Off the Keyboard of William Hunter Duncan
This article first appeared at Off the Grid in Minneapolis.
Discuss this in the Epicurean Delights thread of the diner forum
Last week was my second, in my return to the beast, my return to another behemoth. If there is anyone out there who remembers my early days as a blogger, you might recall that at my last job under the wing of the beast, I spent part of my days on the job, blogging about the job, in a not very flattering way about the job, or the behemoth. That job was like paradise compared to my current employment; there will be no more blogging about the beast on the job. The last behemoth didn’t care much what I did, or even if I was there, as long as what they expected of me got done. This new job, if I am not a computer or a machine, big bank will force me to think and act like one. This behemoth is about breaking the spirit, in as subtle a way as is possible.
It’s the hand of God, don’t you know, that I have ended up here. The hand of God is the reason I am working for less than I make landscaping, less than half I made at that other behemoth, doing something that is entirely outside my primary skill set. I know how to take a house off the grid; I know how to grow large amounts of food; I write prolifically and well; I am good at managing people. But God apparently has said, you will stare at a computer all day and organize digital mortgage documents because my favored children made loans to people to buy houses they couldn’t afford, while imploding the global economy with those mortgages – therefore you, as my not-favored child, because you have not preyed upon your fellow humans, because you have not been greedy and have not twisted yourself in knots justifying your exploitation, shall wither as an automaton!
My one “abuse” of the clock is to read the banking “news” as proferred by big bank on it’s website. The newz can be summed up as, regulations are bad, the mysterious market heals all wounds, and shouldn’t you be happy to have a job, even if you are making half to a third of what you were making before the collapse, (even if the cost of everything important has risen or remained equal, not least of all your mortgage, assuming you still have one.) The latest scheme is to bundle big blocks of those foreclosed homes and sell them to speculators, who will rent them, or have the option to sell. Said speculator getting a far sweeter deal than Joe and Jill Schmo would. Because don’t you know you don’t have the incentive to work your ass off and justify warmongering and global exploitation, if you aren’t compelled to by a fat mortgage? I’m sure the speculators will take excellent care of the houses and the renters, at a price the market can bear (read, work your ass off and keep your mouth shut about the way God runs things.)
Meanwhile, this week like the week prior with the RNC, I stayed up past my bedtime to listen to the Democratic National Convention. I turned to NPR Tuesday evening, to catch the tail end of John Kerry pimping for war in Syria, Bill Burton of Priorities Superpac, quoting Donald Rumsfeld and analogizing Pearl Harbor, and that warmonger EJ Dionne gushing about how unlike any previous Dem convention, everybody in the mob was in sync. If you listened or watched at all you know the Dems are plenty capable of mindlessly chanting USA. For awhile listening to Michelle Obama, I remember thinking I’d prefer her as president, until I remembered that she is a lawyer too. An ace for Barack though, for sure.
Bill Clinton is an Ace too. Too bad he forgot to mention, it was during his presidency that the financial markets were deregulated. He did mention that regulations are important, and the Republicans want to go back to the way it was before the crash. Hmm…That was about the time I began to reflect on the fact, that to the extent Americans are paying attention, policy does not matter anywhere near as much as rhetoric. The Dems in their convention did an excellent job, IMHO, of telling a story that is in contrast to the Republican story (the Repubs did a horseshit job of telling theirs, which is a hard sell admittedly, it’s so goddamned mean.) The trouble is, it’s only a story, and if you don’t give a damn about the story and you actually pay attention to the policies, at the core there isn’t any fundamental difference between the parties. It’s really all about big corporate, big banks and global war.
Biden was up next, Thursday prior to Obambam. Grandpa Joe, the abider. Now, I listened to the DNC, I didn’t watch it on tee-vee. And I can tell you, without the visuals, the voice-over in the video introduction to Biden’s speech, was just plain creepy. But not as creepy as Grandpa Joe. What sort of American VP, the author of anti violence-against-women legislation no less, refers to his wife, the mother of his children, the matriarch to his grandchildren, as Kiddo, on the stage at the DNC? But that is not necessarily as creepy as a sitting American VP who goes to Jerusalem and says publicly, “It’s good to be home.” Or his professed loyalty to a president with a spine like a “ram rod.” On the whole, a speech that can be summed up as warmongering, “BOOM BOOM BOOM,” and support for carz, because don’t you know, it was the makers of carz that “put America on the map.” “No intention to downsize the American Dream,” clearly. His choked up pity party for the “fallen angels” was pure political fakery. No ace there, though his speech was far more impressive rhetoric than Romney’s, the standard bearer.
Obama is an Ace, too. A testament to his celebrity, that the much less obtrusive voice-over in his video was no less than George Clooney. Though what does it say about a sitting American president, who takes the stage to accept his party’s nomination for a second term, to the soothing sounds of Coldplay? I can imagine that was an oblique reference to O’s ice cold handling of the Bin Laden affair (and by extension, though never mentioned of course, his kill list, or his lawyerly dismantling of the Constitution.) But Coldplay are Englishmen.
“Hope has been tested,” he said. Indeed, he sounded like a practiced actor, until he got to the point about how much land he had and would open up to gas, oil and “clean coal” extraction. Though hey, he talked about renewables, and he even mentioned global warming! But then he repeated the well refuted lie about 100 years of natural gas, with emphasis. Nevertheless, the crowd was fired up! even chanting USA with intensity when he got to talkin about Osama. Though there was an ever so subtle pause in the fervor, when he talked about maintaining the strongest military the world has ever known – not long after which he reiterated America’s loyalty to Israel, and rebuked Iran. “God bless the Democratic Party.”
First of all, I’m wondering, when did the numbers 2016 and 2024, in reference to the insolvency of Medicare, become part of the lexicon? I consider myself a fairly astute observer of the newz, and I have never heard these numbers before. They were up front and center, at the DNC. And since when has this President embraced the Simpson/Bowles commission, and their deficit reduction scheme? Not at all in the first four years – he walked away from it! But now it’s what he’s been fighting for all along? I listen to these men, and I can’t help but think, this is only theatre. There is some agenda that transcends America. There is some plan that supercedes the American dream, and these men are commissioned to tell us what we want to hear, when it comes time to make a good face of it, so we continue to think we are voting for people who have ours or America’s best interest in mind.
I said last week the Dems have no soul. That would be a generalized reference to the party that has not abandoned “science”, or scientific materialism. Which is to say, the party that believes literally that we have no soul, notwithstanding what anyone in the party thinks for themselves. Though “God” was referenced in abundance at the convention, if not in the platform. As if God were any measure of the behavior of, say, the Republicans? As if proclamations about God are not mostly about justifying whatever corrupt, vicious, inhuman behavior one wishes to justify? Warmongering, for instance. Or making the poor poorer. Or treating people like automatons.
The Dems have no soul because they are as captive as any American, to the narrative of progress and growth, which is inextricably leading them to support military action in the Middle East, again. Only this time, for all the marbles. Except such a war is going to crack, nay, shatter all the marbles, destroying modernism as we know it, potentially even reducing global population by the billion, leading to an attempt at total government lock down here in America and eventually total chaos.
But wtf am I barking about? I took this job because I made a commitment to this community, and I stayed up late analyzing the message of the supposedly separate political parties, out of a sense of duty. And what has that got me? Sick. A chest infection, exactly like the one I had when I left the beast four years ago, a sickness which I haven’t had anything like, these last four years.