Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"Rev." Jesse Jackson's Cotton Picking Advice on Taking A Knee

Jessie Jackson on the NFL Taking The Knee to Protest Donald Trump

Perhaps Jesse Jackson should remember that the First Amendment refers to the government making laws against the free exercise of speech. Private entities, such as a professional football team, can restrict or fine speech and behavior by their employees. Hence, the NFL's Take The Knee moment does not apply, notwithstanding President Trump's blue collar blurtation about "Sons of Bitches" who do not respect the flag or the National Anthem. 

Despite "Rev." Jackson's assertion that the Take The Knee protest is not about race, he uses a Cotton Picking analogy, which would be a micro-aggression if it was uttered by someone else.

Jackson's suggestion again demonstrates that he is more inclined to organize political factions than organizing a church much less evangelizing the Gospel.

UPDATE 10/23/2017

A month after first making his controversial "cotton picking" sports analogy, Jesse Jackson was still trying to make hay over the controversy on Fox Sports F1.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ellen De Generes on Donald Trump

Ellen De Generes tells Megyn Kelly that she would not have President Donald Trump on The Ellen Show

One can understand why a partisan might be chary about giving a political foe a platform. However, De Generes cited dangers which she feels as a homosexually oriented woman. It might have been educational for her to chat with Mr. Trump, as he has been the most friendly national Republican ever to the LGBTQQ? community, so her feelings of being in danger may well be chimeras. 

Steven Wright on Nature

Steven Wright on Nature

Monday, September 18, 2017

GAB Faces Big Fat Dilemma Balancing Free Speech and Censorship

Milo Yiannopoulos on the cyber censorship of GAB by internet overlords

Of late, there has been a growing realization that our internet overlords are controlling the public square.  In 2016, Facebook faced some consternation when the social media giant's curation of news in the sidebar consistently slighted conservative news stories.  Twitter took to banning some who defied the politically correct weltenanschauung that our cyber elites favor in their posts.  Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for posting  alt-right opinions while similar sort of liberal content continued unabated.  It is not uncommon for conservative sites to experience shadow-blocking, which covertly thwarts wider dissemination of posts through censoring algorithms. Platforms can summarily block access based on anonymous, spurious complaints, and due to the Star Chamber handling of such charges, it is almost impossible to protest much less redress any alleged issues.

To counter efforts of cyber-censorship, Andrew Torba et ali. created GAB during the summer of 2016.  As a social media platform, GAB exhorted users to #SpeakFreely and vowed not to censor posts unless it advocated violence or child pornography which was against laws.

As a start up, GAB not only faced typical challenges of funding and creating a market, but faced difficulties from a politically correct driven cyber community. GAB encountered tremendous difficulties from Apple to have a i-phone mobile app approved because of the Speak Freely philosophy.  Even after GAB successfully developed and started distributing an Android mobile app, there are concerns that the GAB appl will be removed from the Play Store because users might post objectionable contention on GAB's platform.

Alas, it is not only technology giants who are exerting their power as internet overlords.  The latest controversy involves a fat meme posted from a neo nazi (who has been banned from other sites and platforms).  Torba politely responded to the post that it was a violation of the Terms of Service and asked that it be taken down.  This uncharacteristic action roiled users who wrapped themselves around the mantra of #SpeakFreely.

Torba later clarified that Asia Registry, demanded that the post be banned or else GAB's registry would be revoked. The GAB leadership is currently scrambling to address the issue.

It is ironic that a fat joke would be used as the linchpin to destroy GAB, however that is the cause celebre which is being exploited by small time internet player Asia Registry, but they have the power.  Yet is mirrors the other tech giants efforts to obstruct alternatives to their virtual monopolies by using politically correct Trojan Horses.

In an age in which alleged micro-agressions, such as a Hobby Lobby customer is triggered by the "racist" notion of using cotton flowers in a vase, that the left countenances bilious blurtations when it tracks the progressive agenda of the moment. Such in loco parentis progressive sensibilities prompted a Zerohedge pundit to wonder if Internet behemoths are acting as colonial powers.

UPDATE: September 19, 2017

GAB was successful in finding other registrar for the domain which would not play games with them.

Thomas Paine on Freedom

Thomas Paine on Freedom

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ronald Reagan on the Constitution

Ronald Reagan on the Constitution during his Farewell Address

President Ronald Reagan invoked the special character of the American Constitution during his Farewell Address in 1989.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Anthony Bourdain would have No Reservation about Serving Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump Hemlock

Anthony Bourdain quips that he would poison a catered North Korean summit with President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un

During an impromptu interview at Los Angeles Airport, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain served up some hot quotes about international affairs.

Bourdain's current television series Parts Unknown, is a travelogue premised on food prowess with CNN's sensibilities on the world. 

The independent journalist asked Bourdain if he would do a show based on North Korea.  Bourdain opined that such a show would not work because the North Korean regime would control what is shown and North Korea is really prone to famine under the Kim communist dynasty. 

The interviewer then asked how Bourdain would cater a hypothetical North Korean-US summit. 

In such an unlikely event, it would be advised to avoid using the ketchup with that well done steak. 

Rod Blagojevich on Jurisdictions

Ex Illinois Governor and convicted felon Rod Blagojevich on Jurisdiction

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Stevie Wonder's Vision About Climate Change Deniers at Hand in Hand Telethon

Stevie Wonder disses climate change deniers during Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon

Hand in Hand was a charity telethon that was simultaneously broadcasted on all major networks in the aftermath of Category 4 Hurricane Harvey in Texas in late August 2017.  The mission should have been to raise money for the victims of the flooding and wind damage.  Instead, celebutards treated it as a time to raise consciences.

The telethon led off with an appearance by Motown wunderkind Stevie Wonder who chided anyone who denied climate change as being blind and unintelligent.

Despite his adherence to the liberal shibboleth on climate change, was Wonder talking about himself?

During the Hand in Hand telethon, Canadian hip hop artist Drake addressed viewers as if they were zombie-like automatons, instructing how the elite echelon's want their subjects to act on politicized environmental issues.

In the first twenty four hours, Hand in Hand allegedly was able to raise $44 million, including a $5 million donation by Apple in a seemingly quid pro quo free ad.

While it is noble to try to raise monies for victims of natural disasters, it is foolish to polemicize them or to shift the focus to liberal non-sequitur environmental conclusions. But this presupposes that the purpose was to raise money for victims, rather than Hollywood virtue signaling.  Perhaps the telethon should be better know as Foot in Mouth. 

Of course, politicizing charity telethons is nothing new for celebutards. Consider how  Kanye West claimed that President George Bush doesn't care about black people after the Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005. 

George Bernard Shaw on Knowledge

George Bearnd Shaw on Ideas

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On Celebrity Candidates and Whether Stephen King is It for Maine’s Governor

Ex Maine Gov. John Balducci renews Draft Stephen King campaign

Recently, former Governor John Baldacci (D-ME) has revived an effort to draft home state author extraordinaire Stephen King to run for the top post in Maine.  Aside from King’s celebrity status, the best-selling author has running grudge with the incumbent Governor Paul LePage concerning a quip that the writer left the state to avoid income taxes.  Even though King issued a Shermanesque denial of candidacy in March 2017, Democrat partisans still are seeking to draft him for Governor in 2018..

There have been some successes in celebrities turned into politicians. Obviously, President Donald Trump (R-NY) gained fame by parlaying his realty mogul status into a starring role in The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice before successfully running for the White House in 2016.  

President Ronald Reagan (R-CA) was a “B” movie star in the 1950s and corporate spokesman in the 1960s and was elected President for two terms in 1980. 

While both Reagan and Trump got a leg up from their celebrity status both in name recognition and fundraising potential, they were outsider candidates who rallied on reformist political platforms. Reagan espoused a Western brand of conservatism, which sought to cut the size and scope of government and live up to constitutional principles.  Trump identifies more with nationalist populism and an impetus to “drain the swamp” between the beltways to “Make America Great Again”.  Reagan was more committed to a conservative philosophy than Trump seems to adhere to a strict ideology, but both challenged their party to go in different directions.  

There have been some other recent cases of celebrity candidates.  Senator Al Franken (D-MN) was a contributor on Saturday Night Live along with having a minor movie and radio career until he won an extremel close three way Senate race in 2008.  Despite his self publicity, it is dubious if Al Franken is a Giant of the Senate (2017), even tongue in cheek.

Minnesota has a knack for electing celebrity politicians as Gov. Jesse Ventura (Reform-MN) was a professional wrestler before winning a three way election in 1998.  But Ventura was an outsider candidate who had several years experience being mayor of a Minneapolis suburb. 

In the recall special election to replace Governor Gray Davis (D-CA), Arnold Schwartznegger (R-CA) won the Governorship of California in 2003 against 134 other candidates. So clearly celebrity status helped in that special election, but star status did not boost all celebrities as Gary Coleman's and porn star Mary Carey's campaigns were for naught.   Schwartznegger served two terms as the "Gubernator".

Music sensation Kid Rock seems to be seriously flirting with running for Senate in Michigan in 2018.  Partisans are taking a Kid Rock candidacy so seriously that the Rev. Al Sharpton sought to have Kid Rock’s concerts inaugurating Little Caesar’s Arena to be cancelled as Sharpton's group vituperatively charged that the singer was dog whistle white supremicist. 

Although they have name advantage, celebrity candidates do not always pan out well. Consider the case of Ashley Judd, who took a leap into partisan politics skewering Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) over abortion during the 2012 Presidential campaign. Judd seriously flirted with running for Senate against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014. But Judd opted against the run after the Democrat establishment made it clear to her that  combination of being inexperienced as well as being too liberal and anti-coal doomed her candidacy.

There have been some sports stars who have parlayed their celebrity status into electoral success, such as Congressman Jack Kemp (R-NY 31st, 38th, 39th), Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK 4th) and Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY).  But all of the aforementioned officials got their start in the House.  

Being in the media also has launched some political careers, such as Congressman J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ 5th) and Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC).  Radio hosts tend to form a bond with their listeners but those on television tend to have more exposure.  The challenge for celebrity candidates is to connect with voters by compelling keeping on message and guarding against exploitable unscripted moments.  Thus it is easy for Ashley Judd to appear in anti-pro-life ads against Santorum but how does she react when her life is an open book and there is not someone off-stage feeding her lines.  Or in King’s case, he is adept at taking pot shots against his bete-noire LePage but how does he sound on the stump if that is his predominant schtick? King is a good public speaker with a friendly audience but he might sound prickly with unfriendly audiences.

It is uncertain if the 69 year old King will back away from his Shermanesque refusal to run. However, Democrats are concerned about the 2018 cycle. In the Senate, Democrats have 24 of 33 seats up in 2018 with 10 vulnerable incumbents.  In the states, Republican have 34 of 50 governors’ mansions.  

It seems that Democrats see an opportunity to gain another statehouse against a weak incumbent Governor. Gov. LePage has a 47% favorable to 48% unfavorable rating so party insiders might think they could pick up a win with King.  And having a high profile governor, even of a small state, would be useful as the national Democrat leadership fights it out as to who will lead them in the 2020 election.  Along with being cajoled from Maine Democrat movers and shakers to run, King might also be swayed by that old typing exercise: “Now is the time for all good men to come to aid of their party.” 

Stephen Bannon on the Media

Ex Trump Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon on the Media

JFK on Choices

President John F. Kennedy on choosing to go to the Moon

Monday, September 11, 2017

Never Forgetting 9/11 Video

President George W. Bush on 9/11

President George W. Bush on 9/11

Hillary Clinton on Her Political Future

Hillary Clinton on her political future

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dennis Rodman on Relations with North Korea

Sport Diplomat Dennis Rodman on Relations with North Korea

James T. Kirk on Mortality

Star Trek USS Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk on death

James T. Kirk, the quintessential captain from the Enterprise, had a humbling view of his own mortality as we mark Star Trek Day.

But Kirk's brooding bluster  seemed more moved by such celebrations than his successor Cpt. Jean Luc Picard for certain holidays.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Fire Line for The Blaze?

Glenn Beck and a Fire Line for The Blaze TV?
Last week, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze and Mercury Radio Arts announced a 20% cut in staff. Many critics take schadenfreude at this cost cutting moving for the six year old trans-media company.  Beck felt compelled to can his longtime friend Mike Opelka (a.k.a. “Stuntbrain”) who had been hosting during the weekday 12pm-3PM and Saturday morning slot.  Despite the venom spewing from MAGA critics and liberal cynics, this does not spell the end of Beck’s alterative media venture, but is certainly a setback.  As Beck’s platforms undergo an agonizing reappraisal, it is worthwhile to make a Blaze-ing (sic) retrospective of the ventures.

For full discloser, this writer has been a subscriber to GBTB/The Blaze since its inception. While one ought to respect the integrity of Glenn Beck and appreciate his contributions to the media and political landscape, it does not preclude taking a critical eye or thinking for onself on issues.

Glenn Beck started a syndicated national radio program for Premiere Networks (the same group which syndicates Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity).  Beck started with a rodeo clown shock jock reputation. But after the terror attacks on 9/11, he took an increasingly serious interest in current events, albeit with a wry and emotional sensibility.

Beck got into television via a show on Headline News Network (a CNN channel) from January, 2006 to October, 2008.  As President Obama was being inaugurated in 2009, Glenn Beck Program premiered at 5 pm on Fox News.  It was there Beck achieved phenomenal ratings for his non-prime time slot as well as considerable controversy. Beck left Fox News in July, 2009 to start up his streaming television venture GBTV through Mercury Radio Arts which later morphed into “The Blaze TV”.

"Waffle Face" John Kerry
Glenn Beck has not shied away from taking political stands which ruffle feathers and are not in lock step with his supposed side.  Despite prominently promoting “W”’s re-election in 2004 (the John Kerry Waffle Head bit was memorable), Beck seemed to become dissuaded with President Bush after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the confirmation of Beck’s libertarian sensibilities. After President Obama assumed office in 2009, Beck posited that Obama had racist tendencies as displayed by his reactions Henry Louis Gates arrest. During the run up to the wide open Republican Presidential Primaries in the 2016 election, Beck was charry about candidate Donald Trump and the articulation of nationalist politics. This evolved into becoming an anti/never-Trumper which persisted through the General Election. Of course, the stunt in which  Beck and his posse doing Cheetos facials further stoked the ire of many MAGA loyalists.

 One of the major motivation of establishing alternative media platforms was to ensure that an unadulterated message could reach an audience.  While Beck maintains that he left Fox News on good terms (and continued to appear for years on The O’Reilly Factor, Megyn Kelly and Tucker Carlson Tonight), Beck was steered away from focusing on some subjects and encouraged to tone things down on his own show.  Beck worries about the potential of government censorship (e.g. a re-application of “The Fairness Doctrine”) as well as corporate steering of topics.

Orson Welles’ meteoric multi-media career in the 1930s served as an inspiration for Glenn Beck’s multi-valiant media ventures through Mercury Radio Arts, including “GBTV/The Blaze”, “Blaze Radio”, “The Blaze” website, Mercury publishing, stage appearances, films, music and charity.  The streaming television part of the media empire started in 2011 with an eponymous name and anchored by a simulcast of the three hour radio program along with an extended Glenn Beck TV program.  Beck sought to de-emphasize his imprint by assuming the moniker “The Blaze” (a reference to how fire burns to the truth).  A year later, The Blaze Radio began, which featured different radio hosts (beginning with Doc Thompson and Jay Severin, later Buck Sexton, Mike Opelka and Chris Salcedo).  There are also several regular radio shows which are available for podcast.

The Blaze TV was one of the first successful paid streaming television ventures, using MLB Advanced Media technology for a great picture, whether on a mobile device or a large screen HDTV. While NewsMax and One America Network have made strides in cable carriage, arguably neither have made a major media impact.  Ventures like PJTV and SarahPalinChannel have withered and died, failing to monetize ideological video on the web.  But CRTV venture seems much stronger than PJTV, including the originator Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin and Stephen Crowder.

Glenn Beck has proven to have a good eye in spotting and developing media talent. The Blaze TV’s first hire was Amy Holmes. Beck developed Buck Sexton into an accomplished radio host and television commentator (though Sexton’s TV simulcast was short lived).  A Dana Loesch producer Lawrence Jones was lifted to the media spotlight and given his own radio show, along with commentator appearances on other networks. And The Blaze TV gave then 23 year old Tomi Lerhen her own show, in which she catapulted into the conservative commentator stratosphere, until she was terminated for being inconsistent about her so called conservative views favoring abortion.

The Blaze TV has mainly relied upon a subscription internet model, although it is also available as a premium channel on Dish TV satellite and Verizon’s FIOS cable.  Mercury Radio Arts made serious enquiries about buying Current TV (Al Gore’s channel)  in 2013 and was rumored to buy its successor Al Jazeera America, the latter which Glenn Beck vehemently denied.

The Blaze TV was based in Dallas, Texas but the Real News roundtable and later Buck Sexton’s radio/TV show was produced in Manhattan. The Blaze also had an office in Washington, DC.

As a media venture The Blaze TV is challenged by limited conventional carriage issues. During the kerfluffle on fairness in presenting the 2016 Republican debates, The Blaze TV made a strong pitch to host a GOP debate . Obviously, the move was intended to attract attention and prospectively earn wider cable carriage. But this did not happen, which may have in part been due to the never-Trump reputation of Glenn Beck and the networks.

As for “The Blaze Radio”, the programming mainly has been distributed as live streaming as well as via podcasts (e.g. I-Tunes, Stitcher et ali) and I-Heart Radio (Clear Channel). There was a still born endeavor, which The Blaze Radio would have channels with regional news/traffic focus (e.g. Philadelphia), but that was a short term one off. As Buck Sexton went off to his own syndicated show, The Blaze Radio adapted and started to carry his early evening show live.

 For four years, The Blaze Radio had its own channel on Sirius/XM, which was eventually demoted to a streaming sub channel before it was terminated in 2017).  For several years, The Blaze Radio provided top of the hour news updates for a couple of Sirius/XM talk channels.  The Blaze website was intended to be a center for up to date news, which would feature positive takes on faith and some feel good stories. The website has not been as successful as Breitbart and developed a poor reputation of appearing cluttered and simply “click bait”.

Although Beck has strived not to make his media ventures, his shadow looms large on the various ventures.  The original concept for his TV show was to eventually involve viewer interactivity, in which a viewer could pause a program to search prior shows about unfamiliar concepts before returning.  Alas that is an idea which Beck is again slightly ahead of the curve. Starting out, GBTV/The Blaze was intended to be a streaming TV netlet with a strong news emphasis (such as the nightly one hour Real News), investigative journalism (For the Record), wholesome afternoon kids show (Liberty Treehouse), simulcast of Beck’s radio program and his extended TV program along with original entertainment shows (Independence USA).

Obviously, some media concepts fall flat, such as a survivalist reality TV show.  Other programs like afternoon educational kids programming reveal there is a small market.  And then there’s the gorilla in the room, the costly nature of producing quality news programs.  That being said, a fair portion of upheaval in programming comes from shifts in The Blaze driving force’s priorities.

Beck knew that it was costly to produce quality news, but wanted to be recognized as a legitimate news network. When the nightly news round table folded, The Blaze TV went to great lengths to produce investigative journalism.  But those shows seemed to have abruptly ended.

Another impetus of The Blaze has been to educate the audience.  While on Fox News, Founder’s Friday proved to be wildly popular.  Beck sought to replicate that last season with a twice weekly “The Vault” (showing history artifacts while telling the story) and “HIStory” (an extended historical bio show). In addition, Beck produced cross platform serial segments on history. But that programming seemed abandoned mid season.

Beck has shilly shallied from being a conservative political activist to a libertarian contrarian and now seems despondent at the course of current events. In the 2016 election cycle, The Blaze Radio hosted commentary shows after many of the Presidential debates. As mentioned, Mercury Radio Arts wanted to fairly host a GOP debate in Dallas.  Judging from Beck’s current commentary, he seems to want to guide the network away from partisan bickering where you can find everywhere else in the media. That is wise, but apparently educational news that you can use or extended format history segments are not profitable for The Blaze.

The current layoffs were not the first significant downsizing with The Blaze ventures. In 2016, Mercury Radio Arts laid off 40 people and shuttered their New York City and DC offices. Beck rued the bloat in which he felt was becoming a money pit that was out of control. Beck also wanted to revamp The Blaze website, that he regrets had just become “click-bait”

Glenn Beck's Man on the Moon (2013)
While it is foolish to believe that everyone employed at The Blaze are Beck’s automatons, Beck does exert an extraordinary influence the direction of the venture. The Blaze seems to have backed off on small enterprise live spot advertising (aside from the self owned realty group). . Moreover, there has been a de-emphasis on 1791 clothing, music, publishing. And there has been a lack of live shows, whether they are comedy tours, artistic events (like Man on the Moon in 2013) and public affairs gatherings (e.g. Restoring Honor, Restoring Love). Perhaps these ventures took away from Mercury Radio Arts core competencies or were too difficult to do well, but these changes reflect Beck’s constantly shifting priorities.

The Blaze TV’s programming has seen several shifts: 1) full service streaming netlet 2) educational news you can use 3) supplementing personal conservatarian activism 4) current events source 5) less partisan programming featuring radio simulcasts. These constant shifts hurt network branding and positioning.

Some of the programming choices seem like friendly personal predilections, such as “The Wonderful World of Stu” and "Pat and Stu".  It will be interesting to see if Pat Gray can live up to his billing of being a crack radio host on his own during mid-day radio prime time.  In mid-September, Mercury Radio Arts is conducting an all-hands-on-deck meeting which, in the interests of opacity, will be released in a podcast, to flesh out the direction of the networks.

Glenn Beck is convinced that media is at a pivot point and that traditional networks are a dying breed of media dinosaurs. As predicted in 2011, The Blaze has been ahead of the media curve and was wise to employ a multi-media and trans media approach to find out what works. Despite alienating some Trump-eteers and mockery from the mainstream media, Beck has developed a loyal audience for his streaming network. The Blaze's mission statement is to "change the world for the better". But increasing those eyeballs requires integrity and a sustained vision. The latter quality may mark a fire line for The Blaze in setting the world on fire with truth in order to make the world better.