Leftism’s Moment

For the past many years and for many years to come, “extremism” has been unacceptable in U.S. politics. One must be in favor of more fossil fuel pipelines under certain strict conditions, not against them entirely. That would be extreme.

The moment when extremism becomes acceptable, or ceases to be extremism, will be the instant before the last human being breathes his or her last breath on a baked and ravaged planet. On that last breath may be the words: ?I?ll be a leftist read more

How to Vote in Virginia Primaries

How should you vote in the Virginia Democratic or Republican primaries on June 13th?

With appropriately low expectations:
The ridiculous notion that voting is a primary driver of social change needs to be thoroughly done away with and a focus put on urgent nonviolent activism of all types, including acting to decrease the dangers of war and environmental destruction.

With appropriate seriousness:
Not to the same extent as U.S. House districts, but still to a great extent, read more

Dear Young People Who Laugh at Climate Deniers

Laughter is a wonderful thing. It’s hard to get too much of it. But there may be something even more valuable — something that you may be better able to grasp than some of your elders.

When you’re able to see a failure in others, it can be an opportunity to spot other similar failures — even those that you may be, in some measure, sharing in.

Why do climate deniers deny? No two are identical, but a major factor for many of them seems to be, not an analysis of evidence but read more

Watching Putin Watch Dr. Strangelove

In The Putin Interviews, a new series beginning soon on Showtime, Oliver Stone asks Vladimir Putin if he?s ever seen Dr. Strangelove. Putin hasn?t. So, Stone sits him down and shows it to him. Even Vladimir cannot quite keep his poker face. He says the problem depicted in the film, the risk of nuclear holocaust, is accurate but more dangerous now than when the movie was made. Stone gives Putin the DVD case, and Putin opens it to find it empty. ?Typical American read more

Brad Pitt Does Stanley McChrystal: When Netflix’ War Movie Stops Being Funny

The new movie, War Machine, on Netflix starring Brad Pitt begins as a hilarious and satisfying mockery of General Stanley McChrystal, circa 2009, as well as of militarism in general. Hilarious because of the deadpan sincere idiocy. Satisfying at least to those of us who have been screaming “What are you idiots doing?” for the past fifteen-and-a-half years.

Should we be glad that a Hollywood movie can still be made mocking the murderous malevolence of true believers in militarism, or read more

A Portrait of the CIA in Prison

John Kiriakou’s Doing Time Like a Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison paints a disturbing portrait of a U.S. prison in which Kiriakou spent time as retribution for having admitted that the CIA used torture. His ongoing whistleblowing on the state of U.S. prisons, as well as on the ways in which the U.S. government has gone after him, is as valuable as his opposition to CIA torture.

The prison as described in the book is largely unaccountable to the rule of law. Prisoners read more