Saturday, August 11, 2018

PBS airs "Documenting Hate: Charlottesville", Part 1



PBS Frontline is offering the first half (55 minutes) of its film “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville”, directed by Richard Rowley, produced and narrated by reporter A.C. Thompson from Pro Publica and CBS.


The documentary shows that the violence aggravated by the original demonstrators was much more intentional than generally believed. 

Later Thompson tracks down several individuals associated with the event, some of them from extremist groups in southern California.  The locates Sam Woodward, now facing trial for the murder of gay student Blaze Bernstein and eventually establishes a connection.  He also implicated a defense contractor whom Northrup-Grumman fires, and a Marine Corps soldier as organizers.  The Marines discharged the person.

The film also documents the “Rise Above Movement” or RAM.  The violent nature of the movement has become much more apparent since Trump’s election.

At the end of the film, on of the subjects whom Thompson investigates tries to "bargain" with Thompson on the phone about having his back later in life when he (the journalist) will need to "make money" again.  That is, of course, a stab on journalistic objectivity. 

The mentality of the groups remind one of Timothy McVeigh and all the militias from the 1990s documented after Oklahoma City.  Some people don't learn how to establish their own individual identity very well in our kind of world without associating with group values -- which here include "masculinity", and warrior culture. 

The first episode was aired Tuesday August 7 and a second episode is due in September.

Friday, August 03, 2018

"Cute Boys" video makes a major statement about the political consequences of body fascism, probably unintentionally



I won’t embed this R-rated soft core video (“Cute Boys in Love”) but I link to it to make a philosophical point.  Sometimes porn really does make important political statements about values. 

Two men meet in a bar.  Alex, the shorter blond man, is physical and assertive enough, but is quite overwhelmed by the physicality of Josh.  The dialogue starting at 0:46 gets more critical.

What’s at issue is what Alex wants to have a “peak experience”, something he will involve himself emotionally with.  Ordinary people he encounters in his life just won’t be good enough anymore to have any meaning.

Then we can get into a debate on individualism v. tribalism, and being willing to center one’s identities with the needs of the group (as in Storr’s book “Selfie”) which I’ll come back to later (Books, July 19).
  
We can ponder body fascism, and the idea of how it can ultimately invite political fascism.
  
Picture: Penultimate night at Town DC, June 29, 2018.

Monday, July 16, 2018

"Trump Bites": animated short film from NYTimes resembles a YouTube gay kissing video



Here’s a 3-part short animated film by the New York Times, “Trump Bites”. One part of it is "Trump and Putin: A Love Story". 
  
  
The main link for all three episodes is here. Does this movie come from Annapurna Pictures? 

Twitter also has it, here.

I think it belongs on this blog to be sure. It’s rather funny to see animated video making Trump and Putin lovers like from “Next Door Mates” on YouTube. 

Putin kills journalists, even overseas. “I think our country does a lot of killing too.”  Sure, ask David Hogg.
  
Putin, by the way, has no body hair; his chest is frankly womanish.  Otherwise the chest work in the film could matter. Yet he started it all off by supporting the Russian anti-gay propaganda law in 2013, before the Sochi olympics in 2014. "Leave the kids alone" he said.  Make sure I get enough Russian  babies is what he really meant. 

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Inside North Korea's Luxury Ski Resort (NatGeo short film with a British snowboarder)



This Is What It’s Like Inside North Korea’s Luxury Ski Resort”, narrated by Jamie Barrow (from the UK), from National Geographic and Uri Pictures (13 min), short film:.

  
Americans are right now forbidden to travel to the DPRK, which is just as well for me as a controversial and “dangerous” blogger who wouldn’t get out. And North Korea is a (non-Muslim) country on Trump’s Travel Ban 3.0.
  
But early 2017 Jamie, an accomplished skier and snowboarder (rather like Shaun White) got to go from England via a visit to China first. The film, however, for the first half, focuses mostly on Pyongyang and the guided tour, and the isolated hotel (where Warmbier got in trouble);  the privileged class in this hyper-Communist (actually fascist monarchy) state enjoys luxury with not many people around.  The film shows an unusual wide-screen array of the city and the journey to the ski resort, which is luxurious but isolated, with few people around.
  
Jamie was actually expected to place flowers at a monument to the glory of their leader Kim Jong Un (or maybe his deceased father).
  
I can remember during Basic Training in the Army, feeling a little envy for those in “power”.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for photo by Laika Ac, CCSA 2.0.  

Friday, June 15, 2018

"Rocks Under I-95 Present Odd, and Scary Threat to Power Grid"



Here’s a 90-second short film on Bloomberg Tic-Toc with Brian Sullivan, warning of a geomagnetic storm coming from a Carrington-style coronal mass ejection, here
  
Curiously, the link on Bloomberg doesn’t have the film; only the Twitter post does. 

The idea is that old rocks under the Northeast (more or less under I-95) would reflect a magnetic pulse and cause a second hit on the power grid.
  
A similar effect would happen with an E3 level high altitude nuclear blast.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

"Where Can North Korea's Missiles Reach?": Australian public broadcast reviews before Singapore talks



Where Can North Korea’s Missiles Reach?” Now, that is. 
  
Even as the summit in Singapore approaches, and we hope goes through, it’s good to review the inventory of DPRK missiles.

  
This animated film comes from Australian ABC, which is publicly funded.
  
The announcer does explain that the longest range DPRK missiles are largely untested, despite the alarming reports in late 2017. The short and intermediate missiles are considered well tested and the satellites less reliable.   Submarines work only from a distance of about 1200 miles from DPRK. 

The report does not mention EMP. 
  
There have been reports that the North Koreans may have faked the destruction of their site last week for reporters.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Yellowstone Preparing to Blow!" : the doomsday community isn't ready



Red alert!  Like in Special Training Company in the Army.
  
  
Yellowstone Preparing to Blow!  Scientists Reveal”, a one hour documentary comes from PlanetX Today.

I remember hearing the hype about this on an Outwoods hike in Minnesota back in 1999 from a geology professor at the “U” on the East Bank.  It would wipe out civilization, at least in the US for the eastern three fourths.  Can the doomsday preppers handle it?  Even the bobcats will have trouble surviving. 

What’s going on in Hawaii is nothing, except for the homeowners.  There is no volcano insurance.  Why do people build homes there?
  
Yellowstone blows every 600000 years, farther east each time.  We’re due.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

"Blackout in Puerto Rico" on PBS Frontline


PBS Frontline aired “Blackout in Puerto Rico” (as Season 36, Episode 10) on Tuesday May 1. 
  
The documentary showed the ubiquitous destruction from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 Hurricane in September 2017. 
  

But the recovery was complicated by several factors.  First, FEMA was already hampered by Irma, and the Virgin Islands.

But mainly Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was in poor shape, with power plants rusty and not maintained.  Much of this has to do with a ponzi-like bond trading scheme, which managed to get reinvented even after the first threat of default in 2013.  Part of this has to do with the fact that the US has always regarded Puerto Rico as a “possession” or property (a territory) and has not given residents full rights.

The New York Times has a big article  (James Granz and Frsnces Robles) May 7 on Puerto's recurring blackouts and poor infrastructure. 






Part

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Gay short film predicated on Craigslist ads could not make sense now, given FOSTA


Well, the situation depicted in this soft-R short “Threesome” *Next Door Mates) is probably not possible now, given the passage of FOSTA, 
  
A male couple advertises on Craigslist for a “housemate” (or, explicitly, "houseboy"), who arrives and agrees to “start work”.  That has some obligations. But now the ad could never have been placed (even if the applicant is over 21).


Theoretically, this would have been seen in violation of FOSTA.

The little film does seem to demand a sequel.  Is that an electric razor on the coffee table in front of the action, or just a phone?  The film seems to have a disturbing Nietzchean undertone. 

Censorship is a threat to freedom.
  
And a visit to Backpage shows it has been taken down.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

David Hogg: "National School Walkout from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School"



Here is a David Hogg film: “National School Walkout from MSD” (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Broward County, FL.  (30 min)


Video that he made during the actual shooting from inside a closet does not seem to be available.
   
A lot of his previous work (before the Valentine's Day event) on his YouTube channel, like the trip to L.A., is witty and interesting. 

Time has a major article on David Hogg's nonstop filmmaking here.

Picture: Fort Lauderdale Beach (Broward County), my visit, Nov. 2017

Update: March 24

David Hogg makes a confrontational video that raised eyebrows among conservatives on Facebook.  Some asked, is he a role model?   Is he talking to politicians, or to bloggers like me? 

Update: March 25

I realize this Facebook video comes from InfoWars, but the claims about Secret Service visits to the high school before the incident seem odd. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Siegfried Hecker reports on what he saw in North Korean nuclear weapons research (PBS short film)



This American scientist has seen North Korea’s nuclear program up close”, on PBS News. 


On PB, Miles O’Brien reports, Feb. 14, 2018.  The scientist is Siegfried Hecker. He was shown and allowed to hold a canister of warm, heavy plutonium ingots.  Then he was shown some of North Korea’s centrifuging facilities for separating out U-235, which had not been reported before. Hecker estimates between 20 and 40 fission bombs.

Intelligence analysts can look at North Korean procurement documents for the exact aluminum and steel components purchased before sanctions.
  
I can recall getting bizarre emails about four years ago about “jobs” overseeing Asian weapons component purchases.   Why were they sent to me?  I marked them as spam. 
  
By U.S. Department of Energy - http://www.doedigitalarchive.doe.gov/ImageDetailView.cfm?ImageID=1000682&page=search&pageid=thumb, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Vox: "What a War With North Korea Would Look Like"



A Vox video by Danush Parvaneh and others, “What a War With North Korea Would Look Like” (6 min).  
  
  
The animated presentation features Senator Tammy Duckworth, (D-IL) who lost both legs in combat in Iraq.
  
The film says that North Korea would be very likely to use chemical and biological weapons in South Korea very quickly and stated the horrific results that could result from one anthrax vial.
  
The film then got into the “use it or lose it” idea on nuclear weapons.
  
The video also hinted at the “decoupling” problem of Pentagon planning:  North Korea could some day decide that forceful conquest of the South is necessary to keep the Kim family in power.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for North Korean missile ranges, CCSA 3.0. Note that the KN-08 is now the H-15. 

Sunday, February 04, 2018

"North Korea's Nuclear Threat in 2018" by The Economist



The Economist offers a short film (Dec. 2017) “North Korea’s Nuclear Threat in 2018” from its “World in 2018” series


The video is commendable for its lack of inflammatory rhetoric and seems to predict that both Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un will avoid war and its catastrophic consequences.

The film documents “only” a credible nuclear threat to the West Coast of the United States, not to the entire mainland, despite the Nov. 28, 2017 “parabolic” H-15 test.
   
The film is surprising in not mentioning EMP. 

Saturday, January 06, 2018

"Why the Threat of North Korean EMP Weapon Is Overhyped" (by Defense Updates)


Defense Updates (sponsored by Patreon) provides a 7-minute short film “Why Threat of North Korean E.M.P. Weapon Is Overhyped?”


The film makes the threat of EMP damage quite alarming, although it doesn’t distinguish between E1 and E3.  It says the US military is well aware of the problem but refuses to talk about it publicly, and that commercial infrastructure is only partially prepared, and real hardening would be very expensive, after decades of stockholder driven cost cutting.  It is interesting that the film mentions specially designed EMP nukes as tactical nuclear weapons.

However, the political climate for Kim Jong Un makes a full nuclear attempt against the US more likely, the film argues, because any attack would result in an overwhelming nuclear retaliation from the U.S. anyway.  The film buys the argument that Kim only wants to stay in power as the third member of a family dynasty.  He got fat to fill it. But I do wonder about the dominoes. 
  
An E-3 EMP, if pulled off, could so cripple the US that Communist or radical Islamist groups could later land and rule by force.

It seems clear that North Korea has shown how dangerous asymmetry can be in the modern world.

It seems to me that there is a real risk that Kim uses EMP if he hasn't yet mastered the re-entry problem but has mastered exploding a device in flight before landing.  That could be the case already or soon, early in 2018.  That makes pre-emption right now dangerous for America directly as well as Korean peninsula.  Lindsey Graham is wrong in saying the war would stay in their backyard if we fought it now.