Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Vistas

This is the country we live in today:

U.S. employers won’t hire enough workers this year to lower the jobless rate much below the level of 9.7 percent reached in February, three Obama administration economic officials said today.

“We do not expect further declines in unemployment this year,” the officials said in testimony prepared for the House Appropriations Committee. They predicted the economy would add about 100,000 jobs a month on average -- not enough to bring the jobless rate down substantially.

Get used to sustained high unemployment. That’s the domestic news. Meanwhile, on the foreign front:

Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.

The Sunday Herald can reveal that the US government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.

Experts say that they are being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. There has long been speculation that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy fail to persuade Iran not to make nuclear weapons.

The United States just can’t seem to figure out how to keep its people working, but at the same time we’re shipping bunker buster bombs to Diego Garcia for a possible attack on Iran. While the people fall through the cracks, our leaders are busy preparing for another war. That’s vision for you, isn’t it?

It’s enough to make you just want to give up and join the military-industrial complex. The warfare state is here to stay and that’s obviously where all the money’s at. Why waste time trying to beat back the inevitable tide of American history? Shed your humanity, learn to love Big Brother, and just go with the flow. Join the team and make a buck.

Maybe not:

The unemployment rate last year for young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars hit 21.1 percent, the Labor Department said Friday, reflecting a tough obstacle that combat veterans face as they make the transition home from war.

The number was well above the 16.6 percent jobless rate for non-veterans of the same ages, 18 to 24. It was significantly higher than the 2008 unemployment rate among veterans in that age group: 14.1 percent.

The unemployment rate is higher among vets that among other young people in the same age bracket. So much for the rewards of empire.

I suppose this is the take-away: acclimate yourself to chronically high unemployment, prepare for a new war, and have fun living in a country full of jobless combat veterans, many of whom will suffer from PTSD and become very, very pissed when they realize that they wasted the best years of their lives fighting in the service of a moribund empire that quite simply doesn’t care about them.

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