“Doll’s house I spent two years making, being destroyed in a fire.” – Harriet.
Tag Archive: society
Westminister council, which is conservative controlled (just saying), to make feeding the homeless illegal.
Westminster council says soup runs provide a magnet for homeless people and encourage crime, begging and antisocial behaviour. It tried to ban soup runs in 2007. Daniel Astaire, Westminster council’s cabinet member for society, families and adult services, said he accepted the ban was “sensitive” but said the council had the same aim as the protesters: to get homeless people off the streets and into services that would help them turn their lives around. “Those who give up their time to help rough sleepers should be applauded, but we believe they can make a far better impact if they look for other ways to help the homeless and put their energy to good use, without delivering food on the streets.”
Figures to be published next week suggest that government spending cuts will lead to the closure of around one in six of England’s 44,000 homeless hostel beds from April. According to Homeless Link, which represents 480 homeless charities, the authorities where most hostel bed spaces have been earmarked for closure are Rochdale, Kingston upon Hull, Kensington and Chelsea, Lewisham, and Nottinghamshire and Nottingham city. Homeless Link says a survey reveals that its members expect a 25% average cut in local authority funding, with over a quarter saying they will have to reduce the number of homeless clients they work with.
There’s a great companion piece to this one, in which some journalist goes and talks to a bunch of homeless people living in Cornwall (which has the highest rate of homelessness in the uk and where it is extremely difficult to buy a house because so many rich arseholes have holiday homes there) here
For those that thought that yesterday was a bit flippant and lighthearted here on Either/Or/Bored here’s an article on the casualisation of the language of rape in modern society:
We live in a strange and terrible time for women. There are days, like today, where I think it has always been a strange and terrible time to be a woman. It is nothing less than horrifying to realize we live in a culture where the “paper of record” can write an article that comes off as sympathetic to eighteen rapists while encouraging victim blaming. Have we forgotten who an eleven-year-old is? An eleven-year-old is very, very young, and somehow, that amplifies the atrocity, at least for me. I also think, perhaps, people do not understand the trauma of gang rape. While there’s no benefit to creating a hierarchy of rape where one kind of rape is worse than another because rape is, at the end of day, rape, there is something particularly insidious about gang rape, about the idea that a pack of men feed on each other’s frenzy and both individually and collectively believe it is their right to violate a woman’s body in such an unspeakable manner.
A progesterone hormone injection, used to prevent preterm labor, used to be $10 a shot. Now that the FDA has assigned an exclusive right to create the easily-made formula to one company, KV Pharmaceuticals, the price has risen to $1500. Almost all of it is pure profit, and KV Pharma did not develop the drug or pay for its trials: the taxpayer did, via the National Institute for Health. It is said to be the only drug proven to prevent pre-term birth, and an expert cited by ABC News suggests that the profession was snookered into supporting the assignment as a quality standardization measure.
The word “proletariat” refers to a member of the working class of a capitalist society. Combining the word with “precarious,” economist Guy Standing coined the term “precariat” to try to describe the reality of low wage workers in our modern, global economy.
In the ten-minute segment below, sent in by Jordan G., an interview with Standing is complimented by interviews with workers and activists in Britain. He explains that new international labor markets have weakened the power of labor and strengthened that of employers. The result is more jobs that are part time, with unpredictable hours, low wages, and few benefits. This has been good for employers in that the risk inherent in capitalist enterprises has been transferred to the workers. For example, if the hotel isn’t full, then the managers simply bring in fewer housekeepers. This is hard on housekeepers, but easy on hotels. Workers’ lives, then, are increasingly precarious, thus the term “precariat.”
With thanks to Merryn.
A new report by our political correspondent Piers Fletcher-Dervish:
There has been much to-do over the last few days in the media regarding the well-known Hollywood personality Charlie Sheen taking part in an interview on the controversial radio show hosted by Alex Jones; America’s loudest and angriest political commentator.
Of course if you run ‘Charlie Sheen Alex Jones’ through popular search engines you won’t find much that isn’t utterly derogatory of both men, since Google decided to alter the codes for its engine to display those sites which have donated money above small operations which operate without large financial backing.
As part and parcel of the Hollywood machine, all this is seen by those larger media operations as ‘entertainment’ rather than valid political debate. Many articles covering the interview made an issue of Mr. Sheen’s struggle with addiction, and he even spoke about this himself pretty openly during the discussion claiming to be 100% clean and working out every day. And good for him, I say – addiction is an enormous problem in our world and can seem like an impossible barrier to those facing ‘going clean,’ let alone trying to kick a habit under the media spotlights.
Mr. Sheen was speaking on Alex Jones’ show as a follow-up to a letter and a video message comprising 20 questions over the 9/11 incident he’d addressed to Barack Obama, representing ‘the families of the victims of September 11th and millions of…fellow Americans.’ After a great deal of time Mr. Obama did in fact grant Mr. Sheen an audience to ask his questions. Charlie Sheen presented the President with substantial evidence that the story Obama has put forward not only differs from the majority of the 9/11 investigatory commission but is wildly inaccurate and in places simply untrue.
Mr. Sheen issued the President with this rebuttal over the air:
“How much faith can I possibly have in you to run this entire country when 20 questions from a high-school dropout sitcom actor appear to be too much to handle for you and your staff? Sorry, but you, sir, are obviously a coward in a cheap suit…as if it’s rocket science – this is not. Quit hiding, it’s embarrassing, dude.”
This may seem like a hasty and somewhat angry comment to make to the president of the USA – often referred to as the most powerful man in the world – but if we read through the minutes of their meeting on the 8th September, 2009, we see that not a single comment or question put to the president was answered sufficiently and they have remained unanswered in the two years since then. And let’s be fair, Mr. Obama did have a letter in advance, and if he didn’t have time to read through that he could have tuned in to the video message. Even his small-talk was disparate and self-contradictory:
Charlie Sheen – Sir, in the very near future we will be experiencing our first 9/11 anniversary with you as Commander in Chief.
Barack Obama – Yes. A very solemn day for our Nation. A day of reflection and yet a day of historical consciousness as well.
But a few moments after saying the words “historical consciousness” Barack said:
“…we as a people and as a country need to move forward. It is obviously in our best interest as a democratic society to focus our efforts and our resources on the future of this great nation…we must move forward…”
He went on to refer to the sinking of the Lusitania, the First World War and the Gulf of Tonkin incident as “ancient history” – which they aren’t. The word ‘ancient’ refers to the period of history before the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. The First World War is well within the realms of 20th century history.
Mr. Obama was also unwilling to reply to the remark:
“You promised to abolish the Patriot Act and then voted to re-authorize it. You pledged to end warrantless wire tapping against the American people and now energetically defend it. You decried the practice of rendition and now continue it. You promised over and over again on the campaign trail, that you would end the practice of indefinite detention and instead, you have expanded it to permanent detention of “detainees” without trial. This far exceeds the outrages of the former administration.”
Faced with these points Obama squirmed and said:
“…my staff and I authorized this interview based on your request to discuss 9/11 and deliver some additional information you’re convinced I’d not previously reviewed. Call me crazy, but it appears as though you’ve blindly wandered off topic.”
Sheen ignored the split infinitive and reminded him that these examples “are a direct result of 9/11.” to which the reply came:
“And I’m telling you that we must move forward, we must endure through these dangerous and politically challenging years ahead.”
And after such a lively exchange Charlie cut to the chase and asked his questions:
“Okay, first; On the FBI’s most wanted list Osama Bin Laden is not charged with the crimes of 9/11. When I called the FBI to ask them why this was the case, they replied: “There’s not enough evidence to link Bin Laden to the crime scene,” I later discovered he had never even been indicted by the Department of Justice.
Number 2; FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, was dismissed and gagged by the Department of Justice after she revealed that the government had foreknowledge of plans to attack American cities using planes as bombs as early as April 2001. In July of ‘09, Mrs. Edmonds broke the Federal gag order and went public to reveal that Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were all working for and with the C.I.A. up until the day of 9/11.
Number 3; The following is a quote from Mayor Giuliani during an interview on 9/11 with Peter Jennings for ABC News. “I went down to the scene and we set up headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the Police Commissioner, the Fire Commissioner, the Head of Emergency Management, and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse. And it did collapse before we could actually get out of the building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit and got out, walked north, and took a lot of people with us.”
WHO TOLD HIM THIS??? To this day, the answer to this question remains unanswered, completely ignored and emphatically DENIED by Mayor Giuliani on several public occasions.
Number 4; In April 2004, USA Today reported, “In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defence Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.” One of the targets was the World Trade Center.
Number 5; On September 12th 2007, CNN’s ‘Anderson Cooper 360′, reported that the mysterious “white plane” spotted and videotaped by multiple media outlets, flying in restricted airspace over the White House shortly before 10am on the morning of 9/11, was in fact the Air Force’s E-4B, a specially modified Boeing 747 with a communications pod behind the cockpit; otherwise known as “The Doomsday Plane”?
Though fully aware of the event, the 9/11 Commission did not deem the appearance of the military plane to be of any interest and did not include it in the final 9/11 Commission report.
Number 6; Three F-16s assigned to Andrews Air Force Base, ten miles from Washington, DC, are conducting training exercises in North Carolina 207 miles away as the first plane crashes into the World Trade Center. Even at significantly less than their top speed of 1500 mph, they could still have defended the skies over Washington well before 9am, more than 37 minutes before Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, however, they did not return until after 9:55am.
Andrews AFB had no armed fighters on alert and ready to take off on the morning of 9/11.
Number 7; WTC Building 7. Watch the video of its collapse.
Number 8; Flight 93 is fourth plane to crash on 9/11 at 10:03am. V.P. Cheney only gives shoot down order at 10:10-10:20am and this is not communicated to NORAD until 28 minutes after Flight 93 has crashed.
Fuelling further suspicion on this front is the fact that three months before the attacks of 9/11, Dick Cheney usurped control of NORAD, and therefore he, and no one else on planet Earth, had the power to call for military sorties on the hijacked airliners on 9/11. He did not exercise that power. Three months after 9/11, he relinquished command of NORAD and returned it to military operation.
Number 9; Scores of main stream news outlets reported that the F.B.I. conducted an investigation of at least FIVE of the 9/11 hijackers being trained at U.S. military flight schools. Those investigations are now sealed and need to be declassified.
Number 10; In 2004, New York fire-fighters Mike Bellone and Nicholas DeMasi went public to say they had found the black boxes at the World Trade Center, but were told to keep their mouths shut by FBI agents. Nicholas DeMasi said that he escorted federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle in October 2001 and helped them locate the devices, a story backed up by rescue volunteer Mike Bellone.
As the Philadelphia Daily News reported at the time, “Their story raises the question of whether there was some type of cover-up at Ground Zero.”
Number 11 – Hundreds of eye witnesses including first responders, fire captains, news reporters, and police, all described multiple explosions in both towers before and during the collapse.
Number 12; An astounding video uncovered from the archives shows BBC News correspondent Jane Standley reporting on the collapse of WTC Building 7 over twenty minutes before it fell at 5:20pm on the afternoon of 9/11. Tapes from earlier BBC broadcasts show news anchors discussing the collapse of WTC 7 a full 26 minutes in advance. The BBC at first claimed that their tapes from 9/11 had been “lost” before admitting that they made the “error” of reporting the collapse of WTC 7 before it happened without adequately explaining how they could have obtained advance knowledge of the event.
In addition, over an hour before the collapse of WTC 7, at 4:10pm, CNN’s Aaron Brown reported that the building “has either collapsed, or is collapsing.”
Number 13; Solicitor General Ted Olson’s claim that his wife Barbara Olsen called him twice from Flight 77, describing hijackers with box cutters, was a central plank of the official 9/11 story.
However, the credibility of the story was completely undermined after Olsen kept changing his story about whether his wife used her cell phone or the airplane phone. The technology to enable cell phone calls from high-altitude airline flights was not created until 2004. American Airlines confirmed that Flight 77 was a Boeing 757 and that this plane did not have airplane phones on board.
According to the FBI, Barbara Olsen attempted to call her husband only once and the call failed to connect, therefore Olsen must have been lying when he claimed he had spoken to his wife from Flight 77.
Number 14; The size of a Boeing 757 is approximately 125ft in width and yet images of the impact zone at the Pentagon supposedly caused by the crash merely show a hole no more than 16ft in diameter. The engines of the 757 would have punctured a hole bigger than this, never mind the whole plane. Images before the partial collapse of the impact zone show little real impact damage and a sparse debris field completely inconsistent with the crash of a large jetliner, especially when contrasted with other images showing airplane crashes into buildings.
Number 15; What is the meaning behind the following quote attributed to Dick Cheney which came to light during the 9/11 Commission hearings? The passage is taken from testimony given by then Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta.
During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, “The plane is 50 miles out.” “The plane is 30 miles out.” And when it got down to “the plane is 10 miles out,” the young man also said to the Vice President, “Do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?”
As the plane was not shot down, in addition to the fact that armed fighter jets were nowhere near the plane and the Pentagon defensive system was not activated, are we to take it that the orders were to let the plane find its target?
Number 16; In May 2003, the Miami Herald reported how the Bush administration was refusing to release a 900-page congressional report on 9/11 because it wanted to “avoid enshrining embarrassing details in the report,” particularly regarding pre-9/11 warnings as well as the fact that the hijackers were trained at U.S. flight schools.
Number 17; Top Pentagon officials cancelled their scheduled flights for September 11th on September 10th. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, following a security warning, cancelled a flight into New York that was scheduled for the morning of 9/11.
Number 18; The technology to enable cell phone calls from high-altitude airline flights was not created until 2004, and even by that point it was only in the trial phase. Calls from cell phones which formed an integral part of the official government version of events were technologically impossible at the time.
Number 19: On April 29, 2004, President Bush and V.P. Cheney would only meet with the commission under specific clandestine conditions. They insisted on testifying together and not under oath. They also demanded that their testimony be treated as a matter of “state secret.” To date, nothing they spoke of that day exists in the public domain.
And finally Mr. President – Number 20; A few days after the attack, several newspapers as well as the FBI reported that a paper passport had been found in the ruins of the WTC. In August 2004, CNN reported that 9/11 hijacker Ziad Jarrah’s visa was found in the remains of Flight 93 which went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
At least a third of the WTC victim’s bodies were vaporized and many of the victims of the Pentagon incident were burned beyond recognition. And yet visas and paper passports which identify the perpetrators and back up the official version of events miraculously survive explosions and fires that we are told melted steel buildings.
(The senior aide appears again beside the President whispering in his ear. He then quickly moves off).
President Barack Obama – Well Charlie I can’t say this hasn’t been interesting. As I said earlier you’ve showed up today focused and organized. Regardless how I feel about the material you’ve presented, I must commend your dedication and zeal. However, our time here is up.”
So each and every question asked – and they’re some enormous questions – went totally and utterly unanswered.
Are we to believe that they were such insane questions that they didn’t deserve an answer, or that the president simply didn’t know, or that he didn’t want to answer on the grounds that his testimony may serve to incriminate him, or perhaps that he didn’t hear the questions?
Or are we to draw the conclusion that President Barack Obama was on the same team as Bush Jr. and his removed cousin Dick Cheney?
At one point Charlie Sheen mentioned the Project for a New American Century, he begins:
“To quote from the document sir…”
But the president interrupted him with a word-for-word, precise quote:
“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbour.”
Obama left the room saying:
“I am on the right side of history.”
But history will be looking for the answers to these questions.
As a matter of basic, human manners: to refuse to answer questions put to you in person, face-to-face, is quite rude. I know if I ask somebody a question I expect either an answer or a damn good reason for not giving that answer.
I do not like politicians who squirm. When Rhodri Morgan of the Welsh Assembly Government was asked about his opinions on the second Iraq war he replied that he couldn’t comment as he was not in office at the time – I see that as showing great disrespect to the people of Iraq, and as tantamount to condoning the invasion which cost thousands of lives, thousands upon thousands of pounds of our money and saw Tony Blair (and others) rack up a list of war-crimes including the use of illegal weapons on civilian populations (to add to his already copious portfolio of crimes against humanity which he acquired previous to invading Iraq – remember Yugoslavia? Serbia? 1999?) When Obama squirms on 9/11 I can’t help but see him as just another heartless, suited beaurocrat.
I also don’t like the smell of nepotism, and what’s worst of all – the cherry on top – is that it seems, from his response to these well reasoned and heavily evidenced questions, that he was at the very least complicit in the manufacturing of a false Pearl Harbour event on September 11th 2001. An event which has been used as justification for war, torture and the deletion of human rights and personal freedoms for innocent people all over the world.
There is even a scheme being rolled out in the USA, soon to be coming to an event near you, called Future Attribute Screening Technology; which can detect via remote measurements of your skin, eyes and brainwave patterns any ‘hostile or violent intent.’ The exact details of the triggers used by this machine to detect such intent are not in the public domain; however, Wegner’s Ironic Process Theory states that if a person is asked not to think of a thing, that one thing will become fixated involuntarily in the subject’s mind. Not to mention what may happen if that person is being told not to think aggressive thoughts under the threat of violence.
Charlie Sheen’s had problems, granted. But then, who hasn’t? He put some questions to his President, and got no answers. Why? Could it possibly be that Barack Obama, America’s wonder-boy, is just as corrupt and self-serving as Blair, Bush and his removed cousin Cheney?
This high-school dropout sitcom actor has put everything on the line to ask some rational, reasonable questions of his elected officials. If you ask me that shows a very high degree of testicular fortitude. If the people in charge of our world are, indeed, mass-murdering liars they wouldn’t be averse to having Mr. Sheen ‘disappeared,’ and he knows that very well.
And if the leaders of our planet aren’t hostile, mass-murdering, lying, self-serving, nepotistic, heartless criminals then he has nothing to fear – they will respectfully answer all his questions in full and without hesitation…
Go, Charlie Sheen, go.
While you still can – before they come to shut you up.
- Piers Fletcher-Dervish, political correspondent. 27th February, 2011.
…by tapping into the zeitgeist of a cultural shift, where concerns about privacy were becoming paramount. Masturbation, along with reading printed books–a new technology at the time–had become a symbol for the uncontrolled, uncensored private lives of individuals, including women. Such private power was felt to threaten the social order. The social keepers of the order–the politicians, aristocrats, and professional classes–hence hurried to proclaim the potential dangers embodied in this newly shamed and shameful act.
via Mind Hacks:
Wired Science has an exclusive interview with Ari Ne’eman, the first openly autistic White House appointee in history, who has been given a place on the National Council on Disability that advises the president on equality for disabled people.
Ne’eman is an advocate of neurodiversity, which rather than automatically seeing conditions like autism and Asperger’s syndrome as diseases to be cured, understands them as another form of human variation that should be accepted.
An 18 year old’s family are suing a teacher because aparently the teacher failed to tell said retard that electricity will electrocute you. Also, your heart is somewhere between your nipples. They say he has brain damage now but, frankly, how could you tell?
<< via boingboing >>
Food for thought:
I can’t keep up with my grandfather. Whenever I see him, he’s rushing off to the gym, going on a fishing trip or taking his “baby doll” out on a date. My grandfather is 87 (his baby doll is 90) and he’s one of the happiest people I know. At 32, my gleeful disposition seems to decrease in inverse proportion to my years, and I’m left wondering how my grandfather, who grew up poor in Hell’s Kitchen and fought overseas, is so much more youthful and energetic than I am.
Psychologist Martin Seligman conducted two studies in the 70s in which people of different age groups were asked about depression. Comparing the responses of different generations, Seligman found that younger people were far more likely to have experienced depression than older people. In fact, one study found that those born in the middle third of the 20th century were ten times more likely to suffer from severe depression than those born in the first third. So statistically, my grandfather is more likely to be happy than me.
I don’t get it. I was the first kid on my block to have a Nintendo. I got a car on my 16th birthday. I didn’t have to work a single day in college (unless you count selling homemade bongs at Phish concerts). My grandfather grew up with nothing. He had to drop out of high school during the Depression to help his family get by, earning money shining the shoes of drunks at a local saloon. Why is my generation, one of relative privilege and wealth, experiencing higher rates of depression than any previous generation?
Article about Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder William Griffith Wilson and the influence a belladonna fueled halucination may have had on the founding of the organisation.
Historians at Stanford have uncovered the earliest known survey of sexual behavior. Similar in style to the more-famous Kinsey Reports, the survey began in 1892 and focused exclusively on women. While more than half of the subjects said they’d known nothing about sex before marriage—about what you’d expect thanks to Victorian stereotypes—almost all of them seemed to be making up for lost time, both actively desiring and enjoying sex, even those who thought they probably oughtn’t.
tasty snippets from the article in question:
Thanks to a steady supply of young female research subjects, Mosher’s scholarly aim soon became clear: to prove that women were not inferior to men, and that frailties chalked up to sex were really the effects of binding garments, insufficient exercise and mental conditioning. Her master’s thesis, for example, showed that women breathe from the diaphragm, as men do, rather than from the chest, as was believed at the time. She concluded that this so-called biological difference was really due to tight corsetry.
Slightly more than half of these educated women claimed to have known nothing of sex prior to marriage; the better informed said they’d gotten their information from books, talks with older women and natural observations like “watching farm animals.” Yet no matter how sheltered they’d initially been, these women had—and enjoyed—sex. Of the 45 women, 35 said they desired sex; 34 said they had experienced orgasms; 24 felt that pleasure for both sexes was a reason for intercourse; and about three-quarters of them engaged in it at least once a week.
Unlike Mosher’s other work, the survey is more qualitative than quantitative, featuring open-ended questions probing feelings and experiences. “She’s actually asking these questions not about physiology or mechanics—she’s really asking about sexual subjectivity and the meaning of sex to women,” Freedman says. Their responses were often mixed. Some enjoyed sex but worried that they shouldn’t. One slept apart from her husband “to avoid temptation of too frequent intercourse.” Some didn’t enjoy sex but faulted their partner. Mosher writes: [She] “Thinks men have not been properly trained.”
Their responses reflected the cultural shifts of the late 19th century, as marriage became viewed as a romantic union, not just an economic one, and as people began to dissociate sex from procreation, says Freedman. One woman, born in 1867, wrote that before marriage she believed sex to be only for reproduction, but later changed her mind: “In my experience the habitual bodily expression of love has a deep psychological effect in making possible complete mental sympathy & perfecting the spiritual union that must be the lasting ‘marriage’ after the passion of love has passed away with the years.” Wrote another, born in 1863, “It seems to me to be a natural and physical sign of a spiritual union, a renewal of the marriage vows.”
This makes me think of Foucault
The new law will ban the denial of coverage to women who have had a prior Caesarean section, or have been victims of domestic violence. Previously companies have denied coverage in such circumstances by regarding them as pre-existing conditions that will mean a higher cost of coverage. One such company–the ironically named Golden Rule based out of Indianapolis–not only rejected women who had a C-section but went on to recommend that if they became “sterilized” they would offer coverage.
Some new changes to the law will not take into effect until 2014, but the ban on discrimination will be implemented immediately.
The short version? The American Empire is going down, baby, and a lack of perspective on things means that there ain’t no turning back.
Everything you learned, everything you believe and everything driving our political leaders is based on a misleading, outdated theory of history. The American Empire is at the edge of a dangerous precipice, at risk of a sudden, rapid collapse.
Why? Throughout history imperial leaders inevitably emerge and drive their nations into wars for greater glory and “economic progress,” while inevitably leading their nation into collapse. And that happens suddenly and swiftly, within “a decade or two.”
“Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out.” We sense the “consummation” of the American Empire occurred with the leadership handoff from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush.
Unfortunately that peak is behind us: Clinton, Bush, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and all future American leaders are merely playing their parts in the greatest of all historical dramas, repeating but never fully grasping the lessons of history in their insatiable drive for “economic progress,” to recapture former glory … while unwittingly pushing our empire to the edge, into collapse.