A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Sadly, a new chapter of jail house tale begins

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Some folks, we understand, are troubled by a recurring nightmare that disturbs their sleep virtually every night of their lives.

We have not previously experienced this phenomenon, but we fear that we are about to do so.
In this nightmare we will be joined by most of the citizens and taxpayers of Roane County.

What, the reader may well ask, is the scenario which causes us to fear it so?

It may be summed up in two words ­— The JAIL!

Long-time readers will recall that for almost a decade this column was devoted, week after week, to two over-riding issues, one national and one local.

The national issue for eight years was the administration of George W. Bush, and all the outrageous actions of his cohorts and minions.

The local issue concerned the multiple problems with the Roane County Jail.

Despite our questions as to the need for a new jail and our pointing out various defects with the scheme ultimately adopted, it was decided to proceed full speed ahead with constructing a new jail, which was supposed to be a model of up-to-date incarcerational facilities, incorporating every modern idea of far-sighted, effective penology.

We questioned much of the propaganda put forth to persuade the populace that this gigantic boondoggle was not a gigantic boondoggle.

(We knew that sooner or later our warnings would be proven merited, but little did we expect that proof to start to appear almost before the ink was dry on the pages whereon these warnings were printed.

(A few weeks ago the front page of this paper carried a story about an inmate hurling himself off one of the sleeping balconies. Readers may recall that as soon as we saw the plans for the facility we called attention to the almost certain occurrence of inmates falling, or jumping or being pushed over the railings, and so it has come to pass, and from the reporting in this article, it has happened multiple times before.

(Why, you may ask, not only was no attention paid to our early warnings, but apparently no heed has been paid to the various times when inmates have fallen? With this history, we can fully expect that law suits will eventually follow, and every time that an incident occurs and no corrective action is taken as a result, the potential liability grows and grows, and we taxpayers will pay some more.)

Now, we are told, the brand new facility is over-crowded!

Presumably we can expect a new state threat to revoke our certificate which will cause the county fathers — authors of this boondoggle in the first place — to enter panic mode and start the whole sorry story all over again, for which we will once again pay.

So, a perpetual nightmare scenario is just around the corner, we fear.

Especially is this so in view of the statement in the article in The News reporting the over-crowding, which says we cannot utilize the old jail because it is being used to store records and for office space. Only an idiot would see any logic in this statement.

You can build any number of square feet of appropriate record storage space or office space for a mere fraction of what it costs to build an equivalent amount of square footage of prison facilities.

Since most of the said county fathers are Republicans who hate taxes, who despise debt, who abhor governmental incompetence, one cannot help but ask, with them in charge why are we confronted with this prospect of higher taxes, bigger debt, and incompetence of the greatest magnitude?

We cannot help but recall the famous Laurel and Hardy line —  “Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”
We were encouraged to hear the result of a plebiscite held in the federal state of Switzerland just the other day.

It seems that the Swiss populace has gotten fed up with the way the financiers and bankers have been running their corporations into the ground, while rewarding themselves with huge salaries and gigantic bonus despite their failures.

So, utilizing their authority as citizens to submit issues to the voters, they got on the ballot a scheme some are calling the “fat-cat initiative,” whereby shareholders can have a referendum on executive pay and bonuses in order to cancel or limit these payments. This strikes us as a great idea we hope it works, and we hope that we might emulate the Swiss.

We are not sure of this, but we might get some of the benefits of this scheme in view of the fact that several of the businesses guilty of these raids on the corporate treasuries, while doing business in this country are in fact Swiss companies, such as UBS (which stands for Union Bank of Switzerland), Credit Suisse, Nestle and numerous others.
Gentle reader, do you sometimes feel that your tolerance for outrage may well be nearing its exhaustion point?

The most recent event provoking that feeling once again involves the State of Israel.

Although we have mentioned it a couple of times in the past, you may not have paid too much attention to it. It is the fact that Israel insists that it has the right to collect the taxes due to the Palestinian Authority.

They are supposed to promptly pay over this money, which is the Palestinians’money, to which Israel has no claim under law, or moral right, whatsoever.

Despite their commihnent to pay over the money to its rightful owners, the Palestinians, any time they want to punish, harass or humiliate these owners, the Palestinians, the said Israelis simply withhold this tax money, to which they have no rightful or legal claim.

This is what they are now doing, and putting the Palestinians in the position of not being able to meet their commitnents to pay their police, their teachers, or other civil servants, despite having adequate funds to do so in the hands of the Israelis.

This is wrong. It is theft. It is blackmail.

There is no way that this conduct is proper under the Commandments given by God to Moses. How can a people who assert their right to the land of Israel by God’s gift perpetrate a theft so contrary to God’s commands?

Which brings us to the further question of how can Christians, especially ministers such as John Hagee, defend Israel in its thievery? And how can our nation, which so many claim to be a Christian nation, aid and abet this thievery? We give support, we give comfort, we give money to a nation which steals from its neighbors. If, as many believe, there is a day of judgment coming, the folks supporting this theft will have much to answer for!