Archive for the ‘Capitalist swine’ Category

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.

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.

Wish you weren’t here

April 26, 2020

Uncomfortably dumb.

“Miley Cyrus plays Pink Floyd?”

All in all, you’re just another shtick in the mall.

 

Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out

February 13, 2020

KC hipsters shake their groove thangs to the swingin’ sounds
of KCXL and Radio Sputnik.

I don’t remember what was playing on the radio when I was hitchhiking through Kansas City back in 1972. Number one on my personal hit parade was getting the hell out of Missouri.

Forty-eight years later, guess who wants in?

Radio Sputnik, that’s who. Actually, the Russian propaganda outlet has already landed, at three KC-area radio stations.

According to Neil MacFarquhar at The New York Times, Radio Sputnik — formerly Radio Moscow — is one cog in a state-run Russian “news” machine that focuses on “sowing doubt about Western governments and institutions rather than the old Soviet model of selling Russia as paradise lost.”

“(T)he constant backbeat,” says MacFarquhar, “is that America is damaged goods.”

Well. I guess it must be. It’s a hell of a note when we have to offshore our bitching and moaning to the Russians.

Can’t Alpine Broadcasting Corporation find some red-blooded, home-grown, U-nited States of America Americans to talk shit? I mean, I do it for free, which is about as cheap as it comes. Alpine honcho Peter Schartel has the Russkies and their stooges do it for him and he gets $27.50 an hour. What’s that work out to in rubles, or pieces of silver?

I don’t expect that KCXL plays many cuts from the early Merle Haggard catalog between swigs of milk and honey and preachin’ ’bout some other way of living. But if you slip Schartel a few dead presidents, why, I expect he might just accommodate you.

It’s a free country, but everything in it costs money.

12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 3

December 22, 2019

Moles don’t get that big, even if they drink beer.
From the March 2019 issue of BRAIN.

Felix Magowan, one of the original Trio that acquired what had been called Velo-news from founders Barbara and Robert George, had long wanted to add Bicycle Retailer and Industry News to the Inside Communications portfolio.

He never got it done. Eventually Inside Communications sold VeloNews to a passing crew of brigands, and Felix wandered off to do other things.

Episode 19 of Radio Free Dogpatch, “Can’t Find My Way Home,” from February 11, 2019.

Imagine giving Dave Stohler’s Masi Gran Criterium to your meth-addict nephew as a present for graduating from reform school. A bleak period ensued, thick with the sort of belligerent dumbassery once found only in high-school locker rooms, family trees shaped like flagpoles, and the lower houses of state legislatures in the Deep South.

I finally sat up and slipped off the back because VeloNews seemed to be careening into the sort of future in which plague-carrying aliens burst out of people’s chests while they’re battling killer robots. The Old Guy Who Gets Fat in Winter went with me, to do the occasional walk-on in Bicycle Retailer’s “Shop Talk” comic strip.

And then, shazam! Felix reappeared as part of Pocket Outdoor Media, and not only reacquired VeloNews, but snapped up BRAIN and a couple other properties as well.

The Fat Guy and I didn’t go back to the old home place. I didn’t care about bicycle racing anymore, and anyway, we weren’t invited. But it seemed like a good time to make a meta joke about how Fatso was a spy for his old bosses.

Unlike the vulture capitalists who nearly burned VeloNews down to its foundation, the “Shop Talk” dudes seem to know they’re cartoon characters.

Also, unlike vulture capitalists, they’re funny.

• Editor’s note: Today’s blast from the past includes a bonus audio component — episode 19 of Radio Free Dogpatch from February 2019.

‘Something Went Wrong’

December 8, 2019

Uh, can you be more specific?

Indeed it did. And so it begins, the Decline and Fall of the iPhone 5.

The New York Times apparently has cooked up an app update that my device can’t digest — the iPhone 5 peaked at iOS version 10.3.4, while the NYT demands 11 or better — and now I can’t surf the shit monsoon from my 7-year-old phone. Woe, etc.

The iPhone SE, ready for its closeup.

Asked for comment, the NYT Customer Care Crew advises, “We are no longer supporting older versions of the NYT app,” adding that geezers in thrall to antiquated technology should “use the mobile browser to access all content on nytimes.com.”

So I sez back to ’em, I sez: “Thanks for the reply. I already figured that out. The iPhone 5 maxes out at iOS 10.3.4, so using v9.11 of your app is not an option. I’m disappointed to learn that the NYT has dropped support for older versions of the app. My iPhone is elderly, to be sure, but not yet senile. For instance, The Washington Post app continues to work just fine.”

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Sonny Jim. Then get off of my lawn.

It’s not this iPhone’s first step on the slippery techno-slope, of course. I’ve already had to replace the battery once, and the Phone app itself has developed the palsy, seizing up and even crashing from time to time.

I can fix that, as I always keep a large hammer within reach. But first, I should probably unbox the iPhone SE that’s been hanging around idle for the past few months. Naturally, it, too, is a discontinued model, slated for the boneyard — and rumor has it that the Wizards of Cupertino are working on a bigger-and-better model for release early in 2020.

But mine will run the latest and greatest version of iOS. For now, anyway.

Backdoored by Backcountry.com

November 5, 2019

The only backcountry that Backcountry.com cares about. Photo by Heidi Zumbrun

This week’s private-equity outrage comes to you courtesy of TSG Partners, the vile cock-knockers who own Backcountry.com, among other things.

These soulless fuckbubbles have been knuckling any and all small-business types who dare use the word “backcountry” while doing their little bits of business.

Never mind that the word has been in use since 1746, according to Merriam-Webster, which itself has only been around since 1828. Hell, Thomas McGuane deployed the word in 1969 for a piece in Sports Illustrated, “The Longest Silence,” about fly-fishing for permit in Florida.

It’s a good thing Captain Berserko was just selling a few thousand words about the joys of the sporting life, and never tried to market waders under the Backcountry Anglers label. The shysters at IPLA Legal Advisors would be trying to climb in there with him, bent on cutting off his nuts.

Good luck with that, by the way. The Captain don’t play that shit.

Anyway, here at Mad Dog Backcountry Media we support the little backcountry people in their backcountry attempts to wrest a meager backcountry living from the backcountry crumbs overlooked by private-equity pirates whose love for the “backcountry” is limited to the terrain immediately surrounding other people’s wallets, especially if said people are too small to put up any real fight against a button-down bandit.

And thus we propose that anyone who works for or with TSG Partners be dipped in honey, clad in pork-chop “lifestyle collection” garments, and air-dropped into the actual backcountry, where they may argue their case before a panel of backcountry grizzlies, backcountry wolves, and backcountry buzzards.

They might get some professional courtesy from the latter. But not if the griz gets ’em first.

Sports Eviscerated

October 5, 2019

That’s right, pal, bend over and fondle that ball.

Sports Illustrated has gotten the VeloNews-CGI treatment: Pharaoh bids them make bricks without straw.

I’m not and never have been a sports fan, though I appreciate certain subsets of sportswriting (see Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, et al.). Thus I can’t speak to the quality of today’s Sports Illustrated, though the new management’s strategy certainly sounds familiar.

“Bricks, bitches. Chop chop. No, you don’t get straw. Who do you think you are, Frank Deford?”

But boy howdy, have some big hitters ever swung through SI’s pages over the years.

I’m talking Deford, Roy Blount Jr., Dan Jenkins, George Plimpton, Rick Reilly, Kurt Vonnegut … that’s right, Kurt fuckin’ Vonnegut. Not your basic dime-store jargon-jockeys, is what.

Over at Deadspin, Ray Ratto posits that the gutting, as has become traditional, “was pointless, needlessly cruel, stupid and thoroughly corporate.”

And Ratto expects more of the same:

I want to be more depressed and affected by what seems to have happened to Sports Illustrated, but it is the fate that awaits everything. Some corporate lamprey is coming for every generation’s best and brightest, dimmest and thickest, because you can count money and clicks but not curiosity and discovery. Others will have to provide those last two things now, and will have to do so while knowing that it’s a finite world out there. We will lament its passing too late because we have come to accept the mortality of things we thought would never die, and watch with a shrug as the monuments of our formative years are demolished and turned into Stalin’s Finest coffee stands, and eventually into parking lots.

I’d say that about sums it up. Back to you, Jamie “Mr. Awesome” Salter.

It’s beginning to look a lot like … October?

September 30, 2019

You really shouldn’t show a dog this many trees
after he’s had three cups of coffee.

Yes, that’s exactly what it appears to be: a Christmas display at the local Lowe’s, in September.

I think we all know what I want for Christmas (cough, cough, impeachment, removal, cough, cough).

But having been a very naughty boy indeed, I don’t expect to get it.

Well, I expect to get it, all right. But not that “it.”

The indignity of labor

September 2, 2019

Holiday, schmoliday: The trash crews are on the job.

It’s Labor Day, but trash collection continues as scheduled.

This delights the neighbor kids, who jump up and down and shriek at the trash truck working our cul-de-sac until the driver toots his horn a couple of times.

I don’t know how much fun the trash guys are having. But I applaud them for their generosity to a couple of little girls.

We’re told that it’s easy to find a job these days. But what kind of a job? How much does it pay? What are the benefits? Is there a future in it? Will you need more than one of these jobs to make ends meet?

Our cul-de-sac does pretty well for itself. We work for Sandia National Labs, the University of New Mexico, the U.S. Postal Service, and local government. One loser scribbles nonsense for a couple bike mags, but every good neighborhood needs a bad example.

But I expect we all know a few people who aren’t eating quite so high off the hog.

Without even breaking a light sweat I can think of one colleague who hasn’t been paid for a few months while his corporate masters hunt for new suckers … er, investors. They didn’t ask if he’d work for free during the search. They just quit paying him. The work, of course, arrives as per usual.

Another quit a job he hated, only to go back to it for some reason. I expect it had something to do with paying the bills.

I’m a geezer and long since gone from the job market. My little bit of business doesn’t show up on anyone’s statistical radar. But I still identify with the working class, though I don’t work and have no class, and so I agitate, however feebly, on their behalf.

Thus, here are a few Labor Day notes from around the Innertubes. Chime in with your own notions in comments.

And remember, when you’re smashing the State, keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.

• One job is not enough. From The New York Times.

• Strike! From The Nation.

• General strike! Also from The Nation.

• A different approach to collective bargaining. From The American Prospect.