Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blather in the e-mail

My beloved kid sister forwarded a petition for President Bush from an unnamed source, reading as follows:
We, the undersigned, protest the bill that the Senate voted on recently which would allow illegal aliens to access our Social Security. We ask that you and all Congressional representatives require citizenship as a pre-requisite for social services in the United States
The more I thought about this petition, the sillier it became. So, I wrote back to my sister, with cc's to my other siblings and relatives who received it. Here's what I said:

I don't think citizenship is the issue. Citizens and legal immigrants alike must pay into social security for at least 40 quarters--ten years--before they're eligible for SS benefits. Furthermore, the amount of their benefit is scaled to their income. This means that the benefits of minimum-wage workers are not the same as those of us paying larger amounts into SSA.

As for "illegal" immigrants, it would be helpful if the authors of this petition attached a bill number to it so that we could determine its exact wording and track its progress through the Congress. Without it, we are at the mercy of the author of this Ponzi scheme. Why have so many of you attached your name to a petition without checking out the actual bill before Congress, if in fact it exists with the provisions claimed? Do any of you actually believe an elected congresscritter would sponsor such a bill? What are you smoking?

Now that you have been alerted to the soft spots in this rabble-rousing, would you be willing to (1) research the real bill before Congress, (2) send in a retraction of your original email, should you find the details to be different from what was claimed, and (3) alert those who alerted you, that this whole e-mail enterprise is a fraud, if you so decide?

If you are unwilling to take these simple countermeasures, what are you prepared to say about your willingness to be duped by demagogues? Are you unwilling to recover your integrity? Are you unwilling to fight back against duplicity, innuendo and outright lies?

Don't feel like I'm singling you out. I've been duped before, it cost me tens of thousands of dollars at one point; I didn't do what I should have done to check out the claims of the perpetrator.

Please, folks, don't sign on to "outrages" until you've checked out the details. If there aren't any details, don't jump on the bandwagon. House and Senate bills have numbers, and they're all online, at and If you don't have the patience or training to understand the amazing complexity of what you're reading, then ask a librarian for help, or some other person who has the expertise.

And please stop sending me these faux alerts, they're distracting me from more important pursuits, like brushing my teeth and taking hot baths.

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