We kid you not

January 30, 2010

More US soldier deaths by suicide than combat

"[Mental health expert] Zul Merali said while more than 4,500 U.S. military personnel have died in combat since the beginning of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, 'a larger number are falling when they come back home through suicide.'

"At a recent U.S. suicide prevention conference, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said 20 per cent of the country's 30,000 suicides each year are acts by veterans of the current operation and previous wars — or 6,000 deaths."

— A January 28 Canwest news Service article.

The status quo

"Every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death. 16,000 children die daily due to hunger. 800 million-plus people go to bed hungry, including 300 million children. 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day; more than 1 billion survive on less than $1 per day; 162 million people subsist on less than 50 cents daily.

"The developing world spends $13 in debt service for every $1 it received in grants. The world's richest 1% owns 32% of its wealth. In Latin America, the richest 1% receives over 400 times as much income as the poorest 1%.

"There are 60 million-plus slaves around the world today."

— Statistics from End of Poverty? documentary by Philippe Diaz, listed in a November 13 review of the film on MRZine.

How to make enemies

"Goldman Sachs blew its cover when the firm's revenue from trading reached a record $27 billion in the first nine months of this year, and a public that was writhing in financial agony caught on that the profits earned on taxpayer capital were going to pay employee bonuses."

— December 3 Bloomberg article by Alice Schroeder entitled "Arming Goldman Sachs with pistols".

Planning ahead

"The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank ...

"Talk that Goldman bankers might have armed themselves in self-defense would sound ludicrous, were it not so apt a metaphor for the way that the most successful people on Wall Street have become a target for public rage."

— Schroeder.

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