Via: The Burning Platform
– Friedrich Nietzsche
The big story this past week, besides the annual State of the Delusion speech by Barack “It won’t add a cent to the deficit” Obama, was the fate of the passengers on the Carnival Triumph as their skyscraper sized ship was left adrift at sea for days without power. This 900 foot long, 100,000 ton goliath is one of the largest passenger cruise liners in the world, carrying 3,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members in luxurious splendor through warm Gulf of Mexico seas to sun drenched exotic isles. These ships are practically floating countries, with passengers treated to an endless American buffet of never ending quantities of bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, waffles, pizza, cheesecake, soda, beer and the rum drink of the day. It’s as if all 3,400 passengers have a SNAP card with no limit. There are retail stores, restaurants, bars, ice skating rinks, movie theaters, showplaces, and staff waiting on you hand and foot. No cash changes hands. You charge everything to your room number and then just pay with one of your 13 credit cards at the conclusion of your voyage into debt. Then you pay 18% interest on the 25 Funky Monkeys you consumed for the next 14 years. Cruising captures the essence of America as we traverse our voyage to hell.
The ordeal at sea of the Carnival Triumph and the leadership displayed by the Carnival management and executive officers is a microcosm of our declining empire. The $420 million Carnival Triumph was put into service in 1999 and has run continuously for the last fourteen years, with only periodic dry dock maintenance. These massive ships are replenished within hours of docking and depart within twelve hours of dumping their 3,400 passengers back onshore. The CEO and top management of Carnival care only about ROI and whether their stock options are vested. Their goal is to bilk the passengers out of as much cash as possible, while paying their foreign slave labor crew members as little as possible. The ships are registered in foreign countries for tax purposes and the crew members are mostly from third world countries. Carnival executives and shipboard officers have a history of recklessness, mismanagement, and willingness to endanger its passengers in its greedy thirst for short term profits. Ask the families of the 32 passengers killed in the sinking of the Costa Concordia.
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