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Jesse Jackson Jr.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. appears to think technology gadgets — including tablet computers like the iPad — are the reason this country is shedding jobs. Really? The Illinois Congressman went on one of the more outrageous anti-technology rants on Friday on the floor of Congress. We transcribed the remarks below, since we couldn’t really believe what we were hearing.

“A few short weeks ago I came to the House floor after having purchased an iPad and said that I happened to believe, Mr. Speaker, that at some point in time this new device, which is now probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs. Now Borders is closing stores because, why do you need to go to Borders anymore? Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad, download your book, download your newspaper, download your magazine.

Chicago State University, in my congressional district, in freshman class, they are not being given textbooks any longer. They are all being given iPads as they enter school. President Wayne Watson hopes to have a textbook-less campus in four years, where at this state university they will no longer have textbooks.

Well, what becomes of publishing companies and publishing company jobs? And what becomes of bookstores and librarians and all of the jobs associated with paper? Well, in the not too distant future, such jobs simply will not exist. Steve Jobs is doing pretty well. He’s created the iPad. Certainly, it has made life more efficient for Americans, but the iPad is produced in China. It is not produced here in the United States. So, the Chinese get to take advantage of our First Amendment value — that is to provide freedom of speech through the iPad to the American people. But there is no protection for jobs here in America to ensure that the American people are being put to work.”

Jackson didn’t take on the Kindle or any other high-tech device, most of which are assembled overseas. But he probably hated this recent headline on GeekWire: “Sales of ‘e-books’ soar, now the #1 format over paper.”

I actually had a hard time believing what I was hearing, but luckily Real Clear Politics has video of the remarks.

I guess you could debate whether products assembled in China are good for the U.S. economy or not, but most would agree that employing the smart people who design, develop and engineer the products is not such a bad thing.

Did Jesse Jackson Jr. simply forget about that?

[Via TUAW]

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

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