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Wilson and Our National Character

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Posted on Sep 14, 2009
Rep. Joe Wilson
AP / Harry Hamburg

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. speaks to reporters outside of his office on Capitol Hill a day after he heckled the president.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

If you saw a woman struck by a car, would you call an ambulance right away? Or would you first ask for her papers to make sure she was not an illegal immigrant?

If someone living down the street from you was suffering from the H1N1 flu, wouldn’t you want him to get immediate medical help? Would you rather see him in pain and perhaps spread the disease to others in your neighborhood?

Rep. Joe Wilson deserves all the condemnation he’s received for his boorish behavior during President Barack Obama’s address on health care. No Democrat ever shouted “You lie!” during a George W. Bush speech to Congress.

But at least as consequential for our politics was the issue that moved Wilson to his outburst. Wilson accused Obama of prevarication when the president declared: “There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms—the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”

Obama sandwiched this denial between his knockdowns of two other claims about his health reform plan: the ludicrous charge that it would create death panels, and the accusation, also false, that it would promote abortions. In fact, the administration is negotiating very hard with pro-lifers to make the bill “neutral” on abortion.

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The president included the line about illegal immigrants because he thought, probably correctly, that for many voters, it would be a deal-breaker if they thought that his health proposals would help those who broke the law to come to this country.

Yet it should bother us a lot more than it does that alleged plans to kill off seniors and promote abortion are spoken of in almost the same breath as the matter of delivering health care to fellow human beings, however they arrived on our shores.

For the record, Wilson’s premise is itself untrue: The framers of the health care bill did all they could to make sure it wouldn’t help illegal immigrants. Yes, a few might slip through the cracks and—horrors!—get assistance. But the health reformers wrote language as tough as it could be to make sure this wouldn’t happen, short of creating provisions so draconian that some who are here legally would also be denied coverage.

At least as bad were those on the far right who defended what Wilson did. Rush Limbaugh’s only criticism of Wilson was over the South Carolina congressman’s grudging apology.

“This administration is not your average presidential administration,” Limbaugh declared. “This is not a garden party. This is not a lecture at Harvard or any other university. We are in the process, we are in the midst of an administration that is trying to totally tear down the institutions and traditions that have made this country great.”

And what evidence is there that Obama is tearing down our “institutions and traditions”? There is none, unless you see it as an affront to our traditions that we have our first president whose father was born in Kenya, or that the American people decided to elect someone other than a conservative as our commander in chief. The far right has decided that extremism in assailing Obama is no vice.

As for immigrants who are here illegally, those who go to an emergency room receive medical attention, and they should. No doctor I know, whatever his or her politics, would deny treatment to a sick person on the basis of immigration status.

Forget compassion and consider self-interest. Aren’t you better off if the person working next to you who has a communicable disease has early access to care?

I am not one of those who dismiss Americans concerned about illegal immigration as racists or reactionaries. There are legitimate disagreements as to what we should do about it and problems with extending government programs to those who violate the law to get here.

But I am not at all at peace with the fact that the one issue about which a member of Congress chose to rise up and accuse our president of being a liar related to the charge that our chief executive wasn’t doing enough to build walls between illegal immigrants and health coverage.

How mean-spirited will we allow ourselves to become? How coarsened has our political culture made us? We like to see ourselves as a generous, caring and welcoming nation. Are we losing that part of our character?
   
E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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BeanerECMO's avatar

By BeanerECMO, September 21, 2009 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Alas and alack, no troll, so droll. Anything that is done to have illegals become legal residents while remaining in the US is amnesty; hence head of the line. I know it’s a difficult task, but try to understand.

Report this

By ardee, September 21, 2009 at 3:03 am Link to this comment

Alas, like most of his ilk, Beaner appears to be just another hit and run poster….

Report this

By ardee, September 19, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

BeanerECMO, September 19 at 7:41 am #

Please authenticate your position that Barack Obama has proclaimed that illegal immigrants will be mandated to go to the head of the line….

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BeanerECMO's avatar

By BeanerECMO, September 19, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

No, my real issue is that illegal immigration should be stopped and send them back to go through the regular channels, but BHO has taken that out with his last proclamation that they should all be legalized; i.e., go to the head of the line in front of the people who have and are adhering to the process of legal immigration. You knew amnesty was coming; it was just when would BHO and the Kool-Aid (tm) drinking acolytes finally admit it was their goal.

Do not try to whip guilt on someone who disagrees with a position to which you pay servitude and obeisance. If you read the EMTALA excerpt; there is no end to treatment once begun at the patient’s behest. Besides we want a secular country, which means that anything to do with religion (creationism) is out and evolution is the only way. Consequently, we should support fully the idea of survival of the fittest; i.e., if one can afford to pay for the treatment to survive; then one survives. If one cannot; then… Yes, the argument is specious.

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BeanerECMO's avatar

By BeanerECMO, September 19, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

No, my real issue is that illegal immigration should be stopped and send them back to go through the regular channels, but BHO has taken that out with his last proclamation that they should all be legalized; i.e., go to the head of the line in front of the people who have and are adhering to the process of legal immigration. You knew amnesty was coming; it was just when would BHO and the Kool-Aid (tm) drinking acolytes finally admit it was their goal.

Do try to whip guilt on someone who disagrees with a position to which you pay servitude and obeisance. If you read the EMTALA excerpt; there is no end to treatment once begun at the patient’s behest. Besides we want a secular country, which means that anything to do with religion (creationism) is out and evolution is the only way. Consequently, we should support fully the idea of survival of the fittest; i.e., if one can afford to pay for the treatment to survive; then one survives. If one cannot; then… Yes, the argument is specious.

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By ardee, September 18, 2009 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

BeanerECMO, September 17 at 9:21 pm

So, then, this was just as true under Bush 43 as it will be under Obama?

I cannot help but wonder if you seek to deny such care to human beings, legal or not? Shall we leave them on the street to die?

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BeanerECMO's avatar

By BeanerECMO, September 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

The lie is that unless any of the health bills that come out of congress specifically state that it supersedes EMTALA, then illegals and others will continue to receive emergency care and beyond without having to pay for it. EMTALA - The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, EMTALA) is a United States Act of Congress passed in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. As a result of the act, patients needing emergency treatment can be discharged only under their own informed consent or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment.

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By ardee, September 16, 2009 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

bogi666, September 16 at 4:09 pm #

Calling Obama a liar and not identifying the lie is the same old neocon trick of attacking the messenger because the message, if it even exists, cannot be refuted.

I believe it to be understood that the shouted,“you lie” was in reference to Obama noting that illegal immigrants would not be covered by the health care reform…..

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By bogi666, September 16, 2009 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

Calling Obama a liar and not identifying the lie is the same old neocon trick of attacking the messenger because the message, if it even exists, cannot be refuted. The fact that Wilson received so much praise for calling Obama without identifying the lie speaks of our society, not Wilson. As a society we’ve become so shallow and Americans have lost their dignity while boasting of their pride. The Bible has nothing good to say about pride and it is the bible thumpers who are the most prideful.

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By NABNYC, September 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

The Democrats spent their summer vacation tanning in Europe at the palaces of the corporate CEOs who own them while the Republicans were out rallying the lunatics against any kind of health care program.  Who should we blame for that?  I say the Democrats. 

The Democrats refused to take a stand on behalf of single-payer, or Medicare for All, or at a minimum to adopt Howard Dean’s proposal that anyone over 50 be allowed to buy into Medicare by paying non-profit premiums.  Instead, the Democrats came up with the crazy idea that they would let the Republicans draft the new “health care” reform bill. 

The Democrats are now trying to work with their corporate sponsors to divert the public from the real issue, which is the failure of the Democrats to create a national healthcare program.  For example, this whole “illegal immigrant” debate is just nonsense.  There is a simple way to deal with it:  just come out and say it’s not covered, then ignore the lunatics.

The whole “pre-existing conditions” issue is also nonsense.  The insurance companies may be required to provide coverage, but the Democrats will let them charge whatever they want, which means the people with a pre-existing condition won’t be able to afford insurance. 

We need the option of allowing all people to buy into Medicare, or a non-profit medical care system.  Anything short of that is meaningless.  As is most of the debate about whether we should provide medical care for illegal immigrants.  Of course we should not pass a law saying anybody in the world can come here and get free healthcare.  And of course we will have to continue to pay for emergency medical care for everyone, as the law currently requires.

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By Jenny, September 16, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“We like to see ourselves as a generous, caring and welcoming nation. Are we losing that part of our character?”

We lost that part of our character when Reagan started courting Christian Conservatives, if not earlier.

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By ardee, September 16, 2009 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

A very nice post,ITW, but addressed to one of the seeming legion of hit and run right wingers whose faith in their ideology fails to include sticking around to support it.

I am compelled to note that, given the ability of the current GOP minority to place one obstacle after the other in the path of Democratic attempts at legislation, one must wonder why the Democratic minority, during the years you cite, failed utterly to do anything remotely similar?

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By j., September 16, 2009 at 4:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, EJ.  I would never be mistaken for an immigrant—white, family here for generations—but one of my best friends is undocumented, and he almost died a year ago—was saved by a hospital emergency room.  How could we as a nation want to turn our backs on fellow human beings?  Whatever the complications (funding, etc), it’s basic humanity (and Christian, too) to help those in need…  To think that these people could look my friend in the eye and want to let him die…  Not to mention that his two kids are Americans…

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By Inherit The Wind, September 16, 2009 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

CAROLINAJAY, September 15 at 9:38 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

WE NEED TO REPLACE THE LYING LIBERALS IN CONGRESS.
*******************************************************

You had control of Congress from 1994 to 2006. 
You got us into 3 wars.
You sank the economy.
You trashed our most fundamental freedom, Habeas Corpus.
You gutted anti-pollution regulations.
You changed the bankruptcy laws to help corporations in bankruptcy but hurt individuals in it.
You corrupted Medicare at a cost of 1/2 trillion $
You filled the federal bureaucracy with incompetent, but “politically reliable” 5th columnists.
You gutted worker safety laws.
You gutted the FDA’s power to keep us safe from dangerous drugs.
You changed our schools to teach fantasy and religion as science.
You alienated our friends abroad and delighted our enemies with your idiocy.
You made us unable to deal with REAL international problems by miring us in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You lost the war in Afghanistan when it could have and should have been won.
You created “Corporate Socialism” to spread the wealth among the wealthy—and used tax dollars to do it.

In short, you’ve done everything possible to sink America, economically, politically, militarily, environmentally and internationally.

And you want us to give power BACK to you?  That’s like letting a serial killer loose at a woman’s college.

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By Rafiq, September 16, 2009 at 1:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you saw a woman struck by a car, would you call an ambulance right away? Or would you first ask for her papers to make sure she was not an illegal immigrant?

Stop right there, pal. Do we distinguish between civilians and “unlawful combatants” in Afghanistan before we vaporize them with Made in America bombs? National character? Get out of the beltway, pal.

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By CAROLINAJAY, September 15, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WE NEED TO REPLACE THE LYING LIBERALS IN CONGRESS.

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By Nighthawk, September 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

How funny!

An administration so eager to say “YOUR PAPERS PLEASE.” when it comes to The People exercising First and Second Amendment Rights, while making sure that no provision exists to ask the same of illegal folks that are not paying into the system, and then lying about it!

What an embarrassment.

Then again, some folks appear to be shameless.
Well sure, Obama lied again, but he’s our boy.  Besides, his lies were done with purity of purpose.  It simply has to be done to trick The People into going “our” way.

Speaking of The People.  Looks like it really is a groundswell of anti Obamanomic folks out there.

http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/obama_healthcare_zog/2009/09/14/259999.html

In less than a week we went from the so called 70% support for Obamacare that lying Communists here crowed over, and came to be more like the 30% support for Obama that I truthfully pointed to.
Gee. 

What a difference a couple of million people peacefully assembling in Washington makes, eh?

Finally a Joe Wilson that tells the truth.  Better yet, a whole bunch of truth-loving folks contributed $750,000 to Wilson’s campaign fund, in small increments.  Not like the big corporate and union contributions that go to Democrats.

As long as I’m here, could one of you point me to the “Truthdig” article that rightfully vilifies ACORN and all of its allies/donors for the obviously systemic problems they’ve been having? 

I’m sure Beckophobes have seen the videos exposing the endorsement of prostitution, tax evasion, bank fraud, importation of foreign minors to work in the sex trade, etc, etc.

‘Course, there’s also Obama’s long standing ties to the organization and the Federal funding of it at his party’s behest.

What was it Truman said about the buck stopping?

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By WriterOnTheStorm, September 15, 2009 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

Alas, if there had been but one brave soul shout “You lie” during Gee Dubayew’s
Great American Revenge Roadshow speech, how sweet that would have been.

Was it decorum that inspired Pelosi to take impeachment “off the table”? Where
were the democrats as the Orcs of Mordor descended on Washington this
weekend? Sitting at home smugly rehearsing civility?

Why is it always Team Blue bringing the knife to the gunfight?

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By Folktruther, September 15, 2009 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

Way to go, Dionne!  You reaffirm my faith in earthpeople!  Here is an intellectual hack who routinely equivicates and diffuses the energy of the left actually raising a humanistic and important concern ignored by the Dems and Progressives. It just shows you that no one is entirely bad.  Mostly, yes, but not entirely.

Excluding residents of the US from medical care on the grounds that their papers have expired or that they don’t have any is racist and disgusting.  And has Dionne points out brilliantly (alright maybe not brilliantly but usefully) it is against the intersts of Americans that sick and possibly infectious people be treated as soon as possible.  Otherwise they might infect the White Old Rich Men (WORMs) who run the power system.  Therefore it is even in the interests of the American plutocracy, not to mention the serfs who serve them.

Dionne, I much minded to award you the Folktruther Star of Merit, which has never been given out before.  I’m sure you are anxiously awaiting it.  But consider, if you wrote one good piece, what is to stop you from writing another one?  Maybe this isn’t possible at the Wasthington Post- I wouldn’t know not reading that garbage- but you can do it on Truthdig.  Not only does it cheer up American people like me (all four of us) but you actually serve a useful purpose.  My hat (if I wore one) is off to you.  Have a nice week.

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By BBFmail, September 15, 2009 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

http://www.opednews.com/populum/


September 11, 2009

In Praise of Joe Wilson: What’s Wrong with Calling Out Liars in Congress?

By Dave Lindorff

Liberals are acting all righteous and offended that a member of the Republican opposition, Rep. “Joe” Wilson of South Carolina, would deign to besmirch the “dignity of the presidency” by calling out “Liar!” in the middle of President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening.

But what’s wrong with that? Whatever the veracity of Obama’s claim that his proposed health care “reform” would not pay for the health care of illegal immigrants residing in the US (and one can only hope that statement was fatuous, because at a minimum we would certainly want the government to pay for the care of an illegal immigrant in childbirth, or of an illegal immigrant who came down with a contagious disease), and even if Rep. Wilson is a racist bozo who wrongly thinks or wants to imply that Obama’s plan would be out there enrolling undocumented workers in the millions at taxpayer expense, why shouldn’t members of Congress call out a president if they think he’s lying to them from the podium?

One of the big problems with American democracy is that the presidency has over the years been elevated to the level of a monarchy, with all the imperial trappings and pomposity formerly associated with royalty. Presidents surely should get no more respect than a prime minister, and look at the hoots and catcalls PMs have to endure when they address Parliament in the UK. That’s a good thing.

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By FlyoverCountryBoy, September 14, 2009 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

I think that Wilson’s frustration is reasonable, whatever I might think of his manner of expressing it.

I think that there are a growing number of conservatives, particularly from a Christian perspective, who are simply fed up to a point where they are approaching the breaking point. They are wondering aloud, in increasing numbers, “Can a Christian even vote Democrat?” as posted at http://firebreathingchristian.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/can-a-christian-vote-democrat/

For non-Christians, this might seem like pure right-wing crazy talk, but for a large number of active voters in America, it’s a question that, while often thought, is being asked aloud now more than ever.

Food for thought.

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By ocjim, September 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

The little mind of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) embraced his own nativist propaganda so avidly that when President Obama addressed Congress Wednesday, he shouted “You lie!”

Such are the war casualties of the indoctrinated. Whether muddled thinking, little thinking or no thinking, this is a dangerous time for such minds to grapple with vital economic and environmental reforms.

Certainly our problems require objective wits, not to speak of a full deck of wits. Statements by some really bring the latter into question: the many pretzel-brain twists of Michael Steel, the RNC head; Joe Wilson’s brain-melt/mouth-memo during Obama’s speech before Congress; Sen. Grassley’s illogic in opposing the public option because he said we need choice; Sarah Palin conjuring up 9/11 out of Obama’s speech; or Michelle Bachman suggesting that Democrats somehow bring out the swine flu.

And they are only part of the zoo.

These are some of the leaders that millions of riled Americans have voted for and who monopolize our public forum.

Perhaps psychological testing is in order for prospective candidates for public office and perhaps all politicians should be fitted for lie detectors, with a public feed, of course.

As for the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs and the right-wingers with bulging temple veins, just let them blow. Like errant hurricanes, maybe they’ll go far out to sea.

Then we can concentrate on the fat fingers handling the money behind them.

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By Rodger Lemonde, September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

If Joe the Seditionist represents our character we are
lost. Majority rule is a democratic principle remember.
Not rule for fear of offending squeaky wheels that
whine.

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By NABNYC, September 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Wilson’s statement was accurate, although the substance was confused.  Yes, Obama was lying to the public, but no, the bills do not provide coverage for illegal immigrants. 

Obama was lying, as are all the Democrats, when they claim that they are doing something to help Americans get affordable healthcare.  That is a lie.  Instead, the Democrats have used the threat of “reform” as a weapon to conduct a shakedown of the medical industry, collecting hundreds of millions for themselves in exchange for agreeing that they wouldn’t “reform” the system after all.  The “plan” proposed by Obama will not help the American people.  Not a bit.

Remember that poor lady who stood up and told Obama that once she got breast cancer her premiums were raised to $1800/month, which she could not afford, so she now has no insurance to pay for cancer or any other treatment?  There’s nothing in Obama’s plan to help her.  I guess dead women are not a sufficient concern to the Democrats for them to actually allow the public to join Medicare now, and pay a monthly premium based on a non-profit calculation and ability to pay.

As for illegal immigrants, assuming we did pass a national healthcare system, it should exclude anyone who is not legally in our country except for emergency services, of course.  Emergency rooms by law must treat anyone, and those costs will continue to be paid by taxpayers.  But if we wanted to pay for healthcare for Mexicans, for example, it would make a lot more sense to build clinics in Mexico, where the work would be done a lot cheaper and just as well.  In fact, many Americans are already traveling to Mexico for healthcare, which is obscenely overpriced in this country, so why shouldn’t we pay to build the clinics?

But, no, a national healthcare program should not provide that any person in the world can come here and get free medical treatment.  And that statement doesn’t make me a bad person, just a sane and rational one.  Let’s get real about this. We can’t even get healthcare for ourselves out of our corrupt Democratically-controlled government, so let’s not stew about providing healthcare for free to the entire world.

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

BBFmail,

LoneWacko:

http://24ahead.com/blog/index.html

And his nemesis Urkobold:

http://urkobold.blogspot.com/2008/09/tha-adventures-of-lonewacko.html

(be sure to “click” all of the pages)

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By ardee, September 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

WorldNetDaily cannot even be used to line a birdcage…the darn bird will fly only to the right!

After spouting that “most Americans have no idea more of their fellow citizens – men, women and children – were murdered this year by illegal aliens than the combined death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since those military campaigns began.”

We find this gem:

Though no federal statistics are kept on murders or any other crimes committed by illegal aliens, a number of groups have produced estimates based on data collected from prisons, news reports and independent research.”

Ill bet that those “groups” mentioned all own white sheets and hoods….

Run along now….

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By sophrosyne, September 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wilson is just a stooge for corporate interests and israel.  It is easy to manipulate the morons who support this type of attack.

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By BBFmail, September 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

Another POV on Illegals:

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53103

WND Exclusive INVASION USA

Posted: November 28, 2006
1:00 am Eastern

By Joseph Farah
© 2009 WorldNetDaily.com

WASHINGTON – While the military “quagmire” in Iraq was said to tip the scales of power in the U.S. midterm elections, most Americans have no idea more of their fellow citizens – men, women and children – were murdered this year by illegal aliens than the combined death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since those military campaigns began.

Though no federal statistics are kept on murders or any other crimes committed by illegal aliens, a number of groups have produced estimates based on data collected from prisons, news reports and independent research.

Twelve Americans are murdered every day by illegal aliens, according to statistics released by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. If those numbers are correct, it translates to 4,380 Americans murdered annually by illegal aliens. That’s 21,900 since Sept. 11, 2001.

Total U.S. troop deaths in Iraq as of last week were reported at 2,863. Total U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan during the five years of the Afghan campaign are currently at 289, according to the Department of Defense.

But the carnage wrought by illegal alien murderers represents only a fraction of the pool of blood spilled by American citizens as a result of an open border and un-enforced immigration laws.

While King reports 12 Americans are murdered daily by illegal aliens, he says 13 are killed by drunk illegal alien drivers – for another annual death toll of 4,745. That’s 23,725 since Sept. 11, 2001.

While no one – in or out of government – tracks all U.S. accidents caused by illegal aliens, the statistical and anecdotal evidence suggests many of last year’s 42,636 road deaths involved illegal aliens.

A report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study found 20 percent of fatal accidents involve at least one driver who lacks a valid license. In California, another study showed that those who have never held a valid license are about five times more likely to be involved in a fatal road accident than licensed drivers.

Statistically, that makes them an even greater danger on the road than drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked – and nearly as dangerous as drunk drivers.

King also reports eight American children are victims of sexual abuse by illegal aliens every day – a total of 2,920 annually.

Based on a one-year in-depth study, Deborah Schurman-Kauflin of the Violent Crimes Institute of Atlanta estimates there are about 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each. She analyzed 1,500 cases from January 1999 through April 2006 that included serial rapes, serial murders, sexual homicides and child molestation committed by illegal immigrants.

As the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. increases, so does the number of American victims.

According to Edwin Rubenstien, president of ESR Research Economic Consultants, in Indianapolis in 1980, federal and state correctional facilities held fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. But at the end of 2003, approximately 267,000 illegal aliens were incarcerated in all U.S. jails and prisons.

While the federal government doesn’t track illegal alien murders, illegal alien rapes or illegal alien drunk driving deaths, it has studied illegal aliens incarcerated in U.S. prisons.

In April 2005, the Government Accountability Office released a report on a study of 55,322 illegal aliens incarcerated in federal, state, and local facilities during 2003. It found the following:

  * The 55,322 illegal aliens studied represented a total of 459,614 arrests – some eight arrests per illegal alien;

  * Their arrests represented a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses – some 13 offenses per illegal alien;

  * 36 percent had been arrested at least five times before.

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By Dave24, September 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

People have a right to express free speech: however, Wilson is not a regular
citizen, he is a congressman.  Therefore, he is restricted to the House rules.  So
when a president, no matter his party or ideology, speaks, House members
must abide to said rules.

If Wilson wants to disagree, that’s more than fine: go outside the House
chamber, call over one of the whore Media people, and vent directly to the
American people.  Interrupting the president’s speech is not free speech when
that interruption derives from a member of Congress: it’s a disgusting stain on
the image of the American political theatre.

Wilson can scream and yell and disagree.  But not in the House during a
speech.  I’m sure Wilson wouldn’t appreciate such rudeness if he were
president, which fortunately, remains forever unlikely.

The president addressing members of Congress is not a town hall with average
Americans.  And Wilson should be reprimanded to the fullest extent—even
barred from attending future speeches.

Yell at the Media, yell at pathetic town halls where the minority tries to look
like the majority, and yell in the privacy of your own home—but as an elected
representative, Wilson should show respect for another elected representative,
our president.  There is a time and a place to disagree, and to do so with
substance.  Wilson was wrong for his timing, his lack of civility, and of course,
quite comically, for his fallacious point of view.

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LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, September 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Dionne and Obamapoligists NEED Wilson. They need to divide us into “left” and “right” and deflect our attention toward nonissues while they are ramming through phoney “health care reform” that will be bad for all of us. You don’t have to be on the side of the right wing crazies to see that Obamacare should be stopped dead in it’s tracks. It’s a fraud and a boondoggle, another give-away to the white coller criminal elite, and it will make true universal health care impossible to ever acheive in our lifetimes. We need to kill it now and keep working toward universal health care that will work for the benefit of the people.

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By freedom loving american, September 14, 2009 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

Really the only questioned that needs to be asked, “is she republican”? These worthless, gutless, hatefilled, greedfilled, abominations are destroying our country.  Since 1980 their hatefilled greed has remained unchecked and look where we are? Basically a third world country with cell phones and curly fries.

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By Spiritgirl, September 14, 2009 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

“How mean-spirited will we allow ourselves to become? How coarsened has our political culture made us?”

Please explain when was the last time that the rabid right actually cared about anything other than themselves!  When was the last time that the rabid right didn’t sell out the American people? Never!  These politicians are so busy whoring (yes, whoring) for their corporate masters (for their PAC perks, lobbyest jobs, etc.), that they only give lip service to Americans!  Who is it that always raises the subject that “entitlement programs (such as: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.) are bankrupting this nation” - the political right that’s who!

Our “political culture” became coarsened when Reagan fired the Air Traffic Controllers back in the 1980’s and it’s gotten worse since then!  The “free-market” isn’t free people, it costs jobs, pensions, quality of life, you name it - WE THE PEOPLE are paying dearly for the Corporate Welfare of the few! The truth is that the rabid right has been lying with impunity for years, and far too many non-thinking Americans have continued to follow them (shame on them)!  As for Addison “Joe” Wilson, he’s received almost half a million dollars from the insurance industry - heaven forbid he shouldn’t do the work of his Corporate Masters against the American people that he’s supposed to represent!

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By Paul_GA, September 14, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Perhaps the country would’ve been better off if a Democrat HAD had the guts to yell “You lie!” to the Shrub during a joint-session-of-Congress speech.

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By sami, September 14, 2009 at 8:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No Democrat ever shouted “You lie!” during a George W. Bush speech to Congress.

And therein lies the problem.

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By Baldy, September 14, 2009 at 8:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republicans are right.  We shouldn’t provide care to someone who is in the country illegally.  It’s way to expensive!

So, when your gardener hurts himself mowing you lawn, your tree trimmer falls while shaping your trees or maybe it your house cleaner who slips on the wet floor striking their head on a cabinet causing a massive injury, certainly we don’t want them to receive care at our expense.

But wait, the injury will be fatal if not treated.  What do we do?  We can’t just dump them on the sidewalk to die, that would be unseemly.  The ambulance doesn’t want to take them anywhere as they already have figured out that they won’t be paid, you certainly don’t want them back.  What do we do?

I’ve got it.  We’ll setup a room (airtight for sure)with fake shower heads.  We’ll tell them we are going to give them a shower before we treat them.  We then close the door and administer a life ending gas to slove the problem they have created.  Now don’t get me wrong, this gas must put them to sleep befor it suffocates them.  We want a peaceful death; after all were not barbarians.

Body disposal? Not a problem.  Cremation is cheap and a small paper bag is large enough to hold most remains.  (For important family members a flowered gift bag with a drawstring may be more appropriate.)

As a life long Republican, I can’t understand why people think we don’t have a Final Solution to the immigration health care problem.

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By ardee, September 14, 2009 at 3:43 am Link to this comment

Joe Wilson will receive a bit of negative publicity, countered by a bushel basket of right wing money. Meanwhile the truth will continue to be lost.

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By thebeerdoctor, September 14, 2009 at 1:53 am Link to this comment

The funny thing about rampant greed is that crosses all racial and ethnic lines. What is in reality the American dream?: To make as much money as possible. It does not matter how you get it.
What else can explain why people watch other people playing poker on television?

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 14, 2009 at 1:36 am Link to this comment

“How mean-spirited will we allow ourselves to become? How coarsened has our political culture made us? We like to see ourselves as a generous, caring and welcoming nation. Are we losing that part of our character?”

Please name the last time a conservative gave a damn about anything other than holding onto his money and being mean-spirited?  Greed has taken hold of our country and it will not let go.  They come here, stupid people, because there is more opportunity for them here then in their home countries.  They don’t “love America”.  Most of them would rather be there than here.  But the other part of the American dream is to impoverish their home countries and to keep wages low and benefits non-existent so our corporations can exploit them for their bottom line.  It is all part of the same vicious cycle but they don’t care.  Just keep that old greed comin’.

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By Joe, September 14, 2009 at 12:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First it was Bush distracting us by telling us everything was all right with the economy, and then having everyone in turmoil just before the election so he could pass TARP.  Then it was the Bailouts and Stimulus of Obama with all the added distractions including the beer summit between Gates and the cop.  Now it’s this Joe Wilson outburst on top of the Cash for Clunkers to distract us from this Health Care takeover.  Let’s focus on what’s happening in this country with the enormous debt we are building up and stay on message.  And let’s keep informed at theaveragejoe.us to understand what’s going on.  Check out the debt clock to see where we are today and not be distracted anymore by this silliness.  If the President’s people want to divert attention from the debt and health care debate   maybe they should invite Joe Wilson over to the White House for a beer.  There’s already a rumor that he and Michele have set up a coffee for John and Kate.

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