Freedom of the Press is Not Free

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Guest Column
by Cliff Griggs

ARAB, Ala. — It is summer time in Alabama and this is the time of year when we celebrate Freedom in America in July and honor American Labor in early September.

“We the People” takes on special meaning for all of us whether you are eating hot dogs or baby back ribs.

Since 1776 we have attempted to throw off the yoke of imperial rule by kings and oligarchs. We make some headway and then the corruption of bought off politicians answering to the rich has once again turned us into a group of desperate, disheartened peons without hope of ever changing the system to make it fair for all.

Many people don’t vote. What’s the use they say? It is never going to change. The only difference between us and the people of Greece, or Egypt, or Tunisia, or Libya is that our poor don’t organize and rally in the town squares.

Here, the rich funnel money to pick out who is going to be the next governor, congressman, legislator or senator. Our U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, who was chairman of the senate banking committee and helped do away with the regulation of the financial industry, which led to the global financial meltdown, raised $13 million in political contributions since 2005. Less than one percent of that came from small individual contributors. According to the Decatur Daily, the rest came from securities and investment firms, insurance companies, law firms, real estate enterprises and other lobbyists.

You can be sure he will not support raising taxes on the rich, and certainly is not going to support public health care for the poor.

In the financial meltdown, with the sub-prime lending scandal, best estimates are that some $17 to $30 trillion was transferred from the equity in people’s homes to the pockets of bankers and speculators. The Bank of America just entered into an agreement to repay $8.5 billion in screwed up home mortgages, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Every day there is a new revelation about how that industry has suckered us in America.

Here in Alabama, and in most other states with their newly elected Republicans, we have declared war on teachers, public employees, police and firemen, and especially Hispanic immigrants. It is all their fault. Just think how those people and their unions nearly toppled the world economy. Oh, you don’t remember that?

My wife and I pay a 15 percent tax rate to the Feds. And that is the same rate that the majority of the rich pay…if they pay anything at all. Is that fair? Oh, but I forgot, it’s the teachers fault, or was it the firemen?

With the immigrants taking the place of the blacks as the new villains, it is only going to get better. They come here and work, and I might point out they also have taxes withheld from their paychecks, but we won’t let them get drivers licenses, so they can’t get insurance either. So they get stopped and wind up paying $100 a month or so in fines to various police departments.

I talked to an immigrant friend of mine the other day and he has paid out over $2,000 in fines for no driver’s license in the last two years. He just counts it as a bribe to the police to let him keep living and working here. At $100 a month that is little money he says, when he would only be able to make $11.00 a day in Mexico. If you don’t pay, they come pick you up, put you in jail for a couple of months and then ship you back to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador. Albertville is certainly going to look like a ghost town when this law goes into effect and the chicken processing plants move to Arkansas or Tennessee.

But hey, it will get better, the latest batch of candidates for president say that the U.S. can default on its debts and it won’t matter. Wanna bet? Makes me think of Vice President Dick Cheney saying that deficits don’t matter. With politicians like these we can only look forward to a lot more work at very low wages, while the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Who knows in the next year or two we may have a lot of us peons camping out in the town square like they do in Cairo or Athens. Without jobs people don’t have much else to do anyway.

© 2011, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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