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A Shadow World

12:35 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

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A Shadow World
By David Glenn Cox

The headlines will tell you the economy added 195,000 jobs this month. While this is actually true, it’s not factually true. The civilian labor force added 177,000 workers during June as the numbers counted as unemployed rose by 17,000. Last June, there were 12,701,000 Americans counted as officially unemployed, but through governmental sleight of hand, in twelve months that number was reduced to 11,777,000, and that could be considered a marginal improvement, only.

Not In the Labor Force, June 2012 – 88,006,000

Not In the Labor Force, June 2013 – 89,717,000

So these ballyhooed jobs, are they in high-tech or manufacturing? Are these jobs offering affordable health insurance or a bright future? The short answer is, no, no way, fat chance. The group of Americans whose job prospects rose in June was teenagers, teenagers without high school diplomas. It’s important to point out the best way to hide the reprehensible jobs numbers is to parse them into small bits. Last month, unemployment for teenagers ages 16 to 19 was 24.5%; the month before it was 24.1%; and this month, a remarkable improvement, down to just 24%. So this explains, after our economy has made this profound turn around in unemployment for teenage boys age 16 to 19, their unemployment rate last June was 23.7%

Basically, the economy added 149,000 men over age 16, to push lawn mowers and drive weed-eaters. According to the government there were 35,592,000 men aged 16 and up “Not in Labor Force” this month. One year ago, that number was 33,909,000, an increase of over 1,600,000 men. For women age 16 and up, the problem is even more daunting, as 80,000 women have disappeared from the work force in a single year. The number of women age 16 and up counted as “Not in the Labor Force” is now 1,262,000, significantly higher than last June. The number of women unemployed is down, but the number finding employment is also down. Between June of last year and June of this year, 749,000 American women found employment, while nearly twice that many disappeared from the workforce.
- See more at: http://www.leftistreview.com/2013/07/23/a-shadow-world/davidcox/

Dickensian!

5:05 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Dickensian

Dickensian

Dickensian!
By David Glenn Cox

Somewhere between the lies and the rage lives sanity. It lives oppressed and abused in a land which has quite literally, lost its soul. It lives in a cold dingy room; it lives on hope and food stamps. It lives on memories of the past which grow smaller in the rear view mirror as time whizzes by.

Without any further introduction, the November Bureau of labor Statistics jobs report filled with wishful fantasies resplendent with excuses, a turd polished to a fine, high gloss luster. From the commissioner’s statement;

“Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 146,000 in November,
and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent. In 2012,
job gains have averaged 151,000 per month, essentially the same
as in 2011. In November, employment rose in retail trade,
professional and business services, and health care.

Before providing the details of this month’s data, I would
like to comment on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on our November
estimates. On October 29, the storm made landfall on the
Northeast coast, causing severe damage in some states.
Nevertheless, response rates in the affected states were within
normal ranges in November. Our analysis leads us to conclude
that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national
employment and unemployment estimates for November. We will
release the November regional and state estimates on December
21st.

For weather conditions to reduce the estimate of payroll
employment, employees have to be off work for an entire pay
period and not be paid for the time missed. In our household
survey, persons with a job who miss work for weather-related
events are counted as employed whether or not they are paid for
the time off.”

Wonderful, the largest utility in New Jersey estimates damages of over 300 million dollars calling it, the largest power outage in the state’s history. The Bureau of Labor Statistics crosses its fingers declaring that storm related unemployment doesn’t count. They will of course, count all of the workers hired to repair this damage as proof positive that our economic recovery polices are working.

Civilian non institutional population – up by 191,000 new workers
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Precariousness

2:13 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Precariousness
By David Glenn Cox

Call it salvation or redemption, call it what you will. I have reemerged from a dark tunnel, from the streets of a faraway place once called home, once called the United States of America. I am alive, relatively sane, sure and uncertain. I’m no longer who I once was and so, I wonder, what about you? Who are you now in this world turned upside down? Who are we all, in this burgeoning Fascist state?

In a catalog of strange memories, my file folder is bulging. I’m walking the trendy streets of uptown Minneapolis in December. It’s dark and cold, but without a single flake of snow. Young couples pass by me arm in arm, segregated by love and a million miles away from me. Too distracted by their youth and affection to see either me or you; a sidewalk ad board offers a roast beef sandwich for just $12.95. I calculate my finances and estimate that I have almost enough cash in my pocket to buy one third of a sandwich.

The cafés are full this night; these people seem to have plenty of money and they are so young. It is not so much class envy, as class curiousness. Are the times really so good, to drop a hundred bucks on a date for dinner and drinks? Are they affluent or reckless? Are they careless or care free?

For nearly four years, I have been wandering the streets of America and I can fully inventory all of the possessions which I have lost. Yet now, I must now inventory the missing pieces of who I once was, leaving me uncertain about who I am now. I am unsure if these losses are permanent or if these skills can ever be reacquired. Asked, which spaghetti sauce I preferred, I answered, “I don’t know…anything.” Tacos, hamburgers, crinkle cut, home fries, pancakes or waffles I have no preference. Sometimes, it may seem my attitude is just easy to get along with, but it isn’t. My mind simply reads the problem as food, yes or no?

I have developed a near phobia about spending money. The majority of my purchases are from dollar stores or from second hand stores. There is a rationalizing of all purchases, no matter how small, armed with the implicit number of every coin in my pocket. The idea of a thirteen dollar roast beef sandwich with beverage and sides makes me laugh, openly. I was on a bus on the Pennsylvania turnpike and we’d just had our rest stop. The guy sitting on the diagonal from me didn’t get anything to eat, so I gave him my bag of potato chips. He wolfed them down hungrily and I wished I’d had more to give.

http://www.leftistreview.com/2012/11/07/precariousness/davidcox/

The Song Remains the Same

1:49 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

The Song Remains the Same
By David Glenn Cox

Bamboo Bridge

Soon we shall hold the non-election, to decide between the two major non-candidates based on their positions on the non-issues. Lots and lots of amorphous talk, little about reality and none about sequestration. Hard talk is for after the election, looking at Greece and what austerity has done to her people; one can only hold our heads and weep for the future.

Another thirty days has passed and the BLS this morning released its monthly jobs report. It’s almost lost its thrill, settling into a monthly rehash of filtered numbers, take for instance, Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 171,000 this month, while the numbers of workers entering the workforce increased by 578,000 so from the get go, we’re down 400,000 jobs. In a calendar year the number of Americans employed, rose by just over three million while at the same time the number of Americans entering the workforce seeking a job increased by 3,714,000.

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes its jobs report and you can’t blame them, really, for trying to put the best face on it. Each month, the report lists the number of new jobs created without supplying context. The unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 this month which is referred to as;

“Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade.”

But unemployment was changed, it went up 0.1 percent, if the number had gone down 0.1 percent the administration would jolly well be shouting it from the rooftops, as proof positive, their economic policies were working. Most of this months job gains came as follows,

Professional and business service – 51,000
Health Care – 31,000
Services to buildings and dwellings – 13,000 (what a strange category)
Computers systems design – 7000
Retail trade – 36,000
Construction – 17,000

From the BLS report – “Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining. Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased by 17,000.

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.”

“Little change,” four years of little change, but there is some change.

Self employed workers, unincorporated – October 2011, 873,000 and this October, 758,000

Part time for economic reasons – October 2011, 8,258,000 and this October, 8,344,000.

Could only find Part time work – October 2011, 2,488,000 and this October, 2,614,000.

The U-6 unemployment rate dropped from 16% last October to 14.6% this October.

Officially, the shiny official polished number of unemployed stands at 12,258,000 this month, officially this month, a population larger than every man, women and child in Los Angeles, Miami and Dallas / Fort Worth combined, are seeking a job in the United States, but that is not all, it couldn’t be? You see there is another sub set (read that, untermunchin) another population not counted as unemployed.
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How Can We Live, Without Our Lives?

6:18 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

How Can We Live, Without Our Lives?
By David Glenn Cox

It is the first Friday of the month, the day when the bureau of Labor Statistics releases its monthly job report. I hurried along heading for the coffee shop and as I stepped out into the crosswalk an armored truck was heading right for me, would he stop in time? I closed my eyes fearing the worst and thought…Hit Me! Hit Me! Hit Me! The truck managed to stop and I continued on my way unmolested, but that pretty well sums up this months job report. About the only way for a regular folks to get ahead in this economy is to be hit by an armored truck, a lottery ticket or a drunken doctor in a Ferrari.

The media headlines will proclaim, 163,000 new jobs and unemployment unchanged at 8.3 %

I weary of this tale, they, your government aren’t reporting on the reality of the situation here, they are creating their own reality of the situation. If they officially declare unemployment at 8.3 percent, then officially unemployment stands at 8.3 percent. Officially, there are close to thirteen million Americans unemployed. Officially, that excludes those working part time and those workers considered discouraged workers. Unofficially, there is another category, those of the disappeared. Millions of Americans disappeared from the economy no longer receiving benefits, no longer considered to be in the workforce.

The media headlines will not tell you the following and officially, the word “recovery” has been pulled from the media lexicon, replaced by the word “economy.”

Civilian non institutional population up 199,000 while the civilian labor force is down by a 150,000 or the population is growing, while the working population is shrinking. The participation rate in the economy stood at 64 percent last July and twelve months later, it stands at 63.7 percent, recovery anyone? Remember that headline, the one I was telling you about, the one with the 163,000 new jobs? The actual number of Americans employed this month fell by 195,000 and the employment – population ratio, fell as well. The number of those officially unemployed, rose by 45,000 and the number of workers considered “no longer in the labor force, rose by 348,000.

Imagine, a city the size of Saint Louis, Tampa or Anaheim just disappearing from the map with a new city disappearing nearly every month. The number of workers unemployed over 27 weeks dropped by an astounding 185,000. They are being pushed over the cliff into the valley of the shadow of expended benefits while new entrants to the workforce fell by 20,000. Part time for economic reasons, up by 37,000, could only find part time work, up by 62,000. If 62,000 out of thirteen million unemployed could only find part time work, how many out of those thirteen million, could find none?

The other day as I walked to the coffee shop where I ensconce myself, a young man approached me walking and talking into a cell phone, coming from the other direction as he past by I heard, “Well no, I don’t have to get paid everyday, but just the first couple.” It was a “Grapes of Wrath” moment, of workers needing to get paid each day just to get along, just to make one more day.

When I hear politicians speaking about the economy they tend to speak about it euphemistically, pretending a recovery is well under way and we only need to hold on, seeking shelter as if its just a thunder shower passing over us on a summer day, but its not, its real and its hard. The signs are all around us, men needing to get paid everyday. People who can’t pay their rent because there is no work for them, Mitt Romney uses the economy only to bash Obama, Romney’s solution is to repeat all the same mistakes made in the past. It isn’t even credible platform really, it’s a mishmash of tax cuts and candy store give aways. Obama points his finger and cries “Out Sourcer” at Romney but the truth is, Obama’s never met a trade deal he didn’t like.

Obama’s program if you can call it a program, isn’t much different than Mitt Romney’s plan, give corporations tax cuts to hire workers. So if you give a $30,000 tax cut for a $25,000 job where does the other $5,000 go? The trade deals put the sweetheart deals beyond the reach of elected officials The Colombian free trade agreement gives Caterpillar $100,000 tax advantage over its Asian competitors. It means Caterpillar has a $100,000 pricing advantage in minerally rich Colombia. It also means Cat doesn’t have to set up a locally owned distributorship in the country. Cat can keep those profits in house and the locals, who are hired, work for Americans not Columbians. Free trade anyone?

There is what has come to be known as the Wal-Mart phenomenon, as food stamp recipients begin to gather shopping before midnight, waiting for their benefits to post when the clock rolls over at midnight. They fill their carts with milk, bread and baby food. They aren’t there for fun or avoiding the traffic, they are there because they’re hungry.

“How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?”
- John Steinbeck,

Millions upon millions of Americans who find themselves lost in this milieu, these are the days of their lives. This invisible army knows the truth, as officially, wages rose only two cents per hour this month. At the current rate of employment good times will return to us sometime late in the month of never! I feel for the young people growing up in this, never knowing any different, with lowered dreams and lowered expectations. There was a time when going to college meant something and not going meant something as well. It meant that you learned a trade and there was still a possibility for a prosperous lifestyle.

Yet today, all college means is debt, those without college hardly have a chance to climb any sort of ladder to a better life. Only 30 percent of our children will ever have a job in high school because those jobs are filled with people my age. I told this story once, I was sitting in a burger joint and the manager was interviewing a woman in her forties. He asked, “It says here you can’t work Sundays.”

“Yes, she answered, “I go to church on Sundays.”

“Well, we really need someone on Sundays. Could you work maybe a couple of Sundays a month, or say after twelve?”

If she wanted this job, she would have to cast her religion aside and in this economy Jesus would never forgive her for not doing it. These are the 62,000 who seek part time work because full time isn’t available. These are the people who used to teach your kids, down to the public school. These are the contractors, car salesmen, Real Estate agents and secretaries forced into these jobs which suck ass, but they’re glad to get them still because it is an, or else situation. They’re the lucky ones still employable on some level, those who didn’t lose homes or with ruined their credit who will never be hired again at any level.

The junior colleges under an Obama program partner with corporations such as the Gap, Banana Republic and McDonalds to train managers in exchange for student debt.

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, July 2011, 16.3%.

U-6 unemployment for July 2012, 15.5 officially, so what choice do they have?

BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT DYNAMICS: FOURTH QUARTER 2011

From September to December 2011 gross job gains from opening and
expanding private sector establishments were 6.9 million, a decrease
of 204,000 from the previous quarter, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Over this period, gross job losses from
closing and contracting private sector establishments were 6.5 million,
an increase of 181,000 from the previous quarter.

The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number
of gross job losses yielded a net employment change of 368,000 jobs
in the private sector during the fourth quarter of 2011. – BLS

When it is all said and done, this says it all, less than a 100,000 new jobs per month for an unemployed population of over 13,000,000 with near lottery ticket odds of being hired. The BLS reported last month that temporary and contract employment accounted for over 20 percent of the new jobs, as the sound of gears gnashing and of fat ladies singing can clearly be heard in the distance. And if you listen closely, you can almost hear the economy crashing and the sound of the gears grinding to a halt

Right now, in millions of American homes, good people scratch and dig, they sell their gold, their mother’s heirlooms, anything, trying to make it just one more month. Every empty store front is the end of a dream and every foreclosed home is the beginning of a nightmare. Losing a home isn’t the end; it’s just the beginning of a new existence. They won’t leave off at just taking your house they must hound you and put the squeeze on you as well. Your credit ruined because the economy collapsed who can you turn to, to make them whole again? Where is the road out for these people?

“But you can’t start over
only a boy can start over
You and me
Why, we’re all that’s been”- John Steinbeck

This is their life, and they don’t get to be twenty or thirty or forty ever again, this is it. It’s not a thunderstorm, it’s a hurricane. The economy isn’t getting any better because they aren’t trying to make it any better, cause it don’t affect them none.

“Let me say,
at the risk of seeming ridiculous,
that the true revolutionary
is guided by great feelings of love.”- Ernesto Che Guevara

The Job

6:55 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

The Job
By David Glenn Cox

I’ll try not to get my hopes up but I have applied for a job and feel I have reasonable prospects to actually land this one. It gives me an all over trembly feeling, like a passenger on a ship reaching its port after a long, long journey. The anticipation that this employment odyssey might actually end for me, takes my mind to places where it hasn’t been for a very long time. To new strange ideas, peculiar feelings of mutated emotions which wash over me like a new love.

I can never go back, I understand that much. I can never go back to who I once was, primarily because I have been gone from those days of clueless prosperity for so long now, that I no longer recognize that person. The hard road is a fine university, it teaches an appreciation for the small and the mundane, the wonderful feeling of a new pair of socks or of a good meal on an empty stomach, a hot shower or waking up between warm clean sheets.

I lie awake and dream of things such as my own bed, or my own home or of new clothes to replace my rags and well, it is all wonderful. But even in these day dreams, night dreams and pipe dreams I feel the fetters still. Call it maturity or call it scar tissue for I waste nothing. I scarf up paper napkins and carry food in my coat pockets because you just never know.

There is something more at play here in my renaissance, when this odyssey began for me several years ago it began in depression and self-pity. I had lost everything I owned and everything which I had worked for. It was as if I were being stripped naked and left as carrion for the buzzards. I was angry at the world and I was angry with the woman who at lowest ebb of my adult life had kicked me to the curb. Then something happened which is hard to describe.

I began to see others in even worse circumstances than my own, not with Mother Theresa eyes but with an appreciation that I was witnessing something important and historic and I had been granted a ground level opportunity to see it and to taste it and yes, to write about it. Their stories are as poignant and tragic as they are unnecessary; I met a man who like me had been thrown out of his home after losing his job and was unable to find another.

All that he had left of his former life was this nice car and an unemployment check. This car was the last vestige of his past life. It would be easy for us to say that maybe he should have sold the car to get out from under the payment. Only that would also be admitting defeat and accepting his decent into this new hard life. He got himself a hotel room; you know the type, in a run down hotel in a seedy part of town. One night, he had gone to the library looking for jobs online and arrived back at the hotel around nine o’clock. He parked his car in the back of the parking lot trying to protect it and then stopped to buy a coke out of the vending machine before entering his room.

As he was about to drop the coins into the machine he was tackled and found there was a red laser beam from a policeman’s automatic pistol being focused on his forehead. He was handcuffed and thrown onto the trunk lid of a police car. “What are you doing here, where did you get the car, where do you work?”

You see, owning a nice car while staying in a seedy hotel is to law enforcement agencies, probable cause. Why sure, he must be a pimp or a drug dealer and it was beyond the range of possibility that he might be a man who had lost his job and was trying to salvage the broken pieces of his existence. He was on his way downtown when the hotel night manager stopped the police saying, “What are you doing, he’s alright!” No, it never occurred to the police to ask the manager, “What do you know about this guy?” before tackling him and pointing loaded pistols at his forehead.

Remember this story the next time you ask someone, what’s new? My own story was similar except without the hand guns. I had helped a friend fix her car, an old beat up Toyota with a suction cup holding the passenger window up. We were going to pay her cell phone bill and as we pulled out into traffic there was this guy who was obviously staring at me. I wondered to myself, “What the hell is his problem” when the blue lights came on from the unmarked car.

We were pulled over for the heinous crime of me not having my seat belt on. The policeman asked my friend for her driver’s license and then came around to my side of the car for mine. Nervous and unable to open the window I opened the door to hand the policeman my driver’s license. He kicked the door shut with his foot as he put one hand on his holster and shouted “Remain in the vehicle!” His partner came around and opened the door and ordered me to “Step out slowly!” It was all perfectly understandable; a man who forgets to put on his seat belt could easily be a serial killer. I mean, after all it’s so obvious isn’t it, we were in an old car.

They took my license and began to ask me questions which were obviously drug related. I came of age in the 1970’s but this was a drug slang which I was unsure of and told the cop so to which he answered, “You sure about that?” Indignant, I answered, “Sir, I’ve never been arrested in my life.” He smirked and said, “We’ll know about that in a minute then, won’t we?”

I can hear you, really I can, I know all about my civil rights but if I had made an issue of it, guess where I was going to next? If we’d been driving a new Mercedes we would have probably never been pulled over in the first place. This is the difference between my old life and my new life as the cops parting words to me were, “You’re lucky you’re not going to jail.”

That’s nothing really, try being a single mother of two small boys and as you’re getting them ready for school and yourself ready for work one day when a man knocks on your front door and announces that he’s from the bank and you’re being foreclosed upon. Never mind your acceptance letters from Obama’s HAMP mortgage program or your bank statement showing your prompt payments. Her plight was no different than mine the law isn’t on your side; it is on the other side.

What are my problems compared to these, what are my pissy little inconveniences compared to a mother losing a child to an insurance company’s intransigence or losing a child to a nation’s military madness? These are my new friends in this new America and they aren’t oddities or curiosities they are everywhere and they are innocents, civilians unaware for the most part that a war has been declared upon them, They are Johnnie Bradfield, Jean Val Jean and Tom Joad, they are Americans all, who deserve better than they are getting.

This is the new gravity of my life as I try to reclamate myself with dreams of gainful employment and all that means in the way of creature comforts. I am not alone here, I have been given a great gift and its weight will never be lifted from me. I do not even know if I will get this job or not, but my heart is full of gratitude and love for all of those whom I have met along this hard road. I shall never forget them or forget that I am one of them. They have given me this great gift, I know now who I am, really and I know now who we are as a people, really and I’m not afraid.