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From the Archives | Kneeling in Fenway Park to the Gods of War

  • The use of the Morse jet to carry out extraordinary rendition exposes the dark side of professional sports, how it is used by oligarchs and the military to manipulate and control us.
  • The Myth of America’s Global Peacekeeping Past 

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

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http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/AP110530030227.jpg Boston Red Sox fans lean over "the Green Monster" to touch an American flag covering the wall during pregame ceremonies on Memorial Day in 2011. Photo by Winslow Townson

Jul 7, 2014 | On Saturday I went to one of the massive temples across the country where we celebrate our state religion. The temple I visited was Boston’s Fenway Park. I was inspired to go by reading Andrew Bacevich’s thoughtful book “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country,” which opens with a scene at Fenway from July 4, 2011. The Fourth of July worship service that I attended last week—a game between the Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles—was a day late because of a rescheduling caused by Tropical Storm Arthur. When the crowd sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” a gargantuan American flag descended to cover “the Green Monster,” the 37-foot, 2-inch-high wall in left field. Patriotic music blasted from loudspeakers. Col. Lester A. Weilacher, commander of the 66th Air Base Group at Massachusetts’ Hanscom Air Force Base, wearing a light blue short-sleeved Air Force shirt and dark blue pants, threw the ceremonial first pitch. A line of Air Force personnel stood along the left field wall. The fighter jets—our angels of death—that usually roar over the stadium on the Fourth were absent. But the face of Fernard Frechette, a 93-year-old World War II veteran who was attending, appeared on the 38-by-100-foot Jumbotron above the center-field seats as part of Fenway’s “Hats Off to Heroes” program, which honors military veterans or active-duty members at every game. The crowd stood and applauded. Army National Guard Sgt. Ben Arnold had been honored at the previous game, on Wednesday. Arnold said his favorite Red Sox player was Mike Napoli. Arnold, who fought in Afghanistan, makes about $27,000 a year. Napoli makes $16 million. The owners of the Red Sox clear about $60 million annually. God bless America.

The religious reverie—repeated in sports arenas throughout the United States—is used to justify our bloated war budget and endless wars. Schools and libraries are closing. Unemployment and underemployment are chronic. Our infrastructure is broken and decrepit. And we will have paid a crippling $4 trillion for the useless and futile wars we waged over the last 13 years in the Middle East. But the military remains as unassailable as Jesus, or, among those who have season tickets at Fenway Park, the Red Sox. The military is the repository of our honor and patriotism. No public official dares criticize the armed forces or challenge their divine right to more than half of all the nation’s discretionary spending. And although we may be distrustful of government, the military—in the twisted logic of the American mind—is somehow separate.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society.

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Related:

The Myth of America’s Global Peacekeeping Past, Leon Hadar, The American Conservative

There is something morally appalling in Kagan, The Economist, and other cheerleaders for the botched wars in the Greater Middle East arguing once again that only the full application of American military power will deter aggression and build the foundations for stability. 

ESPN’s Van Gundy lashes out at sports media ‘quid pro quo’

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  • “I don’t believe readers understand how beholden most of these writers are to their sources,” Van Gundy tells CJR in an interview. “They’re actually the mouthpieces for these people. It’s a quid pro quo.” That bartering of favorable coverage for scoops corrupts sports reporting well beyond this instance, Van Gundy claims, now more than ever. 
  • The media is NOT doing its job!

Danny Funt, CJR

http://www.cjr.org/images-tb/vangundyhed.jpeg AP file photo of Jeff Van Gundy

January 26, 2016 | With seven minutes remaining in the second quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers game against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, ESPN color commentator Jeff Van Gundy began his broadside attack on investigative basketball journalists. LeBron James of the Cavaliers scored a layup, with 5:27 left on the clock, when Van Gundy finished. For this uninterrupted 90 seconds of a primetime matchup, one of ESPN’s top broadcasters offered a critique of anonymously sourced reporting and the state of sports media to more than 3.5 million viewers. 

His message would warm the heart of New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, an outspoken critic of unnamed sources, and make other journalists’ blood boil. At issue is a fundamental question in sports reporting: Does covering discord inside the locker room require that sources be unidentified?

Danny Funt is a CJR Delacorte Fellow.

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http://media.salon.com/2010/04/white_house_reporters_afraid_to_criticize_the_white_house-460x307.jpg  The media is NOT doing its job! Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • The American people deserve a better media: one that learns and remembers the role and responsibility it holds as the fourth estate. Not only do we  deserve it, but the survival of American values and functioning also  requires it.
  • We must force (political leaders) to think about the consequences of their words and their policies. But to do so we need a probing, intelligent, and courageous press - long MIA. 
  • Part 1: American Media Is Failing Us
  • Part 2: A Very Good Question for all Candidates and Reporters

Section(s): 

Beware America's Shocking Loss of Empathy

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  • Without empathy, our humanity is dead.
  • The symptoms of a society coming unhinged.
  • The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America

David Niose, Psychology Today

https://cdn.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/styles/image-article_inline_full/public/field_blog_entry_images/8567825104_7a32a83018_o.jpg?itok=Nbb6Tv1uSource: Photo by Gage Skidmore, creative commons license

Mar 06, 2016 | Here’s a sobering thought for the idealists among us: Even if we someday achieve a truly fair and just society, that society will nevertheless be inhabited by the same species that produced the Holocaust. “Humans are capable of many things,” as author Noam Chomsky once told me. “Some of them are horrible, some are wonderful.”

Knowing that the human animal’s behavioral capacities cover a spectrum from the horrific to the kindhearted, it seems obvious that our challenge going forward is to create social structures that lead to the more desirable outcomes. There’s plenty of room for debate over details, but the basic framework of where we want to go shouldn’t be very controversial: general prosperity, a healthy and educated population, a government free of corruption and responsive to human needs, a sustainable natural environment, and a safe and free social environment.

David Niose's latest book is Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason.

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The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America, Ray Williams, Psychology Today / Signs of the Times

8 Times the Helpers Eased the Pain of Sad Situations in 2015

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Even in the tragic and sad times, there were so many people who showed us the very best of humanity. So many people who reminded us that the good far outweighs the bad.

Laura Willard, Upworthy

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December 18, 2015 | Sometimes the helpers are those who, in the

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 wake of a tragedy, are quite literally saving lives. There are also the quieter helpers. The ones who are there to do what they can, long after the news cameras have gone. The ones who see serious everyday problems and know that even small gestures of compassion can make a world of difference.

There were a lot of helpers in 2015.

Here are eight of them that I want to remember because they remind me of the good in the world and inspire me to do my part when I can, no matter how small, to help make the world a better place.

Laura Willard

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