Jerbs, jerbs, jerbs

Kenneth Johnson

Remember the guy on South Park who didn’t want immigrants because “They’re taking our jerbs”?

Well, he was wrong about the immigrants – they mostly take jobs that Americans don’t want.

He was right about the importance of jobs. It’s the promise of jobs that prompt our friends on the Iron Range to be perfectly willing to pollute our groundwater with contaminated runoff from a copper mine. That, and the fact that Rangers have been brainwashed to believe that mining has the only jobs that count.

The problem with mining jobs is that they have a finite life – eventually the ore runs out.

Some people complain about the canceled XL pipeline because it meant jobs. Yes. there would have been a few jobs for men who lay the pipes. But what did we get out of it? The line would carry Alberta oil sands through five or six states top to bottom. Remember the hoops Enbridge had to go through to just replace a pipeline across Minnesota?

Why doesn’t that Canadian company pipe those sands through British Columbia to the Pacific or to their side of Lake Superior. They are going to ship it to a foreign country anyway.

Of course, the reason is that Canadians are not crazy about having those pipelines on their soil either. It’s easier to dangle job possibilities in front of gullible Americans.

I have had friends from the Iron Range point out how little iron mining polluted the environment, leaving pits to fill up with water, benefitting wildlife. They seem to forget that Reserve Mining filled Lake Superior’s sparkling clean water with asbestos fiber.

Duluth was big enough to afford a filter plant for their water, but Cloquet was too small a market so the Lake water was diverted to industry and Cloquet went back to their wells.

The proposed copper mine is a different thing entirely. There has not been ONE copper mine that has not polluted the waters around it. Even though they tout “new technology” that will solve all those problems, I am not willing to bet that it would work as promised. The Boundary waters should be left for posterity, and the headwaters of the St. Louis river left to run as clean as possible. A new copper mine, if any, should be opened somewhere where the water table is less sensitive. The jobs, if any, are not worth the price we would all pay.

The new defense budget passed with flying colors, with bipartisan support. Wait a while, you may say, I thought we were talking about jobs. Well. we still are. The defense budget is nothing but jobs, and every congressperson that wants to get re-elected will vote for it until we put term limits on them.

They not only approved the bill with everything the Pentagon asked for, but they added another 25 billion dollars worth of extras, like another warship the Navy doesn’t need, and five F-15EX fighter jets the Air Force doesn’t want.

And why do they do this? Well. the two biggest recipients of government contracts are Boeing and Northrup. 

Boeing as you know builds planes, and hires thousands of people in Washington State to build those planes. Northrup builds planes AND warships on the East Coast, using thousands of people to do the job.

Remember the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about? Well, you may remember, but your congressmen and women paid no attention to that warning. 

Companies that profit from the bloated defense budget have their plants in every state. Do 3M and Honeywell ring a bell?

What congressman in his right mind would threaten to stop the flow of money that keeps people working in their district? A member of the House of Representatives serves 2-year terms. They spend those two years voting against everything you want and collecting campaign funds for their re-election.

Losing jobs in their district is a sure way to lose your seat in Congress.

Military bases are in every state, and they are all about jobs, if you ever try to close one down. The air base at Duluth is just a small example.

If you have ever vacationed in Hawaii, you must have noticed that it is the most well protected state in the union. Every branch of the Armed Forces has at least one base there so the mucky mucks will have places for them to conduct inspection tours where they will bring their golf clubs along, and possibly their families too. The military runs a couple of very nice golf courses of their own, in case the private clubs are full of Japanese tourists.

In addition to the domestic military bases, we have about 750 foreign bases that we know of. It’s impossible to say how many “secret” bases there are.

Remember the big argument about closing Gitmo? This was just the detention center, not the Naval Base. The detention center was the place CIA operatives were sent to practice torture techniques after George and Dick made torturing prisoners legal again.

I suspect that the base actually employs some Cuban nationals and probably makes use of some Cuban services – and this has been for the most part unfriendly soil.

Our largest foreign base is the air base in Germany, which is there to prevent the Soviet Union from returning. I’m sure this base adds a lot to the German economy.

So this is our problem: warships and fighter planes have only one purpose – to fight in a war. I don’t think the present administration has any plans to start a war somewhere, but I m sure another Republican administration will have their favorite targets, as they did with Iraq.

We know how well that all turned out. Dick Cheney’s old company made windfall profits out of that war, at the cost of thousands of young people, who were, after all, primarily children from the poorer classes.

The most likely country for us to begin a war with is Iran, who are constantly “”threatening” us. How many Iranian bases are on our borders again? We have bases all around Iran, as well as our well paid assassins the Israelis on full alert for when they complete their genocide work on Palestinians.

The Iranians have every reason to hate us. Our government has been tampering with theirs for years. It is, and always will be as far as Middle Eastern affairs go, all about oil. 

We installed the Shah as the dictator in Iran. As a dictator, he put Saddam to shame. He had the most feared Secret Services in the Middle East. 

The Iranian people still remember them.