Saturday, September 12, 2009

Part#3: "White Man's Adventures Through The Welfare System"



With all of media hype regarding healthcare reform, the perils of socialized medicine and the pending legislation in the House being such a hot topic, I decided to break out some of my old blogs describing my trip through the healthcare and welfare system. After finding myself with health issues, I wrote an eight part series that described the process I was forced to navigate and endure. I have been there and done that. I’m hopeful that somebody might find some of the information and experiences helpful in their quest for answers or search for assistance.

January 12, 2008:
My little social experiment is well into it’s second month. One of the conditions of collecting unemployment benefits is that I actively seek employment. I applied for positions as an officer with the Pinal County Adult Probation Department, constable for my local Justice of the Peace and at Geek Squad. Don’t laugh, I’m not kidding. I am required to keep a job search log in the event The D.E.S. wants to see it for verification purposes. I probably won’t get the county job because I might be a bad influence on the probationers.

Being a hearing impaired white man will also be a big mark against me in a primarily Hispanic community.

Taxes are being deducted from my weekly benefits so I’m still contributing to the system. This is not a free ride although I’m not paying nearly as much. My routine has changed little since leaving gainful employment except I have a lot more free time on my hands. The job searches I’ve conducted online using Career Builder and Yahoo Hot Jobs don’t look all that promising. The want ads in the local newspaper looked worse. I am not all that surprised as a failing economy reduces opportunities.

On January 11, 2008, I received notification that my food stamp and AHCCCS medical benefits applications have been approved. This is probably the best medical coverage in the world. There is no deductible and they provide transportation to and from appointments. My former employer’s insurance carrier offered me coverage under Cobra, but they wanted $400/month with a $500 deductible plus 10 percent. There is no way that a person drawing unemployment could afford premiums like that. The maximum unemployment benefit before tax deductions is only $240/week in Arizona. Once your accepted, things happen fast. I already received my AHCCCS ID card and set up an account on their website.

My former “working man’s” insurance carrier was not nearly as efficient. I am still waiting for them to cover bills from the end of October. That means that the healthcare providers are sending me the bills that are in the thousands of dollars. Oddly enough, they received my premium payments directly from my payroll on time every payday. Where are they when it’s their turn to pay up?

Hopefully my next installment will bring news of my workers’ compensation claim. Sentry had 21 days to respond with a decision and they are overdue. Is anyone surprised?
 
Update:
My AHCCCS coverage was ultimately terminated after only a month because my unemployment benefits paid too much money. My former employer’s carrier offered me coverage under Cobra for $400.00/month. Shortly after talking with them, I received a letter stating they would be willing to cover me for $440/month. Obviously, I couldn’t afford it. In an effort to conserve funds, I canceled by satellite TV service and quit doing almost all of the things I enjoyed doing.
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I did take up a new hobby. I found myself getting involved in political activism. I was no longer satisfied with just writing letters to the editor and to my elected representatives. I became a protester. Not just any protester. I became an “armed protester”. I really look forward to strapping on my firearm and heading out to the town hall meetings, immigration marches and protests.

My health issues prevented me from engaging in the extreme sports I once lived for. To my surprise, facing an angry mob at demonstrations was more exciting than rock climbing, mountain biking or kayaking. You never know when a protest can erupt into a full blown riot. European soccer hooligans would even enjoy this activity.
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I also thought is was cool being able to show up with a gun and be surrounded by police officers that had no objections to me being armed. Try doing that in California!

When I think of ObamaCare, I think of this quote: "In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.'' --Idi Amin Dada

Friday, September 11, 2009

Part Two: “White Man’s Adventures Through The Welfare System”



With all of the healthcare & “Obama Care” media hype and the pending legislation in the House being such a hot topic, I decided to break out some of my old blogs describing my trip through the healthcare and welfare system. After finding myself with health issues, I wrote an eight part series that described the process I was forced to navigate and endure. I have been there and done that. I’m hopeful that somebody might find some of the information and experiences helpful in their quest for answers or search for assistance.

January 4, 2008:
After 32 days, my first unemployment check was direct deposited into my checking account. The state waited until the last possible moment before releasing the funds. Lengthy delays seem to be the rule and patience a prerequisite. I suggest that anyone embarking on a mission similar to mine stash cash, food and fuel as it will take some time to enjoy any benefits. Knowing the bureaucracy behind the system is the key to navigating through it.

By not working and paying taxes, I seem to be better off now than when I worked 50 hours a week. Commuting to work used to cost me over $200/month in fuel alone. Presently, I might drive somewhere one day a week and that $75 tank of gas lasts over a month. I received an application with my latest electric bill for a 26-40% discount depending on my KWHR usage. It’s called the APS Energy Support Program. As long as my monthly income stays below $1277/month, I get the discount. Now, I can afford to turn on my electric heater.

I can see how this way of life can be habit forming. While web surfing, I discovered a program through Qwest called “Lifeline“. It allows me to receive an $8.06/month discount on my telephone bill. This was almost too easy. After printing and completing the form, I dropped it in the mail. Owning a printer that copies, scans and FAX’s is saving a lot of time and gasoline.

Nobody at the D.E.S. bothered to mention the existence of these programs. I will have to investigate further to see what else is available to the economically challenged citizen. I suspect the system doesn’t want us to know about many of these programs. I was also offered a box of groceries from the local food bank but turned it down since I really didn’t need it. I stockpiled enough canned and dry goods to last months.

My workers’ compensation, food stamp and AHCCCS claims are all still pending. I did manage to provide proof of citizenship after ordering a copy of my birth certificate from my home state‘s vital statistics department. That cost me $19.00. My biggest challenge will be dealing with Sentry Insurance, my workers’ compensation carrier. I’ve done battle with them before and beat their team of lawyers. They even had the nerve to whine to the judge that rule against them. Using Star Trek terminology, Sentry is the “Borg” of the insurance industry. My former employer had about 100 employees and over a 30 month period sustained approximately 60 OSHA reportable injuries. I’m sure another claim is the last thing they want to see. Serving as a member of the safety committee, I was aware that Cardinal IG employees worked under the “illusion of safety”.

I obtained an SSI application and found it to be so long that it will probably take a month to complete. I won’t file it pending the outcome of my other claims. I’ve begun compiling spread sheets of my monthly budget and have determined that I’m more solvent than the entire U.S. Government. The Feds should bow their heads in shame. During December, I somehow managed to pay off more debt than I created despite not having a job or the ability to print more money.

My next installment will follow once the system’s overburdened pork-filled bureaucracy catches up with all of the forms I filled out.

“The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages - as if the savages weren't dangerous enough already” --Edward Abbey

Update:
After becoming angry and disgusted, I didn’t wait until my other pending cases were resolved before filing the Social Security Disability paperwork. I completed it and walked it into the Casa Grande office. While there, I became dizzy and nearly collapsed. Inner ear nerve damage and its’ side affects really suck. It appears that being a fall risk caused me to get more courteous and prompt service. The Social Security employees were nothing like the hags over at the DES. The Wackenhut security guard made sure I got to the intake person’s desk.

Utility discounts from A.P.S., S.R.P. and Qwest are still available to qualifying low income households. The forms and qualification guidelines are available online and easily downloaded. It’s as easy as filling out the form and mailing it.

Earlier this summer, I received a letter from the DES indicating that there was a problem with the unemployment benefits I collected in 2008. My former employer made a false statement out of spite or malice. They had the nerve to inform the DES that I voluntarily quit my job. I quickly responded with evidence to the contrary and that was the end of it. This simply proves that employers are often liars and cheats. They are definitely “foe” and not “friend“. Talk about getting stabbed in the back!

In the quarter century I spent in the working world, I never met an honest businessman.
 
 
"No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin’” was the motto of Texas Ranger Bill McDonald (1852-1918). It later became a motto for the Texas Rangers themselves.

Question. . . .Are insurance companies reading your blogs?



Since my not so friendly friends at Sentry Insurance in Stevens Point, Wisconsin are so interested in reading my blogs, I thought I’d dig this blog out of the archives and post it again. It fits right in with current events. Now, they have something to read. I’m sure they will value my opinion.

Imagine having to deal with a greedy heartless insurance company on the worst day of your life. Imagine having to restart you life multiple times due to occupational hazards, unsafe workplaces or the stupidity of others. Would that make you angry? Imagine your doctor deciding what treatment or test you need only to have an insurance company decide they’re not going to pay for it. Imagine having to exist for more than a year not knowing what’s actually wrong with you. That’s quite a lot for a person to have to contemplate.

Make no mistake about it, healthcare is rationed and the insurance companies are the one’s “playing God“. Since when does the insurance company know better than your own doctor? I know this from first hand personal experience. No politician, news reporter or insurance company can say otherwise without lying through their teeth.
 
 
Friday, May 30, 2008, 5:50:37 PM: My Take On Insurance Companies
 
I have spent the majority of my adult life doing battle with various insurance companies as a result of several traffic collisions and work related injuries. Over the years, I managed to collect several substantial settlements but only after enduring long uphill struggles. I have an extremely low opinion of these faceless entities. These people are the scum of the Earth.

As far as I’m concerned, any person or organization that capitalizes on the misfortunes, pain, suffering or misery of others are some of the lowest forms of life on Earth and are worthy of death. This certainly fit’s the profile of insurance companies.

I look forward to the day when masses of angry people bomb and burn insurance offices. Following the destruction of their facilities, these blood sucking humanoid maggots ranging from executives, managers, adjustors and agents would be systematically rounded up and paraded through the streets while being beaten with clubs and barraged with rocks and bottles. Following this public spectacle, they would all be hoisted up ropes and allowed to dangle from highway overpasses and light standards by the neck until dead.

I would really enjoy the sight of them all kicking and squirming. Their corpses would remain on display for a few days to send messages to all of those that will potentially be next in line.

Some people might think this sounds rather barbaric, but in no way compares to the way their bean counters “play God” everyday. They are the ones that decide whether somebody lives or dies. Letting them gag and choke at the end of a rope is actually letting them off easy. The people they deny benefits to in the name of the bottom line suffer and die a much slower and more agonizing death.

Remember that the most dangerous thing in the world is an angry White Man that has been backed into a corner.

 
"This country with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government they can exercise their Constitutional right of amending it or their Revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it." --Abraham Lincoln (Shortly after this speech, the Southern States left the Union.)
 
I’m hopeful the future of the insurance industry will play out in the medieval fashion I described above. I can’t think of anybody that has it coming more than they do. I wrote this before AIG became a household name and nightly news story. I’m sure public opinion of insurance companies is beginning to catch up with my opinion of them. The day will come when not one of them will be safe from those they betrayed. They can run, but they can’t hide.

Are insurance companies reading you blogs? Are your skyrocketing premiums paying people to monitor your internet communications? Are you being deprived of something because of their silly “G-man games”? I would expect the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I. or even the Secret Service would be out here in cyber-land checking up on the interesting ways I choose to exercise my First Amendment Constitutional rights. I’m surprised none of them have showed up at my front door yet. An insurance company I have had negative dealings with ARE the ones checking up on me. Are they afraid of me? Are they just plain evil? Here’s the proof:

VISITOR ANALYSIS
Referrer: No referring link
Host Name: IP Address 157.248.5.3
Country: United States
Region: Wisconsin
City: Stevens Point
ISP: Sentry Insurance A Mutual Company
Returning: Visits 0
Visit Length: Multiple visits spread over more than one day
 

I’m not sure what it is about me, but for some unknown reasons, multi-billion dollar transnational corporations see me as some kind of a threat. I’m the type of person that will speak up when wronged instead of running and sticking my head in the sand.

About a half a decade ago, I had an unpleasant discussion with a Wells Fargo Bank representative. They were located several state lines away at a call center in Iowa. The rep made me angry and I used some bad language. Barely an hour passed and there were multiple units belonging to the Pinal County Sheriff’s office assembling outside my home. It was one of the largest law enforcement deployments I ever saw.

I thought it was strange because I didn’t threaten or try to kill anybody that day. As it should happen, the pussy at the call center made a false accusation to law enforcement via 911 out of spite and malice.

It was MY telephone and I WILL use foul language on it if I damn well please. The deputies apparently didn’t have a problem with that either. We chatted and talked about old times out in the driveway for a while before they went on to bigger and better things. If you call here and my line is busy, you now know why.

I can never be misquoted because it’s impossible to put words in my mouth if I never utter them. Typing is much safer.
 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Part One: “White Man’s Adventures Through The Welfare System”



With all of the healthcare & “Obama Care” media hype and the pending legislation in the House being such a hot topic, I decided to break out some of my old blogs describing my trip through the healthcare and welfare system. After finding myself with health issues, I wrote an eight part series that described the process I was forced to navigate and endure. I have been there and done that. I’m hopeful that somebody might find some of the information and experiences helpful in their quest for answers or search for assistance.

December 27,2007: My field trip to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Family Assistance Administration

I had an appointment on December 26,2007 at the local D.E.S. office. Last November, I suffered a noise related injury at work resulting in severe hearing loss and unexpectedly found myself out of a job. Of course, my insurance carrier is ignoring the fact that I have coverage and have turned their backs on me. I’ll probably have to retain a lawyer and go to court to get the Workers’ Compensation benefits I should be collecting at this time.

My former employer has not heard the last of me. I’m going to bury everybody with paperwork. I was on short term disability which is covered under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. I should have been returned to my original job and rate of pay after being released from the doctor according to this law. Of course that didn’t happen. I suspect my employer has retaliated against me for filing that Workers’ Compensation claim with the Industrial Commission a week earlier. I will be having the last laugh when it‘s all over. Employers never want to follow the rules.

I signed up for unemployment insurance benefits four weeks ago and of course the payment is being delayed for several weeks because of 16 hours worth of vacation pay I received as my last check. To my surprise, I received a $0.50/hr. pay increase. Since I want to be a burden to the system, I decided to sign up for food stamps and AHCCCS medical coverage.

I arrived early for my 9:00 AM appointment. I noticed that almost everyone except me was playing with cell phones and MP3 players. I found it fascinating that people who never worked for a living could afford such accessories. The crowd consisted mainly of Hispanics, one black male and a few older white women. People were lined up all the way to the door. Some of the lazy fat people dragged chairs and sat while waiting in line. I somehow had enough energy to remain standing the whole time. My name was called at 9:10 AM.

I was guided to this cubicle where sat a caseworker. She appeared to be Hispanic with a blonde dye-job and “pear-shaped” body. She tripped over the telephone line and her phone went crashing to the floor. She almost fell on her buttocks. The majority of the people in this building were obese. I had to provide work, medical and financial documentation. I was also asked about felony convictions, drug offenses and fraud charges. I truthfully answered no to all of those questions. I also was expected to provide proof of Citizenship. I asked, “What country could I be deported to if I could not provide this proof?” I said, “I’m an Appalachian American or non-indigenous native.” A drivers license, voter registration, property tax documents, etc., etc. are not enough for a White guy to be verified while illegal aliens can walk right in and get whatever they ask for.

During my discussion with the caseworker, it was suggested that I apply for Social Security disability benefits. My hearing loss, the inner ear nerve damage with unpleasant side affects along with my lack of people skills and anti-social behavior makes me a good candidate. I really didn’t plan on retiring this young, but will if I can.

My next stop will be the Social Security Administration office which is just down the street from the D.E.S. I got a few worried stares from loiterers sitting on the sidewalk as I left the building and went to my truck. I strapped on my Sig Sauer P-226 9mm, got in and drove away. Although Arizona is supposed to be the “wild west“, people react funny when they see armed people.
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Update:
Although I cannot verify this, I heard that something I said in this blog caused management at Cardinal Glass Industries in Casa Grande to put the plant on "lockdown". During the time I served on the plant's safety committee, we barely spoke of workplace violence. My former supervisor actually threatened me with violence before getting off his shift. After switching shifts, his production numbers took a very big shit. I'm not sure why they were so afraid of a disabled man that was just released from the hospital. To be honest, not one of those idiots would have been worth a bullet. I worked with quite a few alcoholics and dope fiends at Cardinal Glass. I believe substance abuse has a way of inducing paranoia.

A gardener employed for the last 29 years at the White House grounds was suddenly dismissed from his position after he was heard walking the around the White House grounds saying, "Now where is that damn spade and that old ho at, anyway?"

Update: Qwest Communications and inferior rural telephone service in Arizona



From my previous blog, most of you know I’m not too pleased with the quality of service my local telephone company provides. After several days, Qwest finally responded to my email. Their response didn’t do all that much to correct any issues. In fact, they did nothing. It was more of an insult than anything else.

Their apology is supposed to mean something to me? I already know they are sorry or more like “sorry-ass”. This is the real world and I’m looking for results not sympathy or pity. The big bad evil phone company is NOT the victim here. As a paying customer, all I want is what I pay for. Nothing more and certainly nothing less.

If they think that saying they’re sorry is going to make me be nice to them and be humble and all that, they are seriously mistaken. I don’t want to be their friend. This is the point where I begin pulling out all the stops. The best means to this end is to deprive them of money.

One of my biggest pet peeves regarding the phone company is the bill itself. I might make two phone calls a month and the bill is always three pages long. Why do they waste so much paper? They don’t need three pages to nickel and dime me with silly charges such as the Federal Access Charge, Regulatory Surcharge, Telecommunication Relay Service Fund and Related Monthly Charges whatever the hell they are. They even use the word “fund” in an apparent attempt to make it sound like some kind of charitable contribution.

Along with the three page bill, my envelope is always stuffed with a bunch of crap I throw away without ever bothering to read. They are killing off entire forests to send me waste paper. They have done this for decades. Greenpeace should be out there cutting down telephone poles, spiking trees or something.

I should write 60 Minutes and ask Andy Rooney to talk about his phone bill on network TV. Is anybody still watching regular TV?

I think I’m going to kill my caller ID. They charge me $9.00/month for it and I almost never answer my phone. The primary reason I have a land line is for my dial up internet. I spend less than one hour a month talking on the telephone. I could put that $9.00 to better use. In fact, I got my eye on this pair of black English made Gripfast 10-eye steel toe boots.

I really should make lots of changes to my phone service. It would keep one of their customer service representative busy for a long time while I try to make up my mind what to do. Just wasting their time would be worth it. AT&T raised my simple minutes plan rate last month. It’s high time I dump them as well. Hopefully, I’ll be able to trim as much as 30% off my bill before I’m finished.

Between bills, Qwest bombards me with all sorts of junk mail. They want to steal more money from me under the guise of saving money. How many of you would pay more to somebody you don’t like? My paper shredder is full of crap from Qwest.
 
My previous blog:
http://vandal49588.blogspot.com/2009/09/qwest-communications-and-inferior-rural.html

Re: Qwest.com Customer Support
 
Dear Harry,
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Thank you for your recent e-mail inquiry to Qwest in regards to your phone service. I apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail.
Thank you for notifying us about the unsatisfactory customer service experience that you recently encountered. Please accept our apologies for not meeting your expectations. Your valuable feedback has been forwarded for review and developmental training purposes.
Qwest appreciates your business and values you as a customer. Our goal is to provide you with excellent service. If you need further assistance, please visit us online at http://www.qwest.com/customerService for a variety of customer service options.
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Sincerely,
.
John
Qwest Customer CareConsumer Markets

John doesn’t even have the testicular fortitude to give his last name. It wouldn’t surprise me that there are angry customers out there that have gone as far as to threaten these representatives. I picture these people cautiously exiting their phone rooms and looking over their shoulders on the way to their cars.

The generic statement in their response doesn’t mean a thing to me. As sure as the sun comes up, my dial tone will not be there the next time it rains. If I’m lucky, lightning will strike the pole and it will crash to the ground.

The utility pole across the street was cracked a few years ago because some drunk Mexicans slammed a car into it. Despite obvious signs of structural weakness, I had to twist arms to get the pole replaced with a nice steel one. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the next carload of drunks to test its’ strength.

“It is my heart-warmed and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.” --Mark Twain, Christmas greeting, 1890

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Part Two: Decay, waste and ruin in Pinal County. . . . It’s all around us.

















Barely an hour after posting the first segment of my “decay” blog last week, somebody in Pinal County government was reading it. I suspect our tax dollars are used to pay people to seek out dissenters by using search engines. As the week went on, more visitors from Pinal County government arrived on my page. I’m actually directing some of them here. Hopefully, more people will be reading this week’s postings. I regularly track and view my blog’s visitors. “I have your IP addresses and I know where you are.”

With armed extremists, drug gangs, kidnapping epidemics, illegal aliens, rolling gun fights on I-10 and rural blight, many politicians and businessmen are worried that tourists, along with their money will stop visiting Arizona. As most of us know, it’s all about their insane blood-lust for money. The quality of “our lives” is irrelevant in the eyes of politicians and businessmen. They call it progress. I call it demise and decay. To be honest, I hope tourists and visitors never come here. The more people that arrive in Arizona, the worse things get. I’ve been in Arizona for 24 years and have seen it gone from bad to worse in just the last decade. In fact, I hope half of the existing population would get out of the state. I would consider moving myself, but nobody in their right mind would by property in a blighted area like mine. And they are not.

My neighborhood is full of “For Sale” signs and has been for two years. In many cases, the signs have been there so long that they have either fallen off the posts or have been vandalized by these “wannabe thugnut” Hispanic “gang bangers” that have infested the Maricopa area. These low-life punks are a form of blight too. Like cockroaches and rats, these vermin thrive in rundown areas. A vacant building is like putting up a “welcome” sign to them.

During my initial trip out in the field, I found a property that was so bad that I have made it one of my personal projects. I hope the whole country sees this:

“Rural blight” in Pinal County. . . .Look at this disgusting mess.
http://vandal49588.blogspot.com/2009/09/rural-blight-in-pinal-county-look-at.html
 
As before, all I did was take a short drive around my neighborhood. I was not at all surprised to find so many deteriorated eyesores so close to home. Believe it or not, some of the structures I photographed are actually occupied by “people“. I came across another property where Mexicans were living in a garage. This area is full of tack rooms and run down travel trailers occupied by an assortment of dope fiends and illegal aliens. They are roaming at large while the rest of you are at work. Isn’t that comforting to know?

I would also like to point out that I’m not the best housekeeper or landscaper and don’t want to sound off like I’m on some high horse. I do have a little bit of junk in the back yard, however, I keep most of it concealed behind a fence. Unlike most of my neighbors, I even take the extra step in picking up the trash and litter deposited by slobs along the nearly 1000 feet of paved road frontage my property borders. I think most of my neighbors are too lazy to walk that far.

While on the subject of litter. . .The fat and disgusting Pinal County employee that operates the John Deere tractor with the mower attachment sat on my corner, ate his lunch and left his garbage behind. I wonder if he does this every day? It certainly should not be my job to pick up after county employees. I think his supervisor should make his filthy fat lazy ass walk a few miles with a trash bag. Littering and illegal dumping are more or less the same thing in my book. I can’t even stay home and not see disgusting “human pigs” in action.

My primary concern is with the numerous vacant or abandoned properties that have become open trash dumps and incubators for disease. I’m sure many of these properties are owned by banks and financial institutions as a direct result of the current liberal policy induced financial crisis. The rich and greedy “fat cat” bankers live in well manicured gated “HOA-Gestapo” controlled communities. They could care less about what happens to western Pinal County. Regardless of who owns these eyesores, they should be compelled to clean them up. It’s clearly obvious they have no morals or sense of decency to do it on their own.

"The hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency. Their sole object is gain." --Napoleon Bonaparte

It’s been my personal experience, that it’s almost impossible to get anybody to do the right thing, short of putting a gun to their head(s). Don’t bother to ask me how or where I learned this. Perhaps, the constitutionality of my behavior modification techniques should be reconsidered.

If there are any persons in the legal profession reading my blog, please contact me. Perhaps, a few law suits will open some eyes and get the ball rolling out here.

The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey (1927–1989), published in 1975.

Easily Abbey's most famous fiction work, the novel concerns the use of sabotage to protest environmentally damaging activities in the American Southwest, and was so influential that the term "monkeywrench" has come to mean, besides sabotage and damage to machines, any violence, sabotage, activism, law-making, or law-breaking to preserve wilderness, wild spaces and ecosystems.

"A sad, hilarious, exuberant, vulgar fairy tale. . .it'll make you want to go out and blow up a dam" -- The National Observer

"Destroying eyesores is simply another way of creating beauty, and Edward Abbey's dedicated crew are masters of this particular Renaissance. Of course, what the Monkey Wrench Gang does is outrageous, un-American and inimical to the sacred concept of property, and I thoroughly condemn them. If unchecked, they may even start dumping tea in Boston harbor. . ." -- Richard Bradford, author of Red Sky at Morning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monkey_Wrench_Gang
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EdwardAbbey_TheMonkeyWrenchGang.jpg
http://www.amazon.com/Monkey-Wrench-Gang-Edward-Abbey/dp/038000741X
 
Note: I am not advocating that anyone blow up, burn down or destroy anything. If anything does happen to explode, collapse, burn or vanish in the middle of the night, I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
 
In 1985, while working as a contractor for Southwest Gas Corporation out of Tucson, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Abbey at his home in Oracle, AZ. I needed to gain access to his back yard. At the time, I was conducting a pipeline inspection as part of the Southwest Gas ABS Replacement Project. Unfortunately, I was working and didn’t have time to stick around and chat with him for very long.

I really enjoyed reading The Monkey Wrench Gang and still proudly keep a copy on my book shelf.

“Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.” --Edward Abbey
  

Monday, September 7, 2009

“A few housekeeping chores. . . . . .” at the F. O. R. Food Bank, Maricopa, Arizona












“A few housekeeping chores. . . .” was a phrase frequently used by Dr. William R. Brice. He was one of my geology professors at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. It’s his fault that I have to doubt and question everything. When a student went to Dr. Brice with a question, the student received more questions rather than a direct answer. This encouraged me to find my own answers or as it should happen, many more questions.

Instead of goofing off this Labor Day weekend, I decided to clean out a couple of my overcrowded closets and drawers. I assembled several boxes full of clothing, shoes and useless junk including a clock radio, computer keyboard and a hot plate. I thought I could use this stuff as “bait” for a few “people in action” photographs. I was anything but disappointed.

The first Monday of the month at the F.O.R. Food Bank in Maricopa is normally the busiest. This is when both non-perishable and dry goods such as cereal, beans, pasta and rice along with canned goods are made available.

Rather than tossing out my worn out, torn, stained and tattered clothing, I donated them. Clothing is a very popular item at this food bank. I’m sure some of these people no longer have room to walk from one end of their house to the other without tripping over piles of clothes. I see people leave with armloads of things that are either too ugly to be worn in public or have absolutely no chance of fitting. They grab much of this stuff simply because it’s free.

I have to confess, I did accept a really nice pair of Dockers khaki shorts, a couple pairs of slacks and a dress shirt. I also grabbed that Sharp UX-P100 plain paper fax machine a couple of weeks ago. I was the only one there that had a real use for it. Somebody else would have taken it and sold it for crack.

The food bank volunteers stand on the porch and hand garments to the crowd below. On one occasion, a fat Mexican male ruffian scrambled for and grabbed a wash cloth from a nice little old lady. I really wanted to apply my boot to his head and stick my thumb in his eye. He’s one of the reasons I wrote letters to city hall requesting a police presence. I did exercise restraint and refrained from assaulting this person who was obviously in desperate need of a wash cloth. He could have used a comb and a razor too. Instead of squandering his money on alcohol, he should have invested a little more in personal hygiene.

As you can see by my pictures, words can’t describe the events I witnessed any better.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! I’m ‘ENTITLED’ to those clothes! Make note of some of the expensive cars owned by these “very needy people”. I purposely included vehicles in my photos to demonstrate what kind of monster consumerism and debt has created. I think they should be called “The Luxury Poverty Class”. They’re so wrapped up with buying huge Ford Excursions, extra-cab 4X4’s, SUV’s, ipods, cell phones, video games, name brand clothing and laptop computers, they forgot that they had to eat.

It wouldn’t surprise me if people owe more on some of these vehicles than I owe on my home.

Standing in the crowd was a Hispanic male wearing a Pinal County photo ID badge. His name was Erik Gomez. I guess even the well paid county employees are not paid enough to buy their own food. This is the second time I’ve observed this subject there. He drove a different vehicle each time.

In the weeks to come, I’ll be monitoring the Farmers Convenience Store/Papago Rd swap meet to see if any of my clothing appears for sale. If that happens, there WILL be an opinionated and inflammatory follow-up story.
See previous blogs: http://vandal49588.blogspot.com/2009/08/farmers-convenience-store-maricopa-az.html, http://vandal49588.blogspot.com/2009/08/for-food-bank-maricopa-arizona-human.html
 
 
If you need food or some of my worn out clothes:

 
info@formaricopa.org
Hours: Every Monday from 10:00AM-11:30AM
Address: PO Box 723 Maricopa, AZ 85239
Phone #: 520-251-0226

Address: 19235 Gunsmoke Directions: Take Honeycutt Road headed East, past the stop sign at Porter Rd. Go right at the second dirt road which is Gunsmoke. About a half a mile down Gunsmoke, on the left hand side, you will see the double wide trailer.
 
“He who is greedy is always in want.” --Horace, Roman Poet 65 B.C. to 8 B.C.