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[l] at 1/20/22 7:03am
Its now more than 20 years later and that American offshore symbol of mistreatment and injustice, the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is still open. In fact, as 2021 ended, New York Times reporter Carol Rosenberg, who has covered that notorious prison complex since its first day, reported on the Pentagon’s plans to build a brand-new prefab courthouse at that naval base. Its intended to serve as a second, even more secret facility for holding the four remaining trials of war-on-terror detainees and is scheduled to be ready “sometime in 2023.” Close Guantánamo? Not soon, it seems. The cost of that new construction is a mere $4 million, a relatively minor sum compared to the $6 billion dollars and counting... Read more Source: Guantánamos Forever Elusive Endgame appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 1/18/22 7:12am
In the early 1960s, at the height of America’s original Cold War with the Soviet Union, my old service branch, the Air Force, sought to build 10,000 land-based nuclear missiles. These were intended to augment the hundreds of nuclear bombers it already had, like the B-52s featured so memorably in the movie Dr. Strangelove. Predictably, massive future overkill was justified in the name of deterrence, though the nuclear war plan in force back then was more about obliteration. It featured a devastating attack on the Soviet Union and communist China that would kill an estimated 600 million people in six months (the equivalent of 100 Holocausts, notes Daniel Ellsberg in his book, The Doomsday Machine). Slightly saner heads finally prevailed... Read more Source: Only Fools Replay Doomsday appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 1/16/22 3:16pm
Throughout 2021, Americans were absorbed in arguments over mask mandates, school closings, and the meaning of the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Meanwhile, geopolitical hot spots were erupting across Eurasia, forming a veritable ring of fire around that vast land mass. Let’s circle that continent to visit just a few of those flashpoints, each one suffused with significance for the future of U.S. global power. On the border with Ukraine, 100,000 Russian troops were massing with tanks and rocket launchers, ready for a possible invasion. Meanwhile, Beijing signed a $400 billion agreement with Tehran to swap infrastructure-building for Iranian oil. Such an exchange might help make that country the future rail hub of Central Asia, while projecting China’s military... Read more Source: Eurasias Ring of Fire appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 1/13/22 7:14am
The word “encirclement” does not appear in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by President Joe Biden on December 27th, or in other recent administration statements about its foreign and military policies. Nor does that classic Cold War era term containment ever come up. Still, America’s top leaders have reached a consensus on a strategy to encircle and contain the latest great power, China, with hostile military alliances, thereby thwarting its rise to full superpower status. The gigantic 2022 defense bill passed with overwhelming support from both parties provides a detailed blueprint for surrounding China with a potentially suffocating network of U.S. bases, military forces, and increasingly militarized partner states. The goal is to... Read more Source: None Dare Call It Encirclement appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 1/11/22 7:01am
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu The world lost a great moral leader this Christmas when Archbishop Desmond Tutu passed away at the age of 90. I had the honor of meeting him a few times as a child. I was raised by a family dedicated to doing the work of justice, grounded in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and also sacred texts and traditions. We hosted the archbishop on several occasions when he visited Milwaukee both before... Read more Source: Which Way America? appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 1/9/22 2:45pm
Here’s a scenario to consider: a military force has purchased a million cheap, disposable flying drones each the size of a deck of cards, each capable of carrying three grams of explosives enough to kill a single person or, in a “shaped charge,” pierce a steel wall. They’ve been programmed to seek out and “engage” (kill) certain human beings, based on specific “signature” characteristics like carrying a weapon, say, or having a particular skin color. They fit in a single shipping container and can be deployed remotely. Once launched, they will fly and kill autonomously without any further human action. Science fiction? Not really. It could happen tomorrow. The technology already exists. In fact, lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS)... Read more Source: Keep Your LAWS Off My Planet appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 1/6/22 7:12am
Let me start 2022 by heading back way, way back for a moment. Its easy to forget just how long this world has been a dangerous place for human beings. I thought about this recently when I stumbled upon a little memoir my Aunt Hilda scrawled, decades ago, in a small notebook. In it, she commented in passing: I was graduated during that horrible flu epidemic of 1919 and got it. Badly enough, it turned out, to mess up her entry into high school. She says little more about it. Still, I was shocked. In all the years when my father and his sister were alive and, from time to time, talked about the past, never had they... Read more Source: What Will We Remember of 2022? appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 1/4/22 7:14am
It began more than two decades ago. On September 20, 2001, President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror” and told a joint session of Congress (and the American people) that “the course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain.” If he meant a 20-year slide to defeat in Afghanistan, a proliferation of militant groups across the Greater Middle East and Africa, and a never-ending, world-spanning war that, at a minimum, has killed about 300 times the number of people murdered in America on 9/11, then give him credit. He was absolutely right. Days earlier, Congress had authorized Bush to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determine[d] planned,... Read more Source: The War on Terror Is a Success for Terror appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/23/21 7:13am
Whether the pandemic thats swept the world started from a bat or not, as 2021 ends, I think its safe to say that were all far battier than we were when it began. In my neighborhood at least, as this year draws to a close, that old Lone Ranger line, Who was that masked man?, again applies to just about anyone. In fact, as Delta cases rise in New York City and Omicron arrives on the scene in a startling fashion, indoor mask wearing in my own apartment building from the halls to the elevators to the laundry room has been reinstituted (not that I ever stopped) and the citys indoor public-mask mandate is also being restored. Its... Read more Source: My Year and Welcome to It appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/21/21 6:59am
Professional sports is a cutthroat business. Succeed and the people running the show reap rich rewards. Fail to meet expectations and you get handed your walking papers. American-style war in the twenty-first century is quite a different matter. Of course, war is not a game. The stakes on the battlefield are infinitely higher than on the playing field. When wars go wrong, “We’ll show em next year just you wait!” is seldom a satisfactory response. At least, it shouldnt be. Yet somehow, the American people, our political establishment, and our military have all fallen into the habit of shrugging off or simply ignoring disappointing outcomes. A few years ago, a serving army officer of unusual courage published an essay... Read more Source: How Awesome Is Awesome? appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/19/21 3:02pm
Confession time: this year, I don’t want to buy my kids anything for Christmas. Big one, right? Okay, let me soften that just a bit. I have bought a few modest, useful things. But thats it! No new games, no new toys, no new clothes (other than socks)… nothing. They already have too much. We have too much. Our nation is drowning in stuff and, in reality, need almost none of it. There, Ive said it! It feels good to get that off my chest, even if it makes me sound like a cold-hearted Grinch of a mother. But maybe thats what it truly takes to be a good environmentalist these days. On the radio recently, I heard this stumper:... Read more Source: A Christmas Confession appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/16/21 6:50am
When midnight strikes on New Year’s Day of 2050, there will be little cause for celebration. There will, of course, be the usual toasts with fine wines in the climate-controlled compounds of the wealthy few. But for most of humanity, itll just be another day of adversity bordering on misery a desperate struggle to find food, water, shelter, and safety. In the previous decades, storm surges will have swept away coastal barriers erected at enormous cost and rising seas will have flooded the downtowns of major cities that once housed more than 100 million people. Relentless waves will pound shorelines around the world, putting villages, towns, and cities at risk. As several hundred million climate-change refugees in Africa, Latin... Read more Source: Climate Crisis at the Top of the World appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/14/21 7:03am
Half a mile south of whats left of the old Gold Rush-era town of Greenville, California, Highway 89 climbs steeply in a series of S-turns as familiar to me as my own backyard. From the top of that grade, Ive sometimes seen bald eagles soaring over the valley that stretches to the base of Keddie Peak, the northernmost mountain in California’s Sierra Nevada range. Today, stuck at the bottom thanks to endless road work, I try to remember what these hillsides looked like before the Dixie fire torched them in a furious 104-day climate-change-charged rampage across nearly one million acres, an area larger than the state of Delaware. They were so green then, pines, cedars, and graceful Douglas firs mixed... Read more Source: A Tour Guide to Hell on Earth, Small Town-Style appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/12/21 3:12pm
Where are you going to get the money? That question haunts congressional proposals to help the poor, the unhoused, and those struggling to pay the mortgage or rent or medical bills, among so many other critical domestic matters. And yet big surprise! there’s always plenty of money for the Pentagon. In fiscal year 2022, in fact, Congress is being especially generous with $778 billion in funding, roughly $25 billion more than the Biden administration initially asked for. Even that staggering sum seriously undercounts government funding for America’s vast national security state, which, since it gobbles up more than half of federal discretionary spending, is truly this countrys primary, if unofficial, fourth branch of government. Final approval of the... Read more Source: The U.S. Military Budget as a Mushroom Cloud appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/9/21 6:57am
As August ended, American troops completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan almost 20 years after they first arrived. On the formal date of withdrawal, however, President Biden insisted that “over-the-horizon capabilities” (airpower and Special Operations forces, for example) would remain available for use anytime. “[W]e can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground, very few if needed,” he explained, dispensing immediately with any notion of a true peace. But beyond expectations of continued violence in Afghanistan, there was an even greater obstacle to officially ending the war there: the fact that it was part of a never-ending, far larger conflict originally called the Global War on Terror (in caps), then the plain-old lower-cased war on terror, and finally... Read more Source: Are We Forever Captives of Americas Forever Wars? appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/7/21 6:42am
If you think that the true focus of the recent World Series was what the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves were doing on the field, you were either living in Texas, Georgia, or on some billionaire’s space station. In the world that lies somewhere between rabid fandom and total baseball disinterest, the fall classic actually proved to be a contest pitting the cheaters against the racists with a disturbing outcome that might be summed up this way: to the spoiled belongs the victory. And don’t think this was purely a baseball phenomenon. I can’t wait to see who will be competing in next Februarys Super Bowl, although the most obvious early contenders are homophobia, sexism, and vaccination misinformation. As for... Read more Source: Flaming the Fans appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/5/21 3:19pm
What alt-right guru Steve Bannon failed to create, German taxpayers have just stepped in to revive: a Nationalist International. Thanks to the German government, the far right is about to get its own well-heeled global think tank, complete with the sort of political academy that was so dear to Bannon’s plan for world domination. Germany’s gift to the far right is the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, the public-policy arm of the country’s most prominent extremist party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). Erasmus, a Dutch humanist of the Renaissance best known for his ironic essay “In Praise of Folly,” would have been appalled at such a grotesque misappropriation of his name. The AfD, after all, has built its political base on a... Read more Source: The Donald Also Rises? appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 12/2/21 6:54am
When the Department of Defense released its annual report on Chinese military strength in early November, one claim generated headlines around the world. By 2030, it suggested, China would probably have 1,000 nuclear warheads three times more than at present and enough to pose a substantial threat to the United States. As a Washington Post headline put it, typically enough: “China accelerates nuclear weapons expansion, seeks 1,000 warheads or more, Pentagon says.” The media, however, largely ignored a far more significant claim in that same report: that China would be ready to conduct “intelligentized” warfare by 2027, enabling the Chinese to effectively resist any U.S. military response should it decide to invade the island of Taiwan, which they view... Read more Source: Countdown to World War III? appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 11/30/21 7:14am
In mid-October, President Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, joining the nearby Port of Long Beach, which had been doing so since September. The move followed weeks of White House negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, as well as shippers like UPS and FedEx, and major retailers like Walmart and Target. The purpose of expanding port hours, according to the New York Times, was “to relieve growing backlogs in the global supply chains that deliver critical goods to the United States.” Reading this, you might be forgiven for imagining that an array of crucial items like medicines or their ingredients or face masks and other... Read more Source: Supply-Chain Woes appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 11/23/21 7:03am
Who knew that Martians, inside monstrous tripodal machines taller than many buildings, actually ululated, that they made eerily haunting ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla sounds? Well, let me tell you that they do or rather did when they were devastating London. I know that because I recently reread H.G. Wellss 1898 novel War of the Worlds, while revisiting an early moment in my own life. Admittedly, I wasnt in London when those Martian machines, hooting away, stalked boldly into that city, hungry in the most literal fashion imaginable for human blood. No surprise there, since that was almost a century and a quarter ago. Still, at 77, thanks to that book, I was at least able to revisit a moment... Read more Source: Welcome to the Martians! appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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[l] at 11/21/21 3:00pm
As a Navy spouse of 10 years and counting, my life offers an up-close view of our country’s priorities when it comes to infrastructure and government spending. Recently, my husband, a naval officer currently serving with the Department of Energy, spent a week with colleagues touring a former nuclear testing site about 65 miles north of Las Vegas. Between 1951 and 1957, the U.S. conducted more than 1,000 nuclear tests in those 680 square miles of desert and only stopped when scientists began urging that the tests be halted because of soaring cancer rates among the downwind residents of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. My spouse’s trip was a kind of ritual Department of Energy personnel undertake to learn about nuclear... Read more Source: The Costs of War (to You) appeared first on TomDispatch.com.

[Category: Tomgram]

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