A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

NORTHERN EXPOSURE AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MIDDLE CLASS

I know, "dude, where ya been, eh?"

Well, I've been glued to the computer in the living room watching 5 seasons of Northern Exposure, actually, while doing paperwork for the new job, attending phone sessions to tell us how to fill out paperwork, because NAME FIRST:  and NAME LAST  with SIGN HERE  can be SO confusing!

I like Northern Exposure, except I am sensing this vicarious living going on watching the show.  I always kind of related to Chris, even though my background and the characters background are so different, but I'd love to just be able to spin music and philosophically talk and ramble on each day.  I really like the show where he realized he didn't have to die at 40 like all this preceding 'Stevens'" have and how it messes him up in the head.

One thing I've struggled with is at 56, after caring for two parents, I know what is coming.  I know the aches, pains, problems that are barreling around the bend; it's depressing.  This is the wound that runs so deep.  Yes, I know just because my folks got X doesn't mean I get X and I can exercise and do things to lessen the probability of X but let's face it, Xmas is not a holiday that extends into the future unseen, it's a countdown now, fewer Xmas's in my future than in my past.  And while I am excited as all getup at the new job, let's face it, one thing I did realize is after spending four years caring for my dad, it had such meaning, that there is no job I could get that will provide any meaning to my life.  And it's hard to get excited over meaninglessness.  A cog in the machine.  The Pretender.  My destiny.  All the books, all the reading, all the thinking, and my life ends up as making it day to day, just waiting for the inevitable collapse.  Joy, happiness, family, love, kids, all of that has passed me by.

Okay, yes, I also like Northern Exposure because I've always had a crush on the Maggie character.  There, I said it.  You can have Ginger or Maryanne, Jennifer or Baily, Jeannie or Sam, or Betty Rubble - I'll take Maggie.  And it would be nice to be able to go to a local pub or restaurant every day and have a meal with friends.  In Northern Exposure, the diversity of the crowd, the backgrounds, are irrelevant; they are a community - single, married, rich, poor, white, indian, black, none of that matters; just friends.

I actually had been working for a couple of days on these banker suicides of late.  What caught my eye was the banker for JP in jolly ol' England texted his girlfriend "hey, leaving work, be home in a jiffy" and 10 minutes later 'jumps' off the top of the building. Now, if he lived at the bottom of the jump, you know, where he landed, I would just write this off as those witty brits and all, but he didn't.

However, a couple of days later, a guy in NY with JP commits suicide and lo and behold, it appears the guy in NY was kind of the boss of the guy in London; they ran the IT systems that did all those computer trades and one of them had suggested to a friend they'd found 'something odd'.

So, anyways, I had about 12 paragraphs on this and then yesterday Doug Hagmann wrote a long piece on the topic, more data than mine, less smart aleck comments, and many more jumps in dot connecting, but it really is a good article you should read and I don't like sloppy seconds on a topic so I killed the whole thing.

I hate when I write a blog and then a few days later see someone else write one that sounds a whole lot like mine, especially when theirs goes viral and mine doesn't; so if I see someone else beat me to the deadline, good for them, I will move on.


I've mentioned before how companies are really pressing congress to pass immigration reform and this past week Thomas Donahue of the Chamber of Commerce wrote an op ed piece that I thought I would post part of here, because it can be interpreted on several levels and none of them are good.

 WASHINGTON — In a global economy, investment follows talent. When we draw top talent to our shores, investment dollars follow because companies want to be near the best workers.

An infusion of capital and economic development will be a tide that lifts all boats, creating jobs and opportunity for all Americans.

okay, stop.  We heard that line in 1994 with NAFTA and how has it worked out.  Secondly, there are several assumptions made here, like why do we need a global economy?  Why is a global system better than a regional system?  Why is global econ better than a North American Economy, an Asian Economy, a European economy?

NAFTA did not lift all boats, as a matter of fact, is sunk the middle class in this country, completely.  The global economy has decimated the US middle class and continues to decimate the middle class.  America was a perfect bell curve, with a huge middle and small at two ends, now we are moving to an inverted bell curve, with large ends and no middle.  That is the global economy. And watch what immigration laws, Donahue claims, will fill:

But the reverse is also true. If companies can't find talent on U.S. soil, or if it becomes too costly and burdensome, they will move their operations elsewhere. It's in our own best interests to welcome the world's brightest minds and hardest workers into our economy.

Immigrants can help bridge a growing skills gap in science, technology, engineering and math - the so-called STEM fields that are vital to a modern, competitive economy.

More than half of the master's and doctoral students studying the natural sciences and engineering disciplines at U.S. colleges and universities are from foreign countries.

Meanwhile, the number of American students studying STEM disciplines is growing at less than 1 percent per year. By 2018, there will be 230,000 unfilled positions requiring advanced STEM degrees, even if every U.S. STEM grad finds a job.

Argument one is that we need to rewrite out immigration laws to fill the top end, or right side of the curve.  More than half of the masters and doctorate students in science, math, and engineering are foreign students.

So why do we need to change the law?  If over half of the students in engineering and science are now foreign, do you want to create a system where 90% are foreign?  Maybe one reason Americans are not majoring in engineering and science is the cost of getting said masters and PhD's are so high today because of all the foreign students who are getting tuition assistance?

If you want to increase the number of american students studying science and engineering, how about not allowing any foreign students to study in the US and dropping the tuition in 1/2 for American citizens to study these disciplines?  How about corporate america sponsoring students?  Get you bachelors then IBM or GE will pay for your masters and PhD with you agreeing to work for them for 10 years following graduation?

So Donahue's argument is fallacious.  It will not solve any problems with the US economy, only increase the difficulty of US citizens getting the very degrees he discusses.

Many of our fastest-growing industries require advanced skills and higher education beyond a bachelor's degree - 22 percent of new job openings through 2020 will require at least a master's degree.

Among all 25- to 34-year-olds living in the United States, 10.6 percent of those with masters, professional or doctoral degrees are foreign born, compared with 8.5 percent of native-born young people.

See?  Notice something else he does here.  25 to 34 year olds.  How many 35-60 year olds with masters degrees are there?  How many unemployed 55 year olds with masters degrees are unemployed today, replaced by some foreign born 25 year old?

Donahue is making an argument to actually increase the skill gap between native born Americans and foreign students.  Fill the right side of the high end of an inverted bell curve with foreigners, educated in large part with tax dollars taken from native born americans and subsidized via high tuition costs on native born americans.

Immigration can also address labor shortages in lesser-skilled fields where there are insufficient numbers of either qualified or willing U.S. workers to fill positions.

Many studies have concluded that the greatest percentage of job growth in the United States through 2020 is expected in low- and moderate-skilled jobs that cannot be automated or outsourced. Services like home health and nursing home care, landscaping and hospitality cannot be provided without capable staff ready to do the work.

 Finally, many immigrants are entrepreneurial and view America as the best place to put their dreams to work. They want to create jobs and opportunities for others.

Some 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies in the United States were started by immigrant entrepreneurs or their children. Combined, those enterprises pump $4.2 trillion in annual revenue into our economy. Immigrants are behind tech and business giants like Google, Yahoo, Big Lots and BJ's Wholesale Club.

Please, stop, go back and read those last four paragraphs again.  Lesser skilled fields where Americans are either, key framing there, unqualified or unwilling to fill.  The greatest job growth will be in moderate to low skilled workers, which apparently he claims americans are too stupid to do - or unwilling to do.  And notice these two paragraphs are 'slipped into' the text, he immediately jumps back to the other end of the inverted bell curve and talks about the high end.

Americans are not too stupid to know how to do the job, we just are not stupid enough to be slaves, well obvious slaves.

American middle class was built on 'unskilled labor' work in the 50's and 60s; autoworkers, rail workers, steel workers, coal miners, etc.  Construction jobs abounded and men could support a family and send their kids to colleges on what they earned as carpenters, autoworkers, etc.  But men who did these jobs were paid a good wage; the backbone of the middle class.  Detroit was not a slum in the 1950's, it was a vast middle class of working men, wives at home, kids in school.  Detroit became a slum as jobs went overseas.

What Donahue is really arguing for is slave labor that americans are unwilling to do.  To bring in mexicans, asians, etc to work for minimum wages to do jobs that use to provide our fathers and grandfathers with a good life.

Do you want to create a job boom in this country?  Make it impossible to hire illegal aliens; I can't believe the ropes I've gone thru to prove to my new employer I'm a native US citizen, who is hiring all the illegals?  Clear out 30 million illegal aliens from the workforce and watch the jobs open up, the wages go up.  Yes, prices will go up too, but then, prices are going up anyways.  It's easier to live with 20% inflation when you have a job than 10% inflation when you don't have a job.


To fully leverage the education, effort and entrepreneurship of those who have or want to come from around the world to study, work or innovate in America, we must reform our immigration policies.

Under our broken system, those essential contributions to our workforce and our economy are at risk. We're sending foreign-born students educated in the United States back to their home countries, or to competitors, to compete against us. We're sending companies the message that their investments may be better off somewhere else, where workers are available to fill their jobs and serve their customers.

This is where Donahue and I can agree: the system is broken.  But it's not broken because we don't allow enough immigration, it's broken because we've allowed too many immigrants to illegally enter the country, it's broken because we subsidize foreign students to study here while raping the US citizen in taxes and tuition to where our citizens are 100k in debt if they try to get a college education.  Look up the rate high education costs have gone up since 1990; it's double the rate of health care increases.

To fix the system, we don't need to legalize 30 million people living in this country illegally, we don't need to subsidize more foreign students, we need to clear out the illegal aliens from the job markets, we need to clear out the universities of subsidies for foreign students, and need to make it less costly for citizens of the US to attend college, more attractive to get those degrees in sciences and engineering (and after reading Donahue's logic, some course work in logic and critical thinking might be recommended as required coursework rather than women studies or some other stupid waste of tuition and time).

And there is something else all those illegal aliens haven't thought of yet: when you get this immigration reform, when you are US citizens by virtue of illegal entering this country, you will be the new army drafted to fight the next big war.

Could that be why this is being pushed so hard?  To add another 10 or 15 million soldiers for fodder?

We need reforms to our high- and lesser-skilled visa policies so that talent at all ends of the spectrum can live and work in the United States. 

See, he said it.  The ends of the spectrum.  Highly skilled highly paid professionals and slave labor at the other end.  No middle class just the ends of the spectrum.

These reforms must come along with other fixes to our immigration system, including improved employment verification, greater border security and a pathway out of the shadows for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country. It's time for Congress to set aside politics and modernize our immigration system.

Perfect neocon paragraph.  Fix the immigration system, secure borders, improve employment verification and then under estimate the illegal population.  It's not 11 million, it was over 20 million in the late 90's, do we think half those people went home?  The real number is over 30 million, hell there are at least 10 million in California alone.

Through common-sense immigration reform, we have a tremendous opportunity to help close the skills gap in our workforce, address labor shortages, strengthen our economy and create jobs for everyone living in America. But if we don't act on this national priority soon, we'll fall behind in the global competition for talent, putting our economy and American jobs at risk.

The attitude and thinking of people like Donahue are a major reason this country is going downhill fast.  From NAFTA to legalizing 30 million illegal aliens.  While they will argue if legalized, those 30 million will all contribute taxes and social security but what about the number than didn't pay anything into SS and will then claim it?  They won't fix the system, it will create a larger demand and bankrupt the system sooner.

The global economy is about only one thing folks; cheap labor.  That is it.  The only reason Ford or GM wants to build cars in China is cheap labor.  The reason they want immigration reform in the US is cheaper labor. I spent most of my life arguing against Unions because I saw them as corrupt organizations that exploited the workers as much as the companies wanted to exploit them, but now I see a need in this country for a new union, a union that truly supports workers, wages, and protects the middle class.

The end of America.  A beautiful bell curve where people were grouped in the middle class, where those on the lower left end could work hard and move into the middle; all replaced by an inverted bell curve where we are a nation of poor and wealthy.

In a fair world, the American people would outsource our federal government to a minimum wage employment with no health or retirement benefits.

The fact is, after reading the article, Donahue completely fails to prove his assertion that we will fall behind in global competition and American jobs are already risked, they've been eliminated at millions a year for over two decades now because of the thinking of people like Donahue.  The strength of this country was a large thriving middle class and legalizing 30 million illegal aliens will do absolutely nothing to support a thriving middle class but will destroy it further.  Subsidizing foreign students at the expense and on the backs of US citizens will not support a thriving middle class, but destroy it.

Thomas Donahue should be fired from his position and the american small business owner should drop any further support of the US Chamber of Commerce immediately.


http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/02/13/3767153/a-steady-flow-of-talented-industrious.html#storylink=cpy




Ever close your eyes
Ever stop and listen
Ever feel alive
And you've nothing missing
You don't need a reason
Let the day go on and on

Let the rain fall down
Everywhere around you
Give into it now
Let the day surround you
You don't need a reason
Let the rain go on and on

What a day, what a day to take to
What a way, what a way to make it through
What a day, what a day to take to a wild child

Only take the time
From the helter skelter
Every day you find
Everything's in kilter
You don't need a reason
Let the day go on and on

Every summer sun
Every winter evening
Every spring to come
Every autumn leaving
You don't need a reason
Let it all go on and on

What a day, what a day to take to
What a way, what a way to make it through
What a day, what a day to take to a wild child


ENYA

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