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Reflections on lost jobs in America

March 2, 2015

P.1…..in an alternate universe
according to leading theoretical physicists
you made the choice not to read this posting,
luckily for me your in my universe.

As the sound of the bell slowly faded it was replaced with a sound akin to the whine of a massive jet engine starting. I increased the speed and initiated first the water system then the ink and finally the sheets of paper started on their journey to the delivery pile. Taking a blank sheet of paper and creating an image with water and ink was, to me, like an artist creating a work of art….but then to me this was just another day at the office running my printing press. There were times I did marvel that as each unit layered down its individual color of magenta, cyan, yellow and black it could create art that did not exist on that blank sheet of paper before. As I worked the computer console adjusting the ink and water balance and tweaking the register just a bit I was creating an end result that would equal the density and sharpness of a photograph or the texture and look of a fine work of art. How was I or anyone in my trade to know we were merely dinosaurs waiting for extinction.

Those days are pretty much gone, because there are now 85% fewer high end printers in America than when I ran that half a million dollar printing press. Replaced mostly by the home or office printer, or your corner copy center. The result is another highly skilled occupation gone by the wayside. True it is just a small portion of our nations economy but it is also only the tip of the iceberg. When you consider that Americas biggest loss of skilled jobs was in the manufacturing field and those jobs are now held by people living in China.

Don’t believe me then go to any retail store or big box outlet and look at where what you are buying is manufactured. From cellphone to TV, radio, kitchen appliances, power tools to even our very clothing and shoes are now made in China. China has become the America of the eighteen and nineteen hundreds, with too many jobs and not enough skilled laborers.

Adapt or die… Those that have lost their jobs due to our manufacturing industry exodus overseas have found that adapting can be an obstacle, primarily because there are few equally skilled jobs left. The major job markets are now, in the building and construction trades, healthcare and the largest of them all the service industry which of course pays the least. There are of course a number of highly skilled job openings in the computer, internet and web security industry, but it would mean that one would have to return to school and obtain either a different or first collage degree. Even the construction field has extreme swings in demand for labor based on the fact that many now can no longer afford a home and have contented themselves to renting. So it’s either changing bedpans and watching over old people like myself or the service industry.

There was never anything wrong with working in the service industry be it a clerk at a retail store, a stock room employee for a big box company or waiter or waitress except the paycheck. Back when I ran that printing press, even in a non-union shop like I worked one still made a decent living. I managed to buy a home, raise two children and still have some cash left over for a vacation and a nice car. Now it takes at the very least two service industry jobs to just ‘barely’ float the rent and pay ones bills.

There is no cut and dry solution for the situation that each of ‘us’ here in America has created. Yes indeed we created this exodus of manufacturing jobs ourselves by demanding lower prices and not supporting the few companies that still had the ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ on their label. However I think it is time we took that first small step toward bringing home those jobs. We must seek out and purchase those products that are still made in America whenever we can and we must show the major retailers and manufactures that we are willing to pay more for a product produced at home.

It is a small first step on a very, very long road
but to not take it ensures that a once proud nation
will never be the worlds economic leader again.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a conspiracy

February 27, 2015

swatI typed away at my keyboard, pausing only to sip the still steaming cup of coffee and take in more caffeine to fuel the already energized brain cells. I was so focused on my writing that I was never aware of the sound of vehicles pulling into my driveway. Todays article was on corruption in the election system and I had an inside source that gave me a direct link between that corruption and the president of the United States. As I turned to look over my notes again the front door burst open and within seconds there were pinpoints of red dots covering my head and face. My last thought was that I would never finish this article in time to publish it……when my world went black.

I woke up with a start it was once again just another dream, and I thought maybe I should not snack so close to when I go to sleep, however this particular dream seemed to have some fingers in reality. On the whole I do not believe in conspiracy theories but of late when looking at the overall picture of oil production here in the United States one sees a definite direction of the limiting of any major push in production in the United States, while favoring the importation of oil.

Consider that as of 2013 the United States was importing 45% of its oil from OPEC countries and over the last year and a half that number is has been swiftly falling, primarily because of the increase in production within our borders. Is it then any wonder that OPEC decided to flood the market with its oil to lower the price of a barrel of oil. They are willing to loose billions of dollars for only one reason to put the new smaller independent American companies out of business.

When you add that to a concerted effort by the administration to not allow the XL-pipeline to be built, scare tactics on the news whenever there is a train crash involving oil tankers, the increased restrictions on oil production both offshore and on federal land and now the President calling for closing ANWR to oil production, one has to wonder why if our nation is ever to be energy self sufficient is the government doing these things?

Sure congress has just spent over a week passing legislation calling for the building of the XL-pipeline but they already know full well that the President will veto it and they also know they do not have the votes necessary to override that veto. They wasted their time just so they could go back to the voters and say that they supported the XL-pipeline… but I say if they ‘truly’ supported it why did they not have the backbone to stand up and override that veto?

So I am getting mental glimpses of some hidden hand manipulating congress to restrict our nations production of oil. I do not understand why we would want to financially support foreign nations like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico by buying their oil over producing our own but it is undeniably happening. By building the XL-pipeline we could have had our nations single largest supplier of oil, (Canada 33%), increase that supply and we would not be sending money to countries that may end up in the hands of people who want to bring down our nation.

So to me the closing of ANWR to oil production
will lead to an eventual end to oil flowing from Alaska.
Combine that with the veto of the XL-pipeline
and it will lead to a greater dependence on middle eastern oil
but I am sure there is no conspiracy
just concern for the environment
and Alaska’s Caribou!

Just a thought… Alaska’s’ ironic winter

February 24, 2015

yukonquest7lrgIt is march but I have had to shut down my heater for hours at a time because it is in the plus 40’s outside. At the same time temperatures of minus 10 to minus 20 are sprinkled across the Eastern portion of the lower forty eight states. This started back in the beginning of February when the snow fell 7-8 “feet” not inches in Buffalo and continued in the past weeks in New England where some cities have no room left to store the plowed snow. Then yesterday over 2,000 flights in Dallas, Texas were canceled because of an ice storm. Meanwhile I sit here in Northern Alaska and watch while the snow we do have slowly evaporates.

Yes if ever there was an example of irony it is Alaska’s lack of cold and snow in the middle of winter. It has reached such extremes that the Iditarod dog sled race had to move there ‘official’ start from Williow to Fairbanks because of lack of snow near the Alaska mountain range. It was even announced a number of days ago that the ‘North American dog sled race’ would not use its normal starting location on the Chena river in downtown Fairbanks because the river ice was not thick enough and may be dangerous for the mushers.

Today in the news it was announced that the officials of the Iditarod dog sled race are now looking for a plan ‘C’ location to restart their race. If the temperatures remain above freezing at the starting point the ice on that potion of the river may not be able to handle the weight of the mushers, dogs and spectators.

As Alaskans we have always love our winters
from the wondrous majesty of the Northern Lights
to ice carving, cross country skiing and ice fishing
but if this change becomes permanent we may have to move
to either New England or even Tennessee

Federalization of the internet and wordpress

February 22, 2015

P.1On February 26th the FCC will rule on a 332 page bill submitted by the President that regulates the internet, wherein it states ???? Oh did I forget to mention that the contents are secret until after the vote by the FCC. This reminds me of what Nancy Pelosi said about oboma-care that we must pass the bill before we can see whats in the bill. I believe the internet has done a fair job of regulating itself so far so why does oboma want a new set of federal regulations and have those rules enforced by the FCC?

Today on the radio a member of the FCC’s voting board was on the air talking about how outside regulation would only mean increases in the price of internet access. He spoke in generalities because of the ‘gag order’ in place but did mention that these regulations would deal with allocation of bandwidth meaning that the big guys would win out over the smaller internet providers, and in some cases put them out of business. This would result in a quasi monopoly and thus higher rates for the consumer.

I assume that the billions who use the internet are OK with federalizing the internet
because there has been no ground swell of protest against it.
But I wonder
how many censorship clauses are in that bill?

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A quick note of a personal nature with regard to my blog. For those who have been with me for a while you will notice the lack of photographs scattered throughout different postings and now a total loss of any links to articles I quote in the posting. I apologize but wordpress is not allowing me to do either operation. The buttons are there but when I click them nothing happens. A reader commented on my ‘Friday-fiction’ posting about something I wrote that the President said and I had to email her the link because I could not even copy and paste the link to the bottom of the posting like I had done previously. I believe this could be due to any of several factors, like my having an old browser or antiquated operating system or the fact that because I am connected to the internet server over a 300 foot WiFi link.

In any event I apologize for any inconvenience
and if you ever want further clarification of something I have written
just drop me a line
and I will send the relevant links back to you.

Friday’s fiction 2/20

February 20, 2015

Truth…sometimes stranger than fiction.
APS wire story 2/20/2020 President obama has announced a two hundred million dollar increase in aide to isis to improve their living conditions. This comes at the same time he announced an amnesty and open border policy for any isis member wanting a work visa to enter the United States. He went on to say that after one year of satisfactory work they would become eligible to vote in the following years federal elections. These actions are based on the conclusions arrived at the terrorist summit back in 2015 when he concluded that isis members only went on beheading rampages because they were unemployed and had legitimate reasons why Americans didn’t like them.

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Opening soon near you!
Roger woke up feeling fine for the first time since he arrived here at the detox center. His withdrawal was not pleasant and there were days when the staff never left him out of their sight because they feared he might be suicidal. In the beginning he was a total nervous wreck pacing back and forth, babbling uncontrollably and eating anything not stored behind locked doors. His sessions with the psychologist started badly when he threw a chair through the office window. However a breakthrough came on the third day when the psychologist explained to Roger why he was addicted. He said rats ran through a maze every time they hear a certain sound because they were conditioned that sometimes food would appear after that sound, and we answer/read our texts because we have found that some of them will give us pleasure.

Roger now understood why he was psychologically addicted to his cell phone
and staying at this cellphone detox center for another week
should help ease the physical dependence.
It would be up to him to stay ‘clean’ when out in the real world
even though he would be amongst the millions of other poor addicted souls.

What is a friend?

February 18, 2015

IMG_0506The wind blowing across the the deep snow howled mournfully outside my cabin as I sat by the propane light reading to fill my nighttime hours. The frame cabin though not yet done was a work in progress and a good shelter against the frigid Alaska winter. My battery bank, generator, computer and LED lights still far in the future, for now I had but a propane light and my headlamp to brighten the darkness. I sat immersed in another world of words on paper as a heavy knock on the door broke my concentration. Out here in the wilderness visitors late at night were an uncommon occurrence.

Also uncommon and rare is to be able to find a like minded individual literally in the middle of nowhere. It was akin to stumbling across that one gold nugget in many miles of a stream bed, and like that nugget you hold it close to you because of it value. The knock on the door was a friend who lives a distance away and has been stopping by with some regularity for a while now. We have spent many hours sitting in the dark and near dark just talking….. about life , God and basically anything and everything. It was for me a kind of ‘wilderness’ therapy where when something is figuratively itching my conscious we would scratch it and see if it could be resolved.

I now have those batteries, generator, computer and lights but have lost that friend, who has since opted to return to civilization. There are others who live in the area but they, after all these years, were like family to me and not someone you burden with hours of circular conversation. Add that to the fact that I can no longer walk down and especially up any hills to visit them and I am basically back to living in isolation.

However this posting is not about my situation, but about friendship and communication. You and I, I am sure, have had over the years many people who we call our friends, but by what measure do we use that word and how do we find a true friend when we need one? Do you consider someone a friend simply because you see or talk to them on a daily basis? Do you think because someone helped you with a situation a couple of times that they are your friend?

Personally I think that some of the tell tale signs of friendship are:
knowing if ever a problem arises
one call and they would be there never asking any questions
or…spending time together and not being upset because no one is talking
or…someone who ensures their relationship is always in balance
and definitely is one that shares in your happiness or pain
without you ever being aware they are.

Getting shot-down… a reader corrects me

February 15, 2015

P.1On February 9th I published a posting entitled, “Getting shot…the American way!”, and the response either in comments or direct emails was for the most part positive. I did have one significant comment correcting me about the statements that I had written in this article. A reader living in Mexico took me to task over the generality of my statement about South American countries and their immunization history.

This reader commented, “Most of the children coming from Mexico and Central America have better immunizations than kids in the US. I happen to live in Mexico……..There are hospitals and doctors and pharmacies all over the place. In fact, there are doctors located at many pharmacies. Medical care is free for citizens. No reason to avoid vaccination. “

This was in response to the following three statements in that blog posting, “I believe it is a mater of the state and local school boards worrying about law suits and unvaccinated illegal immigrants….Many nations in South America have little oversight on the vaccination of its children…….Could one of the children or even a day care worker be unvaccinated, or possibly an “immigrant” from a country that has no mandatory vaccination program? “

Unlike Mr Brian Williams I do not try and embellish my life with war ‘stories’, I offer to you on my blog real life experiences that may in some way echo the opinions or thoughts I have written about and I believe you may find interesting. I do however read all comments and when questioned on the validity of something I have written I will not wait a decade to correct any errors. So in response to these comments I went back and dug further into the facts.

In a pamphlet entitled “Immunization Summary” (the 2014 edition) published by UNICEF and WHO, the World Health Organization, I found the following statistics related to my posting.

(1) In the country of Mexico and most of South America the vaccination rate for all diseases was between 76% and 91%
(2) Immunization coverage in Mexico with measles vaccines as of 2013 was 80%

In the United States measles was essentially non-existent until the recent multiple outbreaks, so where did it come from? My conclusion was based on the fact of a high probability that a few of the thousands of people flooding across our borders had to be carriers of undiagnosed diseases. Yes it is also true that fewer American children are being vaccinated because of their parents fear of side effects of the vaccination, but the crux of the situation still exists in that the diseases did not happen out of thin air someone had to bring it to our country.

So though the statistics I based my posting on were wrong,
and if the outbreak of measles and other diseases
did not originate in the United States
where did they come from?