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Old 02-17-2008, 03:37 AM
 
Location: Morris, MN
133 posts, read 553,456 times
Reputation: 120

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Okay, here I go. Before you call me names or paint me up as something evil, please let me make my case. I, too, like many looking in this forum am on the look out for a nice small town in which to relocate. In my searches last year I found several things somewhat disturbing about what is happening to rural America, at least here in the upper Midwest. I’ll list and discuss two issues; trust me, I know of a few more. Here we go:
  • Wind Power—our latest, greatest answer to the energy crisis. “Big City” politicians get elected due to their populist views on renewable energy. Hmmm…where to put this wind turbines? Let’s put them out in rural America! Notice how these windmills are not in the “big city?” Wonder why? NIMBY! “Big City” can’t afford to have property values declining—bad for re-election. Whoever said these things are nice and pleasant to look at has never seen one up close—let alone a whole field of them.
  • Meat Packing Plant—I’m really going to get into trouble here. The employment situation in rural America is on the skids. “Big City” politicians on both sides of the aisle (both are to blame) and meat packing plants come up with a solution—big tax breaks to bring jobs to rural America. Heralded as the solution to an ailing rural economy. Guess what the pay is? Guess who takes these jobs? Don’t bother asking for a green card. These jobs are for busloads of illegal and/or undocumented immigrants not for the unemployed or underemployed people already living in rural America. “Big City” politicians get to gloat on how diversity has changed the “face of rural America.” But did anything improve? Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with diversity. These illegal immigrants are working in horrible conditions at minimum wage (or even lower due to their, ahem, status) Because the pay is so low, these employees get on state aid for their health, housing, and food needs, or worse yet, they get nothing resorting to begging, crime or starving. The meat packing plant just further worsens poverty. “Big City” politicians on both sides of the aisle are quick to accuse the other of not being pro-diversity if any criticism is presented.
So, next time you go to your lake home with that beautiful view, think of those families living on the prairie who for generations were able to enjoy amazing sunsets without looking through fields of whirly birds.

Ground beef on sale, huh? Think of those illegal immigrants working in those plants-- they are getting exploited in a modern day version of slavery all so “big city” people can have a low grocery bill. Food stays cheap, “ big city” happy, politicians get re-elected. How long can we turn the other cheek?

Let the discussion begin,
disneyrecords—bunkering down….
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:06 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,525,556 times
Reputation: 9926
Disneyrecords, I'm with ya all the way on this one! I see it myself and I'm a city-slicker from Ohio. The illegal alien mess is FAR worse than most people realize. The greedy shippers and trucking executives are even trying to replace American truck drivers with cheap Mexican labor so they can take advantage of truckers from BOTH countries. Hours of service rules? Heck, you just have a fresh 70-hour clock as soon as you cross the border. And, like in so many other ways. We on the North side of the border will pay as these over-worked underpaid drivers drive tired, bring in contraband of all sorts and fail to meet U.S. standards for drug/alcohol testing English language comprehension and many other issues...

I'm not even sure that wind turbines are the answer to our energy problems. But, just like anywhere else in this country, if there's a buck to be made someone will make it whther it's right or wrong.
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:41 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 9,946,141 times
Reputation: 3961
Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyrecords View Post
Okay, here I go. Before you call me names or paint me up as something evil, please let me make my case. I, too, like many looking in this forum am on the look out for a nice small town in which to relocate. In my searches last year I found several things somewhat disturbing about what is happening to rural America, at least here in the upper Midwest. I’ll list and discuss two issues; trust me, I know of a few more. Here we go:
  • Wind Power—our latest, greatest answer to the energy crisis. “Big City” politicians get elected due to their populist views on renewable energy. Hmmm…where to put this wind turbines? Let’s put them out in rural America! Notice how these windmills are not in the “big city?” Wonder why? NIMBY! “Big City” can’t afford to have property values declining—bad for re-election. Whoever said these things are nice and pleasant to look at has never seen one up close—let alone a whole field of them.
  • Meat Packing Plant—I’m really going to get into trouble here. The employment situation in rural America is on the skids. “Big City” politicians on both sides of the aisle (both are to blame) and meat packing plants come up with a solution—big tax breaks to bring jobs to rural America. Heralded as the solution to an ailing rural economy. Guess what the pay is? Guess who takes these jobs? Don’t bother asking for a green card. These jobs are for busloads of illegal and/or undocumented immigrants not for the unemployed or underemployed people already living in rural America. “Big City” politicians get to gloat on how diversity has changed the “face of rural America.” But did anything improve? Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with diversity. These illegal immigrants are working in horrible conditions at minimum wage (or even lower due to their, ahem, status) Because the pay is so low, these employees get on state aid for their health, housing, and food needs, or worse yet, they get nothing resorting to begging, crime or starving. The meat packing plant just further worsens poverty. “Big City” politicians on both sides of the aisle are quick to accuse the other of not being pro-diversity if any criticism is presented.
So, next time you go to your lake home with that beautiful view, think of those families living on the prairie who for generations were able to enjoy amazing sunsets without looking through fields of whirly birds.

Ground beef on sale, huh? Think of those illegal immigrants working in those plants-- they are getting exploited in a modern day version of slavery all so “big city” people can have a low grocery bill. Food stays cheap, “ big city” happy, politicians get re-elected. How long can we turn the other cheek?

Let the discussion begin,
disneyrecords—bunkering down….

Fair enough complaints.

Sort of gives a little perspective of how the Native Americans might have felt?

Just wait a while and maybe they will round you up to reservations.

The wind is not just a NIMBY thing. If folks started designing their buildings in the cities to produce their own energy (sometimes called Net Zero) the Big Utility folks would be thrown into fits. Build and own all that generation and transmission equipment and folks start making their own power? omigod.

But it is driven mostly by the maps -- wind maps that is:

Wind Powering America: State and United States Wind Resource Maps

If you are in the Zone, your area is a candidate.

-------------------

If you want to run out the meat packing operations -- or at least clean them up . . . you have to hit a target a little higher than the folks workinig there. It is the White Men in Business Suits who are causing that problem. Focus on them.

Personally I think I would start with a local contest for a rotten meat catapult that could launch some road kill onto the Rich White Folks estate (who run and own the operation). Maybe make it a real sport and give bonus points for landing in the pool or hitting the Mercedes or BMW.

Wonder if how that would sail over in Pittsburg, Texas, with Bo Pilgrim?
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:09 PM
 
Location: You name it!
149 posts, read 418,379 times
Reputation: 64
I agree with you completely that the illegal situation is a high concern. I would say however, to the previous poster that Native American's had their chance to fight. They chose ( how could they know?) to fight on the wrong side during the Revolutionary War and that was the beginning of the end. Not to mention the fact that they were blinded by one sided trade values.

Back to the point, the illegal immigration situation encompasses a large amount of important issues.

Economy - Where would it be if we were to take those 12-20 million jobs away from people who are using the money to support another country and give it to HARD WORKING AMERICANS?

Homeland Security - I live in SOCAL, but not for long. I have crossed the border and it's a total joke. We will be attacked from the southern border if something is not done to secure it. Anybody else think that a large amount of our troops over in Iraq would not love to come home and stand post on their home soil, defending our border? They can come home and still protect America - their is a lot of honor in that to me as well!

These are just two HUGE issues that would become a bit clearer if we take care of the mess in front of our faces. I could go on attaching the issue to others that I have witnessed first hand for years.

With that said it is my firm belief, honestly, that the government will not do anything to help the situation. There are just too many votes at stake with the hispanic population. It disgusts me something awful. but it is a plain fact. They don't want to loose votes so they ignore and lie about the situation. Kennedy did he same thing with the Cubans for political gain. It worked. They will continue calling the purple elephant pink - until there is another issue and "Americans" forget about it.

It is up to the people, private groups to make a difference. To get the job done we have to do something together without dependence. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 25,082,709 times
Reputation: 3857
Good discussion, but remember we have an "Immigration" forum so let's keep it non-controversial and civil.

Many thanks.

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Old 02-17-2008, 01:36 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 5,804,062 times
Reputation: 1301
I think you forgot to add building new prisons in rural areas to the list.
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,546 posts, read 55,477,958 times
Reputation: 32304
FWIW, meat packing and poultry processing go somewhat hand in hand. We have a lot of poultry farms and processing around here, so I feel a need to respond.

It is a bit of a stretch to ask farmers raising beef or chicken to complain about the processors that pay for their crop of animals, payments that are allowing those hard-working farmers to keep their farms. So I just gotta ask, Disneyrecords, as an outsider who is looking to move in; what would you do about a quiet illegal immigration encouraged by your processor, if you had a family farm that had been in the family for generations and you depended on that company to stay afloat? I'm not angry, I just happen to think your viewpoint of the country is a lot more disney-like than one that understands the realities of country life.

The country has always had rough edges, and always will. If you move in, you may find strange and possibly unpleasant odors that don't exist in the city. You may find farmers that don't care if their practices increase the local fly population to staggering levels. You may find that view of a waving wheat field one year might turn into a roundup saturated soy crop the next, and an unkempt field of scrub brush the year after that. You might find those cute little Thumper and Bambi characters love to eat your first attempts at a garden, usually two days before you plan to harvest. You might find all sorts of little cuties that are just waiting to girdle your fruit trees and kill them. All of this is beyond your control or influence.

Illegal immigration? There is no question in my mind that it is bad, but I think of some of the immediate alternatives are equally bad and even impractical, such as beef and chicken being shipped across the border to be processed in Mexico and then returned in neat little packages uninspected by the USDA. Any solution to the illegal immigration problem appears to involve the price of farm products increasing and adding to the outrageous inflation we've already had in many segments of the economy, while simultaneously reducing consumer demand, as their pocketbooks are stretched thinner. The immigration situation has festered for long enough that it can't be easily solved without some pain, and I'm looking for a better solution than those put forth by politicians.

Wind farms. There is something about the country that city-dwellers have a difficult time understanding. The land owned by someone is theirs to do with as they please. Your view of their property or across their property is NOT underwritten by the U.S. Bill of Rights. Even in the cities, the laws for skyscrapers address the issues of light at street level, but not the view from apartment windows. I'll take a windfarm any day as a neighbor over a high-rise apartment building less than a block away.

I think you may have difficulty with the concept that the country is NOT suburbia. Strict zoning laws would negatively impact the very breadbasket where you get your food, and drive more processors and suppliers to look offshore for crops, further weakening the U.S. economy. Local representatives in the country are more likely old farmers and people who understand that hands-off is one of the best forms of government.

If the prospect of being near a wind farm or a group of hardworking but illegal Mexicans disturbs you, I would advise you to stick to suburbia, where you can avoid that, while giving up your rights to have your house painted the color you want, or to park your car on your lawn if you want to, and get the right to complain about your neighbor's dog barking after dark, or their watering their lawn excessively. Some folks seem to think those are important rights, and that giving up freedoms is part of the American way.

I don't think you are evil at all, but I think you have an unrealistic view of the world, one influenced by not being around a farm as a kid, and having been fed the pablum of television shows like Bonanza, Disney's Wide World of Color, "Nature" shows, and the current disgusting crop of eco-nonsense programming.
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:49 PM
 
11,961 posts, read 13,016,202 times
Reputation: 2772
harry chickpea- sad but true, many 100+ yr family farms in new jersey and long island were crushed by the onslaught of McMansion crowds wanting a buccolic setting, then bombarding the town with nuisance complaints about the smell of cow manuer. They love kitch and quaint, yet are devoid of the wisdom of function in the natural world. The general store gets turned into a museum and they open a starbucks next door to admire the museum.

Rural america has its own economy, tethered loosely to other larger economies. I hate when people scapegoat illegal immigrants- its like they just aren't willing to see that farmers get paid very little for the work it takes to produce what we all consume, and that translates to less than a living wage you can provide farm hands. They aren't willing to see how they contributed to this larger problem. Frankly, in my experience, illegals working here abide laws better than our own citizens do, because the consequences for them are more severe when the law gets called. In suburbia, they're working the landscaping companies.

I don't get why people have a problem with wind turbines. It's a practical solution, and very lucrative for farms who don't have to squander productive soil in the bargain. They want a cell phone, want a signal, but don't want to see a cell tower? Silly.

As for the greenies- I think farmers could stand to have them apprentice a while and let them invent the solutions that they have issues about. Pesticides, fertilizers, expensive equipment all wind up falling in your red ink column, sometimes in ways your pen didn't predict. There are cost effective alternatives that can work for everyone. I like the way permaculture folks handle the whole thing. Much less labor intensive. It won't work for all things, but it keeps long term in mind better than agrabusiness, who would just assume burn it out/cash it out be damned the consequences. Your objectives and greenies have enough common goals to walk together.

Most americans are clueless what it takes to put food on the table. Meat doesn't have eyes in a plastic package at a supermarket. I grew up suburban, and extreme rural life was quite a culture shock. I'd rather be rural. I've got lots to learn, but knowing that before I arrived is the strongest asset I could have, coupled with how generous locals are in sharing what they know.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:30 PM
 
955 posts, read 1,970,184 times
Reputation: 401
Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyrecords View Post
Okay, here I go. In my searches last year I found several things somewhat disturbing about what is happening to rural America, at least here in the upper Midwest. I’ll list and discuss two issues; trust me, I know of a few more. Here we go:
Wind Power—our latest, greatest answer to the energy crisis. “Big City” politicians get elected due to their populist views on renewable energy. Hmmm…where to put this wind turbines? Let’s put them out in rural America! Notice how these windmills are not in the “big city?”
Meat Packing Plant—I’m really going to get into trouble here. The employment situation in rural America is on the skids. “Big City” politicians on both sides of the aisle (both are to blame) and meat packing plants come up with a solution—big tax breaks to bring jobs to rural America. Heralded as the solution to an ailing rural economy. Guess what the pay is? Guess who takes these jobs? Don’t bother asking for a green card.
The points that you made (condensed above) are well made and well thought out. With respect to wind power, can anyone say "Right on! But not on Martha's Vineyard". It might disrupt the fishing industry, or some such excuse. And by the way, I find that most urban dwellers who come out to rural areas all believe the same thing - that all this land is government land. I guess they never looked at plat books and find people's names associated with all of that land.

Your second point talks about meat packing plants, but of course your point is much broader. You are correct that the big city pols are reelected on the support of some very specific interest groups that really do not care about what happens outside of the voting bloc boundaries.

Let me relate a little story that illustrates your thoughts further. This year at a Christmas tree cutting ceremony for the state tree (held out in the boonies), the representative of the state actually said "I'm proud to be here watching the "Christmas Tree Cutting ceremony - and I can call it a Christmas Tree out here. If I were back in the capitol I would have to call it a holiday tree".
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:31 PM
 
Location: You name it!
149 posts, read 418,379 times
Reputation: 64
I believe the above poster made good points but is also being neive to the experience of others. As a person who grew up in horse country, working on cattle farms and while in school was on the FFA committee, I disagree with your statement about the money generated for farmers.

The money generated from the labor of illegals is wrong and illegal in itself. Americans did it before and they would do it again. Ones behavior should not determine their status as a member much less a worker that is used to generate profits.

There is a general decline in Agriculture programs all across the SouthEast where the majority of college programs teaching the subject are located. Why is this? I think because people see no reason to enter this field becuase they fear it will not be a wise decision to compete in that field. Therefore technical advances are lost as well as competition and new ideas.

My father owns and operates a landscape company in the south. Now he is expected to match labor numbers with larger companies that can hide underpaying workers the minimum wage because "they don't exist" as far as Uncle Sam is concerned. The consequence is that his small business is constantly being underbid on contracts by large companies with cheap labor. The result is a loss of work/pay/salary and quality of life due to large business illegal practices in the industry.
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