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Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN

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Tag: Tomdispatch


The Outpost That Doesn’t Exist in the Country You Can’t Locate

Recent contracting documents indicate that the U.S. military is building something in Chad. Not a huge facility, not a mini-American town, but a small camp. The revelation suggests yet another potential source of blowback from America’s efforts in Africa which have backfired, gone bust, and sown strife.

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 READ MORE



The Bases of War in the Middle East

There is almost no way to overemphasize how thoroughly the U.S. military now covers the Greater Middle East. After 35 years of base-building there, it’s long past time to look carefully at how this garrisoning affects the region, the U.S., and the world.

Posted on Nov 14, 2014 READ MORE



Shrinking the Empire: A Session on the Imperial Couch

What follows is a transcript of a therapy session between the American Empire and a psychiatrist whose name we at TomDispatch have agreed not to disclose. Normally we wouldn’t consider publishing such a private encounter, but the probative news value of the exchange is so obvious that we decided to make an exception.

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 READ MORE



Four Months Into Iraq War 3.0, the Cracks Are Showing

What happens to a war in the absence of coherent state policy? Washington’s Iraq War 3.0, Operation Inherent Resolve, is what happens. As the mission enters its fourth month it may be time to ask, in all seriousness: What could possibly go right?

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 READ MORE



Uncle Sam’s Databases of Suspicion

The Chico Police Department was secretly keeping tabs on Gill as a suspected terrorist. Yet nowhere in a suspicious activity report was there a scintilla of evidence that he was engaged in any kind of criminal activity whatsoever. Nevertheless, that report was uploaded to the federal government’s domestic intelligence-sharing network.

Posted on Nov 7, 2014 READ MORE



Building an Escalation Machine

Sometimes it seemed that only two issues mattered in the midterm election campaigns just ended: ISIS and Ebola. Think of them as the two horsemen of the present American apocalypse. And count on this: Oppositional pressure to escalate will be a significant factor in Washington “debates” in the last years of the Obama administration.

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 READ MORE



The Missing Women of Afghanistan

On Sept. 29 Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as president of Afghanistan. What he had to say in his inaugural speech about his wife, Rula Ghani, sent his nation’s progressive women over the moon. (At right, an Afghan.)

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 READ MORE



Thank You for Your Valor, for Your Service, Thank You, Thank You ...

My heart sank, my shoulders slumped. Special guests at the Concert for Valor were to include: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg. The mission of the concert, according to a press release, was to “raise awareness” of veterans issues and “provide a national stage for ensuring that veterans and their families know that their fellow Americans’ gratitude is genuine.”

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 READ MORE



The Importance of Being Exceptional

Why is it immoral for a person to treat himself as an exception? The reason is plain: because morality, by definition, means a standard of right and wrong that applies to all persons without exception. Yet to answer so briefly may be to oversimplify.

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 READ MORE



Will the War on Terror Be the Template for the Ebola Crisis?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that, while President Obama was sending at least 1,600 military personnel to fight ISIS, his first response to the Ebola crisis was also to send 3,000 troops into Liberia in what the media has been calling an “Ebola surge.”

Posted on Oct 23, 2014 READ MORE



Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

Having seen her remarkable new film on Edward Snowden, “Citizenfour,” in a packed house at the New York Film Festival, I sat down with Laura Poitras in a tiny conference room at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City to discuss just how our world has changed and her part in it.

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 READ MORE



Seven Worst-Case Scenarios in the Battle With Islamic State

The U.S. is again at war in the Middle East, bombing freely across Iraq and Syria and searching desperately for some non-American boots to put on the ground. Here are seven worst-case scenarios in a part of the world where the worst case has regularly been the best that’s on offer.

Posted on Oct 17, 2014 READ MORE



A Trip to Kuwait (on the Prairie)

At 9 p.m. on that August night, when I arrived for my first shift as a cocktail waitress at Whispers, one of the two strip clubs in downtown Williston, I didn’t expect a 25-year-old man to get beaten to death outside the joint. Then again, I didn’t really expect most of the things I encountered reporting on the oil boom in western North Dakota this past summer.

Posted on Oct 13, 2014 READ MORE



Obama’s New Oil Wars

The Obama administration is wielding the oil weapon against two of the world’s leading producers, Iran and Russia. These efforts, which include embargoes and trade sanctions, are likely to have a great impact on world output, reflecting White House confidence that, in the pursuit of U.S. strategic interests, anything goes.

Posted on Oct 10, 2014 READ MORE



ISIS in Washington

Two Saturdays ago, a friend of a friend mentioned that “given ISIS, maybe neither” New York City nor Washington, D.C. “is such a great place to be right now.” Moments after she left, I had the urge to bolt down the stairs, catch up to her, and say: “Whatever you do, don’t step off the curb. That’s where danger lies in American life. ISIS, not so much.”

Posted on Oct 9, 2014 READ MORE



Can China and Russia Squeeze Washington Out of Eurasia?

A specter haunts the fast-aging “New American Century”: the possibility of a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance.

Posted on Oct 6, 2014 READ MORE



Entering the Intelligence Labyrinth

In a capital riven by fierce political disagreements, just about everyone agrees on the absolute, total and ultimate importance of the “U.S. Intelligence Community” and whatever its top officials might decide in order to keep this country safe and secure.

Posted on Oct 3, 2014 READ MORE



The Wilderness Act Turns 50

The Wilderness Act of 1964 embodied a revolutionary act of justice. It legislated compassion toward the planet by insisting that we humans must stop and leave certain lands alone and not take anything more from them. It made a down payment on giving Earth its due.

Posted on Sep 29, 2014 READ MORE



Pirates of the Gulf of Guinea

If the Gulf of Guinea rings any bells at all, it’s probably because of the Ebola outbreak in, and upcoming U.S. military “surge” into, Liberia, the nation on the northern edge of that body of water. But for those in the know, the Gulf itself is an intractable hot spot on a vast continent filled with them and yet another area where U.S. military efforts have fallen short.

Posted on Sep 26, 2014 READ MORE



Apocalypse Now, Iraq Edition

As someone who cares deeply about this country, I find it beyond belief that Washington has again plunged into the swamp of the Sunni-Shiite mess in Iraq. A young soldier now deployed as one of the 1,600 non-boots-on-the-ground there might have been 8 years old when the 2003 invasion took place. What happened in the blink of an eye?

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 READ MORE



The Wheel Turns, the Boat Rocks, the Sea Rises

When we argue for change in response to climate change, we’re arguing against people who claim we’re disrupting a stable system. They insist we’re rocking the boat unnecessarily. I insist it’s a lifeboat, and that if we rock hard enough, maybe the people in it will wake up and start rowing instead of clinging to the wreckage of an old order.

Posted on Sep 19, 2014 READ MORE



A Global Warming President Presides Over Drill-Baby-Drill America

We should certainly be witnessing real progress toward a post-petroleum economy. But the opposite is occurring. U.S. oil consumption climbed by 400,000 barrels per day in 2013 alone and is set to rise again both this year and next.

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 READ MORE



How America Made ISIS: Their Videos and Ours, Their ‘Caliphate’ and Ours

Minus a couple of invasions, the steps being considered or already in effect to deal with “the threat of ISIS” are a reasonable summary of the last 13 years of what was once called the Global War on Terror and now has no name at all.

Posted on Sep 2, 2014 READ MORE



The Fall and Rise of Investigative Journalism

Despite a long run of journalistic tough times, the loss of advertising dollars and the challenge of the Internet, there’s been a blossoming of investigative journalism across the globe from Honduras to Myanmar, New Zealand to Indonesia.

Posted on Aug 28, 2014 READ MORE



The Real Story Behind the ‘Invasion’ of the Children

Pitting the humanitarian imperative to help dislocated children against the plight of American communities places victimology in the service of party politics. Both Republicans and Democrats claim the moral high ground while conveniently avoiding the political economy of the problem they lament—and have collaborated in creating.

Posted on Aug 25, 2014 READ MORE



To Terrify and Occupy

Welcome to a new era of American policing, where cops increasingly see themselves as soldiers occupying enemy territory, often with the help of Uncle Sam’s armory, and where even nonviolent crimes are met with overwhelming force and brutality.

Posted on Aug 14, 2014 READ MORE



Blown Chances in Gaza

For the last eight years, Israel and the U.S. had repeated opportunities to opt for a diplomatic solution in Gaza. Each time, they have chosen war, with devastating consequences for the families of Gaza.

Posted on Aug 12, 2014 READ MORE



How Many Minutes to Midnight? Hiroshima Day 2014

Human history can be broken into two eras: BNW (before nuclear weapons) and NWE (the nuclear weapons era). The latter opened on Aug. 6, 1945. As we enter its 70th year, we should be contemplating with wonder that we have survived. We can only guess how many years remain.

Posted on Aug 7, 2014 READ MORE



China, America and a New Cold War in Africa?

For the last decade China has used aid, trade and infrastructure projects to set itself up as the dominant foreign player in Africa, while the U.S. has increasingly confronted the continent as a “battlefield.” These approaches have produced starkly contrasting results for the powers involved and the rising nations of the continent. The differences are perhaps nowhere as stark as in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation.

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 READ MORE



The Original Geo-Engineers: How to Save the Iconic West from the Cow

The great novelist Wallace Stegner sorted the conflicting impulses in his beloved American West into two camps: the “boomers” and the “nesters.” The modern version of the nesters are conservationists who try to partner with the ecosystems where they live. They understand that you cannot steer and control nature, but you might be able to dance with it.

Posted on Jul 31, 2014 READ MORE



The Path to a New 1914? How America Chose War After 9/11

The analogy between 1914 and 2001, like all measurements of the present with yardsticks from the past, is useful only for querying events, not for predicting them. There are equally important differences between the two moments, some of them obvious, others less so.

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 READ MORE



The Future Is Not Ours (and Neither Is the Past)

The famed fog of war is nothing compared to the fog of the future or, as I’ve often said, I’d be regularly riding my jetpack in traffic through the spired city of New York, as I was promised in my childhood. Our urge to predict the future is unsurpassed. Our ability to see it as it will be: next to nil.

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 READ MORE



Incinerating Iraq: How America’s Policies Sealed the Country’s Fate

The disintegration of Iraq is the result of U.S. policies that, since 2003, have been strikingly devoid of coherence or any real comprehension when it comes to the forces at play in the country or the region.

Posted on Jul 18, 2014 READ MORE



Still Living With Jack Bauer in a Terrified New American World

Once upon a time, if a character on TV tortured someone, it was a sure sign that he was a bad guy. Now, the torturers are the all-American heroes. From “24” to “Zero Dark Thirty,” it’s been the good guys who wielded the pliers and the waterboards. We’re not only living in a post-9/11 world, we’re stuck with Jack Bauer in the 25th hour.

Posted on Jul 11, 2014 READ MORE



Twenty-First-Century Energy Wars

The world is aflame with new or intensifying conflicts that appear to be independent events, driven by their own unique and idiosyncratic circumstances. But look more closely and they share several key characteristics—notably, a witch’s brew of ethnic, religious, and national antagonisms that have been stirred to the boiling point by a fixation on energy.

Posted on Jul 10, 2014 READ MORE



Shredding the Fourth Amendment in Post-Constitutional America

The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the people from their government. If the First Amendment’s right to speak out publicly was the people’s wall of security, then the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy was its buttress. It was once thought that the government should neither be able to stop citizens from speaking nor peer into their lives.

Posted on Jun 27, 2014 READ MORE



It’s the Oil, Stupid!

Sunni insurgents are not only in a struggle against what they see as oppression by a largely Shiite government in Baghdad and its security forces, but also over who will control and benefit from what Nouri al-Maliki—speaking for most of his constituents—told The Wall Street Journal is Iraq’s “national patrimony.”

Posted on Jun 26, 2014 READ MORE



Drowning in Profits

A story of a private equity firm, a missing pool fence, and the death of a two-year-old child raises troubling questions about how, as a nation, we define security in housing and why, in the midst of what’s regularly termed a “recovery,” many neighborhoods may actually be growing increasingly vulnerable.

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 READ MORE



Who Won Iraq?

Bush and his top officials remade reality in Iraq on an almost unimaginable scale and, as we study the region today, the results bear no relation to the world they imagined creating. On the other hand, there were two dreams they had that, after a fashion, did come into existence.

Posted on Jun 19, 2014 READ MORE



How to Forgive Your Torturer

When I read the statistics on Americans and Britons that approve of torture, a scene comes back to me. I remember a man I met 20 years ago, not in my native Latin America or in faraway lands where torture is endemic, but in the extremely English town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Posted on Jun 17, 2014 READ MORE



What We’ve Lost Since 9/11

America has entered its third great era: the post-constitutional one. Deeper, darker waters lie ahead. And we seem drawn down into them.

Posted on Jun 16, 2014 READ MORE



Drafted by the National Security State

This country has changed a lot since I joined ROTC in 1981, was fingerprinted, typed for blood, and otherwise poked and prodded. Nowadays, in Fortress America, every one of us is, in some sense, government issue in a surveillance state gone mad.

Posted on Jun 13, 2014 READ MORE



Don’t Walk Away From War

Here are five straightforward lessons—none acceptable in what passes for discussion and debate in this country—that could be drawn from that last half century of every kind of American warfare.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 READ MORE



The World Cup and the Corporatization of Soccer

Have you ever entered an empty stadium? Try it. Stand in the middle of the field and listen. There is nothing less empty than an empty stadium. There is nothing less mute than stands bereft of spectators.

Posted on Jun 9, 2014 READ MORE



#YesAllWomen Changes the Story

The Isla Vista murderer took out men as well as women, but blowing away members of a sorority seems to have been the goal of his rampage. He evidently interpreted his lack of sexual access to women as offensive behavior by women who, he imagined in a sad mix of entitlement and self-pity, owed him fulfillment.

Posted on Jun 2, 2014 READ MORE



The Last Commencement Address: Surveilling the Class of 2014

Internet Class of 2014, I’m in awe of you! To this giant, darkened auditorium filled with sparkling screens of every sort, welcome!

Posted on May 29, 2014 READ MORE



Climate Change as a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Unlike various fantasies promulgated by the Bush and Obama administrations during the first 14 years of this century, there is a weapon of mass destruction that could do staggering damage to or someday simply drown New York City, Washington, D.C., Miami, and other East Coast cities.

Posted on May 23, 2014 READ MORE



Pandora’s Box and the Volunteer Police Force

You can abolish the reproductive rights women gained in 1973, with Roe v. Wade, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion—or rather ruled that women had a right to privacy over their own bodies that precluded the banning of abortion. But you can’t so easily abolish the idea that women have certain inalienable rights.

Posted on May 22, 2014 READ MORE



The Birth of a Eurasian Century

A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass—at the expense of the United States.

Posted on May 19, 2014 READ MORE



The U.S. Military’s New Normal in Africa

The real “new normal” for U.S. Africa Command is the culmination of years of construction, ingratiation, and interventions, the fruits of wide-eyed expansion and dismal policy failures, the backing of proxies to fight America’s battles, while increasing U.S. personnel and firepower in and around the continent.

Posted on May 15, 2014 READ MORE


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