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Articles by Tom Engelhardt

Tom Engelhardt, cofounder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. His latest book is The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's.

Featured Article

An anti-nuclear protestor in Japan gets creative.Photo: Matthias LambrechtThis post was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission.

Last Monday, Yukio Edano, chief cabinet secretary, defended the Japanese government’s response to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, insisting that the plant complex is in “a stable situation, relatively speaking.” That’s somewhat like the official description of 11,500 tons of water purposely dumped into the ocean waters off Fukushima as “low-level radioactive” or “lightly radioactive.” It is, of course, only “lightly” so in comparison to the even more radioactive water being stored at the plant in its place. But that’s the thing with descriptive words: they can leave so much to the eye of the beholder — and the Japanese government hasn’t been significantly more eager than the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), which runs the complex, to behold all that much when it comes to Fukushima.

On Tuesday, the government finally raised the Fukushima alert level on the International Nuclear Event scale from 5 to 7 &... Read more

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  • Why is no one talking about how bad the Japan nuke disaster could be?

    Let’s hope the future doesn’t hold this. This is adapted from a post at TomDispatch; you can read the longer version here. “Not as bad as Chernobyl”? It might be better to describe the situation at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant as “remarkably unlike Chernobyl” in rural Ukraine, where, almost 25 years ago, a single uncontained […]

  • What does economic 'recovery' mean on an extreme weather planet?

    This is a guest essay by Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and an editor of the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. Englehardt is also the author of The End of Victory Culture and the editor of The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire. This post was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom's kind permission.

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    It turns out that you don't want to be a former city dweller in rural parts of southernmost Australia, a stalk of wheat in China or Iraq, a soybean in Argentina, an almond or grape in northern California, a cow in Texas, or almost anything in parts of east Africa right now. Let me explain.

    As anyone who has turned on the prime-time TV news these last weeks knows, southeastern Australia has been burning up. It's already dry climate has been growing ever hotter. "The great drying," Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery calls it. At its epicenter, Melbourne recorded its hottest day ever this month at a sweltering 115.5 degrees, while temperatures soared even higher in the surrounding countryside. After more than a decade of drought, followed by the lowest rainfall on record, the eucalyptus forests are now burning. To be exact, they are now pouring vast quantities of stored carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas considered largely responsible for global warming, into the atmosphere.

    In fact, everything's been burning there. Huge sheets of flame, possibly aided and abetted by arsonists, tore through whole towns. More than 180 people are dead and thousands homeless. Flannery, who has written eloquently about global warming, drove through the fire belt, and reported: