In a world where all emotion is translated into a sales pitch and each thought becomes a talking point, the existential question is how to live a life that embraces real emotion and articulates original thinking, a dilemma that poet Phil Rockstroh addresses in this commentary on late-stage capitalism.
The U.S. rush to build a giant arsenal of nuclear weapons during the Cold War created an environmental disaster at Hanford in Washington State along the Columbia River. Clean-up costs are staggering and radioactive sludge threatens to contaminate the region’s water supply, writes nuclear watchdog John LaForge.
The nuclear industry hasn’t solved the long-term problem of what to do with nuclear waste, which presents a uniquely dangerous environmental threat. That danger is now highlighted by leakage at one of the oldest nuclear sites in the world, Washington State’s Hanford facility, writes Gina Mason.
The U.S. government spends hundreds of billions of dollars a year to fight – or prepare to fight – wars against supposed security threats around the world. But far less money is invested in what many experts believe will be the greatest security threat, global warming, as John M. Repp explains.
It sounds like a script from a science-fiction movie, a giant asteroid on a collision course with earth, threatening all life on the planet. But the existence of this existential threat is not entirely fiction and last week’s near misses suggest governments should pay more attention, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
A twisted part of modern America is that harsh punishments are given to people who stand for truth and justice, while torturers and war criminals go free. That’s the case for Bradley Manning who released secrets and anti-nuclear protesters who tied “crime scene” tape to a nuke site, as John LaForge says.
Americans have been sold on the promise of perfect security, whether protecting “the homeland” with gadgets of death or guarding “the homestead” with high-powered assault rifles firing 100-round magazines. But this “safety” is an illusion, making Americans less secure than if they engaged the world around them, as Phil Rockstroh observes.
An Energy Department plan to allow the recycling of scrap metals emitting very low levels of radiation is drawing opposition because of concerns about potential health hazards. But the upside for U.S. atomic bomb-makers is that waste now requiring costly storage could be sold for a profit, reports William Boardman.
Exclusive: More than a Right-Left battle, the conflict for the world’s future is between empiricists and fantasists, those who are committed to reality and rationality and those who happily embrace propaganda as truth. It is a struggle with global implications, writes Robert Parry.
The core challenge facing today’s U.S. political process is whether the daunting threats to the planet and its people can be addressed, responsibly and cooperatively. Another hope is that in building these solutions, America can break loose from the chains of soulless mediocrity, as Phil Rockstroh explains.