Uncomfortable Parallels

I realize that this blog has become something of a “downer,” and I apologize in advance for this particular post.

The other day, I was trying to cheer myself up by thinking of times in U.S. and world history when the prospects seemed bleak but the challenges were ultimately surmounted–the civil war, the 60s, etc. Then I thought about the Dark Ages, so I did a bit of googling. It appears that there is a fair amount of scholarly bickering about how long and how “dark” the Dark Ages actually were, but what made me sit up and take notice was an article on a history site titled “The Five Major Causes of the Dark Ages.”

According to the article, those five causes were 1) the fall of the Roman Empire; 2) the little Ice Age; 3)Famine; 4) the Black Plague; and 5) a lack of good roads.

If you think of the last century or so as an “American Age” during which the U.S. has dominated the world in much the same way that Rome dominated its time,  America’s current retreat from international leadership becomes especially ominous. It was concerning when George W. Bush’s cowboy demeanor and war in Iraq incurred the strong disapproval of many of our allies, but that faded with the international popularity of Obama .

Trump’s ignorance and bellicosity–not to mention the embarrassing buffoonery that has generated barely veiled personal disdain from world leaders–has diminished America’s stature, undermined important alliances and generated pushback from longtime allies. Books and articles comparing the current status of the U.S. to Rome are proliferating.

We are unlikely to see an Ice Age, but we are increasingly likely to see dramatic environmental degradation, thanks to the current administration’s anti-science unwillingness to confront climate change. (Gotta keep those fossil fuel donors happy!) Current predictions include warnings that areas of the globe where millions of people now live will become uninhabitable–or “best case” (!)– that huge portions of the earth that are currently being cultivated will become unsuitable for farming and food production. Famine, anyone?

I don’t know enough about medical science or the likelihood of pandemics to form an opinion, so let’s assume that isn’t a major threat (although millions of migrants and not enough food sounds like a breeding ground for epidemics).

But a lack of good roads?

We’re there. For years, America has allowed its infrastructure to decay–we wouldn’t want to pay taxes to fix those crumbling roads and bridges. We especially wouldn’t want to tax those “makers” whose corporations have profited from an infrastructure that has allowed them to receive raw materials and ship finished goods….

You’d think that intelligent self-interest would cause us to modify behaviors that are so obviously destructive. Take climate change: if we act to protect the environment, and the scientists are all wrong, we’ll just end up with clean air and drinkable water. Bummer. If we don’t act, and the scientists are right, welcome to the Dark Ages. Much bigger bummer.

Or take infrastructure. When those profitable companies that are fat and happy using their tax breaks to buy back their stock suddenly face major expenses or even a complete inability to do business due to failing roads and bridges or the degradation of the electrical grid, who are they going to blame? (We know the answer to that one….)

Wasn’t it Santayana who said “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it?”


  1. There are other horrors that COULD await us. A hostile power (or person) could take down the internet in such a manner that we loose the financial network. No Gasolinbe, No Groceries, No Banking, It gets pretty awful in a hurry. How about no electricity, Gas, Phones? Dark Ages – in a hurry.
    While there are many things to worry about and to work on, we have the greedy stooges of the Republican party circling the wagons to defend the moron in chief. This may not end well for any of us.

  2. Yes, your predictions could be correct- even understatements. They are not the only things that are concerning me . What I am beginning to tremble about is} What is the Democratic Party planning to do the minute it gains the majority? Does it have CONCRETE plans to repair, rebuild, rehouse, reaffirm by educating, seeking and finding human-affirming jobs to ALL who are seeking them, and then using the creative bug that lives in the individual and collective. I am NOT trying to include everything.

    What I see in the the dozens of ads appearing gaily on the internet is the computer;sion to win, win, win (for WHAT?) and complete with the GOP (Impossible! and who wants to compete with the insane?0.

  3. Two minor corrections. Your source was not precise about the dates of the causes it attributed to the Dark Ages. The Little Ice Age began after the Vikings colonized Greenland, so that would put it after 1000 BCE. And the Black Plague occurred after that (but was unrelated). But your points are well taken.

  4. Those five causes of the Dark Ages were for that period in history and not necessarily for any coming Dark Age. I guess that the readers on this blog could come up with five relevant problems that combined would cause another Dark Age.

    Top of my list would be global warming. Other possible contenders would be: an economic system that makes many more losers than winners, a loss of real survival skills due to a growing reliance on technology, the abandonment of critical thinking by over half of society for decision making based on beliefs in myth and miracle. And finally, greed, pure greed and all of the repercussions that it brings to everyone’s lives.

  5. There are many similarities between the Dark Ages and even our own Gilded Age today. As yesterday’s post demonstrated, our instincts don’t always work in our favor.

    This was recently pointed out in an article about Dollar Stores which have popped up everywhere across the USA. There is no altruistic reason for them…they are profitable because of marketing and packaging. Most shoppers would do better going to higher-end retail stores. In other words, they are ripping off the people who most desperately require these stores. But because they are “dollar stores”, people believe they are getting a bargain.

    What kind of society takes advantage of the poor? What kind of society rewards corporations and leaders who conspire to steal from those less advantaged?

    The examples in this country are endless. #Winning

    Our systems are set up to reward oppressors. Many of us know how we are hard and soft-wired yet we devise systems which work against our own instincts.

    That’s where morals/ethics come in…do I take advantage of others because I can?

    Does Mike Pence really value Hoosiers if he assisted in allowing four super polluting coal-burning plants to reside in Indiana?

    Trump takes advantage of the ignorant masses for his own personal benefit. He is slightly smarter than them, but not by much.

    It’s why our international reputation has reached an all-time low. Did anybody see the “King-Baby” blimp set up in London for Trump’s visit? LOL

    Well, I hate to break it to you but Obama’s presence internationally wasn’t much better but he was a great orator. He’s been making speeches since high school and college. Ask Louis Farrakhan what he thought about Obama and his overseas reputation. Obama picked Citigroup over his own people.

    Who do you think the mortgage holders were on those toxic mortgages banks sold around the world?

    How many bankers were jailed? None.

    What segment of our population lost the most wealth in 2008 and has not recovered?

    Black Americans.

    Income and wealth inequality have grown even further since the Great Banking Scheme of 2009 headed by Obama. He chose the oppressors over the oppressed.

    One after another we send into public leadership roles have already made their choice yet we vote for them and expect, “This time it will be different!”

    Albert Einstein called that “insanity”. Doing the same thing over again expecting different results. We’ve been doing it for a VERY LONG TIME but the media in this country make sure the people don’t catch on. Who controls the media? 😉

    The free press was designed to hold the oppressors accountable. The free press served the oppressed to balance out the power given to our public and private sectors. We don’t have a free press.

    Sheila posted this statement, “You’d think that intelligent self-interest would cause us to modify behaviors that are so obviously destructive.”


    We have voted for Democrats and Republicans for decades hoping things would change. They’ve only gotten worse because both sides of the political aisle serve the oppressors who serve capitalism up as the greatest wealth scheme ever concocted. It’s extractive and unsustainable. The results are obvious to all but we are insane so it doesn’t matter…

  6. MaryJo,

    “What I am beginning to tremble about is} What is the Democratic Party planning to do the minute it gains the majority.”

    Your trembling is a very positive reaction. A little over 4 months before Barack Obama was elected President, I ran an ad in The Nation Magazine which included a WARNING that he was going to hit an ICEBERG, if he was elected. At that time, there was no Tea Party in existence.

    If all the Democratic Party is concerned about is winning [without a REALISTIC GOAL], then what eventually arose when Barack Obama was elected President, will be nothing compared to the chaos, if the Democrats should win. Supporting that scenario, would be tantamount to supporting NATIONAL SUICIDE.

    I’m not willing to go that route, and I’m sure there are many Americans who feel the same way.

  7. Yes, but…..We lowered taxes on the wealthy and repealed all regulations that impede corporate America to make even more money! (Sarcasm)

    I prefer to think of our current situation as the end of neoliberalism and the beginning of a New Enlightenment.

  8. What Theresa said. And no, we are not prepared for the next pandemic.

  9. War, conquest, famine, and disease are the Four Horsemen who symbolize the end of times. Today, we don’t have one big war, but we do seem to have neverending small wars. Since so few of us are impacted by these small wars, we don’t get too upset over them, but our soldiers who die are just as dead as those in our great wars. Conquest seems to be coming our way, as the ignoramus who “leads” us is about to give away the store to his idol, Mr. Putin. Famine is problematic in large areas of the world today, but we aren’t too bothered by it, because it’s mostly in “shithole” countries and our tables are still overflowing with good food. Climate change will soon end that. Finally, disease is becoming more problematic. We used to be close to wiping out polio, the plague, and many other killer diseases, but now we believe that vaccines are more dangerous than disease. Those little pests that WHO was just about to declare over and done with are back with a vengeance.

    We not only are not learning the lessons of history, we are turning history on its head.

  10. America has been known in recent years as being a “disposable society”; referring to excess packaging of everything but canned goods to prevent thievery. Thanks to the current “cold war” we are now seeing entire groups of people as being disposable. We can’t get much darker than that…but Trump will find a way.

    “You’d think that intelligent self-interest would cause us to modify behaviors that are so obviously destructive.”

    A simple act of kindness by my neighbor was an awakening for me; he offered to let me add my recyclables to his bin. Once I began noticing what was recyclable and the small bag of actual trash that remained, I realized what a wasteful nation we have become. I cannot remember which country has found a way to recycle plastics into sturdy roads. The “intelligent self-interest” has not caused us to modify our destructive behaviors causing pollution of our entire environment and killing off of green spaces and animal and ocean life is part of our path to another dark age…in a different form. I asked my super intelligent 19 year old grandson just yesterday how long he believe we have before “Soylent Green” becomes our reality; he just laughed and shook his head. We can’t be lured into believing the dark ages of the past is what is in our future; we are creating a 21st Century version which is looming closer – unless nuclear war solves that problem.

  11. What Theresa said with an emphasis on global warming, which overshadows all the other plagues, Four Horsemen etc., and as for political chaos to ensue if we elect Democrats, I again ask fellow contributors to consider the alternative > could it be worse than the chaos we are now experiencing and the repercussions sure to come from such experiences and new ones yet to come under the present political configuration? The Black Plague did not destroy the world. Rome’s fall did not destroy the world. Isolated famines (bad as they were and are) did not destroy the world; nor did Hitler, Attila, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar – nor will Trump – but global warming will destroy the planet and, slowing but surely will end life on this third rock from our sun, an insignificant star among billions.

    If we throw in the political towel to the fossil fuel greedhogs and their lackeys in Congress and the Oval Office we are aiding and abetting this suicidal process. Think about it. This coming election is not just a matter of winning and losing; it is or could be existential, and not just the penny ante type Netanyahu complains about with Iran or between other neighborhood enemies, but for the planet. Could any election anywhere and anytime be more important? Let’s win it first and then manage the chaos.

  12. “Could any election anywhere and anytime be more important? Let’s win it first and then manage the chaos.”

    Gerald; this is the most vital response to this blog and many others recently; your two sentences are why the naysayers continually complaining about what the Democrats and the Democratic party is not doing, who do not seem to understand they will be unable to do anything at all if we do not elect them on November 6th. There is no perfect political party or politician…nor is there a perfect voter but we certainly do have the perfect reason to vote for Democrats at this time. That perfect reason is Donald Trump who now likens his mouth to Elton John’s organ and claims to have more hits. The perfect solution to Trump would be to rid this country of him and his cronies; we must settle for ridding our government of them and their pollution and destruction.

  13. Pat is correct. These historic events did not occur together- not by a long shot. Ms. Kennedy’s sources are normally impeccably reliable, but this would never pass a simple fact check. But I, along with Pat, grant that’s not the point here. And the point is well taken.

  14. Pat, John and others who noticed: Mea culpa. I was focused on my “message” and didn’t pay attention! No excuse.

  15. Todd,
    “Income and wealth inequality have grown even further since the Great Banking Scheme of 2009 headed by Obama. He chose the oppressors over the oppressed.” The “Great Banking Scheme of 2009” was the brain child of the George W. Bush administration, not Obama. Come on, man. Get your facts straight! Yes, income and wealth inequality have increased rapidly, but it began under Reagan with pauses under Clinton, then more raging disparity under both Bushes.

    Meanwhile, the maturation of capitalism is now our go-to reason for our failures and will lead us to the inevitable collapse that Marx predicted in 1857, or so. Back then, there were only about 2 billion of us. Now, there are almost 8 billion humans, more than any other mammal on the planet. And we are VORACIOUS. Our economic systems, such as they are, inequality being just one component and symptom of its failure potential, are predicated on growth. That economic growth is predicated on population growth. Consumption by that growing population is the engine of capitalism.

    We have seen, since 1945, that when the consumers don’t consume fast enough for the stockholders, we are compelled to have a war or two to keep those industries churning out their death machines for the sake of the stockholders. War is good for business and business is very good. In our 242 years, we’ve been at peace only 17 of them.

    So, it will be capitalism, the lust for ever-growing profits, that will do us all in. The “bad roads” component reflects the utter lack of long-term planning by our capitalists. Having to pay taxes for that particular bit of infrastructure is “inconvenient” and takes away from the quarterly report, even though five years hence, it will cost more to get goods to market. DUMB.

    This is what we’ve come down to: Capitalists driving a self-destructive economic theory while the human population grows until it can grow no more. Pestilence? We are our own disease. We insist that each of us should grow to reproduce – a clear violation of the basic laws of nature. Our own domination of the planet will also be our undoing and lead to our own extinction, one way or another. There will be nobody left to write about the next “Dark Age”.

  16. Gerald,

    “Could any election anywhere and anytime be more important? Let’s win it first and then manage the chaos.”

    You’re always talking about the barricades. What makes you think that the situation in November is going to be more favorable than it is now to make a stand? Do you plan to go to the Supreme Court? Unless someone is blind, our situation becomes only worse on a daily basis.

    Congresswoman Maxine Walters isn’t the FOOL. It’s Congressman Chuck Schumer who is living in a “dream world.”

  17. I know; why don’t we just wait until there’s a reason for SEDITION LAWS to be enacted? Wait, I apologize. I must be a fool.

    I’m sure the Supreme Court would never allow something like that to happen.

  18. One way to consider today is that we are gripped in the vise of politics whose attraction is their claim to resist change and progress at a time when the world is about to be overwhelmed with change that is beyond our control sometimes by choice and sometimes by culture.

    I agree with the thoughts here that the first and greatest change will be the consequences of anthropogenic global warming which we have decided apparently not to prevent. At a time when global population will be peaking we have chosen to roll the dice on the conditions that we built our civilization in accordance with: the weather, the boundary between sea and land, and the chemistry of oceans from which we obtain much of our food.

    What the overwhelming public cost of changing our civilization to the new self created environment will do is cause the failure of capitalism due to it’s requirement for continuous growth and it’s insistence that natural resources are not owned by all of us, but only a few of us, and that there is nothing lost in depleting them.

    Next I would predict is the failure of religion not from external causes which we as a society have always feared but from internal causes that are transforming it from a human centric explanation of reality to a pagan celebration of power and greed.

    Finally, democracy, which is failing because of the pervasiveness of entertainment media that we chose and our susceptibility to brain washing over it.

    In other world civilization that we are now completely dependent on supplying our every need will crumble because we saw failure coming and decided to ignore it because it threatened our comfort.

    Can we avoid any of that trauma? Not all for sure but not changing what are obviously to those who study reality the largest causes, which are all anthropogenic, we choose to be the architects of our own destruction.

    Here in the good old US of A we have gone from leading the world’s way to the higher road, as we did in WWII, the last global threat, to leading the world’s way to the lowest road which is to fiddle while Rome burns.

    Can we go back to what worked for the world previously in time?

    Yet to be determined but we will know a lot more in less than six months.

  19. Pete,

    “Yet to be determined but we will know a lot more in less than six months.”

    That’s for sure, probably even less than that.

  20. Vernon,

    “The “Great Banking Scheme of 2009” was the brain child of the George W. Bush administration, not Obama.”

    Ditto. But you’re too optimistic.

  21. Another look at parallels with the Dark Ages was addressed in Janie Jacobs’s book, “Dark Age Ahead” from 2005. In it she identifies 5 “pillars” that foretell the coming collapse of American society: the decays of community and family, higher education, and practice of science, as well as undisciplined taxation and government, and the self-regulation of the learned professions. It’s worth a read.


  22. Wallflower,

    Thanks for introducing Jane Jacobs to the discussion.

    “It may be that we have become so feckless as a people that we no longer care how things do work, but only what kind of quick, easy outer impression they give. If so, there is little hope for our cities or probably for much else in our society. But I do not think this is so.
    — Jane Jacobs, “The Death And Life of Great American Cities,” 1961

  23. “Taxation, however harsh and brutal, would still be less severe and brutal, if all shared equally in the common lot. But the situation is made more shameful and disastrous by the fact that all do not bear the burden together. The tributes due from the rich are extorted from the poor, and the weaker bear the burdens of the stronger. The only reason why they do not bear the whole burden is that the exactions are greater than their resources.

    As the poor are the first to receive the burden, they are the last to obtain relief. For whenever, as happened lately, the ruling powers have thought best to take measures to help bankrupt cities to lessen their taxes in some measure, at once we see the rich alone dividing with one another the remedy granted to alike.

    Who then remembers the poor??? They (the poor) are outside the number when remedies are being distributed.”
    The above quote is not from some Marxist, or the Left Winger. The author was Salvian. Salvian was born some time between 400 and 405.

    Salvian was a witness to the rapidly collapsing Roman Empire in the West. I find it interesting Salvian’s comment on the bankrupt cities where the rich decided who would bear the burden among themselves.

    It was the bankers and financiers, who decided on the remedies for their own behavior, during the 2008 collapse.

  24. No matter how you look at the present, I see us on a precipice of impending disaster we have never seen aside from world wars or even civil wars.
    If we are isolated from the rest of the world then we will also be isolating ourselves from helping and being helped.

  25. Maywin,

    “If we are isolated from the rest of the world then we will also be isolating ourselves from helping and being helped.”

    So true. I usually tweet at least on a weekly basis into Sweden. The Europeans are already starting to form new coalitions with other parts of the world to offset the dislocations being caused by the Trump Administration and backed by a virtually, unanimous, Republican Party.

  26. Even a 5 years old could figure out what our future is going to be like:

    “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,”
    By Mother Goose

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
    All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

  27. Vernon @ 10:43 am “Yes, income and wealth inequality have increased rapidly, but it began under Reagan with pauses under Clinton, then more raging disparity under both Bushes.”

    In 1980 the Top 5% had 16.5% of the aggregate income of households, by 2001, the top 5% had 22.4%. The highest 5th had 44.1% of aggregate income in 1980, by 2001 the highest 5th had 50.1% of the Aggregate Income. Who took the hit the bottom 4/5th.

    To be clear when Clinton was elected in 1992 the top 5% had 18.6% of the aggregate income of households, by 2000, the top 5% had 22.1%. The highest fifth had 46.9% of the aggregate income in 1992, by 2000 the highest fifth had 49.8%.

    When Bush the Younger was president, the top 5% had 22.1% in 2000 of the aggregate income of households, by the time he left office in 2000, the top 5% had 22.5%.

    Maybe I read the data wrong but I do not see a pause under Clinton and raging disparity under both Bushes.


  28. We should remember that global corporations are loyal to no government and only accountable to those who hold the reins of wealth accumulation. They are beholden to their largest stockholder, no one else. Many have left the U.S. and will continue to go anywhere in the world where they came maximize profits without regard to effects on the populace or environments of those places.

    Climate change may well dictate disease in any number of ways not excluding the rise of mutated viruses and the emergence of previously unknown diseases that thrive in evolving conditions that favor their reproduction. Spanish flu killed an estimated 20 to 50 millions worldwide in a very short time. This was before international flights and a population explosion.

    There are efforts in other parts of the world to address pollution and changing climates as the U.S. keeps its collective head in the sand. We are being passed by in the way of history. China and India hold a quarter of the world’s people. They will become more powerful in all meaningful ways regardless of what the U.S. does or does not do. We can only hope that the damage we do is repairable by actions of the majority of the world’s people. Capitalists will cooperate with whomever produces profit.

  29. From “Inevitable Surprises: Thinking Ahead in a Time of Turbulence” by Peter Schwartz (Gotham Books, New York, 2003) pp. 5, 8, & 9:


    “How do I know all of this? Because I have one of the most interesting jobs in the world. I lead Global Business Network (GBN), the world’s preeminent research and consulting firm focused on scenario planning.

    With my GBN hat on I advise major corporations and leading governments on long-term decisions. I help them look ahead and figure out today’s actions based on long-term perceptions and insights. I help them see the big surprises, and the driving forces that are shaping the potential futures that may lie ahead. I help them see what is inevitable and where the fundamental uncertainties lie.

    “…..I have become increasingly aware of the critical forces that will effect the world, in ways that most decision makers do not automatically expect. These forces are what scenario planners call “predetermined elements”: forces that we can anticipate with certainty, because we already see their early stages in the world today. We know they are inevitable because they have already begun to take place. They are already going to surprise us because, while the basic events are virtually predetermined, the timing, results, and consequences are not. We do not know exactly how these events will play out, or precisely when they will occur. But we can anticipate the range of possible results, and the ways in which the rules of the game may change thereafter.”

    “When an inevitable surprise confronts us, there are two different types of natural reactions. Both of them can lead to poor decision making.”

    “The first is DENIAL—the refusal to believe that the inevitabilities exist. This was the key reason, of course, why the U.S. government was unprepared for the attacks on September 11, 200l. Enough people in positions of authority simply refused to believe the need was great and urgent enough to justify rethinking the structure of our national security system. When in denial about an inevitability, people tend to blithely act as if it didn’t exist, and as if there were no need to break from routine and prepare for it. The loses that result can be immense.”

    “DENIAL is perhaps the most dangerous response one can make when evidence of an inevitable surprise presents itself. Today, many political leaders are in denial about several of the surprises described in the book: global climate change, the inevitability of new diseases, and the dangerous “hot spots” of Mexico, the Caspian Sea, and Saudi Arabia. In Europe, denial of the realities of migration may tear the continent apart.”

    “The second natural reaction to any turbulent crises is defensiveness. This is a kind of opposite to denial. People take the inevitable surprise so seriously that they freeze; in their minds there is no viable way to act except to find a safe place, hunker down, and wait for it all to blow over.”

    See http://www.StrategicPower.org. It is a similarly constructed research organization, but focused on scenario planning concerning only one specific problem: THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY IN THE U.S.

    I have previously mentioned on this blog the formation of the P.E.I.S (PEACE)Network to communicate world-wide the results of the scenario planning of The Political Epidemiology Institute.

  30. Is there such a thing as “evil” in the world? I never thought so even though man tormenting man is pretty common. I tend to look at it though as degrees of maladaptive behavior.

    Adaptive behavior creates culture or biology that works in any current environment to move the most people to be operating consistent with reality over which we have no control. Of course there is much outside of our control and our behavior must accept that but focus on what we can control to ensure that the most of us can live, as Maslow put it, self actualized lives.

    Maladaptive behavior stems from either ignorance of the environment or acting in ways despite what is known that impose what’s best for the actor on victims within the environment. Of course some maladaptive behavior is also criminal but not all.

    Right now the maladaptive behavior level here in our country is growing by leaps and bounds either because of ignorance of reality or pure greed in all of its forms. We are moving away from living adapted to reality which always has consequences.

  31. Pete,

    “Is there such a thing as “evil” in the world? I never thought so even though man tormenting man is pretty common. I tend to look at it though as degrees of maladaptive behavior.”

    You’re probably right. However, sometimes I like to take shortcuts, take the easier path, and presume there is “evil” in the world. Donald Trump simplified things for me the minute he announced his intent to run for the presidency.

  32. Does anyone have any hope. All I know is we would be better off if the Dems win in 2018. Not perfect, not fulfilled, just better off. I will take it one election at a time and not give up hope. Anyone who has a better idea is welcome to it.

  33. Charlie,

    “Does anyone have any hope……Anyone who has a better idea is welcome to it.

    I not only hope, I also have confidence when can change the direction America is going and can start doing it right now. Why can’t we have two Ideas? I’m for the Dems winning also. But partisan politics are not the only avenue for change. Partisan politics was not SOLELY responsible for the Civil Rights revolution in the 60’s. I’m not the only one who believes the most significant part was played by Martin Luther King, his presence, and his organizational skills.

    All we have do is step in where Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center has “feared to tread.” It’s all there for the taking. This time the Anti-Defamation League can’t do a damn thing about it.

  34. Peggy Hannon – I hope you are just repeating some current beliefs and not buying into the “vaccines are more dangerous than disease”. As a resident scientist in this group, I must tell you that this is not only balderdash, but dangerous.

    Vaccines are what saved us for smallpox, polio and slew of childhood diseases. HPV vaccine will prevent certain future cancers. The recent cases of polio reported were due to the use of a vaccine that is no longer approved by the medical and scientific communities (there are two kinds of polio vaccine).

    As for the indicators of decline, I look at our roads like Van Halen looked at brown M&Ms. It was stipulated in their contracts that a bowl of M&Ms be provided backstage before the concerts with all of the brown ones removed. It was a test of whether the promoters were paying attention to the details of the contract. Brown M&Ms meant that the band had to double check everything.

    Bad roads mean we, the citizens, have to double check what our elected officials have been doing with our money. It may or may not be a cause of decline, but it certainly is an indicator.

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