Monday, April 14, 2003

I don't like Mondays...

I've been sitting in a tech class relearning what I already know while listening to the instructor drone instructions from the front of the room because the text books haven't yet arrived. Bored? Oh, yeah!

And after class, I get to go to another job fair over at the Mariott. The last one led nowhere. I'm not expecting too much from this one either. Many of the same companies are represented, supposedly there to fill what turns out to be the same jobs for which they had "openings" the last time. I'm tempted to ask some of them, loudly enough for others to hear, why this is so. If tens of thousands of Information Technology workers are jobless in this state (NY), why are job openings that have been announced since last October (at least!) still not filled?

Has anybody else found themselves logging on to, say, and trying to apply to "new" postings only to be informed by the site that "you already applied to this job" some months past? What is going on here?

I know I'm not the only one with such concerns. A couple of friends who are also laid off are describing the same experiences when we get together to compare notes. Is it some kind of cruel joke, or something more sinister? Perhaps an attempt to make the economic "recovery" look more hopeful than it is?

I should mention that this particular job fair is sponsored by the local newspaper, which is published in the capital of the state.
More about my feelings on Iraq and another country we Americans know so well:

re: thumbs up

It could be that the Iraqi people are smart enough to know what we think the symbol means, and smart enough to know that we don't know what it means to them. In which case, they are enjoying the double-entendre (there's that Fr. again) at our expense. Those clever Iraqis.

re: Saddam

Is he or isn't he? Will we have to wait for the next tape on Al Jazeera, like we do with Osama, to find out? Stay tuned!

re: WMD's

The last batch of barrels they found buried, between a mosqe and a pesticide factory, turned out to be hazardous waste dumped in the spot most convenient to the industrial site (not the mosque) that created it; much like our own super-fund sites. If this is evidence of a "WMD", so is the Hudson River.

We know what we gave them. We know some of what they got from others. We don't know what they created, nor do we know what they did with all of the results. Sounds like a good excuse to go into Syria and Iran to look for the stuff that somehow disappeared from where we "knew" it had to be, since it couldn't possibly have found its way into the lands bordering Iraq that are run by our "friends." I like it. Has a nice circular efficiency to it. And when we don't find what we are looking for in Iran, we can go after the next unfriendly bordering nation, etc... Heck, by the time we're done, we'll end up in North Korea after all. And we know there are WMD's there.

re: democracy (not mentioned much any more)

Rummy, Powell, and Bush keep saying that Iraq will be ruled by Iraqis in a form of government chosen by Iraqis. The U.S. has already chosen at least one imam to be among the choosers. The likelyhood of an open and freely elected government being the end result of all of this is roughly equivalent to hell freezing over in July.

When the media reports that Turkey is nervous about the Kurds getting uppity and trying to set up their own government in northern Iraq, they never go on to explain why this (a Kurdish government in norther Iraq) would be a "bad" thing. If our commitment to self-determination is real, why shouldn't the Kurds be allowed independence and the right to govern themselves? Could it have anything whatsoever to do with the fact that they inhabit one of the most oil-rich territories in the Middle East? Naw! Turkey is an ally and therefore must be a "good" country run by good people who wouldn't want to suppress a people, either within or without their own borders, for such a materialistic reason anymore than we would. The Kurds will just have to get used to the idea of a "representative" government like we have here, where elected officials listen oh-so-intently to all of their constituents (not just the ones with money) and always strive mightily to respond to their needs and wishes.

Ironically, Iraqi women were better off in regards to civil rights and social opportunities before the first gulf war. Hussein gave them the rights and access to higher education, work and jobs, and other niceties back in the eighties because he needed their support to build and hold power back then. After '91, with the return to the cities of a beaten and demoralized military force, the men took their jobs, sometimes by force. "Honor" killings and polygamy have returned as well. Women's groups here and abroad are terribly concerned that after this war, the plight of Iraqi women will worsen as a formerly sectarian government becomes increasingly clerical, like so many others in the region. It may just be that true democracy, where all people are equal in the eyes of the law and have the same rights and privileges, is antithetical to a muslim (or christian, or jewish) state (or at least to a fundamentalist state in general).

On the other hand, a true democracy is antithetical to an aristocracy (where, say, 1% of the population holds 40% of the wealth?) as well, and that's why we don't let the wealth and power of the few outweigh the needs and rights of the many. Right? I mean, the campaign reforms our representatives passed will guarantee that even a poor or middle-class person could someday be president. Right? You know, like Lincoln? Right? And that's what we'll teach the Iraqi people, too. Right?

And we won't let those who amassed incredibly huge amounts of wealth on the backs of the working majority pass on that wealth to their heirs without giving back a good and gracious portion of it to the people in general now will we? I mean, they have to pay their bills too, don't they?

And we won't let those who became incredibly wealthy at the expence of their contributors, their own shareholders, fail to serve a suitable time in punitive meditation (jail), will we? Let's see, if a poor man in a big city gets 3-to-5 years for stealing $500.00 from the corner liquor store, then some ungrateful CEO who cooked the books to make it look like he was doing a better job than he was and reaping the benefits in the form of millions or even billions in compensation, etc., should get, what? A couple of centuries? No, millenia! Yeah, that sounds about right. I bet that Lay fellow gets an eon! And has to do community service for at least half of it!

re: oil

It belongs to the Iraqi people, and that's who will benefit from its sale to others. Right?


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