Why is Uncle Sam working so hard to promote Food Stamps?

I heard a radio spot the other day, trying to sell folks on what a great deal Food Stamps are.  There were two women talking about how great one of their friends was looking and hinted that she was eating right and it was (somehow) because she’s on Food Stamps.

Some times I think I have just lived too long. When I was a kid, you didn’t want anyone to know that you were on Food Stamps.  Rightly or wrongly, there was a stigma attached to you if you couldn’t fend for yourself.  If you were on Food Stamps, it was temporary and you got off them as soon as possible.

I’m sure I will hear back from someone that the reason for the radio spot is to make sure the poor know it is available.  I don’t buy that argument at all.  Rich folks talk, middle class folks talk, and poor folks talk. All people talk – everyone tells their friends about good deals that they know about.  Food Stamps have been around a very long time and if someone doesn’t know about them, it’s by choice.

Some have turned it into a racket.  One of my wife’s friends related a story from the local supermarket.  A woman purchased a bag of groceries with Food Stamps.  She went directly from the cashier to the service desk, where she returned all the groceries and received her refund in cash and left.  I know you all have heard similar stories.

I admit I’m somewhat of a novice where Food Stamps are concerned.  But I thought the purpose of them was to help someone get enough food to live on so they didn’t starve.  I’m hearing now that you can buy quite a few things with them that some consider to be…well…non-essential.

I think Food Stamps exist because there is a legitimate need.  I’m fine with that – the poor in America, especially the children, should not be permitted to go hungry. But why in the world are we promoting it on the radio like it’s the new cool thing to do?  I don’t buy that they’re just trying to get the word out.  Trust me, Uncle Sam – THE WORD IS OUT!

With all the budget problems we have: owning so much to China, too much deficit spending, employment trending down, etc – Why in the world would we actively be spending money to drum up more demand for a program everyone already knows about?  Why is our government actively selling this program so they can increase participation in the program?

There’s only one reason I can think of for this – a concerted and deliberate effort to make more people dependent on the government.  Now, why would we want to do that?

Saint Leo

 
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From POTUS to KOTUS

Recently, the President of the United States announced that he will not enforce part of the existing Immigration laws in favor of his own interpretation of how it should work, and is implementing it as an Executive Order. This is a significant overstepping of his authority as POTUS. Taking this step is tantamount to saying, “I don’t like that law, so I’m changing it.” It reminds of that scene in the movie “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean”, where he repeals a law by tearing its page out of his law book.
My friends, this is how kings operated back in the 1700s and it was one of the things our Constitution was created to avoid. I am amazed that our Congress (both houses and both parties) and our Judiciary Branch are not jumping up and down in anger and indignation. Have they also forgot what they are supposed to do and how they are a check and balance to the Executive Branch?
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not commenting on whether the approach to immigration is a good idea or not – Republican Senator Marko Rubio has advanced a similar plan. It’s the method POTUS is using that I am concerned about. This is tantamount to a king making his own laws and setting aside his Parliament. This approach wreaks havoc with the economy, because business has no idea what the king will decide to do next. Who will be rewarded with a tax break and who will be punished with a tax hike? Whose livelihood will be declared illegal? The resultant stability of law is one of the great benefits of having a legislative body instead of a single person making all the rules.
But let’s assume that he has pure and angelic motives (wait – this is a politician I’m talking about, right?). It’s the precedence he is setting that is such a slippery slope.
I don’t care if POTUS is a Republic, Democrat, Socialist, Libertarian, or whatever. He/She is not permitted to make their own laws. That is the first step to taking the US back to colonial days, when we had laws passed by a King and Parliament who gave us no representation to the process of creating laws.
If you are an Obama supporter, think of it this way – If you like the Affordable Care Act and it survives the current Constitutional challenge and then Mitt Romney is elected President, do you want him to have the power to set it aside in five minutes with an Executive Order?
This is insanity, my friends. No matter what party you are aligned with, or even if you have no party alignment, you need to be concerned about this. The stability of our way of life is at stake.
If we allow this sort of thing to stand, no matter who the President is, we have effectively exchanged our President of the United States for our King of the United States.
– Saint Leo

The New Egypt

Lest there be any illusions about this, Egypt will soon be joining the ranks of the radical Islamist states. We shouldn’t forget that Al Qaeda has its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt controls the Suez Canal, which provides the only pathway from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. The Canal is of great strategic importance to the US and many other western countries. Interestingly enough, Britain and France once seized the Canal and the US applied pressure to give it back.
I heard this morning that the Brotherhood has so far focused on social issues (moving toward a Sharia law society) rather than Egypt’s significant economic problems. Sounds like the approach of a certain western leader to me.
One clear consequence will be the demise of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. I predict fighting in less than a year. On a different note, some Christians will be talking about the book of Revelations and how these events in Egypt look to them.
According to Google, US aid to Egypt since 1979 averages $2B a year, most of which goes to their military. The result, of course, is that they are better equipped than any Mideast country except Israel. We have yet again armed likely adversaries in an attempt to buy friendship.
How long will we continue to give money to an unfriendly regime? Have we learned nothing? We have pursued this policy for way too long (since 1950-ish). Every time the US attempts to influence the outcome of political situations in other cultures, we increase the animosity and “blowback” that future Administrations have to deal with. When I first heard Ron Paul speak against this policy, I thought he was a dreamy idealist. Today, the number of times he has been right are really stacking up.
Saint Leo

Can the GOP Adapt to New Views?

In just a few months, the Republican Party will hold its National Convention and have a golden opportunity to show its character.
Much ado is being made out of the impact that the “Ron Paul Movement” will have on the convention. I call it a movement because it’s becoming clear to me that it is much more than a political campaign.
I’ve heard on many occasions that a church will grow or stagnate, based on it’s ability to engage the young people in its congregation. It doesn’t take a big leap to understand that the same goes for political parties. A political party that doesn’t absorb new ideas and engage new people is doomed for dwindling support and atrophy.
Today, I heard someone who’s a registered Republican refer to the GOP leadership as the GOP Aristocracy. When someone whose thoughts and philosophies line up closely to yours, yet they refer to you with that moniker, you better believe you are not representing those people. Worse, you’re not even reaching them.
Back to the Ron Paul Movement – it’s pretty clear that Dr. Paul will mostly likely not get the GOP nomination, but he will come to the convention in front of many delegates who believe as he does. As he will be the first to admit, these folks are behind the ideas he promotes and if he were to compromise those principles, they would not necessarily follow his lead. Many of the principles this movement is promoting are solid, conservative ideas. The GOP leadership would be wise to embrace them as “brothers and sisters of the faith”.
I’m hearing that many in the GOP are taking steps to nullify or marginalize the delegates that are Paul supporters. I’ve even hear it proposed that the convention should refuse to seat some of the delegates who, by the way, played by the rules all the way to the convention. Are you kidding me?
Wild and crazy as they may be (remember when you were younger and being “wild and crazy” was considered a positive?) – outliers though they may be – this movement is growing among the young and it will be a political force without parallel in the near future. The GOP leadership should remember that you can never stand still. Life is like a river – if you don’t paddle your butt off, you’ll relinquish control to outside influences. Better to be proactive, build bridges, and accept the new blood that runs hot into your organization.

SaintLeo

An Open Letter to Congressman Ron Paul

Let me say up front that I really hope Dr. Paul sees this note or one like it and responds to us all.  If you like what I’ve said here, please post it wherever you can and pass it on.  Try to get it to someone who knows someone who can pass it to Dr. Paul.

Dear Dr. Paul,
Like many Libertarian-leaning Americans, I really like a lot of the things you stand for.  I’d love to see a smaller government, no Fed, and a lot fewer regulations.  I agree that our government has taken too much on itself and stripped us of many of our freedoms.
I’ve talked to a lot of my conservative friends about you and they almost all say exactly the same thing.  It goes something like this – “Yeah, I like a lot of his ideas, but his approach to Foreign Policy scares the heck out of me.”  I understand why they feel that way, but I’m not so willing to give up on your approach. But the problem is, I have no comeback or answers to their questions. I explain to them the difference between defense and militarism, but the conversation always comes back to something like, “Well, I just don’t see how it could work, considering where we are now.”
Like you, I don’t believe we should be the policemen of the world.  Other countries are perfectly able to take care of their own problems eventually if we’ll get out of the way and let them.  Also, I want our troops to come home from all these foreign wars. None of my kids are serving in the military, but I would not be happy about them fighting and dying for some other country’s freedom.  I’m not even sure I would be comfortable with them fighting for “American interests” (which I interpret as business interests of American companies).
I believe you are on the right track.  I really do.  The Militarism is expensive and makes it too easy to impose our philosophy and culture on others.  Please help us to understand and spread your message.
So here’s what’s in the back of my mind and why I, like many, are having a hard time backing off the militaristic approach we currently pursue, even though the cost and the “rudeness” of it all are pretty good reasons.
Back in the late 1700s, the “avoidance of entangling alliances” was great advice.  It makes perfect sense to me.  And it would still make sense today, if we had been following that approach for the last 210 years. Actually, if we had not started our present approach back around 1945, we’d still probably be okay.  But it doesn’t really matter why we started it – it is what it is today.
So what do we do now? This is the crux of the message I’m trying to convey.  We know that “Nature abhors a vacuum” and, if we leave Japan, Korea, and some of the Eastern European countries, somebody is going to fill that space. There’s always someone who is stronger and will prey on the weak, for economic reasons or maybe the whim of some unbalanced personality.  Most of our smaller allies no longer field an army because we are there to protect them. They shouldn’t have done that and, yeah, it’s their own fault, but we led them to make that assumption.  Right or wrong, that’s where we are.
Here’s another angle.  If we pull all our troops back from the Middle East, how do we make sure we still have access to oil?  I agree that we need to become more self-dependent and drill at home, etc, but we aren’t there yet. What do we do in the meantime?
So, I guess my real question for you, sir, is “What’s the Plan?”
I’m with you.  Let’s bring all our troops home.  Do we set up a schedule and tell all our allies they have two years to raise and train a standing army, air force, and navy?  Do we just bail on them and say, “Thank you very much, you’re on your own?”
I think a lot of people would be willing to buy into the idea of pulling back to focus on defense if they could see how it could work and know there is a appropriate plan for doing it.  So, please tell us.  How would it work?  What do we expect from the other major powers of the world?  What’s the plan?
So I’ll close for now and let you talk.  Thanks for listening, sir, and thank you for the great education in history and the Constitution that you continue to give..

SaintLeo

What’s the Constitution for, anyway?

From when I was a kid in high school, I don’t remember much about the Constitution from my government class. It was pretty basic, actually. Here’s what I remember, in a nutshell.

The Constitution is the framework of our government here in the United States. It defines the different parts and how they provide checks and balances for each other. There’s a clearly defined process for changing it and some of the Founding Fathers insisted that a Bill of Rights be included to make sure we kept our freedoms.

All this is true, but somehow I missed one of the most important aspects of the whole deal. You see, the Founding Fathers had just fought a bitter war against the British Crown (not to mention some of their neighbors) to throw off the oppression of a government that did pretty much what it wanted to without regard for what was right or even legal. As they were working to create a new government, they were very much aware that, if they weren’t careful, they’d end up right back where they started – with a government that was oppressive.

So, the second half of the Constitution story is this: It’s designed to limit the Federal Government. It clearly enumerates with the government is allowed to do, and it clearly states that everything else is to be addressed by the individual states. The idea was to handle certain things, like the national defense and the highways and trade with foreign nations, at the national level and push everything else down to the local level where they can be handled according to regional preferences. It was never intended that the Federal Government would have the reach that it now has.

There is currently an assault on the Bill of Rights by the Federal government, but I’ll save that discussion for a future blog. What I want to do here is to provide a perspective that I think is missed by most people.

Today, there are a lot of legal challenges to enacted laws that are based on violations of the Bill of Rights, notably the mandate to buy insurance in the controversial Affordable Care Act. While these cases are valid and probably more winnable than others, they tend to ignore a more serious problem. What we should be doing is to fight the battle over whether or not the Federal Government has overstepped their enumerated powers in the Constitution.

By the way, I credit Charles Krauthammer for making this clear to me. See the video on YouTube – search for “Charles Krauthammer – Constitution Day Celebration 2011”. He makes the point right around minute # 45.

So let me try to say it a little better. By taking the stance that a particular law violates the Bill of Rights, we are in effect building a wall around the Bill of Rights and abandoning everything else as fair game for the government to legislate for us. What we should be doing is to build a wall around the Federal Government’s enumerated powers, limiting what they are allowed to legislate.

It was interesting to me that the Constitution actually mandates that the Congress meet at least once a year. To me, this seems that they didn’t expect them to have all that much to do, but they wanted to make sure they didn’t ignore something that needed to be done. I’m sure they would be horrified to find that our Congresses over the years (Republican and Democrat) have created such a monolithic mish-mash of laws, not to mention the ocean of regulations that have resulted.

It strikes me that most of our legislators today believe that what is unconstitutional is what they say is unconstitutional. When a legislator is interviewed and asked about the constitutionality of something, their answer is, for the most part, dictated by their politics and what comes through is something like “Don’t trouble your simple little mind with that. We’ll tell you what’s okay and what isn’t”. In other words, we are Congress and we decide what the rules are. That isn’t the way it is supposed to be. Everything they do must be judged through the lens of what the Constitution says.

To be honest, I’d be happy to vote for a Senator or Congress-person whose record was that they tried to stop passage of bills that are outside the enumerated powers.

What do you think? If you agree, post this on Facebook or somewhere.

The Food Police have Arrived!

I debated long and hard with myself over the last two days as to whether this incident really rose to “blogworthiness” in an election year political blog.  The right side of my brain won the debate so here’s my rant!

Last month in an elementary school in Hoke County North Carolina, the food police ( under the guise of a school official) arrived with a vengence – saving a four year old toddler from her Mother’s home packed lunch. Be afraid, American parents, be very afraid.  Uncle Sam has now decided that the government is better equipped to feed your children than you are.

According to the Carolina Journal,  A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs – including in-home day care centers – to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
The girl’s mother – who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation – said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.
“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.
The girl’s grandmother, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Carolina Journal that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old who eats white whole wheat bread and is not big on vegetables.
“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told CJ. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”
When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.
“She came home with her whole sandwich I had packed, because she chose to eat the nuggets on the lunch tray, because they put it in front of her,” her mother said. “You’re telling a 4-year-old. ‘oh. your lunch isn’t right,’ and she’s thinking there’s something wrong with her food.”
While the mother and grandmother thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable were what disqualified the lunch, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child Development said that should not have been a problem.
“With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy,” said Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division. “It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standard.” The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said.
There are no clear restrictions about what additional items – like potato chips – can be included in preschoolers’ lunch boxes.
“If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the child care provider is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for the child,” Kozlowski said.
Ultimately, the child care provider can’t take the Coke and Twinkie away from the child, but Kozlowski said she “would think the Pre-K provider would talk with the parent about that not being a healthy choice for their child.”

Now for clarification, here is the state regulation that was cited in this case:

“Sites must provide breakfast and/or snacks and lunch meeting USDA requirements during the regular school day. The partial/full cost of meals may be charged when families do not qualify for free/reduced price meals.
“When children bring their own food for meals and snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????  A parent sends a perfectly acceptable home made sack lunch to school with their child, and our government thinks its THEIR business to OVERSEE the meal. A school official, citing a state regulation, decides that chicken nuggets are a healthier alternative to a turkey on Whole wheat sandwich?  Excuse me? Isn’t this just one more example of BIG BROTHER government over stepping its boundaries and trying to insinuate itself into our daily lives.  Enmeshed and entangled!  Get out of my lunch box!  One more slippery step on this slippery slope of government intrusion into our private lives.  Looks like I’m going to have to put the ACLU on my speed dial.