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CSotD: Does anybody really know what time it is?

As noted here yesterday, the GameStop gambit was not pulled off by youngsters, but I got a laff out of Dave Whamond (Cagle)‘s cartoon anyway, because, regardless of whodunnit, the targets were, indeed, pigs.

Not because they are rich. I know some rich people who got there honestly and ethically.

 

But I’m not the only newspaper person who has been running from Wall Street owners, jumping from one paper to another like Eliza crossing the Ohio on cakes of broken ice, as they were sold to the stock swappers one-by-one and turned from journalistic endeavors into fast-news franchises.

The difference being that Eliza made her way to freedom while I simply managed to dance around until I hit retirement age.

At one point in the journey, I interviewed to be an editorial writer at a small, privately owned paper in a really fun New England town, where the editor explained that the current publisher had taken the place over from his mother, the owner, whom he had worked under as a young man. But now he was in his 90s and his kids weren’t interested.

I declined the job before it was offered, because what was about to happen was obvious, and, sure enough, a few years later it was sold off and, if they had offered me the gig, I’d have come to hate it.

Which would be a tale of poor, pitiful me, except that it’s not only newspapers. Nor, for that matter, is it just the mine and the paper mill in the town where I grew up, both of which were stripped, slaughtered and butchered by corporate raiders.

It’s everywhere. It’s in your town, just down your street.

It’s the pharmacies and grocery stores and clothiers and diners and so forth, such that admonitions to “shop locally” become merely a question of where you want to spend the money that will go to corporate HQ in a distant city.

Here’s the critical difference between today and the post WWII world in which our middleclass was birthed: Once upon a time, a successful entrepreneur wanted to leave his children a successful newspaper or pharmacy or clothing store.

Today, he’s leaving them a stock portfolio, and whether it’s filled with successful businesses, tottering skeletons or dead bodies is completely irrelevant, as long as it’s filled with money.

 

And, on a completely related note, I’m not sure Walt Handelsman (AMS)‘s precise take on Biden’s putting the brakes on off-shore exploration, because there’s no reason beyond cynicism to doubt some support for new technologies.

But other, more conservative cartoonists have decried the shutdown of the pipeline that was to carry poor-quality oil that nobody wants and that is already being trucked down from the North anyway because it will cost a number of temporary construction jobs but then only amount to about 35 full-time positions.

Everybody wanted energy independence but now that oil is no longer a prized commodity, they’re complaining about the job losses, and ignoring the fact that somebody will still have to build those electric cars and the charging stations across the nation required to sustain them.

But, yes, oil patch workers face unemployment, or what the Brits accurately call “redundancy,” along with buffalo hunters and blacksmiths and buggy makers and candlemakers and other victims of changing times.

Though I don’t recall ever seeing all these conservative tears when the stock swappers were laying off people to recoup the cost of leveraged buyouts and the other financial games they play on Wall Street, none of which have anything to do with the industries they starve and strip in order to fatten their portfolios.

 

But I notice that Bayer is still in business and employing 104,000 people  despite changes in their industry and I suspect the rest of us could muddle through somehow.

And I don’t know whether more people have died from heroin or from asthma and other effects of air and water pollution, but sometimes we decide to protect people and sometimes we don’t, which brings us to the next chapter in this sorry saga.

 

Pat Byrnes (Cagle) neatly sums up the situation in Congress, where party loyalty is more important than the law, and where, as he notes, even murder goes unpunished by those who value power over justice.

I like his direct approach.

 

Paul Berge (Ind) is also right: It has all the hallmarks of abuse and a legal system that doesn’t want to step in. He’s not the first to suggest the connection, though others have had the Republicans in the role of the abuser rather than that of the indifferent cop.

Well, if both shoes fit, that makes the metaphor so much better, I guess.

 

And Deb Milbrath (Ind), who is usually more direct than anyone else, this time takes a slight step back from Byrnes’ somber accusation. However, she goes beyond Berge’s accusation of not caring and lays it out as pure cowardice.

 

God knows, as Pat Bagley (SLTrib) points out, the Republican Party is willing to tolerate those within its ranks who are absolutely, provably and dangerously delusional, promising only to sit down and give that murderous bigot a good talking to.

Mitt Romney and a handful of other ethical figures are abandoned by the GOP as the party is more loyal to the Greenes and Boeberts, having, by declining to endorse the final Electoral College count, voted in agreement with the lunatic lie that Joe Biden cheated in the election.

Their dissenting votes on the topic having been cast while Officer Sicknick’s blood was still wet on the floor of the building in which they sat.

But all the cartoonists seem to be going easy on them, compared to a new political organization that has created this ad:

 

 

Hey, what do they think we are, a bunch of damn Rooskies?

(Maybe Putin should distribute a few more color televisions and lawnmowers.)

 

Community Comments

#1 Chris Carroll
January/31/2021
@ 4:55 pm

As someone who was affected in the media business by “Wall Street” and more specifically “private equity”, it was humorous to see those hedge funds get taken last week. Too many times they are the ones pulling the pants off of companies and employees who left with nothing.

I agree with Much of what Mike wrote. However, disagree that something like the Keystone pipeline can’t continue while we explore new “green” energy. Both can happen. And both can employee lots of people. And the pipeline was not a polluter like other countries are but are not held accountable. China, India, looking at you.

#2 Mary McNeil
January/31/2021
@ 5:26 pm

Just FYI Mike : the Akron Beacon Journal finally announced today that from now on, if you want to access their e-edition, you have to be a subscriber..( I have been for years, and the digital is not that easy to navigate – just sayin’…)

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