If you would like to contribute your own work, contact me at failedempire AT gmail DOT com.
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.
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.