1) The United States government (largely through the CIA and its predecessors) is directly responsible for the overthrow of at least half a dozen democratically elected governments around the world over the past hundred plus years.
2) The U.S. military is currently deployed in over 150 countries around the world. That’s over three quarters of all the supposedly independent countries on the planet.
3) The U.S. is single-handedly responsible for the total global prohibition of recreational drugs and the police state that goes hand in hand with efforts to curtail their production, distribution, and use.
4) While no longer the largest contributor of greenhouse gases thanks to China’s rapid industrialization in recent years, the U.S. continues to be the greatest impediment to concerted global action on addressing anthropogenic climate change.
Pundits and hyper-patriots love to talk about “American exceptionalism.” In plain terms this translates as, “Don’t mind us. We’re just better than you.” How incredibly arrogant and off-putting to everyone else. It seems to go hand in hand with another favored myth, “Manifest Destiny,” which supposedly justified our genocidal land grab against the native inhabitants of North America. It also ties into “God Bless America,” which implores the all-powerful creator of the entire universe to play favoritism with one particular segment of upright primates, who happen to live within an arbitrarily delineated geographic region of one small planet, circling an ordinary yellow star, in the outer reaches of one of at least a hundred billion galaxies. Wow. Furthermore, if we’re going to talk the talk, we sure as hell better walk the walk to back it up. As related above, our actions continually fall far short of the lofty rhetoric we proclaim to the world (and to ourselves). No wonder there’s so much rampant anti-Americanism on display among the other ninety-five percent of humanity.
The great irony of it all is that I guarantee many people will read this article and consequently brand me a traitor, a naysayer – any number of derogatory, reactionary terms to draw attention away from things they would prefer not to think about and certainly don’t want advertised. While not surprising, it’s profoundly discouraging (not to mention childish, unfair, and counterproductive.) It’s like a monkey throwing poo at his handler for bringing him medicine.
Source: Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel & Charles Lindbergh (1987) by James Newton, p. 31.
The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches From The Front Lines
By Dr. Michael Mann, Ph.D
Columbia University Press; Cost $10 to $30 (
Available in paperback )
Imagine a place where you and your family are threatened, your employer pressured by the most powerful people on earth to fire you, your email hacked and posted by the usual suspects in accusatory snippets, and where a mysterious letter containing white powder mixed in with tons of traditional hate mail land in your inbox. A suspected communist sympathizer during the McCarthy era, or a Muslim in the wake of 9-11? Nope. All because you helped make one of the most important scientific discoveries in a generation. That’s life in the land of the free and the home of the brave for prominent climate scientists these days, which is why I’m personally thrilled to feature one today who not only didn’t shrink an inch, he is fighting back, hard. . . .
President Obama has just rejected a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — a project that promised riches for the oil giants and an environmental disaster for the rest of us. . .
So when you hear Big Oil call Keystone XL a national jobs plan — ask “Are you kidding me?” A single pipeline project is not a jobs plan. Economic security is to be found in clean energy not in dirty energy that threatens us with oil spills and ever worsening harm from climate change.
And when you hear Big Oil say that we need Keystone XL for our security — tell them to get real. Energy security comes from reducing our dependence on oil, not from a pipeline that would leave us with the risk but send the tar sands oil overseas.
Looking for some awkward synergy? The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a comprehensive database of America’s greatest greenhouse gas creators. It interactively indexes the 6,700 power plants and other facilities responsible for 80 percent of U.S. emissions, in an accessible online resource that gives interested citizens the ability not only to monitor their local and national pollution, but also to reproduce data-specific graphs and charts to fire off to colleagues and friends on social networks. . .
the Sierra Club and many others — likely including some of those EPA employees he addressed for the first time — who wondered aloud whether America had slipstreamed straight back to the Bush regime after President Obama halted EPA regulation of smog and air pollution, a major slap in the face to the environmentalists who have looked to him for change since the 2008 election. . .
Luckily, next year the GHG Reporting Program will widen to include 12 other industries, including electronics manufacturing and underground mining, eventually covering 85 percent of total GHG emissions, all viewable in its rewarding online resource.
But freeing information is not the same as shackling polluters. That heavy lifting on industries has sadly been postponed until after the 2012 election.
When a totalitarian regime aids and abets the rape of tens of thousands of children one would expect it to be shunned by governments and citizens alike. And any statements it might issue on matters of morality accorded no respect. Why should we make an exception when the regime is the Catholic Church? . . .
That the Catholic Church is guilty of widespread rape is also undeniable. A few years ago there was a spate of news items when sexual abuse cases first surfaced in Boston and a few other cities. Media coverage since then has withered but the issue has not. Just the opposite. In 2011 allegations of sexual abuse of minors have spread to 26 countries. . .
The Vatican has been a state since 1929, when it was granted that status by Benito Mussolini in return for its support for his dictatorship. Comprising 110 acres, an area smaller than Washington’s National Mall, and 800 people Vatican City is by far the smallest nation in the world.
Some might say that an institution, even a totalitarian institution, cannot be blamed for the actions of a small fraction of its members. But when stories of sexual abuse were first raised the Catholic Church ignored them. Later it often reassigned the rapacious priest to another parish where he might prey on other minors. . .
Instructively, virtually all of the Church’s most aggressive policy interventions relate to sex. (e.g. contraception, abortion, gay rights).
Indeed, the Catholic Church acts of if it believes that sex matters above anything else. It will not go to the mat to fight against poverty or injustice but it will pull out all the stops to prevent people of the same sex from marrying.
The standard “he says/she says” coverage of the issue keeps to what is called “balance”: the overwhelming majority of scientists on one side, the denialists on the other. The scientists who issue the more dire warnings are largely ignored. . . The Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives is now dismantling environmental measures introduced by Richard Nixon, in many respects the last liberal president. This reactionary behavior is one of many indications of the crisis of U.S. democracy in the past generation.