Posts Tagged ‘FAIR’

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Note that this map accompanied an article headlined “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From CIA.”

NYT Erases CIA’s Efforts to Overthrow Syria’s Government

[Vox] didn’t just omit the fact that the CIA has been arming, training and funding rebels since 2012, they heavily implied they had never done so.

[CIA] trained approximately 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion a year, or roughly 1/15th of the CIA’s official annual budget.

…The Pentagon program, which began earlier this year and is charged with fighting ISIS (rather than Syrian government forces), is separate from the covert CIA operation.

…CIA’s years-long program has vanished from many popular accounts

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FAIR: The 2014 P.U.-litzers

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Filmmaker Alex Winter presents a radical and potentially disturbing take on the web beyond the law, the secretive parts of the internet nicknamed the “dark web.”

Winter already did a film favorable to Napster, calling it a “revolution” and giving a one-sided view of file sharing.

 

What strikes me is the total contempt and opposition to the music artists (and other copyright holders) who want to get paid so they can survive.   There is no balance to his presentation, and his fawning description of a web beyond the law, the realm of drugs, organized crime and terrorism, sort of gives pause.  Just what is he advocating?  Some laws are a good thing.

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I remember a documentary from 1970 about the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin touring across Canada.  Just after Woodstock, when the massive crowds tore down the fences and the concert turned free – the bands met up with Canadian crowds who only wanted free concerts.  The kids tried to tear down fences in several shows, and Jerry Garcia discussed it with others about how the band needed to get paid so they could tour at all.   The musicians do need some compensation, and the expectation of free everything is childish and unrealistic, actually detrimental to all concerned.  If artists can’t survive then they will be out of the game.  Some compensation needs to be part of the system, or else it validates the claims of music corporations that downloading is “theft.”  Many people hate corporations with a knee jerk response, and the big ones deserve it.  But the musicians themselves are a part of this equation.

Alex Winter’s new project Deep Web is described here:

Deep Web: The Untold Story of BitCoin and The Silk Road

His pitch for a $10,000 sugar daddy is another moment to give pause.  Seems like someone oblivious that he’s playing with fire.  Or else he’s a bit of a pyromaniac.  Something to consider, anyway.

How can we balance the needs of free communications with the need to uphold the law and fight crime?  The new age is scary, for so many reasons.  The rise of hackers, government and corporate sponsored, as well as individuals and straight out criminals has us all at a disadvantage.  The modern condition is hackers 1, citizens 0.  As systems become more complex and pervasive that score is going to get a lot worse.

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FAIR:

Media Millionaires

Journalism by and for the 0.01 Percent

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(A response to Steve Rendell at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a media watchdog organization.)

Steve Rendell (FAIR.ORG),

Re: “The Self-Defense Self-Delusion: Owning Guns Doesn’t Stop Gun Violence

Your faith is that the several allegedly scientific tests and studies mentioned on gun violence and training have relevance to the real world, that they model actual situations as occur regularly. On faith you believe they are valid and true and beyond question.

But it appears as though you decided the conclusion and then cherry picked pseudo-science to support that conclusion. Real incidents are not able to be reduced to statistics. The actual actions, motivations, causes, participants, outcomes and reporting methods really do matter. Self-defense across the entire population is not a simple issue to put on a data chart. That’s asinine.

The roots of America’s gun violence stem primarily from something you don’t even mention at all. The drug war. Forty plus years ago the federal government declared war on the citizens of the United States over prohibition. The extreme wealth disparity, lack of job prospects for large swaths of the largely minority populations, is also central, crucial, intrinsic, fundamental to this violence. You have previously heard of gang wars and the competition for turf in the cities? That this doesn’t even warrant a mention in your slanted piece is quite telling.

As for your bogus college classroom shooting setup… if the shooter fires shots in a different location, such as another classroom first, thus alerting the students all over the campus, it’s obviously a different scenario than having a trained marksman bust in and surprise people sitting at their desks. Oh, but far more likely.

Your false blanket statement about the people automatically being helpless in the face of the military ignores realities on how wars unfold and how people make decisions. According to you, “no sane person believes individuals armed with handguns and rifles would stand a chance against a trillion-dollar 21st century military backed by vast surveillance systems.”

An armed population, however Steve, is less likely to be occupied by their own military in the first place, because the costs of such occupation are much greater than rolling over an unarmed population. Ergo — it is less likely to happen, something that apparently never occurred to you. Your supposedly all-powerful techno military has been effectively defeated by the Taliban, who at one point numbered a couple of thousand guerrillas at most. The prospect of military occupation and civil war also implies multiple sides to the conflict, where military units would also face the choice of which side to throw in with. Any casual examination of modern conflicts should make that point clear.

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This issue of gun rights is simply not as you presented, and I find your biased appraisal dishonest in its smug self-assuredness. Would you declare null and void the right of people to defend themselves? In their own homes? Is that not a right you believe in?

Even the framing of your title is loaded. “Owning guns doesn’t stop gun violence,” but that’s a straw man. It doesn’t “stop” gun violence, but it would take a highly deluded person to assume that home firearm ownership cannot serve to defend individuals and their families — at all. You do seemingly acknowledge that a gun does not need to be fired to be used defensively. You do so by trying to dismiss the other side’s data however, without a convincing logic to support your own position.

Your piece attempts to present nearly half of the nation (the armed half) as inept buffoons only capable of shooting themselves and their loved ones, but never to use a gun responsibly as clearly you believe the police, military and security guards do. Far from “fair and accurate” this is one of the least fair or accurate assessments I’ve seen from your organization.

Your implied conclusion is disarmament. Your article leads to the idea that guns should be removed from private hands. This has happened before. The gun lobby likes to mention Nazi Germany, although I haven’t verified that claim. Other nations have done similarly, and these are always lauded as successes. But we don’t live in any of those countries.

I made a point about Rwanda once, as in the genocide of 1994. The weapon of choice, used to murder the bulk of the 700,000 victims, was the machete. Had that targeted population been armed, large numbers could have survived, and even more likely: the rampages wouldn’t have happened in the first place. You don’t charge a house with a machete when bullets can be returned.

The United States has its own social problems. The nation is a global military empire which has finally decided that the people are negligible and little more than subjects of the empire. The Constitution is actively being canceled out, and real tyranny accompanies the power grabs of the state. This state now claims the power to torture, indefinitely detain and murder whomever it decides to kill, all in the name of “national security.”

This is the very same state you want to entrust with absolute monopoly on force by disarming the entire population? These are large questions, and they need much more attention than blog posts or emails.

My final point on self-defense in the home is to simply quote a man named Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University:

“For those who need a refresher, the state loses its monopoly on legitimate violence in that window of imminence where government cannot act and people must protect themselves… Surely most gun owners, but perhaps many others will acknowledge that when seconds count, government is minutes away. This means that in those critical moments when violence sparks, you are on your own.”

I’m afraid, Steve, that is just basic objective reality. If we can’t get down to physical reality, the real world where the rubber meets the road, then dialogue is pointless.