July 15, 2014
"[T]he rise of the national security state and the triumphalism of the corporate sector (along with the much publicized growth of great wealth and striking inequality in the country) has been accompanied by a decided diminution in the power of the government to function domestically and of the imperial state to impose its will anywhere on Earth."

Tom Englehardt at Tom DispatchAn Exceptional Decline for the Exceptional Country? 

The Empire as Basket Case 

March 24, 2014
"Approaching and assessing NSA’s behavior solely from a national perspective not only represses the obvious reasons why NSA’s dragnet of other countries’ citizens matters, but it also fails to assess our actions in the proper light, even from the standpoint of efficacy . NSA’s tasking choices reflect not our national interest, but rather the needs of the empire, which is why a relatively minor country like Venezuela gets prioritized along with Russia and China. That’s why we made Huawei such a high priority target: because it presents a unique threat to the functioning of our empire."

Marcy Wheeler at Emptywheel. Taking Kaplan’s Defense of Empire on Its Face

August 24, 2013
"Manning and Snowden confront Washington with something far more worrisome. They threaten the power the state had carefully accrued amid recurring wars and the incessant preparation for war. In effect, they place in jeopardy the state’s very authority — while inviting the American people to consider the possibility that less militaristic and more democratic approaches to national security might exist."

Andrew Bacevich in Washington PostAre Manning and Snowden patriots? That depends on what we do next.

August 24, 2013
"In every society, democratic or totalitarian, the sensible, grown-up thing to do is to commit to the long haul of sleazy conformity. The rewards are mostly guaranteed: if not freedom or happiness, then respectability and degree of security. What spoils it is the obstinate few who do otherwise – those, absurdly, who actually believe in the necessary fictions; enough to be moved and angered by the difference between what an organisation does in reality and what it says in public."

Christopher Yates in The GuardianThe whistleblower’s mad moral courage

This is why we pathologise those like Bradley Manning: I saw the ugliness of war, but the ‘sane’ thing was to keep my head down

March 15, 2013
"We need, if you will, a new American dream, one that doesn’t require promises of limitless material abundance, one that doesn’t depend on the profits of empire or the temporary rush of affluence we got by stripping a continent of its irreplaceable natural resources in a few short centuries."

John Michael Greer at The Archdruid ReportReinventing America

March 15, 2013
"For the first time in contemporary history, resource states refused to give back the money received for their resource. At Chavez’ funeral, Lula, former President Ignacio de Silva of Brazil, praised this as Chavez’ most revolutionary act."


February 18, 2013
"Does the US remain a global imperial power? Or are the Pentagon’s - and the shadow CIA’s - armies nothing more than mercenaries of a global neoliberal system the US still entertains the illusion of controlling?"

Pepe Escobar at Asia TimesThe illusory state of the Empire

December 16, 2012
"Given the reigning domestic political climate, those holding or seeking positions of power find it easier—and less risky—to stay the course, vainly nursing the hope that by killing enough “terrorists” peace on terms of our choosing will result."

Andrew J. Bacevich in The American ConservativeHow We Became Israel

Peace means dominion for Netanyahu—and now for us.

November 12, 2012
"Celebrating liberalism’s present, lambasting remnants of the South’s (but only the South’s?) past, this racist image transforms the awesome, terrible, unfinished history of freedom into a persistent structure—one assembled by white men, for white men. But this is what the image, fixated on juridical and electoral geographies, cannot reveal. Even as it tries mobilizing the affectivity of the term, the discontinuous, unemplottable subjectivity of freedom remains elsewhere."

Chris Taylor at C.L.R. James. Electoral Maps, Antebellum Maps: Or, How Liberal Self-Satisfaction Dissolves History into a Racist Mess

November 7, 2012
"Hardt and Negri’s argument in Empire is that neo-liberal economic globalization should not be understood as a kind of imperialism (where a hegemonic power invades other countries to capture their resources), but a new form of empire that tolerates no external limit and seeks to incorporate all life within its order. This empire employs the internet to organize the global multitude into a productive force; yet as it does so, it enables the multitude to form swarm-like pockets of resistance that coalesce across borders to challenge the status quo. Hardt and Negri propose that the multitude will eventually realize its collective power and establish a new political order based in the productivity of the commons."

Tim Rayner at Philosophy for ChangeFive books that shaped my thinking


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