America the Fearful

Bracing Views

dad-001 My dad in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Oregon, c.1937

W.J. Astore

America.  Land of the free, home of the brave.  Right?  Peter Van Buren, who spent a career at the State Department, has a great new article at that highlights the way in which America has changed since the 9/11 attacks.  In sum: too many wars, too much security and surveillance, and far too much fear.  One passage in Van Buren’s article especially resonated with me:

Her [Van Buren’s daughter] adult life has been marked by constant war, so much so that “defeating the terrorists” is little more than a set phrase she rolls her eyes at. It’s a generational thing that’s too damn normal, like Depression-era kids still saving aluminum foil and paper bags in the basement after decades of prosperity.

Van Buren’s reference to Depression-era kids: Well, that was my dad. Born in 1917, he endured…

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Ellicott City Flood — 1,000 Year Event Looks a Lot Like One of the Rain Bombs of Climate Change


We live in a strange new world, one in which the familiar is all mixed up with the radically altered. Such was the case this weekend when a weather pattern that was pretty normal for summer spawned a single thunderstorm that produced a once-in-a-thousand-years flood event in Ellicott City.

Normal Weekend, Typical Weather Pattern, Abnormal Conditions

On Saturday, my wife and I readied to trek out to Shenandoah National Park for a happily-anticipated summer camping trip. As we headed out the door, the weather pattern looked mostly normal for summer, if a little stormy. A high-pressure system out over the ocean was pulling in moisture off its waters and drawing warm air up from the south. A low over western Pennsylvania and a warm frontal boundary over Maryland created instability in a big zone of convection from Northern Virginia on through to Connecticut. Overall, it was a pretty typical pattern…

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The Criminals in Charge

The Contrary Perspective

PoliticalLabelsb. traven

I’m certainly no supporter of Hillary Clinton, so I am happy that the House Republicans are calling FBI’s Director Comey in for questioning on the strange conclusion of the FBI investigation that, while clearing Clinton of criminal malfeasance, maintains that she violated several laws worthy of a criminal indictment.  As any of convicted whistle-blower such as John Kiriakou will gladly point out, lessor crimes carried out by the less-well-connected often carry very heavy sentences.

I do wonder, however, why they are “goring that bull,” while disregarding the newly released Chilcot Report in Britain that implicitly ties their Republican Bush to the malfeasance of Tony Blair in taking both nations into the tragic invasion of Iraq.  While Clinton arrogantly flaunted the law in order to keep her e-mails out of the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), her crime is dwarfed by Blair and Bush’s conscious decision…

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