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I am become Hello Kitty, destroyer of worlds: Domestic Cat Holocaust USA

In a report that scaled up local surveys and pilot studies to national dimensions, scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States — both the pet Fluffies that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals that never leave it — kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.
That cuddly kitty is deadlier than you think
See also Feral Cats Kill Billions of Small Critters Each Year
See also The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States
posted by y2karl on Jan 30, 2013 - 171 comments

The Two Americas

Last September, a Category 5 hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died. What is Cuban President Fidel Castro's secret? According to Dr. Nelson Valdes, a sociology professor at the University of New Mexico, and specialist in Latin America, "the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin with. People know ahead of time where they are to go. Cuba's leaders go on TV and take charge," said Valdes... "Merely sticking people in a stadium is unthinkable.. Shelters all have medical personnel, from the neighborhood. They have family doctors in Cuba, who evacuate together with the neighborhood, and already know, for example, who needs insulin." They also evacuate animals and veterinarians, TV sets and refrigerators, "so that people aren't reluctant to leave because people might steal their stuff," Valdes observed.

The Two Americas. See also A Nation's Castaways, 'To Me, It Just Seems Like Black People Are Marked' & White Man's Burden
posted by y2karl on Sep 4, 2005 - 69 comments

The Wrong War & Exit Strategy:Civil War & News From Kirkuk

A distinction between “old” and “new” wars is vital. “Old wars” are wars between states where the aim is the military capture of territory and the decisive encounter is battle between armed forces. “New wars”, in contrast, take place in the context of failing states. They are wars fought by networks of state and non-state actors, where battles are rare and violence is directed mainly against civilians, and which are characterised by a new type of political economy that combines extremist politics and criminality... I argue in this article that the United States viewed its invasion of Iraq as an updated version of “old war” that made use of new technology. The US failure to understand the reality on the ground in Iraq and the tendency to impose its own view of what war should be like is immensely dangerous and carries the risk of being self-perpetuating. It does not have to be this way.
Iraq: the wrong war - Mary Kaldor writes of what was happening in pre-invasion Iraq, what happened thereafter and what the alternatives were. Well, there is always Exit strategy: Civil war. And on that, note this: Kurdish Officials Sanction Abductions in Kirkuk--a city from which, I am afraid, we will hear more and more as time goes by.
posted by y2karl on Jun 15, 2005 - 20 comments

Regarding Blood And Oil

Whereas, in the past, national power was thought to reside in the possession of a mighty arsenal and the maintenance of extended alliance systems, it is now associated with economic dynamism and the cultivation of technological innovation. To exercise leadership in the current epoch, states are expected to possess a vigorous domestic economy and to outperform other states in the development and export of high-tech goods. While a potent military establishment is still considered essential to national security, it must be balanced by a strong and vibrant economy. 'National security depends on successful engagement in the global economy,' the Institute for National Security Studies observed in a recent Pentagon study.

Regarding Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency by Michael T. Klare, here is an excerpt from the book and here is his most recent article--Oil and the Coming War With Iran. Well, at least he has been consistent--consider The Geopolitics of War, Wars Without End, Oiling the Wheels of War, and Imperial Reach from his articles for The Nation alone. Here is an excerpt from his previous Resource Wars and here is Scraping the bottom of the barrel and Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy: Procuring the Rest of the World's Oil. Well, as to his position on current events, I don't think we need to draw a picture here.
posted by y2karl on Apr 13, 2005 - 52 comments

From The Never Ending Story - The Torture Papers

While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Regarding the Torture Papers, which detail Torture's Paper Trail, and, then there's Hungry for Air: Learning The Language Of Torture, and, of course, there's ( more inside)
posted by y2karl on Mar 14, 2005 - 97 comments

New Poll: Public Would Significantly Alter Administration's Budget

A new poll finds that the American public would significantly alter the Bush administration’s recently proposed federal budget. Presented a breakdown of the major areas of the proposed discretionary budget and given the opportunity to redistribute it, respondents made major changes. The most dramatic changes were deep cuts in defense spending, a significant reallocation toward deficit reduction, and increases in spending on education, job training, reducing reliance on oil, and veterans. These changes were favored by both Republicans and Democrats, though the changes were generally greater for Democrats.
What America Gets Right (pdf) via The Gadflyer
posted by y2karl on Mar 8, 2005 - 49 comments

Extreme Makeover: America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism

For more than two centuries, nationalism in all its various forms—from the high-minded chauvinism of the British Empire to the virulent poison of Nazism—has been a familiar, and often negative, phenomenon. Emerging first in Europe, which it nearly destroyed and which has now apparently learned to control it, extreme nationalism still erupts from time to time in other parts of the world. The word "nationalism" never quite seemed to fit the United States, where continental vastness and enormous power have hitherto been tempered by an often-expressed distaste for empire and by the notion of world leadership by example. In the first years of the twenty-first century, however, in a dramatic departure from traditional policy, the spirit of unilateralism and militant nationalism began to dominate Washington's policies and attitudes toward the outside world.

Extreme Makeover - Brian Urquhart reviews America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism. And here is Gerald Rellick's take on the book. From Asia Source, a long and informative interview with Anatol Lievin. From the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley's Conversations with History, A Conversation With Anatol Lieven. Also by Anatol Lieven, A Trap Of Their Own Making.
posted by y2karl on Feb 14, 2005 - 10 comments

America Beyond Capitalism

America Beyond Capitalism
What a "Pluralist Commonwealth" Would Look Like
from the author of The Coming Era of Wealth Taxation (pdf)
posted by y2karl on Dec 17, 2004 - 22 comments

An Interview with Chalmers Johnson, Parts 1 & 2

If we were having this conversation in 1985, and I had said to you, “Four years from now the Soviet Union will collapse and in six years it will disappear,” you would have thought, “This is not a reliable observer.” But the U.S.S.R. is gone -- disappeared -- and we didn’t predict it. Russia today is a much smaller country than the former Soviet Union. The CIA had all the wrong data. We also made a mistake when we concluded that we had won the Cold War. We had almost nothing to do with what happened in the Soviet Union: there were internal issues and it certainly wasn’t Star Wars. We now know in detail how Gorbachev brought Sakharov out of exile in Gorky to address the Politburo on, “What would you do about a ballistic missile defense?” Sakharov said, “It’s easy to overwhelm it with missiles. I wouldn’t spend a ruble on it.” And they didn’t. But in mistakenly thinking that we won the Cold War, we strongly imply that we did something to cause that. Instead, the Soviet Union collapsed because of overstretch, a case of imperial overstretch.   An Empire of More Than 725 Military Bases
An interview with Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback and The Sorrows Of Empire (More Inside)
posted by y2karl on Dec 1, 2004 - 33 comments

Are We Still A Middle-Class Nation & A Poor Cousin Of The Middle Class

...According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following are among the occupations with the largest projected job growth from 2000 to 2010: combined food-preparation and serving, including fast food; customer-service representative; registered nurse; retail salesperson; computer-support specialist; cashier, except gaming; office clerk; security guard; computer-software engineer, applications; waiter; general or operations manager; truck driver, heavy and tractor-trailer; nursing aide, orderly, or attendant; janitor or cleaner, except maid or housekeeping cleaner; postsecondary teacher; teacher assistant; home health aide; laborer or freight, stock, and material mover, hand; computer-software engineer, systems software; landscaping or groundskeeping.     Are We Still a Middle-Class Nation? comes from The State Of The Union section in The Atlantic. Compare and contrast A Poor Cousin Of The Middle Class
posted by y2karl on Jan 21, 2004 - 19 comments

Stop Loss Orders: It's not your President's National Guard...

Army Stops Many Soldiers From Quitting According to their contracts, expectations and desires, all three soldiers should have been civilians by now. But Fontaine and Costas are currently serving in Iraq, and Eagle has just been deployed. On their Army paychecks, the expiration date of their military service is now listed sometime after 2030 -- the payroll computer's way of saying, "Who knows?" The three are among thousands of soldiers forbidden to leave military service under the Army's "stop-loss" orders, intended to stanch the seepage of troops, through retirement and discharge, from a military stretched thin by its burgeoning overseas missions. As Helena Cobham notes, They don't want to call it a draft but it sure ain't your father's "all-volunteer military" any more... Marine's Girl, Cobham's cause celebre of some time ago, writes about stop-loss here and here. See also Army reservists choosing to be citizens, not soldiers.
posted by y2karl on Dec 30, 2003 - 37 comments

Stumbling Into War: a textbook study in how not to wage a diplomatic campaign

Stumbling Into War by James P. Rubin, From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2003

Why did most of the world abandon Washington when it went after Saddam Hussein? The war in Iraq could never have been an easy sell, but nor should it have been such a difficult one. The Bush administration badly botched the prewar maneuvering, presenting a textbook study in how not to wage a diplomatic campaign.
posted by y2karl on Sep 21, 2003 - 16 comments

POW/MIA's - Another Viet Nam War Fantasy

MIA Facts Site

Prisoners of Hope: Exploiting the POW-MIA Myth in America.

Let's Sell The Bones : The Marketing of America's Missing In Action              (More Inside)
posted by y2karl on Mar 15, 2003 - 37 comments

Blowback: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire plus War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era

Chalmers Johnson is an provocative proponent of the American Empire theory, indeed. Here are excerpts from his Blow Back: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire

I heard Johnson interviewed on Episode II, War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era of The Whole Wide World

The Cold War and its central conflict - the physical and ideological battles between the United States, the Soviet Union and their proxy states - imposed a certain logic and consistency on the world. Take that away and add the bloody wars in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East in the ‘90s as well as the terror attacks and warnings of more recent times and you get a very confused picture of a world at war. Is this breaking storm in Iraq about oil, democracy, freedom, empire, culture, water, diamonds, modernizing Islam or nation building in the Middle East? Some, one or all of these things?

It was an excellent program and well worth your listen, either by RA now or mp3 later. (From listening to the radio)
posted by y2karl on Mar 13, 2003 - 15 comments

The First Eight Presidents of the United States of America

John Hanson (November 5, 1781 - November 3, 1782), Elias Boudinot (November 4, 1782 - November 2, 1783), Thomas Mifflin (November 3, 1783 - June 3, 1784), Richard Henry Lee (November 30, 1784 - November 22, 1785), John Hancock (November 23, 1785 - June 5, 1786), Nathaniel Gorham (June 1786 until January 1787), Arthur St. Clair (February 2 , 1787 - January 21, 1788), and Cyrus Griffin (January 22, 1788 – April 29, 1789)--under The Articles of the Confederation.
Everything you know is wrong--George Washington was the 9th President
--or 8th, depending on how you call it on John Hancock's term. [More inside]
posted by y2karl on Nov 7, 2002 - 28 comments

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