As we approach the second month of stay at home orders, arguments about liberty & freedom, we see the American government struggling to balance it’s promises to the donor class and make sure the facade of taking care of the working class remain in place. Both the Democrats and the Republicans offered a pittance to the working class to ensure they’d stay docile and passive while the corporate elites, the boss class and the pimps of the parties got richer during a global pandemic.
Right now, Steve Minnuchin has requested the all the large publicly traded companies that received the Small Business Loans have till May 7th to return them, or face harsh consequences. They could get a stern talking to or a possible wrist slappage or worse yet a half hearted use of the word ‘disappointed’ used towards their actions. Meanwhile if you’re a black person you will still be arrested for drug charges and if you’re brown you’re clearly an enemy of the state. Rules are rules. Now if Minnuchin wants to prove that he’s really a man of the people, he should ask Wall St. to return that unnecessary $5 trillion gift that the United States government gave to them.
So how did these corporations receive these Small Business Loans? Well that’s pretty simple, they utilized loopholes that I’m very sure Steve Minnuchin didn’t know were written in there. “How did those get in there? It must’ve been that scamp of an intern we hired. Reginald is always pulling pranks like that around the office! We like to have fun at the United States Treasury Department. Oppressing the American people with Economic Sanctions can be a tough job so sometimes you just have to fun!”
Now companies like Shake Shack did return that $10 million loan they received once they realized that REAL small businesses were not able to access the funds. The CEO must’ve realized how silly an additional $10 million must look in their already giant piles of cash they bathe in. The question remains, why in the fuck did Shake Shack apply for the loan in the first place!? What did think was going to happen? That someone would say “Hey you silly geese, this isn’t for you! You were trying for that loophole I bet!” Oh Reginald, that scamp, the CEO would exclaim and withdraw their application?
Now Ruth Chris Steakhouse had to literally have their arm twisted to return the loan they didn’t need. They said they had a planned on repaying the loan within it’s parameters but decided to accelerate that repayment. What?! This like getting caught punching orphans on the street and saying “Well I was planning on taking them to the hospital later, but I guess I’ll do it now!” Ruth Chris Steakhouse was trying to look like they were good guys here and had an epic fail moment! And if you could accelerate repayment within a few days, you didn’t need the loan to begin with.
This comes as the House of Representatives is going on an extended paid hiatus. Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer says it’s in recommendation of the House Doctor that says due to the increased cases of the virus in DC, it’s probably not safe for legislators to meet. As they take these paid vacations, House Leader & resident crypt-keeper, Nancy Pelosi says that it’s for the health & safety of the office workers and the custodial staff too. Now are these office & custodial staff going to receive a paycheck on Congressional Hiatus or are they out to fend for themselves as the Queen of “Yas Queen” eats all the ice cream she wants in her San Francisco mansion? I’d wager its the latter of the two.
Now Chuck Schumer says that the Senate must meet to legislate and hold this administration accountable for the mistakes it has made, from the stimulus checks, the small business loans and the in appropriate use of the Defense Production Act. But lest we forget, less than a month ago Chuck Schumer was one of the people responsible for all the problems we are facing in addition to the pandemic. Lest we forget Schumer, Pelosi and most of the corporate Democrats were against direct cash payments to Americans at the start of all of this. The Democrats are a master class in gaslighting! They manipulate and twist the narrative into a pretzel and sell it to you as biscotti. So who’s holding them accountable for being one party with 2 faces!
Now in the face of the continued widening of the income gap in America perpetuated by the Donor Class’s Duopoly, we are seeing massive strikes all across the country. Essential Workers from Amazon, Whole Foods (aka Amazon Food Inc.), Walmart, Target, Insta-Cart & Fed-Ex are all planning a walk out during lunch on May 1st! Most of the spotlight is on Amazon who has made an additional $24 billion during this pandemic. This was achieved by putting workers lives at risk. Amazon has over 500 cases of the virus in 125 facilities across the country. All these reports were coming from rank & file employees of these warehouses where social distancing rules are ignored by the Bosses.
An Amazon spokesperson made a statement about these reports saying: “While we respect people’s right to express themselves, we object to the irresponsible actions of labor groups in spreading misinformation and making false claims about Amazon during this unprecedented health and economic crisis. We have gone to extreme measures to understand and address this pandemic.” These measures they’re talking about are to call the strikers a bunch of assholes and firing them for organizing and demanding to be treated like human beings! And really what more could these strikers want! Bezos has ensured their health needs are not going to be met and they’re worked to utter exhaustion to he can have Nancy Pelosi feed him ice cream! Anything else would clearly be a handout!
Corporations like Amazon, Target, Walmart, all use their employees lives as hostage negotiations. The choice they are given is to either work in conditions that could get them sick or have their homes, cars and families repossessed. I mean from a PR perspective a corporation acting like a terroristic mobster doesn’t play well. The only way this could get worse is if Bezos and the the Waltons stood in front of their Mega Mansions and repeatedly punched an orphan every hour on the hour and didn’t even say they might take that kid to a hospital.
If we are to say these workers are Essential, why are we treating them like they’re expendible. In lieu of the Strikes and folks having to take sick leave, Amazon has ramped up it’s hiring and is only offering an additional $2/hour extra for hazard pay. This is the same for Target, Walmart and Fed-Ex. If these workers are truly Essential then these corporations won’t have any issue meeting the demands that prove they are. Their demand include Compensation for unpaid time off, paid sick leave, hazard pay, protective equipment & cleaning supplies, and full corporate transparency on the number of cases in facilities.
These are reasonable requests and these corporate oligarchs and slave masters are claiming the workers are asking for the heavens themselves. “We’re asking for paid sick leave!”
“That is moon! How dare you?!”
“We’re asking for hazard pay for putting our lives and our families at risk!”
“You might as well ask for the rings of Saturn itself!”
“We want corporate transparency!”
“Well now you’re just asking for Pluto to be a planet again! I can’t change the laws of the universe!”
Meanwhile, Big Plastic is literally asking the government for a billion dollars because recycling is essential. The American Chemical Council, with Recycling Partnership, is asking for a billion dollar handout despite netting over $200 billion annually. These companies work with oil giants like Exxon, Chevron, Lanexess and plastic users like Coca Cola, Pepsi and Nestle. If they need money that badly, why not take all the plastic bottles they’ve produced and send them to recycling plants I’m sure they’ll get a good 10-15 cents per bottle to cover their costs.
Tyson, America’s largest meat processor, used a paid ad to tell world the supply chain is breaking and that the meat processing plants need to be opened back up. Now they could’ve used the money spent on their ad to provide all their workers paid sick leave, but instead they decided to invest in more greed. And Trump obliged by using the Defense Production Act.
Unions have been saying that meat processing plants weren’t safe to begin with and now with a pandemic it’s even less safe. Tyson and their meat compatriots would utilize the same course of action that Amazon & Target did, by not providing their workers with masks while putting out an empty vapid statement about health & safety.
Say it with me now, corporations never have and will never care about your health or safety! They only care about their bottom line and the bottom line is they don’t give a shit about you and will sell your life if it means acquiring one more dollar of wealth! So why are we as a nation worshipping this lifestyle and mentality.
And as our fight for basic human rights grows, we are also looking at nationwide Rent Strikes. As over 13 million people weren’t able to pay rent in April, May is looking to see an increase of those numbers as 26 million people are unemployed. The Rent Strike movement is inviting those that simply can’t pay rent to be included in their strike. Non-payment as an action of the strike means that people are not alone their struggle. They’re also urging folks that can afford to pay rent, to stand in solidarity with those that can’t.
The Rent Strike’s demands are to cancel rent for 4 months or the length of the pandemic, whichever comes first; a rent freeze to ensure rates won’t go up, an sheltering protocol for all their homeless folks, and to make sure the leases are renewed at pre-pandemic prices. And this goes for mortgages for small landlords too!
And before everyone freaks out and starts screaming that this is people asking for free shit and handouts, remember: The banks got bailed out first. They literally got a handout! They got $5 trillion no questions asked. On top of that, they’ve been garnering interest payments for years. AND as Steve Minnuchin points out that the $1200 stimulus check should last the average American about 10 weeks, that should mean the banks should be flush for 14 quadrillion years. So why would even need rents and mortgages to stay afloat. That’s just math.
Strikes like these are not pushing for a return to normalcy. Normal sucked. Normal was complacency and mindlessness. Strikes like these are advocating for a new normal. A normal that gives each and every one of us a purpose and helps us be mindful to each other. It’s a normal based on compassion, logic, understanding and treating the essential with respect. And it’s a normal where we all end up being essential to each other rather than expendable to earn someone else a profit. A normal where we can appreciate the moon and the heavens for what they are, while making this world a better one.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!