The Jobless Recovery

September 26, 2010 at 1:47 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

I went to a job fair on Thursday in a local hotel ballroom. It was scheduled to begin at 10 am and so I arrived 20 minutes early. By then there was a group of a couple hundred people waiting at the locked doors. When the doors opened, I was swept in with the tide of job-seekers.

The fair consisted of 15 “exhibitors” of which 5 were colleges & training schools looking to recruit students. Most of the remaining exhibitors were for companies that do things like paste advertising billboards onto automobiles.

I had attended so as to apply at a local retailer that was seeking management candidates. When I entered the fair I made a beeline for their booth, where I was 2nd in line to receive a job description & application package. By the time I filled-out the paperwork 10 minutes later, I found that I was well over 100th in line to hand it in.
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For this past week, a local grocery had a flier posted in its window saying cashier applications would be taken this morning. I arrived a half hour before time and was, therefore, 4th in line. Since I shop at the store regularly, the cashier on duty recognized me on my way out & I stopped to talk. She said she must have given-out 1000 applications during the week.

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Corporations & Government Exist for Us!

September 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Surely you noticed how much better the economy has gotten in the last 15 months.

Happy days are here again! Break out the bubbly!


You haven’t?

Well, neither have I. But the National Bureau of Economic Research, the august body charged with officially declaring when recessions start & stop, has officially declared that our latest recession ended in June 2009. An expansion started in July 2009.

Yes, I know, like you my first inclination was to almost fall out of my chair laughing. But in its report the NBER reminds us that they “…did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather…the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” Then they caution that business activity sometimes lags well into an economic expansion.

Sure, I think we all understand that the economy doesn’t instantly return to normal after a downturn. But 15 MONTHS should be more than enough time for the ground to stop falling out from under the feet of the bottom 90% of the country! And out here in the real world, that is the world outside D.C. & NYC, the ground is continuing to fall. Businesses are still closing, houses are still foreclosing, & jobs are still evaporating. And yet the NBER declares we are in a 15 month economic expansion & the politicians will happily grab onto that declaration as an excuse to keep ignoring the disaster they have brought upon the nation. After all, why help the jobless & poor when the rising tide is again lifting all boats?

Well, I think it is obvious that if the measurements show this is an economic expansion then THERE IS SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH THE MEASUREMENTS! I do not pretend to know how the books are being cooked, do you? I suspect that all those bailouts to banksters & Wall Street con-artists & increased profits for offshoring our jobs is now being falsely measured as rising GDP (Gross Domestic Product). When a large portion, perhaps a majority, of a nation’s citizens can be on the financial ropes but the statistics show things getting better & the experts believe it, then the wrong things are being measured & the experts are fools.

One last thing. I keep hearing the “leaders” & “experts” telling us that we are in a long-term “jobless recovery.” They better keep in mind that for 300 or so million Americans it doesn’t matter how great corporate profits are or how high the Dow average or even how much the GDP grows. If all those things don’t translate into prosperity & a good quality of life for the citizens, then to Hell with the corporations, the government, & the few people who are doing great for themselves. That is why the corporations & government exist in the first place… to bring a good life to our communities!

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Blessed are the Crooked?

September 19, 2010 at 2:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

By Reverend Hothoneywater, Special Correspondent

Let me cut straight to the point:  Does God actually favor the bullying, bigoted, piggish, selfish, and hateful who have ruined our world throughout its history… and now seem ready to take the world down completely?

There are times lately when I wonder. I admit the question makes me feel a good bit guilty, yet I think it really needs to be asked. Is it just me who looks around at humanity needlessly suffering all over the globe, including here within the borders of the “last superpower, and demands to know of God: “Just whose side are you on, anyway!?”

I’ve never been a traditionally “religious” person, that is one obsessed with church rules and regulations. But, since childhood, I’ve been “spiritually-minded,” seeking knowledge and experience of higher power. I believed and asked others to believe that God was benevolent and cared for the underdog, the peacemaker, the struggling poor. After all, scriptural passages from diverse faiths tell us that the Supreme Being helps and rewards the downtrodden who try to do the right thing. Now, more and more, I look upon those scriptural promises the same as I look upon political campaign promises:  As a con-job meant to keep the rubes quiet while their happiness and very lives are stolen by sociopaths. Is God a cosmic Barack Obama, offering inspiring words of comfort to the needy while throwing His support to the greedy? Like W. Bush, is God a “compassionate conservative?”

Like all turning-points in a person’s life, this one had been approaching for a long time. And finally there was that one last thing… which the cliche calls “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

So, what broke my back? In June, Congress toyed with the lives of the jobless, unable to muster enough brain or heart-power to extend unemployment payments and instead painting the jobless as bloodsucking leeches on the body of America. One of the Republican Neanderthals leading the attack was New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, son of a former New Hampshire governor, 11th generation aristocrat, born with silver-spoon firmly set in his mouth, net worth estimated at $10 million. This complete A-hole was one of the chief writers of the 2008 TARP bill (better known as the bankster bailout) while he had oodles of Bank of America stock. Also, the man withdrew his name from contention to be Obama’s Secretary of Commerce after the press learned Gregg had benefited from government money he had steered to his state. (Hey, before I forget let me also mention that Obama recently appointed the Social Security-hating Gregg to the Deficit Commission that is expected to soon propose to throw Social Security under the bus.) Gregg is one mean old Grinch. And, guess what?  Back in 2005 the well-heeled old devil bet $20 on a Powerball lottery ticket and won over $850,000 !!! Yep, that’s right, God gave the winning lottery ticket to a flinty-hearted plutocrat who already had millions and collects a yearly salary of $180,000 + perks! Take that, all you losers who can’t afford school lunches for your kids!

2 of God's homeboys: Judd Gregg & George Bush

This little nugget of trivia has “blown my mind” (as the hippies used to say)!!! After discovering it, I have not been the same. Its effects continue to ripple through my consciousness. It would not have such an impact if Judd Gregg’s good fortune was an isolated example of Divine Providence smiling so fondly upon someone so reprehensible. And so each day, as I work to help the rapidly increasing number in our community who suffer without sufficient food, healthcare, shelter, and so much more, I think of the Judd Greggs of this world and ask God:  “Just whose side are you on, anyway!?”

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Haitian Heartbreak

September 12, 2010 at 4:42 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Oh, how I wish I was still innocent-enough to be surprised by this news.

Haiti still languishes under a mountain of rubble nearly 8 months after its earthquake. Only 2% of the wreckage has been cleared. Why? Because no one inside or outside Haiti has come-up with a “master-plan” to deal with the mess. And until the mess is removed the rebuilding cannot begin.

Thanks to efforts by the powerful nations, who continued to undermine Haiti in every way as revenge for Haiti having thrown-off enslavement to France back around 1800, Haiti was one of the armpits of the world. But remember the reaction immediately following the quake? Haiti was suddenly one of the darling beloved spots of the globe. Weepy eyes, sending in the U.S. troops to quell unrest, Slick Willy & Dubya jetting in to grab the limelight & pledge help .Billions of dollars were raised for disaster-relief. But those billions are still unspent on relief for the Haitians. Hmmm… the money hasn’t gone for something else, has it? Chelsea Clinton did have a very expensive wedding recently.

Thank Zeus that back when Dayton, Ohio was destroyed by a flood in 1913 we didn’t have the bunch of empty suits we now call “leaders” in charge. If so, we would still be waiting for the city to be rebuilt.

Look for Haiti to be rebuilt about the same time as New Orleans and under similar circumstances: i.e. only after the poor darkies are dispossessed of any property rights so Capitalists can swoop in & make some big bucks without interference.

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American Shmoos

September 8, 2010 at 3:56 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today, Jerome Doolittle, over at the Bad Attitudes site posted the above cartoon under the heading, “God save us one and all…because we plainly can’t do it by ourselves.”

I wrote the following into the comments section:
“But the Republicans have learned something: That American voters are just as gullible, ignorant, forgetful, & pliable as Republicans expected.

Silly me, I thought most Americans would remember for at least a few years how incredibly lousy Republican governance can be. But the right-wing’s ownership of all major media & continued control of all branches of government makes them able to induce an amnesiac-trance-like state in the citizenry.”
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Barry Goldwater’s 1964 landslide loss to President Lyndon Johnson was devastating for the Republican party. But more than that, it was an overwhelming repudiation of ultra-conservative politics. Most Americans had lived through the Great Depression & racist oppression. They still remembered what Social Darwinism & laissez faire economics had gotten them. Living Americans had memories of times in which:

Most Americans did not own their homes or much of anything else. They made very little money at their factory, farm, or service jobs where their workweeks stretched for 60 or 70 hours. There was no vacation, no health insurance, no sick days, no safety laws, & no retirement.

Schooling, especially beyond elementary grades, was rare as young people often had to help support their families by working in backbreaking, dangerous jobs. What we think of as the carefree childhood years of play & freedom were usually reserved for offspring of the upper class.

Women & minorities were very limited in their choices for work, education, & general lifestyle.

Very few workers could look forward to ever retiring. Very few got pensions & most never made wages enough to save for their old age. They literally worked until they dropped-dead.

Anyone who fell upon hard times, such as widows, the ill, the injured, or those who lost their jobs were just s.o.l. unless they could find charity.

Wealthy people could afford to hire servants very cheaply because, after all, what other options did an uneducated, beaten-down workforce have?

This list could go on & on but I think you get the picture. And a fairly grim picture it was for all but a fortunate few. The truth is that life, for ordinary people, was all too often a tougher slog than we moderns can fathom.

My point is that those conditions improved drastically, particularly after the Socialist-lite reforms of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. As I said, a lot of Americans in 1964 had lived through tough times, knew how bad they were & what/who had caused them & could not be suckered-in by reactionary calls to return to the “good old days.” But after that blistering election defeat, the hardcore right decided to get a lot smarter & meaner. Some of the bolder wingnuts had already had John Kennedy’s brains blown-out but liberalism kept on coming. So they kept murdering or sabotaging popular lefty leaders while segueing into more subtle but more effective ploys. Over the following 45 years these budding fascists:

Bought-up all mainstream media & used it to propagandize for their cause. They flooded the airwaves & press with a conservative worldview that entirely froze-out all discussion of progressive solutions. And all the while they ridiculously asserted that the media had a bias in favor of liberalism.

Mongered lessening fear of racial, sexual, class, & religious differences back into full-blown phobias. They used this to capture the Republican party & the fundamentalist “Christian” churches. This hatred of the “other” is nearing its culmination as we face the very real prospect of worldwide “Christian” religious war against Islam along with permanent second-class citizenship for groups such as homosexuals & the poor.

Nursed America back from “Vietnam Syndrome,” which had caused the nation to become disgusted with war. By using movies (like Rambo) & other media to recast the wrong-headed war as having been lost by gutless liberals & commie sympathizers and then rebuilding troop morale & citizen patriotism by kicking the asses of pipsqueak countries (Grenada, Panama) the modern Machiavelli rekindled American’s love of war. Also, by fawning over the the military & anyone else who wears a uniform while doing a dangerous job, they have won the undying devotion of all those “heroes.” Sadly, those heroes don’t notice that after they risk their lives, rightwing leaders have no problem throwing them aside like a used paper towel. The scum who run our country now tell us we are in endless war.

Dumbed-down the educational system & poisoned the food, air, & water to rob the people of health & critical thinking capabilities. If the rapidly smartening American masses were rejecting conservatism, then the solution was to make them fuzzy-brained enough to start thinking conservatism makes sense.

Invented the overblown War on Drugs & later the War on Terror as means to persecute & imprison millions of mostly minority citizens. Mostly they were a justification for circumventing the Constitution to monitor activities of law-abiding Americans & squelch dissent.

Made sure money became more and more a vital part of the electoral equation. After all, how many of those corporate personhoods & millionaire/billionaires are going to support politicians who want the rich to do more to help the rest of us? And how can small donors compete with the mega-donors? This has reaped a bought system in which it is impossible for the non-rich to get fair treatment.

This list could also go on & on. But let us suffice to say that after 45 years of this steady re-education most Americans are totally brainwashed. They think trickle-down economics worked, they think labor unions are a bad thing for their standard of living, they think the U.S. is #1 in all the important measures of life, they think the poor are what bankrupted the treasury, they think Muslims are scary & dangerous & hate us because of our freedom, & they are ready to fight at the mere mention of Socialism/Communism. They are deluded enough to think it is possible that they, themselves, may become one of the super-rich in the very near future & so they want all those fantastic rich-people tax-breaks preserved.

We have witnessed the results of a huge & complex sociological experiment. Question: Is it possible to take a population & feed it a steady diet of misinformation, disinformation, erasure, & lies until the population no longer is capable of discerning, much less defending, its own best interest? Answer: It sure looks that way.

And the thought occurred to me: By Gad, this evil experiment is turning Americans into Shmoos!

For those of you too young to remember the famous Lil Abner newspaper comic strip of the 1930’s-1970’s, Shmoos were white, blob-like creatures who can lay eggs or give milk & butter. They are absolutely elated to have themselves sliced-up, thrown into a skillet to be eaten by a hungry human, and they can change to taste like anything from chicken to steak to catfish. They can be sawed into pieces to use as lumber & their eyes can be used as clothes’ buttons. In short, they have no sense of self-preservation & live only to please their masters. And they require nothing but air to live upon.

The new breed of Shmoo-Americans are ideal for the approaching Capitalist paradise. Schmoo-workers will not drain Capitalist resources for healthcare, Social Security, or daycare for their Shmoo-kids. Shmoos will allow themselves to be entirely consumed in the cause of benefiting the wealthy, whether it is by fashioning themselves into a nifty speedboat or being burned as fuel. And no matter what, the Shmoo-Americans will keep voting for the very ones who turned them into Shmoos in the first place.

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Impeachment? Bring it On! (And Pass the Popcorn)

September 3, 2010 at 2:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This afternoon I took a break from my internet job search & joined Myrtle’s 22 year-old son in doing some yard work. While we worked, I mentioned to him that I had gotten on the website of a major retailer that has a large nearby catalog-center (they have a huge sign out front advertising there are jobs available & to visit their web address). But I could find nothing under the “careers” tab referencing jobs here in our area; indeed, I could find nothing that admitted there was any facility anywhere near here, everything was in far-away places such as Delaware . The young man agreed by saying that he, too, had visited the website recently & was stymied by the same thing.

A short time later, it occurred to me how odd it is: a man of my age & experience reduced to applying for the same entry-level jobs as youths. By age 22, I had landed a well-paying position with a large company where I would spend the next 22 years, working my way up to management. I mean no denigration to those who make near minimum wage manning fast-food counters, selling tickets at the cinema, or delivering newspapers. But 30 years’ ago those were kids’ jobs. Grown-ups had higher-paying positions which also came with fringe benefits. Now here I am (and I am far from alone) seeking employment that doesn’t pay what I made when my daughter was born 25 years ago. How are Americans going to support their families on the low wages paid by the majority of employers?

I have no doubt that, if our nation’s “leaders” had screwed the workers this much back when my parents were my age, those leaders would have been dragged out of their cushy offices into the street & soundly beaten or worse. The “Greatest Generation” remembered the Great Depression & what it was like to have no job, no money, & maybe no future while seeing the fat-cats do nothing to help. They never would have allowed themselves to be put back into that box.
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I see that a new literary sensation is climbing the New York Times’bestseller list. The number 7 book is “Crimes Against Liberty: An Indictment of President Barack Obama” by David Limbaugh and it’s moving up fast. Some speculate that if the Republicans win these upcoming mid-term elections they will seek impeachment for President Ojellyfish. Instead of hand-wringing about such a tragedy, I will quote Obama’s mentor, President W. Bush: “Bring it on!”

My interest in B.O.’s political or personal survival would not register on even the most sensitive lab instruments. I see nothing he has done or likely will do that will benefit ordinary citizens in any way. He has neglected & insulted those who believed in his election. I am so fed-up with seeing his endless stream of glitzy vacations & appearances on tv talk-shows that I would happily assist the Republicans by reading the impeachment articles in front of Congress.

However, the Republicans would never be stupid-enough to impeach the best thing they’ve had going this side of Dick Cheney. The power structure tricked us into putting B.O. into office as a way to de-fang the youth, the liberals, the poor, the peace-nicks, and the blacks. Those groups will never become militant as long as the first African-American president sits on the throne. He provides cover for he oligarchs’ continued gang-rape of the nation. In the next 2 years, he will help the incoming Republican majority torpedo Social Security.

Impeach the emptiest suit to occupy the presidency in at least 150 years? Once again I say: “Bring it on!” But it will not happen. Republican political bosses would not risk reinvigorating the constituents whom B.O. & company have so completely dis-heartened over these last nearly 2 years.

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