Fascist frightenings.

Went to bed last night feeling somewhat unsettled about the apparent state of the world. Watched an interview by Emily Maitlis with a pretty unpleasant afd politician from Germany espousing racist shit. Listened to matteo salvini in Italy echo mussolini in wanting rid of the Roma in Italy (some little irony as Roma are also one of Italy’s top soccer teams and have quite a fascist following). Watched the report on the child detention camps in the USA. Finally heard about the US pulling out of the UN human rights council. As I walked upstairs to bed it felt as if a fascist wave was rising.

My unsettledness persisted into this morning when I read the following:

Trump Aide Talked Of “Final Solution” For Illegals Crossing Mexican Border

Stephen Miller advocated draconian “Detain and Disappear” strategy, reflecting administration’s sweeping new pro-Nazi policies

Stephen Miller confessed to being the mastermind behind the administration’s “Detain and Disappear” policy. (Credit: breitbart.com)

Senior policy advisor Stephen Miller pushed to detain immigrants at the border then “make them disappear,” according to sources within the White House who were opposed to the harsh measures.

Mr. Miller also told colleagues in the West Wing that he and the president were planning a “Final Solution” regarding illegals crossing the Mexican border, calling it “a simple decision.”

Mexican and Jewish children will have a great deal in common if Stephen Miller has his way. (Credit: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com)

The term “Final Solution” is associated with Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich during World War II and was a barbaric plan to exterminate European Jews by transporting them to concentration camps where they were systematically and brutally murdered.

Many critics have compared the current chaotic and inhumane treatment of detainees at the U.S-Mexico border with the heinous crimes committed in Germany’s concentration camps.

Michael Hayden, a onetime National Security Agency director and prominent critic of the Trump administration even tweeted over the weekend: “Other governments have separated mothers and children.” Mr. Hayden posted the message along with a photo of Auschwitz.

“This guy Stephen Miller is a complete psycho,” said one administration staffer who works closely with the controversial Trump advisor in the White House. “Forget that he exudes evil from every pore of his being, he’s also super creepy, more robotic than human. I would not be surprised if in addition to Hitler his other hero is Hannibal Lecter.”

Mr. Miller’s push to get detention camps opened on the Canadian border has received a favorable response from President Trump. (Credit: http://www.mandatory.com)

In the last week, Mr. Miller has also been pushing hard for a “zero tolerance policy” related to Canadians entering the United States.

“He told a group of us during an Oval Office meeting that Canadians were becoming a bigger problem than Mexicans,” added the Trump aide. “He said that Canadians feel entitled to come over here with a few bottles of maple syrup and push us around with their sweetener. It was a crazy comment, but President Trump jumped to his feet to express his approval, so the rest of us just started clapping. I feel sorry for my Canadian friends now. I hope we don’t start detaining and disappearing them, too.”

There is no word yet from the White House as to whether detention centers will now be opened on the Canadian border as well as the Mexican crossing.

I believed it, temporarily not realising that it was from Allan Ishac at http://allanishac.com/   a satirical site on Medium Daily Digest I regularly read.

I need some cannabis.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

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Bullshit Jobs and a magnolia tree.

Had another check up this morning and still all clear and next one is now 6 months hence. Had the usual pre-check up anxieties but maybe they are becoming a little less intense. Whilst driving on my own at the weekend had this feeling of a space located just behind my forehead which is for the news that the, or another, cancer has returned.

Helped having a houseful of people over the weekend to take my fevered mind off worrying. We saw the wonderful Truckstop Honeymoon who played at our wedding in the woods, this was one of the songs:

Also helped watching Englandshire play soccer last night with Hector. They played well despite the crap commentary, Tunisia playing like one of moanrinho’s teams and the ref. Come on you VAR.

And who’s side are you on; Schama or Shearer? Maybe this one’s easier; Lineker or piers twatfacemorgan? Or maybe you don’t give a gnat’s fart.

Good old William Hague, who’d have thunk it? Saying the ‘war on cannabis’ was lost and akin to trying to recapture the British Empire, but one wonders whether some of the brexiters are on some particularly strong skunk. Or maybe all future debates and votes can only be done after everyone’s had a few tokes or cookies. Although one has to be pretty stuck in one’s ways to not think that legalizing the weed and using resultant tax takes to fund the NHS is a very nifty idea.

Just heard a great new term, well new to me: “the bullshitization of real work”. Said by the wonderful David Graeber in an interview today with Jeremy Vine about his new book ‘Bullshit Jobs’. And it was music to my aged ears, he used the aforementioned term particularly in relation to nursing and teaching with the proliferation of paperwork they are now expected to do (I called it BB; bureaucratic bollocks). And so much of it is absolutely useless and pointless but it provides lots of bullshit jobs for middle managers and administrators to create and monitor all the bureaucratic bollocks. One of the ironies is that much of this has evolved from private business.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b6pdfj#play

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

PS when is isabel oakeshott getting her very overdue comeuppance?

 

 

 

 

sycophant soper the lickspittle and jargon.

I know I’d vowed not to give the child any more attention but there are many worrying signs that he is being ‘normalised’ as the jargon goes (more on jargon later). Just listening to the toady show and harrumphries interviewing john sopel about the child’s visit to Singapore. sopel has morphed into something like a royal correspondent who behave like lickspittles and flunkeys just regurgitating uncritical bollocks. Even harrumphries asked critical, even journalistic, questions such as about the child’s meeting with the north korean chappie having just the two of them with interpreters. Not even a note taker, so for one of the most publicised meetings in recent history there will be no records apart from whatever the two of them choose to say. Of course most momentous meetings are often clouded in secrecy and subjected to massive manipulation, but there’s normally some recording surely?

Even I have to admit that the child has, much like the way many young children demand attention and are fawned over by adults, developed an effectively crude ability to gain attention.

Anyway, harrumphries expressed incredulity at the nature of the meeting and sopel just talked as if it was normal and stuck his tongue even further up the child’s ass. He tickled the child’s prostate when he said the prime minister of Singapore had given the child a birthday cake and added that perhaps the G7 might have gone better if the Canadian PM, Trudeau, had given the child a cake. This bollocks is being said by the BBC’s North American chief correspondent.

This sums up the G7 much better than sopel the sycophant:

DfWPRYIX0AATLiu

And as for the child’s fabled deal making ability, it really is a fable, the following sums this up with details of his deal for ‘art of the deal’:

“It turns out that Trump negotiated a terrible deal for himself on that very book: the ghostwriter received an unheard-of 50% of the advance fee, 50% of all subsequent earnings and equal billing on the cover. The writer, Tony Schwartz, didn’t even have to push Trump hard. “He basically just agreed,” he recalls.”

And in this time of unparalleled bollocks speak the most wonderful Jonathon Meades has created his most wonderful piece yet on jargon:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09xzsbp/jonathan-meades-on-jargon?suggid=b09xzsbp

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

PS how long before the freedom to write bollocks such as in this blog is curtailed and there’s a knock at the door by th……………………………………………………………….

The cult of managerialism.

Just heard harrumphries on the toady show talking about queen betty’s birthday this Saturday say “over 1000 of her personal troops”. Just mulled that over and it really sounds medieval, doesn’t it?

My last blog was a little self indulgent, but then I suppose that’s what blogs are often about, individuals indulging their prejudices. But there is a therapeutic aspect, sort of a writing therapy, a variation on good old talking therapy. I was feeling a little down when I wrote it.

One thing that helped this week, apart from beautiful Kate, was my Qi Gong session with Paul. I spoke of my discombobulation and how I’d felt pretty detached at last week’s session. He got me doing a few new exercises and worked on getting more right than usual for a particular part of the form and involved doing the mirror image. Now this a bit like having learnt to do something with your right hand (sorry to be right hand dominantist) then learning to do the mirror image with your left. It messes with your brain, but in a good way.

managerialism, on the other hand, messes with your brain in a bad way. I first became aware of this insidious ideological cult many years ago when the hospital school at which I was working had us go to the Roehampton Institute for an introduction to this new cult as it applied to the running of schools. During one presentation the presenter used the term ‘clients’, I naively asked what he meant. Seems he was talking about children, or students or pupils. I objected; he, automaton-like, informed us that he had no problem with the concept. He was a cultish convert.

But now this cult is everywhere, but what is it?

Thomas Klikauer in “Managerialism – Critique of an Ideology” (2013) defined managerialism thus:[4][5]

“[….] Managerialism combines management knowledge and ideology to establish itself systemically in organisations and society while depriving owners, employees (organisational-economical) and civil society (social-political) of all decision-making powers. Managerialism justifies the application of managerial techniques to all areas of society on the grounds of superior ideology, expert training, and the exclusive possession of managerial knowledge necessary to efficiently run corporations and societies.” [6]

Only problem is that it is merely a tumour-like growth of capitalism. As Mr Klikauer writes in a recent essay about the cultish schools that teach this managerial bollocks aka ‘business schools’ :

“Business schools are indeed the running dogs of capitalism teaching mainly four areas in support of for-profit corporations: accounting, marketing, operations management, and human resource management (HRM). For business schools, the purpose of learning about taxation laws is to evade taxation, business schools also teach that environmental costs are external to supply chain logistics while the task of marketing is not much more than creating new desires. Marketing’s core idea is indeed to get people to buy things they do not need with money they do not have to impress people they do not even like. All this creates pathologies.”

from      https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/06/08/bulldoze-the-business-schools/

Duncan’s Unctions eschews this bollocks, even though it is an attempt at creating a business I am trying to get some people to buy something that satisfies a genuine skin-related need and only impresses those who use it. Avoiding tax is not an issue yet, my Hastings trip alone being a bit of a deficit on the balance sheet!

Another example of our current distorted existential being is how easily we are manipulated. Now it’s one thing to sort of know this but, especially for those of us with older, more ossified brains, another to really understand. So it was an epiphany for this ossified old git to listen to another ossified old git (Nick Robinson) interview Paris Lees this week:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b48kt2

He just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get his little head around what she was saying and persisted with his ‘media narrative’. I got it and she is brilliant.

paris-lees-nick-robinson_640x345_acf_cropped

Must away, Qi Gong exercises and preparation for unctuous selling at a cheese and chilli festival this weekend.

stanley-deetz-managerialism-and-organizational-democracy-approach-11-638

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Slough of Despond.

Feeling very tired after a weekend unction selling in Hastings at a ‘country fair’ in the lovely Alexander Park. Hastings is quite a long way from Swanage so stayed in a B&B Saturday night. With table hire, travel, accommodation and sustenance costs it was for the little unction business a fair old investment needing some fairly serious selling to make any profit.

To reduce costs I drove there very early on Saturday morning. I typically do these events solo and this makes for long days. I’m still very much at the novice stage although I am getting pretty good at engaging people and selling my wares.

What I am not very good at yet is having a realistic idea of how sales will go. This can go both ways in terms of high and low expectations. Only last week I had very low expectations of a craft fair in Weymouth which had low costs and I did well. For some irrational reasoning the country fair in Hastings has for a while been on my high expectation list and so felt quietly confident that my high costs would be worth the investment.

Mid Sunday afternoon had me in a right old slough of despond as sales had been negligible. I am literally a sole trader, many other stalls might be sole traders but typically have at least 2 people personing them, so I am alone contemplating the Bermuda rectangle of my business. There was a lot of soul searching by the sole trader.

The soul searching was compounded by being in Hastings, a classic English seaside town and definitely down at heel. Many signs of social depredation and poverty but interspersed with the creative and innovative.

The admin department of the unction business had mixed fortunes on the accommodation front booking a most pleasant B&B at a good price but which was on the other side of a large town. In my wisdom I decided to leave the car overnight in Alexander Park allowing me to walk through the town centre to find a likely looking cheap eatery and pick up a bottle of wine. I passed lots of empty retail premises, charity and discount shops. I thought about the local Wetherspoons, inexpensive food and beer, just off a pedestrianised area in the centre. There were many unfortunate folk sitting around drinking cheap booze, a fair number of beggars and many hostelries offering drink deals. The precious, middle class part of me didn’t fancy returning here later on a Saturday night. It was also a 2 mile walk from the B&B, thanks admin dept.

Alongside the many classic deprived stores were many new boho style enterprises. I stopped in one to get my wine; Borough Wines, Beers and Books (and Barbers as they also had a single barbers chair in the window to trim those beards). I walked back along the seafront, it was still hot and I began to fancy a cold beer. I passed a few likely looking eateries for later but not a place I fancied for a cold beer.

Hastings has a very long seafront. I was now walking by only housing, grand seafront housing but no pubs or bars. On the final turn before the B&B I saw the famous Marina Fountain pub, great. Except it was no longer the famous Marina Fountain pub of legend but a refurbished bar and music venue, although they did have a good cold beer.

The B&B too had been refurbished. Nearby eateries were a Chinese and a traditional pub, the Bo Peep. Some soccer game was on so I chose the pub. Fish and chips and a pint of Harveys, not the sherry. Englandshire soccer team were wearing black armbands. I asked a Nigel Havers lookalike at the bar why the black armbands, because of all the black players in the team came his reply. I refrained from saying not the brexit bollocks then. I soon left.

The long walk in the heat the following morning allowed me to properly see the preponderance of weeds growing everywhere and the many unkempt properties, easy to imagine a decayed Ballardian future. I’d also just read at breakfast an interview with Lily Allen and how she couldn’t speak with her mother and her friends because they were buying flats in Hastings to make money from rent. Cheap (well, relatively cheap) housing and high rents, more evidence of our rentier society and housing as just another commodity.

After a poor day of sales on Saturday I was ever hopeful of a good Sunday.

Spend some time in seaside towns such as Weymouth and Hastings and you notice how many people are in wheelchairs, how many young and old have ‘special needs’ or are disabled. I stand at my stall witnessing this. I sit at my stall and realise I’m not even going to make as much as the previous day.

I talk to many folk about my products, they tell me about themselves. They put my unction on their scabby, pustulent skin. Those with no skin conditions witness the transformation of their skin after applying the unction to a glowing, softer condition. They tell me how they work in a head and neck cancer department and still recommend patients use the crap that is aqueous cream (like I was). They tell me how much they like the smell of the unction. They talk with me about the ingredients of the unction. Very few buy any.

It was a long journey home, but I felt so much better being back in the arms of Kate.

A cheese and chilli festival next weekend.

79973_despond_lg

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

Time for a change.

I’m sure I’ve written before about the student housing scams, especially my recent experiences with my daughter Grace’s accommodation in Bath. It seemed that some people were making money, a lot of money, exploiting student accommodation in various ways. Now a very recent Grauniad investigation confirms this student exploitation:

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/may/27/revealed-developers-cashing-in-privatisation-uk-student-housing

What this reveals, and I am truly shocked and can scarce believe it of our beloved kleptonic society, is that not only are these companies charging obscene amounts but through ‘legal’ scams pay hardly any tax. Ah, the sweetness of it all, make loadsamoney and don’t pay any dues.

Have we we yet reached the tipping point where enough people actually realise the extent of the exploitation of so many by so few? I know brexit and drumf’s election are signifiers of such disenchantment but they also show how easily so many are fooled as those with wealth and power put out real fake news.

But what is also increasingly evident is how those who have a stake, have some ‘skin in the game’, are too easily deluded and seduced. I and many others of the babyboom generation have a property based stake and maybe don’t fully appreciate how much the basic necessity of having a roof over your head has been financialised and become obscenely expensive. Too often I hear and read babyboomers espouse their experiences of getting onto the housing ladder, the high interest rates, ‘going without’ and so on. And yet there is one little thing that is left out which is absolutely key.

About 10 years ago there was a financial crash and basically there was a massive bailout which prevented the whole capitalistic cabal collapsing. Everyone with assets, anyone with ‘skin in the game’, well at least those like us babyboomers with our property portfolios up to the kleptos, was bailed out. Suddenly there was a rather large debt and who was going to pay for this? Go on, guess who? Not the property owners. Not the pensioners (well, not the richer pensioners).

No, it was those who rely on the state for a relatively decent level of existence and Osborne and the other tts imposed ‘austerity’. And now we have an even more unequal society. Some are doing obscenely well financially but on the backs of so many who aren’t. Don’t believe the tt’s bollocks; absolute poverty is on the rise, those who subsist, barely, from one pay day to the next are increasing. More and more young people will never get any skin in the game.

Time for a change.

Here’s a bit of fun from the seaside:

article-2003783-0C922E9A00000578-462_634x847

Keep on keeping on for a change, love Duncan.

 

Exercises in Futility.

Never in the history of humankind is so much done by so many that is so futile. I won’t bore you with a bullet pointed list, just a few lowlights and a brief take on the whys.

Currently a large cohort of young folk are taking a load of meaningless gcse exams except in terms of a massive audit. All young folk are expected to remain in full time education until they are 18 so pray tell what is the actual point of them taking a load of narrow minded exams at 15/16? The exams mean very little in the wider scheme of life, in essence a throwback to olden times when many children left school earlier.

The exam results provide an audit for the children, their teachers and schools so that they can all be graded. Because of one recent incarnation at the education ministry, one m. gove (gove, meaning to vomit uncontrollably as in I heard him speak the other morning and vomited all over the cat), gcse exam takers now have to suffer ridiculous written exams in all subjects. Drama, for example, involves a written exam that counts for 40%, the PE written exam counts for 110%. Great for all those not of an academic bent such as this young person recently wrote:

“We are told over and over again that if we do not achieve level 7 or above we will not be able to progress in the future. I am not very academic and my skills are in the creative arts. However, my passion for those things is taken away when I have to sit a written drama exam for 40% of my grade.”

But the likes of gove, shit I’ve just puked over the cat again, don’t actually care about the young folk, they don’t actually understand education simply basing any understanding on whatever they’d experienced as a vulnerable young person. Another recent letter to the Grauniad brilliantly captures this political bollocks:

“Modern schooling regimes profoundly damage the growth of the child’s psychological self, with a kind of “psychological violence” being perpetrated due to politician-driven curriculums, an obsession with “standards”, and an intensive surveillance through which our children are relentlessly disciplined, and with which hapless teachers must comply.

For years politicians of all parties have been in complete denial about the harmful impact of their Gradgrind, audit-culture obsessions, and their macho rhetoric about “driving up” standards. At last September’s Labour conference, the loudest ovation was received when a 16 year old delegate movingly spoke of how at least a half of her peers are suffering from mental health issues because of the manic audit and accountability regime”        Dr Richard House.

I strongly suspect a fair number of teachers also suffer mental health issues because of this madness, and the young folk’s parents.

And just think of the number of people involved in creating and maintaining this bollocks ‘education’ system. Futility writ large.

And as my good friend Angry Young Man opines the health service too is riddled with the audit/accountability shit and has an incredible number of people employed on the non-clinical side of the health system all being futile.

And police folk spend more time doing auditing crap than policing. Futile.

And so on through all of our current lives.

And where does all this bollocks stem from? From the practices of the free market capitalism corporations who, far from being the ‘efficient’ enterprises they claim to be, create an edifice of futility.

As one of my heroes, David Graeber, posits in his latest book Bullshit Jobs, the phenomenon of an incredible rise in meaningless and unfulfilling jobs, goes some way to explaining the effects of an audit culture.

“There are millions of people; HR consultants, communication coordinators, telemarketing researchers, corporate lawyers whose jobs are useless, and, tragically, they know it. These people are caught in bullshit jobs.

Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln. Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture.”

As I started with this piece we live in futile times, but there is a better way.

exercise-in-futility  Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.