Small town blues


-Bumper sticker of the week: What am I? There is nothing in the whole universe that is not you.


-We live and die in these towns: Galesburg, Monmouth, Abingdon, Maquon, Rio, Altona, Woodhull, Alpha, Roseville, Alexis, Oneida, Williamsfield. Towns once beaming with life, now struggling on life-support. No jobs. No family farms. No stores, some without even a grocery store. No downtownÕs. All losing population at each new census. No future. No hope. Caught in the maze called globalization, and we canÕt seem to find our way out. All our young folks are headed to the cities, leaving the average age of rural towns heading up and up. Soon weÕll have to license most of these towns as nursing homes. Mind you, thereÕs nothing wrong with old. But old is not likely to ignite the fire we  need to get us out of this funk. Old likes it quiet, familiar, smooth. The  rock music gets played less often now and a whole lot softer. The thrill is pretty much gone. AARP tries to cheer us up, telling us our best days are still ahead, but who are they trying to kid. The aches and pains mount up faster than the memories. Inflation is killing our retirement dreams. And utility bills are replacing mortgage payments, which we werenÕt planning on. In the midst of all this commotion and confusion, we have been caught off guard concerning globalization. We suddenly realize tomorrow is gone. It is not coming back. ItÕs time we faced the inevitable:

     * Manufacturing is, for the most part, over. No more decent paying jobs for little education. Perhaps we can attract some very specific, high-tech companies to produce medical equipment, or robotic components, or some locally specific production (i.e. ethanol), but any labor intensive production will be done elsewhere. Cheap labor is the key, which we cannot afford to do. Our production will need to be specific, in cooperation with industry and educational institutions. ItÕs a whole new ball-game.

     * Citizens will need to supply more of the capital to move us forward. We can no longer rely on the government. Local, state, and the federal government are mired down in mediocrity, with endless rules and regulations, and gross incompetence. Private citizens who have some money to spare will have to move forward to finance projects that they feel are worthy. It is an investment they will need to make for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

     * Galesburg is, all things considered, a relatively cheap place to live. This is actually one of our biggest assets. It is appealing to  people who can work from their homes, primarily over the computer. Our goal should be to add value to this cheapness, making it attractive to live in Galesburg for multiple reasons, including good parks, diverse social events, museums, good streets, efficient police and fire protection, nice restaurants, cooperative hospitals, access to good educational programs, a variety of musical venues, etc. 

     * We have a national and local election coming up. While I am not putting a lot of stock in government as our salvation, I would at least hope it could be improved. A lot of our money is used up supporting the almost totally inept, outdated, incompetent form of governance that we have, particularly in Galesburg. We havenÕt had four decent people on the council at one time since IÕv been in town, which is now 28 years. This has got to change. We need a mayor and four alderman who can take charge and lead. The city manager should be a resource for them, not the other way around.

What was is no longer. ItÕs time to get our act together, or this show is going off the air.


-Corporate insanity: (Vote for the worst).

     * Exxon Mobil: Over the past couple of years, ExxonMobil has made the biggest profit of any company in the world. Ever. Last year they made $40.6 billion. ThatÕs $4.6 million each hour. They are said to exploit foreign workers in whatever country they are operating in. They have one of the worlds largest security operations for putting down any opposition they may encounter wherever the operate.  They support BushÕs junk science regarding carbon emissions. They are usually at least 3-5cents higher at the pump.

     * Wal-Mart: The largest retailer in the world. Due to that fact, they call the shots, from production to sale. They set the price and dare anyone to beat it. By and large, you canÕt. ItÕs said Wal-Mart has closed more ma and pa stores than any other single factor. They are not known to be very employee friendly. They discourage unions, and have been known to pass over females for hire and promotions. They have a spying system in place to keep a careful eye on each store that is second to none, including the governments. ItÕs said that there are very few places in the U.S. where you would not be within 50 miles of a Wal-Mart store. I believe it.

     * Philip Morris/Atria: Making the worlds most addictive drug, cigarettes filled with nicotine. Their web site recommends not smoking. ThatÕs like a drug dealer on the street corner taking your money and handing you the drugs, all the while telling you not to use them. At that point, itÕs a little late.

     * Boeing: One of the leading weapons producers in the world. You donÕt see many of their smart bomb ads on TV. Ends up their smart bombs are not any smarter than the generals. None of them can tell civilians from soldiers. Boeing does hire a lot of ex-politicians as lobbyists, which I suppose does help keep the little rascals off the street.

     * The whole pharmaceutical industry(Pfizer, Merck, Abbott, Lilly, Baxter): You talk about a group of thieves. They con us into believing they need huge profits in order to do research. They leave out their advertizing budgets, salaries, and stock dividends. When you add all those up, you can see exactly where our money for unreasonable drug prices go.

Vote for as many as you want, and as often as you please. Remember, roughly 60% of U.S. corporations pay no income tax. Begs the question-Why do we?