The destruction of the buffalo resulted from a campaign of biological terrorism unparalleled in the history of the Americas. The policy of the federal government of the United States was explicit: exterminate the buffalo and destroy the commissary of the great cultures of the plains. Over 100 million bison were slaughtered. A decade after Native resistance collapsed, the general who orchestrated the campaign advised Congress to mint a commemorative medal with a dead buffalo on one side, a dead “Indian” on the other.
It takes a world to maintain a biosphere.
As I thought of this history, standing in that tall-grass prairie, what disturbed me most was the ease with which we have removed ourselves from this ecological tragedy. Today, the good and decent people of Iowa live contentedly in a landscape of cornfields claustrophobic in its monotony. Read More
Thoughtless hyper-industrialization, renegade waste of energy and resources for profits combined with an oligarchic political system have yielded the perfect storm, wherein the systems responsible for creating the problems are never challenged.
While the engines that created the conditions for climate breakdown continue unabated, the same engines prohibit any decent evaluation of the core problems and possible solutions.
The private media is virtually silent on the emergency. Schools continue to thump the theology of markets and indefinite ‘growth,’ while industry continues to propel corporate expansion for higher profits, producing greater waste and pollution. Read More
Nearly half of Brits think we should be proud of our colonial heritage.
Ministers have had a tough time working out who Britain’s new trading partners will be after it leaves the EU. At one point it was reported that the British government was hoping to reach out to countries that were once part of the British Empire. The idea is that, now the blood has dried and the dust from the cannonballs settled, the nations of the Commonwealth will be only too happy to jump into a vigorous new age of trade with their former colonial master. Some civil servants doubted this, dubbing the government’s plans “Empire 2.0”.
These imperial crimes – and many more – are either not known or glossed over, lost in the tide of colonial nostalgia and the fog of ignorance.
On the same morning these plans for a colonialism reboot were announced, I spoke to Shashi Tharoor, an Indian MP and the author of a new book, Inglorious Empire. The book details the enormous economic damage done to India by the Empire, takes apart the hypocritical notion that some of what the British did in India was for “the good of India”, and calls for an end to the monumental ignorance surrounding the subject.
Tharoor laughs when I ask him about Empire 2.0: “Well, Empire 1.0 was a bad idea, to put it mildly. Why would you want a second version?” And yet, to listen to several leading members of the British government and to the fantasies of Britain’s great importance conjured up during the Brexit campaign, a second version of the empire is exactly what a lot of people want.
It’s understandable, in a way. Once upon a time, the sun never set on the lands Britain controlled. Those nostalgic for empire still dream of having the union flag ironed by a Nigerian servant, or getting an Indian boy to make them a nice, cool G&T. Read More
Even if America once felt wealthy enough to squander its financial resources in such pursuits, those days have ended. Washington is effectively bankrupt, with massive unfunded liabilities. Its fiscal future will only worsen as Baby Boomers continue to retire.
The annual budget battle is at its peak and Washington continues to flaunt its remarkable dysfunction. This fiscal irresponsibility affects more than domestic programs. In the coming years, it is likely to drive U.S. foreign and military policy.
Terrorists abound but mostly result from maladroit U.S. policies that create enemies and make other people’s conflicts America’s own.
The U.S. government has no more important duty than defending the nation. However, providing for the “common defense,” as the Constitution puts it, is remarkably easy. America has vast oceans east and west and peaceful neighbors to the north and south.
Today only Russia, with an arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles, could launch a serious attack on America. However, Moscow has no incentive to do so, since the result would be devastating retaliation. China’s military is expanding but directed at preventing Washington from dominating the People’s Republic of China at home and in its neighborhood. http://bit.ly/2rVWZFp
How Narcissism Left the Left Irrelevant and Impotent
Once upon a time, the left was concerned with with transforming the life of the average person, for the better, often radically so. It was devoted to really, significantly, genuinely changing the world, society, it’s structures and institutions — the material reality of human lives, in other words. Where did that left go? The old left built a new world — no, really. In Europe and Britain and Canada, it gave everyone, for the first time in human history, healthcare, childcare, retirement, incomes, and so on.
The old left built a new world — no, really. In Europe and Britain and Canada, it gave everyone, for the first time in human history, healthcare, childcare, retirement, incomes, and so on. http://bit.ly/2CvUIXH