Consumption Conspiracies

It struck me this morning while reading about the even more invasive airport screening (to make us safe, you know) following an article about the new tougher child seat rules (not only does everyone have to buy seats meeting the new rules but they are going to institute RIDE stops to check if you have an ‘approved’ seat that has been properly installed) that the common thread of all these initiatives is that the solution to our problems is to buy stuff. So the car seat(s) that you have must be discarded and replaced with other car seats that sport the new and improved… And we have this airline security problem so governments and airports must buy these inspection services and xray strip search machines. And the folks at Hopeless Insecurity just happen to know some guys that are working on devices that will… And after everyone is upset about the groping, strip searches and (probably) video proctoscoping… the answer to the question about easing back is of course no — after all, it will cut back on someones’ profit margin and we did sign long term contracts… One wonders how many problems that the media (or at least politicians and special interests) have their shorts in a twist over have a solution that is ‘buy this’? Would we not be better off to spend the money on better driver training and traffic enforcement (or roads)? Is there any possibility that we could spend money on improving our infrastructure or schools? Instead we are pummelled into buying stuff because of the 205 commie infiltrators in this secret report are trying to get us… What if we just said NO?

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American Banana Republic(ans?)

Our Banana Republic – NYTimes.com
An interesting point — and one wonders how Canada fits in this same landscape of inequality? If the folks in power are working hard to make the country ever more unequal by dismantling social safety nets — and those affected, who in reality have no power but get to pay for it all, then where does it all lead? Short term profits have been gained by shipping jobs offshore. Still more by discouraging practical energy solutions in favor of burning and drilling more. But this only works as long as the masses have money to be exploited. But there is a growing mass of people who are unemployed for reasons other than their own. They did the right things and were productive members — but no more. In the US the Republicans played on their anxiety with false messages of government greed to expand their power. But that is a ploy with only short term possibilities. Over the longer term these folks must either improve the situation or  invent some new distractions — maybe we will invade the Bronx? The growth of inequality, as suggested by this column, fosters a buildup of social dispair. How long can we go down this road before the buildup of social discontent triggers another revolution?

Demise of Governments as a Force

Defense Tech | The future of the Military, Law Enforcement and National Security
An interesting thought and the subject of much speculative science fiction — what will the world look like as corporations gain more power, deploy their own military contractors and continue to influence policy to their benefit and the detriment of society. And look around at the world we live in – Canada has the CRTC that ‘regulates’ communications and rotates executives from the major telcos. No one seems surprised that they continue to legislate regressive legislation that enhances profits and drags Canada further behind other countries. Or the government which has successfully sold off one national asset after another. Or in the US where Food inspection has come to mean paperwork check and the same cost cutting concepts are being moved into aviation. We are seeing the end of a show trial in Gitmo where a child soldier was convicted of terrorism and being an unlawful combatant by the folks who employed and continue to employ civilian security contractors who apparently can kill civilians, friendlies and each other with no meaningful repercussions. And with the Republican victories in the US there is no stopping the soaring deficits and dismantling of protective regulations while adjusting the tax policies to be even more favorable to the rich. At least decisions will be made on the metric of profit to the few — at the expense of the many. But whenever we think of cost cutting by outsourcing we walk further down this road. One wonders if Rome was following the same road?