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The contractor scam

Here is how the contractor scam works:

Let’s say you’re a big and wealthy corporation. You have lots of money and lots of assets. You have lots of employees.

You’re also evil. But I repeat myself.

Now let’s say that you want to screw your employees. You want to make them work overtime without pay, you want to withhold paychecks from time to time when you yourself want a little spare change to gamble in the stock market, and so forth. Thing is, there’s these little things called “laws”. If you do that, the employees will sue you and the federal government will sue you and lawyers will get rich but you won’t.

What to do… what to do…

Ah yes. Here’s what to do. Create a sequence of shell companies. Have some of those shell companies own another shell company, a contracting company. Fire significant numbers of your workers — the ones you want to rip off — and have them go to the shell company instead. Then have the shell company rip them off.

At that point, the Feds say “Quit doing that, Amazon.” And Amazon says “We’re not doing that, it’s our labor contractors, talk to them!” And the Feds say “Okay contractors, quit doing that!” And the contractor says “Derp derp derp?” And the lawyers for the workers sue Amazon and Amazon files for dismissal because they’re not the employer, Some Shell Contracting Company is the employer, and the court agrees. So the workers sue Some Shell Contracting Company, which loses and promptly declares Chapter 13 bankruptcy and all $3 in their bank account is divided amongst all the workers. End of story, right?

Well, seems like some courts are starting to notice that something smells in contractorland, i.e., that some “contractors” are just employees with all the responsibilities for complying with labor laws pushed elsewhere. Thus FedEx drivers just won a lawsuit to be classified as employees, not contractors, because that’s what they do for a living — they drive FedEx trucks. Bad court. Bad, bad court. How can evil corporations be evil, if you start holding them responsible for their evil? I expect that this trend will shortly be curtailed by law. After all, big and wealthy corporations have plenty of bribe money err “campaign contributions” to spread around, while their victims usually don’t.

But hey, that’s cynical, isn’t it? I mean, that assumes that money buys laws, and that never happens, right? Right?!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Slaid Cleaves, “Below”, from his 20094 album Wishbones. The best singer-songwriter that you never heard of…

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Imperial men

Della Mae, “Empire”, off their 2013 album This World Oft Can Be.

Ever notice that bluegrass bands are always great live, while a large number of pop stars are simply awful without a studio to cover up their scratchy singing and spasmodic playing?

- Badtux the Music Penguin

The above video is a travesty.

The “instructor” is dealing with a little 9 year old girl who obviously is unfamiliar with handling guns. She has no idea how to stand or how to hold it or how to properly point it downrange. He has to urge her into a somewhat correct stance, then after the first shot doesn’t correct how she’s holding the gun in order to direct recoil into her body rather than into barrel lift. The girl is clearly not familiar with shooting a weapon of this sort, but he seems to be rushing her into shooting it rather than taking it easy and letting her get accustomed to the feel, while teaching her about how the weapon behaves. He certainly was not behaving the way the NRA firearms safety instructors behaved when I was a young person, back when the NRA was a club for gun owners and hunters rather than a political lobbying group. Those old WW2 vets didn’t tolerate any nonsense when it came to proper handling of firearms, you didn’t get anywhere near live rounds until you had already demonstrated proper stance and grip and safe operation of the firearm through all stages of battery, including trigger control, control of lift and kick, etc. Maybe this “instructor” was being paid by the number of people he could rush through firing the weapon, an Uzi full automatic submachine gun.

Was.

A few seconds after the end of this video, he switched the Uzi to full automatic, urged the girl to pull the trigger, and the barrel rose uncontrollably to over the girl’s head such that one of the bullets entered the “instructor”‘s head and killed him.

If I were writing a novel, I would be speculating on that little girl’s future as she goes through the remainder of her childhood knowing that she killed somebody. I somehow suspect that her life has been changed in a way that her parents did not expect. In the meantime, just a reminder: A gun is a deadly weapon. It is not a toy. Most Americans understand that. But there seems some subset of the population that seems to believe guns are magic talismans that work via simply pointing and shooting, with no need to understand little things like proper gun handling or fundamental gun safety. They’re not. They’re dangerous tools, and like all dangerous tools, using them without the proper training can result in unnecessary injury or, in the case, death.

Too bad this “instructor” doesn’t qualify for a Darwin Award, since it was someone else who shot him, not himself. Or maybe so, since it was his incompetence that led to his death. Hmm…

Meanwhile, one last thing: What the fuck is wrong with white people? Them with their culture of gun violence thinking it’s fine to hand an Uzi to a nine year old child? Your sick deranged white culture thinks guns are fucking toys? What… the… fuck? White society needs to get together and clean up their act, yo, ’cause White culture got problems!

- Badtux the Gun Penguin

Swimming sky

Greensky Bluegrass, “Windshield”, off their upcoming album If Sorrows Swim. Despite the name of the band, it isn’t exactly bluegrass… but you’ll have to listen for yourself to figure out what it really is.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Not happenin’, folks

Punch Brothers, “Soon or Never”, off their 2012 album Who’s Feeling Young Now?. This is a live version with another of my favorite artists sitting in. You’ll have to watch it to know who ;).

- Badtux the Music Penguin

The right to bear arms

Looking at the Ferguson protests, and looking at the Bundy Ranch protests, and the thing that strikes me most is the difference in how the police treated the protesters.

So was it race?

The Ferguson protesters were mostly (but not all) black. The Bundy Ranch protesters were almost all white, but there were a couple of blacks there too. But still, it seems to me that cops really don’t care (usually) what the race of protesters are. They don’t like’em, period.

Was it guns?

The Bundy Ranch protesters were very well armed. They had shit for logistics and shit for tactical skills, but they had guns and ammo out the wazoo. Would the Ferguson cops have moved in so swiftly if the Ferguson protesters had been similarly well armed, if the mythical New Black Panthers had shown up with an arsenal and set up snipers on rooftops and so forth? You’d expect the NRA to at this point say, “Yes! The right to bear arms is how a population prevents tyranny!” Except the NRA has been rather silent when it comes to Ferguson. Funny, that, eh?

But personally, I think that guns would have not stopped the cops at all. It would have simply given them the excuse to do what they really wanted to do: kill all these people who are accusing one of their own of being a racist murderer, and accusing them of being racists. Because I’ve found that the last thing any cop wants to be called is racist. Even when all the numbers show that the average cop is racist. For example, random drug testing shows that whites and blacks use drugs at roughly the same rate. Yet blacks are arrested twice as often as whites for drug possession, and once arrested, 17% of whites end up going to jail, but over half of blacks end up going to jail. So let me get this straight. You have two people arrested for the identical crime, one white, one black, and the white guy is probably not going to jail, and the black guy probably IS going to jail, and there’s no racism involved here? For realz? Pull the other flipper, yo!

So: What if the crowd in Ferguson had been all white and accusing the Ferguson cops of being racists and of covering up for a racist murderer? Would the response have been the same?

We’ll never know for certain. But my sneaking suspicion is that the answer to that question is “yes”. Because nothing makes a racist angrier than being called a racist, and we now know from the actions and words of many of the cops who were out there in the streets that they were, indeed, racists, who view all black people as thugs and criminals and welfare whores even though crime statistics and employment statistics show that the majority of blacks are law abiding hard working people. But then, what can you expect of people whose favorite news source is operated by an Australian who was a fervent supporter of the White Australia policy, a policy of official discrimination against non-whites that was official government policy of the Commonwealth of Australia until 1975? I was surprised that Fox News didn’t call the Michael Brown funeral this afternoon a “riot”. After all, every Fox News viewer knows that one black person walking by himself is a criminal, two black people walking down the street are a “black mob”, and three black people walking down the street are a “riot”. Why, I bet that’s even the definition in the Fox News dictionary, yo.

So racists be upset at being racists because Fox News tells them they aren’t really racist for believing the same things that Fox News tells them are okay to believe, and there you go. A volatile powder keg — regardless of the race of the people who are calling them racists. (Though being black certainly didn’t make it less volatile).

- Badtux the Racism-smellin’ Penguin

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