The Times Journal & Russell County News
Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Seems To Me ...
In July 2 Issue
By John Thompson, Columnist

Oh boy did President Obama step in it, at least if listening to the super rich right wing national talk radio hosts like Beck and Limbaugh. Obama proposes to end tax cuts on corporate jets. Why you'd think Obama had decided to end Medicare… wait, actually Beck and Limbaugh would be all for that, as that wouldn't affect their family and friends.

But tax breaks for corporate jets, for that alone near billionaire Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, estimated worth near $100 million, the voices of the common man, well for that digression by Obama they spent hours of their talk time over so far two days.

Today I'm sure both these two will discuss the fact that today is the anniversary of the 1936 Public Contracts Act, which paved the way for the eight hour day, 40 hour work week, the minimum wage. No, just turned on Limbaugh, sounds like he's still at it with the corporate jet tax.

We are in the process of giving up everything that former generations fought for. When industrialization really went into high gear there was nothing to protect people. They found themselves in economic circumstances they couldn't understand nor deal with, and had to go to work for others. And for a long while it wasn't pretty. The "working man" (and women… not to mention children) were so exploited that their lives were a misery.

The Progressives that Beck loves to beat on demanded change to all that, and FDR responded, finally. Now we're giving it all back. Even the Republican Presidential Candidate front runner at this point, Michele Bachmann, isn't too keen on the whole minimum wage idea. But then repealing it might be the final step in globalization. Then we, WE, that's you and me, can compete on that world stage at a dollar a day.

Meanwhile, record profits for the world's biggest companies role on…. Hedge fund managers, whose job it is to see just how much profit they can skim off labor (while minimizing taxes that have to feed those multitudes they skim from) for shareholder profit just keep on making a billion a year. A baseball player or football quarterback might make $40 million while the owner makes $100 million, and who pays for their new stadium so they can make that? We do.

They push us. They push us too hard. They're going to push us finally too hard and the straw will one day break the back… and we will awaken…. And our anger will not be contained. Watch. You hide and watch. It's going to happen.

An impassioned Mario Savio, at a sit-in in 1968 said, "That brings me to the second mode of civil disobedience. There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus -- and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it -- that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all!!"

Though it might confuse, I wanted to make clear this was his second level of resistance. Find out for yourself what he was about, but read those words…. Read them tight and take them to heart.

For we cannot fight the powers that be. There is no way. It wasn't possible before, and it certainly isn't possible now that we've equipped them with futuristic oppression devices. No, the best we can do is resist passively.

There may be a time your fellow workers of the nation ask that you help and make clear that we will take much abuse; we will take much in the way of degradation; but there is a point… a point where it will no longer be tolerated, and that we will have a government responsive to ALL of the citizens of the nation, or we will no longer have a nation.

When I see my equals, poor, working people spouting the prevailing talking points like this one which is quite popular, that if we were to confiscate all the wealth from all the nations' billionaires, it would not but touch the debt our nation is in.

How do you respond to that? Because the ploy is always, always to try to convince us poor schlubs that the best order for society is for the rich to confiscate all wealth, and any attempt to hinder that goal is "socialist" or just wrongheaded and stupid.

But if someone tries that on you, tell them that the vast majority of people, if they sold all they had except their house, could not pay off their house at once. They have to pay it off over time.

It's time that the debt begins to be paid and it's time that the rich begin to make their share toward the payment. Shoot, the debt is nothing but a debt to the even richer people. Seriously, who else holds the debt besides human beings? I mean who it's owed to? It ain't you or me and it isn't owed to some alien race so who is it owed to?

It's all a ruse. I swear if I ever watch one of those 24 hour business news channels it becomes more and more clear to me that the term "economics" has come to mean a method by which a few can steal from the labor of the many.

Yet on the street what do people complain about? Well, admittedly more often they are complaining about the rich, which I would like to think I had something to do with, but of course I didn't… no, what people talk about are the ones who won't work.

Two things about that; most people who are mad at people who won't work, if you ask them, they'd prefer to not be working themselves… I guess those who "won't work" have just found a way to not do it. But the fact is, people are getting tired of working 12 hour shifts, busting their butts just to survive, while they see many who work little and make much more….. at one time in the not too distant future they did it because they were promised that if they do it they would make enough to provide, and be able to secure their remaining years as they grew older.

But now nothing is secure. They know that at any time Wall Street can pull that rug right out from under them. Industry wonders why there's no loyalty; because there's been none shown to their workers.

I'll close with this somewhat amusing little irony I've witnessed.

We have a beautiful thing here in Russell County called the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. It has provided a few jobs, a beautiful respite and a great tourist attraction. It's also a government program.

There's a rumor that our Senator, Rand Paul, might like to privatize this little venture. You can bet a dollar to a hole in a donut that does not sit well with the locals all up and down the economic spectrum.

Representatives from Senator Paul's office were in town and I thought I was going to be treated to an event… an event in which our little community's strong, conservative Republican business and political leaders were going to be expressing their disdain for such a plan.

My, my, my I was thinking…. Privatizing a government program so that it can become a nifty little business venture in which they can begin making profit for the absentee owners (some consortium of rich investors), while at the same time begin paying the labor the minimum wage with no benefits, you know, to maximize profits… well I thought that was right up the ally of conservative ideology. After all, can't private industry do much more efficiently than the government?

Of course I don't make that stand, but the irony… the irony is so obvious. No, my stand is much different. I kind of like the idea of our money doing something for us. I like the idea of parks, recreation, lands, events and activities that we can partake in. And sure enough you know if it was privatized those workers down there, who stand tall and are impressive in uniform, would be replaced by those 12 hour a day shift workers paying minimum wage, beaten down under the pressure of being understaffed.

How do I know this? Only because it's the way it's always done.

Don't you let them take away our National Fish Hatchery.

And maybe consider this, especially if you're a conservative; do not demand this austerity driven conservative ideology on the one hand for others, but want your own interests to be treated in a more liberal, humane manner.

Stop fighting against a society, and start fighting for one against those who are really destroying it, while raking in the nation's wealth.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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P.O. Box 190
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Russell Springs KY 42642
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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Phone: 270-343-5700
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