In his documentary, THE CREEPY LINE, M.A. Taylor takes a critical look at the power of internet companies to control information, influence consumers and the electorate, and dominate 21st century culture, economics and politics.
In particular, Facebook and Google dominate the global internet, resisting meaningful regulation by government.
Former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, said that Google operates right up to what he calls “the creepy line,” controlling platforms that seem not to be connected to it, and blocking access to individuals without recourse, appeal or explanation.
Canadian university psychology professor, Dr. Jordan Peterson, had his youtube channel removed after he wrote against pending legislation in the Canadian Parliament.
Dr. Robert Epstein had all of his Google apps from email to website abruptly blocked. He found that there was no service department to explain or remediate this violation. He has conducted numerous experiments demonstrating how platforms such as Google can change opinions of voters and consumers to astounding degrees.
Taylor asserts that unlike corporations such as Apple and Microsoft, which deliver products – for hefty prices – companies like Facebook and Google don’t sell us products: we ARE their product. Their data collection and increasing surveillance of almost every aspect of our lives, which they sell to other companies, the government and anyone they choose, should be of concern to citizens everywhere who value democracy.
We speak with Courtney Quirin, whose film, Guardian, won the JURY PRIZE for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE at this year’s SF IndieFest. Guardian will be screened at the Mendocino Film Festival this Saturday, June 1 at 5:30 in Crown Hall. It has been described as a cautionary tale about the role of science in environmental decision-making and the repercussions of its censorship. But that is totally inadequate to describe the human focus, the magnificent cinematography and the emotional impact the film has.
Courtney Quirin’s background includes a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management from U of Otago in New Zealand, which included going to the highlands of Ethiopia to identify the nature and extent of farmer-primate conflict. Then, on to Ohio State U. to investigate urban coyotes for her PhD, but just shy of 2 years into that degree, she realized that her true passions lie within documentary film and investigative journalism. So she earned her Master’s in Journalism and Documentary Film from the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported for the Associated Press in South Africa, Al Jazeera, Bay Nature Magazine and Mission Local in California.
Doug Stewart has been a Guardian in the Great Bear Rainforest since 1977, living on the Surfbird with his wife, Carol, & monitoring over 129 creeks & streams.
After Doug, Stan Hutchings is the 2nd oldest Guardian. He began as a teenager in 1979.
After the interview with Courtney, we reported on the US Navy’s proposed Training & Testing, reading a PSA from Thaïs Mazur:
The Navy is seeking Federal Regulatory Permits under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to do weapons testing off the Mendocino coast, requesting a seven year permit to do the testing and training 12 miles offshore.
This is part of the larger Northwest Navy Training and Testing from Alaska to Northern California. The coast of Mendocino is a major migration route for gray whales and humpbacks.
The Navy is proposing activities that include anti-submarine warfare exercises involving tracking aircraft and sonar; surface-to-air gunnery and missile exercises; air-to-surface bombing exercises; and extensive testing for several new weapons systems.
U.S. Navy training exercises in the Pacific Ocean could kill, injure, or harm dozens of protected species of marine mammals — Southern Resident killer whales, blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises — through the use of high-intensity, mid-frequency sonar, which harass whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, 12.5 million times over the next five years. The use of sonar has been directly connected to many instances of beached whales, that have died from erupting lungs, ruptured ear drums and organ damage after military sonar exercises. Sonar exercises have also been found to cause mass strandings of whales.
The Navy is accepting comments on the DRAFT Supplemental EIS through June 12, 2019. Here is the link: https://www.nwtteis.com/PublicInvolvement/Public-Comment
Following his detention by Chinese authorities, outspoken artist/activist Ai Weiwei transformed the former island penitentiary of Alcatraz into an artistic platform. The exhibition engaged 900,000 visitors about the plight of prisoners of conscience around the world.
Yours Truly, a piece in the exhibit, invited visitors to compose messages of hope on postcards to prisoners incarcerated or exiled due to their beliefs, affiliations, and nonviolent expressions of dissent. The film follows these postcards around the globe as director Cheryl Haines meets with former prisoners of conscience and their families to discuss their impossible choices and the comfort they found in messages sent by people they would never meet. The film explores Ai Weiwei’s inspiration for the project. Interviews with the artist, his mother, and lifelong friends uncover the touching story of a childhood spent in exile. Ultimately, the film is a call to action, extending the reach of Ai Weiwei’s art by asking viewers to take to heart the issue of global human rights. In Mandarin and English with English subtitles.
More than 50,000 postcards were written by visitors and sent to prisoners of conscience, displaying the national flower or bird of their country.
After 10 years of research, Adam Higginbotham’s book, MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster,provides the first complete account of the catastrophe that encircled the world and helped precipitate the fall of the USSR. It is published by Simon & Schuster.
Some articles referring to the event can be found here:
Since the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986, an area of more than 4,000 square kilometres has been abandoned. That could be about to change, as Victoria Gill discovered during a week-long trip to the exclusion zone.
On April 26, 1986, technicians conducting a test inadvertently caused the fourth reactor to explode. Several hundred staff members and firefighters then tackled a blaze that burned for 10 days and sent a plume of radiation around the world in the worst-ever civil nuclear disaster. More than 50 reactor and emergency workers were killed at the time. Authorities evacuated 120,000 people from the area, including 43,000 from the city of Pripyat. Below, recent images from Chernobyl and nearby ghost towns within the exclusion zone, as well as memorials held in Ukraine and Russia.
David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. The author of four previous novels, most recently Prudence, and two books of nonfiction, he has also written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Slate, and The Washington Post, among others. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology and teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.
David Treuer’s latest book, THE HEARTBEAT OF WOUNDED KNEE: NATIVE AMERICA FROM 1890 TO THE PRESENT, is published by Riverhead Books.
Here is an edited extract from The Heartbeat at Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, referenced in this interview, which was published in The Guardian.
Julian Brave NoiseCat is an enrolled member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen in British Columbia. He is a graduate of Columbia University, and received a Clarendon Scholarship to study global and imperial history at the University of Oxford. He was formerly the native issues fellow at The Huffington Post. He writes for The Guardian, The Nation, The Paris Review, CBC, Vice, Pacific Standard, Dissent, Jacobin, Fusion, Indian Country Today, Salon, High Country News, Canadian Geographic, Frontier Magazine, World Policy Journal as well as other publications.
Julian Brave NoiseCat, a contributing editor of the newly unveiled Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, points on a giant map at a launch event in Toronto, Wednesday August 29, 2018. The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada includes a four volume print atlas, an online atlas, an app, and a giant floor map. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch)
“It is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and the crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.” from A Democracy in Exile Fights Against Fascism
In this edition of Forthright Radio, we welcome back Professor Henry Giroux, who holds the McMaster University’s Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department, and who is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. He is a prolific author and journalist. His books -more than 65 – include AMERICA AT WAR WITH ITSELF; DISPOSABLE FUTURES: VIOLENCE IN THE AGE OF SPECTACLE; HEARTS OF DARKNESS: TORTURING CHILDREN IN THE WAR ON TERROR; ZOMBIE POLITICS AND CULTURE IN THE AGE OF CASINO CAPITALISM, and THE VIOLENCE OF ORGANIZED FORGETTING.
Articles by Professor Giroux cited in this interview include:
In her latest book, FEMINISM’S FORGOTTEN FIGHT: THE UNFINISHED STRUGGLE FOR WORK AND FAMILY, Fordham University Associate Professor of History, Kirsten Swinth, corrects many myths and misconceptions about Second Wave Feminism, demonstrating that it isn’t feminism that has betrayed women, but the society that failed to make the far-reaching changes for which feminists fought in the period 1963 to 1978.
Rebecca Traister is writer at large for New York magazine, whose latest book is GOOD AND MAD: THE REVOLUTIONARY POWER OF WOMEN’S ANGER, published by Simon & Schuster. . Her earlier books include ALL THE SINGLE LADIES, and the award winning BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY. Her work has been published in The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the New York Observer among other publications.
This was the very first edition of what would become Forthright Radio. It was originally broadcast in November, 2004. We spoke with John M. Barry, author of the book, THE GREAT INFLUENZA: THE EPIC STORY OF THE DEADLIEST PLAGUE IN HISTORY. 100 years ago, in 1918, as a war weary world sought to bring those years of horror we call World War I to an end, another horror arose – a new, virulent and highly contagious strain of influenza, which within, a year spread rapidly around the world. We’ll never know the exact number of those killed, but it is estimated that a minimum of 50 million, and as many as 100 million died. At today’s population level, that would be between 150 million and 300 million dead worldwide. As we begin the annual flu season, our guest, John M. Barry, tells us what we know about this pandemic and warns of the possibility of such a global pandemic occurring again in our own time. But this is not just a history of a medical disease, his depiction of the politics of the war-time situation has disturbing foreshadowing of some of the same polarized dynamics with which we find ourselves grappling today, where truth is dismissed as an arbitrary term and “the force of an idea lies in it’s inspirational value. It matters very little whether it is true or false.” As Mark Twain put it so well, History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Although this interview was conducted in 2004, when George W. Bush was president, and we were 9 months into our invasion of Iraq, and the parallels to the Wilson administration are noted, some of those parallels seem even more pertinent today under the current administration.