Social Media – Good or Bad?

When the internet — and then social media — got popular I was convinced it would make the world better.

Better informed.

The poor and powerless would have a voice. A blog. A podcast.

Seems I was wrong. 

Social media was supposed to be the ultimate free speech platform, a place where the world would come together to swap information and share opinions. It would be the battleground of ideas. …

Twitter has become a playground for bots and trolls. Facebook is filled with misinformation, a place where foreign governments can set up groups to spread fake news. …

At the same time, users have retreated into their own bubbles. …

Social Media has had its Day

 

Joker

  1. Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant. He certainly deserves the Academy Award for Best Actor.
  2. The theme of economic inequality is important in 2020. It will be one of the big issues of the next 10 years.
  3. Joker is a story of mental illness. A cautionary tale warning us to provide better health care or the worst can happen.
  4. It will be studied by film students for decades alongside Taxi Driver. I thought the cinematography superb. Robert De Niro perfect casting.

Joker .. was inspired by 1970s character studies and the films of Martin Scorsese (particularly Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy) …

The film polarized critics; while Phoenix’s performance, the musical score, cinematography and production values were praised, the dark tone, portrayal of mental illness, and handling of violence divided responses. … (68% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Joker has grossed over $1 billion, making it the first R-rated film to do so …

… the most profitable film based on a comic book …

Phoenix is interested in doing a sequel.

 

 

 

COMPETITION improves the world

Corporations want to be monopolies. Then raise prices as high as they want.

Consumers want competition.

Sadly there’s LESS competition today than in the past. At this rate Amazon will have all the money.

  • Four have 70% of airline flights. (hat tip: The Economist)
  • Four companies control 66% of U.S. hogs slaughtered in 2015, 85% of the steer, and half the chickens. (h/t Open Markets Institute)
  • Four companies control 85% of U.S. corn seed sales, up from 60% in 2000.
  • Three companies control about 80% of mobile telecoms.

Axios

I MIGHT support governments breaking up some of the largest corporations, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

With a rating of 4.36 / 5.00 on GoodReads, this book is popular. And depressing.

My takeaways:

  • Stop worrying about Russia. It’s the richest of the rich deciding American politics.
  • Charles and David Koch started as Libertarians. In fact, David ran in 1980 as candidate for Vice President for the Libertarian Party. In recent decades everything the Kochs do is to enrich themselves. #FollowTheMoney

  • The Kochs will cheat, lie, steal, intimidate to enrich themselves. The GOP are merely a means to an end.
  • The Kochs are good businessmen, employing many. For all the hundreds of millions they’ve spent, mostly on Republicans, they’ve made more back on legislation enriching the richest of the rich.
  • The 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made the situation much worse.
  • Because their business is mostly Petrotoxins, the Kochs are keenest on preventing action on climate change.
  • Currently Americans for Prosperity is the main Koch lobbyist.
  • The E.P.A. identified Koch Industries in 2012 as the single biggest producer of toxic waste in the United States.

The U.S. political system is a fail, I’d say.

40% think Trump is doing a good job. A majority of those, I’m guessing, believe what they hear on FOX News and right wing radio.

Americans so easily misled deserve worse education, worse health care, medical bankruptcy, etc. … There’s no helping people like that.

I keep thinking American voters will figure out the richest of the rich are taking too much money. They don’t

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016) is a non-fiction book written by the American investigative journalist Jane Mayer, about a network of extremely wealthy conservative republicans, foremost among them Charles and David Koch, who have together funded an array of organizations that work in tandem to influence academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and the American presidency for their own benefit.

Mayer particularly discusses the Koch family and their political activities, along with Richard Mellon Scaife and John M. Olin and the DeVos and Coors families.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Jane Meredith Mayer is an American investigative journalist who has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1995. …

In 2016, Doubleday published Mayer’s fourth book, Dark Money, which became an instant national best-seller, and the New York Times named it one of the ten best books of the year. …

Mayer revealed that approximately six investigators, led by former New York Police Chief Howard Safir, had been hired by the industrialist Koch brothers in an effort to try to dig up dirt in order to smear her reputation, and that accusations of plagiarism had been leveled at her. She responded by publicly airing those tactics of intimidation, effectively debunking the smear campaign.

 

7 days of Heroin

Cincinnati, Ohio.

July 10-16, 2017

18 deaths. At least 180 overdoses. A typical week. ☹️

We have to do everything we can to reduce the number of people addicted to hard drugs. Prescription painkillers should be limited.

Read the story. Watch the video on USA Today. It’s shocking.

Trump’s bungled the Drug Czar portfolio as he’s bungled so many things. I think it’s Jim Carroll in charge, right now.

American politics went batshit crazy starting with Newt Gingrich

I ignored American politics until 2004 when — inexplicably — George W. Bush was elected for a second term after being unbelievably bad in his first term.

What the Hell was going on?

Jim VandeHei explains why the USA has such extreme politics in 2017: Newt GingrichFox News (1996), MSNBC, CNN, Facebook and later Twitter, Sarah Palin and finally Trump.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert documented the idiocy.

It’s easy to say Americans deserve the politicians they have.

My fear is that other nations will evolve in the direction of the American way. 😦