NEOLIBERALISM: “Chris Hedges Responds to Criticism of ‘Antifa’ Column” / Watching the Hawks RT / Tyrel Ventura, and Tabetha Wallace ☮

In a new episode of “Watch the Hawks,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges sits down with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace to discuss violence between the “alt-right” and anti-fascist (“antifa”) movements. Hedges also responds to criticism of his recent Truthdig article comparing the two groups.

“It’s my job as a writer to, as stringently as I can, write what I see as the truth,” Hedges says. “What we’re encountering here in the United States is more akin to revolution, and revolutions are always fundamentally nonviolent.”

Hedges discusses his experience witnessing violence in war-torn countries, noting that while “nobody was sitting around in a basement arguing about pacifism,” the “poison of violence” still affects those who must resort to it to defend themselves.

“There is no moral equivalency between these right-wing, white nativist groups and antifa, and I was very clear about that in my column,” Hedges notes. “But I think when they [antifa] carry out these tactics, they actually squander their moral authority, because they have moral authority, and they play into the hands of [the] Trump administration.”Tyrel Ventura, and Tabetha Wallace

ECOSYSTEM: “Harvey, Houston, and the Science of Wetlands” / Watching the Hawks RT / Tabetha Wallace, and Tyrel Ventura ☮

Why has Hurricane Harvey exacted such devastating flooding on the city of Houston? The city’s mistreatment of its wetlands may be part of the reason, as Watching the Hawks’ Tabetha Wallace explains.

ANTI-THEISM: “Two Flaws Plague Unscientific Belief, from Trump and [White Supremacists,] to Religious Doctrine” / Big Think / Richard Dawkins ☮

What’s it like to be worshipped by [White Supremacists]? Not good, especially if you’re a passionate rationalist like Richard Dawkins. He was very recently accused of Islamophobia by KPFA radio—which is why some of the [White Supremacists] have flocked toward him—however Dawkins released a statement calling any alleged “abusive speech” by him preposterous, and clarified his views: “I have indeed strongly condemned the misogyny, homophobia, and violence of Islamism, of which Muslims—particularly Muslim women—are the prime victims. I make no apologies for denouncing those oppressive cruelties, and I will continue to do so.” Here he responds to how unpleasant it is to have your rational thoughts and your name hijacked by political extremists, and he expresses his disdain for President Trump’s policies, specifically the ‘Muslim ban’. With that as context, he proceeds to do what he does best: use science to investigate the idea of supernatural gods as the creators of the universe—which is a scientific hypothesis, he states, but one of the failed kind. Dawkins explains that we already have a superb theory of why living things have come into being—Darwinian evolution—and the evils that can come from too much faith. Richard Dawkins’ most recent book is Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist.

CHRONIC TRAMATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY: “For Ravens’ John Urschel, Playing in the N.F.L. No Longer Adds Up” ☮

One of the N.F.L.’s smartest players did the math and decided to retire after just three years in the league.

John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens who received much publicity for his off-season pursuit of a doctorate in math at M.I.T., told the team on Thursday that he was hanging up his cleats at 26.

Urschel’s agent, Jim Ivler, said Urschel was overwhelmed with interview requests but would not be speaking to the news media. On Twitter, Urschel wrote that “there is no big story here” and that the decision to retire was not an easy one to make, but “it was the right one for me.”

He added that he planned to return to school full time in the fall, “to take courses that are only offered in the fall semester” and spend time with his fiancée, who is expecting their first child in December.

Urschel’s decision came two days after the release of a study in which all but one of 111 brains of former N.F.L. players showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head.

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