Archive for the ‘Agitprop’ Category

Hell ain’t half full

May 25, 2020

Through a glass, darkly.

You can’t spell “Memorial Day” without “me.”

The other night we revisited one of the great plague movies, Terry Gilliam’s “12 Monkeys.” A line delivered by Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) has long been a favorite observation around El Rancho Pendejo:

“There’s no right, there’s no wrong, there’s only popular opinion.”

How do I feel about something? What’s in it for me? If enough people think the way I do, it must be Truth, yeah?

So count me among the unsurprised when I see people packing Maryland’s Ocean City boardwalk, standing shoulder to shoulder in pools at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, or crowding around some tool tossing money from a car in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“Disney’s closed, Universal’s closed, everything’s closed. So where did everybody come? On the first warm day with 50 percent opening, everybody came to the beach,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told CBS Miami.

It practically goes without saying that Il Douche spent the weekend tweeting like a fat orange budgie on Adderall and urging Americans to go to church while he air-mailed divots to Jesus from one of his own golf courses. Dude brings a whole new meaning to the term “a bad lie.”

What does surprise me is that no matter who is “in charge,” or whether the enemy du jour is a Saudi with a box cutter, a highly communicable disease, or some other threat most Americans have never seen, some of us continue volunteering for and serving in the armed forces, or signing up for less celebrated duty at emergency rooms, cop shops, nursing homes, fire departments, pharmacies, sewage treatment plants, grocery stores, appliance-repair shops, hardware stores, restaurants, and delivery services.

I’m guessing that a lot of these folks would rather the customers hadn’t spent the Memorial Day weekend playing Beach Booger Bingo with a few thousand of their closest friends.

But hey, what do I know? There’s no right, there’s no wrong. …

Bingo!

May 13, 2020

“Learn Big Numbers as you Play.” Or not.

Thomas B. Edsall at The New York Times cranks out another keeper about the unholy combination of church and casino that is the Il Douche re-election campaign.

This dude alone is worth the price of a subscription to Mother Times. He throws a wide loop and brings ’em back alive.

A Democratic tech strategist describes the campaign website as a casino, “purposefully built to keep gamblers inside and at the table … trapping people inside an ecosystem of dangerous misinformation, conspiracy theories, and grievance politics. And it’s doing so while making the experience as fun and exciting as possible.”

In the nation’s “political churches,” meanwhile, a survey of hymn-singing white Protestants finds “clergy speech is driving up the religious significance” of Il Douche. In short, a strong plurality of respondents believe this gibbering gobshite was anointed by the Lord to be our Leader.

While elite “right wing media are having a profound effect on public opinion, serving to insulate Trump supporters,” the authors write, the process is also “built and sustained from the bottom up. That is, political churches, among Republicans especially, reinforce the argumentation that is also coming from above.”

I consider this another solid argument for taxing churches. Uncle Sugar gets a cut of what I earn for preaching my gospel. You want to play too, padre? Ante up, sucker, the pot’s light again.

Masque of the Red … Revolution?

May 7, 2020

¡Viva la huelga!

I’ve been wondering when someone in the mainstream media would write something about the potential for increasing union membership and labor strength in the Year(s) of the Plague.

Here’s a start. It’s short, focused largely on the so-called “gig economy,” and written before a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that indicates some laid-off and furloughed workers may be overly optimistic about whether they will be able to return to their old jobs.

How does an activist pitch a union to a worker with no job? Is a patchwork of small, decentralized, tightly focused labor organizations preferable to One Big Union? Are people ready to rethink their notions of who is an “essential” worker? Will stock clerks trump stockholders?

Nick French at Jacobin gives us a look at the protests that arose shortly after the Great Depression took hold. He argues that radical groups, among them the Thirties-vintage Communist Party, forged a bond of solidarity between the jobless and those still working that helped make FDR’s New Deal possible.

The conditions are different today, he concedes. But the public-health issue may give workers more leverage this time around. Writes French:

By forcing sick people to come to work, or by unnecessarily exposing people to coworkers or customers who might be infected, employers are hastening the spread of the coronavirus and putting everyone at risk. This means that all workers, employed or unemployed, have a common interest in these workers winning their demands.

Boy howdy. Dead broke is bad enough. I hear dead is worse.

• Addendum: As white-collar types join workers from the restaurant, travel, hospitality, and retail industries on the sidelines, experts say there’s no way to calculate how many jobs might come back as states consider lifting shelter-in-place rules. according to The New York Times.

Many businesses, particularly small ones, may not survive, while others are likely to operate with reduced hours and staff. The job search site Indeed reports that postings are down nearly 40 percent from a year ago.

“We don’t know what normal is going to look like,” said Martha Gimbel, an economist and a labor market expert at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative.

• Addendum the Second: How should unions organize? From The Nation.

• Addendum the Third: Comrades, identities, and attachments. Also from The Nation.

Pelotonnage

May 6, 2020

The actual outdoors. No instructors shouting at you. Free of charge.

I’m having trouble fitting into The New Weird Order.

The idea of spending $2,245 for a Peloton bike plus $39 per month for online classes*, so I can stay fit for … for. …

For what, exactly?

“Enjoying” a long and healthy life spent indoors, never more than a few steps from a screen?

I guess if the auto industry gets another bailout, as seems likely, these folks — the ones with all the money, anyway — will be able to have their “outside” and their screens at the same time.

* Incidentally, if you already own a bike, and you must do your cycling indoors, you can spend a few hundy on a stationary trainer or a set of rollers and join the free community of voices in your head.

Socialist wheelism

May 2, 2020

Forward!

I actually shot this last May Day, but I don’t think I ever got around to using it for anything.

When Herself and I rode out yesterday for our own small International Workers Day parade, we were clad in red, but it was Mad Dog Media kit we were wearing, and I was aboard my red Steelman Eurocross, not the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff.

The People were out in force as well. With temps in the 80s, and there only being so many DIY home projects one can bear, we saw quite a few folks out and about, the highlight being a couple walking one Chihuahua and pushing the other in a baby stroller.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is relaxing some restrictions, allowing some retailers that had been closed to do business via curbside pickup and delivery; reopening state parks and golf courses; and allowing gun shops to resume operations via appointment only.

While short outings for grub and exercise are officially approved, the general stay-at-home order remains in effect through May 15, however. Socialist distancing remains a thing, as does masking. And while the GOP is raving that the gov’ is not doing enough to return New Mexico to Bidness As Usual®, the gov’ — who has been getting some ink for her work in response to the coronavirus crisis — says further steps depend on us continuing to tamp down the spread of The Bug.

“This public-health crisis has also become an economic crisis,” she said. “There’s great urgency to address both.”

Added Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase: “We have to move carefully. slowly, step by step.”

Sounds a lot like rehabbing a broken ankle, only a helluva lot harder. The trick is to lose the crutches without winding up flat on your back.

Comrades, come rally. …

May 1, 2020

… whilst observing the proper socialist distancing, of course.

• Labor Day demonstrations reimagined worldwide.

• Virtual May Day rally, live on Vimeo.

• Amazon, Instacart, Shipt workers plan walkouts.

• Thousands of Americans expected to join rent strike.

Bleach Blankety-Blanket Bingo

April 27, 2020

Great Caesar’s Ghost, is it all superhero movies?
And where the hell is our Superman?

Being on lockdown is like watching a bad movie.

Sure, it sucks. But if you bail early, you might miss something.

Or catch something.

Why not just lean back, put your feet up, and enjoy (hating) the show? The credits will roll soon enough. And we know who’s not getting a best-director Oscar for this hot mess.

Pass the popcorn. Say, is it just me, or does this soda taste like bleach?

Yes, yes, yes, it’s another doctor-recommended, hospital-tested, clinically proven episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: Acoustic considerations (Herself doing paying work right next to my “studio”) dictated that I change locations (to her wallk-in closet) and return to the Shure Beta 87A mic and Zoom H5 Handy Recorder for this one, instead of recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was in GarageBand, with an assist from Miss Mia Sopaipilla, whose stylings on the keyboard while I stepped away from the desk for a moment rendered the original voiceover … interesting. The intro music is a compilation of GB loops, assembled by Your Humble Narrator. Howling courtesy The Colorado Sun, because I forgot to record our local howlers last night. Singing Italians via The Guardian. Angry crowd from the YouTube Audio Library, as is “An Army of None,” by The Whole Other. And Freesound.org contributed the hum (adamamazing), the comic rimshot (deleted_user_7146007), and the film projector (filip_stefanowski ),

Blech!

April 24, 2020

Maybe what we need is a Maglite/Clorox death ray. Let’s ask the aliens for the loan of one next time they pop round to butt-probe a hillbilly.

“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute — one minute — and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?” he asked. “Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

Jesus, this guy is dumb. Dumber than a bag of sunsplashed hammers. Dumber than a sack of freshly bleached hair. A few French fries short of a Happy Meal.

Sure thing, Dr. Demento. Let’s all mainline some Clorox, with tactical flashlights up our keisters. You go first.

Turn turtle

April 23, 2020

The Turtle plays the old shell game. Original photo by Susan Walsh | AP

“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available … My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of. Or perhaps they might consider marrying into a wealthy maritime shipping family.” — Mitch McConnell on borrowing to assist state and local governments.*

* Except for that last sentence, which he’s never gonna say out loud the way he did when he was looking for a rich woman to marry.

The Charlie Fox Show

April 16, 2020

“Plan? Plan? What plan? Oh, that plan. Lemme keep looking, I’m sure it’s up here somewhere.”

Hm, lessee here:

• “Glitches prevent $1,200 stimulus checks from reaching millions.” (WaPo).

• “Small businesses in despair as fund for government aid runs out.” (NYT)

• “Trump’s ‘Open our country council’ runs into its own opening problems.” (NYT)

• “Clusterfuck: a complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation : a muddled mess.” (Merriam-Webster)