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Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's Tomdispatch.com ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of and, most recently, the author of (Nation Books), the first collection of Tomdispatch interviews.
SHARE Friday, May 22, 2020 Tomgram: Bob Dreyfuss, Iraq Redux?
There's a meme that appears now and then on Facebook and other social media: "Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it."
SHARE Tuesday, May 19, 2020 Tomgram: Juan Cole, Iran and the U.S., An Irony of Curious Affinity
This spring, the novel coronavirus pandemic has raised the issue of the relationship between the blindest kind of religious faith and rational skepticism -- this time in two countries that think of themselves as polar opposites and enemies: Supreme Leader Ali Khameini's Iran and Donald Trump's America.
SHARE Monday, May 18, 2020 Tomgram: Karen Greenberg, So Long to American Exceptionalism
Remember the song "Over There"? [...] Maybe not, since it was popular so long ago, but it was meant to inspire American troops saying goodbye to their country on their way to a Europe embroiled in World War I. Written by George M. Cohan, the song paid homage to an American wartime urge to do good in the world, to take what was precious about this country and spread it to less fortunate, endangered peoples elsewhere.
SHARE Tuesday, May 12, 2020 Tomgram: Erik Edstrom, The Betrayal of the American Soldier
"Every day is a copy of a copy of a copy." That meme, from the moment when Edward Norton's character in Fight Club offers a 1,000-yard stare at an office copy machine, captures this moment perfectly -- at least for those of us removed from the front lines of the Covid-19 crisis. Isolated inside a Boston apartment, I typically sought new ways to shake the snow globe, to see the same bubble -- the same stuff -- differently.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, May 11, 2020 Tomgram: Belle Chesler, Teaching Across an Abyss of Silence
Do you hear that silence?
That's the absence of footsteps echoing through our nation's public school hallways. It's the silence of teaching in a virtual space populated with students on mute who lack a physical presence. It's the crushing silence of those who are now missing, who can't attend the classroom that Zoom and Google built.
SHARE Thursday, May 7, 2020 Tomgram: Ann Jones, Getting Trumped by Covid-19
Donald Trump is not a president. He can't even play one on TV. He's a corrupt and dangerous braggart with ill-concealed aspirations for a Crown and, with an election coming up, he's been monopolizing prime time every day, spouting self-congratulation and misinformation.
SHARE Tuesday, May 5, 2020 Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, A Greatest Generation We Are Not
The 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany's surrender in May 1945 ought to prompt thoughtful reflection. For Americans, V-E Day, as it was then commonly called, marked the beginning of "our times." The Covid-19 pandemic may signal that our times are now coming to an end.
SHARE Monday, May 4, 2020 Tomgram: Mandy Smithberger, Bailing Out the War State
At this moment of unprecedented crisis, you might think that those not overcome by the economic and mortal consequences of the coronavirus would be asking, "What can we do to help?" [...] Unfortunately, when it comes to the top officials of the Pentagon and the CEOs running a large part of the arms industry, examples abound of them asking what they can do to help themselves.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, April 30, 2020 Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Assassin-in-Chief Comes Home
"Be assured of one thing: whichever candidate you choose at the polls in November, you aren't just electing a president of the United States; you are also electing an assassin-in-chief." So I wrote back in June 2012, with a presidential election approaching.
SHARE Tuesday, April 28, 2020 Tomgram: Michael Klare, A Silver Lining in the Global Pandemic
Energy analysts have long assumed that, given time, growing international concern over climate change would result in a vast restructuring of the global energy enterprise. The result: a greener, less climate-degrading system. In this future, fossil fuels would be overtaken by renewables, while oil, gas, and coal would be relegated to an increasingly marginal role in the global energy equation.
SHARE Monday, April 27, 2020 Tomgram: Dilip Hiro, The Coronavirus Chronology From Hell
Historically, in hyper-crises, local and global systems can change fundamentally. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit first China and then the rest of the globe, the question of whether the American imperial era might be faltering was already on the table, amid that country's endless wars and with the world's most capricious leader.
SHARE Thursday, April 23, 2020 Tomgram: Robert Lipsyte, No Football, No Trump
As controversies about the "reopening" of America loom over our lives, nothing seems as intrinsically irrelevant -- yet possibly as critically important -- as how soon major spectator sports return.
SHARE Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Tomgram: Liz Theoharis, Circling the Ruins
My mom contracted polio when she was 14. She survived and learned to walk again, but my life was deeply affected by that virus. Today, as our larger society attempts to self-distance and self-isolate, my family has texted about the polio quarantine my mom was put under: how my grandma fearfully checked my aunt's temperature every night because she shared a bedroom with my mom...
SHARE Monday, April 20, 2020 Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, (Un)Reality TV, 2020-Style
My partner and I have been fighting about politics since we met in 1965. I was 13. She was 18 and my summer camp counselor. (It was another 14 years before we became a couple.) We spent that first summer arguing about the Vietnam War.
SHARE Thursday, April 16, 2020 Tomgram: John Feffer, Trump Rex
In retrospect, it's no surprise that, after the election of Donald Trump in 2016, dystopian fiction enjoyed a spike in popularity. However, novels like George Orwell's 1984 and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which soared on Amazon, would prove more horror stories than roadmaps. Like so many ominous sounds from a dark basement, they provided good scares but didn't foreshadow the actual Trumpian future.
SHARE Tuesday, April 14, 2020 Tomgram: Engelhardt, Might the Coronavirus Be a Peacemaker?
Let me quote a Trumpian figure from long ago, Henry Ford. That's right, the bigot who created the Ford Motor Company (and once even ran for president). Back in 1916, in an interview with a Chicago Tribune reporter, he offered this bit of wisdom on the subject of history...
SHARE Monday, April 13, 2020 Tomgram: Rajan Menon, Living on a Pandemic Planet
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) virus, which causes Covid-19, seemed to emerge from deepest history, from the Black Death of the 14th century and the "Spanish Flu" of 1918. In just months, it has infected more than 1.5 million people and claimed more than 88,000 lives. The virus continues to spread almost everywhere.
SHARE Thursday, April 9, 2020 Tomgram: Danny Sjursen, Trump's Own Military Mafia
Every West Point class votes on an official motto. Most are then inscribed on their class rings. Hence, the pejorative West Point label "ring knocker." (As legend has it, at military meetings a West Pointer "need only knock his large ring on the table and all Pointers present are obliged to rally to his point of view.") Last August, the class of 2023 announced theirs: "Freedom Is Not Free."
SHARE Tuesday, April 7, 2020 Tomgram: Karen Greenberg, A Victory Parade in the Coronavirus Moment
Last month, Donald Trump retweeted a doctored photo of himself playing the fiddle that was labeled "My next piece is called: nothing can stop what's coming." It was clearly an homage to the Emperor Nero who so infamously made music while Rome burned. To it, the president added this comment: "Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!"