Thursday, September 19, 2019

David Pakman: "Weaponization of White Supremacy Explodes" -- it started before Trump and is subtle

I wanted to give a nod to David Pakman’s latest video, “Weaponization of White Supremacy Explodes”.

He notes that it was starting before Donald Trump won, and takes the position that Trump was not a white supremacist (in the accepted meaning) before he won, but “looks the other way”, which is taken as implicit support in tribal thinking.

It is also an international issue, which means that white supremacist groups could be labeled foreign terrorist organizations by US law enforcement.

But this is much easier to do with a religious ideology (radical Islam), or aggressive state-controlled political ideologies (in the past, Stalinist or Maoist Communism, and German and Italian Nazism) than with ideology that seems intertwined with personal social values, in the way people live their everyday lives and make their own personal connections in life. Pakman has picked up on the term "stochastic terrorism". 
This also connects to the gun debate, and the behavior of the tech section (“words are not bullets”).  

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

PBS: "The Speed of Light Is Not About Light"; It's about causality

PBS Digital Studios explains, “The Speed of Light Is Not About Light”

No, it’s the speed limit for causality.

Otherwise, there could be no mass.
Tim explains how you went from Maxwell’s equations to the Lorentz Transformations, which we did cover in high school physics. Well, only briefly, except in AP.  Read the Wikipedia page, which gets into general relativity. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

PragerU: The progressive Left says "Goodbye, America"

James Robbins offers a commentary “Goodbye, America” for Prager U.

He analyzes the obsession of the radical Left with demanding karmic perfection of everyone.
Sometime in the 1960s, you had a generation of young people who had not struggled as much for necessities as had “the greatest generation” and they began to lose sight of the American Experiment (which is actually the name of a conservative think tank in Minneapolis).
So there is obsession with the fact (as in a New York Times piece recently) that American capitalism was based on accounting systems developed to account for slave flavor.  More recently, David Hogg, at Harvard, bemused his credible gun control lobbying (on MSNBC) with the idea that hinted America must let in unlimited PoC undocumented immigrants because America stole Texas from Mexico and stole native American lands when settling them (a topic covered in the mid 2000’s film “The New World” from New Line).
A more responsible way to talk about karma would be for a David Hogg to suggest a review of the social contract – and formalize the expectations we make of better off citizens.  Maybe periods of national service?  Maybe make it more common practice to expect people with inheritances to adopt and raise poor children, especially caught in asylum situations?  (The other "real David Hogg", another college student from North Carolina on the conservative side, has at least hinted at such a discussion on Twitter.) We could indeed start a conversation about that, but “The Left” never gets that started;  it is lost in its own negativity and identarianism.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Vox: a 15-year-old solves Rubik's Cube in 5 seconds

Vox Observatory shows a 15-year-old, Colin Burns, solving a Rubik’s Cube in 5.25 seconds.

The records are actually based on an average of best threes, held by a 19-year-teen from Australia.

As troubling as lack of educational achievement with average Americans, we still keep seeing super-articulate teens (who are often enough female and often Asian or from India, was well as white males) doing academic feats – discovering anti-cancer tests or demonstrating quantum entanglement before 16.

Colin now travels a lot at the expense of the Rubik's cube manufacturer. 
We seem to have a real cognition gap among American teens.  It’s not so much private schools as in the critics of meritocracy, as it is in social segregation, which affects public schools.   What seems to show a cognition gap is the ability to get abstract thinking.
Edward Snowden used a Rubik’s Cube to hide a small wafer he was smuggling.

(I note that the Vox video was loaded in the summer of 2015.  He would be 19 now; is he working for them now?) 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

ABC News has big debate party in Houston

ABC News featured ten candidates in its first major Democratic presidential debate session (since CNN has sponsored a number of these already), with George Stephanopoulos moderating. The debate was held at Texas Southern University in Houston.

One of the most contested issue was gun control reform, and Beto O’Rourke brought the house down with his promise to practically confiscate all military style weapons, apparently with a buyback. 

 O’Rourke has been criticized for suggesting that payment processors not work with gun sellers – because payment processors have already been involved in deplatforming scandals regarding some Internet speakers.

German Lopez of Vox has a strong article on where all the candidates stand on the gun issue here. 

Lopez goes back and forth in discussing the problem but seems to take the position that the only real way to reduce gun violence, besides national background checks and federal licenses with no exceptions within families, would be massive buybacks. 

There was a brief interruption for protesters at about 10 PM EDT.  It wasn’t clear what was being protested, maybe deportations. 

Earlier, there was controversy over whether people would have to buy in to Joe Biden’s healthcare plan, when he got into an argument with Castro
Pete Buttigieg mentioned his earlier military service under the old “don’t ask don’t tell”, and said he was elected with an 80% confidence majority by Indiana voters after he came out.
Cory Booker mentioned being threatened and enduring vandalism in earlier elections.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Pakman and Sam Harris dissect the woke Left, and the identarian right (there is more than one of these)

Recently David Pakman interviewed neuroscientist Sam Harris, whose overall leanings are mainstream liberal but who probably sounded more like Sargon of Akkad in this 90-minute interview.

Harris hit hard the woke Left’s cancel culture, and unwillingness to tolerate facts of science that interfere with their combative strategy to get reparations and repair from the damages done to their groups in the past by those with underserved wealth. Of course, the right is also blind to science, like on climate change.

Harris seems to believe that people who commit horrible acts under radical Islam are different from those in white supremacy.  The latter tend to be young men with personality disorders, whereas the former sincerely believe in a religious system.  But Obama used to say, ISIS has no ideology at all. 
 I’m surprised Pakman didn’t challenge him on this.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Casey Neistat dings social media and leaves NYC

John Fish has often mentioned Casey Neistat, so here is one of Casey’s most important recent videos, “Goodbye Social Media”, from March 2019.  Neistat has 11 million subscribers!

Fish would criticize him in April and narrow his advice.

Neistat impresses me as an older Logan Paul.  He now says he is leaving New York and has a van comparable to Tim Pool’s?

He mentions “Tim Apple”.

David Pakman had half-promised to get off social media, forever.  It hasn’t happened.
Neistat gave up social media for a week when his daughter was born, and he said he felt relieved.
He then removes social media from his smart phone and leaves it on his laptop.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Richard Wolff takes down Jordan Peterson on Marxism

Richard D. Wolff has a lot of short videos that appear leftist leaning, but I thought I would share his response to Jordan Peterson (of the University of Toronto)

Wolff criticizes Peterson’s dismissal of Marxism as nothing more of the envy of the poor over the rich, and goes on to explain that Marxism was concerned with the idea that capitalism set up an owner-worker dichotomy parallel to noble-serf under feudalism.

He does not directly criticize Peterson’s notorious “clean your room”.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

MSNBC's Chris Hayes hosts David Hogg to talk about the Peace Plan

Chris Hayes of MSNBC hosted David Hogg on Friday, talking about March for our Lives.

This time Hogg did not go into the detailed gun control policy from March for our Lives (now called the “#PeacePlan”), as he did with Anderson Cooper and the Washington Post.

It was more a history of the movement for a long time back.  Despite the sensational shock of mass events in public places, a disproportionate toll of the gun violence has always fallen on people of color, and this was even more true a generation ago.

Hogg had a more buzzcut-like haircut this time. 

I do think his venture into Native American land issues was a little bit superfluous and gratuitous, as the right wing jumped on it and blew it out of proportion.  Maybe Cameron Kasky (now at Columbia) is more convincing as a future president. 

Hogg has started classes at Harvard but seems to have the time to travel to events.
Today he tweeted a “command” to Floridians that they needed to start knocking on doors. 

Friday, September 06, 2019

"The Affair" of Mark Gerardot on ABC 20-20; "What would you do?" tests adults in the room

ABC 2020 presented a long love triangle story tonight, “The Affair”, from the viewpoint of protagonist Mark Gerardot.

He says he wants to write a book about it all, and the question (for me at least), is, do personal accounts sell when they do end in crime?  But he already has a pilot on the “American Real” series. 

In a lifelong narrative involving several states and an interim period living in South Carolina before Mark came back to the Philly area for a new job and got involved in an affair with his boss.  His wife Jennair got suspicious and even used some hacking of his snapchat to spy on him.

He would find his ex-wife and love dead on the floor of their home in the “Main Line” west of Philadelphia.
Earlier, a “What Would You Do?” with John Quinonos challenged a grown woman as to whether she would intervene when she saw rude, racist behavior among kids in a restaurant (I would find that hard to do), and then looked at the controversy over aliens and Area 51, and finally a child who makes confetti of $1000 in bills because she doesn’t understand real paper money (let alone crypto).

Thursday, September 05, 2019

CNN holds town hall on climate change for ten Democratic presidential candidates

Up to ten Democratic candidates for president presented their proposals to deal with climate change in a CNN town hall last night (apparently in NYC) .  I got home from an event about 8:30 and watched about half of it.
Here is CNN’s summary of all of them.  
Most of the candidates referred to the Green New Deal.  
Pete Buttigieg said that the 2020 election is our “lost shot”.  Buttigieg talked about how redlining and put PoC in low-lying areas more exposed to climate change (consider New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina).   He seemed to support a tax on some activities that involve beef production to nudge consumers away from meat that increases methane.

Sanders wanted to encourage more local and family farms and discourage big agribusiness (like in the PBS film “Farmsteading”).
Cory Booker came out for actually new nuclear power designs to replace fossil fuels.  The University of Nevada physicist Taylor Wilson has advocated this approach and it is not as well known as it should be. 
Elizabeth Warren made the statement that our neglect of future generations, our children’s children, was simply immoral.
Candidates generally did not make a lot of demanding consumer sacrifices.  They did not propose banning air travel, for example, for ordinary people, or driving alone.  But they did give time tables for ending fossil fuel use in power plants and in automobiles.  We would need a much better infrastructure for recharging all electric cars, especially in rural areas in western states, than we do, unless hybrids were permitted.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Pakman: "Do poor whites have the same white privilege as rich whites?"

A caller asks an independent talks show on YouTube: “Do poor whites have the same white privilege as rich whites?”

David Pakman takes it on, as a rather self-indulgent question.

People with “black names” have a harder time getting job interviews, are more likely to be profiled by police, and typically live in areas with poorer access to some transportation, and poorer public schools.

In another video, Pakman had said he once had to quasi-apologize for being “straight” when he was setting up his show, as if “Straight Pride” (a satire) should mean something. “Do ask do tell” indeed.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sargon of Akkad blasts David Pakman for video about Andy Ngo

Sargon of Akkad countermands an earlier video by David Pakman, “Andy Ngo Did Nothing Wrong

At issue was a moment in the Portland, OR demonstrations recently when a bus filled with the “right” arrived and am ax or weapon came out of the bus.  But there is no real proof of who really deployed it.  Pakman makes Andy out to be James Bond's enemy Dr. No (the very first film, with the song "Three Blind Mice.")
It’s hard to pass judgment on it, but Carl Benjamin seems to have the last word.
Maybe Pakman has been sliding farther Left and more willing to attack peripheral elements on the right as actually dangerous.  He treats Andy as “Dr. Ngo”.  I don’t think Ford Fischer had any film of the bus incident.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

"Back to School": In his gap year to work full time in Montreal, Harvard's John Fish advises high profile freshmen at other Ivy league schools on how to do well

John Fish, having taken a gap year from Harvard after two years, and almost finished with his computer science major already, and almost ready for his 20th birthday, makes a video from his Montreal apartment, called “Back to School”.

With David Hogg moving into Harvard and Cameron Kasky into Columbia (NYC), both teen veterans of protesting can use the tips from John on how to get down to business and concentrate. 
John, who is from Waterloo, Ontario (60 miles SW of Toronto), is mysterious about his mission in Montreal.  He has talked about writing a book about Internet addiction and analytics, “Intentional Attention”, which may suggest the idea of attention as a new kind of “crypto” currency. If he has taken a software assignment in Montreal’s tech community, presumably he grew up learning French real well, which he hasn’t talked about yet, but I suspect we’ll hear about it.

I have been in Montreal a few times and Quebec City, most recently in 1993.  I was just in Toronto and Ottawa. 
It was weird when I was in Ottawa on a Saturday night and walked past all the Canadian parliament and executive buildings as if I were home in DC.  Toronto was weird too, Yonge Street, with one row of 80-story buildings after another until you get to the Lake.  It seemed like an alien city, but then try Shanghai.

I've covered, on the International blog, an ugly incident today where a student from the Middle East to Harvard was deported in Boston. 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

"A Toxic Tale": CNN looks at water and environment contamination under Trump

A Toxic Tale: Trump's Environmental Impact” aired on CNN Friday night, hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. 
The one hour documentary presented the importance of the Environmental Protection Agency and its deterioration under the Trump administration.
Gupta presented several hazards that have resulted in deaths of industrial workers, especially methyl chloride in paint removal, which results in exposure to methanol.  
He also talked about PFAS, and especially leftover toxins from processing of supposedly “clean coal” which Trump has tried to support, including mercury, sulfur dioxide and various nitrogen oxides (there are several, if I remember my college qual and quant well).

 He talks about Scott Pruitt’s role in the Trump EPA until Pruitt resigned in July 2018. 
Gupta missed a chance to cover the science fair work of Luke Andraka, now 24, from VaTech, who did a project on remediating stream damage from surface mining (Baltimore Sun article about younger brother Jack, known for his medical science fair project on pancreatic cancer).
Since mountaintop removal has become controversial, it would be interesting for me to consider tracing it back to the early 1970s, where I toured some areas of West Virginia some of which are “reclaimed” today.  That’s a documentary film idea I could contribute a lot too if someone funded it (it’s mentioned in my DADT III book, 2014).
There was a serious spill on the Elk River in W Va in 2014 and I’ve visited the area once.

Along these lines, the Wall Street Journal has reported on Amazon's selling many unsafe products, as for home care, on its site.

There was some controversy about the closing of a paper mill in Luke, MD on the Potomac recently.
Picture is from a July 2012 trip near Kayford Mountain.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

AC360 interviews David Hogg, who offers major changes in gun control and buyback of "military weapons"

David Hogg appeared on Anderson Cooper’s AC360 Wednesday night and discussed March for Our Lives’s plan for gun control.

Hogg, in particular, suggested classifying some weapons as military weapons and requiring a license to own them (showing a legitimate need) and a buyback from those who don’t qualify.

The conservative paper The Washington Examiner has the best account of the interview so far, here (by Julio Rosas).  The other elements of the March for our Lives plan are listed.  Another element of the plan is to ban all online sales of guns.  It’s true that social media platforms and many hosting platforms already prohibit this in their TOS/AUP’s. 

CNN seems to be slow in getting videos from AC360 put up, and the technical quality of the video in the  interview is not as good as a similar interview David did recently for the Washington Post.
Hogg is expected to start as a freshman at Harvard in two weeks, but plans to conduct a candidates’ forum in Las Vegas in October.  But last night's AC360 interview was one of the most important recently.  David presented a workable solution that Congress should consider carefully.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Pakman's lecture-film "Capitalism, Socialism, and our Economic Future"

On Aug. 19, David Pakman offered a compendium of several previous videos, “Capitalism, Socialism, and our Economic Future” (51 minutes).

First, Pakman corrects Bernie Sanders’s use of the term “democratic socialism” and explains why “social democracy” is more appropriate, as the government does not own the means of production in Sanders’s world.

Pakman likes Scandinavian style social democracy, with heavily regulated capitalism to fix areas where there is not enough private incentive to reduce inequality at the extremes.

Pakman (who also teaches, I think at Boston College) explains the stages that lead to Soviet-style communism.  There is utopianism, which works well with small intentional communities that do income sharing (like Twin Oaks and Acorn in Virginia) but doesn’t work well on a large scale. Then there is “anarchism” which the NonCompete channel tries to promote. Next is Marxism, which Pakman says has its own brilliance in adding economic value from labor.  Then there is Leninism, which sets up the formal authoritarianism of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” and expropriates unearned wealth by force.

Pakman also explains how communism can evolved into “state capitalism” under a one-party rule, which is modern China (not including Hong Kong – with all the demonstrations over extradition laws, and Taiwan).  China is more successful than we would have expected, but still allows big manufacturing companies to lowball workers, which is one of Trump’s theories that appeases his base and drives the tariffs and trade war.

Pakman opposes “equality of outcomes” (a view which he shares with Tim Pool).  He accepts that differences in ability, athletic but especially intellectual, occur statistically and naturally and are unavoidable in nature. Indeed, one of the problems today is that the very top is extremely gifted, but ability drops off quickly and more “average” people are left to tribalism. 

Pakman thinks that the extreme regressive Left is a sideshow and not that important in influence.  Tim Pool disagrees and makes videos all the time about the authoritarianism of the amateur far Left. But their actual policy views, as to things like health care, national security, gun control, and managing freedom of speech are pretty similar.  They did a livestream together in May 2019 and should do another one now.
Pakman, 35, is born in Argentina and cannot be president.  Tim Pool was born about six weeks too late to be eligible to be president in 2020.  One wonders.  David Hogg has to wait until 2036.  Ironically, the openly gay Buttigieg, 37, is among the more conservative and pragmatic (and national security aware, besides Tulsi Gabbard) of the candidates.

Technically, the early part of the video has less visual definition than later sections or than his show does today. 


David did a show Aug 20, "White Nationalism and Extremism".  You may need to be a subscriber to watch the podcast, not sure.  I do subscribe to his (and to a few other major YouTube channels with paid content.)

Monday, August 19, 2019

"Prager U v. YouTube": conservative site claims (in lawsuit) that YouTube is losing Section 230 protections by censoring "political" content

I’ve treated some “Prager U” videos as “films” but it seems more appropriate now to classify it as a quasi-TV channel, for my purposes, at least.

Here is the case “Prager U v. YouTube”.

Prager, known for 5-minute animated center-right “conservative” videos, found many of its videos were “restricted” from viewing by minors, for political or social viewpoint and not for material usually viewed as inappropriate (like porn or violence).

Prager notes that Section 230 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act allows sites to avoid liability for user generated content if they set themselves up as public forums, but not as publishers. True.  There is an issue that social media platforms say they have to enforce some rules that “sound” political (like misgendering of trans people) to prevent bullying or driving users off the platform.
Copyright downstream liability is handled by DMCA Safe Harbor, not by Section 230.

Friday, August 16, 2019

CNN: "The Age of Amazon"

On Friday, August 16, 2019 CNN Films aired “The Age of Amazon”, 92 minutes (CNN link).

The early part of the documentary talked about the novelty of consolidated retail, and how Amazon was originally viewed as a boon for self-published authors, selling books.  The film did not get as far into the difficulty that independent bookstores would have, but this may also be the result of the large chains.

It also talked about the impact on the city of Seattle (my own visits in 1966, 1976, 1978, 1980 (flyover St. Helens), 1990.  In the 1960s Boeing had been the most important employer.  Then Microsoft. But it was Amazon that drove rents up, to the point that the city considered a per employer tax.

The film shows the inside of the Amazon spheres, which provide an alternate work environment.
It then covers the issue of the second headquarters, and OAC’s campaign to keep it out of NYC, to protect rents for poor people, and her bragging about it. 

It also covers Bezos’s buying the Washington Post, and maintains he stayed away from editorial influence.  But that was a big reason for the HQ2 to come to Arlington VA, Crystal City. 

The film shows Bezos's interest in space and building on the Moon;  he spends a billion of his own money on space. 
The film touched on the Enquirer scandal, which Jeff explains in this Medium post

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Outbreak" on PBS Frontline: a history of the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (now it is in Congo)

Tuesday night, Aug. 13, PBS Frontline aired “Outbreak”, a documentary about the Ebola outbreak in 2014 in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The main link is here  It is directed by Dan Edge.

The documentary starts with a scene where some children find a hollow tree with bats, in Guinea, around Christmas 2013.

Soon the children are becoming ill.  Movement of people spreads the disease (which is transmitted by blood and bodily fluids, but much more easily than STD’s) down to Monrovia Liberia and to eastern Sierra Leone, especially when some people cross the border illegally.

In the early months some people believe Ebola is a hoax.

It takes until March before the governments figure out what is happening.

Doctors Without Borders sets up field hospitals, the largest one in Monrovia. UN had to ask for considerable help in getting medical and military personnel from the Obama administration and Europe to help and working on this was personally very risky.

But there was real controversy on where to deploy resources and money, and how to prevent random spread in the rest of Africa.  Some people were sent back to the US and one died of Ebola and another got in trouble to violating a quarantine in NYC.

The epidemic begins to abate when the families stop trying to take care of the sick and allow the weakest to die, which sounds horrid but it is the only way for the rest of the families to survive.

Jack Andraka, from Stanford University, is a Truman scholar working on Ebola in the summers of 2018 and 2019, as explained in this link

See also PBS film “Survivors” writeup
There was a film called “Outbreak” in 1995 about a virus brought to California from Africa.
Wikipedia: By mifl68 - Freetown from Fourah Bay College, CC BY 2.0,

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pakman says Trump's developing XO on letting the FCC monitor social media for censorship -- is thinly veiled authoritarianism

David Pakman has a disturbing discussion of Donald Trump’s proposed executive order which would give the FCC the power to stop censorship (particularly of conservatives) by big social media companies.

Pakman spends some of the discussion on the misgendering issue and Twitter’s policy, which he says is necessary to prevent bullying of trans people (much like the n_ word;  the f_ word seems less dicey these days as gay men are much less targets than they used to be well – except remember Pulse.) 

 Pakman (correctly) believes that the pronoun issue should not be viewed as a “political policy” issue.
This is all rather disturbing in the LGBT community as it could force libertarian or less combative gay speakers to get involved in a fight that they may believe is not theirs.

Pakman calls it “authoritarian” and reinforces the idea that Trump must be defeated in 2020: yet some speakers (like me) refuse to work on political campaigns or donate to them, period, in the name of objectivity.

Earlier today, on CNN AC360, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang suggested the government give $100 to every person eligible to vote to be given to the primary campaign of a candidate of their choice, to reduce the effect of big donors, and to involve more people in candidate support (Yang, like Pakman, seems to think many American “intellectuals” believe it is beneath their dignity to be partisan and leave the center hollowed out.)
Subverse also discussed the XO today, but rather factually and histotically (discussions of the old fairness doctrine) with little speculation. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

"America Under Assault: The Gun Crisis": town hall on CNN with Chris Cuomo prime time

America Under Assault: The Gun Crisis” is a town hall conducted by Chris Cuomo of CNN, apparently from New York City, today on Aug. 7, 2019 on CNN at 9 PM EDT.

Cameron Kasky, 18, appeared in the audience and asked a comprehensive question about extending red flag and the ability to report behavior of people likely to perpetrate an event. Cameron is credited with founding March for our Lives (apparently even more so than David Hogg).

Kasky had confronted Marco Rubio about accepting NRA donations in a forum when he was 17, an almost unprecedented challenge to a political candidate.

There was mention of the fact that there are about 393 million weapons in the US.

There is still some controversy over how well resuming an assault weapons ban would work in practice.

Several New York State politicians were present.

Then police /ex-police were questioned along with doctors.  The damage to the body from military weapons is much more catastrophic than handguns.
Cuomo concluded by insisting that voters pressure the Senate about what they want.  94% want full background checks.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Pakman's comprehensive take on El Paso, Dayton

David Pakman gave a detailed account of what we know about both El Paso and Dayton.
He emphasized that “replacement” ideology had already existed before Trump won the 2016 election, but that Trump (in Pakman’s opinion) had stirred up vulnerable, “right wing identarian” people (to borrow from Tim Pool) people, mostly young white males with poor educations, into believing that violent action was not only acceptable but somehow necessary.
He discussed the mini-manifesto and that the El Paso man claims he had believed in replacement before 2015.  However some of the ideas in the manifesto, about “dirty work” and “lifestyles” are actually Maoist.
He said that by comparison we don’t know that Dayton perpetrator was motivated by his left-wing ideology. Pakman mentioned that the Dayton perp had been an LGBTQ-rights supported, an observation I had not heard before.
Pakman followed up with a second video, that the Left Is Losing the Battle of Ideas, because the Right has more men on base already, essentially.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Reason TV takes on a Left wing, Marxist-leaning meme, "Is Money Speech?"

Eugene Volokh, First Amendment Law Professor, takes up the legal and constitutional question, in the US, takes up the question “Is Money Speech? Free Speech Rules”, for Reason TV  (part V in a series).
The general answer is, no, money is not speech (and conversely).  You can spend money for your own speech (as to self-publish).  There are some limits on contributions to political candidates, and especially with the use of tax-exempt contributions.  The video explains the difference between 501c(3) and c(4) (the latter in a PAC).
Nevertheless, there has been controversy in the past over whether blogs might be “illegal campaign contributions”, which I have covered here. 
Yet, there is an emerging idea on the Left, somewhat Marxist, that people should not be allowed to use their own money online to bring up old chestnut ideologies (supposedly settled) unless others pay for them (outside of clickbait) as consumers – that this is bullying people in marginalized groups and putting others at risk, and encouraging radicalization of the vulnerable. This notion is roughly called “speech is power”.  This has no meaning in US law, but seems to have traction in Europe and now with tech and social media companies.  Volokh would shrug the idea off.

Friday, August 02, 2019

"Live with Kelly and Ryan" hosts a lumberjack who does a weird body-shaving stunt on camera

I’ll mention the Thursday Aug 1 episode of the syndicated “Live with Kelly and Ryan” on ABC, with Kelly replaced by guest host Maria Menounos, link.

Ryan Seacrest is always a bit self-effacing even about his bod.

The guest Cassidy Sheer, who had won the Stihl Timberpsorts championship, did a demonstration of splitting logs with brute strength.  But he also shaved his own forearm with the bade of the ax, an oddly contradictory self-initiation.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Reparations become the most contentious issue in Detroit at Dem debates; CNN attacks Pakman during livestreaming

The debates in Detroit continue tonight.

David Pakman had a serious issue trying to livestream and getting “maliciously” taken down with a copyright strike.  I’ll let him explain.

As to the content, Beto O’Rourke got into the reparations issue.  The scuttlebutt is just to get discussions on reparations started. Although I think it is unlikely, it is conceivable that reparations could affect people with inherited trusts (even if there is no direct involvement with slave ownership in the past), depending on the “political” details.  This can actually matter as to how other aspects of my own “journalism” is interpreted.  Throwing in race on its own sake really diverts attention away from any community engagement from me.

Tonight there were demonstrators in the back of the hall in Detroit.  Some of the candidates are not leftist enough.

There are a lot of fireworks over the idea that the US must stop using fossil fuel, cold turkey, in ten years. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Fox News host Tucker Carlson offers gratuitous support for Orban's pro-birth policy in Hungary (for the "right babies")

Last night Tucker Carson on Fox News made a favorable commentary on Hungarian president Viktor Orban’s pro-natalist policy, rewarding families with more children (white and ethnic) with no-payback loans and all kinds of benefits.

Some on the Left call Carlson a “white supremacist” for saying things like this and say such ideas should be banned online.  Vox calls Orban a “soft fascist”.  It’s true that Orban’s policies would potentially penalize and subjugate gay men particularly (and lesbians) for what they don’t do: have procreative intercourse and give him more (white) babies.  That seems to be the point of Putin’s anti-gay policies in Russia.

Of course, it's true that you need "replacement" births to pay older people's benefits. which is a valid concern everywhere with longer life spans (not racist unto itself). 

On the other hand, the Left is saying people have to learn to care about people with backgrounds other than their own (Don Lemon said that last week on CNN).  But you don’t learn to let people depend on you easily except starting in the family.   But if you don’t move beyond the nuclear family, you get conventional ethnic, religious, racial, and alt-right style identarianism.

Friday, July 26, 2019

David Pakman, in an unusually forceful segment, challenges Internet speakers to be morally responsible for mentally ill visitors whom they don't know

David Pakman presents a very challenging view to the morality of independent speakers online with his clip “MAGABomber Literally Blames Fox News for Radicalization”.  Pakman is referring to a series of incidents in 2018 where a 57-year-old man from Florida mailed pipe bombs to “Democrats” and was finally caught and arrested.  His lawyer seems to have, essentially, appealed to mental illness in defending him.

But we also recall that the Christchurch perpetrator referred to Pewdiepie in his manifesto, pretending Pewdiepie’s entertainment had somehow contributed to radicalizing him – and whatever you think of some gamer memes, any reasonable person would see this as ridiculous.

Pakman goes on to point out that when you speak on the Internet you have no idea who is receiving your message, compared to a Thanksgiving dinner table (where I have heard racist remarks in the past). He seems to hint that the speaker is partly responsible for radicalizing an unstable person.  (We saw the same problem with the Pittsburgh incident, the perpetrator, and Gab.)  Pakman's presentation does mention "stochastic terrorism", which Pakman had mentioned to Joe Rogan before, and which the NonCompete and ContraPoints YouTube channels (both far Left) have presented. 
It's quite a stretch to call Fox News responsible for radiclaization, when most of the troubling channels on YouTube are independent. 
I wrote a comment, that he is inviting a social credit system to screen people before they have 
 Internet accounts, and a culture to force people to join and be loyal to non-profits to have a voice at all.
There is also the “no spectators” and “skin in the game” issue with people who don’t protest but who talk about those who do. This is a very big deal for the far Left.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Mueller Show (it was like the Truman Show of the 90s)

I’ll pick CBS News as having the longest video on the Mueller testimony today, in front of the House Judiciary and then Intelligence Committees.

There is other news in this 9 hours, such as the serial teen killers in rural Canada (that is sure to make 48 Hrs, 20-20, and Dateline).

The overriding story is that Trump’s Nightbreed minions fell for the Russians and colluded big time.
And Nancy Pelosi won’t rule out impeachment.  Beto O’Rourke is demanding it.

Social media has made it easy to foreign interests (or maybe interplanetary ones) to play with our elections because we are divided between individualism and identarianism.

Harry Litman gives the Five Big Talking Points in a Washington Post op-ed.

In the mean time, Trump needs Economic Invincibility to become a new adult in the room.  (Somebody only 28 has to pay attention to what his own future will be if Trump misbehaves.) 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

John Fish talks about summer learning, has us guessing about his upcoming "announcement"

John Fish talks about how “Learning for Fun Could Change Your Life”.

This is a good video for summer break, and it sounds like a video that would go well with “Skillshare”.  Actually, John’s video has a sponsor of (which would not sound consistent with speed reading of volumes of books in college.  Has he read any of mine?
John says he will have a major announcement next week, and has us guessing on what it is about.  Will John, from his Harvard dorm room, prove he has as much power as Mark Zuckerberg (not a good thing, maybe;  John is from Canada so he can’t ever be president).  But David Pakman (across the Cambridge river from Harvard in Boston – hint for an interview) did a video today on a new cryptocurrency startup (Pukkamex, which seems to resembled Minds), so I would guess John’s thing might be related to something like this.  John has said he is writing a book (related to a class last year) on the attention economy, which relates to social credit (maybe) and logically to cryptocurrency (maybe).

John rarely takes up politics on this channel, but last spring he did talk about the book “Moral Tribes” by Josh Greene.  About a week later, Tim Pool started using examples or scenarios from the book in his own channel.  You can follow Jordan Peterson’s personal growth advice and retain your political independence.

In some of the recent videos it looks like he is using a GoPro and getting some distorted lines and geometric proportions among objects around him as he films himself. 

Update: July 24

A couple Harvard students (from China I think) say "What John Fish Doesn't Tell You."  Again, Fish echoes fellow Canadian Jordan Peterson's personal growth advice, without having to embrace Peterson's politics or theories about the boundaries on the Left and Right.

Update:  July 27

Fish announced he will take a gap year to work in Montreal in film and technology. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"No Filming on Farms": Stossel on Reason TV

I find myself having to return to Reason TV a lot, as John Stossel keeps having to cover more disconcerting situations.

A women was arrested for filming a farm in Utah from public land.  Later the charges were dropped.
Utah is one of several states that have “ag-gag” laws to prevent people from getting onto farms under false pretenses to film (for animal rights abuses).

It’s likely that these laws would violate the First Amendment, although possibly trespassing laws or other legal doctrines could prohibit journalists from pretending to take jobs to film.

Most workplaces don't allow the public to film their employees at work, that sounds reasonable enough. And even some bars and discos now don't allow photography inside as privacy concerns re-emerge after all the social media scandals;  ten years ago they did.  But thirty years ago people didn't want to appear on TV at gay churches or meetings. 
This happened with ABC and Food Lion in the 1990s.

Monday, July 15, 2019

CNN's "The Movies": "The 90's" brings back memories for me

CNN has started a new series, “The Movies”, on Sunday nights.  The 90s brought back good memories from the most interesting decade of my life.

A few of the movies discussed included Ebert favorites, many of them from Miramax.  These included “Pulp Fiction”, with its closed circle plot, “The English Patient” (a favorite of mine), and I have to remember “Fargo” (Coen Brothers).

In the 90s there was a lot of creativity, and the studios tended to be willing to try new plot ideas and new concepts rather than repeating formulas in franchises.  The decade ended, of course, with the three “Matrix” movies (WB).

There were a couple big disaster movies, “Deep Impact” (comet), and “Armageddon” (asteroid).  The comet movie had an unusual scene where people got phone calls (pre smart phone) if they were chosen to survive, a dangerous concept now. Armageddon had an odd scene where near the end Ben Affleck is driving what looks like a Hertz-rented jeep on an asteroid (very low gravity). 

Dreamworks was founded, and its first film, “The Peacemaker”, featured a collision of two trains with a nuclear explosion resulting.

Gay themes were treated with some subterfuge, as when Matt Damon appears in Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Talented Mr. Ripley” set in Italy in the 50s. Damon’s character didn’t invite his companion to share a bathtub, at least. Jude Law’s character looks at him on the beach and says “You’re so white.”

Another weird one was “The Truman Show”, centering around making a whole bubble world around Jim Carrey.

Bill Pullman was laughable in "Independence Day" as a US President fighting alien hives. He demanded empathy for what happens to him in "Lost Highway", from David Lynch. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Libertarian Party candidate wins county election in CA, highest elected office for a Libertarian now in the country

Jeff Hewitt is apparently the highest elected official in the Riverside County seat, elected in 2018, in ide CA.

Reason TV explains his background in swimming pool business, and his opposition to licensing of small businesses like baking cookies for bake sales (John Stossel had reported on a similar situation in Charlotte NC).

He suggests picking winnable local races and stress being socially liberal and using common sense in reducing regulation under union or protectionist impulses.
Wikipedia: By daveynin from United States. Cropped and color-corrected by Daniel Case prior to upload - Yucca pines near trail, CC BY 2.0, Link

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Reviewing Pakman's depiction of the alt-right

A couple years ago David Pakman did a good explanation of the alt-right, including its collectivist, authoritarian nature that in some way parallels the regressive Left.

It seems well worth viewing again.
This explanation came forth right after Donald Trump’s election.

Update: May 16

There is a humorous marketing video of Pakman "modeling" for a massage demonstration in 2008, when he would have been 24. It got noticed recently. How long can young men resist entropy?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fox covers the All Star game in Cleveland; boyhood memories of "The Mistake by the Lake"

I’ll note the MLB All Star game because it was played in Cleveland’s Progressive Field, main box score and writeup. The American League won, 4-3.  The only National there, Max Scherzer, did not pitch, and Anthony Rendon is letting some minor injuries heal a little more completely. 

I remember baseball games in the old Municipal Stadium by the Lake, with the symmetrical field and wire fence in center.

I didn't hear whether the extended protective netting has been placed in Progressive Field.
Father would be on sales trips, and mother and I would stay in Kipton (40 miles) with her mother and other relatives. So we usually went to a day game in Municipal Stadium if the Senators came to town (one time the Senators actually won when Pascual pitched a shutout, 4-0).
And we made cardboard or plywood stadiums and played pinball baseball in them (with wadded up aluminum foil as baseballs), at home.  We even built a real stadium with a wire fence in a farm yard (two miles from Kipton near US-20, toward Oberlin). I’ll have to relook at “Field of Dreams” and we had home run derbies and “buntorama”.

Kids learned to be creative with real life objects, making them into miniatures, before there was social media.