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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
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.
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.