

In the days since his death, there have been many eulogizing him for his strength and leadership and devotion. The Republican candidates for president have been particularly effusive. John McCain once called Falwell an “agent of intolerance,” back before he was kissing the boots of the extremist right. But in yet another tribute to how lost his integrity is, McCain called Falwell, "a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country."

Mitt Romney, apparently forgetting that Falwell considers Mormonism a cult, said, “The legacy of his important work will continue through his many
ministries where he put his faith into action."

And Rudy Giuliani, who is losing ground with the right, asserted, "He was a man who set a direction. We all have great respect for him."

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, arguably the most prominent leader of the Religious Right today and an advisor to President Bush, said, “"He was a pioneer whose legacy, marked by courage and candor, blazed the trail for all men and women of conviction to engage--boldly--on the great questions of our day."

Those “questions” that Perkins alludes to have been consistent for Falwell over the years: segregation, abortion, homosexuality. Thus the civil rights of blacks, women and queers have come under fire from him, as has anyone in solidarity with the quest for unity and change.

My maternal grandmother used to say, “Don’t speak ill of the dead.” But the dead are no different from the living–there’s no need to “protect” them or others from the truth. And the truth is, Jerry Falwell was a life-long bigot and hatemonger who cloaked his hatred in the guise of Christianity. Yet many who felt the scourge of his vengefulness believe he deserves to burn in hell, rather than ascend to the heaven he preached was reserved for only a very select few.

So while some claim that Falwell was a righteous Christian, I’d like people to remember that Falwell was a vicious segregationist and a virulent homophobe who also believed women were second-class citizens.

After one of the worst tragedies ever to befall America, the 9/11 attacks, Falwell said on national TV: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say 'You helped this happen.’”

A few days later, after a palpable outrage forced the issue, Falwell said he “mis-spoke.” He never apologized for the substance of his remarks, however.

Falwell’s rebuke should have shocked no one. For decades Falwell, a Southerner, had preached segregation from the pulpit with a vengeance. He blasted changes from the U.S. Supreme Court, that led to integration, which he was adamantly against. Falwell slammed the High Court with this statement, part of a larger sermon to his flock on the evils of integration: "If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God's word and had desired to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision (Brown v. Topeka Board of Education) would never have been made. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line. The true Negro does not want integration. He realizes his potential is far better among his own race."

Of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whom he had referred to as a Communist, Falwell declared: “I must personally say that I do question the sincerity and nonviolent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, who are known to have left-wing associations. It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed."

Falwell was known to have worked with former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in the smear campaign against King.

Falwell believed women needed to stay “in their place” and that their place was second to men. He was anti-feminist and blamed feminism for what he perceived as the destruction of the American family. Falwell noted, "I listen to feminists and all these radical gals. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men; that's their problem."

Jerry Falwell preached bigotry all his life. In the end the Reverend Falwell leaves not a legacy of Christian fellowship like King did, but leaves instead the stain of hatred and divisiveness. Neither he nor his ministry of hate will be missed.



In response to, "The trailers are considered safe for weekend outings but, under the hot sun of the gulf coast, have become "human Petri dishes" and the children of the gulf coast are the guinea pigs. Formaldehyde is used in the construction of the trailers and the substance is released from the glue in the particle boards under the intense heat.
"So we have trailers that would be OK for use in Minnesota in the winter, going to the Gulf Coast where it's always summer..., David W. Writes

There was an article around the time of Katrina that said that if Bush had wanted to screw things he couldn't have done much worse.

Timing is everything. Last week I was listening to Jack Clark, doing a podcast about something that totally dovetails with what you mention about FEMA trailers. Just as the EPA under Bush was telling NYC residents the air around Ground Zero was fine, (when it wasn't) now we have OSHA, under Bush, allowing unsafe working condition in the work place--and people are getting sick and dying as a result. (Listen to the Podcast at http://www.therationalradical.com/podcast.html)



In response to, "By the way, a related AOL poll has George W. Bush listed as a worse president than Jimmy Carter by nearly a two-to-one margin (62 percent to 38 percent)," David W. writes"

Don't forget to mention that AOL consistently skews towards the Conservative side in all these polls... so, if an AOL poll shows Bush as worse than Carter by 2 to 1, then nearly any poll would have Carter beating Bush by 3 to 1 or more.


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-Noah Greenberg