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An Exceptional Decline for the Exceptional Country?


  • The Empire as Basket Case
  • The Age of Impunity
  • A Record of Unparalleled Failure

Tom Engelhardt,

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July 13, 2014 | For America’s national security state, this is the age of impunity.  Nothing it does -- torture, kidnapping, assassination, illegal surveillance, you name it -- will ever be brought to court.  For none of its beyond-the-boundaries acts will anyone be held accountable.  The only crimes that can now be committed in official Washington are by those foolish enough to believe that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.  I’m speaking of the various whistleblowers and leakers who have had an urge to let Americans know what deeds and misdeeds their government is committing in their name but without their knowledge.  They continue to pay a price in accountability for their acts that should, by comparison, stun us all.

As June ended, the New York Times front-paged an account of an act of corporate impunity that may, however, be unique in the post-9/11 era (though potentially a harbinger of things to come).  In 2007, as journalist James Risen tells it, Daniel Carroll, the top manager in Iraq for the rent-a-gun company Blackwater, one of the warrior corporations that accompanied the U.S. military to war in the twenty-first century, threatened Jean Richter, a government investigator sent to Baghdad to look into accounts of corporate wrongdoing.

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. 

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Tom Engelhardt | A Record of Unparalleled Failure, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • More than half a century of American-style war by the most powerful and potentially destructive military on the planet adds up to worse than nothing.
  • Part 1: Don’t Walk Away from War 
  • Part 2: Stop Here


The Point Everyone Is Missing About The Return Of The ‘Polar Vortex’


According to at least one scientist, the debate over the term "polar vortex" misses a more important point about the unusual weather pattern sweeping the United States.

Emily Atkin, Think Progress

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2014/07/PolarVortex2.jpgA European model of high temperatures predicted for Wednesday. Credit:

July 14, 2014 |  It will be unseasonably chilly in the eastern part of the United States this week, due to a peculiar weather pattern that’s causing deep waves in the jet stream. One of those big waves is bringing cool air down from the northeast Pacific and the Arctic. This will cause nighttime temperatures to be, on average, in the 50s or 60s on Tuesday and Wednesday.

So is it the polar vortex, or isn’t it? That’s been the big debate among meteorologists and news outlets. But according to at least one scientist, that debate misses a more important point about the unusual weather pattern sweeping the United States — that it’s causing extreme weather in other parts of the country.

Emily Atkin is a reporter for Climate Progress. 

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The 25th Hour


  • Still Living With Jack Bauer in a Terrified New American World 
  • A nation of cowards
  • Chomsky: Obama ‘Determined To Demolish The Foundations Of Our Civil Liberties

Rebecca Gordon, Tom Dispatch

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9780199336432.jpgJuly 10, 2014 | Once upon a time, if a character on TV or in a movie 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.

In 2002, Cofer Black, the former Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, told a Senate committee, “All I want to say is that there was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off.” He wanted them to understand that Americans now live in a changed world, where, from the point of view of the national security state, anything goes. It was, as he and various top officials in the Bush administration saw it, a dangerous place in which terrorists might be lurking in any airport security line and who knew where else.

one-nation-under-surveillance.jpgRebecca Gordon is the author of Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States (Oxford University Press). She teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She has also spent several decades working in a variety of national and international movements for peace and justice, and is a member of the War Times/Tiempo de Guerras collective.

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Chomsky: Obama ‘Determined To Demolish The Foundations Of Our Civil Liberties, Noam Chomsky, Daily Caller

  • “It is of no slight import that the project is being executed in one of the freest countries in the world, and in radical violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which protects citizens from ‘unreasonable searches and seizures,’ and guarantees the privacy of their persons, houses, papers and effects,” Chomsky said.
  • NSA Spying


Why America Hates And Despises Victims


  • So, this is why all those people we’re bombing in Ukraine receive absolutely no sympathy from America’s “news” media: those people we are bombing are victims. And those “news” people are paid by the people who are behind those bombings. After all, if it weren’t so, you’d already have known about the U.S.-sponsored ethnic cleansing campaign throughout southeastern Ukraine. And that’s why you probably haven’t read, or seen on TV, lots and lots about it. Or, maybe, anything about it.
  • Ukraine, U.S., and big bad Putin: Who's the bully?
  • The United States of Cruelty
  • Noam Chomsky | America's Real Foreign Policy

Eric Zuesse,

27303223/1498480/1498480_900.jpg 05 July, 2014 | Here are photos of residents in southeastern Ukraine and of their homes that we bombed yesterday, and you see the corpses, and the grieving survivors.

But Americans call them "terrorists," even though these people never were that, and even though America is funding the terrorism against all the residents in southeastern Ukraine, to force them to either die or else flee, so that they won't be able to vote in future Ukrainian elections, and so that the government we installed in a February coup in Kiev will stay installed, even if Ukraine becomes again a democracy. The residents in that region had voted overwhelmingly for the President whom we overthrew on February 22nd. The mock-election that we held in Ukraine on May 25th had excluded any candidate that our government didn't first approve of, but President Obama wants Ukraine to be a democratic base for NATO missiles against Russia, not just a fascist dictatorship like we installed on February 22nd. Democracies are much more stable than dictatorships, and Obama wants the Ukrainian public to approve of the nuclear missiles that he’s planning to install there. Obama wants anyone in Ukraine who doesn't like the idea of Ukraine joining NATO to either die or else leave Ukraine, and that's why we're bombing the people there -- to just get rid of them, so we'll have the kind of democracy we want there: a NATO democracy – a Russia-hating democracy.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of Christ's Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity.

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27303223/1495632/1495632_900.jpg Ukraine, U.S., and big bad Putin: Who's the bully? Sam Webb, People's World

  • Right now, it is imperative that peace- and justice-minded people tell the Obama administration to turn away from its confrontation with Russia - stop the punishing and isolating moves as well as rein in an even more bellicose Senate and House. Instead, here are the paths the U.S. needs to pursue.
  • “False Flag Terrorism” to Sustain America’s “Humanitarian” Agenda


The United States of Cruelty, Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

  • We are cheap. We are suspicious. We will shoot first. It does not have to be this way. Like Lincoln before us, it is time to do something about it.
  • GOP Descent into Mindless Meanness


Noam Chomsky | America's Real Foreign Policy, Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch

  • How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector 
  • Howard Zinn’s July 4 Wisdom: Put Away Your Flags


The Crash of 2016 Gets Closer Every Day


  • How our corporate overlords are setting us up to fail (again)
  • While profits soar, wages continue to stagnate and anti-tax zealots gut the safety net — a recipe for disaster.
  • America's Economic Crisis, June 30, 2014

Thom Hartmann, OpEdNews Leonardo Dicaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street" 

Friday, Jul 4, 2014 | The denial of fundamental economic principles is setting the world up for another Great Crash.

Although wages have been flat or declining since the West started following Thatchernomics and Reaganomics in the late ’70s and early 1980s, the stock market has risen to all-time highs. Billions—hundreds of billions—have been made by individuals on Wall Street.

Thom Hartmann is an American radio host, author, former psychotherapist, entrepreneur, and liberal political commentator. He is the #1 progressive radio talk show host in the US and a New York Times bestselling author, including 4 Project Censored awards.

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America's Economic Crisis, June 30, 2014, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • “…it seems that our remedies are instinctively those which aggravate the sickness: the remedies are expressions of the sickness itself“. --Thomas Merton
  • Part 1: US Economic Output  Tumbled By 2.9 Percent In The First Quarter 
  • Part 2: A New Recession And A New World Devoid Of Washington’s Arrogance?


Celebrating Pops' birthday on the Fourth of July

We kicked this off last year, in July 4th Louis 'Pops' Armstrong birthday celebration, and I hope we can make it a tradition.

Denise Oliver Velez, Daily Kos

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Portrait.jpg?1372763698July 4, 2014 | Louis Armstrong, the world's best-known jazz musician, was born in New Orleans Louisiana, in 1901. He says he was born on July Fourth, and no matter what later historians say, I'm stickin' to the day Pops celebrated until he passed on July 6, in 1971.

So, like I do every year, I'm celebrating with Pops. I have the grill (and my laptop) out on the back porch, and the sound of a trumpet is blasting.  

Feeling good, and like Pop's said, "It's a wonderful world," in spite of all that confronts us.

Denise Oliver Velez: applied cultural anthropologist, writer and revolutionary -- is currently an adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies at SUNY New Paltz.

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