Which Nations are the Happiest — and Why

America’s oft-quoted Declaration of Independence, when discussing “unalienable rights,” focused on “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Although “happiness” is rarely referred to by today’s government officials, the general assumption in the United States and elsewhere is that governments are supposed to be fostering the happiness of their citizens.

Against this backdrop, it’s worth taking a look at the 2018 World Happiness read more

Keeping it normal in the world’s leading rogue nation: No Indication in the US that the Country is at War Again

By Dave Lindorff

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday in Philadelphia, birthplace of the United States. Crowds of people took advantage of temperatures that were in the ’80s for the second day in a row to stroll the streets of Center City, shopping and patronizing the various restaurants and coffee shops. The only sign that the US had just attacked the capital of another Middle East country with a shock-and-awe blitz of cruise missiles was a small read more

Painting a masterpiece: the art of dissent in search of truth

Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist Victor Pinchuk said, “Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.”

Art has been a part of the human experience as long as there have been people. It’s served many purposes, from the practical to the philosophical. Great pieces of art offer an expression of beauty and human creativity. Art allows for freedom of thought, yet can also be used to influence our thinking.

For centuries, art has been used as propaganda. Churches, read more

Tomgram: Engelhardt, America Last?

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

A Tale of American Hubris
Or Five Lessons in the History of American Defeat
By Tom Engelhardt

The lessons of history? Who needs them? Certainly not Washington’s present cast of characters, a crew in flight from history, the past, or knowledge of more or less any sort. Still, just for the hell of it, let’s take a few moments to think about what some of the lessons of read more

Syria All Wrong and Backwards

In the park today I saw a teenager watching two little kids, one of whom apparently stole a piece of candy from the other. The teenager rushed up to the two of them, reprimanded one of them, and stole both of their bicycles. I felt like it was my turn to step in at that point, and I confronted the bicycle thief. “Excuse me,” I said, “what makes you think you can commit a larger crime just because you witnessed a smaller one? Who do you think you are?” He stared at me for a while, and replied: read more

A Poor People’s Campaign Against War

Movements that are serious about human survival, economic justice, environmental protection, the creation of a good society, or all of the above, address the problem of militarism. Movements that claim to be comprehensive yet run screaming from any mention of the problem of war are not serious.

Toward the not-serious end of the spectrum sit most activist efforts devoted to political parties in a corrupt political system. The Women’s March, the Climate March (which we had to work very hard to read more

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, Creating a Perpetual War Machine

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Here’s how Colonel Robert Heinl, Jr., began a June 1971 article in Armed Forces Journal bluntly headlined “The Collapse of the Armed Forces”:

“The morale, discipline, and battleworthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are, with a few salient exceptions, lower and worse than at anytime in this century and possibly in the history of the United States. By every conceivable read more

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, A New Age of Sea Power?

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

The rise and fall of empires has long been a story at the heart of history. Since the Europeans first burst out of their then-marginal region on wooden sailing ships mounted with cannons in the fifteenth century, the planet seldom has had a moment in which several imperial powers weren’t competing for supremacy. In 1945, that number was reduced to two and then, for what the read more

“Why, This Isn’t Cuba”

Back in the 1890s those who believed conquering a continent was killing enough (without taking over Hawaii, the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, etc.) included Speaker of the House Thomas Reed. He clipped an article out of a newspaper about a lynching in South Carolina. He clipped a headline about “Another Outrage in Cuba.” He pasted the two together (fake news!) and gave them to a Congressman from South Carolina who was pushing for a war on Cuba. The Congressman eagerly read the article, then read more