Wednesday, November 25, 2009

That Loud Sucking Noise You Hear Is The Sound Of Democratic Congressional Seats Going To Republicans.

(Here's a good slogan for the Republicans in 2010, and 2012. Go ahead Democrats, keep laughing at Palin. Who was it that said: "It's the economy stupid?" Wasn't it that Republican Bill Clinton? He won on that slogan.)

It's like talking to a wall. Or maybe it's like a bad dream that won't end. Didn't we all elect Democrats last year, send them money, make phone calls, put on bumper stickers and lapel pins and put out yard signs, go door to door, stand on streetcorners, to get Democrats elected, get a majority in Congress and take back the White House, because the Democrats promised that if we did that for them, they would devote all their energies to solving our problems and helping the people? Wasn't that the deal?

Then why is it that all I hear about the Democrats is that they are acting just like the Republicans, spending all their time soliciting bribes from the corporate interests and selling out the people? If you like e-bay, then check out C-Bay, where every member of Congress auctions off their office, their power, their vote to the highest bidder every single day. And guess what? The citizens are broke, and they are never the highest bidder.

President Obama is going to escalate the war in Afghanistan, send in more troops just like Lyndon Johnson did, more and then more again, because his advisor says he should. I've got a suggestion. Since nobody can explain why we are still in Afghanistan, since the only reason for going there in the first place was to find bin Laden (he's gone) and stop al Queda from holding training camps (they're gone), and since nobody in the government has any explanation as to why we continue to occupy that country, and since the only apparent reason is that the oil and gas companies want to run pipelines across Afghanistan but the people will not consent, then let's just leave.

Whatever the original purpose, it has now become just a misuse of our military to act as muscle and goons for the oil and gas corporations, who for decades have asked permission from Afghanistan to run pipelines across their territory, and for decades that permission has been denied. Why else are we there? We're not "helping" the people. We're "killing" the people. For what reason? And now Obama is going to announce that he will send 32,000 more troops into Afghanistan. Escalate the war.

But there's no rational explanation for continuing the U.S. War Against Afghanistan, now over 8 years long, longer than we spent fighting against Hitler and Japan combined during World War II. This has become a never-ending war designed to enrich corporate interests, establish a permanent empire with permanent bases in foreign lands to enrich a few oil corporations, while Americans die for greed, and their relatives back home have no jobs, are losing their homes, and have no healthcare. The Democrats are doing the bidding of the oil and gas corporations. At a cost to the U.S. public of $65 Billion/Year before the escalation, with $223 Billion spent on the war against Afghanistan since 2001.

Our economy has been destroyed by "free" trade agreements, tax cuts for the rich, and needless wars of aggression combined with looting of our treasury by Wall Street and the private war contractors. We cannot afford to continue along this path. We voted for change, but we're not getting it.

The Economic Policy Institute, the AFL-CIO, the Center for Community Change, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the NAACP, and the National Council of La Raza have just issued "An Urgent Call for Action to Stem the U.S. Jobs Crisis," link below. Is anyone listening? We have a crisis of unemployment and unaffordable housing and healthcare. Our economy is not working for the majority of the people.

The government is not being forthright in dealing with the unemployment crisis, hiding the real numbers in footnotes and appendages to the Department of Labor monthly reports. They are mimicking the nonsense we hear from the talking-heads on the financial networks, that Recovery Is here Hallelujah. Well there is no recovery for the American working people who are unemployed, and those who soon will be. Where are the jobs programs?

"The U.S. unemployment rate exceeded 10% in October for the first time in a quarter century. Nearly 16 million Americans who are able and willing to work cannot find a job. More than one out of every three unemployed workers has been out of a job for six months or more. The situation facing African American and Latino workers is even bleaker, with unemployment at 15.7% and 13.1%, respectively."

(How long before the Republicans start calling homeless shelters "Democratic Housing Projects?" I would if I was on their side. The Democrats referred to the shantytowns of the unemployed and homeless in the Great Depression as "Hoovervilles," after the then-president Hoover, who lost the election because he failed to help the people.)

"These grim statistics don’t capture the full extent of the hardship. There are another 9 million people working part time because they cannot find full-time work. Millions of others have given up looking for a job, and so aren’t counted in the official unemployment figures. Altogether, 17.5% of the labor force is underemployed—more than 27 million Americans, including one in four minority workers. Last, given individuals moving in and out of jobs, we can expect a third of the work force, and 40% of workers of color, to be unemployed or underemployed at some point over the next year."
I don't agree entirely with their analysis, or their fawning over the Democrats by praising the recovery efforts made. In fact, I don't agree at all with that praise. Way too little has been done, and way too much has been given to Wall Street and to Wars.

But look at the underlined sentence. These groups are predicting that at some point during 2010, 1/3 of the entire work force will be unemployed, and 40% of minority workers will be unemployed. The most recent Labor Department report showed 17% total "actual" unemployment including those forced into part-time work, and including those whose benefits have run out. Historically, black workers faced twice the overall number, which means that unemployment in the black community could be up to the 1/3 level already.

Below is a link to a good article by Michelle Chen at Air America in which they report that the unemployment rate among young black men is over 30%. They also report that among Americans who are employed, who have jobs, only 30% of them have what is considered a good job, meaning one with a living wage and with benefits. Only 30% of the jobs in this country are decent jobs. The ones we used to have -- such as manufacturing and construction -- were destroyed by reckless monetary and trade policies instituted by the federal government with full knowledge of the effect they would have.

In other words, the trade agreements and the monetary policy were intended to shift more of the wealth to the rich, and to crush the American workers. That's what was predicted, and that is what has happened.

"That loud sucking noise you hear is the sound of American jobs going south to Mexico" -- Ross Perot, candidate for U.S. President in 1992, arguing against the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Just as Perot predicted, the jobs went to Mexico and then went to China. And once the U.S. government decided to allow corporations to use slave labor, here and abroad, millions of illegal immigrants were trucked into the U.S. to take even more American jobs. What has happened was predicted and was caused by policies adopted by the U.S. government. They should be held accountable, and should be held responsible to fix the problems that they caused.

(How long before the Republicans start saying that "Democratic Jobs" consist of standing in line waiting for an unemployment check.)

Every person in the Senate is a Millionaire. They don't need to find a job because they are paid so much money in bribes and kick-backs. But maybe it's time they started to understand what it's like for average Americans.

For example. How about if everyone in Congress forgoes a paycheck, benefits, medical care, dental care, and agrees that any money given to them in bribes or kick-backs (what they call "campaign contributions") will go instead into the public treasury until unemployment is down to 2%. How about if they agree to live in tents on the mall and give up their homes so they can understand what it's like to be homeless. How about if they move their kids into failing schools and leave them there until all the schools in this country have adequate facilities, staffing and funding. How about a little shared sacrifice?

The Democrats are full of excuses and fables. They "saved" us by giving hundreds of billions of dollars of our money to the criminals on Wall Street. They have "saved" millions of jobs. Nonsense. They have done nothing to help the people. If they don't get real jobs programs, federally-funded programs now, and end these disastrous wars, they will lose their jobs too. I guess then they will understand what it means to be unemployed. Although they will always have their millions in "campaign contributions" to keep them comfortable.

I don't mean "make-work." We can start by re-building the infrastructure. Let's build a light-rail system across the entire nation. That will create jobs. Let's build clinics and hospitals in every community, non-profit, then staff them and run them for free. That will create jobs. Let's invest in green jobs and end our dependence on oil. Let's restructure agriculture, re-invest in local and family farms and eliminate agri-business from controlling our food source.

End the wars. Provide immediate medical and dental care, free of charge, to all unemployed people and their families, and to anyone who cannot afford to pay for the unconscionable amounts charged by the medical industry. Create a real jobs program. Stop caucusing with Joe Lieberman and stop sucking up to the Republicans.

Either the Democrats start creating good jobs for Americans and end these disastrous foreign wars, or they should pack up and get ready to go home.

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