Category Archives: Lionel Audio - Page 2

LIONEL PODCAST: Never Ever Ban An Idea, No Matter How Despicable

Sheeple (a portmanteau of “sheep” and “people”) is a derogatory term that highlights the herd behavior of people by likening them to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research. (Wikipedia)

Behold. The slamming on the brakes of progress. A once proud species, now cowing and collapsing under the weight of self-imposed civil strictures. We are so frightened. So timid, so timorous. Above all, we avoid daring and risking even the slightest chance of offending someone, even if that someone is a hypothetical straw man. We quake in our boots over the notion of being accused of being insensitive. Our Jurassic mainstream media talk incessantly about having interminable “conversations” about every mindless subject there is. But nowhere, nowhere in the pallet of the Ted Baxter mainstream media news is even the mention of the fact that the First Amendment and freedom of speech and expression provide a concomitant respect for ideas that we find reprehensible. Ideas that abrade and hurt. Ideas that repel and sicken. Often the exhibition of horrible ideas does more for clarity and free-thinking than its suppression. Imagine that.

Ferguson convergence. There’s been considerable confusion as to the status of race relations in the country especially via the police and law enforcement. The unnecessary conflation is that between the cops and people, i.e. race relations between citizens is one thing, those between the police and minorities is quite the other. And with the usually confused Jurassic mainstream media their recommendations as to reportage is to repeat the phrase, “Let’s have a conversation,” which means double down on the usual suspects and repeat the same circuitous rants and odes to he obvious.

LIONEL PODCAST: Fraternity Idiocy Does Not Validate Free Speech Violations

“Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork.” — Part I, Chapter I, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Hillary is a nonstory. She’s never going to be the Democratic nominee nor was she ever. It’s about her pathology and mendacity. I couldn’t care less about this silly woman and silly story and a silly media who hang on every word only because, finally, it’s a story they can understand. Hilary was never intended to be the nominee. Ever. And everyone who’s two neurons to rub together can figure that out.

The right to be stupid. The SAEs expelled at OU. This is the case that interests me. This goes to the core of the First Amendment and the life blood of free speech. Being stupid is a basis of American fundamental liberties. Being stupid and hateful and dumb. And the question then is who exactly determines what will be tolerated and the like? When will an anti-Islamic or Islamist chant or jeer be subsumed under the rubric of hate speech or impermissible thought?

Brilliance. Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy. He’s authored a brilliant piece in the Washington Post entitled, “No, it’s not constitutional for the University of Oklahoma to expel students for racist speech [UPDATED in light of the students’ expulsion].” I commend it to you and provide the following excerpts.

University of Oklahoma president David Boren said, “If I’m allowed to, these students will face suspension or expulsion.” [UPDATE: The president has indeed expelled two of the students.] But he is not, I think, allowed to do that.

1. First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech. That has been the unanimous view of courts that have considered campus speech codes and other campus speech restrictions — see here for some citations. The same, of course, is true for fraternity speech, racist or otherwise; see Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity v. George Mason University (4th Cir. 1993). (I set aside the separate question of student speech that is evaluated as part of coursework or class participation, which necessarily must be evaluated based on its content; this speech clearly doesn’t qualify.)

UPDATE: The university president wrote that the students are being expelled for “your leadership role in leading a racist and exclusionary chant which has created a hostile educational environment for others.” But there is no First Amendment exception for racist speech, or exclusionary speech, or — as the cases I mentioned above — for speech by university students that “has created a hostile educational environment for others.”

2. Likewise, speech doesn’t lose its constitutional protection just because it refers to violence — “You can hang him from a tree,” “the capitalists will be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes,” “by any means necessary” with pictures of guns, “apostates from Islam should be killed.”

3. To be sure, in specific situations, such speech might fall within a First Amendment exception. One example is if it is likely to be perceived as a “true threat” of violence (e.g., saying “apostates from Islam will be killed” or “we’ll hang you from a tree” to a particular person who will likely perceive it as expressing the speaker’s intention to kill him); but that’s not the situation here, where the speech wouldn’t have been taken by any listener as a threat against him or her. Another is if it intended to solicit a criminal act, or to create a conspiracy to commit a criminal act, but, vile as the “hang him from a tree” is, neither of these exceptions are applicable here, either.

4. [UPDATE: Given the president’s letter, it’s clear that the students are being expelled solely for their speech, and not for the reason discussed in the following paragraphs.] Some people have suggested that the speech may be evidence of discriminatory decision making by the fraternity in admitting members. A university may demand that groups to which it provides various benefits not discriminate in admissions. See Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010). Indeed, nondiscrimination rules are applicable to groups generally, even apart from any benefits they get; much depends on whether the groups are seen as small and selective enough to be covered by a right to “intimate association,” and on whether apply antidiscrimination law to the groups would interfere with the groups’ expression of their ideas, and thus burden their right to “expressive associations.” See Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees (1983); Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000). The university might thus be able to discipline students who (a) are involved in a fraternity’s admissions decisions, and (b) can be shown to have denied membership to people based on race, or intentionally tried to communicate to potential members that they would deny them membership that way. I don’t think that a discussion saying that discrimination ought to take place, or even that at some unspecified time it will take place, would suffice to constitute a violation of the antidiscrimination rules, though it might be used as evidence in a future case where discrimination against a particular applicant might be alleged.

But even if the group is found to have discriminated against black applicants, and some particular members were found to have participated in that decision, the penalty for that has to be based on the penalties that are actually meted out to people who violate this rule. If discrimination by a group generally leads to a fine against the group, or a reprimand of the participants, or even derecognition of the group, the university can’t then expel students who engage in the same action but who also engage in constitutionally protected speech — that sort of disparate treatment shows that the school is really punishing people for their speech, not for their conduct.

This is a familiar principle from antidiscrimination law: if a black student is expelled based on conduct for which white students are generally just mildly reprimanded, the law recognizes that the expulsion was based on the student’s race, not just the student’s punishable conduct. The conduct in that situation is being used in large part as a pretext for race discrimination. Likewise, if SAE members are expelled based on conduct for which people who didn’t engage in SAE’s speech would generally just be mildly reprimanded, the expulsion would be based on the speech, not the members’ punishable conduct, which would just be pretext for punishing students for the ideas they were expressing to each other.

5. Of course, this just applies to the university. It certainly makes sense that the national fraternity may suspend the student chapter, and that other fraternity or sorority organizations refuse to deal with the chapter (or even its students). Fraternities, at least in principle, aim to promote certain principles of morality and behavior, such as the national SAE’s True Gentleman creed:

SAE may quite rightly insist that people who so sharply depart from such principles no longer use SAE’s name. (I don’t think a university may suspend a fraternity just based on its speech, but that question is likely rendered moot by national SAE’s actions here.) Likewise, I imagine that the fraternity members’ speech will more generally affect their social lives and their professional lives, as some people choose not to do business with them in the future. (In some states, even private employers are limited in their ability to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on their speech, but that’s true only in some states and generally only as to employment; and, rightly or wrongly, such discrimination often happens without the applicant’s even knowing that it’s happening.) How long this sort of misbehavior should dog a person is an interesting ethical question, but in any event it’s pretty clear that the offending students are going to pay a substantial social and likely economic price for their actions.

The thought vigilantes. The thought police are alive and well, better yet, the thought vigilantes. Wake up.

 

LIONEL PODCAST: Unreported News That Will Freak You Out!

Do you recognize this woman? The neocon’s neocon. She’s Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State. Author of the now historic, “Fuck the EU!” Her reckless rhetoric poses more of a threat to our national safety than any of the hypothetical terrorist threats from central casting.

What you need to know. Herein you will hear the following subjects that, trust me, the mainstream media have no interest in or clue about.

  • Hillary and Jeb will not be nominees. This is a cover. Hill’s toast and the RNC is less than thrilled over the notion of Jeb. From an evolutionary point of view this shows a healthy Darwinian mechanics take on psephology. Hillary’s handling of her latest email problem showed a spectacular ability to eliminate any possibility of recovery. She’s tone deaf and still laboring under the delusion that the rules don’t apply to her. And now she’s got Chelsea showing for the old lady while Bill is nowhere to be found. As I’ve said from the beginning, history has shown us that the Democratic nominee is the outlier, the surprise candidate that no one saw coming. Dukakis, Carter, Clinton, Obama. Do you see the obvious pattern? And not to mention, Hillary’s ability to handle tough issues such as Benghazi redefined inept. “What difference does it make?” will echo in the annals of American history from now until the end of time.
  • The insanity of the Apple Watch, as if you could get even more insane. People will stand in seemingly endless queues to spend money they don’t have to sport the latest in NSA tracking surveillance jewelry. You will then see the number of violent crimes and robberies increase exponentially as hipster thieves separate mindless sheeple from their new symbol of cool.
  • Research Victoria Nuland, head of European affairs at the US State Department, whose neocon saber-rattling defies description. And General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, while you’re at it. These two are causing much of Europe and our erstwhile allies to be quite concerned. Pay attention. Nuland and her hubby enjoy quite the neocon pedigree and provenance.
  • NBC meltdown and the lesson to be learned. The story in New York magazine was a delicious behind the scenes look at the usual schizophrenic disconnect that is the world of Jurassic media. Pitiful leadership, underqualified leaders trying to herd egomaniacal sub-talents. It als shows the inability for some folks to get a handle on how their very media are changing before their eyes.
  • Google through a new algorithm has decided to change the criteria it uses for ranking content on the Internet, so that content will no longer be ranked by popularity, but will now instead use what it has determined to be truth as its ranking tool. Truth! Think of the implications from this quasi-governmental “free” service that can relegate popular yet unpopular ideas to the back of the line. Where’s the media coverage of that? Why must I repeatedly remind these folks what news means? NEW.

Whither truth? And, I repeat, the Jurassic media still jiggles the keys to the crying baby public. You’re welcome.

And now, naked bluegrass back by popular demand.

LIONEL PODCAST: Friday Foibles, Folly and Fraud

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the tenth and current Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, has compared the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying both groups used religion to justify their violence. Ouch!

“Profoundly ignorant.” The leaders of four top Irish American organizations have come out swinging against Cardinal Timothy Dolan for his comments likening Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and saying that both were perverting their religion. (The IRA was about Catholicism?) He made the comments in a CNN interview according to the Irish Central. Dolan’s comments were made to CNN on Tuesday, March 3.

The IRA was about Catholicism? “The IRA claimed to be Catholic,” he told anchor Chris Cuomo. “They were baptized. They had a Catholic identity.” But, he continued, “what they were doing was a perversion of everything the church stood for.” Get ready.

Father Sean McManus, who leads the Irish National Caucus the top Irish lobbying group on the North in Congress, was outraged at his fellow cleric.

Fr. McManus said the Cardinal’s statement, equating the IRA to ISIS was “Profoundly ignorant, totally irresponsible and lacking all credibility.

“It is sadly consistent with a man who for 40 years never opened his mouth about the oppression of Catholics in Northern Ireland.

“Such a person as Cardinal Dolan – who was complicit by his silence in British torture of political prisoners, anti-Catholic discrimination, British murder gangs and the wholesale denial of human rights – has now no moral authority to comment on the struggle of an oppressed people.

“He forfeited that right by his complicity and collusion. His Johnny-come-lately and cowardly outburst only further deepens his own complicity, and further abuses his spiritual power.”

But wait, there’s more. Brendan Moore, President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), America’s largest Irish Catholic organization, said that Dolan was plain wrong in making the analogy.

“The fact is that unlike ISIS, the Irish Republican Army never used religion to justify its resistance to Loyalist sectarianism and/or British misrule. Cardinal Dolan’s statement (“everything they were doing was a perversion of everything the Church stood for”) appears to be contradicted by the heroic utterances and activities of many Catholic priests, among them Alex Reid, Des Wilson, Raymond Murray, and Denis Faul.

“Indeed, Cardinal Tomas O Faich (Thomas O’Fee) was consistently criticized in the media and elsewhere for his “excessive” closeness to militant Irish republicans.

“… One needs to wonder if The Troubles might have been avoided or diminished had those same Irish bishops spoken out to vigorously condemn long-standing institutionalized discrimination in employment and housing in the north of Ireland.”

More? Mike Cummings a past National Board member of the Irish American Unity Conference was equally scathing in his rebuke.

“In his defense, the Cardinal may be unfamiliar with the Irish conflict. There is no record of his voice speaking out against the discrimination against Catholics in jobs, housing and voting or in favor of the MacBride Fair Employment Principles; or in support of the Hunger Strikers; in protest of the murders of attorneys Patrick Finucane or Rosemary Nelson or indeed the killing of nearly 1000 Catholics whose deaths have yet to be investigated or in opposition to current cases of injustice like the Craigavon 2.

“…..Given the church scandals in Ireland it takes a brave man to cite the Irish Bishops for anything save incompetence, arrogance and “narcissism” to quote Taoiseach Enda Kenny.”

Paul Doris, a senior figure in Irish Northern Aid, also let Dolan have it.

“The IRA has never claimed to be fighting as Catholics for Catholics, indeed all down though Irish history, folks from all religious persuasions have fought for Irish Independence from Britain.

“With the revelations of the past few years against the Catholic Church in Ireland I believe it would be more productive if Cardinal Dolan spent more time on that instead of opining on matters which he seems to know little or nothing about.”

And Friday miscellany. A myriad and mosaic of miscellany.

LIONEL PODCAST: Were the Boston Bombers Double Agents?

Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev aka “Flash Bang,” younger bro to “Speed Bump”

Flashbang and Speedbump. The monikers of the Flying Tsaraev Brothers, reputed to have originated from WRKO and the inimitable Jerry Williams. They undoubtedly referred to the demise of the elder bro and the younger, who squirreled away in a boat during the greatest manhunt in recent history, roused from his perch through the invitation of an explosive canister.  This after having scrawled his manifesto on the side of a boat while a martial law beta test was in full swing.

I care not of this creep. I have no sympathy for Flash Bang or his mowed down bro. I don’t think he should receive the death penalty or anyone for that matter. His defense will be that he was lured by his elder frater through duress and coercion and the like. And while there are many conspiracists out there suggesting a host of possibilities including crisis reenactors and the like, I comment not on that and have available data or information on this. What I know is what was printed and reported by the media which the media now ignore altogether. Amazing, huh? But in the meantime we should never forget the horrors and inconceivable sadness that surviving family members and friends have suffered. I just have an insatiable curiosity and need for the truth.Martial law beta test, baby. Let me repeat and be not mistaken, my brothers and sisters, this was an experiment. This was to see how much Americans would endure. And the most pathetic of sights was to see once-proud Bostonians applaud the militarized police who let them out from their homes after cowing in the recesses of their homes to the apparent authority of militarized control measures. Even after 9/11, no one would dare shut down New York. Remember the extent of lockdown to capture two people. In a post-1033 world where we have now sadly become acclimated the sight of police dressed as military, nothing compared to the degree of force and firepower that were exhibited during the manhunt. Go back and look at the images today. It presaged the future. It portended the accepted introduction of military substitution for civilian law-enforcement. No one objected to the degree of the response. Whatever fear or appreciation we had for the notion of martial law evaporated in toto during this event. I still don’t think people truly understand the particular concerns that this event inspired so many liberty conscious Americans. Mission succesful, comrades. 

WTF, indeed. The Boston Globe among many sources quoted multiple sources that the FBI didn’t just get one warning from Russia about Tamerlan Tsarnaev (aka “Speed Bump”), they were in fact warned repeatedly. Always be suspect when the government fails to overreact. When they’re careful and cautious and circumspect. Something’s up.

Russian authorities contacted the US government with concerns about Tamerlan Tsarnaev not once but “multiple’’ times, including an alert it sent after he was first investigated by FBI agents in Boston, raising new questions about whether the FBI should have paid more attention to the suspected Boston Marathon bomber, US senators briefed on the inves­tigation said Tuesday.

The FBI has previously said it interviewed Tsarnaev in early 2011 after it was initially contacted by the ­Russians. In their review, completed in summer 2011, the bureau found no ­evidence that Tsarnaev was a threat. “The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from” Russia, the agency said last week.

Following a closed briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday, Senator Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said he believed that Russia alerted the United States about Tsarnaev in “multiple contacts,” including at least once since October 2011.

We were warned. In fact, the New York Times reported that the “F.B.I. did not tell the Boston police about the 2011 warning from Russia about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers accused in the Boston Marathon bombings, the city’s police chief said Thursday during the first public Congressional hearing on the terrorist attack.”

But wait, there’s more. It gets better. The Independent reported that “[i]n September 2011, Russia’s FSB sent a cable to the CIA restating their initial warning, and a second note on Tsarnaev was entered on the TECS system, but his name was misspelled ‘Tsarnayev’.”

Now, the money shot. Could the Brothers Tsarnaev have been, in fact, US intel agents cajoled and seduced into working with jihadist terrorists after going undercover behind the lines within their networks? According to at least one article by the Israeli-based intelligence and military news blog DEBKAFile (referenced here) the answer is ABSOLUTELY! It’s time to go deep, kids.

The big questions buzzing over Boston Bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have a single answer: It emerged in the 102 tense hours between the twin Boston Marathon bombings Monday, April 15 – which left three dead, 180 injured and a police officer killed at MIT – and Dzohkhar’s capture Friday, April 19 in Watertown.

The conclusion reached by DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism and intelligence sources is that the brothers were double agents, hired by US and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jihadist networks which, helped by Saudi financial institutions, had spread across the restive Russian Caucasian.

Instead, the two former Chechens betrayed their mission and went secretly over to the radical Islamist networks.

By this tortuous path, the brothers earned the dubious distinction of being the first terrorist operatives to import al Qaeda terror to the United States through a winding route outside the Middle East – the Caucasus.

This broad region encompasses the autonomous or semi-autonomous Muslim republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Chechnya, North Ossetia and Karachyevo-Cherkesiya, most of which the West has never heard of.

Moscow however keeps these republics on a tight military and intelligence leash, constantly putting down violent resistance by the Wahhabist cells, which draw support from certain Saudi sources and funds from the Riyadh government for building Wahhabist mosques and schools to disseminate the state religion of Saudi Arabia. [e.s.]

The Saudis feared that their convoluted involvement in the Caucasus would come embarrassingly to light when a Saudi student was questioned about his involvement in the bombng attacks while in a Boston hospital with badly burned hands.

Do I have to say it? Saudi Arabia AGAIN! Remember, while the Jurassic media went ballistic on Bibi and his admonitions against Iran, Kerry met with the Saudis who I believe are the “Al Sharpton” of the Middle East. Nothing sticks to them.

One more time. As Global Research reported in May of 2013, “It is clear that Russia’s arrest and expulsion of two CIA agents who were trying to recruit members of the Russian intelligence service fighting against Salafist separatists in the Caucasus is part of a Russian mopping-up operation directed at the CIA’s decades-long covert support for terrorists operating in the Northern and Southern Caucasus.” Anyone?

The media don’t get it yet. When a refrigerator or freezer breaks you don’t notice it until the meat spoils and the ice cream melts. That’s the Jurassic media for you. They simply don’t see what has happened. They’re too busy plunging rulers into snow banks, talking about dresses and treating you like a child. Join me in the revolution. And, no, that’s not just an expression.

LIONEL PODCAST: No More War!

In war, truth is the first casualty. (Aeschylus)

Harken back to Sailor John’s words. On April 22nd, 1971, a then 27 year-old former Navy Lt. John Kerry (with a noticeable Brahmin accent) testified against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War as a member of “Vietnam Veterans Against the War,” which would later come back to haunt him when “swiftboated.” This is the same John Kerry who later would endorse virtually every American military action, save that of Iran. The message is poignant. Herein I play for you the earnest message of this warrior who details firsthand the folly of war and explains brilliantly the insanity of the Vietnam mentality. Yet this is the same John Kerry who demanded military intervention in Syria to topple an evil regime whose alleged gassing of innocents at Ghouta. Remember what Semour Hersh wrote about this ruse. Where was the professional left then, the Jurassic media? They pore over every word Bill O’Reilly has uttered as to his war reportage as well as Brian Williams’ fecund imagination, they report of dress colors and llamas and Tom Brady’s balls, but when it comes to this whopper, not a peep. Nada! But read Hersh’s damning indictment.

One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’ [e.s.]

Hear not my heart. Throughout the rhetoric and the Sturm und Drang over the notion of retaliation and war there seems to be completely forgotten from the calculus of reason that we are still talking about war as in death and destruction and broken families and PTSD and shattered dreams and destroyed futures. The currency of war is bloodshed. And somehow that horrible fact has been lost among the rhetoric, the fleeting and minimally derived thought process via the Twitter glyph.

Think tank choreography. In this podcast I reference the 2009 Brookings Institution’s paper that provides the script for war. You’ll find the language most disconcerting and, sadly, prescient. And notice as well the language and that peculiarly reminiscent and familiar phrasing: “A New American Strategy.” Cf. Project for the New American Century. And, interestingly enough, the site has been scrubbed. It all comes full circle. But the neoconservative ideology is bigger and bolder than ever. You may have thought we lost that ilk for a generation. Hardly.

Give us a minute and we’ll give you a war. As a tangential note, I commend to you another think tank that you should be aware of: The Institute for the Study of War. Research the spousal unit Kagan, husband et ux., as well as RAND, Ford Foundation and Aspen Institute. Think not for a moment that the architecture of American bellicosity is drafted in the Congress and Oval Office alone. Or the Pentagon, for that matter. War’s big business whose ideology and theology are outsourced. The power of these war orchestras is enormous. But also learn and be apprized of the fact that whether it’s Israel, Iran, the US or any country as to any aggression theater, the script and memes must be crafted first. People have to have the playbook spelled out correctly and carefully.

War as a theme. I discuss the thematic aspects of engagement and further attempt to demystify and un-romanticize the theme of conflict. This is beyond the issue of Israel or the left-right paradigm. Lost in the discussion is the reality of what this means. War. And with war is the inevitable and most certain replay of the horrible scene depicted and chronicled above. As British historian and journalist A. J. P. Taylor noted, “No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic.”

LIONEL PODCAST: Stories the Jurassic Mainstream Media Missed Altogether

Orwell simply had no idea. “The media is the right arm of anarchy,” thus spake Dan Brown. Can I hear an “Amen!”? They still enjoy cover from the hoary and anachronistic that they and we share concomitantly an interest in news proliferation. Accurate at that.

Controlled diversion. In fact I can think of no better anarchic co-conspirator than today’s news gatherers. In this, today’s audio transmission I compared the “front pages” of the New York Daily News and the New York Post with a very popular alternative news aggregator. The differences could not possibly be more startling and obvious. The mainstream media that we accept as authoritative provides a daily buffet of intellectual junk food. Cerebral poison and imagination killing contaminants. They repeat and do not report.

Hamburger Helper for the soul. They are pop culture generators and serve the front page, bumper sticker, echo chamber, cookie-cutter worldview of denizens of this most complicated social experiment. This, mind you, while they bemoan plummeting viewer and readership numbers. When newsrooms are shattered and institutional tabloids and newspapers are up for sale. Instead of shoring up their resources and making a full-fledged and bona fide commitment to readership culling, calling and attraction, it’s business as usual. More direct. More pablum and bunkum and intellectually void morsels of nothing. Listen to the stories I inform you about that I guarantee you, you will hear nothing about today from those you’ve entrusted to awareness to. And not his well that, as the Google story which I reference illustrates, the sources of institutional censorship will be from platforms and media that are not subject to state control and where allegations of state action would not lie. If Google can rank websites and in effect reject references to a site that it deems not verified, think what this means in the commercial circuitry of free thought. And when you have complicity between private entities and DARPA-like research configurations, it’s very difficult for the civil libertarian to unravel this Gordian knot.

LIONEL PODCAST: Why the Professional Left Can’t Grasp the Horrors of Net Neutrality

 

They never acquired a fear of government. It’s inconceivable to them, so let me try it again. From the top. Here’s what you need to know about why net neutrality is a horrible thing. Governmental control is unnecessary. Let the free markets and competition and innovation and the consumers speak. This may sound a bit trite, usually the refrain heard from the free marketeers of the prototypical right, but its verity is without question. We must eliminate the knee-jerk patellar reflex response that government will fix any problem or inconvenience that we encounter. The society has become so habituated to Big Brother and his officious intermeddling that a new neural circuitry has been created. A circuitry that not only tolerates but demands that government swoop in and involve itself with every aspect of our existence. Remember, we are asking for it. We are demanding it.

My friend. I trust that’s clear enough. And the very fact that I am having to repeat why free speech should remain completely and absolutely untouched and unregulated by any government agency or tribunal thereunder is amazing to me. Have they forgotten Orwell? Do they truly not realize that once you let the camel’s nose under the tent it’s over. Jurisdiction attaches. Regulation ensues. And prior restraint games a new foothold. This is dedicated to an old friend of mine who’s the prototypical, archetypal Al Franken acolyte who embodies this insanity perfectly. Who feels that when the liberal Optimates sign off on legislation it must have been thoroughly vetted and reviewed for its constitutional pertinence and safety. But what I see more and more is that the professional left are the most negligent when it comes to being the constitutional sentry. It is not my usual form to use terms such as left and right, as I eschew the already hackneyed left right paradigm. But I will make an exception in this case for clarity and shortcut purposes.

The unmitigated audacity. And to think my radical suggestion, my revolutionary position is to be able to allow you to always enjoy the freedom to say whatever you want.

LIONEL PODCAST: Net Neutrality Will Destroy the Internet

Congratulations. This past week the FCC announced good news, pilgrims, net neutrality is here. Your Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a non-elected and appointed federal government agency providing in effect toll booths to truth, voted three-to-two to “reclassify” the heretofore unclassified and unfettered broadband Internet and worldwide web as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act. Again, the gravamen of action is the FCC’s reclassification of broadband as a Title II telecommunications service under the 1934 Communications Act. Applying and affixing the Title II appellation to broadband has the potential to drastically and radically change how the Internet is governed, giving the FCC unprecedented and boundless authority. This means that without the vote of your Congress, a federal agency now claims the power to totally regulate the heretofore free Internet. I cannot believe how liberals, progressives and civil liberties sentries somehow honestly believe that the federal government’s unencumbered regulation of the Internet somehow improves and broadens our freedom and liberty. Its potential for tyranny is boundless. Now that the Internet is a utility it may be regulated. So licenses to conduct a website are available to the FCC to control the commerce of your once precious and protected thought. Decency regulations can be implemented as they have in radio and television broadcasts. The resurrection of the patently unconstitutional Fairness Doctrine is certainly possible as it was the darling of the professional left as a way of combating the success of Rush Limbaugh and his imitators. Everything that was never possible is now capable of being had and constricted through the shackles of regulation. And with the governmental involvement and contamination, say good night to innovation and progress. Look no further than Europe and their Internet service to see what happens when the government infects a medium with its insidious regulatory contamination. Next, look for the use of intellectual property statutes to further limit free-speech as well as the often-cited reference to national security and the mythical, imaginary and illusive fight against the bogeyman and terrorism. Since the Internet was first developed and the proverbial genie got out of the bottle, your government has worked long and hard to think of every means possible to reverse the horror of free speech in the most powerful platform and medium possible. Congratulations.

It’s already been done. Without the FCC! In April of last year, you might have missed this headline: “Netflix Pays Verizon in Streaming Deal, Following Comcast Pact.” Thanks to Mr. Watson again for the cite. Here, read for yourself.

Paid-peering deals, which happen at interconnection points around the U.S., are not considered to be a “Net neutrality” issue by the FCC

Netflix has reached a paid-peering-interconnection agreement with Verizon, both companies confirmed to TIME on Monday.

The deal, which establishes a direct connection between the two companies to improve service for users, comes two months after Netflix struck a similar deal with Comcast.

The takeaway is that there was no need for FFC intervention or involvement whatsoever. And no need for a net neutrality Title II switcheroo. See? Good ol’ competition and free market maneuvering.

The Ambiguous and Vague “General Conduct” Rule. As per the FCC’s “Fact Sheet,” the aforementioned rule will allow the FCC to review (and one would think fine, suspend, sanction and punish in general) not-so-neutral net practices that may or could “harm” consumers or edge providers. Late last week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a letter with the FCC requesting that they clarify and tighten the regulatory scope of any “general conduct” provision:

[T]he Commission should use its Title II authority to engage in light-touch regulation, taking great care to adhere to clear, targeted, and transparent rules. A “general conduct rule,” applied on a case-by- case basis with the only touchstone being whether a given practice “harms” consumers or edge providers, may lead to years of expensive litigation to determine the meaning of “harm” (for those who can afford to engage in it). What is worse, it could be abused by a future Commission to target legitimate practices that offer significant benefits to the public . . .

Accordingly, if the Commission intends to adopt a “general conduct rule” it should spell out, in advance, the contours and limits of that rule, and clarify that the rule shall be applied only in specific circumstances.

The septet. From what can be adduced from a variety of sources, EFF notes that he FCC will evaluate “harm” based on consideration of seven factors:

  1. impact on competition;
  2. impact on innovation;
  3. impact on free expression;
  4. impact on broadband deployment and investments;
  5. whether the actions in question are specific to some applications and not others;
  6. whether they comply with industry best standards and practices; and
  7. whether they take place without the awareness of the end-user, the Internet subscriber.

What could go wrong? The same people that brought you the fallout from Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction and who parsed and dissected Bono’s “fleeting expletive” are expected to apply a sober and mature review to the above-referenced? Are you kidding me? Did you hear that, Bernie Sanders and Al Franken?

With a straight face, no less. Chairman Tom Wheeler had the elephantine huevos to say that the F.C.C. was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers” and preserve the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles.” And with a straight face, no less. Your broadband Internet service is now a public utility. Cue Taps. It’s toast. Elvis. Sayonara, freedom of expression. Hello, tyranny.

LIONEL PODCAST: Surveillance, Habituation & Miscellaneous Horrors Limned

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” (Christopher Hitchens)

 

Ahem, amen. As America pretends to care about the Oscars, to hang on every word, to watch each alleged and putative star traipse and perambulate down and up the red carpet, as we feign an uncontrolled interest in the organically irrelevant, the news that must be addressed is again overlooked. Yet, I admit, it always fascinates me as to what makes a film classic in our own mind. What were the films that changed your life? That represented a seminal moment in motion picture excellence. And as neurology and psychiatry become more adept at singling out the particular brain areas that are affected during moments of entertainment, one day soon producers and directors will be able to target particular brain center activity for a particular reaction irrespective of what it means to and for the script and momentum of the story. Very soon, biofeedback and neurolinguistic metrics will be a part of the filmmakers toolkit to ensure audience approbation and the film’s success. The plot and art be damned!

Get thee to a notary! I also take time to pay tribute to a friend of my wife’s and mine who recently passed away, Lesley Gore, who enjoyed at the ripe old age of 16 international musical stardom the likes of which there is no comparison today. She reminds me of a time when the notion of international was more a kin to universal. With greater platforms and vertical delivery today more people are able to spread the message faster and with a greater range than eever before. But relative to the success of yore, today’s stars do not enjoy the same relative audience and relative penetration that they did then. Relative penetration. (Your pun here.)

Antepenultimate. I also speak to the notion that there is anything today that remotely could be considered shocking. That which shocks and shakes our collective conscious has been so diluted by virtue of the persistent and continuous exposure to virtually and literally everything that nothing is capable of horrid. Other than the neck tattoo.

Valedictory. In any event, I commend to you the attached disquisition on that which I find to be of critical importance at least for today. Perhaps.