Friday, June 22, 2018

What happened to The Young Turks?

The Young Turks is a long-time YouTube channel run by a relatively well-funded organization, with relatively high production values, that concentrates on sociopolitical commentary and discussion, usually with regards to what's happening in the United States, but also the world in general. A talk show, essentially, that discusses sociopolitical topics and current events.

Years ago I used to watch many of their videos. While they have always been a bit left-leaning, they seldom were overtly and obnoxiously so, and on the contrary seemed to have quite a healthy approach at their sociopolitical commentary, when dealing with stories, in that most of the time they seemed to always see both (or all) sides of the issue, if there were different opinions. If, for example, there were two parties involved in some story, with differing views, The Young Turks would discuss both views and give them consideration, even if one of the sides was more clearly in the wrong. They would nevertheless explain and acknowledge both sides, and give them due credit. Usually, if there was any ambiguity in which side was true, they would acknowledge the valid points of both sides, even if they would give their personal opinion on which side they thought was on the right side.

In other words, they used to have journalistic integrity and intellectual honesty, and often engaged in the most charitable interpretation of events and claims. Not always, even back then, but most of the time. The reason why this channel was so good, among the myriads of other similar channels, was that they usually presented these stories and events very clearly and understandably, and in an interesting manner.

Then Donald Trump was elected the president of the United States, and the Trump Derangement Syndrome hit The Young Turks really, really hard. At least one of the presenters could pretty much be described as having suffered a complete emotional breakdown, as she went completely crazy in many of their episodes, lashing out against people, especially women, who voted for Trump, and declaring how much better she is than them, and raving almost like a lunatic.

None of the other hosts of the show have fared much better. They are all in the same anti-Trump bandwagon.

During the last year-and-half that the Trump presidency has lasted, the channel has only become worse and worse, and the channel has literally become an outright anti-Trump propaganda channel.

Yes, literally. I'm not exaggerating, or using that term figuratively or in a derogatory manner.

The channel is currently publishing pure propaganda pieces against the Trump administration, and riling people up against it, calling for action, very concretely. These propaganda pieces are extremely deceitful, taking small snippets of news stories, videos and quotes out of context and making all kinds of distorted and outright false claims about them. They are literally, directly and extremely explicitly comparing the Trump administration and its actions to Nazi Germany. They are not just alluding it, or making vague insinuating comparisons, but very direct and open comparisons. And they are literally and directly calling people to action, to engage in activism. One particular such video was so direct and blatant about this that it could very well have been an antifa recruitment video (and given the manner in which the presenter was speaking, I wouldn't actually be surprised if he were an antifa member and active in their protest campaigns.)

As an example of this deceitful propaganda, they have taken small snippets of videos of detention centers, where illegal immigrants are waiting for their paperwork to be processed, and claimed that children are being held in "cages", because many of these detention centers have wire fences separating different sections, and children who are waiting for their parents (or alleged parents) have been filmed through these fences, giving the impression that they are "caged". Then they took a snippet of a Fox news anchor saying that these children are taken to centers that are like "summer camps". The Young Turks video gives the impression that the Fox news anchor is referring to these "cages" as "summer camps".

What's actually happening is that these children are kept in the detention centers for just a few hours, until their parents (or alleged parents) are processed, and if these parents are detained for longer, eg. days, or there's reason to believe that these people aren't the children's actual parents, the children are then moved to facilities that are indeed more like "summer camps", or daycare centers, with clean rooms with beds, kitchens, dining halls, medical facilities, and so on.

And the thing is, this isn't anything new in the United States. This exact same thing has been going on for decades. During the Obama administration hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants were deported, and this exact same procedure was done then. The same is pretty much true for previous presidents as well. The immigration officers aren't doing nowadays anything different than what they did under Obama and previous presidents.

But the Young Turks video deliberately and very deceitfully, by taking small snippets out of context and making really bold claims, is giving the picture that the Trump administration is separating immigrant children from their parents and keeping them in cages. It even goes so far as to play some sound clips of crying children (completely removed from context, of course), to pull on the heartstrings of the viewers.

And this is by far not the only such propaganda video that The Young Turks has recently released. They have all kinds of videos directly comparing Trump to Hitler, in complete and absolute seriousness. They are seriously painting a picture where the United States is becoming Nazi Germany. In one of these videos they even quoted Trump out of context making it look like he's referring to all immigrants as "animals" (when even the most leftist media in the United States quickly stopped that, as it was completely unambiguous that he was not talking about immigrants, but about the MS-13 criminal gang, which is one of the most vicious and brutal criminal organizations on the planet.)

And these propaganda videos are really effective. People in the comment sections of these videos are believing them wholesale, without the slightest sign of healthy skepticism or independent research and verification of the claims being made.

The Young Turks is, possibly, the worst case of Trump Derangement Syndrome that I have seen so far. They have gone deeper down that rabbit hole than the most infamous news networks like CNN and MSNBC (who are pretty bad in this respect, but not this bad.)

The Young Turks has, in fact, become a pretty dangerous channel. They have become propagandists, activists, and de facto antifa and other similar group recruiters. They are riling up people to action, and they are doing it via distortions, fabrications and lies.

I actually find it a bit incredible how much they have changed. As mentioned at the beginning, they used to have an unusual amount of journalistic integrity and intellectual honesty. Now they have become the worst fake news of all. It's amazing, and in a sense a bit scary.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Is anti-virus software running in the background necessary?

Quite many years ago (like over 15 years ago, back when I was using Windows98 and later WindowsXP) I wasn't very keen on installing and running anti-virus software on my Windows system. Sure, it was nice to have at least some such software which I could perhaps run once in a while to check the system, but I didn't want it running constantly in the background, hogging resources for no good reason. Back in the 90's most anti-virus software was of the kind which you just ran when you wanted, and it would scan the system, and then end. It wouldn't be running constantly in the background. I started detesting the trend of anti-virus software installing themselves in the system and starting themselves at system start-up, and constantly running in the background. It felt too intrusive, and too resource-consuming.

I never got any virus or malware problem. The classical basic safety measures applied quite well: Avoid browsing questionable websites, never install anything from dubious sources, don't use a local email program and instead always read emails remotely... That kind of stuff. It served me well, and I never got any sort of malware infection.

That's true to this day. Luckily I still haven't got any such infection. However, I have changed my mind with regards to the role of anti-virus software.

Actual "classic" computer viruses are actually somewhat of a rarity nowadays. Sure, there still are some of them in the wild. However, they aren't the biggest threat nowadays.

The biggest, and most damaging, threats nowadays are the type of malware that install themselves into the system and do all kinds of nasty stuff, all the way from the most "innocuous" (relatively speaking) but annoying adware that shows adverts or other kinds of messages, on web pages that shouldn't be there, to backdoor software that opens security holes in the system so that hackers can easily connect to your computer and do whatever they want in it (such as using it as a spam server or a DDoS node), all the way up to ransomware which will encrypt your hard drive and demand monetary payment to have it unencrypted. Especially the last case may be especially nasty in that if it gets to do that, there's seldom any way of reversing the encryption, and your only option is to reformat your hard drive completely and re-install Windows from scratch. Even if you don't keep anything of any value in your computer, just the fact that you need to wipe the hard drive and re-install everything can be a huge nuisance and waste of time. It could literally take days to get your system back to about what it was before.

The best anti-virus software out there will protect Windows from this kind of software quite well. Perhaps not absolutely 100% perfectly (because when it comes to computer systems, basically nothing can be protected with 100% certainty), but extremely well nevertheless. Some of these anti-virus software have preventive measures that will stop eg. ransomware from being able to do anything to your system, even if the anti-virus software has no knowledge of that particular ransomware program.

Nowadays it's a risk to surf the internet, or even just be connected to the internet, even if you follow the good old practices (ie. don't browse questionable websites, etc.) You never know when some webpage out there, which might look legit, will try to do something to your system by abusing a security hole in your web browser. You never know if Windows itself may have some kind of security hole that hackers and malware can abuse.

Even the best anti-virus software out there might not be able to protect the system with absolute perfection, from all current and future threats, but even if they "only" protect from 99% of them, that's much better than from none at all.

So yeah, I'll gladly have a good anti-virus program running in the background. It adds a layer of protection that eases my mind.

Unplayed games in my Steam library...

Some people are really stingy when it comes to buying games, even very cheap ones. Others will buy tons of games, especially if they are on sale, or in huge bundles (which may themselves be on sale), and thus amass hundreds and hundreds of games. I suppose I'm somewhere in the middle of these two extremes: I prefer to buy games that are on sale (especially in the case of triple-A games), and sometimes I'll buy big bundles if they are relatively cheap. I have amassed a somewhat "medium-sized" library of games on Steam.

Some people will usually try every single game they purchase immediately, and play a bit of the beginning of each. I suppose that this makes sense from one particular perspective: If for example the game doesn't work, or is otherwise utterly broken (or perhaps it's some kind of asset-flip scam), it can be refunded. Once you have owned the game for over 2 weeks, that option will become unavailable.

I don't really like to do that, even though I'm painfully aware that I'm losing the refunding option. It makes as little sense to me as eg. buying 50 movies and watching the first 10 minutes of each one. That would be rather nonsensical. In the exact same way it makes little sense to me to just start games and play a bit from the beginning of each one, like a conveyor belt or fast food system. It ruins the experience, I'd say. (I suppose it's not exactly as bad as with the movie example, but still...) I like playing each game as its own full experience, rather than sampling the beginning of dozens of them.

Also, I have noticed that if I stop playing a game mid-way through, and move to some other game (at least on the same platform), with the intention of "finishing that game later", in the vast majority of cases that "later" never comes. New interesting games come out at a faster pace than I could ever play them, and I really, really rarely go back to an unfinished game later. There are only so many hours I can spend on playing video games. Perhaps if I had unlimited amount of time it could be a bit different, but real life is real life, and it's limited. The Earth doesn't stop, and neither does society and life. A sad reality, but that's just how it goes.

Thus, what invariably happens is that I end up purchasing more games than I have physical time to play. The list of unplayed games just keeps growing and growing over time. Games that looked interesting when I purchased them (often for very cheap), but which end up in the unplayed games limbo.

Sometimes I try to shorten that list by making a video game marathon. For example during summer vacation I sometimes take it as a task to purge that list as much as I can, by just dedicating inhumane amounts of time to just playing the games in a conveyor belt fashion. Optimally I spend less than a week per game, preferably only two or three days. If a game turns out to be boring, I just stop playing it and move to the next.

This helps somewhat, but I never get to purge the list completely. There simply are too many games to go through every single one of them. And of course the next Steam mega-sale comes, and the list gets flooded once again.

First world problems...

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sea "rescue" operations in the Mediterranean are breaking international laws

Recently it has been in the news how Italy turned a "rescue" boat away from its shores, without allowing the ship with hundred-or-so migrants to enter the country. The ship then sailed to Spain, where they were allowed to enter.

What these news reports seldom point out is that this European "rescue" ship actually broke international laws to do so. According to international maritime laws, any sea rescue operation ought to transport the victims to the closest safe harbor. In this case, according to international agreements, that would have been Tunisia. Instead, the boat sailed all the way to Spain, which was at least ten times farther away.

The problem with most of these "rescue" boats operating in the Mediterranean is that they aren't run by some neutral maritime rescue organization. Instead, they are run by politically driven organizations with open borders policies, which want to bring as many immigrants to Europe as possible. This wasn't a "rescue" operation. This was quite clearly a "bring these migrants inside the EU borders" operation.

Many critics have speculated that these "rescue" operations are in fact more or less in cahoots with the African human traffickers (at least implicitly, if not explicitly). The African human traffickers (who are being paid money by these migrants who want to enter Europe) simply load migrants into cheap boats, sail a few tens of kilometers off the African coast, only to have an European "rescue" boat pick them up, which will then sail hundreds of kilometers to Europe. In other words, these European "rescue" operations are pretty much working with the African human traffickers. (There might not be an explicit verbal agreement between them, and the agreement might be implicit, just formed out of serendipity, but this seems to nevertheless what's happening.)

The human traffickers are getting rich from these operations. The migrants are gathering whatever money they can get and paying the traffickers to get a place in the boat. These European "rescue" operations are helping this scheme, and deliberately bringing as many migrants to Europe as they can.

None of this has anything at all to do with the Syrian war, or any war whatsoever. Almost none of these migrants are from Syria. They are from all over the place. Some are from as far as Bangladesh (which is on the East side of India).

The inflood of economic migrants into Europe is not stopping, nor even slowing down. It's only increasing. It's still estimated that between half and one million economic migrants are entering Europe every single year, and the numbers seem to in fact be increasing. The importing of migrants has become more and more systematic, with the help of European organizations. It's not going to stop any time soon. And the EU, like the mafia they are, is forcing all EU member countries to "share the burden", or face fines. In other words, extortion. Par for the course for organized crime.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Donald Trump can do no good

People have coined the term "Trump derangement syndrome" to describe the absolute and total hatred that the leftist media, and leftist public personalities, have against Donald Trump, to the extent that no matter what the situation, no matter what he does, they always hate it. The media will always find fault in it, no matter what it is. Trump could literally read out loud, word for word, verbatim, the United States Constitution and the Universal Human Rights Declaration, and the leftist media, and regressive leftists in general, would find fault in it and attack Trump for it. He could donate a billion dollars to a children's hospital, and the leftist media would condemn him for it and criticize it. It doesn't matter what he does, the regressive left simply cannot acknowledge that it was a good thing.

Recently Donald Trump made history by successfully starting peace talks between North and South Korea. For the first time in over 50 years the leaders of both countries have met for possible peace agreements, and Donald Trump was the mediator in this. He essentially made it happen. (Of course it is yet to be seen to what extent this will happen, but the fact that both countries are discussing peace talks is a huge, huge step, which nobody imagined even possible just a few years ago.)

The South Korean president lauded Trump for this, and commented that he should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his actions. He succeeded in doing what nobody else was able to, in over 50 years.

Well, you can guess how the regressive left, including the leftist media, has taken this. Obviously they find fault in everything, and simply cannot acknowledge that anything good has happened. And, of course, they find it preposterous that Donald Trump could perhaps receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

It's funny, actually. During the Olympics in South Korea, the leftist media was writing sympathetic articles about North Korea. (It makes sense. North Korea hates the United States. The leftist media hates the United States. Of course they would get in bed with them.) But now, just a few months later, when apparently North Korea appears to be reversing their attitudes towards the United States, the leftist media is writing negative pieces on North Korea.

I can guarantee with 100% certainty that if this exact same thing had been done by Barack Obama, the leftist media would be lauding him as a hero.

The Nobel Peace Prize is a joke, and is in no way comparable to any of the other Nobel prizes, but I do hope that Trump gets it, just to see once again the tears of the regressive leftists. They would taste so sweet.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

It's not easy to have liberal values

I have sometimes been accused of being "alt-right", or "conservative" (or one of the many derogatory terms used to describe them). Othertimes I have been accused of being a "libtard" (as in, a supporter of the American liberalist party, ie. an American democrat), or a "social justice warrior", or one of the many derogatory terms describing the regressive left.

One time this happened in the comment section of the exact same YouTube video.

The video in question was an excerpt from a news report on immigrant gang violence in Melbourne, Australia, which has gotten completely out of hand (with, for example, shops being raided and looted, homes being invaded, people being mugged on the streets, and so on, by recent immigrants from certain particular African countries.)

Needless to say, the comment section was full of (often rather retarded) comments by both sides of the political spectrum. Some defending immigration and spouting the "not all immigrants" rhetoric. Others criticizing Australia for having enacted very strict gun control policies (a topic that American conservatives just love to hammer on.)

I criticized both sides. I got name-called by both sides, and accused of being an extremist leftist or rightist, with derogatory terms, depending on which comment I was responding to.

Sometimes I feel like holding mostly classical liberal values makes you the enemy of everybody. I suppose that, if we get very technical, that makes me a "centrist". And thus people on the left see you being on the right, and vice-versa. And because they seemingly can only deal in extremes, you will thus be deemed an extremist leftist or rightist from their perspective.

Bias in Wikipedia: Incel

I have written previously how Wikipedia is not only mob-controlled (by Wikipedia's own description, it has no central authority, team or organization that manages and vetoes its content, and is instead 100% maintained by random people on the internet), but with most political subjects it's highly biased. Oftentimes it cleverly disguises these biases by citing tons of references to third-party articles and other sources, but this is oftentimes done very selectively, only citing those sources that affirm the narrative being pushed in the article (in other words, there's strong selection bias when it comes to sources).

One thing I have noticed, and noted before, is that the lede of the article (ie. the text at the beginning of the article before the table of contents) is often a good indication of how biased the article is. For some reason, it seems, biased editors love to put all of their arguments and claims in the lede (probably to make sure that anybody who just skims articles by reading their lede sections will get the "correct" picture. It also makes sure that the reader is made aware of these "facts" as soon as possible, before going to the rest of the article. In other words, poisoning the well.)

The Gamergate article, as always, is the perfect example of this. It's, possibly, the most biased article in the entirety of Wikipedia, and obviously its lede reflects that perfectly. (Consider, for instance, that the word "harassment" appears a whopping 8 times in the lede alone.)

The ledes of public speakers, personalities and politicians who are hated by the regressive leftists also usually demonstrate this kind of bias (often with minute details being shoved into the lede, even though in normal articles they don't belong there. These minute details almost invariably paint an unfavorable picture of the person in question.)

Not surprisingly, the lede for the Wikipedia article "incel" is, of course, a full-on no-holds barrage.

Recently, somebody changed the lede (and a few other paragraphs in the article itself) to be more brief and neutral. This editor's version read like this:
Incels (a portmanteau of "involuntary celibates") are self-identifying members of an online subculture[1][2] who define themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state self-described as inceldom.[3]
This was very quickly reverted back to what it originally read (and the page was quickly locked):
Incels (a portmanteau of "involuntary celibates") are self-identifying members of an online subculture[1][2] who define themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom.[3] Self-identified incels are mostly white, male and heterosexual,.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] Discussions in incel forums are often characterized by resentment, misanthropy,[1] self-pity,[13] self-loathing,[14] misogyny, racism, a sense of entitlement to sex, and the endorsement of violence against sexually active people.[6][12][15][16][17] The Southern Poverty Law Center described the subculture as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is a member of their list of hate groups,[18][19] and self-described incels have committed at least four mass murders in North America.
Which version do you consider more neutral, and which one more biased?

When I said "full-on no-holds barrage", I really meant it. The lede of the article wants to make it 100% certain that you absolutely hate and loathe these people. It wants to make it absolutely and completely clear that they are the absolute scum of the Earth (after all, they are all white, male and heterosexual, the unholy trinity.)

There's only one thing that we can be 100% sure of: That lede, and the entire article, isn't going to change. In fact, I bet it's only going to get worse (just like the Gamergate page). The mob will make sure of that.