09 December, 2016

The Digest—Friday, 9 December, 2016

[The Digest is a collection of articles, videos, and other media I've viewed and found significant throughout the day. It is a way to divest myself from other social media that is more reliant on likes, click-bait, and peer-approval rather than quality, intelligence, and diversity of opinion, which are the qualities I find important. It is also a way to devote myself to daily contributions to this space...at least in theory.]

-=Summary: What's fake news, the counted, Trump begins the purge, laughing at murder, keep out the gays, Ohio hates local government, saving the torture report, Glenn Beck has regrets, JunkyChicken-in-Chief, & Moon=-


Stop worrying about fake news. What comes next will be much worse
Jonathan Albright from The Guardian

Why is the definition of fake news some big question? I'll tell you what fake news is: it's something reported as news that is, quite simply, not true. Like the news story that said the pope had endorsed Trump. That was not true, so it was fake news. Fake news doesn't apply to opinion pieces and pontifications about ideology and policy. 

This blog, for example, is not news, though it contains links to news stories. What I write is not news. It is opinion, diatribe, my own way of working out my feelings about all this shit. It is not fake, either. What I think and what I write might strike others as false and untrue because they disagree with my positions, but that doesn't make it fake news. 

If I posted something that invented a Trump quote, like, "Trump wants to place liberals in concentration camps!" (take that, Glenn Beck), that could be considered fake news, because it presents itself as being news, or at least newsworthy, even though it is (I hope) completely false, and I have no idea why anyone would believe I, alone, had access to such supposed "truth."  If I posted, instead, "The way Trump is treating people is like putting them in a concentration camp," I would be ridiculously insensitive and hyperbolic, but it's not fake news, just hysterical opinion. 

I agree with the author that curating articles to weed out unpopular opinions is unacceptable, but opinions and ideas are not, generally, news. Fake news is reporting as real things that are false, like the story that Clinton et al. are operating satanic pedophile rings out of pizza shops, or that the parents of Sandy Hook victims are just actors hired by evil liberals to push an anti-gun agenda, or that Obama was born in Kenya. These things are demonstrably false. They did not happen. THAT is fake news, and THAT is the kind of shit Trump and his ilk have repeatedly peddled. 

The mania over fake news is deserved. The soon-to-be Asshole-in-Chief and his upcoming cabinet and nominees and appointees are on record pushing fake news stories that heighten aggression, divisiveness, paranoia, and violence. The complete disregard for scientific fact and pursuit of customized "facts"-on-demand is so inherently insidious that everyone should be very concerned. 

Why there is any confusion over what "fake news" means is a total mystery to me, but then so is much of the last year. 

The Counted
from CNN

The Counted project passes 1000 people killed by U.S. police departments so far this year. 

Trump transition team for Energy Department seeks names of employees involved in climate meetings
Steven Mufson & Juliet Eilperin from The Washington Post

This could be the beginning of a purge of climate scientists, researches, and policy-makers to fulfill Trump's promises and give a great big political handjob to his corporate comrades. Indeed, its implications are truly terrifying. His nomination to head the EPA is suing the EPA, not to mention a climate science denier. The appointee for economics is a union-hating corporate crony. Sense a pattern? 

Mass shooter Dylann Roof, with a laugh, confesses,'I did it'

Ray Sanchez and Keith O'Shea from CNN

It is remarkably telling that it was the murder of an unarmed black child that set Dylan Roof on the path of believing that black Americans are committing white genocide. 

Company Has No Gay Clients, Sues Not to Serve Them Anyway
Kelly Weill from The Daily Beast

I am actually conflicted about compelling individuals to service clients they hate. What if it were a media company who refuses to film a neo-nazi event? Would they wish to be compelled to do so? Of course I don't believe in discrimination—this is a slippery slope in both directions. I think there's a difference between baking a cake and attending an event at which you're hired to film or photograph things and present them in a positive light, something difficult to do if you are viscerally disgusted by the people you're filming. 

What's most upsetting to me is that people hate individuals this much because of who those individuals love. This couple hates them so much they're suing even though they have never been asked to film a gay wedding, but just in case they might possibly in the future get into the wedding film business and then just in case any gay couple tries to hire this publicly hateful couple to do so, they're suing for their right to never have to maybe be hired by gay couples in the hypothetical future. 

Jesus must be so proud. 

Ohio GOP Moves to Stop Cleveland From Making its Own Laws
Henry Grabar from Slate

The Republican hypocrisy rears its head again. How dare government get involved in our lives! Unless it's against our bottom line or religious values! This is in addition to the "heartbeat" anti-abortion bill passed earlier this week and another abortion ban that passed the house today. Damn, Ohio, you sucked before but now you're just a massive dick. 

The Torture Report Must Be Saved
Carl Levin & Jay Rockefeller from The New York Times

Arguing for the entrance of the classified document into federal record so it isn't suppressed or destroyed by the coming administration, which is a real possibility. 
President Obama has said that “one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.” We couldn’t agree more, but to do that it is critical to know our history and to have a full accounting of how mistakes happened in the first place.
Sadly, this is a great US myth—that we actually confront our past and change policy as a result. On the contrary, this country suppresses and distorts the past at egregious levels, hiding its numerous coups and assassinations and scapegoating and domestic terrors and neglect. I know that's the vision of America you wanted to be, Obama, but it's dishonest and it itself an unwillingness to confront our past and face our imperfections, not to mention failing to change and do better. 

But I do agree the report must be saved. Will Obama do it? Sadly, I doubt it. 

Glenn Beck's Regrets
Peter Beinart from The Atlantic

Interesting. I saw some of this side of Beck in an episode of Vice News Tonight, during which the network's correspondent watched one of the debates with Beck. I think he is sincere, and I think he helped contribute massively to the hysterical misinformation that laid the road for Trump's ability to completely disregard facts, say anything with impunity, and engage in such outrageous hyperbole as a main mode of communication. 

I'm glad Beck is both passionately anti-Trump and seemingly contrite about his role in Trump's ascension. Pride goeth before a fall, etc. Then again, his hiring of nazi-barbie does today something very similar to what he used to do. If he is really regretful, that would be a place to start showing it. 

Trump biographer: Stop overestimating him — he’s a cross between a junkie and a hungry chicken

David Ferguson from The Raw Story

How this isn't obvious to everyone is completely beyond me. 


Moon (2009)
via Amazon

Great score, great film, great Sam Rockwells, wish there had been more Sam Rockwells. 

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