Will you just look at that? Good fortune smiles once again on the U.S. of A. After spending a trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000), slaughtering over a million (1,000,000) enemy combatants & bystanders, and sacrificing over sixty-five hundred (6,500) occupation force troops so-far in our endless War on Terror, it turns out that Afghanistan has rich mineral deposits that should be worth one trillion to three trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000 – $3,000,000,000,000). And that is in addition to the oil we didn’t go in there for in the first place.
By Jupiter’s long, white beard! I should have know better than to doubt the good business-sense of our Capitalists. Their noses root-out money like Scout Hogs find truffles. When I stood in front of the local Federal Building almost 9 years ago with my “NO BLOOD FOR OIL!” sign, I had no idea the Afghans also had an immense treasure trove of iron, cobalt, copper, gold, and lithium. Senior American officials say the untapped deposits are “far beyond any previously known reserves.” America will never run-out of batteries. This changes everything!
Of course, the knee-jerk reaction of the hate-America crowd will be to say that our upper echelon knew of, or at least suspected, the presence of this highly desirable hoard. But this is utter nonsense and it is insulting! Our government and the companies that own it are scrupulously honest and above board. As the late, great Richard Nixon was fond of saying: “Let me be perfectly clear” about this: Our fat-cats absolutely did not allow the September 11th attacks to take place as a pretext to get us into war. They never set up our former ally, the CIA asset known as “Osama Bin Ladin,” as a straw-man in order to invade and occupy Afghanistan. They did not do these things so as to remove Afghanistan’s Taliban government, which had opposed a tremendously profitable oil pipeline that would carry crude from Eurasia, across Afghanistan, to Pakistan.
Since our masters did none of those devious things. Why would we doubt them about these suddenly discovered vast repositories of minerals? No, I feel we can rest-assured that they bumbled us into, and kept us in, this ridiculous costly & tragic war with no thought of long-term monetary gain for the elite. America’s corporations would have been happy to simply have the hundreds of billions of dollars they stole through war-profiteering. But then…this…unexpected gift just falls into their laps! CEO’s must be weeping for joy & falling on their knees to thank Beelzebub.
Well, now that we know our newly democratic friends have all this wealth, I think we can all agree that any plans to ever leave their country must be shelved. Will we annex Afghanistan as the 51st U.S. state or merely view it as a perpetual protectorate where we, of course, permanently station our troops? Either way, we can look at history to provide a clue as to how the U.S. will treat a population that gets in the way of exploiting natural resources. Just ask the Native Americans about that.
My valet, Higgins, silently entered my stateroom earlier than usual. It was the crack of noon. He leaned over my custom double-king-size bed and gently nudged my shoulder to awaken me. “Sir,” he implored in the sort of hushed-tone one would use to awaken an infant, “you must dress and go into town for your appointment at the unemployment office.”
My groggy voice returned to him, muffled by the eider-down pillow covered with satin pillowcase in which my face was half-buried. “Go ‘way, Higgins, come back and rouse me in half an hour.” I reached my hand out from under the Siberian goose-down comforter to wave him off impatiently.
“A thousand pardons, sir,” Higgins replied consolingly, “but yesterday evening, when you gave instructions to awaken you at noon today, you impressed upon me the importance of your being prompt for this appointment.” He straightened-up and gathered my champagne glass and bottle from the night table. Then his voice took on a note of imperiousness, “I have taken the liberty of drawing your bath and laying-out your special unemployment office ensemble.”
I yawned, stretched, then threw-off the luxurious bed-coverings and sat up. “No, Higgins, I think it best that I do not bathe this morning.”
Hearing this, Higgins, who was walking for the door, halted in his tracks. He half-turned so that I could see his profile but still I could see that the blood had drained from his face. He was barely able to disguise his dismay. “Am I to understand then, sir, that you shall go to your appointment…” he searched for the word, “unwashed?!”
“A man must do what a man must do!” I replied emphatically. “When in Rome…and all that sort of thing.” I added.
“I see.” He replied slowly and with noticeable resignation he added, “Very well, sir.” He then hurried out, closing the door silently behind him.
Minus my usual morning routine of brushing teeth, combing hair, and shaving, it took me almost no time in the lavatory. I quickly donned a dirty t-shirt, baggy faded jeans, and a pair of well-worn flip-flop shoes. In the midst of dressing, I felt a longing for my usual attire of Armani or perhaps Hugo Boss and a comfy, comfy pair of hand-made Bertolis to clad my feet. But, I reminded myself, I must be strong for I was not going to the country club this afternoon. I was instead visiting the unemployment office, or as it was now called “the job center,” to file my request for extended unemployment benefits. And once that was done I would rush to shower, change clothes, and the missus and I would celebrate with a meal in the finest French restaurant, accompanied by a bottle of Romanee’ Conti.
I made my way on deck to discover that my chef, Marcus, had outdone himself with a feast fit for a king: a steaming pot of Hawaiian Kona coffee, truffles and cheese omelette, fresh croissants, buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, and Scottish Oats porridge with a tot of cream and whiskey. As always, Higgins had laid-out the morning newspaper on the table with the page folded to the latest stock quotations. He doffed a cloth napkin onto my lap and stood-by behind me. “Bless his soul,” Higgins told me as I dug into the exquisite repast, “Marcus heard of your impending pilgrimage and hoped to allay some of the discomfort.”
“Please relay my compliments to him.” I heartily replied. “And please also relay to the Captain that we shall set-sail early tomorrow morning at his discretion.” After thoroughly satisfying my hunger, I sat back to enjoy my third perfect cup of coffee. As my eyes scanned across the other yachts in the marina, I again addressed my servant.” I take it that Mrs. Girdle, as is her habit each time we dock, has gone shopping?”
“Oh, indeed, sir.” said Higgins with a hint of amusement. “She left about nine-thirty this morning.”
“Ah. She will, of course, return to us with arms full of purchases from the most exclusive shoppes.” I chuckled, “But I suppose it’s only money, eh Higgins?”
“In truth, sir.” nodded Higgins.
As I sat breathing-in the pure air and sunshine and listening to the gulls, I began to ruminate upon my great, good-fortune. Whereas only a short year ago I had been just another working stooge, my life had taken a turn for the undeniably better when I had lost my job. Since that time, unemployment benefits have afforded me a life usually reserved only for a relative handful of aristocrats. Once upon a time I struggled to pay my bills and now I live in sumptuous luxury, thanks to the public trough: a villa in Southern Italy, world-travel aboard my yacht (which once belonged to Aristotle Onassis), holidays in the Caribbean, hobnobbing with the jet-set at Cannes and the Riviera. The only fly in the ointment was that, every few months, I had to return to the United States to put in another request for more unemployment. However, it was a small enough price to pay.
“I suppose, Higgins, that if I were still working for a living I would now be having lunch. Probably something like a Big Mac and french fries.” I felt my stomach rebel at the thought.
Higgins answered impassively. “That is likely sir.”
“Well then,” I raised my fine china coffee cup for a toast, “here’s to the great American taxpayers. Long may they remain suckers!”
My trip into the city was uneventful. To assure my arrival in a state of optimum, sweaty dishevelment I ordered Sagamore, my chauffeur, to keep the limousine’s windows down during the drive to the unemployment office. But I emphasized he was have the car properly closed and chilled for my triumphant ride home. He dropped me off two blocks from my destination.
As I walked within sight of the job center, I changed my sunny demeanor to the one of proper hangdog shame. I shuffled through the door to take my place in one of the interminable lines. The greater part of an hour passed before I reached the head of the line. Once there, the receptionist assigned me a number and pointed to the overcrowded waiting area. Once there, I found no available molded plastic chair on which to sit, so I wandered about, being sure to listen for my number to be called.
I walked over to the wall-sized bulletin board on which was posted huge numbers and variety of available jobs of all descriptions. I pretended to look them over carefully but inside smirked that I would never be willing to work again as long as unemployment was available. A young black man dressed in regulation droopy pants, muscle shirt, and backwards ball-cap stood to my side, perusing the listings. We happened to lock eyes for a moment and he gave a broad smile. “Ain’t this a buncha bullshit?” he giggled. “Like I’m gonna take one of these jive-ass jobs and give-up my penthouse apartment and rolls? I never had it so good; wish I woulda lost my job a long time ago!” He laughed and slapped his hand onto my shoulder.
“Shhh!” I cautioned him, “You’ll give it away!”
He quickly sobered. “Oh, yeah, right.” We went back to pretending to look at the jobs. He muttered to me out of the side of his mouth. “I can’t wait to get outta these garbage clothes and back into my Jaegers. But like I told my butler this morning, “A man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.”"
“That’s the same thing I told my butler this morning!” We both laughed stealthily. Then the loudspeaker called out “number two-hundred-twenty-four” and he said, “That’s my number! Gotta go. Good talkin’ to ya; take care!” and he hurried away.
I strolled again to the waiting area, where a couple seats had been vacated. I settled uncomfortably onto the cheap plastic chair. Across the way, a thirty-ish caucasian woman in a day-glo pink jogging suit spoke loudly into her cell phone, “…I don’t care how much extra it costs. I’m expecting forty-five guests at this dinner and when I hired you to cater it you assured me there would be no trouble obtaining Almas caviar. Certainly, fly it in by priority shipment if you must! And don’t call me again because I’m in the middle of an important meeting!” and with that she hung up.
Sitting down the row from me, a thin young asian woman whose arms were covered with tattoos said sympathetically, “It’s so hard to find good help these days. You know, I had to fire my maid last week because she showed-up drunk!”
The middle-aged black man beside me spoke up. “You probably did her a favor.” he grinned, “Now she’s on unemployment and got a maid of her own!” We all laughed uproariously. Then, realizing someone in authority might overhear, we fell silent.
Shortly thereafter, my number was called. I ambled into my caseworker’s office with an attitude of dejection. Ms. Breene, the thin, nervous social worker sat behind her desk with my file open in front of her. “Hell, Mr. Girdle.” she said.
“Hello.” I replied.
Before I even had a chance to sit, she asked, “Have you been looking for work?”
I nodded again and said, “Oh, yes” I lied. “Every day.” I almost burst-out laughing.
Ms. Breene made a quick notation in the file. “Alright then. We will give you another four months of unemployment. See you again in four months.” Then she looked up and with a smile and a wink she said, “Say hello to Higgins for me.”
I smiled at her, turned and walked out. As I exited the building, across the plaza I saw the young man whom I had met at the job postings. “Hey, Mr. Two-Twenty-Four!” I shouted happily.
He stopped talking to the pretty, young woman who had his attention. When he saw it was me he grinned and called back, “Going home to cool-off in my swimming pool.”
I nearly danced the two blocks back to my limousine. Sagamore had the interior cooled to perfection. And that was not all he had cooled to perfection. Waiting for me in an ice bucket was a chilled bottle of Dom Perignon. A string tied around the neck of the bottle held a note from my wife that read, “Let’s Not Ever Work Again!”
As my car pulled-away from the curb and I poured a glass of the bubbly, I wiped-away a tear of joy. As my new friend, Mr. Two-Twenty-Four said, “I never had it so good!”
On the heels of May’s job-market news, comes another attack on the unemployed by a member of the aristocracy. In a CNBC interview, New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg said the time to cut-off unemployment extensions is “right now” because helping the jobless only “encourages people to, rather than go out and look for work, to stay on unemployment.”
Alas, neither the empty suit in the White House nor anyone in Congress nor any mainstream media pundits are inclined to take the Senator to task. His nitwit statements would be easy to refute except that most everyone in American public life is so completely bought. Letting him go unchallenged plays right into the natural American inclination to hate the poor & powerless. And, since the unemployed are very often poor & powerless or on their way to becoming so, we Americans must be encouraged to hate them too. That is vital to the fat-cats’ plan to keep the lower 95% of the population fighting each other so they can continue to grab the loot. So it is up to you and me to counteract Senator Gregg and his loathsome ideas.
Gregg is determined to ignore the jobs crisis that he and his associates in Congress had a very large part in causing. If they had done their job properly and kept the economy on the rails, then there would not now be such a need for keeping afloat such a massive number of unemployed. Official unemployment is 9.7% with actual involuntary joblessness about double that figure. The Senator would rather focus upon the superficially encouraging news that in May the U.S. economy created 431,000 jobs. Far be it for him to bother looking beneath the surface to learn that 411,000 of those jobs were temporary positions taking the U.S. Census. So the economy added just 20,000 permanent jobs when there are at least 15,000,000 jobless. And a few moments’ reflection would lead to the sensible realization that those Census jobs will be gone as soon as the Census-taking is completed. In a few months, the majority of those Census workers will be needing unemployment benefits again.
It is easy for a disengaged, pampered numbskull like Judd Gregg to effectively say – “To Hell With the Unemployed!” He was not born in a log cabin, his father was Governor of New Hampshire in the early 1950′s & Gregg eventually held that job himself. In fact, the 63 year-old crook has been occupying some public office for 32 years.
“But, Colonel,” I can hear you saying, “just because he’s been in political office most of his life doesn’t mean he’s corrupt.” And you are right. I am sure there are honest lifetime politicians. But Gregg is not one of them. Here are 2 quick facts:
1) Gregg was the Republican’s leading author of the TARP program (also known as the bank bailout) while he had a multimillion dollar investment in Bank of America stock. Gregg finds time to multi-task as both a criminal and a hypocrite when he hand-wrings about how “we’re creating these massive debts which we’re passing on to our children…” He apparently had no worry about that when he negotiated giving nearly a trillion dollars to the banksters, but sees money for the unemployed is a danger to future generations.
2) At the beginning of his administration, Obama nominated multi-millionaire Gregg as Secretary of Commerce (doesn’t that figure?) but Gregg withdrew his name after it was learned that the Senator had financially benefited from government money he had steered to his state.
Now that we have revealed a bit of the man (professional politician, multimillionaire, crook, & hypocrite). Let us further examine his heartless & brainless ideas:
Senator Gregg appears to have lost sight of the truth that the unemployed are not simply lazy layabouts who love getting a free ride. The unemployed are people who worked and lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It is insulting to say that they would rather collect an almost unlivable pittance from the government instead of working for more money and, hopefully, fringe benefits such as health insurance.
The rich Senator fears that continuing support for the unemployed is “undermining the cyclical event.” This is his indirect way of lamenting that unemployment insurance keeps millions of potential serfs from fighting over the ever-lower-paying jobs. Big-business would benefit from having that bigger pool of near-slave labor to drive down wages & benefits. He appears to be an unknowing follower of plutocrat Andrew Mellon, who served as President Hoover’s Treasury Secretary. Mellon advised Hoover not to stem the spreading Great Depression because in his philosophy helping the jobless only undermined their morals and keeping the economy from hitting bottom stopped the natural cycle where the rich (he & his friends) could scoop-up assets cheaply.
The unemployed need their benefit payments to pay their bills. And when they pay their bills, that helps keep the economy from sinking further. If you think the economy is bad now, just try to imagine the downturn that would follow if the 15,000,000 unemployed defaulted on their bills. Then give another thought to the chaos & crime that would result. Unemployment insurance was invented to help support individuals who were put out of work and to support the entire economy!
Thank Heavens that Judd Gregg has already declined to run for reelection this fall. Good riddance to him!
Only the topsy turvy logic of a Washington D.C. politician could take May’s unemployment numbers as evidence that the economy is getting stronger. When all the hiring versus firing are balanced, the U.S. economy created a net of 431,000 jobs created last month. But 411,000 of them were temporary jobs working for the U.S. Census.
Said Washington politician is one President B.S. Obama who was touring a truck dealership in Maryland this morning. Obama took the opportunity of speechifying in front of the dealership’s 50 employees & cited the report as proof that “we are moving in the right direction.” How did the crowd resist pelting him with their shoes?!
Let us do a quick calculation: Take the “official” number of unemployed of 15,000,000 (the actual number of involuntary jobless is much, much higher. But we will use the official number because it is daunting enough). If we use our handy pocket calculators to divide the 15,000,000 unemployed by the 21,000 jobs created, we find that it will take 714 years to provide jobs for the unemployed. And that says nothing about the jobs that will be needed for the young people and immigrants who continually enter the workforce. But to a delusional, detached, empty suit like Barack Obama we are “moving in the right direction.”
Twenty-five years ago I had a boss who was a thorough, tenacious, argumentative Reagan Republican. One of the crackpot theories he extolled was that Americans not only should be permitted to smoke but should be encouraged to smoke. His reasoning was that more citizens would die sooner and relieve the burdens on society. Hey, maybe Obama needs to think outside the box like that! As it is, he has no noticeable job creation program beyond happy talk, in spite of campaign promises he continues policies that actually encourage American business to ship jobs overseas, and his promise to create oodles of green jobs has not amounted to a hill of beans. Congress balks & stalls every time they have to extend unemployment benefits to all those pesky former workers (it’s a lot less fun than voting for more war money).
So our “leaders” better come-up with a solution, fast. Because hundreds of thousands of temporary Census jobs have helped the unemployment numbers for the past several months. Soon those jobs will end and all those workers will go back into the ranks of the unemployed.