Welcome to the Company Store

7 December 2014

Over the last few years, I’ve read several predictions of a future America under feudal rule after the inevitable resource/population/climate/food crunch bites hard. Having no reason to think them wrong, I spent time thinking what American feudalism might look like. A couple of days ago, I realized my musings added nothing because American feudalism already thrives here: America–the Land of the Free (to buy anything and everything) from the Companies’ Stores.

My falling behind reality came from my naively envisioning American feudalism in its old heredity forms. That’s unAmerican. Our aristocracy practices equal opportunity employment to the bright, the driven, the well–if narrowly–educated, and to those willing adhere to the company line. Corporations are the royalty.

Our corporate overlords provide our sustenance and demand only loyalty to the brand, to the right of the firms to dictate to their minions in Congress. Far too many docile and greedy serfs consume happily, blaming those beneath them for their misfortunes while the company stores marginalize, vilify, and legislate against those unwilling to buy company goods.

Don’t believe me? Example: “Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General”

Another: “The Road to Serfdom: American Feudalism Comes to Detroit”

Yet another with a conservative twist: “The Case for “Serfdom,” Rightly Understood”

And one with a liberal view: “America: Home of the Bewildered Serf and Land of the Feudal Lords”

Still don’t believe America’s run by corporations–and a few super rich white guys” Take a look at this: “NBC/WSJ Poll Reveals American’s Priorities; Guess How they Match With GOP Lawmakers’ Priorities”

I was proud of myself when I finally put a name to what’s happening today, but obviously I was late to the party. I admit that and accept another’s term for our serfdom: Neo-feudalism.


Viva Mexico!

7 December 2014

Unsurprising News:

“Saudi Arabia Opposes Gender Equality in Climate Change Policy”

That only one country “fought till the end to retain gender as being paramount in the implementation of climate change policy” was equally unsurprising but that this country was neither European or North American surprised more than a bit.

All that’s left to say is Viva Mexico!


A Fantasy EPA Official Speaks

29 November 2014

One of my favorite profs in grad school always prefaced my name with “The Ironic Miss.” Indeed, irony and satire, still rate high with me.

Hence I love this little bit of satire from The Newsroom. Of course, I’d love it even more were it truly ironic and satirical. I fear our “reality” may be closer to irony and satire than this.

For the current carbon dioxide level, click here.


Addendum: Mother Jones fact checked this. Good article. As I said, the “satire” is mostly true; one gets more irony and satire reading some “news” and blog articles offered up by deniers. Still, all are pretty funny, funnier still if one is old and childless.

No Free Lunch, No Brighter Future

22 November 2014

Renewable energy, sustainable energy, green energy. We’ll replace fossil fuels and all will be well. We’ll carry on as is, right?

Wrong. First of all, no established fuel source compares to that of fossil fuel. Aside from the fact that its emissions are currently changing the entire climate of the planet–and not for the better of most living beings–it’s an ideal energy source, that is, small amounts produce large amounts of energy. Of the current replacements, large wind and solar arrays are great–unless you are a bat or a bird.

In fact, all of our attempts to find alternative sources of energy look pretty bleak when examined closely.

“Abundant Clean Renewables? Think Again!”

Of course, the answer is simple: reduce population, reduce use of energy.

But no one wants to hear that. Human brains are not wired to hear that.

Oh well.


“The Fatal Flaw With Democracy”

7 November 2014

“The Fatal Flaw With Democracy”

I’ve only glanced at this because it looks to be a painful read. Unfortunately, I fear it sums up the country I now call USA Inc. a place run by Billionaires United.

There are times when I wish I did drugs.


More on Water

7 November 2014

Way back, I posted several blog entries on the depletion of the midwest aquifers. So now, I’m posting just a few random links on the current situation of the water supply in the US.


“These Maps of California’s Water Shortage Are Terrifying”


“Busted, Part Deux! Fracking Chemicals Found in Wyoming Water Supply”

The Path of the Keystone Pipeline:

The Fracker’s Quest: More Water

“Ogallala Aquifer Report Fails to Settle Concerns Over Oil Spill Risk”

As you can see from these few articles, the US is fine. Everything’s peachy. Go water your driveway.


How Ignorant Are Typical Americans?

5 November 2014

While major American universities continue to be held in high regard throughout the world, Americans themselves do not. We are not and have never been a country of intellectuals. Far from it. The typical American regards higher education as frou-frou. In short, we are, as the late Richard Hofstadter’s Pulitzer winning Anti-Intellectualism in American Life shows, a country that finds intellect suspicious at best and contemptible at worst. We almost pride ourselves on our ignorance.

A weird pattern emerges. College costs money–lots of money–but becoming educated also requires considerable mental effort, something Americans apparently don’t grok since the price tag is hidden in the future or in some sort or arcane cult, a knowing for the sake of knowing society. Any sort of effort to find stuff out is almost unAmerican. We are the pinnacle, so we just KNOW or KNOW someone who KNEW, don’t we?

Add to this wonderful ethos the profound fear that’s soaked this land since Septebmer 11, 2001, and you end up with a country that provides a home to quiveringly blank people. As proof, I offer the sheep running this school:

“Kentucky Teacher Resigns Over Parents’ Dumb Ebola Fears”

Yes, the teacher and her husband show that the United States indeed has some intelligent, knowledgeable people left. However, the mere fact that people RUNNING a SCHOOL stick to an insane sanction rather than learning about the disease, about geography, and educating the parents and students, proves my point, doesn’t it?

Those folks in Kentucky had what those in education profession call a “teachable moment.” This map might have been a boon to the generally geographically illiterate American:

How Big Is Africa

Did anyone at this school do any research before making a decision? Did they look at a map? Look up the transmission vectors for ebola? Did they feel any responsibility to educate themselves?

What sort of model are they providing for their students? I fear they displayed model ignorance, model fear, modern modern America.


UPDATE: “Former St. Margaret Mary Teacher: ‘Resignation Had Nothing to Do with Kenya or Ebola'”

Colorado: More fracking coming to the Pawnee National Grasslands

25 October 2014


Each day I become more convinced this drilling is indeed A Great American Ponzi scheme. In order to succeed, drilling must increase at completely unsustainable levels. And when the bubble bursts, states like Colorado will get the job of trying to restore the land.

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Feds finalizing oil and gas development plan for 100,000 acres of public land


Oil and gas drilling is spreading northeastward into the Pawnee National Grasslands. Map courtesy WildEarth Guardians.

Staff Report

FRISCO — If it sometimes feels like fracking is closing in wherever you look, it’s because it is. One of the latest arenas for fossil fuel exploitation is on the Pawnee National Grasslands, in northeastern Colorado, described by the U.S. Forest Service as the country’s last remaining shortgrass prairie.

View original 425 more words

Bill Moyers Finally Retires–For Real This Time

25 October 2014

Bill Moyers says he’s retiring for real this time. I hope he’s not, after all, he’s only 80.

In case he is indeed serious, I hope everyone will read this interview:

“Bill Moyers: Grassroots Pro-Democracy Movement Must Rise to Challenge Corporate Control”

If that’s asking too much, at least read my favorite line:

We have to figure out how to have a morally-based conversation about politics and economics. If it’s all about money and return on investment and stock shares and all that, instead of what kind of society works best for those who don’t have such “goods”, we’re finished as a democracy, because some people will be able to buy anything they want and vast numbers of others will be unable to afford what they need.

Moyers has been and remains an American treasure.


As Years Pass, So Do Some Ideas–or Not

24 October 2014

Interesting story about how a few years, lots of reading, and the application of critical thinking affect the brain.

“CPAC’s Boy Wonder Swings Left”

The process described here used to be called growing up and becoming educated.

In contrast, some people–way too many people–fail to grow up and examine their positions. They maintain their positions by refusing to investigate, read, think, reflect, or even exercise a bit of curiosity: “Abbott among Climate Change Skeptics”



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