Per an article in Forbes Magazine, “A revolution is happening where the film process is fair, open and transparent (trusted). This is a place where artists gain the money they rightly deserve and are due, where they control access, freeing the industry from the wasteful and inefficient “middlemen” culture that pays for the film, TV and entertainment court jesters, who do their bidding and help keep the artists – the real talent – increasingly dependent. The arrival of Blockchain technologies is a liberating new direction for the industry where the ownership of content is known and decisions are decentralized.” At the forefront of this is the 21 Million Project, a blockchain-based startup seeking to disrupt the film business.
Europe is starting to warm up to private gun ownership, thanks to recent terrorist attacks. Here’s a commercial for the advocacy group CarryNow.eu. As the organization states on its website: “Criminals and terrorists DO NOT CARE FOR GUN LAWS or a plethora of other laws for that matter. Regardless of country and legislation, criminals and terrorists will arm themselves by any means necessary in order to carry out their attacks on innocent, law-abiding citizens. By restricting the availability of effective means of self-defense, one only benefits the attacker, never the potential victim.”
Illinois is one of the most corrupt states in the US. The consequences of that corruption are about to get real, as the state is now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. A recent documentary — Madigan: Power, Privilege, Politics — tells the story of how it got this point.
It focuses on the political career of Michael Madigan, the 30-year Speaker of the House of Illinois and Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, whom many believe to be the spider at the center of the web of Illinois’s crisis. Per the Chicago Sun Times review: “The movie is geared toward casual political observers, ones who wonder how Illinois has become the fiscal train wreck it is today. And the film answers that question with two words: Mike Madigan.”
A measure of the level of corruption in Illinois is that it was risky even making this film. Per the Illinois Review, “Making a documentary about the most powerful politician in Illinois is not for the faint of heart. Interviewees feared for their livelihoods. Three in-state production companies wouldn’t take the job, saying they couldn’t risk reprisal. The crew that decided to make the film received death threats. This is Illinois’ political culture under House Speaker Mike Madigan’s reign.”
No one knows exactly what bankruptcy could mean, but it will be big. Cities have gone bankrupt and failed, and in such situation people and businesses typically leave. It happened in Detroit. For a state to go bankrupt, however, is unprecedented, and not in a good way.
The full documentary may be viewed online here.
The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a pro-market think tank, released a new short (19 minute) film, entitled Rigged: The Injustice of Corporate Welfare. It discusses the use of targeted tax incentives to lure IKEA into the Memphis (TN) area, at the expense of smaller furniture companies not allowed the same incentives. It’s a classic case of what economist Frédéric Bastiat called “the seen and the unseen” effects of economic policy. The introduction of IKEA is given great fanfare, but the damaging effect on other furniture stores of IKEA’s exclusively low tax rate is unseen and given no attention at all.
As Bastiat put it: “In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause — it is seen. The others unfold in succession — they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference — the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee.”
Per the Hollywood Reporter, “VidAngel isn’t backing down after a court ordered it to shutter its family-friendly filtering services — instead, the company has revamped its operations to circumvent issues raised in its legal fight with three major Hollywood studios. Its new $7.99 per month [app-based] service piggybacks on users’ streaming accounts.”
VidAngel is a technology that allows users to filter out language, nudity, and violence. “VidAngel’s philosophy is very libertarian,” says CEO Neal Harmon. “Let directors create what they want, and let viewers watch how they want in their own home. That kind of philosophy respects the views of both parties.” In a separate article on VidAngel in the Herald Extra, Harmon likewise mentioned that the company’s founders, including himself, are libertarian-leaning. “The founders of VidAngel are entrepreneurs, and slightly Libertarian-leaning to say the least. We feel that free-market solutions, you know, when you allow the market to speak back and forth, then things get solved a lot quicker than trying to have one particular party or moral authority decide what’s right and what’s wrong.”
VidAngel has also invested in original content. Tim Timmerman, Hope of America features the story of high-school slacker elected class president, and his typical high school adventures. The film has been well received (currently a 90% audience approval in Rotten Tomatoes).
HBO has released a 7-minute short film on the shocking SJW takeover of Evergreen State College (WA), where student mobs demanded white people leave campus for a day of anti-privilege…and one besieged professor stood his ground. The college has Masters in Teaching (MIT) degree that specifically incorporates social justice into every aspect of its curriculum.
Now that PBS is running the excellent pro-market documentary series School Inc., an array of enraged commentators are demanding that it should be countered, excuse me “balanced,” by the airing of a pro-government schools documentaries. Cato’s Trevor Burrus comments on the long battle for getting PBS to air *any* libertarian content, including even Free to Choose.
A year ago, the Guardian reported that “Friends of Abe,” a secretive and exclusive organization of Hollywood conservatives and libertarians, including Clint Eastwood, had “dissolved.” The reason was infighting over the candidacy of Donald Trump. Apparently the libertarians were not going along with the program. Now the Guardian reports that the organization has resurrected, but in two separate camps.
What’s the big deal about the signing of Magna Carta on June 15th, 1215?
Well, from the earliest of recorded times, and for thousands of years, mankind was largely ruled by kings, military leaders, and oligarchies — all of them with essentially unlimited power. Early societies had laws and legal processes, of course, but at the end of the day those at the apex of power could generally do what they liked, including exempt themselves from their own rules. All that changed on June 15th, 1215, in England. For the first time, a king was forced to sign a legal document that ceded specific rights to his subjects, establishing unprecedented legal principles such as equality before the law, no taxation without representation, and the whole idea that the king was not a law unto himself.
The full story of Magna Carta is brilliantly told in the documentary David Starkey’s Magna Carta, which can be viewed in full here. For some shorter explanations of its significance, here are several short films on the subject. The 2010 film Robin Hood also celebrates the document.
In the course of trying to spin today’s assassination attempt to build the case for gun control, Terry McAuliffe (D), current Governor of Virginia, casually states *twice* that 93 million Americans are killed by guns every day. Only on the second time does CNN correct him. It’s a simple error, yes, but these errors only seem to go in one direction.