Let’s take a moment to honor the regular Labor Day tradition in which public demonstrations, opinion pieces and the news are used to shit on workers.
American politicians, corporate leaders and plutocrats, from big-names to nobodies, line up with bits and little dances in which they pretend to praise the meaning of the day by calling your attention to something, somebody, or some group having to do with labor. And those named deserve your hate because they stand in the way of business and the corporate Bund!
The enemy can be teachers. Or unions and dues. It can be a riff on the fun big lie: the country was built on small business; yea, verily, small business is our lifeblood.
It can be praise for a billionaire who has been very bad to American workers in pushing legislation that has made them into ants for stepping on. It can be straight bootlicking for corporate wealth and ease. There will always be a scapegoat and it will always be maximum bullshit served with a big helping of mean passed off as concern.
Let’s see who’s first out of the gate this year!
Bruce Rauner, GOP governor of Illinois:
Big Labor union bosses in your state enjoy a special privilege allowing them to expand their ranks through compulsion. Union bosses can impose a monopoly bargaining contract which virtually always includes a forced-dues clause that requires every employee (even the ones who did not vote for the union) to pay tribute to the union bosses, just for the privilege of having a job.
While forced unionism is just plain wrong; coercing workers into subsidizing union officials also holds back a state’s economy …
So as you celebrate the coming three-day weekend, consider the benefits of Right to Work.
From a small newspaper in Minnesota, the standard let-us-all-now-praise-Labor-Day thing ending with the sentiment that there can be no jobs without business and so it is always necessary to think about what can be done to make thing’s better for corporate America:
Monday is Labor Day — a day to celebrate the achievements of our nation’s working men and women…
[But, but, but, but...]
Yes, Monday is a time to celebrate work. But work cannot take place if there are not jobs, and there can’t be jobs without business and industry. When business and industry create jobs, it spurs the creation of more jobs and the growth of the economy.
If our nation’s and our state’s leaders are serious about creating jobs, they need follow local officials’ lead to be business- and industry-friendly…
With Wisconsin joining the ranks in March of this year, there are now 25 Right to Work states in America; states that have outlawed Big Labor union bosses’ ability to force workers to pay them fees as a condition of employment.
The absence of forced unionism gives Right to Work states an economic leg-up.
Perhaps not coincidentally, this appears to be a canned anti-labor Labor Day column, also used by GOP governor Rauner. Admire the efficiency. One anti-labor piece penned by some chamber of commerce enemy of the people can be cut and pasted with different by-lines.
My Uncle Del once told me, “Bobby, I’ve never worked a day in my life.” What he meant by that was that he loved his job, found it fun and liked his co-workers. He was a quality control inspector at several aircraft manufacturers from when he left the Army Air Force after WWII until he retired. What I took from his comment was that if you find a job you love, you’ll never have to work. That’s why it’s so important to be incredibly honest and ask yourself what do you really like to do? Do you want just money, or a profession that serves your soul as well as your pocketbook. If you’re lucky, get an education and training, work hard and pay attention and one day you’ll be able to say the same thing my uncle did.
We know it’s Labor Day, but let’s talk about day labor.
One thing we know for certain about the local day-labor market: Employers will continue a don’t-ask, don’t-tell hiring practice for unauthorized immigrants regardless of what the law says. The question is whether Dallas will continue tolerating the existence of disorganized, unwelcome ad hoc recruitment centers on street corners and convenience-store parking lots, or adopt the more orderly concepts used by Garland, Plano and other cities.
This newspaper has long supported the expansion of government programs like e-Verify to hold employers to the letter of the law. A major magnet for illegal immigration has been the willingness of employers to look the other way, even when they suspect they’re hiring an unauthorized immigrant.
Day-laborers, well, they suck, because they’re illegal, hang out in parking lots, snarl traffic and are often homeless.
With the approach of the Labor Day bookend of summer, this series of columns on the economy, employment and immigration (all written in early July to avoid Internet dead zones while traveling) will include more specifics on 1) immigration’s impact on wages, 2) the boon to Democrats through illegal immigration, and 3) the diminished state of economic freedom in America…
I hope Republicans will see through candidates that verbally kowtow to the pro-immigrant activists. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, for instance, is not intimidated, as he calmly insisted to a hysterical illegal worker, that America’s laws apply to everyone and immigration laws, particularly, do not exempt anyone.
Democrats, to a man or woman, won’t reject the illegal immigration activists because, as I have correctly asserted, these groups are on path to be lifelong Democrats; many of them come from pro-authoritarian, anti-private gun ownership cultures and are easily persuaded to accept government hand-outs (I mean benefits). Democrats already benefit from illegal aliens in Congress—I’ll explain how next week.
At its August meeting, the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, without objection, voted to strongly oppose increasing the minimum wage in Pasadena. Citing two studies performed for the Chamber and a peer-review of that work, Board members, representing small, medium and large businesses in diverse sectors of our local economy, cited potential negative impacts on the local economy, risks to employment, impacts on the local retail, hospitality and healthcare industries, as well as youth employment, in making their decision. Pasadena Chamber Board members clearly understood that imposing the Los Angeles minimum wage model in Pasadena would harm workers, local small businesses and pose a threat to our local economy.
Of course, there are pro-labor Labor Day opinions this year, some prominent. There could hardly not be. It’s no longer possible to ignore how badly workers, and the civilian populace in general, have been treated.
Nevertheless, I’d expect more of the usual anti-labor sermonizing passed off as holiday ice cream through the weekend. Add them up if you can stand it. Be on the watch for the opinions of the presidential types, particularly on Monday. If they weren’t surrounded by security at all times, they’d face barrages of dog excrement for their philosophies.
What do you think will be on the menu?
How salt-of-the-dirt (sic) American small business is? More right-to-work-for-less? Should we take the miraculous lessons of [some Silicon Valley tech tycoon]? Are not more tax breaks and bribes needed for corporate America to make jobs? More illegal and legal immigrant bashing? How great is it to live in America this weekend, shopping for goods in Labor Day promotions, made overseas by slave labor? A pack of lies and fraud from the American Enterprise Institute? How many fabricated stories from the six and seven figure earners about how their dads or moms opened a penny-candy store with nothing but hope and a prayer? Perhaps the old sidestep: More Americans will be driving this weekend than ever and don’t drink because the police are conducting a special Labor Day crackdown?
Once sharing meant giving someone a slice of your pie, gratis. Now, fittingly, in America it has gone modern, meaning to take a slice of someone else’s pie, through technology, and sell or rent it to yet another person while putting your sharing hand in both their pockets.
AirBnB is one of the great companies of the sharing economy and it has powerfully enabled people with a smartphone app or a laptop. So much so that it’s now easy to find AirBnb owners drunk on their own urine-passed-off-as-Kool Aid: Why, we’re so great and have done so much for world cultural understanding, founder Brian Chesky ought to win a Nobel Peace prize!
Here’s how the AirBnb operation works from personal observation.
AirBnb-enabled entrepreneurs live in a rented apartment nearby. They subsequently rent another apartment in the same complex and sublet it through AirBnB. It has a weekly retinue of guests, signed up for one or two day stays.
And a parking bay is a key thing since such space is important in LA County.
Which is how it was noticed and, one presumes, how many AirBnb places appear in the midst of housing that was formerly long-term rental. The complex has a set of renters who have year-long leases, as do many — it was standard pre-Airbnb — and while renters sometimes change vehicles or allow a friend to use their spaces, they don’t drive two or three new, often hire cars, a week.
The most clever bit about this is the way the sub-letter/AirBnB sharing economy entrepreneur used and uses a refurbishing the apartment owner and management company applied to the place before they rented it as an attractive feature. It is a nice place!
And so one sees the sharing economy isn’t that at all.
Is AirBnB’s Brian Chesky ripe for a Nobel Peace prize? Well, a good deal of what AirBnb does has now been described in news pieces as process that doesn’t smell so good.
AirBnb has directly aggravated a shortage of long-term housing Los Angeles County, one of the most expensive places to live in the country:
The last time he advertised one of his apartments, longtime Los Feliz landlord Andre LaFlamme got a request he’d never seen before.
A man wanted to rent LaFlamme’s 245-square-foot bachelor unit with hardwood floors for $875 a month, then list it himself on Airbnb.
“Thanks but no thanks,” LaFlamme told the prospective tenant. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
But he understood why: More money might be made renting to tourists a few days at a time than to a local for 12 months or more.
As short-term rental websites such as Airbnb explode in popularity in Southern California, a growing number of homeowners and landlords are caving to the economics. A study released Wednesday from Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, a labor-backed advocacy group, estimates that more than 7,000 houses and apartments have been taken off the rental market in metro Los Angeles for use as short-term rentals.
While this may be described in many ways, one of the words that doesn’t come to mind is sharing.
Using trivial network communications technology and the web to grab a piece of the economic pie is a fair way to characterize it. Predatory, is another. Of course it is more attractive to rent to transient stay tourists on the upper side of the wealth curve than it is to long-term residents, particularly if there is no process in flipping to a hotel/motel arrangement other than entering a listing in a database!
For the LAT, the landlord who turned down the AirBnB-armed customer said he has had no trouble finding qualified long-term renters in the county. His open slot was filled in 24 hours.
Brooks writes for the New York Times opinion page. As an accidental concern troll. I’ve characterized his work — stupid armchair philosophies insisting Christian faith, fulfillment and happiness come naturally from existence as a capitalist small businessman.
To hear him tell it, [AirBnB co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk] started the business because it was fascinating and fun. And most of all, he says, because it could help ordinary people who needed an affordable place to stay or had some excess capacity in their homes. That’s right — Nate sees Airbnb as a “helping industry.”
Some will howl at this …
Ordinary people, especially vulnerable people without power and privilege, find Airbnb empowering and useful. It lifts Americans up …
Any of us can work in a helping industry. That includes teachers, nurses, stay-at-home parents … The blessing of our free enterprise system is that any of us can sanctify our work. We just need to ask if what we are doing truly lifts others up.
The fundamental problem with Arthur Brooks, if you’re read a lot of his columns at the Times, is he never really acknowledges how thoroughly American big business and its free enterprise have worked over the majority of Americans over the past few decades. There’s never a single atom of this harsh reality. Just lots of material on how Americans allegedly hate negativity, how things should be approached with a gentle smile for maximum mindfulness and joy at one’s work. How a positive attitude is always what is needed. And how people, or more specifically, a poverty-stricken woman sleeping on a friend’s couch, has now potentially reached the beginnings of nirvana as a small business person by renting out her old bed.
Never mind there’s no evidence that a majority of American’s want to be small business people. Or that most Americans do not work for small businesses, if they work at all. And that such a person, sleeping on a couch in a place they didn’t have to rely on previously, is just another sand pebble on the empty beach of the desperation economy.
Another example from the digital grasping economy, avarice powered by algorithm, personalized again, on WhiteManistan Vacation, one of my satirical bits on YouTube. With rotating Google overlay ads slapped on it because I used 30 seconds of low-resolution tv trailers for the new and old Hawaii Five O programs, the latter which hasn’t been in production for decades with most of its actors long dead.
And in the doing, illustrating how Google, with corporate America, uses its alleged innovation to chisel even the most lowly slivers of value from anyone, anytime, anywhere when they use one of its platforms.
A big 287 views. Do you think they’re getting just the right amount of blood from the stones?
Coincidentally, I’ve taken reader anon’s advice and started using DuckDuckGo.
Note: One cannot entirely escape the grasp and grift of the corporate dictatorship even there.
On a simple search for “Dick Destiny,” a return comes with an embedded ad for my thirty-year old record. Drill down for it on Amazon, another company with which I refuse to do business (for many intelligent reasons described here), and see that two copies are for sale by vendors. One for 22 USD, another for over sixty. The latter is at Play It Again Records in Bethlehem, PA, just a block or two from Lehigh and the first record store I stocked with it back in 1985.
This week’s personalized joke from the digital sharing economy came to me courtesy of Google and Price Waterhouse Cooper.
Years ago I was partially sold hoodwinked into putting Google AdSense into my blog posts at GlobalSecurity.Org. For the sake of revenue sharing.
I started sometime in 2009 and quickly discovered the ads were the Internet’s dog shit, or worse, low level nuclear waste.
At different times they hawked military challenge coins — cheap badges for military men and hanger-ons with less brains than 99 cent cans of minced clams. Ammo boxes. Water storage containers for those convinced the end of civilization was nigh. Fake degrees in intelligence work peddled by schools that exist only as post office boxes in a strip mall. Ads for what appeared to be a prostitution ring specializing in Chinese women. Police training, in 2011. (How to shoot African Americans and the miscellaneous poor, I presume.) Ads for offshoring American manufacturing jobs to the Baja and harmonica lessons.
Nobody in my audience, and I did have one, would click on such things. I came to think, too, that only people with something seriously wrong inside would. And now that’s old news. We’re well into an era of giant, nuisance, multi-media scripting ads that chase you around the web, hog your resources, try to hijack your browsing for the benefit of corporate America, make websites unusable, spy on you, and frequently deliver viruses and extortion software as a bonus.
I stopped paying attention to the Google AdSense account in 2011.
In practice, “revenue sharing” with anything Google means Google gets all the share.
That’s because AdSense, as a model, makes no sense for individual writers. Even if they plaster it all over their pages.
The ads are always woefully inappropriate. The algorithm that chooses them is dumber than dirt. And the click throughput is marginal to non-existent.
Now, if you exist everywhere all over the globe, as Google does, it works. For everyone else, it’s just giving Google free space.
I wouldn’t have actually looked at this closely — in the back of my mind the little voice always said it was a scheme of trash — if the Adsense things hadn’t suddenly stopped running on the SITREP posts.
This was because Google halts them if it decides you need to update your tax information.
When I looked at the problem on my Google dashboard, this is what I discovered.
Google doesn’t pay until a $100 threshold is reached. However, long before that milestone, it will summarily badger you to keep updating your settings with verifications of phone numbers, personal identification numbers and additional tax filing information.
Anyway, in 18 months of SITREP contributions, AdSense had earned me a big $15.00.
At the rate AdSense was making money for me, it’d be a mere seven years before Google cut my first check. Laughable and worthless don’t even begin to encompass it.
This week, in the mail, a letter from Price Waterhouse, commissioned by Google, to service all their AdSense accounts with money in them, cash that is about to go into escheat to the state because it hasn’t been claimed.
PWC informed that Google had accumulated 90 dollars in AdSense revenue. But that the threshold for cutting a check was 100 dollars, which made my original estimate about never being paid almost spot on.
I could have this money, PWC said, if I checked the box on the return letter saying that I was the owner and, in addition, logged into my AdSense account to close it.
How many people do you think recall the passwords and credentials accounts they haven’t used in almost half a decade? How many, do ya think, even have the same computer?
Did you know Google Alphabet has a company named Calico? It’s going to find the cure for old age, cancer and neuro-degenerative diseases. With less senior scientists than you’d find in one of the departments at a big university.
Unintentionally shown, in two minutes on the nightly news.
1. Made in America, in this context meaning generally priced out of reach of the Americans Leo Fender originally aimed his guitars and amps at. Extra points off: Leo Fender is dead and spent his last years working a company, G&L/Music Man, in competition with Fender.
2. Failure to mention the affordable instruments are all made in China and Mexico.
3. Gross misuse of “Born In the USA.”
4. Antagonizing display of gazillionaire classic rock musicians who can buy whatever they and who many people are now mighty sick of seeing all the time.
5. “Handmade,” used as if Americans in custom shops are the only people in the world who can, ahem, hand make stuff.
Colonel Ty Seidule, chair of West Point’s history department, in the above video, explains with some verve and elan, what the Civil War was plainly about.
Good one for him and West Point for allowing the historian’s perspective.
Unfortunately, Seidule and West Point could have made it themselves WITHOUT attachment to “Prager University.”
Prager is not a university at all. In fact, it’s just the video arm of Dennis Prager, another old right wing extremist, perhaps semi-popular in some circles, but still way out on the nasty margins of American society in beliefs even if dressed up in the image of an avuncular old white guy, pretending to be a voice of pure reason through good speaking talent and vocabulary.
Global warming is a hoax, continued. We need more carbon dioxide because it promotes plant growth, like in a greenhouse. Therefore, the world will become more green, this is good, and “we should celebrate C02.”
The wealthy pay too much in income tax. Those in the lower class pay little or none. The wealthy pay too much in payroll taxes in order to support Social Security payments for those who don’t pay nearly enough.
It just goes on and on.
Ty, you made a great video. Firm in a voice of irrefutable truth but civil, elegant and straight-forward.
But you and West Point don’t believe global warming is a hoax, right?
And you don’t believe the the US military won the Vietnam war and it was because of Democrats and hippies that it didn’t come out that way in the final assessment, right?
But here you’ve associated with the extreme right in modern American politics. Yes, there are indeed millions who subscribe to the fucked-up belief system of the modern Republican Party and its handfuls of associated libertarian water-boys.
Their brains are broken.
From any scientific, historic, or social high standard, what they believe, and what is pushed by Prager in its five minute video sermons, is poison. History has and will continue to judge it harshly.
You could’ve issued it directly from West Point and generated some press release to all major media. I bet it would have worked just as well.
“After the final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program was announced in Vienna earlier this month, references to one long-gone politician surged on social media: Neville Chamberlain.
“This is not surprising. The late British prime minister, who presided over the ill-fated Munich agreement with Adolf Hitler in September 1938, is the metaphor of choice for all who prefer confrontation to mediation …
“[When] President Obama had a brief, friendly encounter with Cuban leader Raul Castro on the sidelines of a memorial service for the late South African President Nelson Mandela in 2013, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was less than impressed. ‘Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler,’ the outspoken senator reminded listeners during a radio interview.”
– something from the Washington Post (no link)
Angling for a techno-thriller book contract
“Flash to 2015: Secretary of State John Kerry negotiates Iran’s nuclear bomb aspirations. Ayatollah Khameini celebrates the deal as Iran’s most important victory since deposing the Shah. Khomeini’s revolution has finally succeeded.
“Flash to 2017: We now comprehend how Kerry’s deal was another Neville Chamberlain-like capitulation to a clear and present danger …
“The converging Obama/post-Obama presidencies were clueless; international progressive policies collapsed unceremoniously into the dust bin of history. Quickly, other Middle-Eastern states “acquired” nuclear capability. Israel defended itself as best it could; the U.S. was forced to defend Israel. Europe and Asia chose sides; WWIII had begun. Khomeini’s triumphant Islamic revolution marshaled on under the cover of Shiite terrorist hegemonies and cozy military-oil arrangements forged with Russia, China and North Korea.
“Regrettably, the KKK of WWIII, Ayatollahs Khomeini, Khameini, and the Kerry deal, had unleashed a destruction not seen since the days of Hitler and Hiroshima. The 55 million dead of WWII would seem a pittance compared to total, world-wide nuclear holocaust.”
“President Obama and now five members of the Supreme Court have set themselves above God by declaring same-gender marriage as a civil right. Fortunately, one of the branches of government, Congress, has not done so — at least not yet.
“In the beginning of man, God ordained that marriage was a sacred covenant between a man and a woman. Jesus confirmed that.
“I believe the United States of America is going to face a devastating judgment. Some say it will be a catastrophic stock market crash on September 30, 2015. I believe it will be an electromagnetic pulse attack from Iran.”
Dealing with WhiteManistan is a test of endurance. In the end, one that you’ll always lose.
A substantial part of white America is out of its mind in rage, fear and racism. And there’s no way to fix it.
Over the weekend one of pro-wrestling’s greatest heels, Roddy Piper, died at 61. His obituary is here.
“Mr. Piper also had a brief acting career, starring in the 1988 film They Live, directed by John Carpenter, about a man who discovers, with the help of magic sunglasses, that the world is secretly ruled by aliens,” reads the Times obit.
It’ a bit dry, doing “Mr. Piper” and They Live some amount of disservice.
Carpenter’s They Live is the most prescient of movies on life in the American corporate dictatorship. Disguised as science-fiction.
Piper plays a semi-employed drifter named John Nada in a hot, dusty and bleak Los Angeles. He stumbles upon a pair of odd sunglasses, just like older people wear to reduce glare, and finds they turn the world gray. But they also reveal the ruling class, media personalities on tv, and bankers to be aliens who’ve infiltrated the country and taken over.
All for the sake of looting. Also revealed are subliminal messages embedded in every sign and print surface.
The aliens have given the local oppressive police force little round aerial drones to spy on the populace, too! And, naturally, they’ve recruited the most amenable among the human herd to have a piece of the grift, too, as their well-compensated assistants in the creation of the movie’s vision of a predatory and poisoned concrete and asphalt Eden of capitalism where people have only the freedom to shop, languish and be indentured servants/sleepwalkers.
Wearing the sunglasses for too long gives Piper a blinding headache. Just like life in our rigged capitalist paradise. It was a nice touch.
They Live also has what feels like (if it isn’t) the longest fight scene in movie history, ever. Waged between Piper and Keith David in a Hollywood back alley lot you’ve seen in hundreds of movies, Piper as Nada discovers a box of the sunglasses and wants the David character, Frank Armitage, to try a pair on, to see the aliens.
Armitage refuses. It’s been another horrible day on the construction site and he just wants to give the lunatic wanted by the police, Nada, his last paycheck and get home.
The fight rolls on and on, the two men beating each other to swollen-faced black-and-blue pulps. And, surprisingly, it’s never boring.
In my homemade video for “Rumble,” made a few years back, I excerpted some of the scene at the garage tune’s climax. It begins at about one minute in.
Piper made his primary rep, certainly, as a pro wrestler, where I came to regularly know him in the Saturday tv slots for the bottom-out-of-sight crowd that advertisers shunned.
But which were adored by many young people, including me. And in future years that fan base and attraction would turn pro wrestling into huge money. But by 1988, the time of They Live, it still hadn’t quite arrived although pro-wrestling admiration was widespread in Pennsy’s Lehigh Valley.
“[John] Carpenter called Mr. Piper ‘an underrated actor,’” continued the Times.
That he was. In the long run, Piper’s legacy is as much a result of that one movie as his turn as star of pro-wrestling.
By now it should be patently obvious that the FBI, as well as British national security, are well into operations and investigations on the Dark Web.
In the latest news, Mohammed Ammer Ali has been convicted of buying what he thought to be five vials of ricin from an FBI special agent named “Peter” who was fronting a sting operation aimed at netting people who were trying to by poisons on the Internet.
On the evening of Tuesday 10 February this year, Mohammed Ammer Ali sat down in his computer room to write his daily to-do list. Alongside a reminder to pay the car insurance were the aide memoires: “Get pet to murder” and “Paid ricin guy”.
What Ali was not to know, however, was that the seller he knew as “DarkMart” and “Psychochem” was an undercover FBI agent. And the powder concealed in the children’s toy car was not ricin – it was a harmless substance planted by detectives from the UK’s north-west counter-terrorism unit, who were watching his every move.
At 8am the following morning, a dozen police officers dressed from head to toe in protective clothing burst through the front door of the family’s modest flat above the Salt & Pepper restaurant in inner-city Liverpool, arresting a partially-naked Ali.
A series of raids were carried out simultaneously at other addresses across Merseyside. Acting on an FBI tipoff, counter-terror officers moved quickly to thwart what could have been a major bioterrorism case with parallels to the Wood Green ricin plot in 2002.
There was one problem: detectives could find no suggestion that Ali was involved in any terrorism plot.
A quiet family man from Bolton, Ali had worked for his parents’ newsagents business until he got a job as a software programmer for a local company shortly before his arrest. He was computer mad and excelled at school. Following psychological assessments after his arrest, he was diagnosed with showing personality traits associated with Asperger syndrome.
On the stand, Ali indicated he bought the material on the Dark Web to find out “what all the fuss was about.”
If absolutely true, it was a dreadful class.
Ali also said he had been inspired by the television show Breaking Bad. This adds to the already odd feature of the hit cable show that starred Brian Cranston: The only TV show in history to have inspired a handful of people in the US and the UK convicted on ricin charges.
It includes a picture of Ali with a glowing nose, the result of a substance planted in the toy car containing the vials of harmless powder sent to him by British counter-terrorism forces, the purpose of which was to prove he had opened and handled it.
Ali, reports said, will undergo further psychiatric evaluation before sentencing.