Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, Can Bean Counters Save the World from Trump?

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Recently, I visited New York’s Guggenheim Museum for a show of conceptual art by Danh Vo, whose family fled Vietnam as the American war there ended in 1975. He was four years old when he became a refugee and, through a series of flukes, found himself in Denmark, which has been his home ever since. Much of his read more

Ending US occupation of South Korea: What Does ‘Denuclearization’ Mean in the Negotiations for an End to the Korean War?

By Dave Lindorff

            Media news reports and commentary as well as political statements coming out of Washington on the surprising blossoming of peace talks between North and South Korea tend to focus on the question of whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is really “serious” about eliminating his recently developed nuclear weapons arsenal, or whether he will just try to keep what he has while decrying US military threats to his regime.

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How Suzy Hansen Lost Her U.S. Exceptionalism

Suzy Hansen’s book Notes on a Foreign Country is the diary of someone going through the process of gaining the world by losing their religion, the religion of U.S. Exceptionalism. She begins as an ordinary U.S. resident, not believing anything that you would find unusual, but assuming all the certifiably insane things you assume are not even questionable:

  • The United States is the best place to live.
  • Its government generally means well.
  • It seeks to help the rest of the world whose problems it has had little to do with creating.
  • History doesn’t matter much.
  • The other 96% are all a bit backward.

Hansen’s book, focused on her experience living in Istanbul, is a powerful case for living abroad and for reshaping U.S. education and culture read more

What Mass Killers Tend to Have in Common

It may almost seem too obvious to mention, but I don’t think that’s why we so seldom mention it. I don’t mean being male, or being mentally disturbed, or having been cruel to women, or living in places like the United States where it’s easy to acquire weapons of war. These and many other factors are very significant and very often discussed, as they should be, when we consider mass killings.

There’s something else that ties a lot of mass killers together, and it’s also obvious, but read more

The Decline and Fall of the State Department

Ronan Farrow’s book War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence recounts episodes from the Obama-Trump militarization of U.S. foreign policy. While the book begins with and has been marketed with the story of Trump firing lots of key diplomats and leaving positions unfilled, much of its content is from the pre-Trump, Obama-era and even Bush-era erosion of diplomacy as something distinct from war and weapons sales.

The distinction between employing diplomats whose read more

Shifting timeline to confirm US propaganda: US Media Fudge Rebels’ Douma Surrender Date To Imply Alleged Assad Chemical Attack Turned Tide

By Dave Lindorff

Investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have only recently reached Douma, scene of an alleged chemical bombing attack on April 7, and have not yet had time to test samples they collected to see if banned poison chemicals were actually used, but already US mainstream media reporting on the situation in the Damascus suburb where the alleged chemical attack is said to have occurred is starting to shift. That shift tends to make the story read more

Shut up or you’re under arrest: Starbucks has a Racism Problem, but the Police, both Racist and Authoritarian, are Worse

            At a time when we have over a millions young high school and college students march in the streets demanding a ban on assault-style semi-automatic rifles, and an end to mass shootings, as well as continued protests over police shootings of unarmed and all too often black or latino young people, it might seem trivial to see a wave of national outrage over an incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks shop involving two black men who were read more