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TomDispatch


  • Originally published 09/24/2013

    Memento Mori

    The death of American Exceptionalism -- and of me.

  • Originally published 08/14/2013

    The Secret History of G.I. Joe

    Credit: Wiki Commons.Originally posted in two parts on TomDispatch.com 1. The First Coming of G.I. JoeIt was 1964, and in Vietnam thousands of American “advisers” were already offering up their know-how from helicopter seats or gun sights. The United States was just a year short of sending its first large contingent of ground troops there, adolescents who would enter the battle zone dreaming of John Wayne and thinking of enemy-controlled territory as “Indian country.” Meanwhile, in that inaugural year of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, a new generation of children began to experience the American war story via the most popular toy warrior ever created.

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Michael Klare: How to Fry a Planet

    When it comes to energy and economics in the climate-change era, nothing is what it seems.  Most of us believe (or want to believe) that the second carbon era, the Age of Oil, will soon be superseded by the Age of Renewables, just as oil had long since superseded the Age of Coal.  President Obama offered exactly this vision in a much-praised June address on climate change.  True, fossil fuels will be needed a little bit longer, he indicated, but soon enough they will be overtaken by renewable forms of energy.Many other experts share this view, assuring us that increased reliance on “clean” natural gas combined with expanded investments in wind and solar power will permit a smooth transition to a green energy future in which humanity will no longer be pouring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  All this sounds promising indeed.  There is only one fly in the ointment: it is not, in fact, the path we are presently headed down.  The energy industry is not investing in any significant way in renewables.  Instead, it is pouring its historic profits into new fossil-fuel projects, mainly involving the exploitation of what are called “unconventional” oil and gas reserves.

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    William deBuys: Field Notes from a Drying West

    William deBuys, a TomDispatch regular, irrigates a small farm in northern New Mexico and is the author of seven books including, most recently, A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest. Several miles from Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon, Arizona, April 2013 -- Down here, at the bottom of the continent’s most spectacular canyon, the Colorado River growls past our sandy beach in a wet monotone. Our group of 24 is one week into a 225-mile, 18-day voyage on inflatable rafts from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek. We settle in for the night. Above us, the canyon walls part like a pair of maloccluded jaws, and moonlight streams between them, bright enough to read by.One remarkable feature of the modern Colorado, the great whitewater rollercoaster that carved the Grand Canyon, is that it is a tidal river. Before heading for our sleeping bags, we need to retie our six boats to allow for the ebb.

  • Originally published 07/28/2013

    Edward Snowden vs. Robert Seldon Lady

    This, then, is our world: a single megapower has, since September 2001, been in a financing and construction frenzy to create the first global surveillance state; its torturers run free; its kidnappers serve time at liberty in this country and are rescued if they venture abroad; and its whistleblowers -- those who would let the rest of us know what “our” government is doing in our name -- are pilloried.

  • Originally published 07/18/2013

    Rebecca Solnit: A Letter to Edward Snowden

    Like Edward Snowden, Rebecca Solnit has a GED, not a high-school diploma. She lives in Silicon Valley’s shadow, in a city where billionaires race $10 million yachts and austerity is closing the community college.  Her newest book is The Faraway Nearby. Billions of us, from prime ministers to hackers, are watching a live espionage movie in which you are the protagonist and perhaps the sacrifice. Your way forward is clear to no one, least of all, I’m sure, you.I fear for you; I think of you with a heavy heart. I imagine hiding you like Anne Frank. I imagine Hollywood movie magic in which a young lookalike would swap places with you and let you flee to safety -- if there is any safety in this world of extreme rendition and extrajudicial execution by the government that you and I were born under and that you, until recently, served. I fear you may pay, if not with your death, with your life -- with a life that can have no conventional outcome anytime soon, if ever. “Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped,” you told us, and they are trying to stop you instead.

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    Todd Miller: Creating a Military-Industrial-Immigration Complex

    Todd Miller has researched and written about U.S.-Mexican border issues for more than 10 years. He has worked on both sides of the border for BorderLinks in Tucson, Arizona, and Witness for Peace in Oaxaca, Mexico. He now writes on border and immigration issues for NACLA Report on the Americas and its blog “Border Wars,” among other places. He is at work on his first book, Border Patrol Nation, for the Open Media Series of City Lights Books.

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Writing About the Military Will Screw with Your Life

     “Why the officer stopped you is beyond me, but what the officer discovered is something of interest, especially for national security... It’s not every day you see someone traveling with information like this.” 

  • Originally published 07/02/2013

    Tom Engelhardt: The Dictionary of the Global War on You (GWOY)

    Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of "The United States of Fear" as well as a history of the Cold War, "The End of Victory Culture" (just published in a Kindle edition), runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. His latest book, co-authored with Nick Turse, is "Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050."

  • Originally published 07/01/2013

    Peter Van Buren: Edward Snowden’s Long Flight

    Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement in his book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. A TomDispatch regular, he writes about current events at his blog, We Meant Well. Van Buren’s next book, Ghosts of Tom Joad, A Story of the #99Percent, is due out in March 2014.

  • Originally published 06/27/2013

    Todd Gitlin: The Wonderful American World of Informers and Agents Provocateurs

    Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, the chair of the PhD program in communications, and the author of The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left; The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; and Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street.Only Martians, by now, are unaware of the phone and online data scooped up by the National Security Agency (though if it turns out that they are aware, the NSA has surely picked up their signals and crunched their metadata).  American high-tech surveillance is not, however, the only kind around.  There’s also the lower tech, up-close-and-personal kind that involves informers and sometimes government-instigated violence.

  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    Chase Madar: Bradley Manning vs. SEAL Team 6

    Chase Madar is an attorney and the author of The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind the WikiLeaks Whistleblower. A TomDispatch regular, he writes for the London Review of Books, Le Monde Diplomatique, the American Conservative, and CounterPunch.  He is covering the Manning trial daily for the Nation magazine.

  • Originally published 05/30/2013

    Michael Klare: The Cold War Redux?

    Michael Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, a TomDispatch regular, and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left, now published in paperback by Picador. A documentary movie based on his book Blood and Oil can be previewed and ordered at www.bloodandoilmovie.com. You can follow Klare on Facebook by clicking here.Did Washington just give Israel the green light for a future attack on Iran via an arms deal? Did Russia just signal its further support for Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime via an arms deal? Are the Russians, the Chinese, and the Americans all heightening regional tensions in Asia via arms deals? Is it possible that we’re witnessing the beginnings of a new Cold War in two key regions of the planet -- and that the harbingers of this unnerving development are arms deals?

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    How We Name Our Wars Matters

    Clockwise from top: Buffalo Soldiers in the Spanish American War; a Soviet officer in World War II; Canadian troops in World War I, and dead Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com For well over a decade now the United States has been “a nation at war.” Does that war have a name?

  • Originally published 04/18/2013

    Erika Eichelberger: Violence on the Home Front

    Erika Eichelberger is a senior editorial fellow at Mother Jones where she writes regularly for the website. She is also director of social media for TomDispatch. She has written for the Nation, the Brooklyn Rail, and Alternet.Since the Newtown massacre, visions of unfathomable crazy mass killers and armed strangers in the night have colonized the American mind. Proposed laws have been drawn up that would keep potential mass murderers from getting their hands on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, or that would stop hardened criminals from buying guns. But the danger out there is both more mundane and more terrible:you're more likely to be hurt or killed by someone you know or love. And you'll probably be at home when it happens.

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    American Anniversaries from Hell

    Still frame from video of the July 12, 2007 air strike in Baghdad, leaked to the public by WikiLeaks in 2010.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    The Story of a Rape in Wartime

    Originally posted on TomDispatch.com On August 31, 1969, a rape was committed in Vietnam. Maybe numerous rapes were committed there that day, but this was a rare one involving American GIs that actually made its way into the military justice system. And that wasn’t the only thing that set it apart.War is obscene. I mean that in every sense of the word. Some veterans will tell you that you can’t know war if you haven’t served in one, if you haven’t seen combat. These are often the same guys who won’t tell you the truths that they know about war and who never think to blame themselves in any way for our collective ignorance. 

  • Originally published 02/26/2013

    Chase Madar: The School Security America Doesn’t Need

    Chase Madar (@ChMadar) is a civil rights attorney in New York City who has written about the proven alternatives to school security overkill. His latest book is The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower (Verso).Outrage over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre may or may not spur any meaningful gun control laws, but you can bet your Crayolas that it will lead to more seven-year-olds getting handcuffed and hauled away to local police precincts.

  • Originally published 02/19/2013

    Washington Tortures Everywhere ... Except Latin America

    Map of CIA rendition sites. Countries in red cooperate with the CIA to detain and allegedly torture terror suspects. Drawn from data first published in the Washington Post. Map credit: HNN staff/Wiki Commons.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com

  • Originally published 02/08/2013

    Todd Miller: The Constitution-Free Zone of our Northern Border

    Todd Miller has researched and written about U.S.-Mexican border issues for more than 10 years. He has worked on both sides of the border for BorderLinks in Tucson, Arizona, and Witness for Peace in Oaxaca, Mexico. He now writes on border and immigration issues for NACLA Report on the Americas and its blog “Border Wars,” among other places. He is at work on his first book, Border Patrol Nation, for the Open Media Series of City Lights Books.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com

  • Originally published 02/07/2013

    The American Lockdown State

    Protest in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Credit: Flickr/Madison Guy.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    The Hagel Hearings

    Via Flickr/Secretary of Defense.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Ann Jones: Counting Down to 2014 in Afghanistan

    Ann Jones is the author of Kabul in Winter: Life without Peace in Afghanistan (Metropolitan 2006) and more recently War Is Not Over When It’s Over (Metropolitan 2010).  She wants to acknowledge the courage and determination of all her friends in Afghanistan, especially the women, and the men who stand beside them.

  • Originally published 01/24/2013

    Rebecca Solnit: A Rape a Minute, a Thousand Corpses a Year

    Originally posted on TomDispatch.comRebecca Solnit has written a version of this essay three times so far, once in the 1980s for the punk magazine Maximum Rock’n’Roll, once as the chapter on women and walking in her 2000 book Wanderlust: A History of Walking, and here. She would love the topic to become out of date and irrelevant and never to have write it again.

  • Originally published 01/15/2013

    Eight Things I Miss About the Cold War

    Credit: Wiki Commons.At a book festival in Los Angeles recently, some writers (myself included) were making the usual arguments about the problems with American politics in the 1950s -- until one panelist shocked the audience by declaring, “God, I miss the Cold War.” His grandmother, he said, had come to California from Oklahoma with a grade-school education, but found a job in an aerospace factory in L.A. during World War II, joined the union, got healthcare and retirement benefits, and prospered in the Cold War years. She ended up owning a house in the suburbs and sending her kids to UCLA.Several older people in the audience leaped to their feet shouting, “What about McCarthyism?”  “The bomb?” “Vietnam?” “Nixon?”

  • Originally published 06/20/2014

    Abraham Lincoln and the Corwin Amendment

    Most serious historical overviews of the Civil War contain at least a brief mention of the Corwin Amendment, the last-ditch compromise effort to protect slavery where it existed by enshrining it in the Constitution. They also do so tepidly and seldom acknowledge it as anything more than a historical footnote.

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