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Dying for work
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I've been playing archeologist this week, touring this new town,
visiting vestiges of a once and now by gone, industrial society. Hollow
shells and empty ruins with names like Tannif's Machine shop, Smith's
Fabrication and at the end of this row of empty industrial ruins sits a
small white brick building on the corner. One side of its broken
illuminated yellow plastic sign was still pristine and on it, it read
simply, Ernie's Dinner.

I could almost smell the coffee and hear the voices, how many
generations did Ernie serve up breakfast, to the shifts of working men,
coming in and going out? Men and women who could afford to stop in at
Ernie's earning good wages, union jobs and when their jobs went down,
Ernie's went down too. To be replaced by drive thru windows and the
minimum wage, the white cloth aprons replaced by colorful polyester
shirts bedecked with corporate logos.

The first Friday of the month brings around again the Bureau of Labor
Statistics monthly jobs report. It is its usual powdered sugar frosting
on a sh*t sandwich with a glorious proclamation of 96,000 new jobs.
Only, 210,000 people were added to the civilian labor force, ergo =
Fail. The employed - population ratio, declined .2 to the lowest rate of
the year at 58.3, a number not equaled since August of last year. The
actual number of employed Americans declined by 119,000. The civilian
non-institutional population declined by 400,000 and I would wager the
United States is the only country in the world which uses the term
"non-institutional population" but from the first line of the BLS report
you know that we are in serious trouble.

Cleveland's architecture screams out of its prosperous past, hard
working, blue collar middle class. Not the velvet middle class of Barack
Obama and the intelligencia's $250,000 middle class with $5,000 per
week pay, but the true middle class. The middle class of shuttered day
care centers rather than Au pairs, the middle class of Chevy's, Ford's
and Dodge's rather than Lexus, Beamer's and Mercedes. In her cemeteries
lay Presidents, Rockefeller's and Glidden's. The living remain here,
their jobs have been looted from them. The empty hulks of America's
former industrial presence trickling down on to empty shopping malls and
thrift stores.

For over a quarter of a century we have been told outsourcing will bring
us new green jobs or high tech jobs, but one look at Cleveland will
expose this as a lie. The department store where little Ralphie once
"slid down Santa's slide in "A Christmas Story" is now a gambling casino
in Downtown Cleveland. A metaphor indeed, as the city like Ralphie,
slides down the slide of the new entrepreneurism of casino and security
jobs, netting the vestiges of government checks and drug money

The national unemployment rate has fallen to 8.1 percent, not because
more American's have jobs but because in the last thirty days over half a
million Americans are no longer counted as being in the workforce.
Nearly seven million Americans are listed as seeking work that figure
itself rising by 400,000 in thirty days. The number of those working
part time for economic reasons this month is 8,031,000, a remarkable
number, exactly the same number as a year ago, less the 600,000 now
disappeared. This number does not include, those working part time due
to slack work and business conditions 5,217,000 nor does it include,
those who could only find part time work, 2,507,000.

Even the number of self employed declined year over year by a hundred
thousand workers. We are now entering our fourth year of this crisis, No
FDR, no Huey Long, no WPA only our new Herbert Hoover and the new Jerry
Lewis, aka Mitt Romney. It is hard for me to look upon these scars and
upon this wreckage and to know they are neither an accident nor a
mistake, but a well orchestrated campaign of destruction and pillage. To
first run off the good private jobs replacing them with cheap third
world labor and then to turn on the public sector unions, targeting
school teachers and the post office.

This is my fourth city in two years, I have seen the collapse of
speculation in Atlanta, with unfinished housing developments and grass
growing through the parking lots of shopping centers. In Stillwater
Minnesota an enclave, a bedroom community and tourist Mecca, only last
summer, the tourist's didn't show. Outside Stillwater, the creeping
crawling malaise of people selling their toys while trying to keep their
heads above water. The two tiered society which met but did not know
each other at McDonalds.

While attending the Stop the Machine rally and Occupy D.C. in
Washington, I heard horrendous tails of horrible atrocities committed by
a government against her people. Mothers with children put out of their
homes by bureaucratic red tape which conveniently assisted the banks
while hindering the homeowner. Mother's who had lost their children to
pointless wars and mother's who lost their children to faceless
insurance companies.

High school students without dreams, now vacant stoic realists, at a
time in their lives made for dreaming. College is unaffordable, jobs
non-existent, what doors are left open for them? They disappear into the
recruiting center only to emerge years later, perplexed cracked and
broken. Or they owe six figures in student loans for a college degree
which sounded promising when they began but now, sounds oh, so fanciful.

Portland was just slow, no growth, no margin, no work, no wages as the
downtown streets were filled with the homeless and jobless. Camps of
young people who see no point in school and no point in trying and so
they beg on the street corners. I have watched the poor gather for
supper at the Salvation Army in Minneapolis and was profoundly struck by
what I saw in front of the Rescue mission in Denver. This population
was different, not only poor but restless, they were simmering and there
was an undercurrent of anger, a just don't give a f*ck anymore anger.

I watched Barack Obama on the convention podium the other day, but as I
watched, I did so with the sound turned way down because I knew he
wouldn't say anything that I really needed to hear. Cut to the crowd
scene with a hopeful senior or veteran cheering the President. Cut to
the adoring children looking up at the President. Cut to the minority
groups excitedly cheering the President and I knew where I had seen this
picture before, this was Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will."

This was a propaganda film from beginning to end with a pissed off Joe
Biden and a truculent Bill Clinton. Inside the arena excitement and
splendor, outside neglect and reservation, outside the media lens,
falling wages, poverty, neglect and contempt.

Average Weekly Earnings- Total Private - July $809.43 - August $ 809.09

Goods Producing - July $995.35 - August $ 989.60

Mining & Logging - July $1,274.05 -- August $ 1,257.86

Construction - July $ 988.80 -- August $ 987.65

Manufacturing- July $ 977.21 -- August $ 972.21

Durable Goods- July $ 1,044.22 -- August $ 1,035.00

Jerry Lewis Aka Mitt Romney received no bounce following his convention
and Barack Obama will receive the same. There should be no bounce, there
is nothing going on here which actually means anything. The problems we
face go unaddressed, these campaigns conventions and candidates are a
farce to those of us with our faces in the wind.

We live in a country which holds unknown numbers of prisoners in gulags
in Cuba and in Afghanistan. When the Red Cross asked to interview
prisoners in Afghanistan, the American jailers answered "no". The
prisoners are held without charge and without due process; the evidence
against them is secret and is not shared with the prisoner. Your phones
are tapped, your children are shot or beaten to death by police, they
are sent to fight wars to defend corporations. Your wages are falling as
your rights evaporate, Any protest, no matter how peaceful will be met
by force, pepper spray, tear gas or bean bag guns.

Your media pretends to cover a democratic campaign between the most
right wing President in American history and Mitt Romney. The so called
(Socialist -Communist) Obama has tried to privatize health care, offered
more tax cuts to the wealthy than Saint Ronald Reagan, he has continued
the Bush Tax cuts and the Bush wars. His stimulus package was 35% tax
cuts and his jobs bill was all tax cuts. The President's council on
competitiveness has put the CEO's of the Fortune 500 to work inside the
White House replacing any need for lobbyists.

This why the Romney campaign goes out of its way to antagonize
independent voters. This is why it chose Paul Ryan when 79% of voters,
both Republican and Democrats alike disliked the Ryan budget. To the
American voting public, the most loathsome creature out there is the
investment banker. The Republicans choose as their candidate, an
investment banker who best represents the top 1% of the 1% for no other
reason than to lose this election. The election is as fraudulent as is
the recovery; these people, these parties, these potentates, no more
represent the struggling American than they do the man in the moon.


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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)

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