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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
I’ll be away from the Intertubes for the next few days, taking a much needed mini-vacation. Should be back on Saturday.
In addition to the trillion dollar price tag, 600,000+ dead civilians, 1 million orphans and 6,100 dead American soldiers, we can now add 400,000 brain-injured veterans to the cost of our latest wars of aggression:
Independent experts suggest that more than 400,000 American service members will return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries that could lead to severe personality disorders, and little is being done to help them.
Having wasted countless billions – trillions, in all likelihood – on our five concurrent wars and exposed hundreds of thousands of American soldiers to the dangers of the battlefield, our gifted military leaders have identified the true culprit behind our reckless spending: health care for soldiers.
Afflicted veterans have every reason to expect their government to continue to treat them as expendable waste, as the Pentagon actively opposes formal diagnoses of the condition, known as mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and denies the validity of treatment that its own researchers have said could help. Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for a cut in the military’s $50-billion-a-year health budget, saying “health care costs are eating the Defense Department alive,” according to a Huffington Post article in January.
And that in a nutshell is the very essence of American empire. Exploit the little guys for all they’re worth, using them in any way necessary to reap maximum profits. Because war is, after all, little more than a business venture for the giant corporate entities within the military-industrial complex. Just as the private sector throughout America has little interest in providing health care for the workers it underpays and overworks, so too does our for-profit military increase it profits for its shareholders by cutting corners on such luxuries as medical care for the severely wounded.
As 1 million people turn out for the Stanley Cup parade in Boston, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Europe to decry proposed austerity measures:
Anti-austerity rallies have been held across Europe – in Spain thousands marched to protest against high unemployment and their government’s handling of the economic crisis.
It was the first major demonstration since the end of the so called Indignant campaign in which Madrid’s central square was occupied by activists for several weeks.
A protest movement called “The Indignant” is leading the way in Spain:
More than 100,000 protesters took to the streets in cities across Spain on Sunday, accusing politicians and bankers of implementing economic policies that led to the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone.
In Spain’s capital, Madrid, protesters converged near the parliament building where 500 police were deployed to maintain security. The police estimated that between 35,000 and 45,000 people joined the demonstrations with no reports of violence.
“I’m here because this is a con,” Juanjo Montiel, a 26 year old who works in information technology, told the news agency Reuters. …
Since its founding in May, the protest movement has fanned out across Spain with protesters on Sunday reading a manifesto calling for a general strike and for a revolution.
“The capitalist system does not work, it only benefits a few and harms the majority,” a young female protester told the news agency dpa. …
“The banks and the governments that caused this situation must know that we do not agree with the measures and the budget cuts, that we intend to be heard,” the “indignant” movement said when calling for nationwide protests.
With the official unemployment rate in Spain exceeding 20%, the rage felt by ordinary citizens is quite understandable. Their situation is in many ways similar to our own; after years of reckless profiteering by the banks and other corporations, ordinary citizens are now faced with the prospect of slashing social services to bail out the very entities that caused the crisis in the first place. There are, of course, crucial differences between them and us – perhaps the most notable being that people in Spain are actually turning out en masse to protest the latest proposed austerity measures.
But beyond that, the situation across Europe is different in that they actually have meaningful social services at risk of being lost. Universal health care, free or reduced college education and comprehensive unemployment benefits are the norm throughout the EU, meaning that normal citizens actually have a lot to lose if the proposed measures are implemented.
It’s good to see Americans have their priorities straight:
BOSTON (AP) — The Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics have all had at least one in recent years, and now it’s the Bruins turn for a parade.
The Stanley Cup champions will be the toast of the town on Saturday. Police expect as many as one million people to converge on Boston to honor the Bruins.
Did you catch that? One million people are expected to turn up for the Bruins victory parade. The economy is collapsing, millions are unemployed, we’re fighting five concurrent wars and increasingly living in a police state, the climate is shifting, cancers are spreading, the banksters are ripping off the masses on an unprecedented scale and the people can’t be bothered to get off their asses to do anything about it, but one million people will happily attend a frivolous parade to celebrate winning the fucking Stanley Cup. You gotta love America, right?
From Mother Jones:
Every year, Environmental Working Group sifts through USDA testing data and figures out which “dirty dozen” fruits and veggies deliver the largest doses and the widest variety of pesticides. This year’s winner, announced Monday: apples. According to EWG, 92 percent of the apples tested by USDA carried two or more pesticide residues. And even as supermarket shelves feature a pretty narrow range of apple varieties—Red Delicious, Granny Smith, etc.—farmers are spraying them with a stunning diversity of poisons. Altogether, USDA picked up no fewer than 56 distinct pesticides on the apples it tested, EWG reports.
And the full list from EWG:
The profiteering frenzy incited by war knows no bounds:
Federal auditors now believe as much as $6.6 billion earmarked for Iraq might have been stolen in the early years of the Iraq war in what is now being described as possibly “the largest theft of funds in national history.” Between 2003 and 2004, the United States shipped $12 billion in cash to Iraq in what was the biggest international cash airlift of all time. For years, the Pentagon has been unable to account for where more than half the money went. The Los Angeles Times reports Iraqi officials are now threatening to go to court to reclaim the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the United Nations’ oil-for-food program.
The incident truly epitomizes the rationale behind most armed conflict, though the insatiable greed here boggles the mind. Just try to picture what exactly what transpired. As the invasion went underway, warmongers everywhere smelled the impending cash influx and flocked to the source as $12 billion in cash was physically loaded into aircraft and delivered to Iraq. Literally stacks of cash then went missing, as money-grubbing profiteers helped themselves to the bounties of the latest American war of aggression. Such is the norm in war, and has been throughout all of human history.