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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
We may now add murder to the deepening scandal surrounding the man who brought us, among much other tripe, Fox News:
Whistleblower in Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal Found Dead
On Monday, Sean Hoare, a former reporter who helped blow the whistle on the Murdoch-owned News of the World, was found dead in his home. Hoare had been the source for a New York Times story tying phone hacking to former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who would later become director of communications for British Prime Minister David Cameron. Coulson was arrested as the scandal broke open earlier this month. Police say Hoare appears to have died of natural causes, but the determination had not lessened suspicion of foul play. Hoare not only talked about phone hacking, but phone tracking as well, or as he said they called in the newsroom “pinging,” where he said News of the World would pay police, he believed, to track individuals’ locations.
It is becoming evident that Murdoch’s revolting media empire, a veritable propaganda factory, has extensive ties to the wealthy and powerful, including government officials and the police force that is entrusted with maintaining public order. What is less apparent, however, is why exactly this has come to the fore now. What has Murdoch done to fall out of grace with the ruling elite?
If it’s not A, it must be B, because life is always black and white, right?
Voters are increasingly displeased with President Obama’s handling of the economy, but a new poll finds most Americans still think George W. Bush is responsible for the nation’s dismal financial state.
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 54 percent of those surveyed say Bush is responsible for the “current condition” of the economy, compared to just 27 percent who blame Obama. Among self-described independent voters, a key 2012 voting bloc, the number shifts slightly: 49 percent point the finger at the former GOP president, while 24 percent blame Obama.
Part of the problem, of course, is the simplistic wording of the question which automatically creates a false dichotomy of Republicans versus Democrats. The question might have been, which administration is more responsible for the current financial crisis, which then translates into the definitive statement that voters “think George W. Bush is responsible.” This simplified version of reality, which suggests that the complex terrain of the political frontier is easily understood in concrete, black-and-white terms, is then absorbed by an impatient and apathetic public whose attention span is incapable of grasping anything beyond the 10-second sound byte.
As if things weren’t bad enough, we now have droughts on the scale of the Dust Bowl era to contend with:
In other climate news, Texas and 13 other states stretching from Arizona to Florida continue to face one of the worst U.S. droughts on record. Some say the drought c
ould rival the Dust Bowl Days. In Texas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently designated all 254 counties in the state natural disaster areas.
More collateral damage in our insatiable love affair with oil:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to collect indoor air samples from homes downstream of an Exxon Mobil oil spill that’s leaked as much as 42,000 gallons of crude oil beneath Montana’s Yellowstone River. The Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company initially downplayed the incident saying it would only affect 10 miles of the river, but state officials say the spill has already stretched more than 240 miles to near the North Dakota border. Local residents have raised concerns over health risks and reported symptoms including nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath.
Burst pipes, exploding wells, and wrecked tankers are all-too-common occurrences in our incessant quest to produce greater and greater quantities of oil. Such events reek havoc on ecosystems and the health of local residents, but the underlying issue — our undying addiction to oil — seems beyond the bounds of public debate.
Years ago, I spent a couple of summers working in a salmon cannery in Naknek, Alaska. On the base of the Alleutian Peninsula, surrounded by the bleak, brown landscape of the summer tundra, it was a dreary job of 16-hour days spent gutting fish, in a tiny town in one of the most desolate regions on earth.
Among some of my stranger workmates were a handful of proud skinheads from Washington state, including a giant, 6′ 4″ weirdo with a shaved head, scraggly ginger beard, and oversized horn-rimmed glasses. We were often situated side-by-side on the “slime line,” as it was termed, and engaged in conversation on a wide variety of topics whilst ripping fistfuls of guts from the insides of unfortunate salmon.
He was, not surprisingly, an ultra-conservative Republican who loved capitalism, worshiped the mythical free market, and adored the writings of Ayn Rand. As a long-haired hippie fresh from the streets of Portland, we obviously didn’t quite see eye to eye on many – most – issues.
When the 4th of July came and, during one of our paltry 30-minute meal breaks, we were served revoltingly dry barbecued chicken in celebration of our nation’s independence, he looked at me snidely and asked whether or not I considered Independence Day to be a day of mourning.
And it was a fair question. Read more of this post
If anyone required further proof of the parasitic nature of religion, this sums it up quite nicely:
The Vatican says it was profitable in 2010, after three years of being financially in the red.
The Vatican said Saturday that it made a profit of more than $14 million last year on revenue of about $356 million. That contrasts with a loss of nearly $6 million in 2009 and losses in 2007 and 2008 as well.
The separately administered Vatican City State also was profitable in 2010, with earnings of more than $30 million on strong ticket sales at Vatican museums.
Despite the 2010 profit, the church said that donations from churches worldwide – the so-called Peter’s Pence – fell nearly $15 million to just under $68 million. The Vatican offered no reason for the decline in donations, but sexual abuse allegations against parish priests emerged last year in Europe, traditionally a top region for donations.
At least the Vatican is being open about the fact that their crumbling religion is little more than a giant, multinational corporation with hundreds of millions of customers. Other religions are not quite so honest, but at its core religion is little more than a rather transparent gambit to acquire ever greater wealth and power.