Snowpiercer Review

Snowpiercer. Have you seen it?

I saw the movie Brazil when it was first released in a big domed theater in San Jose.

It blew me away. I dragged others to it so I could see it again and again. I wanted people to see it so we could discuss it. I feel the same way about Snowpiercer.

I’ve read about 20 reviews of the movie and most reviewers assume everyone “gets” the various issues the film brings up and focuses on the directing, acting and cinematography.  Some call the allegories and metaphors “heavy handed.” Others touch on the economic theories shown and class struggles, but don’t spell them out.  I’d like to hear from people who can spell them out and talk to me about what they mean.

For example, there are a lot of references to Ayn Rand’s work. I know about her work but not enough to spot all the connections. Someone asked me if Snowpiercer portrayed her views in a good or bad light.  I said both, it depended on which part of the train you were on. Which raised the question. “Where am I in our economic train?  How did I get here? Why . . . → Read More: Snowpiercer Review

The Sting of the Drone for FDL’s Book Salon Postponed

UPDATE: I wrote this intro for the FireDogLake Book Salon today at 2:00 PST, but because of the ongoing DDoS attack at FDL it needs to be rescheduled.

Richard A. Clarke’s Sting of the Drone gives us the opportunity to talk about both ethical and political decisions we need to examine in the face of new technology.  The set up:

In Washington, the Kill Committee gathers in the White House’s Situation Room to pick the next targets for the United States drone program. At an airbase just outside Las Vegas, a team of pilots, military personnel and intelligence officers follow through on the committee’s orders, finding the men who have been deemed a threat to national security and sentenced to death.

On the other side of the world, in the mountains where the drones hunt their prey, someone has decided to fight back. And not just against the unmanned planes that circle their skies, but against the Americans at home who control them.

I’ll talk about the book in a minute, but as I write this FDL is under computer attack from unknown groups for unknown reasons. Maybe it’s FDL’s support for whistleblowers or a personal grudge, but it got . . . → Read More: The Sting of the Drone for FDL’s Book Salon Postponed

What To Tweet When You See a “Both Sides Do It” Story

When I’m sick and tired of certain media conventions, I write a post about it. If you are like my friend Jimmy Dore you write a funny comedy bit about it. Stewart, Colbert and Oliver all mock the media, but is it making the media change? Is there something we can do besides point and laugh?

Today’s sick and tired media phrase is “Both sides do it.” This phrase is designed as a preemptive answer to the right wing’s screaming about a story and to help show that “the liberal media doesn’t have a liberal bias.” The idea has become internalized by the MSM. My friend Eric Boehlert at Media Matters has written about this sliver in the heart of the MSM for years. Atrios makes a pithy comment about it every few months.

Why “Both Sides Do It” Short Circuits Brains

The magic phrase is destructive because it breaks down math and evidence in the heads of journalists. It converts a complex equation into 50-50!  For example, this magic phrase can take a $5 BILLION dollar multi-decade program and make it equal to a $5 Million five year program with the simple incantation, “Both sides do it.” Shazam!  The readers can now indulge in a “pox on both their . . . → Read More: What To Tweet When You See a “Both Sides Do It” Story

Happy Easter from WonderCon!

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The Magic and Beauty Of Hiding Behind Front Groups

From a great diary at Daily Kos. Industry Expert Says StopRush Has Destroyed Limbaugh’s Business For Good by Proglegs

Speaking yesterday on the Ed Schultz radio show, industry insider Holland Cooke credited a persistent online activist movement with completely destroying right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s business model by using the very free speech that El Rushbo claims gives him carte blanche to do what he does.

The piece quotes Cooke on the Ed Show and discusses the lower ratings, Rush’s move to smaller stations and the impact of less income for Rush’s distributors and radio stations. Being the self important Vulcan I am, I commented on the piece and my role in the process that lead to this.

Discussing the article with my friend Jeff Tiedrich of the Smirking Chimp there was some confusion.

“Wait, how does losing advertisers result in fewer listeners? Seems to me they’re two different problems?”

I explained they they were indeed separate issues. I created the Spocko Method specifically to reduce revenue in an environment where the ratings wouldn’t necessarily be impacted by an action and could even increase the ratings because of controversy.

I know that when KSFO, Savage, Beck or Limbaugh lost advertisers that didn’t necessarily mean they would lose ratings. In fact. they would . . . → Read More: The Magic and Beauty Of Hiding Behind Front Groups

How They Use Dog Whistle Politics Against Liberals

I know other folks have talked about this but I just heard most of the interview with the author of Dog Whistle Politics on the Bill Moyer’s show.

Two things struck me, This:

And, it’s important, because dog whistling is not about bigotry. It’s about the manipulation of bigotry. It’s about the manipulation of stereotypes.

And this:

The triumph of the civil rights movement is to teach us, to teach Americans that we’re all human, we’re all in this together.

It occurred to me that today’s conservative might not believe that we’re all human (I am only half after all.) But they clearly don’t believe we’re all in this together. Reagan, Rush, Ryan and the Randians keep saying that we are NOT all in this together.

The right can attack liberals 24/7, and they do. They don’t even have to dog whistle! I’ve read a couple of stories in Salon about people who felt they lost their parent to Fox News. That the parent attacked them for their ‘liberal values’ 

The author Ian Haney López points out how Reagan and his followers coupled the government with helping lazy black people. With dog whistle politics people vote against government because they are voting . . . → Read More: How They Use Dog Whistle Politics Against Liberals

Generals Say Troops Understand Need for Pay Cuts

Senior Pentagon officials told Congress on Tuesday that troops are willing to sacrifice portions of their pay and benefits if it means keeping and improving the training and equipment needed to do their jobs. – Military.com

Right. Hmm. What was that phrase that everyone reflexively said before any criticism of the military on the run up to the Iraq war? “I don’t agree with invading Iraq but I support our troops!” It was used as a shield by liberals and democrats who were against the war. We used the phrase as an incantation to ward off the, “Hippies spit on returning Vietnam war troops!” myth.

My friend, who is former military, said that no enlisted person is going to complain to his superior officer in those meetings so we shouldn’t put too much value in those comments. It’s just a way to let Congress off the hook. But what I see in those “Senior Pentagon officials” comments are the grasping hands of war equipment makers and contractors.

If you want to cut the state budget in a way that the public will notice, you shut down the parks. If you want to cut down the war budget in the way the people . . . → Read More: Generals Say Troops Understand Need for Pay Cuts

Working at a Big 8 Peace Firm, a Look Back

War activists, like peace activists, push for an agenda.  We don’t think of them as activists because they rotate in and out of government positions, receive huge amounts of funding, have access to big media, and get meetings with top officials just by asking — without having to generate a protest first.

– War Activists by Dave Swanson

I remember after graduating from Star Fleet I took a job with one of the Big 8 Peace firms in San Francisco.

I was a junior analyst working on developing pro-peace material. Part of my job was booking our leading peace advocates on the Sunday morning talk shows. If it seemed like every Sunday you saw the same peace advocates ganging up in a four to one “discussion” with one war monger there was a reason. Unlike them, our people were well trained, articulate and buddies with all the producers and hosts. The media loved our men and women as guests. We booked everyone, from the red white and blue wearing men to the serious, hard-hitting realist female experts.

You know all those op-ed pro-peace articles you read in the editorial sections of the major media editorial sections? That . . . → Read More: Working at a Big 8 Peace Firm, a Look Back

Heritage’s Freedom To Read™ program

Don’t have time to read and dog ear the corners of books but want your friends to think you have?

Introducing the Heritage Foundation’s Freedom to Read ™ program.

Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner.Photo by Medill DC under Creative Common’s License

Starting this April The Heritage Foundation has teamed with AEI, AFP, Cato, Hoover Institute and the EIEIO Institute to offer you pre-owned and distressed books for your home!

Includes all the classics you never had time to read, but want to say you have like:

The Fountainhead! Atlas Shrugged! Saul Alinsky’s, Rules for Radicals! (They’ve read it, why can’t you say you have?)

Hot current books like:

The complete, “Killing Somebody” series by Bill O’Reilly!

Books you didn’t read in college but said you did like:

Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations!

Bills the liberals have tried to ram down your throat like:

The Gay Agenda Bill and the “Give Homos Special Rights Bill” The Affordable Care Act–all 906 pages! The bill that inspired the “Read the Bill!” chant!

For a low monthly fee we also send you Heritage, AEI, Cato and Hoover Institute books our experts turn out each month that you only hear about on Fox, Hannity and Limbaugh.

The covers have . . . → Read More: Heritage’s Freedom To Read™ program

Shock and Awe. Taser Drone Zaps Low Paid Worker

I love a good publicity stunt. At the South By Southwest festival (SXSW) festival, Chaotic Moon Studio used a drone to taze an intern.

What I love about this stunt is that it was designed and developed to be the perfect news story and that William “Whurley” Hurley, chief innovation officer, understood that it would be a conversation starter.

Because military drones are a hot topic and SXSW is a large global event, Hurley said they decided to bring to life the “fantasy of some people and nightmares of others.”

“We wanted to have an educated, well-informed discussion about how people feel about this as a society, or whether you’re a police officer or private citizen,” Hurley said.  – ABC News

So, maybe we should have that discussion. 

If not now, then on April 5 at 2:00 pm Pacific when I will be holding a Book Salon at Fire Dog Lake with Daniel Suarez on his book “Kill Decision.”

This should give you time to get and read the book. Yes, it’s science fiction, but it raises a lot of questions and it is structured as a thriller, so it really moves.

The book shows . . . → Read More: Shock and Awe. Taser Drone Zaps Low Paid Worker