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Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

Freedom of Speech Matters, Even if the Provocateur is Alex Jones: 2

August 13, 2018 7 comments

As mentioned in the previous post of this series, laws to protect free speech are really about protecting unpopular speech. For a long time, organisations such as the ACLU understood that standing up for highly unpopular speech was necessary to prevent the creation of legal precedent to suppress other forms of free speech. Of course, that was before the ACLU was influenced and infiltrated by SJWs– and yes, I am aware of the irony my linking to a piece on a LIEbertarian rag such as ‘Reason’. But the point still stands- organisations which once stood up for the right to free speech, especially its unpopular forms, are now trying to justify their unwillingness to fully support obnoxious characters such as Alex Jones.

But why are so few willing to support Alex Jones? Sure.. the guy is an obnoxious character whose style of acting makes William Shatner seem restrained. But so are many other people, both public figures and private citizens. I mean.. there is no law against being a loud obnoxious asshole with a penchant for hammy acting. Nor is hawking “dietary supplements” of dubious efficacy a crime in USA- thanks to all that wonderful lobbyist-paid legislation passed in mid-1990s. In other words, Alex Jones is not any worse a human being than many YouTube celebrities I can think of right now. And let us be honest- the “conspiracy theories” he is purveying are no more sane or insane than what you see on TV shows such as Ancient Aliens, in its 13th or 14th season now.

So why have so many LIEbral idiots and presstitutes.. I mean “objective credentialed journalists” gotten their panties in a bunch over a character whose bullshit and scams are as American as they come. And why do they keep on repeating some nonsense about how his online presence is somehow hurtful to the mental and physical well-being of “normal folk”. Are they suggesting that people who peddle crazy shit and hilarious lies should not be allowed a public forum? Because if that is their central argument for deplatforming Alex Jones, they themselves are guilty of far greater crimes with infinitely higher real-world body counts than anything he is even remotely capable of pulling off. And they have doing it for a long.. long time.

Some of you might be aware that public support for wars as old as the Spanish-American War of 1898 was largely created by lies published by state-supported journalists of the day. The same can be said of WW1 and WW2. But since none of us are old enough to remember that, let us start something closer to out time- namely, the role of these “credentialed objective journalist” in pushing the Vietnam war to an ignorant and racist public in its early years. To make a long story short, the vast majority of american journalists (print, radio and TV) kept on selling the war to the american public until the 1968 Tet Offensive made it just too hard to ignore reality.

But until then these CONartists.. I mean “honest objective journalists” had no problem reprinting press releases from the american government as news and publishing pretty much any other bullshit in order to demonstrate their loyalty to the system. It might come as a shock to some people now, but there was once a time when Americans volunteered for the Vietnam war- partly under the assumption that they were going to win it, based on the lies and bullshit spewed out by mainstream journalists of that era. Of course, things got real once it became hard to hide the increasing number of body bags and crippled soldiers coming back to USA.

So should all the journalists of that era who willingly and enthusiastically lied for the american government be held responsible for the unnecessary loss of life on the American and Vietnamese side? How many of those who wrote glowing articles about American intervention in Vietnam prior to the Tet offensive lost their jobs because of knowingly publishing lies and bullshit? What about NONE! But why stop there.. Remember the lies published by those “objective professional journalists” to help convince the american public of the need for first Gulf War in 1991? Or what about enthusiastically spreading lies about presence of WMDs in Iraq to justify the failed occupation of Iraq in 2003. Did any journalist lose their job over publishing government-sanctioned lies? Heck.. many of them still write in NYT, WP and appear on cable news.

If you support deplatforming Alex Jones because of some negligible real-life harm people who listen to his shows may have done, how can you justify the continued ability of those who cheerlead disastrous wars such the Vietnam War, Afghanistan War and Iraq Occupation to still have careers in journalism? Aren’t american journalist responsible for tens of thousands of american soldiers who got killed or crippled by those senseless conflicts? What about the millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians who died during Vietnam war? What about hundreds of thousands who died due to conditions created by war in Afghanistan and failed Iraq Occupation?

If you believe that some mentally unstable idiot who listed to Alex Jones show and then went with a semi-auto rifle to a Pizzeria in DC is sufficient for Alex Jones to be deplatformed, how can you justify the continued ability of the vast majority of journalist in USA who work for corporate news outlets to still have a job? If you think Alex Jones allegedly doxing parents of kids who were killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting is bad enough for him to be deplatformed, what do you think about all those mainstream journalists whose carelessness over the years has resulted in torture, imprisonment and death of their sources? Face it.. “credentialed objective journalists” who work for corporate news outlets in USA have been responsible for crimes that are thousands of times more horrendous than anything Alex Jones is accused of.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Jingoistic Delusions of Arstechnica Fanboys about SpaceX: 1

July 11, 2018 7 comments

As regular readers know, my longer posts are usually about large-scale trends, systemic issues and other ‘meta’ phenomena. This one is about something far more specific and kinda obscure. However, as you will see, it does eventually connect with a few meta- trends. So what is it about, anyway? Well.. I am going to cast the harsh light of reality onto absurd and delusional fanboy-ism displayed by “journalists” at technology oriented websites (especially ArsTechnica) towards SpaceX and Elon Musk.

In case you require a quick refresher, here are a couple of links to my previous posts on SpaceX (link 1, link 2). Also, as many of you know, my cynicism about Elon Musk is largely due to the outrageous claims mabe by him about future of his enterprises as well as his P.T. Barnum-esque PR efforts. As I have said before, the dreams of endless profits, market monopolization and “disruption” which he is selling to rubes are also darkly funny. But enough about him, let us talk about his fanboys (paid or otherwise) in american “journalism”.

To understand what I am talking about, have a look at some of the fanboy-type articles posted on ArsTechnica about SpaceX. While I am no stranger to the concept of “journalists” promoting and pimping whatever product or ideology their corporate masters require of them, the sheer amount and degree of magical thinking, fake positivity and informercial-level promotion of SpaceX by alleged “journalists” working at ArsTechnica is reminiscent of supermarket tabloids (the ones only old people seem to read nowadays).

Some of this “journalistic” booster-ism is extreme enough to become unintentional parody (example 1, example 2). The articles which pissed me off, and were the reason for writing this post, concern their willingness to lie about the space programs of other countries- often displaying no understanding of the geo-political and historical considerations underlying the funding of national space programs. While ArsTechnica “journalists” (metaphorically) sucking Elon Musk’s dick might be “normal”, lying and making up bullshit to massage the delusions of its more jingoistic readers is a bit too much.

A few recent articles such as ones about the “inevitable collapse” of the Russian space program and its future prospects are particularly illustrative of what passes for “journalism at ArsTechnica. Let us first talk about their “journalistic” posts about the Proton launcher- which for many years was a cheap, if inherently problematic, commercial launcher. For example- if you read this piece of propagandist bullshit without knowing enough of the background, you might be led to believe that there was something newly wrong with the Proton launcher system. Unfortunately for the presstitutes at ArsTechnica, the reality is quite different. On a side note, feel free to browse some of their other recycled jingoistic posts which pass for “journalism” at ArsTechnica.

The Proton launcher family was always the red-headed stepchild of Russian space program. To make a long story short- the fact that it used hypergolic fuels and was promoted by Vladimir Chelomei, made it particular unpopular with Sergei Korolev and his faithful proteges. In fact, it would never have been developed if Korolev had not died in 1968. Well.. he died unexpectedly and Chelomei ensured that it got developed. And yes, it had tons of teething problems and failures in its early years. Eventually they were able to make it work reliably. But there is more..

The two main reasons USSR did not develop a RP-1/LOX equivalent of the Proton was because the later was cheap to manufacture and quite reliable after 1972. So there was no point in spending more money to develop, test and validate yet another new launcher system which was not significantly better or cheaper than the Proton. It also helped that the launch sites used by the Proton were situated in regions where an occasional catastrophic failure was not a big deal. Why fix something that is not broken?

Anyway.. after the dissolution of USSR and commercialization of space launch facilities by Russia, it became a fairly popular launcher because it was reliable enough and cheaper than equivalent Ariane launchers. FYI- Commercial launches by Boeing and others in USA had been almost dead since mid-1980s because of their exorbitant prices. So Russia just kept on cranking out more launchers inspite of many looming problems, especially Kazakhstan’s increasing reluctance to let them keep using the Baikonur launch site.

To make matters worse, they made the decision to transition from Proton to Angara launchers without first properly developing and validating the later system. To make a long story short, poor management (and graft) by those in charge of the Angara program in combination with mismanagement (and graft) of those in charge of the now deprecated Proton program predictably caused issues with reliability and costs of the later. Furthermore, Chinese rockets were already competing with the Proton for low-end of the launch market. The entry of SpaceX in the launch market merely sped up the process.

To quickly summarize this part, the Proton launcher family is Russia’s equivalent of the Titan III rocket family. In other words, good and important enough to last far beyond when it was meant to be replaced, but always fundamentally problematic. To claim that issues relating to half-hearted attempts at winding down its production and replacing it with Angara are somehow different from similar delays and screw-ups experienced by USA while transitioning from Delta-2 and Titan III to Delta-4 and Atlas-5 is intellectually dishonest.

And this brings me to another bullshit story being peddled by the presstitues at Arstechnica. As I briefly mentioned earlier, they are trying to push the claim that Russia somehow lacks the money and will to keep funding its space program. I see this one as an index example of how many jingoistic americans are incapable of thinking in addition to being severely deficient in their knowledge of history. The development and funding of pace launch systems, you see, have always been primarily about strategic prerogatives- not “free market” bullshit.

The development of space launchers by USSR (now Russia), USA, EU, China and India is largely driven by considerations such as maintaining and developing technological capabilities, employing their own people, developing related industrial sectors and nationalistic pride. I cannot think of any space program which has consistently turned a “profit”. And for good reason.. capability in projects and programs related to national security and strategic capability is far more valuable that any arbitrary monetary value.

To put it another way, no large country with any degree of strategic independence is going to shut down its space program and outsource it to SpaceX. And they all have far deeper pockets and infinitely more staying power that SpaceX. It is also worth mentioning that almost everything developed by Russian space program in the past has been about strategic considerations and national pride. I should also mention that in the 1990s, many “respectable” western news outlets were full of endless stories about how Russia would lose ability to make nuclear weapons, ICBMs, nuclear submarines, would be invaded from east by China etc.

So what happened since then in the real world? Well.. it turns out that it was USA which got involved in and lost wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria. It was USA that got de-industrialized through “free trade agreements” and now has serious problems fielding reliable next-generation military aircraft and aircraft carriers. It is people in USA who keep on getting screwed over by rapidly rising costs in the education, health and housing sector. It is USA that is now experiencing record low fertility rates in native-born women and a rapidly increasing number of deaths from drug overdoses, alcoholism and deferred medical care. It is cops in USA who now behave like their power-crazed versions in other countries were supposed to behave.

To put it another way, it is the USA (not the rest of the world) which is now in terminal decline. And this brings us to the issue of who is the real audience for this laughable propaganda and fanboy-ism from american technology “journalism”. Spoiler: It is meant for an American (and perhaps British) audience, who might be delusional and desperate enough to believe that ‘their team is still winning’. The thing is.. most people in countries which matter haven’t believed in anything coming from western (mostly american) “news” outlets for over a couple of decades- at the very least.

In the next post of this short series, I will focus on how “journalists” at ArsTechnica and other american “news” outlets write about other countries.

What do you think? Comments?