Sunday, September 29, 2013

How Did Healthcare Get Into this Mess?

It's time to unload the paperwork burden from doctors
Okay, I know if I say Obamacare is a bad idea, my friends on the left are going to jump me and say I don't understand what it's like to be without healthcare and I hate the poor and want children to die.

First, I'm the poster child for the person without healthcare.  I have to get mine through the few doctors who will even accept someone without health insurance.  I have to pay through the nose so they can afford the two clerks and the confiscatory malpractice insurance and they can't tell their insurance guy they even treated someone like me or they could lose their malpractice insurance. Someone like me who is poor is expected to be lawsuit happy.  I don't sue docs for honest mistakes, but they don't know that, so I pay the price for the greed of others.  I should be singing and dancing over the coming of Obamacare.  I'm not!

How in the world did we get into this mess?  Once upon a time you could go down to the doc, pay for what you needed and move along.  Sometimes doctors took pity on patients who were in financial trouble and gave them free treatment to tide them over.  An OB/GYN once saved my wife's life by donating his services to do a surgery that removed a volleyball sized tumor when we were temporarily without health insurance.  He can no longer do that. It's against the law because it's seen as a discriminatory practice for the doctor to choose to not charge some needy patients and charge others patients who can pay. Apparently only the government is allowed to give things away these days.

That's unfortunate because it prevents physicians from doing what they studied all those years to do - help sick people.  The problem with health care started in two areas. 
  •  First, as a wealthy nation we were able to treat ourselves with all sorts of evil delights from fried Twinkies to five nights a week fast food. It's little wonder our lifespans didn't climb as fast as we thought it should, even though it's nearly doubled over just the past century. 
  • The second problem was that we expected medical science's technological miracles to keep up the pace they started out at with wonder drugs, penicillin and amazing new surgeries. If they had no answers, we didn't believe them. If they tried something and failed, we assumed they were being malicious.
What happened next was we got mad if the doctors couldn't cure us of everything simply because we expected them too. After all the media made the new medicine men seem like magicians. If they failed us, we sought a way to punish them. A burgeoning crowd of newly minted lawyers looking for work obliged. Juries decided to give lottery level winnings to people who sue hospitals and the race was on. With more lawyers than a society could afford, they started going into politics until the legislatures and congress were so full of lawyers, you couldn't throw a lobbyist without hitting one.

Lawyers passed laws or refused to pass laws in order to protect their quite lucrative business of suing doctors and hospitals. To protect themselves, everyone in the medical business got insured and, as everyone knows, the medical systems circled the wagons and got themselves another bunch of lawyers. Then the government got into it and instead of making things better added a lot of paperwork and whole new federal agencies stuffed with bureaucrats, lawyers and poli-sci majors.

With all these lawyers and bureaucrats to feed, guess who paid at the pump for their fodder?

That's right. You and me. So tell me how adding more government and more trained lawyers and politicians to this mess is going to make it LESS expensive. The meme is that evil insurance companies shouldn't make evil profits off sick people. One guy even told me NOBODY should make profits off of sick people.

And why not? Lawyers do. Doctors do. Hospitals do. Even the government does - how else do you think they'd be able to pay all those new Obamacare bureaucrats. It would be a lot cheaper if healthcare was between you and your doctor, but that ain't happening anymore. It hasn't happened since the days of house calls and paying for a doctor's visit with live chickens. Too many people have stuck a hose into the medical industry and are siphoning off consumer dollars.  Like pirates driving up the cost of shipping, these medical industry parasites drive up the cost of healthcare year after year.

For every doctor and nurse actually practicing medicine, there are 50 clerks, administrators, managers, lawyers, politicians, IRS agents, bureaucrats and hangers-on taking a piece out of the sick person's wallet. They are all making a "profit".  Don't believe it?  Ask any of them if they are working as volunteers?  The bureaucrats know the cash cow is nearly drained, that's why they have gone to the government for funding.  Like one liberal told me once, if a government program runs out of money, they just go get more printed. That's why the IRS is being given the power to reach into your bank account under Obamacare and withdraw money without your permission to pay for your healthcare. Where else did you think all that money was coming from for the hundreds of thousands of new Obamacare bureaucrats?

They tell me that Conservative's don't have a plan to fix healthcare.  We actually do.  The plan is to QUIT TRYING TO FIX HEALTHCARE!  Butt out. Get the government out of the healthcare business as much as you can. Make lawsuits less lucrative. Restore the ability of doctors to do pro bono work and to manage their own practices without interference.  How's that not a plan?

Government is not the solution to every problem, especially when it comes to healthcare. I should be able to go down to my doc's, pay 30 or 40 bucks directly to him and get my blood pressure meds re-upped. After all, I can go down to that evil Wal-Mart and buy three month's worth of my prescriptions for ten bucks apiece. But nooooooo. My doc has to charge me $125, do a lot of unnecessary tests to protect himself in case I decide to sue him and pay two extra clerks to do the paperwork on my "case". The tests themselves can cost me another $250. I can't afford that. I have a friend who's a doc who absolutely retired in sheer frustration at having to charge his patients so much money when he knows he could do the same job for a third the cost or less.

And the leftists who love Obamacare, all seem to want to shut down my WalMart to boot. That's stupid! Wally World's $4 generic prescription drug program has done more to help poor people like me with their prescriptions than the federal government ever did‼

If the feds would stop meddling and let docs go independent and make their own decisions about how to care for their patients, you'd see a huge change. It'll be painful for folks to have to start taking responsibility for their own healthcare, but it just may inspire them to get off their duffs and do a little roadwork or eat a vegetable once in a while. There's nothing for bringing a little frugality to healthcare like having to pay for things out of your own pocket.  Best way in the world for stopping waste and fraud - to let consumers make their own decisions about which doc and which healthcare system they want to patronize.


© 2013 by Tom King

Thursday, September 26, 2013

One More Time: The Koch Brothers Aren't Paying Off Tea Party People.

"Dangerous" Tea Partiers - tough looking group, huh?
I'm sick to death of progressive socialists and liberals claiming the Tea Party is being run by the Koch Brothers and Rupert Murdoch.  That's the stupidest thing I ever heard. Maybe they support some conservative think tanks, some TV programs or whatever, but front line Tea Party people aren't getting a dime to support conservative cause.  We truly believe this stuff.  That completely befuddles liberals.

Liberals really do think we're all being paid off by evil corporations.  So where do I go to get my check? I don't know one single person who's ever been paid by a corporation to support the Tea Party.  

First of all there is no organized "Party". We're a loosely disorganized gang of cranky old conservatives who have a few get togethers once in a while to gripe about the liberal agenda. We all drive ourselves to those meetings on our own dime. We don't get bussed to Washington by anybody, much less the evil Koch brothers. It's such an unbelievable load of BS. 

The last time I was in Washington, however, I witnessed about 5000 people marching on the capitol with nice printed signs and everything. They were served meals by union sponsors. They rode free buses into Washington for the Rally. I went back later that day and the National Mall was a mess where they'd been.  Want to guess where their funding came from?

I also saw a "Tea Party" rally in Austin. Everyone car-pooled or drove themselves. We brought our own lunch, made our own signs and I sure as hell never saw anybody issuing paychecks to any of us. and we cleaned up after ourselves.  The Union guys left the place a wreck after the Washington rally.  The bankrollers of the event paid to have it cleaned up.

But that's how progressives do it, so they assume, since they're being bankrolled by billionaires, we conservatives all must be too. I could care less what the Koch brothers do. You can check my weblog. I've been howling about this stuff for years. I have hundreds of blog posts supporting conservative causes. Nobody EVER paid me to write them. People read my stuff because they are interested in the subject matter. I make a few bucks on Google advertising, but writing this stuff is nowhere near worth the time and effort I put into it. That's what liberals don't get about the Tea Party. We're not shills from some corporate hedge fund crook who broke the Bank of England and bankrupted small Eastern European countries after a career in WWII of collaborating with the Nazis. We're just regularly raggedy people who want to be left alone to do our business and take care of our families without interference from the government.

This Koch brothers nonsense is nothing but a smoke screeen to cover how deeply beholden the leftist organizations in this country are to funding from the likes of George Soros and his ilk. The corporate cronies of the president get all kinds of favors from him, from massive government loans to bailouts to businesses that claim to be too big to fail.  Those evil corporations pull his strings far more thoroughly than any right wing "agitator" does with conservatives.  Some of the worst of them sit on his cabinet or act as his "advisors". 

Conservatives are not, as a rule, very obedient people. Not good citizen candidates for the socialist utopia the progressives are planning.  We've been pitching the damned tea in the bay for more than 200 years now -- whenever the government gets too big for its britches. And we will not go quietly into any socialist utopia you care to design. We've seen the gulags and the gas ovens at the end of that road thank you very much.

© 2013 by Tom King

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Governments React Badly to Truths That are Really Inconvenient

1945 photo by James Gaussman, Army Pilot
I saw a post yesterday about efforts by the Chinese government to hide the fact that there are pyramids in China, complete with mummies, many of which have inconveniently Caucasian features. The Chinese government has planted forests and briar thickets over them and knocked parts of the structures down in order to obscure them.  The party line for ages has been that they do not exist or that only a few of the more "Chinese" ones - emperor tombs covered in the official histories. The photograph to the left was taken in 1945 by an American pilot, James Gaussman, of one very large pyramid that no one has quite been able to find since.  There are a lot of esoteric theories about the Chinese pyramids.  The Chinese government only says they have not been studied yet. Despite evidence of their existence, the Communists aren't much interested in talking about them.

Someone who read the post I saw had the temerity to ask, "Why?"

Since that person was an avowed progressive socialist, I thought I might answer the question and perhaps provide enlightenment as well.

So what is the point of the Chinese government hiding their ancient pyramids? Wouldn't it be a great archeological find and gateway to the door of their past as a nation?


Aerial view of Chinese Pyramid network
That's precisely why they're hiding them.  The reason is simple. The existence of pyramids and Caucasians in ancient China, perhaps even as partial ancestors to the Chinese people, does not fit the narrative of the Middle Kingdom, an idea fostered in Chinese culture. Unforseen new "history" could be extremely inconvenient for the government and such governments as that which runs China have an almost pathological need to control the flow of information. China's bosses have a solidly set narrative about how things are and ought to be and they don't like surprises, even archaeological ones.

Henry Kissinger called this narrative "The Middle Kingdom Syndrome".  Chinese civilization has evolved into something like The Matrix.  While China is notorious for stealing ideas from other nations, they do so without any guilt about it. They don't see it as stealing. The Chinese do not merely copy external ideas or even external realities. They use these ideas and resources to create an ongoing reality that serves the notion of the superiority and privilege of the Middle Kingdom (China). The Middle Kingdom believes they have a right to anything they want or need, whether it be stolen satellite technology or a permanent trade imbalance in their favor. They believe the universe supplies the Middle Kingdom with what they need be it goods, technology, money, land or opportunities and see no problem with reaching out and taking these things when they obligingly present themselves.

Chinese leaders, the rightful rulers of the Middle Kingdom as they see it, believe this implicitly.  This is not propaganda, it's an article of faith with them.  China does not, for instance, see itself as "catching up" with modern technology.  Modern technology is simply providing itself to China in service to the Middle Kingdom's rightful destiny - as is only right and proper that it should.

Such delusional thinking is a problem with ANY large and intrusive government with vast power. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell both covered this problem in their books, "Brave New World" and "1984".  When you concentrate power in the hands of a few, those few, in order to cling to that power, must create a narrative - even a false history if necessary - to justify their continuing hold on all that power. This narrative must support their right to intrude on the lives of their subjects.  Anything which does not "fit" the narrative must be suppressed. 

The problem for them in the modern world is that people are not naive enough to let them get away with setting themselves up as gods with the divine right to tell the rest of us what to do.
Stalin and Mao were probably the last to get away with doing so. President Obama's supporters would like to make him a Messiah figure, but most Americans are having none of it.  We know too much. We have too many different faiths for any leader to misuse religion to bolster his own power as the pharoahs and the Roman emperors used to. 

An alternative path to god-like power, then, is to destroy faith in anything except government and its more charismatic leaders.  They may allow a few religions which make a minor deity of government, but faith in something greater than themselves must be beaten down and made a mockery of.  As I've said many times, the problem with this world is not religion.  It's government.

These pyramids loom unmistakably real over the Chinese landscape
The first thing a government which has achieved great power must do is either suppress or co-opt any existing system of faith which does not acknowledge the government as supreme.  Any theology or philosophy which might ask awkward questions about the government must be suppressed or ridiculed into impotence.  That's why communist governments are so militantly atheist. If there is no God, then there is no one greater than themselves and thus, none to challenge the powers-that-be.

So it's no surprise the Middle Kingdom would react badly to the news that history might be rather different than the historical doctrine taught in their carefully constructed textbooks. Nations like the Soviet Union and Communist China, as well as WWII Japan and Germany, had to act as ruthlessly as they did against anyone who challenged the right of their leaders to exercise power as they did - no matter that it might be their own citizens they had to ship off to gulags, internment camps, "mental" hospitals and prisons.

A government serves its people so long as its power is limited.  As well-meaning people try to extend the power of government in order to make the lives of all citizens "better", the process inevitably reaches a tipping point - a point of no return if you will. You can see it approaching. The signs look something like this:

  1. A movement begins that promises to change the world for the better - usually to make the lives of a powerful bloc of citizens better.
  2. True believers in the movement worm their way into public office with promises of rewards for "the people" if they support them.
  3. The movement co-opts the universities and turns them into propaganda machines, teaching students how to think properly; training more true believers who train more true believers and on and on.
  4. The media, trained in pro-movement universities, chooses sides with the government which is by now heavily pro-movement.
  5. The media supports government programs and initiatives uncritically. 
  6. Education is altered, textbooks revised to support a pro-government narrative.
  7. With the support of the growing number of pro-movement voters, vast new programs are initiated that promise to end hunger, to conquer poverty and to give everyone a job.
  8. The number of poor does not decrease, unemployment climbs and hunger and homeless become rampant.
  9. A segment of citizens are vilified, singled out as "the problem", in order to focus attention away from the fact that the government is failing. 
  10. A lot of speeches get made about duty, service, collective action and collective responsibility.
  11. Internal "security" forces are beefed up.
  12. Pretty soon, it's off to the gulags for anyone who points out that the emperor has no clothes.
As we look around us and see a heavily biased core media in this country, the federally mandated "Core Curriculum" movement, a faltering economy, polarization of our country and the president making state of the union address calling for "collective action", I fear we are rapidly approaching a tipping point.  It will be interested to see what a nation, built upon the principle that all men are created equal, does when it becomes apparent that their government not only no longer believes in that principle, but actively is working to insure the permanent superiority of and rule by a privileged elite class.

When they start telling you that you're not smart enough to understand why the government is doing to you what they're doing to you, and to shut up and go along with it, you'll pretty much know the tipping point has been reached. Unless I tip over face first in my soup pretty soon, I fear I'll live to see it.

© by Tom King

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When Drones Could Be of Real Use, the Feds Ground Them?

Picture courtesy of RT - Sill from Youtube Video

Colorado Flood Areas:  Apparently FEMA has grounded volunteer drone operators working the floods in Colorado.  I wonder what genius bureaucrat came up with that idea? 

Well that makes sense in a government reverse parallel universe kind of way.  When lives are at stake and drones could actually be useful in helping find stranded people and save livestock and property, FEMA wants them all grounded. Isn't that what happened in New Orleans after Katrina?  The government actually tried to block volunteers from bringing relief into New Orleans days before the government got around to doing it themselves.

You know I hate conspiracy theories, but you just know somebody's going to find a way to blame the flooding on some secret government project that FEMA is trying to hide from prying eyes. I can hear them now.

Conspiracy theorists give the government credit for a lot of intelligence. To me this grounding of drones by FEMA smacks, not of some brilliant conspiracy so much as it does of bureaucratic stupidity and turf protection.  The last thing FEMA bureaucrats want people to know is that we can do things as citizens to rescue ourselves and our neighbors without including them and often better than they do it.

Which brings us back to why I think government should be smaller and less intrusive.  We're big boys and girls.  We can do things for ourselves.

© 2013 by Tom King

Monday, September 16, 2013

Answering "Zingers" from the Left.

Have you ever noticed that when you argue with a Democrat they jump on you with one of a specific set of responses designed to strike you down and leave you speechless. They are as follows:

1) You're a racist.
2) You don't understand what it's like to be poor.
3) You see everything in black and white.

4) It's George W. Bush's fault.
5) You're stupid and ignorant (I get this when they really run out of logical arguments).
6) The Republicans obstruct everything Obama tries to do.

7) You only get your information from Fox News.
8) (My personal favorite) I'd really like some of whatever you're smoking.

I have decided to go ahead and answer these "killer" arguments all at once so I can just post the link to this page and not waste an hour trying to reason with someone who's working a set of talking points.  Let me start with an observation.  Each of these arguments is an excuse for two things:  1) a lack of a real argument and 2) the obvious failure of the Democrats to accomplish anything more than collapsing the economy, extending the recession and so burying American business in regulation, taxes and debt that millions of Americans have flat our given up looking for work - the only thing that has reduced the "unemployment" rate.  So, let's just start with that on the table.  

So my answer to the 8 Deadly Excuses is as follows:

1) You're a racist:  I grew up in a small college town in North Central Texas. We had kids from all over the world. I never understood racism. I stood with black friends on civil rights. When my own kids grew up in the same town, our house looked like the United Nations with young people of every race and color represented.  I worked for 40 years as a teacher, therapist and director of nonprofit agencies working with people from every race, class and economic level. 

2) You don't understand what it's like to be poor: 
I grew up in a home where boloney sandwiches were a treat. We were dirt poor most of my life. I worked 40 years in the nonprofit sector. They don't call them nonprofits for nothing. I've been on Food Stamps. I once had to ride a bicycle to town to buy groceries for my hungry children and rode back with 3 sacks balanced on my handlebars along country roads dodging dogs.  I once got a job after 3 months unemployment, the loss of my car and home where I had to get up at 4 am and ride a bicycle through the country (again dodging angry dogs) 7 miles each way to catch a bus to ride 45 miles each way to work as a laborer on a nuclear power plant in order to feed my family.  We've been so broke we've made a meal off wild food we gathered.  Don't tell me I don't understand being poor.  What I understand is how hard it is to escape poverty when the government reduces you to dependency and then punishes you for even trying to lift yourself back up.

3) You see everything in black and white:  I spent 40 years working in the nonprofit sector picking up the wreckage of a child welfare system and government "helping". I worked with kids who were brutalized, battered and sick and watched bureaucrats shuffle them around, plugging them into boxes trying to meet their agendas with little ability to get them real help. In some cases they didn't care - after all they get paid every Friday.  I watched one-size-fits-all, designed-in-Washington social programs fail and fail and fail till it made me sick.  I saw it all and in full color. Many of my colleagues gave it up because they just couldn't take it anymore. I'll tell you who sees everything in black and white - political ideologues and bureaucrats who are more concerned about ticking off boxes on their evaluation sheets than they are about whether people in trouble get any real help or not.

4) It's George W. Bush's fault.  It take 18 months for the laws and budgets of a US Congress to show an effect in the economy. In 2006 the American people gave the Democrats control of the House and Senate.  18 months later in the summer of 2008, the housing bubble burst and the economy began to collapse despite assurances over the past decade by Democrats that there was nothing wrong at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and that they were doing great things. Apparently they weren't and George Bush in the middle of a war against terrorism and with a Congress working against him had precious little to do with it.  Once Obama was elected it was an all Democrat show and it's pretty much been downhill all the way since then. Might as well blame it all on Ronald Reagan for all the sense that argument makes.

5) You're stupid and ignorant.  I tested out of my Freshman year of college, I have a bachelor's degree in communications and I had the highest GRE scores in my graduate school psych program. I'm a published author, have written more than 2000 articles for which I was paid and have a measured IQ that makes me eligible to join MENSA. I read the equivalent of one or two books a week and have done so since they started letting me check out books from the library in 3rd grade.  Mentally, I'm okay.

6) The Republicans obstruct everything Obama tries to do:  Thank God they do or we'd be in a worse mess than we are.  The president can't even get a budget past the senate which has a Democrat majority.  Since he took office he has yet to get a budget through Congress because his own senate won't allow it. He had two years at the beginning of his administration where he had both the house and the senate.  His great triumph?  Obamacare which, to this day, he keeps giving exemptions to Obamacare for his cronies in the unions and to big corporations that supported his presidential campaigns. A little obstructionism from Republicans is probably the only reason we're not in a massive Depression right now with a socialist government and gulags.

7) You only get your information from Fox News:  I should get my information from the Huffington Post?  ABC/NBC/CBS/CNN?  The New York Times?  The left-leaning partisanship of these media outlets is shameless.  I do watch them by the way.  I actually get most of my headline type news from Yahoo News which is no right wing news organization by any means.  I listen to speeches, read political opinion pieces, and am a student of history (you should check my bookshelves if you don't believe me). I've read HG Wells' History of the World for the Progressive view of world history.  I get most of my history, however, from the works of actual historians like Catton, Ryan, Foote and from the actual historical figures like Churchill, Grant and Einstein  and not filtered through agenda laden "textbooks".  My information comes from many sources and I form my own opinions thank you.

8) (My personal favorite) I'd really like some of whatever you're smoking:  No you wouldn't.  The only thing I smoke are the biscuits when I forget I have some in the oven because I'm writing a blog post or working on a book I'm ghost-writing.  I never bought the "better living through chemistry" approach. I'm a teetotaler, avoiding alcohol, coffee, hallucinogenic drugs, chewing tobacco, snuff or other mind-altering substances so far as possible.

To my friends on the left:  I hope this helps us avoid the need to go over this same stuff again next time we talk.

© 2013 by Tom King

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Texas Rated the State Most People Would Like to Kick Out of the Union

Oh, pleeeeeeeeeeeease do! 

Apparently this distinctly unscientific poll has rated Texas the least favorite state in the union and the one they'd most like to see kicked out. Of course, they're all just jealous, but we Texans don't even care about what they think. Actually kicking us out would be just fine and dandy.  There are many advantages to striking out on our own:

  1. We'd be somewhere around the 5th wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, 
  2. We'd be a nuclear power (we make our own nukes here)
  3. We'd be debt free virtually overnight cause we ain't takin' ya'll's overspending with us
  4. We already have a budget surplus and a balanced budget amendment. 
  5. Don't worry about defense, just go ahead and mess with us. We've got Lockheed Martin in Ft. Worth, Vought aerospace and Bell Helicopter in Arlington and Halliburton could build us a scary wicked Navy inside a year. 
  6. We'd be leaders in the space race since NASA works out of Houston (we could rent 'em space or you could spend several billion bucks moving them.  We wouldn't miss them. We have three or four private space ventures out in West Texas already and with US regulations lifted, they'd be mining on the moon in a decade.
  7. No problem with energy here. We already export oil so we could join Opec and gouge the heck out of the rest of you nimrods.
  8. Also, I'll bet if Texas goes, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Alaska would be right behind us taking the lion's share of oil production with us. 
  9. We oil states could form our own country - Texalaskahomata. Sarah Palin's not doing anything right now, she'd do fine for our first president. I really like this idea. Can we please do this. I'd be happy to close the Washington mission and move back home.

    I'm just sayin'


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

To American Muslims: Thank You for Showing Respect

By all accounts the so-called "Million Muslim March" fell far short of its goal of a million participants. Apparently, a lot of Muslim-Americans decided against supporting this ill-advised and rather offensive rally in our nation's capital today.

I would personally like to thank all the American Muslims who chose to boycott the Million Muslim March on Washington out of respect for the American citizens, first responders and soldiers who lost their lives as a direct result of an attack by fanatics claiming to act for Allah and Islam. Your action is duly noted by this American. The United States is, after all, your homeland as well as mine. Thank you guys for realizing how this poorly conceived event would look and for refusing to attend.

This is one of your fellow countrymen who will not be mocking, name-calling or taunting you, my fellow Americans, today.  The terrorist attack on 9/11 was an attack on us all. We stand together. May God or Allah - by whatever name you call Him - bless America.

Tom King

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Jonah Dilemma

The bad thing about being a prophet is that sometimes people believe you and take steps to prevent the impending doom you predicted.  Then afterwards, pundits on MSNBC will claim it was all a bunch of hype to support Halliburton and the Military-Industrial Complex since nothing happened after all.

It's why Jonah jumped on a ship for Tarshish!

It's amazing in the current controversy over Syria that when it's a liberal doing the "fixing" of the prophesied event, then the military-industrial complex doesn't get castigated by folk like Obama supporters.

It's rather like the irate liberal at the Clinton inauguration who got angry because the Air Force did a flyover.  "Who do they think they are flying war machines over the inauguration. That's not the message we want to understand."

One of Clinton's staff touched him on the shoulder.  "But don't you see?" he explained. "Now they are OUR flying war machines!"

God has the whole prophecy sequence right.  One never quite understands what the Biblical prophets were talking about until AFTER it happens.  Prophecy is to let you know that God knew what was going on all along - to inspire trust.  The pundits on the right especially would be wise to take a lesson from the Bible before they prophesy. Always leave their prophecies a bit obscure so no one can mess them up by taking action - at least not if they want to be trusted by the media.  Conservatives don't have the left's capacity for relentless self-delusion, however.  And they eat their prophets.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King

Monday, September 2, 2013

Immigration Policy and the Proverbial Camel

I received an email newsletter from a friend entitled "The Camel's Nose is In the Tent".  The title refers to the 19th century fable, in which an Arab miller allows a camel to stick its nose into his tent, and then other parts of its body gradually follow, until the camel is entirely inside and refuses to leave. His point was in reference to the large-scale US government sponsored migration of Muslims to the Michigan cities where American workers had fled in the wake of the collapse of the Auto industry and Detroit in general. Apparently, the feds not only moved large numbers of Palestinian and other Middle-Eastern refugees to the area, but also met them practically as they came off the plane with welfare applications thoughtfully printed up in Farsi. The poster objects to targeting a potentially hostile group of immigrants for special treatment.

Another individual shot a note back to the group saying we should be more compassionate with our immigrant brethren and that it was a shame that ethnic hatred is so close to the American heart. While I do think both posters have a point, I don't think that ethnic hatred is "close to the American heart".  Neither do I think that most Muslim immigrants are part of an Islamic plot to take over the United States.

Every wave of immigration into this country has been met with some fear and distrust which, over time, dissipates.  The Irish were despised when they flooded Boston. Now they are considered a vital part of Bostonian heritage and they hold a giant St. Patrick's Day parade there every year. It's been the same with every new wave of refugees we take in. Fear and mistrust of things new and foreign is sort of an instinct with human beings anyway. It's an ancient survival mechanism, that helps us identify potential threats to our security. People don't like change much. It's in our nature. If you don't believe that, move to Saudi Arabia and try behaving just like you did when you lived in the US. You will find that, Americans aren't so full of ethnic hatred as you thought they were. Better yet, try living in Serbia or Boznia if you want to see racial intolerance. Those people have made hating each other into a fine art for over a thousand years.

I think what the first poster was getting at is that there is a problem with how this wave of immigration is being handled. When the Irish came to New England, we did not meet them at the boat with a welfare application in Gaelic. They, at first, clustered in neighbourhoods which proper Bostonians gave over to them, but over time they infiltrated the city at all levels and became a part of it, changing and changed by it. In like manner, the Italians, Eastern Europeans, Jews, Greeks nor Chinese were not met with translators and government subsidies. They were either met with jobs that needed doing for the most part or created their own jobs.

With previous waves of immigrants, Americans did not try to become like them, nor did we take special effort to keep them contained in clusters.  Some clustering does occur, but millions left the "old neighbourhood" and struck out across America looking for their dream.

 We didn't even consider granting my forefathers the right to live by Irish law, Scots Law, English law, Chinese law or Jewish law. They were expected to live by American law, they were expected to speak English and they were expected to work hard to achieve some kind of success. 

Did all of them assimilate?  No.  In Boston and Chicago, there grew to be an Irish mob presence.  The Italian mafia claimed control of territory within the Italian ghettos of New Orleans, Chicago, New York and other large communities where Italian immigrants clustered.  In San Francisco, there were Chinese gangs. In LA, Chicago and New York, Puerto Rican, Cuban and other Hispanic gangs and all sorts of criminal organizations sprang up around cultural and ethnically monolithic communities. This happens because when people flee a country, the government there always takes the opportunity to ship out their criminals while they are at it, so that someone else will have to deal with them.

We treat these criminals like criminals as is right and proper, because they are criminals, not people we must understand. The ethnic criminal class is most active in its own ethnic communities because these kinds of criminals already know how to bully and intimidate their fellow countrymen. It is made worse when we allow immigrants to be shoved together into ethnic ghettos.  Immigrants feel isolated and vulnerable in their enclaves and hesitate to reach outside the confines of Little Italy, Little Puerto Rico, Little Havana or Little Mexico for help controlling the criminals that prey on them.
We have too often tiptoed around the issue, refusing to point out the criminal predators because politicians fear offending "groups" of people who might vote for them as a block. So the immigrant gets stamped, labelled and filed away in an ethnic group to be issued a voter registration card by politicians and to be preyed upon by criminals, gangs and even big business.

The majority of immigrants in our past, however, moved out across the country to become Americans -- not hyphenated Americans, but simply Americans. The problem with the recent wave of middle-eastern refugees, however, is that too many arrived, not under their own steam, but on the US government dime. They were moved into abandoned areas of Detroit and other failed communities where union thuggery and greed, government interference and corporate shortsightedness had collapsed one of the greatest of the world's industrial cities. 

And did we meet them as they got off the plane with jobs? No. We met them with welfare applications in Farsi. The same thing happened in Europe where a burgeoning Muslim immigrant population has gone on the dole en masse and turned vast areas of Europe into semi-autonomous Islamic welfare states within states - Muslim strongholds that siphon off the economic strength of the nations in which they are established. Mosques, instead of places for people to freely worship according to their conscience, too often become centers of sedition and terrorism where worshipers are counselled to disobey and undermine American law and where terrorists are recruited. The United States government has encouraged this attitude by its open fear of offending Muslims. By doing so the government teaches Muslim immigrants that their new homeland will not defend them from retaliation by the thugs that have followed them to the New World. 

This is unfortunate for honest Muslim immigrants who merely wanted to escape the horrors of their homelands. I sympathize with them. I've long advocated that we open our nation to those Muslims who are unhappy in their homeland and who could bring talent and energy and a strong work ethic to our nation.  Many did come and have contributed to our economic strength as previous immigrants did - yours and mine included.

This government, however, in its fear of terrorists, has sought to feed the crocodile in hopes it won't eat us. I think that is disrespectful and patronizing toward the Middle-Eastern immigrant community. Instead of following our own immigration laws and protocols, we've tried, instead, to pacify the beast we fear with welfare payments. Moving non-union workers into Detroit might be a good idea, if what you want to do is rebuild the workforce and revitalize the industrial base there. But moving welfare recipients into the area only continues a long-standing policy in Detroit of force-feeding a dead horse. The city of Detroit has received more federal dollars in the past 30 years than almost any other city in America and look at the results.

It is not more government money to support immigrants on welfare that Michigan needs. If federal "investment" actually worked, Detroit wouldn't be the half-dead, collapsed and bankrupt wasteland it is today.

We don't object to the camel any more than we object to all the other escaped beasts of burden that have come to our shores seeking opportunity and freedom. Our forefathers all worked hard to give their descendants opportunities that they never had. That's how it works. In that respect, camels are a useful addition to the national enterprise. What we do object to, however, is to allowing the camel into the supply tent where it may destroy our reserves and drain our economy to no useful purpose.

Just feeding livestock is only useful if you plan to slaughter them for food. Of course, we would never do that. There is no profit in that. Unless, we change some rules to free up American free enterprise to do what it does best (put people to work) and unless our government is willing to be tough on those who abuse their newly found freedoms, then all we're doing is feeding increasingly fat camels to no purpose.  

This is not a slur. I'm not calling Muslims camels. I'm going with the metaphor from the original post's subject line. That is all. The same principle applies to donkeys, horses, elephants, mules and oxen. Unless whatever you are feeding is willing to work toward self-sufficiency and to pull its share of the load, then these individuals are merely a drain on our resources and we are wrong to encourage their continuing dependence, especially when these people used to fending for themselves.
I do not trust a government that uses our finite resources to pay off groups of people to show up at the polls and vote for the status quo every couple of years. I don't trust a government that thinks it can tax and regulate its way to prosperity. We are sending the wrong message to a group of folks whose culture has for millenia respected strength above all.  The quickest way for a ruler in an Arab country to fall is to look weak. Ghaddafi found that out as did Hosni Mubarak. When we look weak and accommodating, we invite the disdain and disrespect of the Islamic culture, even those whom we have taken in and blessed with our largesse.

When the leader of the strongest nation in the world bows to lesser leaders, even in an attempt to show politeness, we make ourselves weak in their eyes.  Japan thought we were weak and it got us Pearl Harbor. Al Quaeda thought we were weak and it got us 9/11.  Russia thought we were weak and tried to "bury" us and we got an expensive "Cold War" that lasted four decades. 
Muslims are thoroughly confused by us.  George W. Bush looked strong when he took out Saddam Hussein. Iraqi babies were named after him in the wake of the Iraq war. Obama, on the other hand, looks weak and indecisive.  Now the Iraqis are confused. Is America strong or weak?  They have no respect for a weak America, whatever weapons it may possess. A small woman may hold a gun, but has she the will to use it?  

In this volatile world where weapons of mass destruction are everywhere, it is a dangerous thing to look weak. Our government's ingratiating itself to the Muslim immigrant population is a serious mistake. Theirs is still a "strong man" dominated, almost tribal culture. Yes, treat them with respect as the government should with all its citizens and legal immigrants.  But don't try to use a Neville Chamberlain conciliatory style of diplomacy and governance with them. It sends the wrong message and threatens our security.

I think with respect to the issue of immigration that it is always a mistake to create designated areas in which to place immigrants. Far better to spread them throughout the culture than to bunch them up in areas. We should never treat immigrants to America as groups, but should work with them as individuals, encourage them to blend with the mainstream rather than to create subcultures and ghettos. We've seen the destructive results of isolating new Americans into ghettos and enclaves. They quickly develop a siege mentality, feeling surrounded by a culture they do not understand and hardly participate in. To those outside the immigrant communities, these ethnic enclaves assume the look of invading armies. 

They speak a different language because they are in a place where English is not required, further isolating them from their American neighbours. When immigrants fail to become part of us, they not only miss out on the good things about American culture, but we also miss out on the contributions their culture can make to the American experience.

We have focused so much on our differences through multi-cultural programs and sensitivity training for Americans that we have neglected providing training for incoming Americans to teach them about American culture. In my home state of Texas we learned that if we offered Spanish-speakers the opportunity to learn English, they flock to the classes because knowing English is seen as the key to prosperity by immigrants, both legal and illegal. We taught classes, sponsored by local banks in money management and how the financial system works in America and we saw family incomes rise and increased investment in the communities in which they work.  We saw family cohesiveness improve; crime and gang activity decline.  

We see greater participation by immigrant Americans in small towns and culturally mixed communities as opposed to mono-cultures in the colonias.  Instead of pumping government money into the colonias, we ought to be moving folks out of the colonias and into mainstream communities where they can more easily be seen for who they are rather than as an invading army that speaks differently and has different traditions.  We need a return to the melting pot rather than making our nation into a big sampler tray with each ethnic, political and cultural group tucked neatly into its little corner of the tray where they can be more easily identified and "handled" by politicians.

The melting pot gives us common goals, dreams and aspirations. That is what makes America strong. The tragedy of the Muslim migration is that we keep putting them all in tight groups that protect their identity as strangers in a strange land rather than scattering them amongst us all and making them our friends and neighbors.

Tom King
© 2013