Steve Ditko, who invented Spiderman among other characters, is the subject of a recent article in The Telegraph, which notes Ditko’s interest in Ayn Rand: “Steve Ditko hasn’t given a formal interview since 1968 and has avoided fans for almost as long. He has become the comic industry’s J.D. Salinger, though with much more extreme political views. Ditko became a devotee of Ayn Rand, a man who practices a strict philosophy of self-reliance, creative control and absolutely no truck with the supernatural.” Ditko himself explained his take on Objectivism and how it applied to his comic book heroes in this short film.
The 2016 US election is already getting questioned with regard to voter fraud and rigging, but those concerns may actually be small beans compared to the bigger question of whether our sophisticated electronic voting system is even safe to begin with. Last year, the highly-sensitive security clearance personnel records of US federal government employees were hacked to the tune of 22.1 million such employees. It should have been impossible, but it happened. And who knows how much is being hacked that goes undetected? The documentary Hacking Democracy explored the question of election process vulnerability ten years ago…when the problem was actually smaller than it is now.
“Seasteading. Noun. The creation of permanent dwellings at sea, outside the territory claimed by any national government.” —Wiktionary
For thousands of years, man has been governed by dynasties, dictatorships, oligarchies, democracies, and variations on those themes, but all of those systems either produced sub-optimal results and/or eventually failed. Even modern constitutional democracies, which for a time looked like the end-game of human happiness, are beginning to look less stable and reliable than once believed, and could very well financially terminal by nature. Could there be as yet untried changes that would save democracy, or could there be entirely new and better forms of government not yet conceived? Milton Friedman’s grandson, Patri Friedman, thinks there could be. He founded the non-profit iSeasteading Institute to promote the creation of small sovereign countries at sea, the idea being that the associated innovation and experimentation of “start-up” nations would give rise to new ideas in how societies might be optimally organized. The Institute is promoted in these two videos. The first, Vote With Your Boat, is a three-minute introduction. The second, The Sea is a Harsh Mistress — Redux, is a 20-minute short film that “examines the business, engineering and political aspects of starting new societies on the high seas.”
When an elderly couple are suddenly robbed via civil asset forfeiture, who fights for them? When a single Mom wants to start a business but can’t because of licensing laws, who helps her? When a family is being forced out of their home by eminent domain, who defends them? The heroes at the libertarian Institute for Justice, that’s who. Right now, the IJ is seeking a Production iAssistant to help with online video production. “The Institute for Justice is looking for a full-time Production Assistant to join our award-winning communications team. This position will assist the production team in shooting video both in our studio and on the road as well as care for IJ’s studio and repository of video gear. IJ’s Production Assistant will also have the opportunity to edit and create short videos for the Institute for Justice YouTube page. This is a fun and rewarding job that will take you around the country and meet a diverse group of hard-working Americans.”
It’s one of the great economic questions of our time. Does dumping money into a giant hole create jobs and stimulate the economy, or is it simply a waste? Paul Krugman has suggested that even faking an alien invasion would be good for the economy, the idea being that any activity, with or without production of value, is beneficial. Likewise, other experts have noted the alleged beneficial effects of natural disasters, which boost activity in the hospital and construction sectors. Forbes published an article on the stimulative effects of Hurricane Sandy. Some say tornadoes may also boost growth. Libertarians have argued, however, that these are simply examples of economist Frederic Bastiat’s “Broken Windows Fallacy.” The staff at The Onion consider both sides of the debate.
Bloggers everywhere will connect with this story of two intrepid Chinese individuals who have taken it upon themselves to defy Chinese censorship authorities and report the truth about events around them. In the official view of course, there is no need for amateur reporters; the job of truth-telling should be left to the professionals. (Sound familiar?) But these two, very different bloggers, keep going even at risk of arrest and imprisonment. This documentary has been a hit with audiences, both at film festivals and more broadly.
Michael Moore in Trumpland, Moore’s latest documentary, was advertised as his “October Surprise,” sure to entirely discredit and derail the candidacy of Donald Trump. The film just premiered in NYC with much fanfare. It was reviewed by the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Verge, CNN, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, etc. And what is all the excitement about? A 73-minute unfunny comedy act, i.e., a speech, about how much Michael Moore likes Hillary Clinton. That’s it. It’s not even a documentary in the usual sense. And according to the New York Times, there isn’t much about Trump in it. “If the news that the documentarian Michael Moore was releasing a surprise film called Michael Moore in TrumpLand had you expecting a rollicking, full-force attack on Donald J. Trump, prepare to be disappointed…The film is not an attack on Mr. Trump, but instead a paean to his opponent in the presidential contest, Hillary Clinton.” Apparently aware that this is not one of his greatest hits, Moore says he will self-distribute the film to chumps on iTunes. Weirdly, though perhaps for the best, no trailer is available. Moore’s latest documentary before this, the similarly mislabeled Where to Invade Next, which had nothing to do with invasions, scored an hilarious $3.8 million at the box office despite overwhelming critical support.
The Turing Law, a just-announced new amendment named after Alan Turing, will pardon thousands of gay men convicted under British anti-obscenity statutes. Turing was a war hero who broke the Nazi enigma code but who was later imprisoned under such statutes. His story was told in two films: the acclaimed 2014 film The Imitation Game as well as an earlier documentary, Breaking the Code. However, the film that should be most remembered at this point is the powerful 1961 British mystery Victim, which is credited with changing public opinion and bringing about the repeal of anti-obscenity laws. Says MoviePlot: “With its assertive hero and hopeful conclusion, Victim made a difference…In 1967, Lord Arran introduced legislation repealing the Criminal Offences Act. He wrote Dirk Bogarde about Victim, praising him for ‘your courage in undertaking this difficult and potentially damaging part.’ When Bogarde protested, Lord Arran insisted that ‘we’ve both done our bit’ to decriminalize homosexuality. He mused that ‘it is comforting to think that perhaps a million men are no longer living in fear.’”
Do Not Resist is a just-released documentary about the new normal of fully-weaponized warrior police. Says the Washington Post: “When it was over, I had to force myself to exhale. What makes this movie so powerful is its terrifying portrayal of the mundanities of modern policing.” The film won the Tribeca Festival Best Documentary Award. Upcoming screenings can be found here.
Project Veritas scored another direct hit with its latest undercover recording of Democratic Party allies explaining how they deliberately incite violence at Trump rallies. Unaware that they were being recorded, professional muckrakers detail with extraordinary candor how they train and organize operatives to make violence happen, literally scripting it out in advance. One operative is captured on camera saying, “It doesn’t matter what the friggin’ legal and ethics people say, we need to win this motherfucker.” The tactics are straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. It should be noted that Hillary Clinton wrote her college thesis on Saul Alinsky.
UPDATE: Per CNN, one of the individuals in this video was just fired and another quit.
UPDATE: Per Daily Caller, “Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators Visited White House 342 Times.”