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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Finding Work and Customers in these United States

While I was waiting for my car to be serviced at a dealership I recently experienced what rural America already knows. A new car buyer arrived in the showroom. He speaks only Spanish. The dealer in this very rural location on the Eastern Shore of Maryland did employ a fluent Spanish-speaking employee. Not certain from the employee's dress if he is an actual dealer or someone working elsewhere in the large dealership.

The two began to discuss the relative benefits of Chevrolet versus Toyota and Japanese versus American cars. (I understand spoken Spanish having lived in Puerto Rico and New Mexico for years. I don't speak it too well but was able to make myself understood in Puerto Rico last month!) The long discussions did result in a car sale, from what I could tell.

My observations over the years have taught me that businesses in the United States significantly benefit from the immigrant populations living among them. They are ready to employ recent arrivals to America, sell to them, and include them in all aspects of society. There is a very small reactionary segment of the population that rejects immigrants, with most feeling they compete for scarce jobs.

The jobs immigrants apply for and often secure appear to me to be plentiful. Agriculture, food processing, and even rural manufacturing jobs seem to be available no matter where I travel in the U.S. and territories. Oddly, these same areas do report high levels of unemployment.

Research seems to indicate many Americans do not want to take jobs significantly lower than those they lost. I am one of those people. I have a college degree and decades of experience in technology positions. Taking a job in an Eastern Shore poultry processing plant is not my idea of a solution. I would also retire early rather than start cleaning offices at night. I will never become a roofer.

People still want to purchase inexpensive chicken parts at the local grocers. Our nation's economy would not function without office cleaners, agriculture workers and roofers. Car dealers enjoy the business of all different types of customers, as do restaurants, doctors, plumbers and electricians. Like many new immigrants, people in the U.S. acquire new skills and move into more skilled positions over the years. We have an excellent network of community colleges, universities  and trade schools across this country.

Certainly reasonable controls on immigration are warranted at this point in human history. Nevertheless reversing decades of integration in all parts  of this nation is both unwise and unwanted. American would not work without it.

IMPORTANT: This brief essay was not intended to address the issue of H1B visas and the often temporary displacement of labor associated with such programs. Businesses and the government sometimes use those visas to lower wage costs or alleviate other issues associated with specific skilled technology labor. This topic has been addressed in the past and will be touched upon in future articles.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The New Colossus

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" - Emma Lazarus

This sonnet was written to raise funds for the construction of the Statue of Liberty. It remains a reminder that the United States was not founded as some closed door society but rather as a place of refuge for those persecuted for their beliefs in other lands. It is there on a plaque near the base of arguably one of the greatest sculptures one nation has gifted to another. The original copy is held and deeply treasured by the American Jewish Historical Society.

When I travel to distant places, as I often do, I deliberately seek out the 'tired, the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.' I do not encourage them to move to America, as many have falsely assumed, instead I prefer to open their minds to the possibility, however remote at the time, that their lands and people can enjoy such freedoms as the people living in the United States.

Since I was a young man I have dreamt of the day when I might be issued a world passport, as I am first and foremost a world citizen. Over time, this dream of mine has grown to the point where I wish someday that all passports become obsolete. Borders are man-made, rarely, if ever, reflecting the true nature of the people sometimes trapped within them. Greed and fear dominate the minds of those who wish to waste money on so-called 'Great Walls.' There will always be more people like me willing to build tiny ladders of hope, still tall enough to allow any who wish to climb over the opportunity to do so.

Imagine

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one




Monday, January 30, 2017

Has the U.S. Become a Dictatorship?

Separation of powers is the cornerstone of American democracy. When the judicial branch is blocked from performing its role as a check on the executive, this will lead to a constitutional crisis.  The people of the U.S. must not allow their nation to become a dictatorship.

Supreme Court, Washington DC 077596

Sunday, January 22, 2017

You've Got To Change Your Evil Ways (C. Santana)

Slowly  but convincingly, major businesses have learned they cannot avoid the strong arm of government regulators. Business tricks played with mortgages, pollution, exotic investment vehicles, money laundering, the Libor rate and price-fixing have all been met with huge fines. The fines levied on BP, major banks, VW, and certain producers are proof enough.

Shucking Beside the Chesapeake 074055

These fines were well deserved and settlements, reached quickly even if wrongdoing was not openly admitted. The giant firms and banks seem more eager to move on rather than drag out cases, the bad publicity that goes with them.
Moving forward under President Trump, Prime Minister May and other new leaders, these enforcement actions may be fewer but any damage along with the progress is done. Future cases brought to the courts by tough regulators may be tempered by supposedly pro-business cabinet members.
The ultimate victims of all these corporate shenanigans were consumers themselves. The fines themselves are no doubt being passed along to consumers. People sucked in the pollution from rigged diesel engines, faulty nuclear reactors and the oil spread over the Gulf of Mexico. People lost homes as a result of mortgage banking fraud. Ordinary taxpayers lose billions when the rich use tricks and loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Big businesses and banks may be less greedy moving forward. CEOs and CFOs appear to be showing caution with regard to loans and investing more in green solutions. These steps may appease regulators and consumers alike.
The hard questions are not being posed. Who is going the pay the medical bills of the people sickened by all this pollution? How can bankers make whole the customers they cheated? When are we going to punish the politicians that steal citizens health care, good roads and lives lost in pointless wars?
Fossil fuel producers are masters of deception when it comes to hiding the real costs of burning coal, oil and nuclear fuel. They point to wind and solar as more costly while their products not so secretly sicken billions. Cigarette, alcohol and sugar producers spend billions on false research or false advertising intended to lure consumers to their deadly products. Pharmaceutical makers rattle off complex side effects too fast for consumers to understand the meanings of each. These firms sometimes paid their fines but did not change their evil ways.
In addition to fines and settlement costs, large organizations must be required to educate or rather reeducate consumers. Gambling casinos pay for gamblers anonymous programs but do the booze distillers pay for AA. Maybe but don't expect Exxon or BP to spend much promoting solar or wind. Sugary drink makers, tobacco dealers and drug makers don't subsidize health clubs. Banks don't sponsor many lessons on how to save on your new house purchase. The incentive is not there even though they might be literally killing their own consumers.
Governments and schools need to use more of the penalties paid by firms to address the root problems. It will take time to prove to consumers that Coca Cola makes them fat, coal causes cancers, and more exercise is better than more cigarettes or drink. Special interests will fight back but the truth will prevail. Once this is accomplished maybe we can educate voters about the need to support candidates that truly represent their best interests.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Signs From Women's Marches Around the World

These are the contents of mostly hand-made signs carried by women all over the world:

You can't comb over misogyny.

Keep your mitts off my lady bits.

A nation is not defeated until the hearts of it’s women are on the ground.

Respect existence or expect resistance

Hasta La Vista Sociedad Machista

Trump, Respeta A Los Migrantes

Our rights aren’t up for grabs.

Men of quality do not fear equality

You may not be a racist but you elected one.

Repeal and replace Trump

I’m not usually a sign person but GEEZ!

Women want to be heard, #just listen.

Women’s rights are human rights

Don’t forget to set your clocks back 300 years.

Show up. Dive in. Persevere

It’s time for women to stop being politely angry

Not My President. Save Science.  Trump is a Fascist.

Rebellions are built on Hope

Paws off my Pussy

I stand with Planned Parenthood

I’m so angry I made a sign!

Hell no we won’t go back

With Liberty and Justice and Respect for All.

Can’t believe we still have to protest for this stuff!

Mother Nature is a Woman Too!

Keep your tiny mitts off my rights!

No President is above the law.

No longer the silent majority

Besties Putin Trump Bromance

I march because I refuse to go backwards

Health care is a human right

Are rights aren’t up for grabs and neither are our lady parts.

I march for America

Make America Think Again

Not My President, Yes We still can

Let’s Change History, not repeat

Our lives end the day we become silent about things that matter - ML King

Trump promotes wars
Trump hurts the planet

Droits pour les femmes Americains

The whole world is watching.

No al Muro
Watergate Building, Washington, DC 13528