B. Whitten: Everything on a silver platter

Many people in Lewiston feel the way I do but are afraid of reprisals from the foreign nationals.

People in Maine are upset because they feel they are being discriminated against. I think immigrants come to Lewiston because of the welfare system. Everything is free, including translators. Do not forget housing.

My parents came from Canada, as others did. They were not given opportunities like today's foreigners. Many worked in shoe shops or textile mills at low wages for a 40- to 50-hour work week. They had pride and a good work ethic. General assistance was not available. English was learned on the job or through conversation.

Foreigners are treated better than the Vietnam veterans, but don't forget what happened in "Black Hawk Down." The treatment those soldiers got was simply barbaric.

Taxpayers of Lewiston might feel differently about foreigners if they did not depend on our generosity. Some changes must be made at the government level if the deficit is going to be lowered.

Taxpayers do not mind paying their share, but they object to giving everything on a silver platter to those who make no attempts to better themselves because the welfare system makes them live better than those who work.

Brian Whitten, Lewiston

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Jason Theriault's picture

Some differances

There are some differences between your parents and the Somalis.

First off, your parents are white christians from a european culture. Coming from Canada to America is like if I moved to California. There would be culture shock, but not bad. They, on the other hand, the Somalis were nomadic farmers who were driven off their land by the same people who shot down the black hawk helicopter in Mogadishu. So the culture shock is going to be significant. It's going to take a generation for them to be contributing members of society.

Also, while your parents lived in Canada, there wasn't armed gangs looking to rape and murder them.

The reason I defend the heck out of them is not for them. It's because it's one of the times I can look at that the United States acting as a true source of good. No agenda, not protecting oil or propping up governments because it serves our best interests. We saved these people. And that makes me happy and proud to be an American.

Do I think the Federal Government should be doing more? Absolutely. But I also think that saying we're giving them everything on a silver platter is just dumb. Hell, just look at your parent's generation. How many still speak only french? I mean, they are dying off, but alot of that first generation never learned to speak english. Give the Somalis time.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

My grandparents came her

My grandparents came her directly from Canada, they didn't come here by way of Columbus, Ohio or Atlanta, Georgia, which is where the preponderance of the Somalis who came to Lewiston came from. I'd bet less than a third of them actually came here directly from Somalia. Do you see my point?

 's picture

Yeah because moving to

Yeah because moving to California would mean that we would have to learn a new language, which while there is a large amount that speak spanish they still know and speak english in California. So, no it is not like moving from Maine to California.

Also, why do you keep bringing up there race, no one mentions their race unless it is someone that disagrees with the other persons view. People in Maine and Lewiston are pissed about supporting anyone on welfare regardless of there sex, race, ethnicity or sexual preference if they are not going to at least attempt to help themselves.

Culture shock, you mean when they KKK went to Bath and Lewiston and burned down a Catholic Church in each city, but I mean I guess their culture shock was "not bad." Being Christian didn't mean squat, what mean anything was what part of Christianity you belonged to.

The Franco-Americans that you speak of did not have social programs when they came here they worked their butts off and supported eachother. Do I agree with having social programs, yes I do, but only for a certain period of time and that is for any and everyone.

Judging from census about 24% of the cities population still speaks french, but they are bi-lingual and can speak english as well. English is a tough language, but after being somewhere for 10 years, you should be able to speak it. Hell kids in middle and high school learn the basic of a language in a year and can pretty much know the entire language in two years.

I have no quarrel with Somali's, what I do have a quarrel in is when people act like the Franco-Americans came in here and didn't do what they had to, to adapt to their new surroundings. Not to mention when people act like they just had a nice an easy walk because they were "white and Cristian." Might want to dig a little deeper into Maine history, I think you'd be suprised.


MARK GRAVEL's picture

So when does the US stop

So when does the US stop borrowing money? This country is broke; it can no longer keep spending like there is nothing wrong. Do we sink the US to help all peoples of the world? Government is killing the engine that allows it to do these things. It is time to cool down spending to a sustainable level.

RONALD RIML's picture

When the Republicans grow a set.....

And stand up to Grover Norquist.

Who died and left him in charge??????

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps you should join the

Perhaps you should join the GOP if you want to influence GOP policy. Otherwise, reserve your pie hole for, well, pie.

I, with many other Americans, support a no new tax approach to balancing the budget. Unfortunately for you, this interferes with your tax – moreover tax the rich- mentality.

The Federal government can balance a budget with current revenue – let’s start there.

RONALD RIML's picture

And you also refuse to restore taxes that have been cut.

So be honest and tell the true story.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Absolutely not, federal taxes

Absolutely not, federal taxes on any individual should not be over 15% of their AGI, no acceptations.

Cut, cut, cut spending.

Jason Theriault's picture


While I agree that we need to cut overall spending, there are areas we need to invest more into. I would say that money spent making the Somalis productive members of society isn't wasteful. Just like spending money on Big Bird isn't wasteful.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You mean like the money that

You mean like the money that was spent making the French-Canadian immigrants productive members of society?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“I would say that money spent

“I would say that money spent making the Somalis productive members of society isn't wasteful.”

I agree once the US allows people to migrate. This is a general statement that is not targeted at any specific group. Since the US is currently borrowing about $0.40 of every dollar, there should be more thought before taking on more migratory burdens. While this is but a small fraction of the overall budget, every new expenditure and many existing needs to be scrutinized.

This is a cliché, but the US cannot police the world, nor should we.

As for Big Bird, Sesame Street has generated enough revenue from licensing for decades to be self-sufficient. It is time for Big Bird to lose his/her welfare check. In fact, not doing so is analogous to welfare fraud.

 's picture

You and Glenn Beck are only telling part of the story on this

Mark, Big Bird is a small part of what PBS and NPR offer. The Children's Television Workshop is self-sufficient, but other programs on both TV and radio are not self-supporting.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The plane in simple fact is

The plane in simple fact is that the U.S. is borrowing $0.40 of every dollar.

Every journey has a first step. If this country is serious about balancing the budget, we have to start at some time, somewhere.

The time is now, and the where is PBS, NPR, and a plethora of other programs. The sooner we start the journey, the sooner we arrive at the destination.

Lastly, who is Glenn Beck?

Jason Theriault's picture


"I agree once the US allows people to migrate"

I have no idea what you are talking about. Are you saying traveling abroad, or are you talking about interstate travel?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Once the federal government

Once the federal government allows people to emigrate or migrate to this country, then the government has a responsibility to ensure they integrate.

That said, if the federal government cannot afford to fund integration, then they should disallow emigration or migration into this country.

Migration is a bit loaded, but the lack of government boarder control is enabling migration from some neighboring countries.

Jason Theriault's picture


It never had a responsibility before. People come here, they stick to their own, forming niche communities, then filter into society. Italians and little Italy, French Canadians and little Canada, Chinese and China town, Irish and Boston.

It takes time. It takes a generation, because the kids have to grow up exposed to both their parents culture and America, and then will then blend. It's nothing the government can force to happen.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Good, then Maine can cut

Good, then Maine can cut related funding.

RONALD RIML's picture

Get some skin in the game, and become a Maine Taxpayer.

And you tell me to keep my nose out of Republican Policy??


MARK GRAVEL's picture

Hey, it sounds impressive.

Hey, it sounds impressive.

Jason Theriault's picture

If Maine wants to

If Maine wants to cut funding to welfare that's one thing. But you can't say "Cut welfare to the Somalis".

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Why not? Aren't they expected

Why not? Aren't they expected to be treated the same as the rest of us? You'd cut Elsie Chennelle's benefits but you wouldn't touch Habib Mustafa's? Why's that fair?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Why was our time stating the

Why was our time stating the ostensible since that is not what I said?

RONALD RIML's picture

To Paraphrase:

Perhaps you should (join the GOP*) move to Maine (if you want to influence GOP policy*) if you want to influence Maine policy. Otherwise, reserve your pie hole for, well, pie.

*Sound familiar???

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I like pie, isn’t apple pie

I like pie, isn’t apple pie season?

FYI – GOP money and policy flows between states.

BTW, the equivalent statement would be to keep my nose out of Democrat policy – and I do.

MARK GRAVEL's picture



FRANK EARLEY's picture

I guess I'm a "Name Caller".......

What exactly is a name caller? I have posted my experiences with Somali workers. This is first hand experience, not ignorant speculation. I have yet to hear one example of fact. just the same old attacks. How can anyone say these people have a bad work ethic, without actually experiencing it first hand. I can say this because I have experienced their work ethic's first hand, in person, through twelve hour night shifts.
Stop putting these people down just because their different, I think the biggest difference is that when they do a job, they actually put some effort into doing it right.....

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Frank, If you don’t throw the


If you don’t throw the R word (not republican either) at Brain for speaking openly and honestly, then you are not a name caller. Brian spoke his mind just like you just did.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Brian, Take comfort in


Take comfort in knowing there are many people who feel the same as you do. Thank you for your candid remarks.

Lastly, don't let the name callers discourage you.


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