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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
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
Perhaps not the most unbiased of sources, but it offers a perspective worth considering:
The HRI said it has convincing evidence that the cluster bombing blamed on pro-Gaddafi forces was actually carried out by the US navy.
The report says at the time of the attack, Human Rights Watch and a reporter working for US media immediately blamed forces loyal to Libya’s embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi for the cluster bombing that threatened civilian lives.
According to the report, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were quick to condemn the act. …
The Libyan regime had flatly denied reports that they have used internationally banned cluster bombs in the ongoing clashes with revolutionaries.
As I’ve stated previously, Gaddafi is a war criminal and deserves to be treated as such. But the standard corporate narrative that portrays the United States as being a pinnacle of justice and a defender of human rights is utterly laughable, and needs to be challenged at every step.
It is quite probable that the United States has used cluster bombs in Libya, as it appears they have done in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Cluster bombs are against international law and their deployment should be considered deplorable, as they are a particularly brutal form of weapon. However, focusing on the type of weapon used misses the larger issue. War of any kind is reprehensible, and any entity which engages in warfare should be considered, by definition, guilty of war crimes.
Continuing with the anti-religious theme, let us now turn to Kentucky, where creationism apparently trumps education every time:
In December, I reported that the Kentucky creationism theme park set to open in 2014 will “include dinosaurs.” The park “will feature a 500-foot-long wooden replica of Noah’s Ark containing live animals such as juvenile giraffes.” It will also include “a replica of the Tower of Babel with exhibits.” …
Now the park has been granted $43 million in state tax breaks. At the same time, “the state has gone through eight rounds of budget cuts over the past three years,” including cuts to “education at all levels” and a pay freeze for all teachers and state workers. …
In addition to the tax incentives, approved unanimously by the state’s tourism board, taxpayers may have to pony up another $11 million to improve a highway interchange near the site.
This is the very definition of idiocy, and another prime example of why we need to fight against religious belief in every way we can. It is not simply a matter of respecting the beliefs of others, allowing people to live according to their own wishes. The problem, as anyone who has ever met a fundamentalist Christian or Muslim understands, is that a substantial percentage of religious people are not content to keep their views and way of life to themselves. Spreading religion is built into the very fabric of their belief system, as is the case with every successful collection of memes.
The tiny island of Graciosa off the coast of Portugal is undergoing a silent revolution. A German company is trying to make the 4,500-strong community energy self-sufficient and independent.
Berlin-based “Younicos” wants to harness and store the power generated by the wind and the sun on a scale large enough to supply the entire island.
Company founder, Clemens Triebel describes his vision:
“We would have a place in the world where already today, the energy supply with renewables would be ensured one hundred percent, without the people living there having to suffer from poorer quality or other disadvantages compared to other industrialized countries.”
The bottom line about Gracioca’s move towards a complete reliance on renewable energy is this: we have the capacity to do it, even today. If communities and nations around the globe merely made the effort and directed sufficient resources to the cause, there is no reason to believe we could not attain total energy self-sufficiency. The only thing which prevents us from realizing that goal is a simple lack of motivation; instead of utilizing our intellectual and material wealth for creative purposes with benefits for all, we prefer to squander our wealth on weapons and war.
I’ve had a strange couple of weeks. This tumultuous period began with the death of my cat, just two days before the end of 2010. Initially I suspected that he had been poisoned – this being Thailand, after all. A quick Google search quickly revealed, however, that he had more likely died from rabies. In his case, the disease appears to have taken the paralytic route, a lesser known but nonetheless extremely common form of the notoriously lethal illness.
I ended up receiving rabies PEP only to later discover that the course of treatment I was administered was well beneath the standard of that recommended in the States (for those who know the score, I was given the vaccine only, without HRIG/ERIG). Needless to say, this resulted in quite a bit of worry on my part, as I considered the (relatively small) possibility that I might be one of the unlucky few who developed symptoms of the disease more rapidly than the vaccine alone could provide immunity.
This sudden possibility of my own imminent demise necessarily lead to, amongst flashes of sheer panic, reflections on the nature of life and – at the risk of sounding cliched – our ultimate purpose here on this earth.