Letters to Merl
As your wife I stay on the sidelines with your website here, collaborating on topics from behind the scenes. However, I have a topic that I am going to make public. Our 16 year old daughter had a discussion with me the other day concerning a very broad topic that I hope I have inspired more thought within her about. She is distraught at the number of homeless people she has noticed in our small town community and was even more distressed when she got a glimpse at the large number of homeless in a recent trip to a nearby big city.
She explained to me that she believes everyone deserves a house. She believes the government should provide an efficiency apartment and a job to every graduating 18 year old in our country, and if that person wants more in life, they need to work to obtain it. I suggested to her that this is a socialist ideology and queried her on how she believes this could be made to happen. She admitted she had not given this great thought; just that she feels everyone should have a place to live.
She pondered it for a time and came back to me with the thought that the government needs to make more money to make this happen. I was impressed with her thought process here; she stated that companies need to be given an incentive to create more jobs in America and end the move of manufacturing to China then the government would make more money from a larger working tax base and there would be more jobs, so fewer homeless and the government would need less money to make her idea happen. I gave her another item to ponder, how can we inspire companies to move jobs back to America? I got an eye roll and a “mom you make me think too much” but I am awaiting her next tidbit of wisdom.
My question to the public is: “Why can’t we convert the extensive abandoned properties of this country into housing for the homeless/poor/unemployed?” Furthermore, “What keeps us from adjusting our current Social Welfare System to something that would help sustain, as well as motivate, those in need? I am not saying to just give it to them no questions asked. The residents would have to undergo job training, work to maintain the property, and work at a job to earn their rent (a job doing a task assigned by the community such as cleaning the parks, cleaning the highways, repairing government buildings. In the end the desired outcome would be a new start for these residents, making them contributing members of society and also cutting community budgets by having work done by these residents instead of paying to have them done. Don’t we already do this for communities in foreign countries (build housing, schools, job train) through our foreign aid programs?? Why should people in other countries be the only ones to reap these benefits from our hard earned tax dollars? Why do we do so little to help our own in comparison to helping others?
BEFORE I get called a Socialist or an Obama lover, I DO NOT agree with redistribution of wealth. That takes from those who earn and gives to those that, well quite frankly, don’t. What I am saying is:
a. Come up with a way to utilize our under-utilized/abandoned/forgotten infrastructure for the benefit of us all.
b. Take care of our citizens as well as we do those in far off countries.
c. Work toward doing away with the entitled attitude that our system has created in a large segment of the country and give to those with less or nothing. But, and this is a big one - expect those that get to give back! Call it: welfare/homeless/unemployed-to-work
Is it really wrong to give a hand up to those in need and at the same time require that they earn it and work toward a self-sustaining living? I for one think not.
At first blush, I can see the slings and arrows at the ready. Having been partnered with Merl for decades, I have picked up a thing or two about pattern recognition and can therefore, see the concerns. Individual rights, for one, will be the first complaint by the usual suspects (NAACP, ACLU & every other group that purports to “help” minorities). These are the same groups that claim mandatory drug testing for welfare is an infringement on the civil-rights of minorities, just as requiring photo ID for voting would be. They’re silly and everyone knows it. Of course, the unions will also crow at the notion of losing government business to non-union contractors (welfare/homeless/unemployed-to-work workers). Why in the world would we want an unemployed person sweeping the floor when we could have an illegal alien doing it? OH, that’s right – the union doesn’t get their dues that way. In short, of course there will be many, many more to line up and poo-poo on this idea, but just for the fun of it, let’s contemplate it.
When considering guidelines for entering into this arrangement with the government, a series of “qualifications” would have to be met. First, they would have to fall into one of the three categories: a) Homeless, b) Receiving Welfare as their primary source of income and, c) unemployed. Get over that hurdle and you have to pass through one more sieve: a) have no active wants or warrants, b) have no felony convictions (violent or otherwise), c) pass a drug test every 30 days and/or randomly after enrollment. I am not saying that we want only the best of the best; I’m saying that we do not want to create a cesspool in government housing with the worst of the worst. I would find it hard to believe that anyone would think that any of these stipulations would, “infringe on individual/civil rights,” but I’m certain that it would come up. The notion of making people work for a government stipend is a foreign concept to socialists, progressives, leftists and the uber-liberal rich and famous.
There is one more caveat to this program and it is one that I think is necessary but will draw the most fire from the far left & right. I have chosen to address it separately because it will nicely dovetail into the true discussion at the heart of this conversation. Women – married or not & having children or not, would have to agree to be chemically sterilized (at the government’s expense) for the duration of receiving government benefits. Hold on now – before you start typing – I know how that sounds. If we could easily and cheaply do it to men (like we can with women) I would have them sterilized as well. The true reality is that we simply cannot do it to them economically and as effectively as we can with ourselves and as easily reverse the process. Just watch the Springer show or Maury Povich and you’ll understand why this needs to be done. Spend an hour in the local County Assistance office, listen to the stories and watch the picture unfold around you as I have – you’ll understand. Too many babies being born to too many women, by too few men; none of them wanting to be daddies. We need some personal responsibility and we need it to trump individual freedoms.
It is time that the push to support & protect individual rights stops endorsing laziness and protecting criminals. The benefit of the community as a whole must become important once again before the U.S. can regain its greatness.
Our individual rights, freedoms, and liberties make this country great. However those same ideals are, at this moment, destroying America as we know it. Individual rights trump societal rights in every facet anymore lest the community be sued for infringing on the rights of some one. Does anyone out there agree with me that rights of the individual have been taken to an absurd extreme?
So, we have the Puerto Rico vote, the immigration issue, Times Square bombing, the Gulf Oil Spill, Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the nominee and My Big Fat Greek Bailout. Is any of this what He wanted? what's your take on the "State of the Union" now?
Puerto Rico is a boon to the administration. The evidence is in the fact that it was they who were instrumental in crafting the vote in addition to writing the rules for its process (and passage). The Immigration issue, too, is a creation of the current administration. Face it - had the administration done a darn thing about it, Arizona would not have felt the urgency to strike out on their own. Strip the emotion from it and look at it logically: The admin was reducing money flowing to DHS for border control, they cancelled the fence project and they kept making noise that immigration reform was coming... Then came Obamacare and it became all too obvious that immigration reform was not coming in the format Arizonan's were looking for. Faisal Shahzad, or, the nitwit who couldn't ignite cans of gas with road flares, is a pat on the head as much as a kick in the groin for the administration. Again, they couldn't stop an amateur from [trying] to do harm, but they still chalk it up in the "W" column. Doesn't matter if it was his own incompetence that saved lives I guess. Old Shazaam is spilling his guts now, so I suppose we'll capture a bunch more amateurs and take our eye off the ball again. Think back to Dirty Skivvy and Sneaker Killer...
Kagan is just more of the
same. Her experience in the court matches that of here
benefactor; nil, zip, zero, zilch. Why would we expect
her to do a good job with no experience? Dean of this,
Professor of there, Assistant to this and that... All
sounds like a Dr. Seuss story. We'll see if she (and
her boss) stand by her previous view of, "...thorough and
robust discussion during the interview as it's
an opportunity to gain knowledge
and promote public understanding of what the nominee
believes the Court should do and how she would affect its
of Professor Stephan L. Carter's book “The Confirmation
Mess" in the University of Chicago Law Review during the
Spring of 1995.)
I love your term, "My Big Fat Greek Bailout," with your permission, I'd like to co-opt it for later use please. As for the money itself, I'd prefer that we choose to "un-involve ourselves" in the issue. Either the European Union (EU) exists and can support itself, or it can't. If it does - it's great and it should be counted as a financial super power in its own right. However, if it cannot, then there is a problem... The problem cannot be fixed by the U.S. and therefore we should not get involved. In both cases the U.S. has no stake. Now, if we follow the rhetoric [purportedly] coming from Wall St. that the Greek crisis could cause a ripple through the world economy, creating issues in Spain, Italy, Turkey, etc. we are forced to do something; right? My question is then two-fold: 1) Why? Why is it a given that this will happen and why do we care? 2) Who, exactly, is saying this and are their motives purely financial?
So far, even when I leave a little emotion in the debate, I see no reason to insert our country into this disaster. They have done this to themselves by adopting one of the most pervasive socialist "cradle to grave" welfare programs in the world. They have furthered their debt by grasping at every "green" program and philosophy coming down the pike. During the past 15 years they have been passing laws based on the "Make hay while the sun shines" philosophy, investigating little on the long term outcomes of all of their short term views. As well all know, shortsightedness brings unexpected eventualities and loopholes. Both are a recipe for corruption at all levels and in the process, corruption has insinuated itself into every aspect of their government. Lastly, the corruption has extended itself into the daily lives of Greece's population through the rampant expansion of unions... <<Tada sound-effect>>
What have I just described? Anyone.... Anyone?? This is a gosh-darned Greek tragedy (pun intended) and we're setting the U.S. up to tread the same path. The U.K. is right there with us - as is Canada, Portugal, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and many others.
We don't seem poised for learning a lesson from history (the Great Depression), we don't want to look toward the future (no budget referendum, all accounting for bills are B.S.) and we refuse to learn from the results of others doing the same thing (copying a failed carbon trading program in Europe, copying the Greek method of social justice). How can we possibly avoid the exact same fate? Are we so vain as to believe that it won't happen to us because we're... US?
We've been here before and we threw the bums out. FDR took us to the edge but we survived, we term-limited the next comers and we wised up. Wilson and Carter did it too and we responded in kind. For now, we need to wake up - take control and do what needs to be done: Throw all of the incumbents out, term limit the elected officials, cut their pay, kill their retirement, limit their election spending, limit their budgetary spending and only hire qualified people for the support jobs. Remind them that this is a job, not a career and that they serve us!
- Merl -
The media continues to become [less] news than entertainment
which requires us to be more diligent. The Rest,
"Never trust a society to
make good decisions for themselves when they are doing so
out of desperation, emotional reflex or self-preservation."
Who should make it for them? The government, because people
don't know what's best for them? Be careful with your words.
People do this in response to the situation they are in
which causes the emotions which results in the knee jerk
reaction. We are on Animal Farm (allow me my bit of drama)
because the mechanism became greed, the recipients became
greedy, and it was thought that people would always do the
right thing because... well... they should. Laws that
guide us were removed & oversight became lax. The world
changed & the knight came riding in on his unicorn. The rest
is history. We still have the future.
We aren't in heated disagreement here, more of just a bit askew. Probably somewhat due to my hasty replies. No, not under any circumstance would I ever say that the government should be trusted to make our (collective) decision for us. Not during crisis - not ever. That would be tantamount to us shirking our duties because it wasn't convenient.
In the quote of mine you reference, I not offering advice. In fact, I'm not saying anything other than, "Don't be surprised by piss-poor decision making when a society is under severe stress/pressure; history tells us to expect it." Realistically there isn't a whole heck of a lot we can do about it, save, postponing elections during times of crisis. Unfortunately - I don't support that as it is a tactic employed by most oppressive regimes throughout the world. Seriously now, the only defense against emotional voting and knee-jerk reactions is knowledge. Real knowledge, not the crap manufactured in soundbite snippets and blasted into your minds through the TV. My new favorite is the nonsense the spin-control teams inundate the internet with so that it spreads like a virus through social networking sites. I call it: Mass Produced Grass Roots (MPGR) and it's about as genuine as Obama's promise to not raise taxes. I have a few ideas of how to do it (maintain accuracy) but I'll save that for another day.
Well, the dragon (capitalism) slayer, sitting proudly on his white, one-horned steed, has arrived and drawn his sword (disinformation). He has most of his followers convinced that the republicans brought all these financial woes on us even though it was a combination of effects originating with Clinton and perpetuated by the very same democrats who controlled congress (back then) that do now. He doesn't even wink when he says that stuff. He announces to the world that the U.S. (begrudgingly) remains a super power, and thus, must "be there" to provide aid & comfort wherever called... No one is calling for that, only cash. He tells you you're sick, then he gives you the only medicine available (because he's hiding all the other choices). Are you sure that you were even sick? His people break your legs so he can rush in to take care of you. He won't make you well - just well enough to rely on him but otherwise burden those around you. Animal Farm??? Maybe - but I see deeper, longer down the road than that. I also don't necessarily think the future is as bright as you. I hope you're right and I'm wrong.
I address the nominee and immigration issues in other responses to readers. Hopefully that will suffice for now.
Keep writing - keep reading
- Merl -
People wonder why healthcare and healthcare insurance costs are constantly going up. The following is an event we had today.
911 dispatched for a 52 year old female with severe abdominal pain - has had the pain for 2 days and needs immediate assistance. The fire department (VFD - no pay) and ambulance (paid) were sent to the house. Upon arriving the woman's complaint was that she had severe "gas" pains in her abdominal area and when she passed gas it smelled "real bad." Needless to say both crews had a hard time keeping a straight face. The woman wanted to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. This is the second call to the same house and same person in the past month. Each time it is a dire situation and she walks out to the ambulance, gets in, and is taken to the hospital. By the way she doesn't own a car.
We have also been to the same address for her daughter who was having a difficult time breathing yet she had no problem talking with us or the ambulance crew. Again, the daughter walked to the ambulance and went to the hospital.
The ambulance crew warned us that the mother and daughter are "regular" customers for "emergency" calls.
I vote that we stock the ambulances with Gas-X. Overall, I don't think we're going to find a "perfect solution" to cure all that's wrong with our society; certainly not with a heathcare bill. Thanks to all who responded in kind.
Wow. Thank you for taking the time to reply, honestly. It sounds like your kids are engaged in the world, unlike a lot of other families I know of. What I have learned from your writing amazes me. I am in awe of what I don't know and it scares me. Not in a Sci-Fi, the government is taking over our life kind of way, but more of a, "I'm never going to have free time to socialize while I research the truth," kinda way. But it has to be done, I'm heeding your call. Just last night I had a conversation with a group of people that made me sick to my stomach. I was so angered by the fact that most of the people trying to debate politics had all of their information wrong that I actually swore a couple of times. I would stand there shaking my head so much, while waiting my turn to rebut, that I became dizzy. And, when I did get responses, they all sounded like they were stripped from the day's pre-approved soundbites on MSNBC. No one had any facts - they were all vomiting canned liberal dribble in 30 second intervals. Your words resounded in my mind: "USE YOUR BRAINS!! Read, identify clues, seek sources, and follow the information where it takes you - not where you are lead." Words I now live by. My brain thanks you - My social life thinks you are an evil dictator.
Welcome to the rabbit hole.
Take it from me - swearing during a debate is not the way to go. I understand the feeling, but keep your hands and brain inside of the ride at all times. I appreciate the kind words and it pleases me that you managed to find inspiration in my words, now, go forth, prosper and inspire others!
- Merl -
I don't claim to be the smartest person in the world, but I do try very hard to keep up with all that's going on. I've been reading at your site for a while now and I've come up with a list of questions that don't seem to be answered plain enough for me to understand. How is it possible that so much of the stuff that is going wrong has been missed by the media and all of the resources that we rely on to make sure that this stuff doesn't happen? You seemed to predict it, but you made a joke of the whole thing. I mean, no one knew that he was a socialist (or worse) and that he [deep down] hates the U.S. system of capitalism? It seems so obvious now, what happened before? How come the senators and the other house are going along with him? Between you and Glen Beck it seems like this guy is the devil and he's surrounded himself with his evil minions. What am I missing and how did I miss it?
Lost in the midst
Don't take this the wrong way, but, this is going to sting a little:
We missed it because of people like, well - you. I suspect that you define "awhile" as being the amount of time that has passed since you became unhappy with the way things are going and now. Prior to that, you wandered aimlessly through life, surfing the channels as your entertainment level waned and paid little attention to the details of the electoral process. Anything that didn't affect you didn't interest you. Now you are feeling the pressure due to either the crap economy, unemployment, rising healthcare costs, the rising costs of education and/or the fledgling credit markets... Or a combination thereof. Shame on you.
My 12, 14 and 15 year old daughters had the savvy to detect BS during the primary season when Mr. Happy ran around promising rainbows and unicorns for every household. Where were the adults when he was passing out his lucky charms and magic Kool-aid?
Seriously now, a full 50% of his voters were so swept up in the "historical aspect of electing a black man" that they hardly even listened to his speeches. Most couldn't tell you who his running mate was, nor could they tell you what any of his platform promises were. This group contained the party loyalists, the hardcore odd-balls and the first-timers. The remaining 50% voted for him because he wasn't Hillary or Edwards or Richardson or McCain or Bush or anyone else for that matter. They chose the one who wasn't someone they didn't like. Sadly, the media (for the most part) is a business and it is made up of people who almost entirely land in the first category of voters. Let's face it - this election was big business for the media and even they are smart enough not to kill the golden goose (or geese).
I've said it so many times that I'm becoming bored with it: Humans, when under pressure, make awful decisions. Never trust a society to make good decisions for themselves when they are doing so out of desperation, emotional reflex or self-preservation. Two wars, collapsing markets, rising unemployment and a backlash against the incumbent administration was all the pressure Marxist/Socialists (draped in Democratic robes) needed to waltz into power unencumbered.
As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of:
I am in charge of the English-as-a-second-language department at a large southern California high school which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its students average lower socioeconomic and income levels
Most of the schools you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell Gardens, Huntington Park, etc., where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.
Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll -- but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten.
I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight.. About 75% or more DO have cell phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids.
I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; my budget was already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for the computer learning center, half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America..
I have had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students, here in the country less than 3 months, who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them "Putas" (whores ) and throwing things, that the teachers were in tears.
Free medical, free education, free food, day care etc., etc, etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled to not only be in this country but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?
To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.
Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases etc.., etc, etc. For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.
It does, however, have everything to do with culture: It involves an American third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses to assimilate and an American culture that has become so weak and worried about political correctness that we don't have the will to do anything about it.
CHEAP LABOR? Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about? Business don't pay a decent wage because consumers don't want expensive produce. Government will tell you Americans don't want the jobs.
But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase "cheap labor" is a myth, a farce and a lie. There is no such thing as cheaplabor.
Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for $5.00 or 6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax Return, he gets an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200 free.
He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent.
He qualifies for food stamps. He qualifies for free (no deductible, no co-pay) health care. His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school. He requires bilingual teachers and books. He qualifies for relief from high energy bills. If they are, or become, aged, blind or disabled , they qualify for SSI. If qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare . All of this is at (our) taxpayer's expense. He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance. Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material.
He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits.
Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their bills and his.
Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT!
A California school teacher