Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Agriculture, Policies

Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Mark Bittman writes the way he cooks: The ingredients are wholesome, the preparation elegantly simple, the results nourishing in the best sense of the word. He never strains; there’s no effort to impress, but you come away full, satisfied, invigorated.

From his magnum opus, How to Cook Everything, and its many cookbook companions, to his recipes for The New York Times, to his essays on food policy, Bittman has developed a breeziness that masks the weight of the politics and economics that surround the making and consuming of food. In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, his latest book, he offers us his most thoroughgoing attack on the corporate forces that govern our food, tracking the evolution of cultivation and consumption from primordial to modern times and developing what is arguably his most radical and forthright argument yet about how to address our contemporary food cultures’ many ills. But it still goes down easy; the broccoli tastes good enough that you’ll happily go for seconds.

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The Case Against a New Concert of Powers

Demographic, Wild Cards

The Case Against a New Concert of Powers

Global politics today is a mess, and it can be tempting to turn to history for clues about how to clean it up, as Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan did recently in “The New Concert of Powers” (March 23). But one must be careful to learn the right lessons. Haass and Kupchan argue that the nineteenth-century Concert of Europe provides a model for managing great-power relations, avoiding major wars, and balancing an imbalanced world. These are worthy goals, but the Concert of Europe failed to achieve them—and so would any new organization inspired by it.

In 1815, Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, and the United Kingdom founded the concert to maintain their power and stabilize a continent roiled by wars and revolutionary uprisings. The concert is sometimes depicted as producing a golden age of diplomacy: a time when diplomats and statesmen fostered mutual respect, maintained a balance of power, avoided one another’s spheres of influence, and eschewed war in favor of joint sorties to the opera and late-night discussions over whiskey and cigars.

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What are the real reasons behind the New Cold War?

China, Demographic, Russia, State War, Threats

What are the real reasons behind the New Cold War?

The announcement on April 15 by President Biden that this administration was expelling 10 Kremlin diplomats and imposing new sanctions for alleged Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. elections–to which Russia replied with a tit for tat–came just days after the Pentagon conducted military drills in the South China Sea. These actions were but the latest escalation of aggressive posturing as Washington ramps up its “New Cold War” against Russia and China, pushing the world dangerously towards international political and military conflagration.

Most observers attribute this US-instigated war to rivalry and competition over hegemony and international economic control. These factors are important, but there is a bigger picture that has been largely overlooked of what is driving this process: the crisis of global capitalism.

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Cold War on Trial: Truth Commission details horrible crimes akin to Native American genocide and slavery

Other Atrocities, State War, Threats

Cold War on Trial: Truth Commission details horrible crimes akin to Native American genocide and slavery

With a new Cold War heating up between the U.S. and Russia and China, Witness for Peace Southwest, Addicted to War and CodePink organized a Truth Commission on the original Cold War on March 21st, which brought together the testimony of historians, activists and others who lived through the period.

Following a hearing three years ago, the Zoom event was hosted by Frank Dorrel, publisher of the popular anti-war text Addicted to War, and Rachel Bruhnke, a high school Spanish teacher and member of Witness for Peace Southwest.

In her opening remarks, Bruhnke emphasized that the Cold War should rank as one of three great crimes in U.S. history, the first two being the genocide of the native Americans, and enslavement of African-Americans.

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Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

Policies, Society

Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

India’s health ministry said Sunday that it recorded 93,249 new COVID cases in the previous 24-hour period, the highest daily tally this year in the South Asian nation.

Only two other nations have more coronavirus infections than India’s 12.4 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S has 30.6 million cases, while Brazil has 12.9 million. Millions of people worldwide are under new lockdown restrictions this Easter weekend thanks to coronavirus infections that have surged despite the continued rollout of vaccination campaigns.

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CDC: COVID-19 Third Largest Cause of US Deaths in 2020

Disease, Threats

CDC: COVID-19 Third Largest Cause of US Deaths in 2020

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Wednesday that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States during 2020, and it boosted the overall U.S. death toll by nearly 16% from the previous year.

During the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters the pandemic trailed only heart disease and cancer last year, accounting for about 378,000 fatalities, or 11% of all deaths in the country last year.

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Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World

State War, Threats

Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World

Dramatically recreates a sequence of ten decisions made by six major leaders between May 1940 and December 1941 that reshaped human destiny, from Churchill’s war cabinet’s choice to continue fighting after the German blitzkrieg defeat of France and Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union to Hitler’s declaration of war on the U.S. and his subsequent decision to eliminate Jewish citizens.

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A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

State War, Threats

A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

The Algerian War lasted from 1954 to 1962. It brought down six French governments, led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic, returned de Gaulle to power, and came close to provoking a civil war on French soil. More than a million Muslim Algerians died in the conflict and as many European settlers were driven into exile. Above all, the war was marked by an unholy marriage of revolutionary terror and repressive torture.

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The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Policies, Security, Terrorism, Threats

 The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright’s remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the FBI’s counterterrorism chief, John O’Neill; and the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal.

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The Unconquerable World

Demographic, Diplomacy, Policies, Wild Cards

The Unconquerable World

At times of global crisis, Jonathan Schell’s writings have offered important alternatives to conventional thinking. Now, as conflict escalates around the world, Schell gives us an impassioned, provocative book that points the way out of the unparalleled devastation of the twentieth century toward another, more peaceful path.

Tracing the expansion of violence to its culmination in nuclear stalemate, Schell uncovers a simultaneous but little-noted history of nonviolent action at every level of political life. His investigation ranges from the revolutions of America, France, and Russia, to the people’s wars of China and Vietnam, to the great nonviolent events of modern times-including Gandhi’s independence movement in India and the explosion of civic activity that brought about the surprising collapse of the Soviet Union.

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