And I'm sure someone reading thinks, "Good! Damn immigrants!"
Immigrants aren't the problem. Whatever you think they're doing, if you look at it, they're not the problem. "They're taking our jobs!" Well they're usually doing jobs no one wants and if you're bothered by the jobs they're hired for, try to remember that they aren't hiring themselves. So if that's your problem it goes to who's employing them.
"They're changing my country!"
Yes, they are. And that's a good thing. I'm Irish. Irish people who came to the US changed it. All immigrants do. It's a way for us to grow and be something bigger and better. I understand that when immigrants speak another language it can be frightening. That's not sarcasm. It really can be. While, in Europe, people speak many different languages, in this country we generally don't. And the idea that you're, say, 52 and you're afraid you're going to have to learn a new language, I bet that is scary.
But the reality is you don't have to. English is the language we use. You might want to learn another language or some words from it if you're fortunate enough to be friends with someone who speaks another language.
And I think a lot of the fear of immigrants results (a) from misunderstandings and (b) from people who could explain instead making a point to ridicule people who are frightened.
I don't make fun of people who are frightened. I assume most of us want to be happy and want that for others. And when someone frightens us, it's usually because we feel threatened in some way. And usually we don't need to feel that way and we can get that if we talk it through and think it through.
Anyway, Kate Randall (WSWS) reports:
A six-day sweep by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has resulted in the arrest of more than 3,100 immigrants. The nationwide “Cross Check” operation, the largest such sweep to date, involved more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents in all 50 states, as well as Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and several US territories.
Since the Obama administration initiated “Cross Check,” seven regional and three nationwide sweeps have resulted in more than 7,400 arrests. Those arrested have included both documented and undocumented immigrants, those with criminal records, and individuals who have illegally re-entered the US after being removed by authorities.
The government claims to be targeting immigrants wanted for serious criminal offenses. But immigrant advocates argue that the sweeps are being used as a general deportation tool to round up large numbers of immigrants who have come to the US in search of work, but who have been unable to navigate the bureaucratic and costly immigration system. Also included among those swept up are individuals charged with traffic offenses or accused of petty crimes, such as shoplifting.
I don't know Latinos who think well of him. The ones I know from growing up (our Church is big on immigration and we've always had a large percent as a result) can't believe that when you do the numbers Bush was better for immigrants. They'll ask why people don't get that? And I'll just shrug and say, "They seem really determined to self-delude." And a lot of people do want that because Barack is not a friend of immigrants (unless they're his own family, in which case, convicted of this or that doesn't matter, they get to stay in the country).
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
I was privileged to present the coordinating committee's draft of the Action Plan to UNAC's national conference in Stamford, Connecticut, this past weekend. "This action plan does not just target some U.S. wars," said the committee's statement. "It does not target the currently unpopular wars. It does not shy away from condemning wars that remain acceptable to half the population because the real reasons for them are obscured in the rhetoric of humanitarian intervention. It does not advocate that we avoid putting U.S. boots on the ground by mounting embargoes that bring economic devastation on the peoples of Iran. It does not condone war by other, more sanitized, means. It does not cheer on wars that minimize U.S. combat deaths by the use of robotic unmanned planes or the highly trained murder squads of the Joint Special Operations Command. It does not see war by mercenary as somehow less threatening to the peoples of the world and the U.S. than war by economic draft. It does not give credit to Washington for removing brigades from one country in order to deploy them in the next."
The document demands an end to "all wars, interventions, targeted assassinations and occupations" and U.S. withdrawal from "NATO and all other interventionist military alliances."
UNAC's reasoning is rooted in the principle that all the world's peoples have the inherent right to self-determination, to pursue their own destinies -- the foundation of relations among peoples, enshrined in international law but daily violated by the United States.
Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:
- "compromise" the "unity" of the state;
- subscribe, participate, negotiate, promote, contract or deal with an enemy … in order to destabilize security and public order or expose the country to danger;
- damage, cause defects, or hinder [systems or networks] belonging to security military, or intelligence authorities with a deliberate intention to harm [state security].
- promote "ideas which are disruptive to public order";
- "implement terrorist operations under fake names or to facilitate communication with members or leaders of terrorist groups";
- "promote terrorist activites and ideologies or to publish information regarding the manufacturing, preparation and implementation of flammable or explosive devices, or any tools or materials used in the planning or execution of terrorist acts";
- facilitate or promote human trafficking "in any form";
- engage in "trafficking, promoting or facilitating the abuse of drugs".
Today Alice Fordham (Washington Post) reports on attempts to curb speech in Iraq where bills are being considered that could imprison people who criticize the government or make new requirements/hurdles for demonstrating. She speaks with Iraqi blogger Hayder Hamzoz:
The law also contains a sentence of life imprisonment for using computers or social networks to compromise "the independence of the state or its unity, integrity, safety."
Hamzoz, who does not use his real name out of concern for his safety, said he believes the legislationis intended to allow the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to control social media. The government essentially did just that more than a year ago, when it swiftly smothered an uprising inspired by the Arab Spring revolts sweeping the region.
"It's to attack the activists," he said.
Wednesday, April 4th,
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
2012 (202) 224-2834
TOMORROW: Murray in Spokane with VA Health Officials to Host Roundtable Discussion with Local Veterans, Tour Homeless Veterans Facility
Veterans will discuss experiences with homelessness, mental health issues, and transition
(Washington, D.C.) – Tomorrow, Thursday, April 5th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray will hold a roundtable discussion with VA officials and local veterans in Spokane to discuss a range of topics including veterans homelessness, issues specific to female veterans, mental health, basic service problems in rural Washington, and transition. Following the roundtable, Senator Murray and Dr. Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs, will tour the Spokane Veterans Homelessness Outreach Center. Senator Murray will discuss her efforts to improve veterans care and benefits nationwide, and will use the stories and suggestions she hears on Thursday to fight for local veterans in Washington, D.C.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Dr. Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs
Dr. Bastian, Chief of Behavioral Health at the SVAMC
Julie Liss, Women's Veterans Coordinator at the SVAMC
John Davis, Program Coordinator, Healthcare for Homeless Veterans
Monica Giles, Program Coordinator at the SVAMC
WHAT: Roundtable with local veterans and service providers about the difficulties they face in regards to:
homelessness, women veteran's issues, mental health, and transition.
WHEN: TOMORROW: THURSDAY, April 5, 2012
Roundtable begins at 12:00 PM PT, tour will take place immediately following roundtable
WHERE: Spokane Veterans Homelessness Outreach Center
705 W. Second Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201-4412
On the topic of PTSD, Randy Griffith (Tribune-Democrat) explains, "There are three general characteristics of the disorder, Zitnay said. They are re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance and hyper-arousal. Those with PTSD re-experience the event through nightmares, flashbacks and increased anxiety when reminded of the event. Avoidance is characterized by seclusion, amnesia of the incident and taking pains to stay away from locations, people or objects associated with the trauma." Shuka Kalantari (KALW) reports on PTSD by speaking to Iraqi refugee Jasmine who studies engineering in California.
Shuka Kalantari: Jasmine remembers one of those flashbacks. She was at a women's studies class at her college in San Jose. They were watching a documentary about a war in Chile. After the film, the teacher asked students to try and imagine how their life would be if they lived in war.
Jasmine: So she tried like to make the student feel like the feelings of these people. So she stated [. . .] to the class, "You imagine that you lost your husband." As she came to me, "You imagine that they tried to kidnap you."
Shuka Kalantari: Jasmine didn't have to imagine.
Jasmine: I feel like I'm out of air. I left the class and I remained outside -- for over like 20 hours just like crying in a way.
Shuka Kalantari: For the next her mind was flooded with bad memories. She said that even seemingly unrelated things would trigger her symptoms.
Jasmine: Sometimes like part of songs would make me like really like sad and depression if something happened to me. I feel like I'm out of the war for a couple of days.
Shuka Kalantari speaks to the Center for Survivors of Torture's Dr. James Livingston who explains PTSD is fairly common among those forced to flee their homes. Jasmine's father was shot dead in Baghdad and she left the country when it appeared she was being targeted for kidnapping.
Chaplain: Steve Dudnas: I am Lt Commander Steve Dundas. I've been in the military 30 years, the Navy since 1999. When we got to Iraq our mission was to support US Marine Corps and Army advisers across the entire Al Anbar Province. These teams were out by themselves and they would very seldom if ever see a chaplain because of their isolation. I would go out and provide counseling, religious services. The hardest parts of the deployment? One, I've had a lot of experience as a trauma department chaplain and seen a lot of death. But when I got there and actually saw our wounded Marines and soldiers, prayed with them, anointed them, that was one of the really hard things -- was to see what war does to these warriors. I had studied a lot about PTSD and dealt with Marines who had it. I thought I was pretty much untouchable to it because I thought I'd seen everything. But I was really surprised by some of the things I saw and the impact that they had. The sites, the smells especially. The exhaustion. The travel. We went through some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq. Occasionally got shot at. And there was always an understanding that al Qaeda had chaplains at the top of their target list. When I came back to the States, I just felt so disconnected from people, church. I didn't even know if God still existed. And that was one of the most painful parts of my life. Prayer became really hard. Just going -- Doing life became really hard. I was depressed, angry, on edge all of the time. Finally, our medical officer did an assessment and was convinced that I was really starting to suffer PTSD and got me connected with the Deployment Health Clinic at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center and I started seeing a therapist there trying to figure out how to deal with my experiences. For me, writing is something that allows me to work through things and if I didn't write them out [they] would gnaw at me. And some of that deals with my own struggles with PTSD and faith, some of it deals with how I see the world now, and part of it are those things that are part of me: my dad, growing up, baseball. About the only place I can be in a crowd of people and still feel really safe is at a baseball game. And part of it is just the way the diamond's laid out and just the peacefulness of it. My role as a chaplain is to provide the spiritual support as they make this journey and as they begin to open up about what they've gone through. But many times, it requires more than just the chaplain. And so, I'll say, I know it's scary but I think that you need to seek the help of a mental health professional because it's a way to get better. And I tell them my experiences which are good experiences with both the therapists I've had. That they understood and they didn't push me to some track that I was unable to go to. I realize that you can't go back, you can't go back to what you were, you have to adapt to what you are. Do you want to be healthy? Yes. Do you want to be well adjusted? Yes. Does that mean you're going to be the same person you were before you went to war? No. Nobody is. But that's okay if we open ourselves up to get help. It's not something that we're going to be better overnight. What it will be though is a step on the way to healing, a step on the way to integrating those experiences with our daily life now. I don't think it is weakness to seek help. In fact, I think it's a sign of strength. I think it's a sign that you want to move forward. And what I hope is that when I spend time with people, when I share with people, when I listen to people, that I can help them to begin that process if they haven't already started. And to encourage them if they're already getting some therapy. Provide that extra bit of support, that extra bit of connection so that they don't feel that they're alone.
the associated press
sameer n. yacoub
the kurdish globe