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Men and women sport Ray Rice jerseys at Baltimore Ravens Thursday night home game

NFL running back Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Monday, the same day a video surfaced on TMZ, showing the NFL star knocking out his future wife in February. Ravens fans attending the Thursday night game against the Steelers weighed in the Rice’s video and the NFL’s verdict.

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While most of America strongly feels that Ray Rice should not have punched his then then-fiancee — and now wife — inside an Atlantic City hotel elevator, many are split as to how the NFL, and Baltimore Ravens franchise, handled the entire situation.
For those out of the loop, or simply not interested in NFL football drama, here is the video that started the Ray Rice saga:

For some backstory The Boston Globe provides some context:

Atlantic City is a gambling town. We can now add the NFL to the long list of those who liked their odds in an Atlantic City casino and walked away losers.

The NFL bet that what happened between former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancée/now wife Janay Palmer in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino would never see the light of day. That all we would see was the aftermath, Rice dragging his unconscious significant other out of the elevator of the Revel Casino after a physical altercation in February.

It gambled that the horrific video of Rice slugging Palmer, published by TMZ.com on Monday, would remain concealed. It gambled that the public outcry over the league’s far too lenient two-game suspension for Rice announced on July 24 would subside and the public would be satiated by commissioner Roger Goodell’s mea culpa and the league’s recently announced tougher standards for those who commit domestic violence.

Running back Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Monday, the same day the above video surfaced on TMZ, showing the NFL star knocking out his future wife in February.
The drama did not end in the elevator as Metro News reports:

[NFL Commissioner] Goodell may have thought he had ridden out the Ray Rice storm, despite the controversy and criticism that his initial disciplinary judgement had garnered. So lenient was it assumed the two-game suspension for Ray Rice for the assault of his then-fiancee, now wife in a casino elevator during the off-season that Goodell issued an unprecedented mea culpa, in the process announcing a new policy on domestic abuse.
Following Monday’s revelations, the Baltimore Ravens swiftly cut Rice (as did his sponsors, Nike) and the NFL announced that he was suspended indefinitely with immediate effect. His career, make no mistake, could likely be over.
The new video that emerged Monday, if you are unaware, actually showed the footage of what occurred inside the elevator, rather than the original footage released months ago which showed what happened outside. It makes for shocking viewing on a number of levels.
Its emergence though, serves to highlight the inadequacy of the original decision by Goodell in terms of discipline and the Ravens in their steadfast support of Rice. Putting aside the fact the additional footage now surfaced, what new detail did it provide aside from the visual confirmation of what was already surely known?
Goodell has stated that the league was not provided with the tape, accusing Rice in the process of effectively hoodwinking him during the investigation. Goodell’s admission is being questioned, ranging from second guessing his version to accusations that it is untrue with questions being raised as to why an entity with the all-encompassing reach and power as the NFL could not obtain the footage when TMZ, a broadcaster, could?
Late Wednesday evening, the AP even ran a story claiming that the NFL had in fact been sent a copy of the video in question several months ago.

NFL Commissioner Goodell was well aware of the entire content of the video, meaning he clearly lied about what he knew and covered things up, hoping for it all to go away. The NFL and the Baltimore Ravens, in a move clearly taken to save face, released Rice from his contract with Baltimore and suspended him indefinitely from the NFL, only once the video was leaked.
This is the same Baltimore Ravens team that was lead to a Super Bowl victory in 2013 by Ray Lewis, who was charged in a murder case in 2000, but now has a statue outside the stadium.  The takeaway…hitting a women trumps the death of two men.
So how do the Baltimore fans feel about the Rice incident? Let’s get back to the Thursday night game against the Steelers, as covered by AP, who was on hand interviewing fans proudly sporting Rice’s no. 27 jersey:

“There’s two sides to every story,” said a 23-year-old waitress from Baltimore. “I saw the video. That’s their personal business, and it shouldn’t have affected his career. I don’t agree with domestic violence, but she’s still with him, so obviously it wasn’t that big of a deal. Everyone should just drop it.”
All condemned Rice’s actions, but there was little consensus as to what his punishment should be. The NFL did the right thing by suspending him, some said, but the Ravens shouldn’t have terminated his contract as well. Or maybe the suspension should have remained at two games, where it stood before the punch video became public.

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Not everyone was critical of the NFL’s decision to suspend Rice…

“You support a wife-beater!” one female fan yelled at male fan wearing a No. 27 about 90 minutes before kickoff.
Outside of at least one entrance, a memo explained the “Ray Rice Jersey Exchange” policy, aimed at “particularly families, women and children” who wish to exchange a Rice jersey for that of another Ravens player. The Ravens are no longer selling Rice jerseys, but at least one independent vendor had some Rice action figurines on sale next to his collection of vintage Baltimore Colts wares.

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Overall, fans are split, not by Rice’s actions but more with the Ravens and the NFL’s actions.
If the issue had only been whether what Rice did was wrong or not, then the obvious answer needs no more discussion. Likewise if the issue had been merely whether the punishment was too harsh or too light, that too would have been a cleared up.
Where the entire things gets murky is in the Goodell cover up. Initially giving a two day suspension and then, when the video broke to the media, appeasing the various vultures by suspending Rice indefinitely. It was a weak move.
Even if Goodell lied about not seeing the video in its entirety, he should have stuck to his first ruling (2 day suspension) and not caved, it only made matters more confusing for everyone involved on the field and off. NFL players have done much worse and have gotten off much lighter.
Baltimore fans, for their part, are no strangers to off field scandals, making sure to voice their position outside the stadium:

Paul Kilduff, 65, put two pieces of duct tape over the letters “Ray R” on the back of his faded shirt so that it read “Be Nice” instead of “Ray Rice.” But the tape kept falling off, so he took off the jersey, then put it back on without the tape while uttering, “Ah, I might as well.”
“Everybody deserves a second chance,” he said, a refrain heard often in the parking lot.
But there were plenty of No. 27s, and many of them said they were deliberately making a statement.
“I took the bus here, so people were, like, ‘Good, I’m glad to see to someone out here showing support,'” said Gage Friend, 18, as he learned against the barrier by the players’ entrance. “But I’ve also seen a lot of people giving me dirty looks and people saying stuff to me like, ‘I can’t believe you’d wear that. Don’t you know what he did?’
“Yeah, I’m pretty aware of what he did. And, yes, it was awful and it was definitely a mistake on his part, but he deserves a second chance. … People have done so much worse in this league.”
Others supported the team’s decision to get rid of Rice, including one who called out Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti for not acting sooner.
“He’s a coward,” said Stephanie Wright, 43, from Shrewsbury, Pa. “He was just scared of public opinion so that’s why he just terminated (Rice). … You should be held accountable. If he was a policeman or a firefighter, he would have lost his job immediately.”

References:
http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/26512888/ravens-fans-men-and-women-wear-ray-rice-jerseys-at-thursday-night-game
http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/09/09/nfl-gambled-that-ray-rice-video-would-remain-concealed-and-lost/MALPXu3G3DQUA9cfsk3ovN/story.html
http://metro.co.uk/2014/09/11/roger-goodell-ray-rice-suspension-nfl-baltimore-ravens-4864173/

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Doug Casey on Social Media: “Facebook enshrines stupidity”

“Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook.”

The Duran

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Authored by Joel Bowman via InternationalMan.com:


Joel Bowman: G’day, Doug. Thanks for speaking with us today.

Doug Casey: No problem, Joel. It’s a pleasure to hear your Australian accent come across the ether from Mexico.

Joel: Let’s dive right in. A week or two ago, Facebook registered the largest single day loss for any one company in stock market history – roughly $122 billion. CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost around $15 billion himself, as much as the annual GDP of several resource-rich, West African nations.

Looking back to 2000, during the go-go days of the dot.com boom, Intel and Microsoft both registered staggering single-day losses, too… $90 billion and $80 billion, respectively. And we know what happened next in that case…

So, investors want to know… is past prologue? What’s next for Silicon Valley’s tech darlings?

Doug: Talking about losing multiple billions in a single day, it’s really a sign of the times. I remember when the only billionaires in the world were Howard Hughes, John Paul Getty and John Beresford Tipton– the mythical billionaire on a 1950’s-era show called “The Millionaire.”

These days, however, it seems everyone’s a billionaire. In fact, there are several thousand billionaires roaming the planet today, with new ones being minted almost every day.

Of course, much of this so-called wealth is just paper. It’s not real. In fact, it’s pretty clear to me that we’re in a stock market bubble. Which is being driven by the bond market hyper-bubble. And that, in turn, is fueling a real estate bubble, which I believe is just now beginning to deflate in major cities around the world.

None of this augurs well for the stock market. You’ve got bubbles all over the place. Except in the resource market. That’s the one place that hasn’t inflated. In fact, it’s been going down since it’s last peak in 2011.

Getting back to Facebook, I hope it goes bankrupt. I hate it as an institution. I hate what it does. I don’t like its policies. I don’t like its management. I don’t like the fact that it’s causing people to destroy whatever privacy they have left. While turning their brains to mush sending out selfies all day.

Joel: You’ve put a lot on the table there, Doug. Let’s unpack a bit of that, starting with the general tendency toward cerebral rot…

Many younger readers may not remember this, but there actually existed a time before everybody knew everything, when people had to read books and discuss them, engage in healthy debate and rigorous dialectic in order to learn and develop intellectually.

Now that everyone apparently has plenty of time to Instagram their kale salads and “like” one and other’s cat pictures, are we to assume mankind has finally reached the End of Learning…some new Age of Enlightenment?

Or might Facebook and its (anti)social media cousins represent – in addition to the potential fallout for investors – another, hidden cost to society?

Doug: Perhaps humanity is bifurcating into the Morlocks and the Eloi at this point. It’s true that people used to go to libraries. But even the Library of Congress has only a tiny fraction the world’s data available; libraries are quaint and delightful, but they’re dinosaurs.

All the knowledge in the world is now at our fingertips on the Internet. The Internet is one of the greatest inventions in history, on a par with moveable type and the Gutenburg printing press. A few people are using it to educate and better themselves—but relatively few.

Most people just use it for trivial amusement, as you mentioned. Facebook adds very little value to the equation. In fact, I can’t see that it does much that’s productive. It’s basically a vehicle for gossip and watching cat videos.

Joel: And it’s less than that. Aside from the general degradation of public discourse, social media also represents a kind of unalterable historical record of bad jokes and regrettable moments, accessible to anyone who may wish to besmirch one’s character or skittle one’s reputation.

We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t. To err is to be human, after all. What do you make of a world in which everyone’s worst moments are readily available to everyone else – including potential enemies – at the click of a mouse?

Doug: Facebook enshrines stupidity. A heavy Facebook user is, in effect, saying: “Look at me! I’m a thoughtless person who doesn’t have anything better to do with his time”. That’s on top of the fact that users are exposing their thoughts, actions, and whereabouts to the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and any of a hundred other nefarious agencies. In fact, there are credible allegations that Facebook, along with Google and Amazon, are willing tools of these intelligence agencies. No good can come of being a Facebookista.

But that’s about whether you should use Facebook. Whether you should own Facebook stock is a different question. Even after the recent selloff, Facebook still has a market cap of about $500 billion, which impresses me as a lot for a chat site cum advertising vehicle. Especially one where most of its growth is behind it. A lot of users are getting hip to the fact they’re not customers, they’re the product.

Facebook was a clever innovation ten years ago. But you know, there’s an old saying in the stock market: High Tech, Big Wreck!

Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook. My understanding is that kids now see Facebook as something used by old people– people over 21 years of age. So if it’s going nowhere with the younger generation, where’s it’s future? Maybe it picks up a billion new users in the Third World. Ultimately, what’s that worth?

Facebook may not be a terminal short sale, but I certainly won’t be putting any of my own money into the stock.

Joel: Assuming you’re correct and Facebook 2.0 does displace the current market leader, are you hopeful that such a platform may serve to promote a heightened level of discourse? Perhaps people might find their way into “phyles,” that is, subgroups based on commonly shared values that actually have real world meaning?

Doug: I hope that, in a year or two, International Man itself grows into a community of likeminded people with above average I.Q.s, libertarian values, and real world experience. IM might, itself, even branch off to become its own kind of Facebook. A private version.

I know there’s a lot of talk about regulating FB, or breaking it up. That’s a bad idea; the government should have zero to do with business in general—and areas related to free speech in particular. I’m disgusted by the fact FB has kicked Alex Jones and others off their platform. But they have a right to do so, as a private company. Although, on the other hand, they’re almost a creature of the State.

But that’s not an excuse for the government to “step in”. What will happen is that a newer, better Facebook lookalike—or a dozen of them—will replace them. FB will self-destruct. It’s a non-problem.

To be frank, you and I don’t really have that much in common with most of the 7.3 billion people on this planet. In fact, while I like many individual humans, I despise humanity in general. The more people you put together in a group, the more they act like chimpanzees. Big groups force down the lowest common denominator.

There’s some cause for optimism, but only on a person-to-person basis. I prefer the company of people who value free minds and free markets—and I suspect most people who are reading this now feel the same way.

Joel: That’s probably a very good note to end this conversation on, Doug. Thanks, as always, for taking the time.

Doug: Meanwhile, we’ll look for something with the potential of Facebook in 2008… and stay away from Facebook today.

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Can America Ever Come Together Again?

The people who cheer Trump believe the country they inherited from their fathers was a great, good and glorious country, and that the media who detest Trump also despise them.

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


If ex-CIA Director John Brennan did to Andrew Jackson what he did to Donald Trump, he would have lost a lot more than his security clearance.

He would have been challenged to a duel and shot.

“Trump’s … performance in Helsinki,” Brennan had said, “exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was … treasonous.”

Why should the president not strip from a CIA director who calls him a traitor the honor and privilege of a security clearance? Or is a top-secret clearance an entitlement like Social Security?

CIA directors retain clearances because they are seen as national assets, individuals whose unique experience, knowledge and judgment may be called upon to assist a president in a national crisis.

Not so long ago, this was a bipartisan tradition.

Who trashed this tradition?

Was it not the former heads of the security agencies — CIA, FBI, director of national intelligence — who have been leveling the kind of savage attacks on the chief of state one might expect from antifa?

Are ex-security officials entitled to retain the high privileges of the offices they held, if they descend into cable-TV hatred and hostility?

Former CIA chief Mike Hayden, in attacking Trump for separating families of detained illegal immigrants at the border, tweeted a photo of the train tracks leading into Auschwitz.

“Other governments have separated mothers and children” was Hayden’s caption.

Is that fair criticism from an ex-CIA director?

Thursday, The New York Times decried Trump’s accusation that the media are “the enemy of the people.”

“Insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists ‘the enemy of the people’ is dangerous, period,” said the Times.

Fair enough, but is it not dangerous for a free press to be using First Amendment rights to endlessly bash a president as a racist, fascist, sexist, neo-Nazi, liar, tyrant and traitor?

The message of journalists who use such terms may be to convey their detestation of Trump. But what is the message received in the sick minds of people like that leftist who tried to massacre Republican congressmen practicing for their annual softball game with Democrats?

And does Trump not have a point when he says the Boston Globe-organized national attack on him, joined in by the Times and 300 other newspapers, was journalistic “collusion” against him?

If Trump believes that CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post are mortal enemies who want to see him ousted or impeached, is he wrong?

We are an irreconcilable us-against-them nation today, and given the rancor across the ideological, social and cultural chasm that divides us, it is hard to see how, even post-Trump, we can ever come together again.

Speaking at a New York LGBT gala in 2016, Hillary Clinton said: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic … Some of those folks … are irredeemable, but … they are not America.”

When Clinton’s reflections on Middle America made it into print, she amended her remarks. Just as Gov. Andrew Cuomo rushed to amend his comments yesterday when he blurted at a bill-signing ceremony:

“We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” America was “never that great”?

Cuomo’s press secretary hastened to explain, “When the president speaks about making America great again … he ignores the pain so many endured and that we suffered from slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions.”

Clinton and Cuomo committed gaffes of the kind Michael Kinsley described as the blurting out of truths the speaker believes but desperately does not want a wider audience to know.

In San Francisco in 2008, Barack Obama committed such a gaffe.

Asked why blue-collar workers in industrial towns decimated by job losses were not responding to his message, Obama trashed these folks as the unhappy losers of our emerging brave new world:

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

These clingers to their Bibles, bigotries and guns are the people the mainstream media, 10 years later, deride and dismiss as “Trump’s base.”

What Clinton, Cuomo and Obama spilled out reveals what is really behind the cultural and ideological wars of America today.

Most media elites accept the historic indictment — that before the Progressives came, this country was mired in racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, and that its history had been a long catalog of crimes against indigenous peoples, Africans brought here in bondage, Mexicans whose lands we stole, migrants, and women and gays who were denied equality.

The people who cheer Trump believe the country they inherited from their fathers was a great, good and glorious country, and that the media who detest Trump also despise them.

For such as these, Trump cannot scourge the media often enough.

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College offer courses on ‘queering’ children, the Bible

US Colleges are teaching students to “queer” Christianity and religion in general.

Campus Reform

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Authored by Celine Ryan via Campus Reform:


This school year, students across the country will attend courses on “Queering the Bible,” “Queering Childhood,” “Queering Theology,” and similar topics.

Students at Pomona College in Claremont, California, for instance, will have the opportunity to enroll in a brand new course titled “Queering Childhood,” which will examine “the figure of the Child and how this figuration is used by politics, law, and medicine to justify continued cultural investment in reproductive heteronormativity and productive ablebodiedness.”

The course description explains that students will examine the childhoods of “queer and crip children,” as well as “childhoods against which the figure of the Child is articulated,” with reference to work related to “gender studies, childhood studies, disability studies, and queer theory.”

Colleges are not only attempting to “queer” childhood, they are teaching students to “queer” Christianity and religion in general, as well.

This fall, Eugene Lang College will offer a course titled “Queering and Decolonizing Theology,” where students will explore topics such as “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community,” and “transgender Christs.”

“Christian theology is often depicted as a violent colonial force standing in particular opposition to LGBTQI lives. However, over the last 30 years people of faith, activists, and theorists alike have rediscovered what is queer within Christianity, uncovered what is religious within secular queer communities, and used postcolonial theory to decolonize lived religious practices and theologies,” the course description asserts.

According to the college, the course “explores secular philosophies of queer and postcolonial theory as well as their critical and constructive application to religion,” focusing on topics like “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community, transgender Christs, and the mestiza (or mixed) cultures of Latin America.”

Similarly, students at Harvard Divinity School will be able to attend a course on “Queer Theologies, Queer Religions” this fall, which will explore the “project of ‘queer theology’” and how it relates to “larger aspirations of queer religion or spirituality in America.”

In this course, students will begin by “sampling the efforts to revise traditional Christian theologies in order to accept or affirm same-sex loves.” After that, they will move on to examining “forgotten possibilities in historical engagements between advocates of homosexual rights and established religious bodies (chiefly churches and synagogues).”

“We will consider the boundaries between queer theology and queer theory or between it and other political theologies,” the course description explains.  “We will test the boundaries of ‘Christianity’ while considering the varied forms of queer religion outside familiar religious institutions—in spirituality or spiritualism, in magic or neo-paganism, in erotic asceticism.”

Swarthmore College students, meanwhile, will survey “queer and trans* readings of biblical texts” during a course titled “Queering the Bible,” which will introduce them to “the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times.”

“By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans* theoretical approaches,” the description promises, “this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the [B]ible—and religion—says about gender and sexuality.”

The University of San Francisco is also getting into the act with a course on “Christian Feminist Theology” that aims to “develop an understanding of how feminist scholarship provides one fruitful means towards reappropriation of central Christian insights about God.”

The course will facilitate “critical reflection upon the experience of God, and insights from feminist thought,” according to the description.

In a similar vein, students enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s “Gender, Sexuality, and Religion” course “will read religion through a variety of feminist and queer theory lenses- exploring the key characteristics of diverse feminist analyses of religion, as well as limits of specific feminist approaches.”

“In this course we will learn about women’s and men’s rituals, social roles, and mythologies in specific religious traditions,” the course description explains. “We will also look at the central significance of gender to the field of religious studies generally, with particular attention to non-binary genders.”

To that end, the course will address questions such as “How important are the gender differences in deciding social roles, ritual activities, and spiritual vocations?” and “How does gender intersect with nationality, language, and politics?”

Campus Reform reached out to each of the schools mentioned in this report for additional comment on the courses in question, and is currently awaiting responses. This article will be updated if and when any of them provide a statement.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan

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