Saturday, March 30, 2019

"YouTube's Messy Fight": Carlos Maza (in 2017) covers a growing existential threat to independent journalism and newbie self-broadcast free speech, post Charlottesville

YouTube’s Messy Fight with Its Most Extreme Creators”, by Carlos Maza (and Coleman Lowndes).

This video dates back to late 2017 (after Charlottesville) but it right on topic as to the problems with censorship and particularly ad demonetization and showdowbanning of recently some right-wing content.

Maza’s Strikethrough series on Vox is one of my favorites.  Maza is humorous, but sometimes on Twitter goes overboard on how he characterizes some specific people (like Tucker Carlson).
Maza explains that the importance of YouTube (and Blogger and even most hosting plans) is the low barrier to entry and the absence of regulation familiar in broadcast (although in cable the regulation is less).

In the past two years, since Trump’s election, there has developed the idea that gratuitous content (free), or patronage content or channels based on ad-clicks, have become vulnerable to manipulation not only by religious extremism (radical Islam, as a few years ago) but especially by the “alt-right” (for want of a better name) and the particular relation that ideology has to U.S. history.
I used to dismiss the “alt-Right’s” rants as just silly.  If you want to call a particularly vocal teenager (about gun control reform) a crisis actor and then call him an extraterrestrial alien, you’re just making the teenager look powerful, like a future Clark Kent. You’re just being silly. You’re helping the teen get rich before starting college.
But there is also a problem that disturbed individuals with grievances know that if they act out, vloggers and even “for free” bloggers (like me) would want to be perceived as valid libertarian-oriented journalists, have to talk about them and what they did (even if they don’t name them repeatedly). That’s an inevitable artefact of free entry.  I try to isolate the worst cases on this particular blog.

I even feel that if someone who “acted out” published a particular grievance about someone like me (not just for LGBT issues itself but for more subtle things like childlessness and intellectualism) I need to know about it and be prepared to respond to it.  I can’t just join a “group” to protect me.  

There is a moral question about “too much talk” without “action”  -- “skin in the game” – but now even the “Take Action” buttons on non-profit sites could be misconstrued.  We are heading into an environment where, as we have seen (with FOSTA, terror content, and now copyright issues in Europe) there is pressure to take away downstream liability protections from platforms, with a belief that amateur speech (as YouTube and even this Blogger platform) should no longer be encouraged – people need to join up and enlist and work together in groups and support each other – which introverts like me don’t do very well.
We’ll come back to some of the legislative proposals with another video just for this blog soon.  But Maza has gotten a needed conversation started with this particular video.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

David Hogg makes multiple videos on visit to New York City this weekend, while Ford Fischer is coincidentally nearby at the same time; more details on Parkland emerge

David Hogg was in NYC this past weekend and made at least two compelling videos.
In this video he talks to a community organizer in the Bronx (I think) on how facilities to help youth aren’t open.  They look into how a specific shooting happened recently. 
I lived in New York 1974-1978/  I feel a lot more uncomfortable in some parts of DC (esp. some of SE) than in NYC..  
On Friday night, March 22, David found a church with multiple orange ribbons to commemorate those lost to gun violence, and made this video 

Ford Fischer, reporter and filmmaker of News2Share, was a few miles away in NYC filming a pro-Trump rally.  Ford films rallies and protests of all political views and remains neutral.  I tried by Twitter to get them to meet.
At the same time, there were vidoes of new Article 13 protests in Germany and more Yellow Jacket protests in France (which Ford had filmed in February on a visit). 
Here is a short video from late March 2018 where David and one of his teachers describe in more detail what happened on Feb. 14, 2018 at Parkland.

The teacher did a lot to save the students, or the toll could have been much higher.
I would not consider teaching if teachers were expected to “volunteer” to be armed.

Friday, March 22, 2019

IanLive explains "The Alt-Right Playbook" with an episode "Always a Bigger Fish"

The Alt-Right Playbook: Always a Bigger Fish”, from Innuendo Studios, will lead to a postscript, “Endnote 3: The Origins of Conservatism”, by IanLive.

The animated video starts with a debate with his conservative friend who opposes automatic free college tuition.

The video eventually gets into the differences in basic beliefs between conservatives and liberals under “capitalist democracy”.

He gets into the conservative belief that in nature there is always an order where some people have a higher number on the scale than others, it’s a mathematical inevitability. He gets into the idea that sharks lord it over the minnows.  When I was in kindergarten in 1949, the teacher made it about "elves and brownies", and I stayed downstairs with the latter (I am European)  That wouldn't fly today. 

So there will always be a pyramid of station in life, with self-similarity, based on meritocracy.
In the end, any system that believes in natural hierarchy (even libertarianism) is vulnerable to fascism when put under stress by instability or external stress. Egalitarianism and localism provide a natural defense from sliding into fascist thinking, where people have to be “right-sized”.

He claims “the alt-right” is the conservative tradition.  It doesn’t necessarily mean ethno-statism.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"White Right: Meeting the Enemy": A Muslim woman documents white supremacist hate by interviewing the enemy

White Right: Meeting the Enemy”, from Fuuse Films, Women Making Movies, and the BBC, is a shocking 55-minute documentary by Deeyah Kahn, who travels the US to confront white nationalists or supremacists about their beliefs and figure out what makes them tick.  I watched it on Netflix (film).

She visits Charlottesville (even before the 2017 event), Detroit, Tennessee, Wisconsin, North Dakota, New York City and Philadelphia. The common denominator seems to be poor self-concept, leading to joining a tribe or gang, and then rationalizations about the future of the tribe – in this case, blown up to that of a desired white “ethno-state”.  Many of the men are unkempt, overweight and heavily tattooed.  But a group of privileged men also desire “power” and “control”.

She challenges at least two of the men she interviews as to whether they would deport her, and gradually she starts to convince them that befriending her, of a different religion (Muslim) or race would gradually transform them.

That’s somewhat the idea of the group “Better Angels”.

These men are indeed hostile. The people "deplatformed" in recent months are not at all like these men.  For example, Milo never remotely comes close the this kind or rhetoric. Yet the far Left calls everybody remotely like this "racist".

One of the men made a reference to "The Proles" which is my own unpublished novel manuscript about nuclear war from 1969 (handwritten when I was in the Army), one chapter of which (based on my 1968 Basic Training and Special Training Company experience at Fort Jackson SC)  is in my DADT III book (2014).  That was odd. It was as if he felt like he was a "prole" in the Marxist sense and had to join a team of warriors to have a self-concept at all.

The film does show violent footage from Charlottesville, including the actual car collision that led to Heather Heyer’s death. It also shows the immediate aftereffect of the attack of the Sikh center in Wisconsin.

The "conservatives" who have been "de-platformed" in various incidents in the past few months have nothing to do with all this.  The idea that these controversial speakers are feeding this white nationalism and making it a threat is an idea that the far Left has invented to get more solidarity on its side.

This is a very graphic documentary.  I do wonder if it will be shown on PBS POV, or is it too explicit?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Livestream and rapid spread of violent videos (especially Christchurch) seems to lead to draconian warnings from platforms

According to NBC News (no link so far), tech companies (especially Facebook and YouTube) are so pressured by the Christchurch incident that they have said they will close the account of anyone who attempts to upload the full video, or even an edited video (to remove the most graphic violence) of the incident, or even who posts praise or support of the perpetrator(s) or their actions.

The post or praise thing is a very slippery slope indeed.

Shibani Mahtani reported late Sunday that Facebook had removed 1.5 million copies, and had to look for many more, which will exist on the dark web.

As for the title of this blog, “films” involving threats to personal freedom, the17-minute livestream video would logically qualify as a “subject” since it exists and certainly represents a threat. I have not seen it and don’t intend to. (I did read the “manifesto”).  Under New Zealand law, sharing of a violent crime-in-progress video is itself a crime (even after the incident). 

I can remember as a child my parents wouldn’t let me see violence until about age 13 or so.  I actually would have been very traumatized by this. I can remember being rather scared by “The Clutching Hand” on “Movies for Kids” on Saturday mornings when I was about 10. (Choir practice eventually stopped that.)

On the video above (6 min), Ford Fischer (owner of News2Share in Washington DC) discusses the existence and misuse of the tape and manifesto in a session at station I24 News in New York City Friday afternoon March 15.  The video does have a small sample of police activity during the incident. I know the speaker fairy well.  By chance, I was in New York at the same time in a hotel on the upper East Side (to see an unusual play that evening). I found out it was supposed to be on channel 102, but when I went to it, the system told me that the content from that station was no longer available.

Ford talks about the difference (in the case of Trump’s remarks) between condemning specific criminal acts by a specific person, and condemning an ideology.  Many social media and related services have tried to block all content that seems to be associated with the “alt right” (or white supremacy, if that is indeed the same thing). Then you get into a situation where a violent left-wing ideology is permitted but not the right (where they are the same, but where in theory one group is not singled out before mass expropriation starts – in practice the extreme Left (Stalin and North Korea and even Venezuela) has about the same horrific outcomes as Hitler although not always as targeted on specific subgroups. Is the “ideology” (if there is one) of Venezuela’s Chavez or Madura supposed to be unmentionable, then?

There have been other issues with videos and livestreaming of horrific acts (ranging from ISIS to an incident on live TV in Roanike with reporter as the targets, in 2015).  If I were the victim, I don’t have a particular feeling about this personally.
One suggestion might be that Facebook and YouTube could put in 30-second to 1-minute delays during live streaming to give algorithms a better chance of catching some of the worst incidents. On the other hand, livestreaming might help law enforcement reach the site sooner while in progress.

On another occasion, we'll sort out the significance of New Zealand's gun control policy in this incident.

The New York Times has an editorial that certainly hints at slowing down online speech and controlling who is on it more, for the "common good".

Monday, March 04, 2019

CNN: "Alabama Sheriff on Tornadoes"

CNN reports “Alabama Sheriff on Tornadoes”. He said, “Never seen this level of destruction, ever”.

I visited this area in May 2014.

There may have been ten tornadoes on the ground at once early Sunday night.  One wedge tornado ½ mile wide was on the ground for 65 miles, passing north of Columbus GA and Fort Benning (where people took shelter in a bowling alley).

Auburn University and other more populated areas were spared.

So far, 23 deaths reported.

Chad Meyers made a comparison to the April 1974 outbreak in Ohio. For a while the largest tornado reached 170 mph, EF4.
If I had inherited a house in a more storm-prone area I would have had to be prepared for this.