Further in the Vein of Old Economy Steve

From Adam Weinstein, Fuck You. I’m Gen Y, and I Don’t Feel Special or Entitled, Just Poor. This article is a nice expansion on why memes like “Old Economy Steve” have gotten such traction.

Example:

They had room to advance and buy things. Yes, even the creatives. I once listened to a professor, who is in his sixties, read us the first published piece he’d been paid for, in the late 1970s. A thousand words or so. The rate, he says, was something like two bucks a word.

Even if they still paid $2 a word, the value of money has dropped by about a factor of five, or more if you think the SGS Alternate Measure of Inflation is a more reliable measurement. I could probably name a dozen examples where the value of work done for someone else has declined since the 1970s even as people misguidedly praise the superhuman efforts of those who still “succeed” in this era.

It’s the disconnection between the world the Old Economy Steves used to live in and the New Economy Sams* have to inhabit today. Even back in the 1990s, some people, like James Carville, Lester Thurow and James Galbraith, could already read the signs and were point out that the US economy in particular stopped rewarding the efforts of workers unlucky enough to run into the drive for profits, profits and more profits. Carville’s political solution was to invest in more education, and while the Clinton Administration tried to do it, they had to deal with a generally hostile Congress and the overarching need, in the political realities of the day, to bring in balanced budgets.

As for Thurow and Galbraith, their diagnosis was more complex but the basic solution remained that the US Government needed to do more for people, and it hasn’t done that in over a generation – at least not enough to prevail against the inexorable drive to transfer wealth into the hands of the already-rich, as opposed to the poor.

The declines of empires don’t go in straight lines, but I think history will look back at Obama’s Presidency as an ultimately well-meaning but ineffectual attempt to arrest the trends that began under Reagan and accelerated under Bush Jr.

And that is ultimately bad for the American worker, for whom the world of Old Economy Steve may very well never return.


* It’s a name that can be applied to either men or women, so I like it.

Sorry for the hiatus.

So yeah, hello ‘n all. No excuse, really – just me being a really lazy ass about updating this thing.

So I’m gonna switch it up a bit and do EoA, but intersperse with some Christian/Rapture-themed movies I got my mitts on because I was bored and wanted to watch crappy stuff.

I ran across The Moment After and its sequel, The Moment After II. I was not disappointed at the sheer hokeyness inherent to the low-budget nature of the productions, nor in all the standard shout-outs to Rapture dogma.

So, without further ado, I’m going to start reviewing the first movie! Please stay tuned. 🙂

EoA: Some Revelations

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 323-326 (Chapter Fifty-Five)

This part of the chapter deals with the Vice-President Jessica Tulrude. I’m getting this out a day early as my schedule’s kinda weird this week and I want to leave room for a possible Thursday update to touch base with John Gallagher and Rocky Bridger, who we haven’t seen in some time, in book time.


Madam Vice President is going over stuff with her chief of staff, Lana Orvilla. Ms. Orvilla seems a mite agitated, and brings up the fact that the Senators caved to Josh over the subpoena thing. Tulrude, we remember, had a deal where she’d nominate Straworth to Chief Justice if he’d go after Josh Jordan.

Deal’s off now.

“Well,” Lana tried to suggest, “doesn’t this back-tracking by the senators hurt them much more than you…I mean–“

“Are you crazy?” Tulrude shrieked. “I’ve been the one telling the president to say that we don’t need exotic defense weapons systems. My language exactly. That’s the official White House position that’s been given to the media. We’re promoting defense budget cuts, remember? We are also concerned about international criticism over our nuking those North Korean ships with their own missiles. About the potential for civilian casualties if we use this RTS again in the future. We’ve taken sides in this political catfight. We took sides against RTS. Against Joshua Jordan’s defiance of Congress. Remember, Lana, I’m running for president soon. You keep forgetting that.”

As you can see, the book wastes no time resuming its portrayal of Tulrude as one of those nasty shrieking harpies. Orvilla, however, seems too agitated for just a rumination over the political consequences of the subpoena thing.

Remember way back when we saw Ivan Teretsky reveal that he’d gotten a frantic phone call? Three guesses who made it, and the first two don’t count:

“On the day of the attack on New York City,” Lana began, “when we first found out that the missiles were coming. You had enough confidence in me to include me in your briefing with the Pentagon. Things were scary that day. I have to admit I was pretty frightened–“

“This isn’t a rerun of the Oprah show, Lana. Where’s this going?”

“I have a brother…don’t know if I ever told you this. He works in New York. Manhattan. He’s a tech engineer for a radio program.”

BING!

“So I was worried about my brother, Ted, who works for the Ivan Teretsky radio show in New York. The radio host’s nickname is Ivan the Terrible…”

Now Jessica Tulrude was starting to put the pieces together. She stared at her chief of staff with a horrified look, now allowing her to finish her awful confession.

[…]

“You gave classified information to a talk-show host! Do you realize that? And what’s worse, the reason you tried to call your brother was because you heard me say that RTS is our only hope but I didn’t think it was going to work. That means that I knew that RTS was going to be used. That means that they can prove that the White House authorized RTS, you idiot! If someone traces that call from you to this radio guy, it’s going to reach back to me. It’s going to destroy me politically!”

Poor Lana. She’s probably going to get chucked under the bus for this, all because Parshall had Tulrude trying to deny that she’d ever actually 100% gone against authorizing the RTS-RGS:

“I was worried about him, that’s all. In the private meeting with White House staff after the two-minute Pentagon briefing, you said basically…’The Pentagon’s going to green-light this RTS weapon and use it against the North Koreans. I don’t think it’ll work, but what choice do we have?’…”

“I never said that.”

“Madam Vice President, you did say that, almost word for word–“

“Well, even if I really did say that, I didn’t say it–if you know what I mean. Lana, in our letter to Senator Straworth’s committee, we said that the White House did not authorize the use of RTS, nor did we know it was going to be used. We can’t now say, oh, gee, sorry we lied, just kidding–“

Yeah. I’d say y’all’s goose is cooked, Madam VP and underlings.

That said, this is entirely too absurd. Why would the White House both authorize use of this experimental missile redirection system and then not want to document it? An unprovoked nuclear attack, by any of the laws of war, would put the US entirely in the clear regarding any and all acts of self-defence. There is no way the Corland Administration would have been seen as doing anything but acting in the best interests of the USA in keeping New York from being nuked.

Even if they want to trade the RTS system for mucho dinero down the road, any non-bizarro reading of the powers of the US government would indicate that given that it was produced by a contractor under the aegis of the US military under Pentagon procurement rules, the government pretty well already owns it, free and clear, and can do as it likes with it.

That’s not the only revelation, though! Remember those weird problems Corland had?

Orvilla stammered a little and said, “But…but the president was responsible for making the decision, wasn’t he? Not you–“

“The president had just suffered another one of his blackouts, you imbecile. Don’t you remember? Are you brain-dead?”

Ah-HA! So that’s why Tulrude was so confident Corland wouldn’t run again and that she could take his place. The man is medically unfit to be President and it’s being hushed up for some reason. In-teresting.

“No. You never did [say he was having blackouts]. You’ve told me he was ‘indisposed.’ ‘Unavailable.’ ‘Dealing with personal issues.’ On that day when the missiles were coming you simply told me to ‘shut up’ when I asked why the president wasn’t in those meetings.”

Jessica Tulrude studied her chief of staff closely. She felt a very personal sense of rage wash over her as she entertained her political dilemma. Just one more dangerous person I will now need to control.

Well, we already know she’s one of those go-getters, but the sheer venality and base attitudes Tulrude has been exhibiting is obviously intended as a sideswipe against Democratic Administrations, suggesting that if only Pack McHenry and his band of American faithful could put their intended (obvs, Republican) President in power, all would be the bee’s knees!

Incidentally, I think the next two books are using this as their jump-off point because in either “Thunder of Heaven” or “Brink of Chaos”, the blurb actually mentions that Josh Jordan is trying to agitate to get a preferred person into the Presidential office and of course big meanies don’t want that person to become President.

*sigh*, LaHaye and Parshall. Ax-grinding is not very fun when you’re doing it so openly.

EoA: Cal Jordan’s Peril

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 320-322 (Chapter Fifty-Four)

Further notes: I’ve reset the comment nesting level to 4; that’s a purely technical thing that has to do with the fact that this theme can’t accommodate deeper nesting. 🙂 Also I turned off that annoying “infinite scrolly entries” thing.

As promised, EoA on Sunday. Let’s roll.


As the topic suggests, Cal Jordan is in trouble! For those of you who suggested way back that Cal Jordan was Zimler’s target, give yourself a big ol’ high five!

In a different time zone, in a very different part of the world, Cal Jordan was in his dorm room at Liberty University, changing into his gym trunks and a T-shirt. He was glad, now that he’d thought about it, that he was going to play some basketball with his buddies to get his mind off things.

I bet Karen Hester liked him in that outfit 😛

However, this next paragraph?

And he was also glad he had heard from his dad. Who knows, maybe he and I will start connecting. Maybe things are going to be better between us.

Um, o-kay, Cal, don’t soft-soap it here. Your dad was bullying you! You can see why I regret that Cal Jordan is, step by step, becoming Stepfordized into a pale shell of his former self. Everyone, please, a moment of silence for PodPerson!Cal.

Right, moving on.

His dorm room’s lights go out and some maintenance guy comes in.

“Sorry to bother,” the maintenance man said. “We’re cutting the power to some of the rooms. These old fluorescent lights in the ceiling have to be replaced one by one. It’s your turn.”

“Lucky me,” Cal said, then added, “hope this doesn’t take long. I’m supposed to shoot buckets in a few minutes with some friends.”

The maintenance man gave a look that lacked full understanding at something in Cal’s answer, but he flashed a quick smile anyway. Then he rolled a large covered utility cart into the dorm room. A few students wandered past the open door, looking in with some curiosity, before the man closed the door behind him.

Yeah, that’s Atta Zimler, all right. As established, that’s his typical M.O.: sucker his victim by pretending to be someone doing something routine, which usually works even if you don’t quite know all the subtleties of the profession or the culture.

Just like Yergi Banica, who, to be fair, had good reason to be paranoid when he let his guard down, Cal’s going to find it’s lights-out in a very different way:

“Could you just help me for just a second?”

“Sure.”

“I just need you to catch that big lighting fixture when I hand it down. Won’t take too long. If you look up there at the fixture in the ceiling, you’ll see where the bulb fits in at both ends. Just be careful not to dislodge the long light bulb when I hand it down to you. The bulb could break. It has some toxic contents inside.”

“Doesn’t sound too hard,” Cal said.

Then Cal took a step into the center of the room and craned his neck to look up at the light fixture.

“I think I see what you are talking about,” Cal said as he was studying it.

Right behind him, dressed in the grey maintenance jumpsuit, Atta Zimler was smiling.

He stepped up closer to Cal Jordan, and as he did, he had a satisfying thought.

This is almost too easy.

AGH CAL NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 😦

What will happen next? Well, if Zimler’s at all smart, he won’t kill Cal, because that would prevent him from getting anything out of Josh. But Zimler’s such a loose cannon, who knows what will happen next? We’ll see in a few pages. Next up, VP Tulrude.

EoA: Caesar Demas, Master Villain

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 318-320 (Chapter Fifty-Four)

Hi everyone! Now that LaHaye and Parshall apparently have gotten the third book out of the End Series, I need to step up my pace! 🙂 In deference to the Slackti-schedule I’ll try to have one EoA on Sunday and one on Wednesday or Thursday. That should cover a chapter a week, if not two, and get us to the end of the book in about a couple of months, if not sooner. Then I’ll try to do my End Series on Sundays and my Christ Clone vs Left Behind and/or other miscellaneous things on Wednesdays/Thursdays.

So, hold me to it, folks. 😀


So like I said, we’re meeting back with Caesar Demas. This chapter is divided roughly in half between Demas and Cal, so I’ll do Demas’s part first and do Cal’s separately.

At his country villa north of Rome, just off of the Via Salaria, Caesar Demas was about to get down to business with his guest from the Middle East. He’d already given him a short tour of his four-thousand-square-meter gardens, the mahogany-lined fifty-stall horse stables, and the restored ancient Roman road that made up part of his three-kilometer-long gated driveway. Now he and his visitor were seated in the gold room, so named for the dark wheat-colored walls, with the stunning view of the rolling hills of his estate. Demas was seated in one brown leather chair, his guest in the matching chair next to him.

Appropriate Bondesque villain palatial residence is appropriate. 😛

I actually mainlined the James Bond series a while back; I’ve been reluctant to watch “American classics” generally, but seeing as how they form the basis for so many cultural touchstones and tropes in Canadian and US culture (at minimum), I gave in and watched.

I wasn’t sorry 🙂

So, who’s the mystery visitor?

We’ll find out, but before that we find out Demas has the urbane evil villain thing down cold:

Now that refreshments had been served, Demas motioned for the servants to leave the room. But before exiting, the head butler bent down next to Demas’ ear and whispered, “Excuse me, sir, but Mrs. Demas is wondering whether you will be able to address the matter of the vineyards today. Your chief of operations in your Tuscany property resigned a week ago. Your wife is worried that there is no one to oversee all of the vineyard work.”

Demas turned to the butler and gave him a withering look.

“Do not–I repeat–do not bother me with those trifles. Do you understand?”

[…]

When the butler bent down next to Demas again, his master whispered in the butler’s ear, “Remember that I want her to be accompanied at all times. I don’t want her left on her own. Understood? And please have her escort, who will be helping her with her wheelchair, send me instant messages regularly. I want to know all of her whereabouts and everything about her activities.”

I kind of feel sorry for his wife. She has shades of Hattie Durham’s fate with Nicolae here – being relegated to minor pet projects that do not interfere with the main goals of the would-be mover and shaker of world events.

Turns out that Mystery Guy is from Iran!

The delegate from the Republic of Iran smiled appreciatively now that they were finally going to address the reason for his visit. With his hand he gave a quick stroke to his closely cropped beard and straightened his white silk waistcoat.

“I had expected Hamad Katchi to be part of this discussion. We had dealt with him previously on this.”

Demas said, “Unfortunately, we have many enemies.” Then he folded his hands, took on a sad, reflective expression, and added, “I fear Mr. Katchi may have fallen prey to some of them. He’s disappeared. We haven’t been able to locate him. I am so concerned that they may have liquidated him.”

That bolded part?

I died laughing at the double meaning of it that we’re privy to as the audience. 😀

The whole thing is such a classic of the villain genre – the total crocodile tears, the oblique references, the non-informative content of the regrets being given. Parshall works it pretty deftly here and it makes me wonder if LaHaye only exerted editorial control over the stuff that was his real hobby-horse.

The dun-dun-DUN ramps up as the dialog proceeds!

“We will have possession [of the RTS-RGS specifications and documents] in the next forty-eight hours. Delivery after that will follow with all possible haste.”

“Will technical assistance be guaranteed?” the Iranian asked.

“That’s part of the package. We have some physicists and weapons designers who are prepared to help you integrate the RTS into your existing weapons systems.”

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Demas pinky swear to the Russians originally and then decide to double-cross them even after they said they’d up the price they’d pay for it? I can only imagine the trouble he’s going to get into if the FSB gets orders from on high to start sending umbrella-carrying assasins.

“The matter of exclusivity has been of great concern to our president,” the Iranian said. “We do not want the RTS to turn into a kind of global discount item available to any banana-republic or no-name island.”

“Of course not,” Demas said, offering to refill his guest’s teacup.

Oh look he’s doing it again. You know, Mr. Demas, you can only double-deal so many times here.

Demas continued explaining. “To reiterate. The RTS technology will only be available to cooperating nations or international unions that are members of our soon-to-be-established League of Ten.”

Well well well WELL WELL.

TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION!

Rev.12
[3] And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads.

Rev.13
[1] And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads.

(Taken from the Revised Standard Version, bold added by me)

So now we know what role Demas will play. He will either become the Antichrist, or he will be one of the Antichrist’s principal backers. Hmmmmm. Makes me wonder if he will suffer the same fate as Jonathan Stonagal in Left Behind. I just hope the Antichrist in this series isn’t some anviliciously named guy that had two sperm-donor daddies.

And what will this League of Ten (how ominous!) do?

Then he remembered something else and added, “And remember that another benefit is that your nation, and others in our League, will have the benefit of the anti-RTS avoidance technology we expect to develop as soon as our scientists analyze the RTS operating principals. (sic) So, you will not only have the benefit of returning incoming missiles to their point of origin, but your nation–and those inside our ten–will also be able to send your missiles into nonmember states, like the United States or their allies…and the wonderful thing is that you’ll be able to bypass their RTS system.”

And now we know why this book even has the stupid-assed conflict between Joshua Jordan and the US government in the first place, with his ridiculous-sounding foreshadowy statements in front of the Congressional committee meeting. LaHaye and Parshall were setting up for this! It would even work if it weren’t for the fact that so many aspects of the conflict are so artificially constructed in the first place.

Finally, for some lulz?

Caesar Demas smiled back. Then he had a private thought. So glad I chose Atta Zimler for this. Truly reliable men are hard to find.

Bwahahaha omfg no, just NO. Zimler is a huge loose cannon, you dumbass! I can only hope Zimler ends up biting the hand that feeds him, because this confidence of Demas’s is sorely, sorely, misplaced. Also, Bond villains sometimes get double-crossed by their own minions, such as in Moonraker, where Bond cleverly points out that the tall giant, Jaws, would be considered by the villain Drax to be a genetic misfit, along with his (IMV, cute) girlfriend (Jaws is also visible in some of the images).

Jaws takes exception to this and starts wrecking shit, which helps Bond successfully triumph against Drax.

Something similar must needs happen at some point in this series, but hopefully it won’t be as poorly constructed as the Buck Williams witnessing Nicolae bump off Stonagal and Todd-Cothran scene written by Jerry Jenkins.

Parshall has, rather well I must admit, planted the seeds for the events of Revelation to kick off, in what fashion is not yet quite known though. And the set-up works better than starting at the Rapture and then trying to ret-con in various alleged precipitating events also claimed to be prophesied in the Bible.

Next time we meet back with Cal Jordan.

EoA: Backlash

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 315-317 (Chapter Fifty-Three)

Let’s resume now, with a look at Senator Straworth’s perspective, then the Jordans.


First off, please observe how patently ridiculous this is, even in the era of Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and so on:

By five minutes before 5:00 that afternoon, the Capitol Hill telephone switchboard in Congress became so overloaded from the outraged calls of citizens that it was rendered inoperable. At 5:25, Senator Straworth was called into an emergency caucus with his party members.

Well then.

So in just half an hour, the Allfone-equipped contingent of the US population acted with one voice demanding that the evil perfidious Congress stop hounding one Joshua Jordan, who, let us remember, has already had the props kicked out from under his insistence that he and he alone gets to own the super secret laser redirection system RTS-RGS.

There’s no denying that in modern ‘net culture the pace of information flow and response is faster than it was twenty or thirty years ago, but I still find it really implausible that in half an hour enough of a response was generated to get Congress’s attention.

A half a day, maybe. A day, certainly.

Especially if the bigwigs in the Democratic Party are taking a wait-and-see attitude to see if this AmeriNews thing is a flash in the pan or the real deal.

Senate Majority Leader Russell Beyers spoke for them all: “Straworth, you’ve got a cyclone by the tail here,” he said. “This subpoena issue involving Joshua Jordan is now threatening every one of us in the party. You need to withdraw that subpoena–and now. Make this all go away.”

Senator Straworth puffed his chest and refused, yelling so hard that spittle flew out of his mouth. “I’m not afraid of a political tornado.”

Oh, honestly, Parshall. Straw-man this guy some more, would you?

“I come from Oklahoma,” the majority leader intoned calmly. “You don’t. We know a little about the power of a tornado. It can suck a man clean off the surface of the earth.” Then he added, “And if that doesn’t remove you, your fellow senators will.”

By 5:30, Senator Straworth had ordered the official withdrawal of the subpoena that had been issued against Joshua Jordan, retroactively. And advised the clerk in Judge Jenkins’ court accordingly.

Well, that’s that. Byebye, subpoena and hello, paeans to Joshua Jordan’s derring-do feats of Davidic proportions against the Governmental Goliath!

(additional nitpick: I don’t like Parshall’s tacking on of the last “And…” sentence like that instead of making the text flow more smoothly.)

And with that, we switch now to the Jordans and their Roundtable cabal.

Joshua, Abigail, and all the members of the Roundtable had been patched into a conference call to receive the news.

Jubilation rang out. Phil Rankowitz was so overjoyed he could hardly speak. Even Alvin Leander was laughing, saying he was still in disbelief that they pulled it off.

It’s not hard to “pull it off”, Mr. Leander, when the author set the whole thing up so your buddy Josh would get what he wanted in the first place!

We find that Harry Smythe is trying to ask Judge Jenkins to formally quash her order requiring the arrest of Joshua Jordan for failure to present his documentation per the Congressional subpoena. But as far as Joshmeister is concerned, that’s small potatoes.

“Harry’ll do the right thing,” Joshua said with an air of confidence. “I’m not worried. I think the victory’s been won, darling. And I owe it all to you. Your strategy was absolutely brilliant.”

[Abigail said,] “I give God the credit, Josh, honey. He does the miracles. Even when we’ve quit looking for them.”

I would say in this instance it’s more like “I give the author the credit, Josh, honey.” 😛

So! With that, we finally are at the end of Chapter 53 and next time, we meet back with Caesar Demas.

And Cal Jordan.

EoA: The Commissioner Acts

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 314-315 (Chapter Fifty-Three)

Hello all! I apologize a LOT for being absent from this blog for so long. Chalk it up to sheer laziness. 😛

(A note: I’ve added italics to some portions of my extracts to set them off from other parts of the text; the text itself has no italics for this part.)


So we’re back to the office of FCC Chairman Jacob Daniels. He’s consulted with all the commissioners and is now ready to make his brave last act:

At 4:10 in the afternoon, […] he finished his note.

After consulting with Commissioners KC and JL, I have made my decision. I will so order World Teleco to honor their contract with AmeriNews. Commissioners KC and JL concurred, making it a majority vote.

Welp, we’re off to the races! His decision’s been filed and that’s that. World Teleco is Not Happy:

Cheavers threatened the chairman with leading a “conspiracy to drive World Teleco out of business.” Daniels calmly replied that he had no such intent. “Unless, of course,” Daniels continued, “you violate our cease-and-desist order and fail to honor your service contract with AmeriNews. In which case we will revoke the authority of your company to do telecommunications in America, which you and I both know I have the power to do–and I have the votes.”

“I’ll appeal,” snarled Cheavers. “You’ll lose. You’ll look stupid. Then the president will finally get around to yanking you off the FCC.”

“All that may be true,” Daniels said. “But not until Wall Street and NASDAQ react to your corporation being suspended from doing business. I wonder what the record is for the fastest, deepest drop for the stock of any American Corporation. You folks at World Teleco might just break the record.”

After this, we switch over to AmeriNews: The Brave Patriots! Well, not the brave patriots part, but anyway, World Teleco apparently rather gracelessly backs down, and agrees to send out AmeriNews stuff. First up is their side of the story about Josh Jordan, naturally:

At 4:31 p.m., on the order of World Teleco executive Bill Cheavers, AmeriNews was launched to half of the Allfones in America. The headline read:

An American Hero Persecuted: Senator Lies about Joshua Jordan’s RTS Missile Defense System

That’s skirting pretty close to defamation, folks. And if that wasn’t enough…

The subheadline read:

Treason in Congress?

Oh, that’s not going to be unnecessarily incendiary or anything.

I had occasion to watch Atlas Shrugged Part II, and it’s even more blatantly graceless and anvilicious than Part I. And one thing that sticks in my mind about it is how the high officials in the government are all such obviously bad people who don’t even believe in what it is they’re claiming as the justification for what it is they’re doing.

It’s exactly the same here. For LaHaye and Parshall, the only thing that matters is that they say that the Democrats in Congress and in the Administration are a pack of lying weasels, even if that’s not factually true. I mean, this is serious business, accusing Congresspeople of committing acts against the interests of the United States. While Republicans often like to act as though Democrats are almost totally Un-American, I don’t think any of those wise guys has ever dared outright claim Democrats were committing treason. Here, because of the manufactured conflict that exists over the RTS-RGS, LaHaye and Parshall can, as the saying goes, Go There.

It’s a pretty audacious and outrageous claim to make, and I’m sure LaHaye and Parshall seem to think that Josh Jordan, as LaHaye’s apparent author avatar (if it’s not Pastor Campbell, but then again, as in Left Behind, LaHaye seems to like having multiple author avatars) is, on LaHaye’s behalf, standing up in unabashed heroic fashion, calling out the Satanically-inspired “worldly” government for what it is.

For LaHaye, the solution is obvious: Put God (or Jesus) in charge. Failing that, their appointed representatives shall serve. And as it happens, some Republican politicians make much of a muchness about their devotion to God, the USA, and Apple Pie, and according to people like LaHaye, these people are clearly the appointed representatives of a Godly government.

But absent clear direction from God, who’s to say they’d do any better of a job? Sin is part of human imperfection, and we’re all still imperfect and we all still make mistakes and do wrong things. Sin is not erased from this planet and as long as it persists a person claiming to be God’s representative to run a government has no greater standing than an atheist in that matter.

The wages of sin is death, and we all still die.

EoA: Chasing the Last Commissioner

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 311-314 (Chapter Fifty-Three)

Hello all! Back to the flow of things. 🙂


So, here we are once again. Where we left off, Abigail was stuck because the last FCC Commissioner she needed to line up was unavailable. Cue the angst, ladies and gentlemen, after she tries to get a conference call with the last Commissioner, only to find his cell phone’s been turned off:

Daniels took a step closer to Abigail and whispered, “Already tried that. The guy’s got his cell phone turned off.” Then he reached out and squeezed her hand, said he was very sorry, and slowly returned to his inner office. Abigail grabbed her briefcase and stormed out of the building, down to the parking ramp to her rental car. Now all she could do was change her ticket to an earlier flight. Get home to Josh. Let him know she’d failed. And see whether by putting their heads together they could figure out some kind of Plan B. Even though she already knew there was no Plan B.

And thus begins the dun-dun-DUN funeral dirge, or so we think. Abigail goes on to angst moar:

She was able to enter Interstate 66 from the government center of D.C. much more quickly than she would have guessed and was heading west. But she didn’t have the heart to call Joshua. Not yet. How could she? Lord, why did You bring me this close to a miracle…just to have everything collapse?

Tears were starting to come. Then the traffic slammed to a halt, both lanes. Great. Now I’ll be late to the airport. I’ll be lucky to get a flight out tonight. This is a disaster…forgive me, God, but I am so utterly…

Now, as Deus ex Machinae go, the next part isn’t quite the most contrived that I’ve seen, but it does strain my credulousness a bit. While the odds are not zero you’d spot someone you were looking for on a freeway without knowing their origin point and time (or their destination point and time), they’ve gotta be pretty freakin’ small.

Then she noticed something off to her right, on an entrance ramp that fed onto the Interstate. A black limo. It slowed as the driver was obviously sizing-up the veritable parking lot of stopped traffic. But a truck about twenty cars ahead of Abigail managed to swing into the adjoining lane creating a gap. The limo driver sped quickly down the ramp trying to race into the space.

Abigail’s eyes lingered on the long stretch limousine and noticed the government license plate. It read “FCCOM 2.” Commissioner Lattig would have to be heading west on I-66 to get to his next meeting in the western corner of the state. She couldn’t believe it. The black limo squeezed into the traffic lane amidst angry drivers and honking horns. The line of traffic was still stopped.

Cue an OJ Simpson style low speed chase as she bounds up the emergency lane to catch up to the guy! She even (SHOCK) breaks her fingernail after slamming to a stop and yanking her briefcase out of her car. But just as she gets ready to run up to the commish’s car, guess what?

With the file containing the affidavit in hand, she picked up her pace alongside of the line of snaking traffic, heading in the direction of the black government limo. She was now only twelve cars from the limo. But the traffic started moving a little faster, up to seven miles per hour. She pumped her arms and went into a bigger stride. The traffic jam was breaking up. They were now up to nine miles an hour. Then ten. Abigail was now into a full-speed run and sweat was beading up on her face. The limo was just two car lengths ahead. A male driver next to her yelled something at her, but all she could hear was the word “crazy” as she ran past him.

Ignoring the fact that telling the exact speed of traffic would be next to impossible, as incidents of dramatic tension go, this beats Buck Douchebag bullying the car dealer into giving him the fully-loaded Range Rover’s number and trying to get hold of Chloe by about a country mile.

Now, this next part strains plausibility a bit. You’re a fairly highly placed government official, and in the post-9/11 world everybody’s had the “omg terrorists” mantra drilled into them from a half dozen sources. Suppose some random woman runs up to your limo while you’re being escorted to your next big meeting. Do you (a) just invite her on in, or (b) keep your doors locked and call the cops right away because better safe than sorry?

Surprise, the Commish picks (a) because of course, Abigail Jordan is too good and righteous to ever be mistaken for a terrorist!

Commissioner Lattig saw someone at his passenger side door and quickly slid over to the far side of the back seat with a startled look. She waved the file in front of the window. Then a look of slight recognition broke over his face. Lattig scooted over the seat and lowered the window half way down.

If I’d been him I’d have had the car phone in my hand in a split second, or failing that, my cell phone. Just in case.

Now, for the sheer jaw-dropping moment of discovery about why the Commish wanted to see her in person so badly (well, that, and the dialog I didn’t paste explains he didn’t think it was an emergency, though how that slipped past him I have no idea):

“It is. We have two votes in our favor,” she said breathlessly. “The chairman and, I think, Commissioner Copple. All we need is your vote…against World Teleco…it’s an outrage, Mr. Commissioner…has to be done this afternoon. Here’s the proof of deliberate viewpoint discrimination and censorship committed by World Teleco…” With that she stuffed the file containing the affidavit through the half-open window of the limo. Then she added, “Your staff said you demanded to see me in person. So here I am…”

“In person? Oh, that. Yes. But not about this case…”

“Then what?” Abigail blurted out almost in a shout.

“Well, to tell you something personal. About your husband.” Lattig lowered the limo window down all the way. Lattig’s face was fully in the open window of the limo. “I wanted you to know that I think your husband is a hero.”

Abigail couldn’t help herself; she started to laugh and cry at the same time.

“Now, about this case of yours,” Lattig said. “Get in, get in. Let’s talk.” With that he swung the door open. She climbed in just as the traffic started moving again.

I just – wow. Not only does this book practically genuflect and gyrate in paeans to Joshua Jordan, it does so in part by putting his wife through totally unnecessary turmoil! I normally don’t side with any Jordan family member except Cal, but If I were Abigail, I’d want to smack this hero-worshipping douchebag who made me break down crying in my car and then rush through traffic to catch up with him to get his freakin’ signature! Just because he wanted a personal visit for something that was completely unrelated to the subject at hand!

Hell, if Lattig was such a Joshua-worshipper, why didn’t he just automatically sign off on the whole thing the instant the chairman brought it up?

Oh, right. Because Parshall wanted ~dramatic tension~.

By Jenkinsian/Left Behind standards, it’s not as completely contrived or stilted, but holy balls, this comes close. We’ve already seen that in this book series, Parshall has manufactured aspects of the dramatic tension arc to push a particular agenda that presents the desirability of gender-role rigidity as well as contempt for civilian government, and Democratic-run governments in particular. In this segment, as unpleasant as the possibility is, given Abigail’s reaction to why Lattig wanted to see her in person, I think what Parshall has done is shown that Abigail is willing, under the right circumstances, to be a doormat for a man, even if that man is not Josh Jordan.

And that, I think, is a really uncomfortably chilling realization – that Deborah has probably been taught to sublimate her desires and wants and needs to a man, and when she meets someone who will one day be her husband, her only role model will have been her mother – a woman who alternately bullies and cajoles her children, while being the Stepford housewife to her husband.

It makes one wonder if Deborah had another reason for joining the military: to try and develop a career path independent of her parents, while appeasing the person she’s been taught matters the most. I think my fan fiction may have been more spot-on than I realized, since Cal is clearly the nail who just won’t stay hammered down, while Deborah silently appears to acquiece to what her family wants for her.

Anyway, so now that the last i has been dotted and the last t has been crossed, we’ll see what happens next in my next writeup. 🙂 See you then!

EoA: Lining up the FCC Officers

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 308-310 (Chapter Fifty-Three)

Hello all! Sorry for the long wait. To ease ourselves back into EoA I’m just going to do this next “chunk” where Abby announces it’s a “go”. But before I do that, let’s have some of that 1980s rock with two iterations of Don Henley’s “All She Wants To Do Is Dance”: the usual one you hear on recordings (link may not be SFW because of images of cheerleaders and whatnot), and a rarer version with a slower beat.


Before Abigail can send her lawyers on their mission, Jacob Daniels has some final fawning words for her:

Then as Abigail rose to leave, Daniels got up, shook her hand, and added one more thought. “My father was a Rabbi, as you probably know,” Daniels said. “He used to quote the first century Jewish scholar Gamaliel: ‘Secure a teacher for thyself.’ I’ve gathered a few teachers for myself over the years. Abby, today you were one of them.”

Considering how these books metaphorically blow smoke up Josh’s and Abby’s arses, I’d have to say this shouldn’t be that surprising, but what is is how blatant this one is. What’s next, a statue in Josh and Abby’s honor?

The status reports come back: the two Commissioners who don’t rate first names – Winston (firm no) and Johnston (accedes to a series of drawn-out meetings) are in the ‘no go’ camp. Then we get the ones who rate first names: Suasn Copple will probably be OK with it. And finally, we get to the linchpin: Justin Lattig.

As for Commissioner Justin Lattig, he was returning from a speech in Nashville. His plane was scheduled to touch down at 1:00 in the afternoon, but it had been delayed. His staff called him on his cell. Then they relayed a message to the lawyer from Lattig himself. “Tell Abigail Jordan that I will do nothing unless she and I discuss this personally. Face-to-face.”

Gee, that isn’t weird or anything. It’s geting pretty clear that Parshall is contorting the plot to milk the dramatic tension, rather than making short work of the FCC Commissioner meetings and phone calls to move us on with the Saga of Joshua Jordan. (But at least a person who wants to meet face to face instead of doing it all over the phone is a nice change from Buck “tethered to his PHONE” Williams of Left Behind.)

While she and the lawyers wait at a place called The Monocle, on D street in Washington, DC, we get the following:

Abigail ordered a Cobb salad. But as the waitress was taking the rest of the orders, Abigail quietly added it all up in her head. She knew that in a few hours, unless World Teleco was reprimanded and AmeriNews was launched and the Capitol was swamped with angry callers, unless all of that happened and happened perfectly, the subpoena would not be withdrawn. And Judge Jenkins would end up signing an order that would turn her husband into a fugitive from the law.

She finally manages to get Copple to a firm “yes”, but Lattig’s still nowhere to be found.

By 3:00, one of the staffers of Commissioner Justin Lattig poked his head out into the lobby and addressed the two waiting lawyers. “Sorry,” he said, “but Commissioner Lattig’s plane just landed. He’s so late that he won’t be coming in at all today. He’s on his way to another speech he has to make tonight in Winchester, Virginia, all the way over at the western edge of the state. I’m sorry about that.”

Cue TEH DRAMATIC TENSION!!!1111oneone

We’ll see how this breaks out next writeup. See you all then. 🙂