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Ken Burns returns to take on Vietnam – 'a war we have consciously ignored'

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In this December 1965 photo shot by Horst Faas, a US 1st division soldier guards Route 7 as Vietnamese women and schoolchildren return home to the village of Xuan Dien from Ben Cat. Photograph: Horst Faas/AP

Burns’s new 10-part, 18-hour epic film covers the conflict from all sides, and hopes to ‘shape more courageous conversations about what took place’

David Smith, The Guardian

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Saturday 1 July 2017 | James Rogers and Renan Reyes, veterans of the Vietnam war, each made a trip to Washington on Wednesday to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for the first time.

“Very impressive,” said Rogers, who is from Madison, Alabama, as a river of parents and children flowed past in bright sunshine.

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“It looks like a black mark,” said Reyes, from near Charlotte, North Carolina, disapprovingly.

David Smith is the Guardian's Washington DC bureau chief. 

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Are Politicians Too Dumb to Understand the Lyrics to ‘Born in the USA’?

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  • Springsteen’s ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ is an indictment of the government, the military-industrial complex, and the way we treat soldiers. Not exactly an election night anthem.
  • Unexceptionalism
  • Related: The Song that Fooled America

Parker Molloy, The Daily Beast

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11.06.14 | On Tuesday night—widely considered a sweeping victory for Republican political candidates—I sat in my apartment, huddled around my TV, watching as election results rolled in. From my couch, as the local NBC affiliate called the Illinois gubernatorial race for GOP candidate Bruce Rauner, I noticed something. As the local news team cut to Rauner campaign headquarters, I heard something in the background: the familiar drum beat and synth lead of one of 1984's most popular tunes, "Born in the U.S.A."

In 1984, Bruce Springsteen released Born in the U.S.A. The album became an immediate success, and it eventually became one of the most successful recordings of all time, selling more than 10 million copies. This success of both the album and its eponymous single is frequently attributed to a belief that the song is a pro-American anthem. In reality, it's anything but.

http://img.thedailybeast.com/image/upload/c_fill,h_200,w_200,x_0,y_0/v1492186965/author/parker-malloy-author.jpg Parker Molloy is an essayist and transgender media advocate from Chicago, IL, focusing her writing on feminism and gender-related topics. She currently works as a freelance journalist, and has contributed writing to The New York Times, The Advocate, Rolling Stone, The Huffington Post, Salon, VICE, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.

Full story … 

Related:

The Song that Fooled America

Bruce Springsteen's official music video for 'Born In The U.S.A.'

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Put Away The Flags by Howard Zinn

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Image by Marcus O. Bst via Flickr

 

We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.

 

Howard Zinn, Dandelion Salad

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July 4, 2017 | On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

Howard Zinn, a World War II bombardier, was the author of the best-selling A People’s History of the United States (Perennial Classics, 2003, latest edition). This piece was distributed by the Progressive Media Project in 2006.

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Joan Baez's Fighting Side: The Life and Times of a Secret Badass

The Sixties icon helped invent the idea of the protest singer – more than five decades later, she's still at it.

David Browne, Rolling Stone

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http://img.wennermedia.com/620-width/rs-joan-baez-v1-e72ebf91-37fd-4188-a15c-141d6200d523.jpg Joan Baez opens up about her relationship with Bob Dylan, doing drugs with the Grateful Dead, how she overcame paralyzing phobias and more in our career-spanning feature. Justin Kaneps for Rolling Stone

April 5, 2017 | When Joan Baez shared a bill with the Indigo Girls about 20 years ago, a young fan approached, asking for an autograph – for his grandmother. "Tell your grandmother to go fuck herself!" said Baez, who saw the show as a way to connect with a new generation of fans. Today, in the airy kitchen of her home near Palo Alto, California, with its view of the Santa Cruz Mountains and a painting of a nude woman above the fireplace, Baez winces at the memory. "I felt so awful and said, 'I'm sorry – of course I'll sign it.'"

Baez, 76, loves to play against her image as the serene, hyperserious matriarch of folk music. Resting her chin on her hand, she flashes her recent metal-chick tattoo: a series of circles and arrows that rings her right wrist, from a visit to New Zealand with her son, Gabe. "Most mothers would say, 'Oh, honey, really?' " she says proudly. "But I said, 'Ooh, can I get one too?' " In 2010, when she was invited to perform at a White House celebration of music from the civil-rights era, Baez refused a request, from Michelle Obama, to sing "If I Had a Hammer." "That is the most annoying song," Baez says. "I told them, 'If I had a hammer – I'd hit myself on the head. Ain't gonna do it.' "

David Browne, Contributor, Rolling Stone

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The Nauseating Hypocrisy Surrounding The Kathy Griffin Criticism

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Mark Ralston via Getty Images 

 

She crossed the taste line—that’s all.

Cody Lyon, Huff Post

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06/02/2017 | There’s a vein of sad, pathetic hypocrisy running through both the left and right of the United States tonight. We live in times fueled by constant breaking media reports and self serving social media commentary. Adding fuel to the symptom, Americans are quick to take reactionary tones in times of tension. We’re quick to jump on the praise or condemnation express train- as if a stance will validate our individual moral compass.

There’s little doubt, Kathy Griffin’s photo with a fake bloody head was tasteless and offensive. But if that sort of crass blood soaked satire is not your thing, it’s easy to just ignore it. Turn the other way.

Cody LyonHuff Post Contributor, NYC writer/reporter

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Kurt Vonnegut Ponders Why “Poor Americans Are Taught to Hate Themselves” in a Timely Passage from Slaughterhouse-Five

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Image by Daniele Prati, via Flickr Commons

  • For all his (Campbell's) outlandish presentation, he is a complicated figure---something of an amalgam of the far right’s showmen and hucksters and its cynical intellectuals, who often understand very well how the stark divisions of race and class are maintained in the U.S., and exploit that knowledge for political gain.
  • Related: From the Archives | Noam Chomsky: America Hates Its Poor

Josh Jones, Open Culture 

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May 25th, 2017 | Amidst what is now an ordinary day’s chaos and turmoil in the news, you may have noticed some outrage circulating over comments made by erstwhile brain surgeon, former presidential candidate, and current Secretary of HUD Ben Carson. Poverty, he said, is a “state of mind.” The idea fits squarely in the wheelhouse of Carson’s brand of magical thinking, as well as into what has always been a self-help tradition in the U.S. since Poor Richard's Almanac.

Consider, for example, the immense popularity of a book written during the Great Depression, Napoleon Hill’s 1937 Think and Grow Rich, which has increased every year since its publication. By 2015, the book had sold around 100 million copies worldwide. Hill’s prolific self-help cottage industry occupies a prominent place in a distinctly American genre, and an economy unto itself. Books, videos, seminars, and megachurches promise the faithful that they need only to change themselves to change their economic outcomes, in order not only thrive but to “grow rich.”

http://www.zuccottiparkpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/occupy.jpgJosh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. 

Full story … 

Related:

From the Archives | Noam Chomsky: America Hates Its Poor, Chris Steele, AlterNet  / Zuccotti Park Press 

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Jeff Nygaard <>.

Sat, 03/29/2014 | 

  • Linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky on our country's brutal class warfare -- and why it's ultimately so one-sided.
  • This is an excerpt from the just released second edition of Noam Chomsky’s  “Occupy: Class War, Rebellion and Solidarity,” edited by Greg Ruggiero and published by Zuccotti Park Press.
  • Download Free PDF: Occupy ~ Noam Chomsky 
  • The global plutocracy

 

 

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Section(s): 

Religion as a Front for Tyranny: A Roundtable on the Timeliness of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”

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We have only to look at how Trump conflated Christianity with white nationalism and threw in a pinch of opposition to reproductive freedom to see how far someone who is skilled at manipulating religion can get.

Anita Little, Religion Dispatches

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May 17, 2017 | “Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub, you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”

This inner monologue from Offred, the protagonist of Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, is a warning that echoes in our time. When Margaret Atwood published the dystopian novel in 1985, she said there was nothing in the book that hadn’t already happened. What makes the story so eerie to read now is that sense of recognition, of creeping familiarity.

http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/original1.jpg Anita Little is the editor of the Remapping American Christianities initiative at Religion Dispatches. Prior to that, she was the associate editor at Ms. magazine where she spent three years covering the intersections of gender, race and class. Little's work has been published in Ms., Angeleno, Alternet, Ebony and Pacific Standard. 

Full story … 

Are We Monsters?

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  • We are a failed country because we have lost our compassion and sense of community.
  • Related: America’s Descent Into Madness

Neal Gabler, Moyers & Company

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May 11, 2017 | Warner Brothers and Universal have both been dusting off an inventory of classic monsters — King Kong, Godzilla, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, etc. — which prompted New York Times film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott to speculate whether this was a reaction to a contemporary America, where monstrousness now seems to run rampant. When you add a film like the mega hit Get Out, about human monsters, you get the feeling that maybe Hollywood is onto something.

Monster films have always dealt with anxieties — the Depression in the ‘30s, the Soviet threat and nuclear threat in the ’50s, technological change in the ‘60s and ’70s. But today, the  danger is different. Today the danger is us.

Neal Gabler is an author of five books and the recipient of two LA Times Book Prizes, Time magazine's non-fiction book of the year, USA Today's biography of the year and other awards. He is also a senior fellow at The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, and is currently writing a biography of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Full story … 

Related:

America’s Descent Into Madness, Henry Giroux, Counterpunch <http://www.counterpunch.org>

http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/404983460_f76fc70f81.jpgJayel Aheram (CC BY 2.0)  

  • America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War. – John le Carré
  • The Politics of Cruelty
  • The Corporation as Psychopath

 

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