Categories
General Justice

The Christian Non-Charities

By embracing Donald Trump, it is now clear that evangelical Christian churches in the U.S. are not charities.  Their primary purpose is to rally support for self-centred, self-aggrandizing Republican politicians and provide opportunities for photographs of themselves with the President in the Oval Office.

They no longer– if they ever did– have a “charitable” purpose.

The question is, does Christianity itself have a charitable purpose?  You might argue that genuine believers still have a real spiritual commitment to the words and ministry of Jesus Christ.  I would point out that that is exactly what the church continues to claim while they really support Donald Trump.  It is what they claimed all along.  Now we know the truth: they never meant any of it.   Not the “blessed are the meek” or “thou shalt not commit adultery” or the imprecations to treat kindly widows and orphans, and, especially, the “strangers at your gate”.   Read through this list and consider Trump’s policies toward migrants.

The evidence is overwhelming: it is a lie, plain and simple.

There is almost nothing in any Trump policy that could legitimately be said to be charitable or spiritual or religious.   He promotes guns.  He promotes abuse of the environment.  He promotes ignorance and irresponsibility.  He is a pathological, chronic liar.  Yes, he appoints anti-abortion judges, but that is a patriarchal interest, not a genuinely Christian one– because the only time Christians assert that they are pro-life, is when it comes to the consequences of sex, and only while it is still in the womb.  As far as war or guns or the military or capital punishment goes, they are enthusiastically pro-death.

When it comes to defending soldiers accused of war crimes, they spare no effort to pardon them, even if they murdered prisoners in cold blood.

The Constitution clearly forbids any effort by the State to “establish” a religion.  By granting charitable status to churches affiliated with the church of  Trump, the IRS is complicit with violations of the relevant statues.

Categories
General

Boris Johnson and Pete Buttigieg

After the UK election, if I had to put money down right now on who will be the Democratic nominee, I think it would be on Pete Buttigieg. I think Warren is too much like Jeremy Corbin; she’s toast, Biden is out of touch, and Bloomberg looks too much like he’s trying to buy the nomination– he should have got in at the start. Sanders is a bit of a wild card: he doesn’t really remind me of Corbin, and there’s a market for his style of outrage right now– I wouldn’t write him off yet. (He probably would have won if he had been the nominee in 2016.) Amy Klobuchar will make a fine VP. Andrew Yang is the most fun to watch. Why can’t America find it’s own Nicole Sturgeon or Sanna Marin or Jacinda Ardern?

Categories
Film General Music Technology

No Comment: Copyright

I was going to comment about this book on copyright.

I do want the book cited.  The writer– himself gifted in language– strongly recommends the book.

I have been interested in copyright issues for a long time, but especially since the late 1990’s when I was convinced that the music industry had disastrously misjudged the technological landscape and invested all of their strategies into trying to kill online access to music and videos.  It was Apple who first realized that it really wasn’t about the money.  The typical down-loader spent far more on buying records and CDs than the average non-downloading citizen did.  It wasn’t that millions of users were so eager to obtain music and video without paying for it: the truth was they just wanted access.  They wanted to be able to find a recording or movie they liked and listen to it or watch it without having to go to a physical store and place an order and wait– forever– for some distributor to finally acknowledge their preference and ship it to them.

Apple charged people for every download, and, astonishingly, people bought it.

We have a reached a point now where I believe the sale of actual music or video files is no longer the salient point.  The point is eyeballs, email accounts, registrations– whatever attracts the user to the website, to the click-throughs, the data.  The question content owners are going to ask is not “did you pay for the song” but “do you have an account?”.  Can we sell your eyeballs?  Can we hit you up with ads?  Can we spy on you?

The second thing that has become apparent is that, in spite of what the industry keeps telling us, the artist is not getting paid.  The average amount an artist was paid for an album sale in the 1970’s was about $1.  The average amount he receives for a download from iTunes or Spotify is too small to measure.

Who is getting the money?

Spotify and Apple and their cohorts.

 

 

 

Categories
Film General Music Politics

You Bad, Bad Person, Ani Difranco

In 2017, the progressive singer-songwriter Ani Difranco announced that she was holding a retreat at an antebellum estate in Louisiana.  Sharp-eyed witch-hunters immediately dug up the history of the mansion: turns out it had existed during the time of slavery and was occupied by slave-owners, much like most of Louisiana.

DiFranco’s choice of venue for the retreat was called “a very blatant display of racism” on a petition at Change.org that collected more than 2,600 signatures.[81]

On December 29, 2013, DiFranco issued an apology, announcing that she was cancelling the retreat, stating that

i am not unaware of the mechanism of white privilege or the fact that i need to listen more than talk when it comes to issues of race. if nottoway is simply not an acceptable place for me to go and try to do my work in the eyes of many, then let me just concede before more divisive words are spilled. …

i think many positive and life-affirming connections would have been made at this conference, in all of its complexity of design. i do not wish to reinvent the righteous retreat at this point to eliminate the stay at the Nottoway Plantation.

at this point I wish only to cancel.[82]

The singer’s statements were called “remarkably unapologetic” on Jezebel,[73][76] and “a variety of excuses and justifications” by Ebony.[78] Additionally, a piece at The Guardian said the announcement made “much of the idea that this was all a mistake, with no indication of remorse.”[80]

DiFranco issued a second statement and apology on January 2, 2014, following continued criticism. In it, she wrote “… i would like to say i am sincerely sorry. it is obvious to me now that you were right – all those who said we can’t in good conscience go to that place and support it or look past for one moment what it deeply represents. i needed a wake up call and you gave it to me.”[83]  From Wikipedia

The only thing more disgusting than the self-righteous denunciations of an artist who has been unfailingly consistently enthusiastically progressive all of her life is the craven apology she issued.

In other words,

…yet by the end of the film, Charlie hasn’t been forced to acknowledge his neglect as a husband or father.  [From an attempt to cancel the film “Marriage Story”.  Sorry– I forget the source.]

All while Nicole has never even been asked to admit that she took advantage of Charlie’s New York credibility to enhance her own standing as a “serious” actress (who wants to move to LA to star in a sitcom).