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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
If you have a bank account in the United States, the odds are pretty good it’s with one of the big boys shown in the graph above – the very institutions which created the financial crisis and are even now still contributing to the demise of America’s working and middle classes. I used to have an account with Washington Mutual but pulled my money out after it became JP Morgan Chase, when I started noticing mysterious chunks of change disappearing here and there in various new “service fees.” The level of blatant thievery that the big banks engage in on a daily basis is remarkable, yet their influence in America is such that the very notion of holding them accountable for their actions is unthinkable. If I removed $20 from my neighbor’s wallet and called it a “service fee,” I would be arrested. Yet if Bank of America does the same thing, it is simply the cost one pays for the pleasure of having a bank account in America.
BoldProgressives.org is championing a movement to organize a mass withdrawal of funds from the major corporate banks – a movement they affectionately refer to as the Banxodus. These institutions derive their wealth and power from the resources of ordinary Americans, and there is no reason to think that with an organized, concerted effort we couldn’t bring them to their knees in a single day.
Spread the word, and do your part to help bring down the banksters once and for all.
…the corporate elite. If this is genuine, and there is no reason to believe it isn’t, things could be about to take a dramatic turn for the worse:
Rumsfeld knows a fellow Corporatist when he sees one:
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says President Barack Obama has come to accept much of the Bush Doctrine out of necessity, despite what he campaigned on in 2008.
Rumsfeld said that Obama needed to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention center open because of national security concerns, and it was the best solution among a host of bad options.
“They ended up keeping Guantanamo open not because they like it – we didn’t like it either – but they couldn’t think of a better solution,” Rumsfeld told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday.
Rumsfeld then listed a handful of other Bush administration policies that have continued into the Obama administration, something that he sees as vindication of the policies.
“The same is true with the Patriot Act, and military commissions, and indefinite detention. All of those things were criticized but today are still in place two-and-a-half years later because they are the best alternative to the other choices – and they are in fact successful in keeping America safer,” he says.
As usual, of course, Rumsfeld and his ilk are incapable of refraining from twisting the truth in some way or another. For Rumsfeld to suggest that Obama campaigned against the Bush Doctrine is disingenuous, as Obama’s campaign was little more than a collection of vacuous platitudes. “Yes, we can” continue our multiple wars of terror; “Yes, we can” ignore the rule of law and illegally detain people without charge or recognition of basic human rights; “Yes we can” continue a 30+ year streak of government policies that strongly favor the rich while decapitating America’s middle class.
And then we have Rumsfeld’s bogus assertion that the Bush Doctrine and its associated tenets – Guantanamo Bay, indefinite detention, the Patriot Act – are somehow the “best alternative to other choices.” Of course, the vagueness of the term “other choices” leaves open the slimy possibility for a sliver of truth; but to what other choices are we referring? Mass genocide? Mandatory castration? Government-imposed lobotomies? (Actually, a form of nationalized lobotomy already exists; we call it public school.)
Obama never campaigned against the policies of the Bush administration, because he never had any intention of implementing anything different. We have been living under a One-Party State since at least the Reagan administration, but that single Party has been becoming more and more brazen in its attempts to enslave the masses for the benefit of the Elite. The Obama administration represents perhaps the most blatantly corporatist regime in the history of our nation – which says a lot, considering the notoriety of its predecessors.
U.S. elections are now and have long been a sham, and they will only continue to degenerate thanks to the preposterous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. There is no meaningful difference between the Republicans and Democrats and has not been at any time in the modern era; to vote Democrat is merely to enable to the continuance of our long, dark slide into the depths of the dismal Right, where corporations hold more rights than humans, and the common good is sacrificed for the ever-growing profits of the Elite. Any person who willingly identifies himself as a Democrat or Republican, and votes accordingly, is a part of the problem, and should be held accountable.
Boycott the One Party State.
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.
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.