Serfs Up…

As I write, it’s raining, here, in Northern California. It brought to mind those movies in which drought is a factor. The characters are all worried about water and what they’re going to do. The movie happens and it nears it’s end. Then, as the movie closes, rain starts falling. Everybody breathes a sigh of relief and laughs and goes outside and dances in the rain. All of their problems are solved!

Wait…from ONE rain? I currently live in an area stricken by drought and has been for many years, now. Our reservoirs are dangerously low. Our aquafer is dangerously low. Those movies are often set in places or times where they don’t have meteorological equipment to help them but we watch day after day as high pressure areas – often described as “unusual” – push the rain-producing lows north, depriving us of water. One rain ain’t gonna solve our problem…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for the rain. We need it. But, at most, it’s going to settle some dust, maybe add – a bit – to rain catchers. But it’s also going to cause grasses and low shrubs and bushes to grow, adding to our fire risk.

I don’t think the current jet stream patterns, where rain is constantly pushed north of us, should be described as “unusual.” I think they’re the “new norm.” If I remember correctly, the old norm was annual rainfall to the tune of something like 30+ inches where I live. This year? We got an absolute deluge to start the season. We started at something like 500% above normal rainfall! Then the rain stopped and, mostly, STAYED stopped. So far, this year, with the rain year closing and resetting in 25 days, we’ve had 26 inches – and that’s the best rain year we’ve had in a long time!

Today, scientists know that the Sahara Desert was once a lush, green place full of water and life. Apparently, it once was home to the largest fresh water lake in the world and sported big, long rivers. But the climate pattern in the area changed. The area stopped getting water like it had. I don’t have to imagine the patterns it went through – I’m living it now. It got drier and drier. The animals fought for shrinking water supplies. It rained from time to time but less and less each year. Many years, it didn’t rain at all. The drier things got, the hotter they got. Fire did the rest. The animals that hadn’t left searching for water fled the flames – if they could. Fire is VERY effective at clearing areas. If there’s no follow-up rainfall, nothing grows back. The last large watering holes dried up until only the occasional oases existed – and you’d BETTER know where they are before you start your journey.

To me, the climate change deniers won the rhetorical war. Now, we ALL lose the real life climate war together. But, of course, greed is all in once-great America. A planet no longer able to sustain human life is just collateral damage to maximizing shareholder value. I guess the important part is that the cons got to “own” the libs on this one – for awhile, anyway – and the fossil fuel industries made a freaking KILLING! (Perhaps…not the best choice of words…)


It’s an odd phenomenon in this once-great, submerging nation that we’ve taken to addressing symptoms because we can’t (won’t, really) address the actual, underlying problems. Palliative care instead of corrective care. Nice. But we don’t have a choice. Nothing is more important than the profits of a few large, multinational corporations and the small number of people who run them. The wage thieves who have taken so much from the people who do the work have amassed HUGE fortunes and they use them to protect and enhance their huge fortunes. They sure as hell don’t intend to pay their fair share of taxes. That is, they’re NOT going to pay taxes at a rate commensurate with the amount they extract from society, so the money flows one way.

We see the cracks everywhere. Everywhere. The US still likes to describe itself as a “first world” nation. I don’t think that’s true anymore. I mean, sure, you can look around and see the trappings of when we were a first world nation. We still LOOK pretty good – if one doesn’t look too closely. Granted, we’ve got a military the likes of which the world has never seen. Even THAT is a common thread to failing societies. They NEED ever larger armies to control that which they once controlled just by being awesome. (Yeah, a bit simplistic.) Once again, it brings thoughts of ancient Rome to mind.

Rome was once, obviously, THE first world nation on the planet. Now it’s just a city. A beautiful city, to be sure, but hardly the world dictating power it once was. One can still look around and see the trappings of a once-great nation, many still in use today – nearly 2,000 years hence. We’re taught in school that the Roman Empire became so large it became unsustainable. I suspect the truth is, the people at the top of the economic structure became so out-of-control greedy, after awhile it didn’t matter HOW big the empire was – it just couldn’t keep up with the money grabs. And that’s a fair description of the United States today.

We can’t address homelessness because of greed. Yes, some of the homeless are there because they’re drug addicted or have mental issues. But there are plenty out there who have simply been priced out of the housing market and don’t have the resources to leave. Of course, we used to treat drug addicts and those suffering mental illness – often whether they wanted us to or not. But that took professional people and facilities, all of which had to be paid for, and the wage thieves don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes so…we cut budgets and cut budgets and cut budgets and finally close facilities and turn residents out onto the streets. “Good luck.”

The other prong of the greed-driven homeless problem is hedge funds buying up all the private housing. That entire process profits everybody in the stream – except those who have to pay the rents and can no longer compete in the purchasing market. Who in this country is going to interfere with profits just because those profits are created by destroying society? Nobody, that’s who.

Having a hard time just buying gas? Tough. Suck it up. The oil industries are making a killing. I know, the cons blame the Dems. That’s just what they do. But the prices at the pump are a corporate choice. The corporations made the choice to cut production specifically to increase the price of a barrel of oil. It’s a kind of gouging. They COULD produce enough oil to keep pump prices low. They CHOOSE not to because they couldn’t set new profit records if they did. In the past, the only thing that brought prices down was Congress holding “hearings” to find out why prices were so high. The moment the corporations have to prove their supply chain problems, the supply chain problems magically disappear and the prices go down…some. I haven’t heard calls in Congress for hearings. Who, after all, in this country is going to interfere with profits just because those profits are destabilizing the national economy?

We can’t solve the gun crisis because of greed. Yeah, I know. The shooters are nut-balls and it’s only a few bad apples. But as we’ve covered, the wage thieves don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes so we don’t get the facilities we need to care for them. So they’re nut-balls with easy access to military style killing machines. Every time one of the nut-balls goes off, gun sales go up. Who, in this country, is going to interfere with profits just because a few defenseless children are brutally cut to pieces from time to time?

I’ll tell you this: I believe in Capitalism but a crucial component of Capitalism is the realistic ability of the consumer to say no. The rigged system we live in today has largely eliminated that. Now it’s “Pay or die.” That’s not Capitalism, it’s Feudalism…and I don’t want to be a serf…