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Have you seen this yet?
All materials in the libraries would be donated, auctioned, stored, or destroyed. That includes 187,000 books, historical documents, artifacts, and electronic equipment. Keeping materials in the shuttered buildings is a fire hazard, officials said, and would make them vulnerable to vandalism and vermin.
Is this from some futuristic novel?
Or perhaps, what's happening in a backward, Islamofascist-controlled society in the middle east?
That paragraph is a factual depiction of what's happening in Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A......today.
Camden is preparing to permanently shut its library system by the end of the year, potentially leaving residents of the impoverished city among the few in the United States unable to borrow a library book free.
Shuttering libraries in the good ole' U.S.A is not all that common....
There is little, if any, precedent to permanently closing an entire library system, experts said.
The American Library Association could only cite one other example, the Hood River County Library in Oregon, which closed its one location this summer. A measure on the ballot this fall would create a new model of funding and reopen the library.
Remember my blog post about Colorado Springs? That's where children visiting a city park have no choice other than to, you know, piss in the weeds or bushes, because Colorado Springers just can't afford to maintain city park restrooms anymore. That's the place where officials have shut off one third of all street lights to save electricity. Colorado Springers chose to diminish the stature of their city rather than pay another penny-per-dollar-spent in sales tax.
Glenn Greenwald pointed out yesterday that even in the state (or is it, really a state?) of Hawaii.....you know, the alleged birthplace state of the U.S. president.....
Public schools across the state closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year to save money, giving students the shortest academic year in the nation.
And here's something that hits closer to home...
In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years. Last year, South Dakota turned at least 100 miles of asphalt road surfaces to gravel. Counties in Alabama and Pennsylvania have begun downgrading asphalt roads to cheaper chip-and-seal road, also known as "poor man's pavement." Some counties in Ohio are simply letting roads erode to gravel.
I'm sure someone told me that the United States of America was the richest and most powerful nation on the face of the earth.
Why, then, is the U.S. in a state of deteriorization? Why is it that our states can no longer afford to educate our children, pave our roads, light our streets or keep our libraries open?
Because the "United" part of U.S.A. has been under seige by radical conservative forces for the last 3 decades.
These conservative forces, primarily, but not exclusively, found within the Republican political party, no longer accept as operational the "United" part of U.S.A. From Reagan's battlecry that "government is the problem", to today's GOP blood-oath against tax increases of any kind.....no matter what.....the richest nation in earth's history has slowly, but surely, rejected the notion that Americans are all in this together, rejected the notion that there is even such a thing as the "public good."
Make no mistake. There's plenty of money to be borrowed and spent on deep tax cuts for America's wealthiest. There's plenty of money to be borrowed to assist U.S. mega-corps, military industrial complex players.....and in times of need, Big Banks, Insurance or Big Oil.
But there's not enough money, anymore, say conservatives, to waste on "public good" stuff like roads, streetlights, libraries, parks or schools. And today's Reagan-on-'Roids coservatives insist that no more money can be borrowed for any of those "public good" programs and services, either.
While today's most boisterous conservatives screech daily like banshees over those "socialist" Democrats and their Dark Knight Leader taking over the U.S. and turning it into Venezuela.....where everything is a "public good"......the facts prove just the opposite.
If government is the problem and never the solution, if taxes meant for the public good can no longer be raised, if government borrowing can only be carried out to advance the already powerful and rich.....then there really is no more public good.....there really is no more "United" States of America.
Gravel roads, closed schools, auctioned-off libraries and dark city streets....are the evidence.