Saturday, September 19, 2015

Full Circle

Well, I'm back doing essentially what I was doing as a job back in 1984. Our Moose Lodge administrator came to me a couple weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in working in the office full time. I'd sub'ed a couple times when he was off at conferences, so I had a pretty good idea of what would be required. Given that they are willing to pay me more than I've made in most of a decade and the job is literally right around the corner, the answer was pretty easy.

So no more tax seasons sitting in Walmart Hell. I'll still do some returns on the side, but not the hundreds I've done over the last few years. That by itself makes the change worthwhile; forget about the higher pay, better hours and year-'round work. I do have to work every Saturday and Sunday, but I have Wednesday's and Thursday's off. Debbie gets Thursday off whenever she works a Saturday, so she'll just work more Saturday's so we have a day off together. It's not like what day of the week it is really makes a difference to us anyway.

So other than all that, not much else going on. Other than the obvious Florida summer stuff like it's frackin' HOT and RAINS EVERY DAY. Except today; it's just HOT with bright white hot sun and not a cloud in the sky. Not sure that's really an improvement. [Before I was able to post this, a thunderstorm blew in and is currently dumping a couple inches of rain on us. Remember the old joke about how if you didn't like the weather in Michigan, just hang around for a minute and it will change? Florida has Michigan beat six ways to Sunday on that score.] Of course in a few months I'll be whining because it's so cold that I have to wear a shirt and enclosed shoes. Maybe even socks. We'll just have to tough it out somehow....

I stopped watching, listening and reading (and quite frankly caring in any way about) anything from the mainstream media around 15 years ago or so, and last walked into a voting booth in 2004. So you know things must be completely crazy if I'm hearing about it. As far as I understand, some significant portion of the US population over the age of 35 is running for the GOP nomination. I was at work and some 24-hour news station was playing over the bar showing pictures of everyone running. There were, like, three screens of postage-stamp-sized photos. Other than Trump and three or four other people, I had no idea who any of these people even were. Have the GOP party hacks lost complete control of their party? Can we go back to the good ol' days when parties decided who their candidates were going to be in some smoke-filled room? Oh, right. This is supposed to be more democratic. Which just proves that there is such a thing as too much democracy.

But even a recluse like me can see that there is a shift occurring, and not just in the United States. John Michael Greer took a break from his series of posts to comment on the upset in Britain's Labor Party:

...a sign I’ve been awaiting for quite some time has appeared on the horizon—the first rumble of a tectonic shift that will leave few things unchanged. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t happen in the United States, but I was somewhat startled to see where it did happen. That would be in Britain, where Jeremy Corbyn has just been elected head of Britain’s Labour Party.


Logically speaking, if the policies you propose don’t yield the results you expect, you change the policies. That’s not what’s happened so far in this case, though.  Quite the contrary, the accelerating failures of neoliberalism have been met across the board by an increasingly angry insistence from the corridors of power that neoliberal policies are the only options there are.

What Jeremy Corbyn’s election shows is that that insistence has just passed its pull date. Corbyn’s an old-fashioned Labourite of the pre-Blair variety, and he’s made it clear for decades that he supports the opposite of the neoliberal consensus: more regulation of finance and industry, higher tax rates and fewer handouts to the rich, more benefits for the poor, and a less aggressive foreign policy.

As JMG points out elsewhere in his essay (and has been repeating endlessly since the start of his blog in 2006), different should never be confused with better. And even if a proposed change seems to be better, the follow-up question ought to be for whom. We do seem to be living in interesting times.

Speaking of interesting times, is everyone enjoying the crazy and completely illogical swings in the stock market? Now that we're pretty much fully in greenbacks, I know I've been enjoying the high-pitched squeals and puckered-sphincter looks from all the talking heads every time markets take another plunge. Oh, and anybody remember all the Saudi America crap that was being ladled out so generously a while back? Wonder why you haven't heard anything about that lately? Lessee if I understand what all the excitement was about: Borrow billions, use the money to over-produce a fungible commodity thus crashing its market price, then produce even more of it in a (mostly-vain) attempt to service those borrowed billions. Rinse and repeat. What could possibly go wrong? We should all be stinkin' rich in no time!

And this is from what are supposed to be the smartest people in the room? No wonder Trump is leading in the polls.

Anyway, I need to get things cleaned up and go to bed early so I can get up for another exciting day in the office!