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October 13, 2015
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The Road

By Cormac McCarthy

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Tag: Tomdispatch

Climate Change Tipping Points and the Question of Civilizational Survival

We urgently need to view climate change not as a slow, linear process to which we can adapt safely over time, but as a nonlinear set of events involving dramatic and irreversible changes to the global ecosphere.

Posted on Oct 8, 2015 READ MORE

Parenting on the Brink: Wrestling With Fears Too Big to Name

To have a child is to plant a flag in the future—and that is no small responsibility.

Posted on Oct 7, 2015 READ MORE

What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me About the American Empire

The idea that the United States was an empire did not occur to me until after I finished my work as a bombardier with the Eighth Air Force in the Second World War and came home.

Posted on Oct 5, 2015 READ MORE

It’s Safe to Be Paranoid in the U.S.

If you look at the country that its top politicians hardly mention without defensively wielding the words “exceptional” or “indispensable,” the exceptional thing is this: As a great power, the United States still stands alone on planet earth, and Americans can exhibit all the paranoia they want in remarkable safety and security.

Posted on Sep 30, 2015 READ MORE

U.S. Special Ops Forces Deployed in 135 Nations

They belong to the special operations forces, America’s most elite troops. And odds are, if you throw a dart at a world map or stop a spinning globe with your index finger and don’t hit water, they’ve been there sometime in 2015.

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 READ MORE

How to Censor Yourself Before the Government Even Has the Chance

When so many of us become frightened enough of our own government to do its censoring for it, we’ve all lost the battle for dignity and civil rights.

Posted on Sep 21, 2015 READ MORE

The Star Trek Fallacy

Might it have been better for the universe as a whole if the Enterprise had never left earth and earth hadn’t meddled in matters beyond its own solar system? As our country contemplates future military interventions, as well as ambitious efforts to someday colonize other planets, Americans would be smart to address this fundamental question.

Posted on Sep 17, 2015 READ MORE

Garrisoning the Globe: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Undermine National Security and Harm Us All

Our network of overseas bases have helped lock us inside a permanently militarized society that has made everyone on this planet less secure, damaging lives at home and abroad.

Posted on Sep 14, 2015 READ MORE

U.S. Special Ops Missions in Africa Fail to Stem Terror Groups, Coups and Human Rights Abuses

Will episodic training with militaries regularly implicated in human rights abuses, militaries that overthrow their governments, and militaries that have consistently failed to defeat local terror groups turn them into professional, successful armies?

Posted on Sep 11, 2015 READ MORE

Playing the Long Game on Iran

If the Iran nuclear deal attains legitimacy, much of the neoconservatives’ power will slip through their fingers as the imperialist idealism that drives their ventures from day to day will be cheated of the enemy it cannot live without. 

Posted on Aug 24, 2015 READ MORE

‘The Iranian Threat’: Who Poses the Gravest Danger to World Peace?

Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. There are, however, striking exceptions to the general enthusiasm.

Posted on Aug 20, 2015 READ MORE

The Shared Failings of America’s Military Academies and Senior Officers

Familiar as America’s most senior military officers may be with the warnings of Thomas Jefferson, they have consistently ignored or misapplied them, facilitating our current state of endless war and national decline.

Posted on Aug 19, 2015 READ MORE

As Both Climate Victim and Responder, California Leads the Way

California in the Great Drought reminds me of San Francisco as AIDS broke out: a living diorama of how the future is going to look for a lot of us. Back then we had no idea how bad things were going to get, and that is likely to be true now too.

Posted on Aug 17, 2015 READ MORE

Where Did the Anti-War Movement Go?

Without an anti-war movement, the spectacle of mayhem and slaughter that has been at the heart of the Iraq War has passed largely unnoticed in the U.S. In an era in which successes have been in short supply for two administrations, consider this a major one.

Posted on Aug 13, 2015 READ MORE

From the Archives of TomDispatch: America’s Empire of Bases

A vast network of American military bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire not likely to be taught in any high school geography class. Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling Baseworld, one can’t begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations or the degree to which a new kind of militarism is undermining our constitutional order.

Posted on Aug 12, 2015 READ MORE

Entering the Nuclear Age, Body by Body

In an excerpt from her new book, “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War,” Susan Southard takes us directly beneath the mushroom cloud over Nagaskai with five teenage survivors, through the very first moments of what has become an unending nuclear age.

Posted on Aug 6, 2015 READ MORE

Dealing With Mass Killings in America

Imagine you’re in the FBI and a 16-year-old male with no criminal record shows a sudden interest in Islamic State. His grades, previously stellar, are starting to fall, and he’s increasingly clicking on jihadist websites. What’s more, his parents own legally registered guns, he has been treated by a psychiatrist, and he has repeatedly read news stories about mass killings in the U.S. What do you do?

Posted on Aug 3, 2015 READ MORE

U.S.-Iranian Relations Emerge From a 30-Year Cold War

Don’t sweat the details of the July nuclear accord between the United States and Iran. What matters is that the calculus of power in the Middle East just changed in significant ways.

Posted on Jul 29, 2015 READ MORE

A Message in a Bottle From My Mother: Requiem for the Home Front

In these decades, when we’ve gone from an American version of people’s war and national mobilization to peopleless wars and a demobilized populace, war has remained a constant, but we have not. Given that, I want to offer one small cheer, however belatedly, for my mother the caricaturist.

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 READ MORE

The Next Gaza War

Odds are that months of relative “quiet” in Gaza will prove nothing more than an interregnum between Israel’s ever more devastating military escalations.

Posted on Jul 16, 2015 READ MORE

Dirty Energy vs. Clean Power: The Past and the Future at Seneca Lake

Against corporate efforts to turn the region around New York state’s Seneca Lake into a gas storage and transportation hub for the entire northeastern U.S., a coalition of farmers and vintners, doctors and lawyers, clean energy companies and reluctant do-it-yourself activists is working to guide their home toward a fossil-fuel-free future.

Posted on Jul 9, 2015 READ MORE

Five Things That Won’t Work in Iraq

It’s the American Way to believe with all our hearts that every problem is ours to solve and every problem must have a solution, which simply must be found. As a result, the indispensable nation faces a new round of calls for ideas on what “we” should do next in Iraq.

Posted on Jun 25, 2015 READ MORE

Our Jihadis and Theirs

National security officials and politicians have been pounding home the message that the “greatest threat” to Americans is a jihadist movement thousands of miles away. With that in mind, let’s take a quick survey of national insecurity in a country armed to the teeth.

Posted on Jun 22, 2015 READ MORE

The Truth About the U.S. Military Base at Diego Garcia

The truth about the U.S. military base on the British-controlled Indian Ocean island can be hard to believe. In fact, it would be easy to confuse the real story with fictional accounts found in the “Transformers” movies, on the television series “24” and in Internet conspiracy theories about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Posted on Jun 15, 2015 READ MORE

A Magical Mystery Tour of American Austerity Politics

Numerous cities and school districts in Michigan are now run by single, state-appointed technocrats. This arrangement not only strips residents of their local voting rights but also gives appointees of the state’s austerity-promoting governor the power to do just about anything, including dissolve the cities themselves, all in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”

Posted on Jun 10, 2015 READ MORE

The Geopolitics of American Global Decline

America’s political, national security and foreign policy elites have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades.

Posted on Jun 8, 2015 READ MORE

The Secret Origins of the CIA’s Torture Program and the Forgotten Man Who Tried to Expose It

Anthony J. Russo blew the whistle on American torture policy in Vietnam and on an intelligence debacle at the center of the decision-making that helped turn that war into a nightmare. Neither of his revelations saw the light of day in his own time or ours. And while Daniel Ellsberg remains a major figure for his role in releasing the Pentagon Papers, Russo is a forgotten man.

Posted on Jun 1, 2015 READ MORE

Delusionary Washington: The Desperate Plight of a Declining Superpower

Russia refuses to curtail support for armed separatists in Ukraine; China refuses to abandon its base-building endeavors in the South China Sea; the Islamic State movement refuses to capitulate in the face of U.S. airpower. What is a declining superpower supposed to do in the face of such defiance?

Posted on May 28, 2015 READ MORE

How the U.S. Navy Plans to War-Game the Arctic

The Navy is increasingly focused on possible future climate-change conflicts in the melting waters of the north and, in that context, has little or no intention of caretaking the environment when it comes to military exercises.

Posted on May 21, 2015 READ MORE

Writing History Before It Happens

With an emphasis on the U.S. national security state and its follies, here are my top nine American repeat headlines, each a surefire news story guaranteed to appear sometime, possibly many times, between June 2015 and the unknown future.

Posted on May 20, 2015 READ MORE

One Boy, One Rifle and One Morning in Malakal

When I was their age, I wasn’t trusted to drive, vote, drink, get married, gamble in a casino, serve on a jury, rent a car, or buy a ticket to an R-rated movie. No one would have thought it a good idea to put an automatic weapon in my hands. But someone thought it was acceptable for them, including the government of the United States.

Posted on May 18, 2015 READ MORE

The American Military Uncontained

Despite all the happy talk about a “new world order” after the Cold War, the U.S. military never gave a serious thought to becoming a “normal” military for normal times. Instead, in the words of Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, our leaders sought to “reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities” by “unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will.”

Posted on May 14, 2015 READ MORE

A Five-Step Guide to Police Repression, From Ferguson to Baltimore and Beyond

Equate dissidents with domestic terrorists; arm police with “less-lethal” weapons; replace humans with robots. Here is a step-by-step guide, based on the latest developments in the security sector, on how to police a protest movement in the new age of domestic counterinsurgency.

Posted on May 6, 2015 READ MORE

The Everyday Politics of Confinement in Palestine

Despite the torrents of press coverage here about Israel and its relationship with the United States, the daily reality of half the people in a century-old conflict is essentially off the American radar screen.

Posted on Apr 30, 2015 READ MORE

A Letter of Apology to My Grandson

When I stumbled into the future in all its grim horror, I felt an urge that seemed uncomplicated: not to hand your mother and uncle a degraded country, planet, new century without lifting a finger in opposition, without at least trying. I felt the need to mobilize myself in a new way for the future I’d seen.

Posted on Apr 23, 2015 READ MORE

Sex, Drugs and Dead Soldiers: What the U.S. Africa Command Doesn’t Want You to Know

As American military operations have ramped up across Africa, reports of excessive drinking, sex with prostitutes, drug use, sexual assaults, and other forms of violence by AFRICOM personnel have escalated, and many of them have been kept under wraps.

Posted on Apr 22, 2015 READ MORE

The Continuing Depopulation of Detroit

The city that was the arsenal of the 20th century may also provide the blueprint for a more precarious era: 100,000 of its residents are on what many call an eviction “conveyor belt.”

Posted on Apr 20, 2015 READ MORE

Transition From Fossil Fuel to Green Energy Is Gaining Traction

Four key trends could speed the transition to renewables: the world’s growing determination to put a brake on climate change; a sea change in China’s stance on growth and the environment; the increasing embrace of green energy in the developing world; and the growing affordability of renewable energy.

Posted on Apr 16, 2015 READ MORE

Manhunters Inc.: How the Predator Became Washington’s Calling Card

The metamorphosis of the drone from eye to weapon came about almost by chance as the new millennium began. Barely two months after the outbreak of hostilities in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush declared: “It is clear the military does not have enough unmanned vehicles.”

Posted on Apr 9, 2015 READ MORE

Plutocracy the First Time Around

Aversion to the new industrial order and a “democratic feeling” in the late 19th century brought workers, storekeepers, lawyers and businessmen of all sorts together, appalled by the behavior of large industrialists who often enough didn’t live in those communities and so were the more easily seen as alien beings.

Posted on Apr 3, 2015 READ MORE

The Great Game in Afghanistan: a 21st Century Update

As the chances for peace talks between the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the unbeaten Taliban brighten, the Obama administration finds itself gradually but unmistakably reduced to the status of bystander.

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 READ MORE

On Women Who Refused to Live in Silence and Be Consigned to Oblivion

In 1919 Rosa Luxemburg, the revolutionary, was murdered in Berlin. Her killers bludgeoned her with rifle blows and tossed her into the waters of a canal. Along the way, she lost a shoe.

Posted on Mar 30, 2015 READ MORE

Your Money at War Everywhere

President Obama wants to raise the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal year 2016 by $35 billion more than the law currently allows. Sen. John McCain wants to see Obama’s $35 billion and raise him $17 billion more.

Posted on Mar 26, 2015 READ MORE

Pleading Guilty (to Insubordination)

In the current age of “lean-in” feminism at one end of the spectrum and an “anti-respectability” discourse at the other, an essay by Howard Zinn reminds us of an earlier meaning of women’s liberation.

Posted on Mar 25, 2015 READ MORE

The New American Order

Political campaigns and elections; the privatization of Washington; the de-legitimization of traditional governance; the national security state as an untouchable fourth branch of government; the demobilization of “we the people.” These are five areas in which the outlines of the new U.S. order are emerging.

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 READ MORE

The Big Dick School of American Patriotism

The BDSP is based on a bedrock belief in how America should work: that the only strength that really matters is military and that a great country is one with the capacity to beat the bejesus out of everyone else.

Posted on Mar 18, 2015 READ MORE

Rationalizing Lunacy: The Intellectual as Servant of the State

Let me propose an experiment: Put our policy intellectuals on furlough. Not permanently—just until the last of the winter snow finally melts in New England. Let’s see if we are able to make do without them for a month or two.

Posted on Mar 9, 2015 READ MORE

To Drill or Not to Drill—That Is the Question

Major oil company Royal Dutch Shell wants to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer. In the long term, that could spell doom for one of the last great relatively untouched oceanic environments on the planet.

Posted on Mar 4, 2015 READ MORE

Ten Commandments for a Better American World

My suspicion is that what’s right and moral is also what’s practical and realistic. In that light, let me offer Ten Commandments for a better world in general.

Posted on Mar 2, 2015 READ MORE

The Great Game in the Holy Land

Almost all the current wars, uprisings and other conflicts in the Middle East are connected by an increasingly frenzied competition to find, extract and market fossil fuels whose future consumption is guaranteed to lead to a set of cataclysmic environmental crises.

Posted on Feb 27, 2015 READ MORE

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