The Journal

 

Serving the Metropolitan Area

 

Since 1872

 

May 18th

 

THE CATFISH BOOK of JOBS!

 

By Jack Parnell - retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate

 

Syndicated by Acme Features

 

          Now that deal Americans cut with the posterity... one as held up since before 1776... went like this: educate yourself, work hard, conform to the caprices of your betters, and don't disgrace yourself in the community. Do this and you'll move up in the world a bit; if'n you don't, your children might.

          Were, always, exceptions... misfortunes as struck plenty of American Jobs (that Bible-man, not employment, though both have much in common) as didn't get redeemed after their time of testing. Innocents dead in floods or earthquakes; wars, lynchings or hurricanes while, on another finger, gangsters, bailout-speculators and dim celebrities flourished.  Always wondered what all that collateral damage out’n that Book thought about the system – burning down there in Hell or, at the best, shivering in some cold, damp Limbo while Job gets a new, improved family and friends.  Part of what made a Satanist of me, I guess…

          Parents sent their children off to schools, instead of work, out of belief in a delayed gratification as would bring rewards later in life, instead of a six-figure debt. Politicians in Washington and the statehouses passed or rejected legislation people might or have might not liked… but at least could understand.  (You may want to look here for a bit more on that!)  On the whole, a dull sort of justice prevailed... most got more or less out of the system as they put into it.

          Then, somebody busted the contract! Some Republican apologists blamed the women working, though I'd recommend anyone as maintains women didn't work before the Jazz Age to Granny Tarleton, over the ridge in Varnersville. Hit ninety-five, last October, can still shoot squirrels out'n a dead tree. Women did plenty of work in those days. They just didn't get paid for it - so had to make do with that washboard, broom and cookstove instead of Maytags, microwaves and dirt devils.

          When the circle of commerce widened, some housewives used their pay from phone companies, schools or hospitals to buy devices as cut their home working hours. This fattened paychecks of their American menfolk, as assembled and marketed those devices. That's how things went in the good old days.

          Then some slicks... as likely considered themselves part of this New World Order... figured out how paying Mexicans ten percent of American wages would fatten their bottom lines, so we got the NAFTA. Then Red China scrapped half the Communism... as frowned on exploitation of proletariats... kept the other jackboots-and-concentration-camps half, and sold off their gulag-state labor at ten percent of the Mexican ten percent. By the ought-eight election our Federal Gumment owed them Chinese more’n half a trillion bucks, same to Japan, three-hundred billions to the Brits… even seventy-five bil to Russia… while millions of Americans with costly educations couldn't find jobs serving up fries or sweeping our streets.  (Don’t ask what now?... it’s worse since the gumment gave companies tax breaks on the making n’ buying of R2doodoos and See Three Pee Ohs to do all that work for electricity and a little oil!)

          They replaced laid-off Civil War re-enactors in the Westville, Georgia replacement theme park after the original split off to Columbus with Guatemalans and recruited miners from China, Romania and Ukraine to replace downsized Kentuckians and would’ve hired those caved-in Chileans except that they’d already made a modest pile selling their stories to the media and doin’ that movie.  If there's a cave-in, FEMA uses our tax money to train rats to replace dogs sniffing and people pulling Dracula’s daughters out – the mine owner, meanwhile, runs for Congress. Then, should anyone have to go to hospitals, their medications can be administered by robot pharmacists.

          No wonder that, as the Don Jones people reported some years back, America ranked 43rd of 43 so-called “developed” nations in maternal death statistics.  Behind Romania!  Behind Albania!

          Last!  Dead last!

          So no wonder the good Democrats of West Virginia in the next-to-last Congressional primaries gave over forty percent of their primary vote and a fistful of delegates to some convict with a sense of humor as nominated his fellow West Virginian, Mr. Manson, as a legal delegate to such effect as the lawyers would’ve finally agreed to patch in a satellite link to Folsom Prison or wherever and allow Crazy Charlie to ramble on in his nomination speech until some unexplained technical difficulty happens.  Fortunately, Mister Manson relieved them of the responsibility by passing on to a lower place.

          Remember that movie "Norma Rae" as won Oscars for all the inspiration? Well, the West Point/Stevens people in Roanoke Rapids, NC shut down the mill it was based on, "to stay efficient in a global economy." What the hey... them laid-off Normas can always go to Hollywood and act... or bet their car.

          Meanwhile, Washington took a hint from Allen Otten of the Wall Street Journal as deduced how problems of the human surplus arise "...from a too-generous welfare system and an easy-on-crime approach that encourage(s) minority youths to spurn low-wage jobs." So Congress, as hadn't raised the minimum wage in a coon's age til’ that token bump at the end of George III’s reign, reversed course and lowered it, then lowered it again for so-called "trainees"... meaning that former steel, textile and hi-tech workers making $7.15 an hour flipping burgers and stocking shelves with Chinese products were bumped down to $4.85 under ACTA, then let go, soon as their six month "training" period expired or, if they really busted their asses, raised back to $5.30 with plenty of unpaid overtime, under Osama… I mean O’bama's FAmily Time and Workplace-Flexibility Act (FATWA) that the so-called Democratic Congress signed off on a promise of no more tax cuts for the rich over and above the usual pail of pork for six whole months! And then, of course, ‘Publicans signed on in another deal where the coupon-clippers got more tax cuts!  Meanwhile, the lib’rals still go marching round their yellow brick roads, asking for fifteen dollars the hour.

          No wonder that most ‘Murkans greeted the Gumment Shutdowns of ought-thirteen and eighteen  with something akin to relief.

          A conservative black Boston University professor, Glenn Loury, agreed that the underclass had become "hard-edged" and no longer describes "a tragedy shared by us all." So we cut healthcare, welfare and food stamps, too, built prisons for them as turned to desperation under NAFTA, ACTA, FATWA, FEMA and such, and found some PIC jobs in that way, chainganging the new inmates of debtors’ prisons and sending ‘em out to pick the tomatoes that had been rotting on their vines since we kicked out the Mexicans.

          Never... I say... never underestimate the ingenuity of American Entropy! Even when it's starving from having caught its right leg in a trap, it'll find ways to chew off the left one for a snack!

          Now, over in Germany, two-thirds of student princes as don't go on to Heidelburg or Ingolstadt take what's called the "dual educations"... classroom learning combined with half-time training on real jobs. Germans shell out twenty billion deutschmarks yearly on the dual-training... to match that commitment, says the former New York Times reporter Hedrick Smith, "American industry would have to spend $60 billion a year." Back in the 90's Wisconsin, Boston and Tulsa experimented with this system... matching high schools with corporate partners in printing, healthcare, electronics and manufacturing. Gave it up... must've figured nobody'd need American printers, doctors and manufacturers! Let the Chinese do those jobs!

          Sixty bil's a lot of sauerkraut; just what IBM's Lou Gerstner said slovenly education costs America... $30 bil yearly for remedial education for new workers, as can't spell or balance checkbooks, other thirty in lost productivity from employees as don't upgrade what limited skills they've acquired in the first place. Doesn't even begin to factor in the costs of maintaining the P.I.C.

          Recently, the National Assessment of Educational Progess (NAEP for short – rhymes with… uh…tape?) took one of those studies on the state of American students and found ‘em… well, not getting stupider, at least, just sort of treading water while most were being passed up by the Germans, the Chinese, the other Chinese and, nearly so, the Turks.  Spokesmen for education hailed it as a victory.

          A Catfish administration, now, that would first set some to building or renovating neighborhoods as real Americans can afford to live in, with public transit routes as will set the oil mullahs to bubbling over with outrage. David Bell, an architect of the Glasgow Development Agency (GDA), embarrassed Maggie Thatcher by rehabilitating Europe's worst slum (with the possible exception of Sarajevo). Consequently, as reported Frank Viviano in the San Francisco Chronicle, "...with cheap land available to the right buyers, and most of the population living in well-kept public housing at rents one-fourth the level in London - and with office rents just 35 percent the London norm - potential employers could reduce their total costs significantly without doing so at the expense of employees' living standards."

          Now, with a nod to the season, bringing back the draft is controversial.  Our millenials are so entitled and their elders so burned-out with our adventurings in Iraq, Vietnam and the like that, for all the free soda pop with lunch at Cracker Barrel, the veteran’s lot is not a happy one.  But military training can also do a lot to make up for the bad schooling and parenting and in preparing youth for jobs as an alternative to crime and welfare and, if the jobs aren’t there, we can mobilize our conscripted military to fight fires, lay solar panels in the desert and do all them nifty, necessary infrastructure stuff that Djonald Unchained promised and then welshed on (to use an anti-cymrural slur) lay railroad tracks and cybercables, clear the forests, drain the swamps and sit down with all that broken machinery nobody has the time to fix or to recycle and keep their minds and bodies occupied against the day that new hostiles think to take a poke at Uncle Sam.

          And, where there flat-out warn't no chance of real jobs coming back, I'd do as ancient Egyptians did with their surplus labor... erecting "works of magnificence or utility", giant pyramids and oubliettes as might persuade tourists of 6017 AD (if human beans with disposable incomes survive that long!) that America left more behind than broken, indestructible fragments of yellow plastic from Qual-Mart "Q's", shattered porcelain toilet bowls and wild white rats with human ears growing out'n their backs!  If The Donald signs on, might even let him have the use of one for his tomb.

          "In the whirlpool of decline," contends historian Mike Lazin, "populism too easily becomes a language of the dispirited, the vengeful, and the cynical - of young men spoiling for a fight." (Or – a $400 haircut!)  In the brainwash of virtual prosperity, this populist old grouch replies: "Lift those hick’ry sticks and bring the li’l bastards on!" 

          (The kids, by the way, seem to be finally getting their revenge on us old farts because of all the social media and bloggings that they use on tinier and tinier screens that old eyes can’t focus on, therefore can’t read about their plots to poison our porridges whilst down there in one of them Caribbean nursing homes.)

 

CLICK the CATFISH to go to PAST and PRESENT EPISODES of "BLACK HELICOPTERS" and to OTHER JACK PARNELL COLUMNS

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