Tag Archives: news media

Culture Wars Rage on Social Media

Scene from WC Movie

Pictured:  Scene from one of W.C. Fields’ immortal movies, You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man.  Well, you can’t fool voters who don’t want to be fooled either.  But…, read on.

Twitter Calls it Quits on Political Ads

Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, made news on October 30th when he Twitted,

We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.

The ban, which will contain some exceptions, will take effect November 22. Guidelines will be published November 15, according to Jack Dorsey.

The Twitter Announcement is Big News

Banning political ads on any social media platform these days is not only big but huge.
Commercial TV viewing is not what it used to be. Cable networks do not need to abide by the same rules as do broadcast networks (requirements for equal time afforded to opposing views and prohibition of “censorship” do not apply to Cable political ads). A vast number of people obtain their “news” from social media platforms.

Advertisers, including political advertisers, are able to pitch their message to highly targeted audiences when advertising on social media. As everyone should know, targeted ads are the holy grail of all advertisers. A candidate for political office will search for targeted audiences as fiercely as will a seller of baby playpens.

These factors make social media platforms valuable assets in raising awareness for candidates, legislation, issues, and most importantly cultural trends.

The Cultural Initiative

In an earlier post on the Just Vote No Blog there was reference to Andrew Breitbart’s quote “Politics is downstream from culture.”

This is powerful stuff. Change the culture and political change will follow. Today the most likely place to change cultural trends is social media. Thus the battle for who determines the content of platforms like Twitter or Facebook. Of particular interest these days are the skirmishes over political “lies” on social media. Here are a couple of examples, not from Twitter, but from Facebook.

* Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, recently endured five hours of questioning during a Congressional hearing supposedly intended to discuss Facebook’s proposed alternative currency Libra.  However, not much of what transpired during the hearing had to do with Libra. The majority of Congressional comments zeroed in on Facebook’s policy regarding political ads, which supposedly does not call for fact checking such ads.

During the hearing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Mr. Zuckerberg,

You announced recently that the official policy of Facebook now allows politicians to pay to spread disinformation in 2020 elections and in the future. So I just want to know how far I can push this in the next year…

So, you won’t take down lies or you will take down lies? I think that’s just a pretty simple yes or no.

Once again during this interminable hearing, unable to respond with a “simple yes or no,” Zuckerberg found himself at a loss for words.

* Senator Elizabeth Warren engaged in a clever strategy with a Facebook campaign ad that ran on October 10.

If Trump tries to lie in a TV ad, most networks will refuse to air it. But Facebook just cashes Trump’s checks.

Since FCC rules prohibits “censorship” on broadcasting networks (not counting Cable), Warren came up with the brilliant fine print on the ad claiming that her campaign included purposefully incorrect information to test whether Facebook will post untruthful ads.

It should be an obvious question what Ocasio-Cortez and Warren consider lies to be. In politics facts and untruths are often interchangeable.

Given the quantity of political ads social media such as Facebook and Twitter receive, as well as the complexity of issues involved in such ads, it would be fair to ask how accurate, cost effective, and blow-back free fact checking all of them would be. For example, what would a fact checker do with a political ad that mentioned the “climate crisis?”

The word “lies” has joined the lexicon designed to change culture and chance politics. Point deficits in any candidate or legislation and run the risk of being branded a racist, a homophobe, a baby killer, a liar, or some other weaponized set of adjectives.

It is no wonder that Twitter decided to call it quits, at least for the moment, on political ads.

As an Aside

Here the discussion purposefully leaves out questions such as political benefits that might or might not accrue to shareholders of social media for supporting or not supporting political sides, and possible algorithmic or human decisions on the reach of unpaid posts. Those could perhaps constitute strategies as powerful as paid ads, but outside the purview of the present discussion.

Warnings From a Former Communist

Shen Yun

Report from the Trenches

On October 17, Meet Up Group Golden Gate Liberty Revolution hosted speaker June Gilliam, who shared her story with an audience of about 40 assorted conservatives, libertarians, skeptics, and ordinary seekers of truth. Ms. Gilliam called her presentation a Journey From Indoctrination To Awareness: From a Collectivist Mindset all the way to Conservatism, From Chinese Communist Patriotism to American Patriotism.

The presentation had much information about the nature of the Chinese Communist Party, repression of traditional culture and spiritual belief, pervasive indoctrination, and veiled cracks in the CCP’s economic edifice.

However, the main takeaway of the talk was a recommendation that members of the audience acquaint themselves with 4 items. Then spread the word about those items.

* Item 1: The Naked Communist, a book by Cleon Skousen (1958). Central to Skousen’s work are the 45 Communist Goals. A few of the goals might not entirely pass muster with libertarians, but some of the goals highlighted in the presentation are worth noting.

#15 Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
#17 Get control of the schools.
#20 Infiltrate the press.
#22 Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression.
#29 Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step.
#30 Discredit the American Founding Fathers.

Readers can place a check mark “Done!” after the goals they feel have been accomplished.

* Item 2: Shen Yun. The website of this splendid show lists the “9 Characteristics of Shen Yun.” The very first is Reclaiming a Lost Heritage. Heritage, culture, spiritual experience needs to be anathema to any form of tyrannical government. A people steeped in any of these three attributes will more likely fight against tyrannical encroachment into their practices. Beautiful art uplifts the soul whereas tyranny aims to squash it.

* Item 3: Falun Gong. This spiritual practice, unsurprisingly, is also banned in China, for the same reason Shen Yun is banned. Here is a brief description from their website.

Falun Gong is a Buddhist-based practice of meditation and moral living. Although introduced to the public in China in 1992, its roots extend back thousands of years. Tens of millions of people practice in China. Falun Gong is also practiced in over 90 countries around the world.

* Item 4:  The Epoch Times. This weekly publication is both print and digital. It is published in the U.S., but carries a National and a China section. From their website:

The Epoch Times was founded in the United States in the year 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China. Our founders, Chinese-Americans who themselves had fled communism, sought to create an independent media to bring the world uncensored and truthful information.

Note: Whether The Epoch Times is published by Falun Gong, is pro-Trump, is banned on social media, or suffers from all the other ills the mainstream media ascribes to it is irrelevant to this present discussion. What is relevant is that the publication contains stories not likely found elsewhere that readers can see and then dig for some more information if desired.

Truth is Available to Those Who Dig For It

June Gilliam’s presentation on October 17 was riveting. Her message is that the acknowledged objective of Communism is global infiltration. In her view the infiltration in the U.S. is pretty much widespread in the guise of progressivism, socialism, democratic-socialism, or green deals.

A Word About Golden Gate Liberty Revolution (GGLR)

This San Francisco-based Meetup that hosted this presentation on Chinese Communism has over 700 members. It started as the Ron Paul Meetup Group in 2008. In those days weekly meetings were packed with folks of all shades of the liberty movement focused on helping garner voter attention for then Texas U.S. Congress Member and Presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Today, the group meets monthly, the room is not packed. But the loyal liberty loving members, many going back to the days of Ron Paul precinct walks, do fill the room when from time to time GGLR presents a guest speaker. It has become an accepted fact that only quality speakers show up at GGLR.

Time for Congress to Go Back to Work?

Now that the Mueller report has been completed is there a chance that our Congress people might go back to work? Or maybe it’s only us working stiffs that need to produce at our jobs? Congress folk make around $180,000 with benefits. You, dear taxpayers, pay for that. You, yes, you who maybe have a job without benefits.

For nearly 16 months now, it seems that Congress has been doing nothing but foaming at the mouth – or campaigning for re-election. Meanwhile, somebody out there, maybe the Deep State, maybe the vast bureaucracy, maybe the status quo that does not want real change has been busy whipping the populace into a frenzy.

Have you tried to ask a “resister” what he is resisting? Is the response word-for-word what the media has been feeding her? If the response is a well-thought reason, a reason that involves a realistic perception that the current situation presents a real danger to oneself or to our Republic, then, of course, a fight is essential. But, is that danger really present, or the only danger is that presented to an entrenched bureaucracy that has ceased to be By the People and For the People.

Is it time for we the people to start wondering if the bickering among us is natural or engineered? Time to question whether the bickering among class, race, gender, or political belief is really beneficial? How about asking if what we are being told is true? For example, Congress is now clamoring for the Mueller report to be released to the public. Congress is full of lawyers; surely one of them must be aware that there are legal reasons why the report cannot be released immediately. For one, nothing can be released that contains reference to on-going investigations, and probably the report has much of that. So, some manipulation going on?

Resistance

European Union: No Way A Country

eu flagThe press is all atwitter over the U.S. State Department’s decision made late in 2017 (nobody knows when) to return the European Union to its pre-President Obama status of international organization – a downgrading from “state” (i.e., country). Nobody seems to know whether this downgrade is an error, deliberate, temporary, permanent, etc.
The press is emphasizing that the U.S. did not advise the E.U. powers that be that this downgrade had taken place. Maybe the emphasis should be on what constitutes a state, that is, a sovereign country. Maybe this is a good time to think about what is a legitimate jurisdiction and what is not.

In the view of the Just Vote No Blog, the E.U. is a bureaucracy, not a country, and therefore should be treated as a bureaucracy. Putting lipstick on this little ducky is not going to help make it a swan.

A country has a governing body that reflects choices – beneficial or not — of its residents. The residents’ choices might result in a republic such as the United States, a socialist democracy such as Venezuela, or a theocracy such as Iran. Conversely, a bureaucracy has a governing body that reflects the choices of those who appoint the bureaucracy’s leaders; a bureaucracy does not stand directly accountable to anyone.

The current U.S. Administration could ignore the question whether the E.U. is a country, and that would certainly be a good way to maintain amicable relations and not upset any apple carts. However, the results of ignoring the question of what constitutes a real jurisdiction would bring collateral damage, such as a proliferation of unaccountable bureaucracies at the international, national, and local levels (if you are not familiar with your regions’ Metropolitan Planning Organization, google it, and see how much power over your local land use it has).

One must not underestimate the tenacity of bureaucrats.

Pick one: Tyler Durden or Paul Krugman

The news media is having its problems these days. If the media is not being called fake news, it’s being called conspiratorial. Fact checkers have sprouted like crabgrass, and legislators – state, federal, you name it – have rushed to protect consumers from being stripped of all their personal information or being exposed to deviations from the status quo.

So what to do? The macro approach suggests that you read a variety of news sources – established, alternative, left-leaning, right-leaning, and even libertarian if you are really brave. The micro approach is to pick your favorite echo chamber and stick with it. The latter approach might be advisable if you need/want to do things other than look at the news. If you really need/want to narrow your choices even further, pick either Paul Krugman or Tyler Durden. Why those two? Why not.

Helping You to Pick

Fifht Club - CopyAs everybody knows, Paul Krugman is the Nobel Prize winning economist that explains our present and predicts our future on the New York Times. Tyler Durden is a fictional character in the book and movie The Fight Club, but he also lends his name to the writers and editors of the political/financial/life-experience website Zero Hedge. Although Professor Krugman is predictably and consistently left-leaning, “Tyler Durden” of Zero Hedge is, according to reviewers, alt-right, anarchical, doom and gloom, and “extremely influential in the New York, London and global hedge fund community.”  (Pictured:  Tyler Durden, i.e. Brad Pitt, in The Fight Club)

Their track record? Let’s pick what each said on November 9, 2016.

* Paul Krugman on November 9, 2016, regarding the U.S. stock market:

I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

Under any circumstances, putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation with the world’s most important economy would be very bad news. What makes it especially bad right now, however, is the fundamentally fragile state much of the world is still in, eight years after the great financial crisis.

Now comes the mother of all adverse effects — and what it brings with it is a regime that will be ignorant of economic policy and hostile to any effort to make it work. Effective fiscal support for the Fed? Not a chance. In fact, you can bet that the Fed will lose its independence, and be bullied by cranks.

…So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight. I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.

* Tyler Durden on November 9, 2016, regarding the U.S. stock market:

Just like with Brexit, the so-called Wall Street experts scrambled to paint a picture of doom and gloom, warning traders, and markets, that the end of the world is imminent should Trump win, and that stocks could drop by 5%, 10% or more should Donald Trump get elected president. And again, just like in the case of Brexit, they convinced the algos and the momentum chasing traders. Briefly. Because after futures hit the 5% down limit shortly after the market realized it was dead wrong about the presidential election, they have since soared nearly 80 points of the overnight lows and are well above the Friday, pre-Comey close, level.

How come?

Simple: as we have repeatedly said, a Trump victory, coupled with lower taxes, a spike in infrastructure spending, and a surge in debt is precisely what the economy – and a normalized market, one not manipulated daily by central banks – wanted and needed, as it not only will prompt yields to rise, but it will assure even more QE in the near future as foreign buyers of US debt disappear (assuming Trump does not do away with the Fed entirely, which for a man running a real estate empire, he won’t do as he ultimately needs lower rate.)

It’s the Fundamentals

RationalWiki describes Zero Hedge colorfully, and as several other reviewers mentions that ZH follows the Austrian School of Economics — you, know, the non-Keynesian guys.

Zero Hedge is a batshit insane Austrian school finance blog run by two pseudonymous founders who post articles under the name “Tyler Durden..”

Bill Clinton’s rousing campaign slogan “It’s the economy, stupid,” was instrumental in his winning the presidency against incumbent George H.W. Bush. Tyler Durden should adopt a similar slogan about the stock market, “It’s the fundamentals, stupid.”

However, there are plenty of people who prefer ideology over fundamentals, so Just Vote No suggests Paul Krugman.