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09.21 Google is investing $3.3B to build clean data centers in Europe

09.21 Why Prescription Drugs Cost So Much More in America

09.21 The Health Care Industry Poses an Existential Threat to the Middle Class

09.21 California and 23 other states sue Trump to stop ban on auto emissions standards [“Stupid is as Trump does”, to paraphrase Forrest Gump]

09.21 Google signs up to $2bn wind and solar investment

09.20 US and Canada have lost three billion birds since 1970

09.19 Slimy lakes and dead dogs: climate crisis has brought the season of toxic algae

09.19 Tap water contaminants linked with 100,000 cancer cases, US study finds

09.19 Virginia governor sets renewable energy goal of 100 percent by 2050

09.19 Johns Hopkins, McCormick ink solar energy deal with Constellation

09.19 We're losing species at shocking rates – so why is conservation failing?

09.18 'Terrifying' New Climate Models Warn of 6-7°C of Warming by 2100 If Emissions Not Slashed

09.17 New Report Details 10 'Critical Transitions' to Tackle the Climate Crisis and Feed the World

09.16 Common pesticide makes migrating birds anorexic [Neonicotinoids, again...]

09.16 ACT plans far-reaching electrification of vehicles and homes in drive to reduce emissions

09.16 'Like a sunburn on your lungs': how does the climate crisis impact health? [Important]

09.16 $1m a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world [Important]

09.15 German Study: Alarming Levels of Dangerous Plastics in Children's Bodies

09.15 Sea levels may rise more rapidly due to Greenland ice melt

09.15 The world has a third pole – and it's melting quickly

09.14 Not Just the Bees, First-of-Its-Kind Study Shows Neonics May Be Killing Birds Too [A GESTALT: Like happened at Boeing, deregulation has displaced scientific and engineering professionalism in many companies and governments to focus on profits/economics almost exclusively. But after similar failure of scientific rigor, die-off reports of bees, worms and sea-life, generally, there must be a moritorium on production, sale and use of all potentially dangerous chemicals!]

09.13 Trump Rollback of Key EPA Water Protection Rule Denounced as 'Callous' and 'Immoral' Giveaway to Big Polluters

09.13 Worms fail to thrive in soil containing microplastics – study

09.13 Dolphins in Channel carry 'toxic cocktail' of chemicals [What is safe to eat?]

09.11 How Can We Address Climate Change Through Agriculture? [3:43 video]

09.11 New solar tech could revolutionise electricity production

09.11 'It can kill you in seconds': the deadly algae on Brittany's beaches

09.10 How to look after your mental health

09.10 Who’s Ready for the Electric Moped Moment? [Uses car lanes instead of sidewalks!]

09.09 The Climate Investment That Promises 400 Percent Returns

09.09 Suicide rates are rising across the US, especially in rural areas

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09.20 Sanders Vows, If Elected, to Pursue Criminal Charges Against Fossil Fuel CEOs for Knowingly 'Destroying the Planet'

09.20 Elizabeth Warren’s Crusade Against Corruption

09.20 Summits, Strikes, and Climate Change

09.20 Los Angeles: Why tens of thousands of people sleep rough

09.20 Al Gore: Changing light bulbs is important, but not as important as changing laws [7:42 video]

09.20  Covering Climate Now: The sinking class: the New Yorkers left to fight the climate crisis alone

09.20 Thunberg is right. Congress is ignoring science – and that includes Democrats [Quid pro quo (as yet legal bribery) dominance of government must end!]

09.20 Iowa: progressives to the fore as Sanders and Warren attend 'people's forum'

09.19 Matt Drudge: Democratic nomination is Elizabeth Warren's to lose

09.18 Why Trump Can’t Learn: An Educated Guess by a Veteran Teacher [Might dyslexia explain the Republican party, generally?]

09.18 'Heartless and Unconscionable': Outrage as General Motors Cuts Off Healthcare for 50,000 Striking Workers [Hideous corporate behavior putting 50,000 families at greater health and bankruptcy risk.]

09.18 Whole Foods Will Cut Health-Care Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Employees [Hideous corporate behavior putting 2,000 families at greater health and bankruptcy risk.]

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09.18 The Big American Bribery Scandal Isn't Felicity Huffman's $15,000

09.14 NY AG uncovers $1 billion in Sackler family wire transfers amid opioid probe: report

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09.21 New Study Documents Depleted Uranium Impacts on Children in Iraq

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09.20 Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns

09.19 For the sake of life on Earth, we must put a limit on wealth

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09.21 Trump is a walking, talking national security liability [“Stupid is as Trump does”, to paraphrase Forrest Gump]

09.21 Climate strikes: hoax photo accusing Australian protesters of leaving rubbish behind goes viral [Right-wing “humor”]

09.21 This isn't extinction, it's extermination: the people killing nature know what they're doing

09.20 US dials back Iran rhetoric and seeks 'peaceful resolution' over Saudi attack [Let us give thanks to unknown agents for sanity]

09.20 Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest – live updates [1:32 video of marchs | 2:51 student performance video]

09.19 The climate crisis isn’t just causing extreme weather. It’s fuelling extreme politics, too

09.19 Greta Thunberg: ‘We are ignoring natural climate solutions’ [3:41 video]

09.19 Climate strikes around the globe Sep. 20 & 27 led by youth – 3,500 events, 117 countries

09.19 'We're losing the race': UN secretary general calls climate change an 'emergency' [15:49 video]

09.18 If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil [1:45 video]

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  Metrics of Monstrosity: Free Falling in Afghanistan
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COMMENTARY:

Metrics of Monstrosity: Free Falling in Afghanistan

by Chris Floyd
First published in Empire Burlesque yesterday, 9 September 2009

What are we fighting for? "We'll know it when we see it." This cynical, "savvy," tough-guy phrase is the perfect emblem of our age: blustering, inhuman, cruel and ignorant.

The Grand Guignol in Afghanistan plays on, growing ever more absurd and macabre. A farcical election that makes the recent balloting in Iran -- the subject of such stern denunciation at the imperial court in Washington -- look like an exercise of the strictest civic probity. A "counterinsurgency" doctrine that churns out insurgents like an assembly line, manufacturing discontent with mass murders of civilians, and armed support of vicious warlords and corrupt officials. Influential voices on influential platforms calling for the establishment of an extermination program that killed up to 40,000 innocent people the last time it was tried. A skulking, scheming general hoping to parlay two disastrous wars into a run for the presidency. A failed "surge" about to be re-"surged" with thousands of more troops and billions upon billions of more public dollars poured into the pockets of contractors, weapons dealers -- and vicious warlords and corrupt officials. A weak and feckless president, who -- just like the cool, good-looking progressive played by Robert Redford in "The Candidate" -- obviously had no program or principle beyond getting elected, and is plunging headlong into a quagmire created by his despised predecessor, using the same war team, the same policies, and the same shifting, bogus "justifications" for continuing -- and widening and deepening -- a conflict so ruinous and pointless that even some of the Empire's most gung-ho cheerleaders are getting the vapors about it.

By any reckoning of reason, morality -- or even practicality -- it is a monstrous, evil folly. And yet it goes on and on, worsening by the year, by the month -- and with every major player in the ghoulish game declaring that it will keep going on, for years and years, if not decades. And despite the war's increasing unpopularity both in the United States and Britain, there is evidently nothing or no one that will stop it -- as long as the militarists hold to their long-running, highly successful tactic of not instigating a draft, and instead fighting their wars with overstetched, stop-lossed volunteers drawn from the poor (a burgeoning pool, thanks to the bipartisan continuity of the Bush-Obama oligarchy protection policies) -- and with a vast horde of out-of-control mercenaries and third-world indentured servants slaving away to keep "war-fighters" enjoying all the comforts of home. It seems more and more apparent that the majority of Americans are willing, if not always happy, to let the War Machine devour the national treasury, kill thousands of innocent people, destabilize the world and create generations of enemies for the United States -- as long as they or their children are not forced to fight the wars themselves.

I hope I'm wrong. I'd love to be wrong. I hope there is some great turning going on out there beyond the Beltway and the blogosphere. And by that, of course, I mean a turning toward justice and enlightenment -- not an unfocused, confused, inchoate rage that will likely take many sinister forms as it explodes. But I fear the latter is more likely.

Meanwhile, Tom Englehardt provides us with some chilling metrics of the monstrosity in "Afghanistan by the Numbers: Measuring a War Gone to Hell." He marshals an array of thoroughly sourced facts to paint a damning picture of where we are now in Afghanistan -- in free fall toward the fiery pit. Read the whole thing -- and know rage and despair.

These are remarkably grim days; remarkable to watch a government commiting the same awful crimes, making the same murderous mistakes, displaying the same brutal arrogance and sheer pig-ignorance that we have seen over and over and over again, decade after decade. Every story out of Afghanistan reads like a dispatch from the botch and butchery in Korea, or the blundering frenzy in Vietnam, or the still-boiling bloodbath in Iraq. No lesson is ever learned from these depraved episodes, save one: empire means money and power for the few -- so do whatever the hell you have to do to climb into that golden circle and stay there.

If you don't believe that our leaders are that venal and stupid, if you think they are doing anything other than scrambling around blindly, heedlessly, trying to find ways to keep their little racket of power and privilege going, then attend to this quote from Englehardt, as he zeroes in on the great statesman-like wisdom of Richard Holbrooke, Obama's personally appointed "special envoy" to the killing fields in Afghanistan and Pakistan:

Sometime later this month, the Obama administration will present Congress with "metrics" for... well, since this isn't the Bush era, we can't say "victory." In the style of special envoy to the region Richard Holbrooke, let's call it "success." Holbrooke recently offered this definition of that word, evidently based on the standards the Supreme Court used to define pornography: "We'll know it when we see it."

"We'll know it when we see it." What are we fighting for? "We'll know it when we see it." What is the reason my son or daughter died? "We'll know it when we see it." What is the reason that thousands of innocent civilians -- children, women, peaceful men, whole families, the sick, the old -- have been torn to shreds by bombs and bullets? "We'll know it when we see it."

This cynical, "savvy," tough-guy phrase is the perfect emblem of our age: blustering, inhuman, cruel and ignorant.


Chris Floyd at his deskChris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column is republished here with the permission of the author.



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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on September 10, 2009.

 



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