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Life, liberty and the pursuit of profit: America’s assault on arts funding is cultural suicide.

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The new federal spending bill ups funding for the NEA, thankfully. But at the state level, outlooks aren’t so rosy (Credit: Getty/Salon)

  • The shortsighted and simpleminded can justify America’s assault on the arts and education with dubious conservative slogans like “fiscal responsibility,” “belt tightening” and “real world metrics,” but no euphemism can conceal its true nature. It is a form of cultural suicide.
  • A nation that values nothing will produce nothing of value.

David Masciotra, Salon

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Orchestra%20Musician.jpg03/24/18 | any American historians, especially when they shapeshift into the role of nationalistic boosters, enjoy referencing the praise Alexis de Tocqueville bestowed upon “Democracy in America” when he visited the new nation from his native France in the early nineteenth century. Most tend to omit or overlook the eternally relevant indictment de Tocqueville issued against the dominant value system of American life. “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans,” de Tocqueville wrote a friend in a private letter, “one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”

The ultimate criterion of judgment in the United States destroys that which is most elemental to the maintenance of an excellent and enjoyable civilization. Profit is essential for creating a high standard of living, and it does energize a creative spirit in many individuals, but if made central to a culture, it becomes vampiric — slowly sucking the blood out of anything that cannot perpetually produce treasure for money managers, financiers, investors, bankers and agents.

David Masciotra is the author of four books, including "Mellencamp: American Troubadour" (University Press of Kentucky, 2015) and "Barack Obama: Invisible Man" (Eyewear Publishing, 2017).

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Why America is the World’s Most Uniquely Cruel Society

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  • Or, How Punching Down Became a Way of Life
  • Related: “No civilization would tolerate what America has done”
  • Related: "Morally Obscene" Trump Budget Proposal Stands to Make America Cruel Again

umair haqueEudaimonia and Co

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Feb 19, 2018 | In this essay, I want to share with you a tiny theory of what it means to be American. It is up to you to judge, as ever, whether it carries any weight. All that I will say is that when I look around, it explains, a little, what I see.

Any theory of being American must explain one salient and striking fact: cruelty. America is the most cruel nation among its peers — even among most poor countries today. It is something like a new Rome. It has little, if any, functioning healthcare, education, transport, media, no safety nets, no stability, security. The middle class is collapsing, and life expectancy is falling. Young people die for a lack of insulin they cannot crowdfund. Elderly middle-class people live and die in their cars. Kids massacre each other in schools — when they’re not self-medicating the pain of it all away. The combination of these pathologies happens nowhere else — not a single place — in the world. Not even Pakistan, Costa Rica, or Rwanda. Hence, the world is aghast daily at the depths of American cruelty — yet somehow, they seem bottomless.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/fit/c/100/100/0*lI5-avJvcBbQDmA2.jpeg umair haque <>, vampire

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Related:

“No civilization would tolerate what America has done.” David Masciotra, AlterNet / Salon 

  • (We) have … been programmed into cruelty and apathy by (our) schools, churches, families, politics, and pop culture(.)
  • Institutional racism. Rampant income inequality. A broken justice system. America may never be a great society.
  • Torture Is Who We Are

Related:

"Morally Obscene" Trump Budget Proposal Stands to Make America Cruel Again, Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/headlines/trump-nashville.jpg?itok=hTc06Em8 President Donald Trump in Nashville on Wednesday. Analysts said his budget proposal would hurt those voters who helped get him elected. (Photo: AP)

  • Environment, public education, worker protections, and cultural institutions all stand to lose under Trump's "cruel" budget blueprint.
  • Related: What It Really Means To ‘Defund’ Planned Parenthood

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The Religious Roots of America’s Gun Culture and the Gospel of American Nationalistic Christianity

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  • Part 1: Billy Graham and the Gospel of American Nationalistic Christianity
    • Billy Graham is finally at rest, but we still wrestle with his complicated legacy.
  • Part 2: A Locked and Loaded Covenant: The Religious Roots of America’s Gun Culture
  • Tracing the historical and religious roots attaching to the sanctity of the Second Amendment.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Billy Graham and the Gospel of American Nationalistic Christianity

For the most prolific modern-day evangelist of not only Jesus, but a nationalistic American style of Christianity, this (lying in state in the US Capitol is the right ending to a complicated story. Billy Graham is finally at rest, but we still wrestle with his complicated legacy.

Anthea Butler, Religion Dispatches

http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/grahamPower.jpgFebruary 22, 2018 | Billy Graham’s death on the same day as the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X is an interesting postscript to the life of America’s premier evangelist of Americanism. It would take an outsider to deftly articulate Graham’s mission. In his speech, Message to the Grassroots, Malcolm X said: “I have watched how Billy Graham comes into a city, spreading what he calls the gospel of Christ, which is only white nationalism. That’s what he is. Billy Graham is a white nationalist; I’m a black nationalist….”

I’m sure that Billy Graham did not like being called a white nationalist back then, and many evangelicals will bristle at this quote even now. With Graham’s death, it’s time to reconsider how his promotion of a nationalistic version of Americanized Christianity has influenced evangelicals today. Graham’s proximity to the office of the presidency and government since the Eisenhower administration is part of why we see scenes of eager evangelicals embracing President Trump. It’s also responsible for a large cohort of evangelicals who are actively supporting Islamophobia, isolationism, and America first policies.

http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/anthea_258.jpg Anthea Butler is a Contributing Editor to Religion Dispatches. Her book, ’The Gospel According To Sarah: How Sarah Palinin’s Tea Party Angels are Galvanizing the Religious Right came out in 2013. 

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Part 2: A Locked and Loaded Covenant: The Religious Roots of America’s Gun Culture

A review of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz' Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment,  which traces the historical and religious roots attaching to the sanctity of the Second Amendment.

Peter Laarman, Religion Dispatches

http://www.citylights.com/Resources/titles/87286100460830/Images/87286100460830M.jpg?1523210544437 March 7, 2018 | Garry Wills was being only slightly ironic when he wrote (in the wake of the ghastly Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando) that it is “theologically inconceivable” to implement real gun control in the United States:

  • God gave us guns to show us who we are. Giving up the gun would be surrender to evil, taking us abruptly into eschatological time …
  • The Gun is patriotic.
  • The Gun is America.
  • The Gun is God.

In her highly readable and timely new book, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz deftly traces the historical and religious roots attaching to the sanctity of the Second Amendment in the minds of millions of Americans who are not gun owners or NRA members.

http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/laarman-150x150.jpg Peter Laarman is a United Church of Christ minister who served as senior minister of New York's Judson Memorial Church and then as executive director of LA's Progressive Christians Uniting before retiring in 2014. He remains deeply involved in national and regional social justice projects touching on race, class, and religion.

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Goodman: Has our democracy become a reality show?

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Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) calls the roll on Hill Street Blues.

Government has become a 24-hour reality show, and its leader is creating reality by the second, tweet after tweet, post after post, firing after firing. In its wake we’ve seen less heroism and more hedonism, less truth and more fiction, as the nation lurches from nuclear showdowns to tariff-spawned meltdowns.

Adam Goodman, special to the Tampa Bay (FL) Times

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April 5, 2018 | Hollywood lost a legend this week, and America a road map, when Hill Street Blues creator Steven Bochco played out his final episode on Earth. Bochco was the pioneering force in television, and mentor to countless entertainment giants, who braved censors and cynics to craft unforgettable stories grounded on the streets of urban America.

His Emmy Award-winning Hill Street Blues for NBC (together with Fame, Taxi, and Cheers) anchored what was known in the ’80s as the best night in television. It was a landmark show because it dealt with reality as a life force worth experiencing.

Adam Goodman is a national Republican media consultant based in St. Petersburg and the first Edward R. Murrow Fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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