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Tom Engelhardt
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Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. He is the author of Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World and The End of Victory Culture, a history of the American Age of Denial. The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire (Verso, 2008), a collection of some of the best pieces from his site and an alternative history of the mad Bush years, has recently been published.

Entries by Tom Engelhardt

The United States of Hysteria

(1) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 9:38 AM

Sometimes, if you want to catch the essence of a moment, however, grim, you need to turn to humor. Recently, the New Yorker's resident satirist, Andy Borowitz, produced one of his patented fake news stories that began this way: "The president of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker,...

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Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 8:36 AM

A TomDispatch Interview With Laura Poitras

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Here’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security...

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On Being an Indispensable Nation

(1) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 9:45 AM

It was May 23, 2012, and President Obama was giving a graduation speech at the Air Force Academy when he told the assembled cadets that they should "never bet against the United States of America... [because] the United States has been, and will always be, the one indispensable...

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American 'Ghosts' in the Greater Middle East

(1) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 9:46 AM

You may not believe in the supernatural, but it's still a certifiable fact. Your tax dollars are paying for ghosts.

Just ask John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, who recently wrote to three U.S. commanders in that country suggesting that the Pentagon might be "unwittingly...

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Walrusgrams and Fracklands: Messages From Another Planet

(2) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 8:37 AM

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Think of it as a Walrusgram written on the sand of a northwest Alaskan beach and sent to the planet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic marine mammal aerial survey noticed them first, those 35,000 walruses that had come ashore in unheard...

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One Oily Administration After Another

(1) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 9:47 AM

You remember. It was the oiliest of administrations. The president was a (failed) West Texas oilman. The vice-president had been the CEO of the giant oil field services company, Halliburton, and before taking office, when speaking at the Petroleum Institute and elsewhere, was known to say...

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ISIS in Washington

(9) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 9:51 AM

America’s Soundtrack of Hysteria

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

It happened so fast that, at first, I didn’t even take it in. 

Two Saturdays ago, a friend and I were heading into the Phillips Museum in Washington, D.C., to catch a show of neo-Impressionist art when we ran into...

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'There Is No Planet B'

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 9:38 AM

Don't call it a "march." It was a "stand" -- and a first stand at that, not a last one. The People's Climate March, billed as the largest climate demonstration in history, more than exceeded expectations and was an experience that has yet to desert me. Its

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How American Intelligence Works in the 21st Century

(6) Comments | Posted September 30, 2014 | 9:49 AM

Failure Is Success

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com


What are the odds? You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17 major intelligence outfits. You build them glorious headquarters.  You create a global surveillance state for the ages. You...

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Who Knew Mountains Went Uphill? Memoir of a City Boy

(1) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 8:32 AM



Without visiting it, the 18th-century French natural scientist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, propounded the theory that the New World was an inferior creation, its species but degenerate versions of European ones. "There is no North American animal comparable to the elephant: no giraffes, lions,...

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The U.S. Military 'Pivot' to Africa That Goes Unnoticed

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 9:59 AM

As American hysteria over events in the Middle East rises, news about whatever grim video the Islamic State (IS) has just released jostles for attention with U.S. bombing runs in Iraq, prospective ones in Syria, and endless confusing statements out of Washington about what the next seat-of-the-pants version...

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Washington Gripped by Madness: When War Is Not War, Combat Is Not Combat, and Boots Are Never on the Ground

(4) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 9:38 AM

On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King delivered a speech at Riverside Church in New York City titled "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence." In it, he went after the war of that moment and the money that the U.S. was pouring into it as symptoms of...

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Power Drain

(2) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 9:39 AM

Mysteries of the 21st Century in a Helter-Skelter World

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

It’s possible I’ve lived most of my life on the wrong planet -- and if that sounds like the first sentence of a sci-fi novel maybe, in its own way, it is. I thought...

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No to the Criminals of History and Yes to the Children to Come

(2) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 8:43 AM

Mutual Assured Destruction in the Age of Climate Change

Cross-posted from TomDispatch.com

It was June 12, 1982. My daughter was still in her stroller, my son as yet unborn, when my wife and I, six friends, and another child in a stroller joined an

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American Politics as a Billionaire's Playground

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 9:32 AM

Think of this as the year that democracy of, by, and for the billionaires shall not perish from the Earth -- not when we're on a new electoral playing field in a political world in which distinctions are no longer made between unlimited money and unlimited speech. In other words,...

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Build We Must -- Abroad But Not at Home

(2) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 8:31 AM

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

In light of recent history, perhaps it's time to update that classic U.S. Army recruitment campaign slogan from "be all that you can be" to "build all that you can build." Consider it an irony that, in an era when Congress struggles to...

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Gas in Tanks and Cows in Clouds

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 9:43 AM

Whatever you may imagine, "peak oil" has not been discredited as a concept, a statement no less true for "peak fossil fuels." Think of them instead as postponed. We are, after all, on a finite planet that, by definition, holds a finite amount of oil, natural gas, and coal. Sooner...

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How America Made ISIS

(128) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 9:49 AM

Their Videos and Ours, Their “Caliphate” and Ours

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Whatever your politics, you’re not likely to feel great about America right now.  After all, there’s Ferguson (the whole world was watching!), an increasingly unpopular president, a Congress whose approval ratings...

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How the Border Debate Was Militarized

(3) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 9:26 AM

The militarization of the police has been underway since 9/11, but only in the aftermath of the six-shot killing of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, with photos of streets in a St. Louis suburb that looked like occupied Iraq or Afghanistan,...

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Was ISIS George and Dick's 'Gift' to the World?

(11) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 9:52 AM

Think of the new "caliphate" of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get...

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