Sunday, June 30, 2019

Fareed Zakaria presents "State of Hate" on CNN as a warning about the malignancy of white supremacy as a re-emerging ideology

Fareed Zakaria: “#State of Hate: The Explosion of White Supremacy” aired Sunday June 30 on CNN at 8 PM EDT (one hour).  Since this very disturbing documentary appears on a large mainstream cable channel, I decided to put the review on this blog than on the special “cf” blog about unusual threats.

Some of this is hard to summarize without sounding provocative to some readers who don’t understand historical introspection for its own sake. It will be good for CNN to provide more of its own summary.

I would also say that up until Charlottesville in Aug. 2017 (let alone Trump’s winning the 2016 election), I would not perceived this problem anywhere as dangerous as radical Islam (9/11, 11/13 in France) or as extreme communism (North Korea).

Fareed Zakaria explains his own documentary with this article and video on CNN.

Zakaria explains how America used to be a “white” country in the view of many, even through the Civil War and Reconstruction (the novel and classic film “Gone with the Wind”) up to the World Wars.  Immigration changed this, and many people did not perceive some groups (from Judaism, Italians, etc) as “white” when scientifically they were.  The idea of “white” melted away as new generations cared much less about than had previous people. As I grew up, my father sometimes made remarks that would sound inappropriate today, but not often, and I was not conscious of it.

Zakaria says that Trump is not a white supremacist, but his rhetoric seems to excuse that idea in tribally thinking people.

Zakaria than goes into the history of eugenics, around the turn into the 20th Century.'

Zakaria then discussed the ideas of Jared Taylor (he uses the word “alien”, which sometimes is a complement). Unlike Gary Younge, he doesn't interview Richard Spencer. 

He then discusses Timothy McVeigh (OKC) and the influence of the book “The Turner Diaries”. Zakaria says that the TD book inspired militia groups around the country as early as the 1980s (groups committed armed robberies).  The government tried to convict them of “seditious conspiracy” but could not get convictions. He then covered Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Heidi Wyrick from the Southern Poverty Law Center often speaks as Zakaria interviews here.

Zakaria also mentions the Atomwaffen plot, which was a threat to infrastructure.

He interviews Eric Foner from Columbia University. The scientific definition of “race” is presented as murky (David Pakman took this up recently and attracted controversy from the right, post Charles Murray, whose book from the 1990s is often misinterpreted). Zakaria says that the human genome is 99.9% consistent among all peoples.

He covers Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), and early case of “separate but equal” which held until 1954.

Zakaria discusses Christchurch, and showed some of the “Manifesto” which New Zealand tried to quarantine.  He mentions the “great replacement” idea that came from French intellectuals. He gets into an attack in Norway in 2011 which the manifesto had mentioned. He also discusses colonialism, and then the rise of a new right in Europe as a result of the migrant crisis that exploded from Syria around 2014.
Zakaria talks about F. Scott FitzGerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and the writer’s attitudes in 1921. He ends the documentary with a subtle warning that the idea of an ethno state might not go away completely on its own. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Democratic presidential candidates act gingerly in approaching the tough questions on gun control, illegal immigration, and national security

It’s hard to be original talking about the first ten candidates in last night’s Democratic debate.
NBC (from Miami, where the Nationals beat the Marlins at the same time) did very well (with MSNBC and Telemundo) got 15.3 million viewers (10 million expected).

Elizabeth Warren commendably argued we had to do our math homework on the gun control debate and regard it as a public health problem.  She seemed to be answering a tweet that David Hogg had written a few minutes before she spoke.

Other speakers hinted that buyback programs of some weapons might happen.
O’Rourke (Beto is tall and thin and looks ready for the disco floor) said that illegal entry in the US could remain a crime, compared to Castillo who wanted to remove criminal penalties for illegal immigration, given the horrific conditions in Central America and very recent reports or horrific treatment in Mexico (as well as the kids at the border drawing attention).  No one mentioned the idea of sponsorship programs.

Warren and Di Blasio want to abolish private health insurance (?!) 
As to the most grave existential problem facing America, the answered varied from China, to Russia, to nuclear war with Iran, to climate change.

Update: June 28

Kamela Harris told Joe Biden that she benefited from forced busing as a girl.  That was a big deal when I was coming of age in the 60s. 

CNN's John Blake has a subtle analysis of Biden's problems and the hidden segregationism of the past. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

"EI" says straight men experience upward affiliation, George Gilder style, too

Economic Invincibility (Martin Goldberg) has a funny video “My Experience with Tinder”.

I guess that is the straight version of Grindr. The Chinese haven’t tried to take it over.

What is interesting is that Martin claims that most straight men indulge in “upward affiliation” in a manner more familiar with gay men (and so explained by George Gilder in “Men and Marriage” back in 1986).  There is the saying “Is that the best I can do?”  (Only Andrew Sullivan remembers all this.) 
Martin also just did a video “The Benefits of Interracial Marriage”.  But it is mostly tongue-in-cheek, deadpan. He didn’t talk about the idea that genetic intermixing is biologically a good thing (lower risk of inherited genetic diseases), whether you particularly like to see it or not. He says he has done interracial dating.  But some SJW’s see refusal to do it as “racism”.  Martin has said before he will not date a trans (male-to-female) person.  And judging from Twitter, some obvious male political liberals (David Hogg) are perfectly happy to say that actually want male pronouns applied to them.  Wokeness only goes so far.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Van Jones interviews Carlos Maza over VoxAdpocalypse; Brian Stelter looks at Facebook's content moderation

On Saturday, June 15, Van Jones, who has his own show on CNN, interviewed Vox’s “Carlos Maza”, who makes the Strikethrough videos that I have often embedded on my blogs (his interview of David Hogg is one of his best).

The heart of Maza’s comments to Jones in the transcript seem to come down to a double standard over the use of the word “queer” in social media.  On the one hand, it may, while driving clickbait and YouTube’s business model, attract harassment to gay speakers because of the huge volume of users. On the other hand, Maza insists he needs to be able to use the word himself (even to describe himself) to participate in the debate.
  Maza also says he is mocked as Latino, but he looks “European” and speaks with no accent and is part of the media “establishment”.  (The same can be said of Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell, who focuses on health and fitness, then relationships and lifestyle for gay men, but usually stays within certain boundaries of more conservative gay culture;  the entire LGBTQ+ community is culturally divided over the idea of presentation of gender.)

But in the meantime, YouTube seems to be withdrawing from the idea that it can be an open platform for everything, especially for advertisers;  it seems to want to slim itself down to fewer videos from trusted entertainment providers, like another Netflix.  It may not be welcoming to legitimate news coverage, as of protests (like Ford Fischer's News2Share, which was demonetized).  There is fear we will see many more purges soon of smaller channels just because carrying them does fit a more constricted business model, in the face of accusations of making money off of radicalization.

On Sunday, June 23, Brian Stelter on CNN covered the work of content moderation on Facebook. Stelter interviewed a moderator from Tampa FL (as a contractor in a poorly equipped office), as covered in a major Verge article by Casey Newton. The moderator discussed large volumes of trashy material (in this case animal cruelty) which lead to PTSD, vomiting at work, and at least one heart attack. 

The interview described the auctioning off of violent content on Facebook (this would run into FOSTA, I would think).  I never run into this at all.  Because of the algorithms, a user like me won't see them unless he starts looking for them first. So regular users are unaware of the violence and of the political echo chambers.  

Saturday, June 22, 2019

"How Europe Censors What Americans Say Online" on Reason TV

Reason Magazine interviews Stanford law professor Daphne Keller in “How Europe Censors What Americans Say Online”.
The EU has much stricter laws on hate speech (much of it related to past Nazism), terror recruiting, and now prospective copyright infringement than does the US, where the First Amendment enlarges what is lawful. But although tech companies can limit what users can see by country, the practical effect is for their hate speech and other rules will be applied in the US because speech originating from the US can still incite incidents in other parts of the world.

How the EU Copyright Directive (especially the controversial Article 17, regarding quasi-mandatory filters) deserves discussion here. 

The EU also has “right to be forgotten” laws.
The jargon for this is “collateral censorship” (to prevent “stochastic terrorism”, a new buzzword from the Left).

Friday, June 14, 2019

CNN: "Woman of Mystery: Melania Trump"

Tonight, CNN aired “Woman of Mystery: Melania Trump”. 

This isn’t exactly a Daphne du Maurier mystery.

But Melania was always at odds with her husband, wanting to talk about stopping cyberbullying before she even became first lady.

She does not seek publicity all the time, and she doesn’t always try to set an example for other women, as on their health, as have other first ladies.

The episode reminded me of how Donald Trump ran his “Apprentice” episodes, much more logically than he has his job in the White House.  Charitable events were run reasonably well, with no hint of partisanship.
The episode also showed a memorable moment in the 2016 Republican primaries, when Trump still had many opponents, and did not get a big applause.  

No, I haven't been invited to Mar a Lago. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Pakman: some ideas (and their crazy proponents) don't belong in serious public discussions with "the big boys"

I wanted to share another David Pakman Show video today, “Crazy People Don’t Deserve a Seat at the Table”.  This video relates to a video he made on February 11 which I reviewed here on April 3.

But is this comment based on the people, or the ideas? 

During the video, he switches (from the "crazy people") to the their ideas.   He does say this comment only applies when we are actually figuring out policy at the “Big Boy” table; he isn’t calling for deplatforming of extreme ideas. He gives a couple of examples and then discusses “The Hegelian Dialect”.

He gives some examples with extreme libertarian positions on taxes and extreme religious right positions on gay people (no they won’t be at the table) but the most interesting example he gave was on the success of Republicans in passing very extreme abortion laws in a few states with the explicit intent to challenge Roe v. Wade (which he didn’t specifically cite, but Jeffrey Toobin says this on CNN all the time.)

David is right (accidental pun), Republicans know how to move the Overton Window so that the end policy result is likely to be more conservative. The Left doesn’t do this the same way, since the Left is more “communitarian”. Well, you could ask if a position of “Abolish ICE” belongs at the Big Boy Table.

Jordan Peterson, for all his philosophical libertarianism, said there are extremes beyond what can be considered. For the Right, it’s probably wanting an ethno state. For the Left, it is less clear, but he suggests “equality of outcomes” as off the table (Tim Pool has suggested this).

I think there is another spin on this that affects bloggers like me.  My model is to consider everything so that I connect all the dots and consider all perils. But if policy makers and extremists know this, they are incentivized to continue to present extreme ideas in public, even in protests and demonstrations, if they know a gratuitous speaker like me, however journalistic his intentions, will have to give them attention.  (That reminds me of how, for one spell, AOC would make one outrageous statement every day knowing full well that Tim Pool would have to spend time making another video about what she said and giving her ideas even more circulation, however unfavorable).  If a state actually passed an extreme anti-abortion law, I have to pay attention to it.  Maybe, as a gay male, I don’t have “skin in the game” to even talk about it.   I could turn the narrative around, and say we should discuss ending Selective Service Registration if we are absolutely faithful to the sanctity of all human life.
This observation even affects the news coverage of extremist demonstrations and speeches in public spaces, particularly to show how extreme and sometimes violent some people are. This issue has come up very recently with the YouTube monetization (“Voxadpocalypse”) issue. Now monetization may imply the journalist is making a living with the content, that it is not gratuitous.  That may affect how we perceive the value of the journalist’s speech.  But there is the idea that knowing that indie reporters want to film them may give some extremists more incentive to demonstrate in public, and maybe the reporting moves the Overton Window.  Is this good? 
I personally am very reluctant to take topic off the table, because it tends to lead to censorship. But I get where David is coming from. I want to re-emphasize his previous comments on anti-intellectualism, which has grown on both the far right and far left. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

United Shades visits Milwaukee as the US's most segregated major city, a surprise

W Kamau Bell’s United Shades visited Milwaukee, WI last night (June 9, 2019) as one of the nation’s most segregated cities.

He distinguished between individual prejudice, and institutionalized racism, which tolerates individual prejudice.

The problem is that well-educated people who think they are not prejudiced in normal circumstances aren’t aware of the problem because they simply stay socially distant from it.

Bell covered the Castillo incident in Minnesota, and various incidents where ignorant people called police over silly situations.

I last visited the city over Memorial Day Weekend, 1992 (had flown to Chicago), and then again in Nov. 2000.

By Purduefb15 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link 

Sunday, June 09, 2019

David Pakman Show: Climate Change Could End Civilization by 2050

The David Pakman Show offers a video “Climate Change Could End Civilization by 2050”.

This tape was created by another producer while David is in Los Angeles.

President Trump is said to have met with Prince Charles at his hotel in Scotland, and Trump said this was not up to the US alone.

Furthermore the US has just made a huge new crude oil discovery in the Permian Basin in West Texas.

The recent report by an Australian group (International Issues, June 4) suggests that in parts of the Middle East, Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia (and India) daytime temperatures by 2050 may be so high 12 hours a day that humanity cannot survive outside.

The world would not be able to handle the mass migrations.

A college graduate now 22 would be only 53 in 2050.
This is an unprecedented moral problem for those of us who life expectancy is limited < 15 years).

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

HBO's Chernobyl finale

I won’t have time to watch all episodes of “Chernobyl” (created by Craig Mazin, directed by Johan Renck) right now, but I did watch the finale, “Vichnaya Pamyat”

The finale seems to summarize the entire series, showing the corruption, self-reinforcing, that led to confusion in the control room the night of the “test”.  Much of the episode is shown as a trial, particularly of Legasov (Jared Harris), who winds up “sentenced” to keeping his job with nothingness, the Soviet equivalent of deplatforming.

The men are shown resulting for the night shift in a clothes changing room, much like in the military. 

The epilogue shows many scenes of the destruction with statistics of cancer cases and deaths. Many people were “conscripted” into the cleanup and many of those died of radiation poisoning. Many people who volunteered, who sometimes may have been old people with less life expectancy, also died.  Fukushima in Japan has a similar problem.

The closing credits maintain that the Chernobyl accident were the real cause of the breakup of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991.

Here are some comments by IGN, and Indiewire.
I had a friend in NYC back in 1976 through the “Understanding” group who was fanatic about opposing nuclear power and wanted to drive a van around the country for that purpose.

Wiki attribution:  By Tim Porter - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link  An increasing portion of Wikipedia illustrations are jif files and I don't know if Blogger can import them. 

Monday, June 03, 2019

"United Shades" visits Salt Lake City during its LGBTQ+ Pride Month

W Kamau Bell aired an episode from Salt Lake City on his “United Shades of America” on CNN Sunday, June 2, here.

Bell covered the partial (at least) turnaround on the attitude of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on LGBTQ persons and homosexuality and gender fluidity or variation.

He visited gay businesses and artists, and interviewed people who had left the Church.  Ten years ago, the Church was urging members to support Proposition 8 in California.  (See “8: The Mormon Proposition”, Movie reviews, June 20, 2010). 

Bell then explains how the gay community has split into many other components, which are often so diverse that conventional ideas of intersectionality don’t work.  He invents the term “LGBTQ+”.

He also covered the Mormon church’s ending of rules banning baptism of same-sex parent couples and excommunicating gays.

The theological structure of the church allows the lead prophet to have “revelations”.  But Mormons believe that the family transcends life into afterlives, and non-reproductive sexuality undermines popular confidence and satisfaction with that belief. Homophobia is often about the confidence of heterosexuals in their own performance in marriage.  

Actor and filmmaker Reid Ewing lived in Salt Lake City for the past several years as he finished college, but I’m not sure if he has returned to LA.  There were videos from his home which appeared to be on a high hill NE of downtown, overlooking the city and Salt Lake, often in snow, maybe at about 6000 feet.

Bell also mentioned the HBO film “Believers” which is available today to watch online.  I will do so.
Wikipedia attribution link for picture by KinkyLipids of Salt Lake Pride, CCSA 3.0 

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Language Focus: Spanish v. Italian

I’ll start out the month with one of “Paul’s” Language Focus channel videos.  They are interesting and once in a while I’ll present one.

“How Similar are Spanish and Italian?”

David Pakman had a misadventure with speaking Italian when renting a taxi at an all night wedding in Italy, when (having grown up in Argentina) he knows Spanish. Here David talks about his “language atrocities.”
Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell, with parents from Spain but born near Washington DC and spending summers in Spain, discusses his use of the language in conversation.  You can have a Latino name and family background and be tall, thin, very white, and look like someone from Sweden, because of a Viking migration around 1000 AD.   So much for the regressive Left’s stereotypes.