Friday, August 17, 2018

August links

Alex Jones banned. The conspiracy theorist that Trump loves has been suspended on a bunch of major social media sites. A good article that focuses not on Alex Jones, but on the issues of moderation on social media. Twitter lagged behind, but it's not clear why. Lack of clarity was a theme.

Stalin's useful idiots updated. A great article by someone with a Russian name. Full of energy and unfamiliar angles. I think conservative talk radio types have been incredibly useful to the Russians, but the author points out it's not just them.

Success of solar and wind. Having excess energy due to solar and wind generation is happening more and more. Power companies may not be happy, but this is what I wanted as an environmentalist and someone who cares about the future.

China's misbehavior. China demanded and probably deserved some slack as it was developing, but it's quite a developed nation now. A former Obama administration official gives a blunt assessment that she didn't have the candor to give while Obama was in power. China also wants to make sure it has plenty of company as an authoritarian country. It's even helping Venezuela.

Reference link to save. Concerning where terrorists are most active. Great graphics with some interactive features.

Image: storymaps.esri/com

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Is it a hate group?

Conservatives like to claim that the Southern Poverty Law Center, the long-time watchdog on hate groups, is now a hate group itself. They want to make this claim because the SPLC has labeled some of their favorite organizations as hate groups, including the Family Research Council.

This time I looked into the Alliance Defending Freedom. It's been active in lawsuits, such as defending the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. From what I know, that baker isn't filled with hate, and defending him isn't what I'd call hateful either.

However, the SPLC has quite a solid complaint against the group for supporting laws that mandated sterilization of transgender people who wanted official name and gender changes. It also has a list of other positions against transgender and gay people, with the worst behavior over a decade ago, but several incidents in the past 5 years.

The Alliance (ADF) tries to look friendly and not hateful on its website, but some of the hate comes through. It lies about Planned Parenthood--but isn't that de rigeur for any conservative group? It claims it supports rights and freedom, but doesn't mention how not all rights get their respect. Some people's rights are obviously more important than the rights of those gays.

ADF lawyer moving up.
Image: thenation.com

Monday, August 13, 2018

Nazis one year later

This will be rough and quick. Last year the Nazis and white supremacists showed their mettle, and it was disgusting stuff. I predicted they'd be badly hurt, and they were. For the anniversy of Charlottesville, they had a horrible showing at a rally in Washington DC. Maybe only 40 people showed up, and they billed themselves as a 'free speech rally' where the emphasis was going to be on white civil rights.

The organizer, Jason Kessler, is still making one of the big mistakes of the movement by not denouncing the guy who ran over protesters last year, killing one of them. The ugliness of their response was a big part of why people shut down on them. They didn't even think random killing was ugly--they didn't even have that bit of decency. Perhaps as nasty as concentration camp guards. Not a good look for people hoping to gain popularity.

Here are some links:
  • A long video, much of it from within the 'free speech' group. 
  • Reporting from Vox.com. Short, pithy.
  • Reporting from Vox.com on bad behavior from antifa protesters. No surprise there.  Somewhat sympathetic in that they point out how it hurts the cause.
  • Fox news reporting on the same topic. The last video shows how Fox subtly slants their coverage in ways not noticeable in print. 

Kessler and his small cohort within a square of yellow vested police
Image: bloomberg.com

Update. This article from 10/7/18 is about a protest in Rhode Island. It's not a neutral source, but it contains lots of facts, including that Proud Boys were flown in from the west coast. Ah, to fly around the country in order to have street fights. What a life.

Update. This article from 5/22/19 contains screen shots of Proud Boys chats. They wanted to return to Rhode Island for more mischief, and increased street cred if they could provoke a fight, but it didn't materialize.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Late July links

Manafort's trial will bare Putin's methods. Excellent article that clarifies the issues and the importance of Manafort's trial. It will reveal how Putin buys influence. See it with Manafort and multiply by hundreds.

Russian trolls still active. Facebook uncovers some. Same sort of tricks. No, it's not a hoax perpetrated by the deep state. Details here--screen after screen after screen.

Russia timeline. I'm parking the link because I may want to look at this again. Seems fairly complete, but I didn't look all that closely.

Socialists in the Dems. What they want now and in the future. Their hopes for the future include an end to capitalism. Yep, they are communists and want to nationalize the oil companies. Maybe communists-lite. Like Venezuela.

Scary loners. A detailed look at online groups for men angry that they aren't getting laid. They blame women, blame society, blame other men, and fantasize about horrific actions. These men are called 'incels' for involuntary celibates. Portrait of a scare loner/mass shooter. The Las Vegas police released their report on their invetigation into the man who killed 58 people using his arsenal in a hotel room. This is good, readable summary. In his case, there weren't enough warning signs.

Yet another conspiracy group. Yawn. This one is called QAnon. I'm not going to waste my time on a summary, but again Dems are running pedophile rings.

How to assess Trump. Ignore him, ignore what he says. Look only at what gets done. I kind of agree with this. Trump is trying to capture attention, but it's pretty useless to look at what he says. So I agree. Ignore him. Stay educated about what he's saying, but put no stock in it. Ignore the distraction and home in on what actually happens. A good read, and solid advice... for now.

Journalist survives her tweets. A controversial hire by the New York Times won't be fired even though she lashed out at white people. Good. Context is important, and so is putting the matter into perspective.

Image: pinterest.com

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Still searching for neutrality

I've wanted to find unbiased news sources for a long time with no luck. On my primary goal, at least. However, my latest look yielded some interesting sites.

AP news may be the leasst biased source. I'll be checking it out regularly for a while.

Media Research Center has some reasonable reporting on the influence of George Soros, and how biased many news outlets are, including ProPublica. However, its associated news site cnsnews.com is terribly biased too. Way to show us how to combat bias. With more bias, I guess.

Numerous hits directed me to a site as bad as InfoWars. It's called YourNewsWire.com. Especially bad/funny/sickening is its science news.

AllSides.com - I'll be checking for whether it's a fair source.

FAIR says it's been challenging media bias since 1986 (the same year as my epiphany about media bias). I'll less hopeful about this. Articles are geared more to media issues.

Reuters is supposed to be less biased than Bloomberg. I'll be checking out their commentary section to see if that's true. It would be great to find incisive commentary that doesn't follow party lines, and preferably skewers party line.

Unfortunately, no breakthroughs. Sigh.


 Image: quora.com