Posts Tagged ‘Youtube’

It’s Greek to Me

April 20, 2017

My favorite YouTube channel is, without question, the Langfocus  channel, created by Paul Jorgenson, a Canadian who teaches English in Japan. Paul is fascinated by language and he shares his knowledge and fascination in his videos. Paul makes videos about particular languages, language families and general concepts about language. Whatever the specific topic he covers, Paul’s videos are always interesting and informative.

Not too long ago, Paul made a video on the Greek language.

I have studied Koine or New Testament Greek a little bit and it is amazing to me just how little the language has actually changed over the centuries. I can tell there are some differences in grammar and vocabulary. Some of the verb inflections have changed a little and Modern Greek seems to have lost the dative case. I also notice that the middle and passive voices have combined into a mediopassive voice. The Greek word for speak has changed from λαλεω (laleo) to μιλεω (mileo) and dog from κυων (cuon) to σκυλος (skylos). I think that a speaker of Modern Greek could read the New Testament in its original Koine Greek without too much trouble and could even read Plato and Homer with varying degrees of difficulty. I suppose that the sounds or phonology of spoken Greek have changed quite a bit more than written Greek so a modern Greek transported back to Periclean Athens might have quite a bit of difficulty making himself understood in conversation, but perhaps not much more than speakers of related languages might have. Despite the changes, Modern Greek is recognizably the same language as the Greek spoken two thousand or more years ago.

Now look at this sample of English from about one thousand years ago.

Hwæt. We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan. þæt wæs god cyning.
These are the first lines of Beowulf, an Anglo-Saxon epic poem that was probably the first work of literature written in Old English. Here is a translation.
LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,
from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore,
awing the earls. Since erst he lay
friendless, a foundling, fate repaid him:
for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve,
till before him the folk, both far and near,
who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate,
gave him gifts: a good king he!
It doesn’t seem to be the same language at all. If you look closely, some of the words are recognizable, “god cyning”= good king, but the grammar is very different and there are even some strange letters not used in Modern English. The text looks more like a dialect of German than the English we are familiar with. This is not too surprising. German and English originated on the same branch of West Germanic in the Germanic language family. There would probably be a closer resemblance between Modern English and German if it weren’t for the infusion of so many words from French and Latin after the Norman conquest. As it is, English is less of a strictly Germanic language, at least in vocabulary, and more of a hybrid between Germanic and the Romance languages. (Paul has a couple of videos on this)
Besides the unfamiliar words, you might notice that Modern English has lost the inflections that Old English had. This may also be due to the Norman conquest, or perhaps the earlier Danish or Viking invasions. Britain seems to have been something of a magnet for settlers during the tenth and eleventh centuries and since the Danes, Normans, etc had to communicate with the Anglo-Saxons who already lived there, they used a simplified form of Old English that developed into the language we speak today.
Here are the first lines of Chaucer’s Canturbury tales, written in Middle English around 1300.
Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
And the translation:
When April’s gentle rains have pierced the drought
Of March right to the root, and bathed each sprout
Through every vein with liquid of such power
It brings forth the engendering of the flower;
When Zephyrus too with his sweet breath has blown
 Through every field and forest, urging on
The tender shoots, and there’s a youthful sun,
His second half course through the Ram now run,
And little birds are making melody And sleep all night, eyes open as can be
So Nature pricks them in each little heart), On pilgrimage then folks desire to start.
The palmers long to travel foreign strands
To distant shrines renowned in sundry lands;
And specially, from every shire’s end
This is recognizably English even if the spelling looks strange. There are some unfamiliar words and some differences in grammar. Chaucer can be read by an English speaker, but it is not easy. Shakespeare and the King James Bible are the most familiar examples of Early Modern English. They are essentially the same language spoken today, but even after a mere four hundred years they already seem quaint and old-fashioned, requiring a glossary to fully understand the text.
How is it that a language like Greek has changed slowly enough over the centuries that the Greeks can read the classics of Ancient Greek literature without too much difficulty while anything written in English more than about five hundred years ago is incomprehensible to the modern reader? Has Greek been unusually conservative or has English changed faster than most languages. Maybe it is both. Latin has changed quite a bit in the transition to the Romance Languages, particularly in the loss of the noun case system, loss of the neuter gender and changes in verb tenses. The vocabulary of the Romance Languages is still largely based on Latin and I think that a modern speaker of Italian or Spanish could still get the basic meaning of a Latin text.
Part of the reason might be because Greek has a much longer written history than English. Writing does tend to make a language more conservative, at least in its written form, particularly when the older version of the language is seen as somehow more pure while innovations are viewed as corruptions. This has long been the case in Greek where until recently it was common for Greek writers to use a formal and archaic version of Greek that resembled Ancient Greek more than the Greek actually spoken. (This is actually a common phenomenon found on many languages with a long literary history.) It seems the greatest changes in English came in the centuries after the Norman Conquest when French was the official language at court and English was mostly a language of illiterate peasants. Another possible reason for the continuity of Greek as opposed to the development of the Romance Languages from Latin might be that the Greek speaking Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire survived as a nation until 1453 while the Latin speaking Western Roman Empire broke up causing regional dialects to become separate languages.
Whatever the reasons, the relatively rapid development of English from its Germanic, Anglo-Saxon origins to the useful language we speak today with its large vocabulary and relatively simple grammar has helped to make English the lingua franca of the modern world. I’m sure I’d rather speak Modern English than Anglo-Saxon, but I wish there had been a greater continuity over the centuries.
  • The Anglish Moot-They want to restore English to its native roots. The result of writing English without any Latin, Greek, or other words is truly weird and helps to demonstrate just how much English has borrowed from other languages.
  • Day of the Dead Languages (feedproxy.google.com)

Evalion

June 20, 2016

Evalion is the username of a young woman who has posted some rather controversial videos on YouTube. She has been called the most racist girl on the Internet and having seen a few of her videos, I can affirm that Evalion is indeed a racist and a Nazi. Since I am not a liberal, I do not use such words merely to denote a person with views I happen to disagree with. By racist I mean someone who believes that race is the most important determinator of what kind of person any human being is and who believes that some races are inherently superior to others. By Nazi, I mean a believer in the doctrines of National Socialism, including the extreme anti-Semitism of that ideology. By her own account, Evalion is a racist and a Nazi.

Last month, YouTube terminated Evalion’s account. This is not a free speech or censorship issue. As a private corporation, YouTube has no obligation to host videos that violate its terms of service and its executives can delete any video they please for any reason. All the same, I wish that YouTube had not done this.

I will not bother with some stirring declaration of the importance of free speech or the slippery slope and chilling effects of any censorship. As I said, YouTube has a perfect right to delete any video or channel they feel is inappropriate. I only wonder what they were trying to accomplish by terminating Evalion’s account and whether their action had the intended effects.

If YouTube wanted to keep Evalion’s message from being spread, then I have to say that they have failed. A quick search of YouTube shows that her videos are still available on many channels. I am sure that she has simply started a new account under another name and there seems to be no shortage of admirers willing to copy and upload her videos on their own accounts. Banning Evalion has only brought her more attention than she could ever hope to achieve otherwise. I doubt if she would ever have been mentioned in such news outlets as the Daily Mail if YouTube had taken no action against her. I certainly wouldn’t be writing this post if YouTube had left her alone.

Meanwhile, Evalion has become a hero to the racist, alt-right crowd. The way in which her enemies who have been celebrating are of the “hate speech isn’t protected and should be banned” persuasion makes them look like bullying, censoring Nazis and makes her look like a free speech martyr has helped her cause and confused the issues. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were being as provocative as possible just to get attention by having YouTube ban her.

I don’t imagine that anyone at YouTube believed that they could get Evalion to see the error of her ways by cancelling her account. Obviously shutting a person up does not change their mind. If anything, it will tend to reinforce the offending opinions in their minds. They must be saying something right if everyone wants to shut them down. Among the anti-semites and neo-Nazis, it is an article of faith that the Jews control the media and are quick to censor anything that exposes their nefarious plans. In a way, YouTube has managed to prove them right, at least in their own minds. Again, YouTube’s actions seem to have produced a different result from that which they might have wanted. This, by the way, is why the laws against Holocaust denial in some European countries are so stupid. Punishing someone for denying the Holocaust only makes it looks as if someone is trying to hide something.

In general, it is better to allow someone to speak out than to try to censor them, even if the opinions they express are hateful. Shutting down hateful speech simply draws attention to the people promoting hateful ideas and makes them looks like the brave heretics fighting against the lies promoted by the authorities. It gives them a sort of legitimacy they do not deserve. The best response to the Evalions of the internet is simply to ignore them. No one is harmed by videos or speech and there is no reason to encourage them by giving them the attention they crave. That goes especially for the people who felt it was necessary to expose “the most racist girl on the internet”. Just ignore her and get a life.

 

Moloch

May 8, 2014

In ancient times, one of the practices that distinguished the Jews, and later the Christians, from their pagan neighbors was that they did not expose infants. This practice, which was accepted among the Greeks and the Romans, was the placing of a deformed, sickly, or simply unwanted infant in a deserted place so that it would die of hunger or exposure. The most common deformity which required getting rid of a baby was the lack of a penis, and girls were exposed far more often than boys.  The people that practiced infant exposure were not monsters. They believed that exposing infants was a sad necessity in a world in which you could not be sure there would be enough food to go around. In times of hunger, it was better to discard another hungry mouth than have the baby’s older siblings starve. The parents who exposed their baby could at least take some solace in the idea that their child might be found by a shepherd or goat herder and go on to live a happier life.

The ancient Canaanites and Carthaginians were said to sacrifice children to their gods, particularly the god Moloch. There is some question whether this was true or simply Hebrew and Roman propaganda, but child sacrifice has been attested in many cultures. Again, the people who performed such sacrifices were not necessarily monsters. They doubtless loved their children as much as anyone, but they believed their gods demanded sacrifices, and the ultimate sacrifice was the thing they loved most. I imagine that such sacrifices were normally performed in times of great trouble.

We would like to think that we are more civilized than the people who lived centuries ago. Surely, we have made a lot of progress. We have abolished slavery. We no longer burn witches or heretics at the stake. We believe in equality and justice for all. Surely, we are a lot more civilized than the barbarians of long ago who murdered their own children.  Maybe. Maybe not.

In the news lately, is the story of an abortion councilor who decided to film her own abortion in order to show that having an abortion is not at all a negative experience. The story is all over the place but here is an account in the Washington Times.

Emily Letts, an abortion counselor in New Jersey, said she wasn’t ready to have a baby, even though she was pregnant, and decided that the best solution for her would be to have an abortion — and film it.

“I found out I am pregnant,” the 25-year-old said in the video she uploaded onto YouTube. “I’m not ready to have children.”

So why the video of the procedure?

“[I want to] show women that there is such thing as a positive abortion story,” The Blaze reported.

The video does show her going through the procedure, but minus the graphic details. The camera predominately focuses on her face, The Blaze reported.

Her conclusion at the end of the video: “I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby. I can make a life. I knew what I was going to do was right, because it was right for me and no one else. I just want to tell my story.”

The video is titled “Emily’s Abortion Video.” In a followup story published on Cosmopolitan.com, Ms. Letts writes: “We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like. A first trimester abortion takes three to five minutes. It is safer than giving birth.”

It wasn’t safer for the baby nor was it likely to find being killed a positive experience.

Consider the reason this woman decided to have an abortion. She wasn’t ready for a baby. She lives in the most  prosperous nation in history. No matter what her financial situation might be, there is virtually no chance that that child would have starved nor would any other child have to do without food because of it. The poor souls in ancient Greece and Rome had to make decisions about life and death that most people in the developed world never will. They could be said to have a good reason to kill an infant in order for there to be enough for others. She cannot say that.

I do not know what this woman’s religious beliefs are, but I am certain that she is not a worshiper of Moloch. The people who sacrificed their children believed that they were doing a good thing that pleased the gods. If the sacrifice of a child was what it took to turn away their god’s wrath in a national emergency, then the sacrifice of the child saved the lives of everyone else in the kingdom. She was only having the abortion because she didn’t happen to want a baby.  To her, this baby was no more than an old tissue to be thrown away. It was not a human being to her. It wasn’t even alive to her. I doubt very much if she would kill an animal so casually.

No, we are not more civilized than the people who lived in ancient times. I think that most of the people who felt they had to expose or sacrifice their children would have preferred for those children to be alive. If the people who lived centuries ago could see how prosperous the our lives are in the twenty-first century and could learn how we have defeated most of the diseases which killed their children, they would wonder that we didn’t value our children more highly. They wouldn’t understand why we would want to kill any of our children. I doubt even the Romans, who enjoyed their gory gladiatorial contests would want to film a baby being murdered for the amusement of viewers.

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Don’t Know Much about the History of Slavery

November 17, 2013

I found this YouTube video by Newsbusters courtesy of Moonbattery.com. MSNBC correspondent Martin Bashir calls Sarah Palin America’s resident dunce for suggesting that the result of our ever growing national debt will be to condemn our children and grandchildren to slavery. He is outraged by the abuses and atrocities that slave owners committed against their slaves and suggests that Palin ought to be subject to the same abuses.

I am sure that what bothers most viewers of thus clip, at least the decent viewers, is the venomous hatred Bashir spews against Sarah Palin. What impresses me however, is that the joke is actually on the man who thinks that Sarah Palin is an idiot. As it happens, one of the most common forms of slavery through the ages and even today is debt slavery.

Debt slavery is a situation in which someone will borrow money and to repay the loan will agree to work for his creditor. Somehow because of interest and other charges levied on the debtor, he never is quite able to work off the loan. This form of slavery was very common in ancient Rome and many other parts of the world, including the American colonies where white settlers became indentured servants in order to pay the cost of passage across the Atlantic. It is still prevalent today even though it is prohibited by international law. So, it may just be possible that Sarah Palin knew what she was talking about.

Actually, Martin Bashir doesn’t seem to know very much about slavery at all, judging from his commentary. He seems to believe that slavery was invented in the American colonies in the sixteenth century and that the conditions faced by the black slaves were somehow uniquely horrible. In fact, slavery has existed throughout human history in various forms, some more oppressive than others. The conditions of the black slaves on the North American mainland were more humane than in the Caribbean islands where the slaves were worked to death. Slavery in the Roman Empire was especially cruel as a slave owner had the legal right to kill or rape his slaves. Moreover the Arabs were involved in the African slave trade for centuries before the Europeans and continued the trade  until the European powers ended it with the colonization of Africa

. Of course slavery is always oppressive and degrading but perhaps Bashir should learn that America was not the only place slaves were kept and that there have been many different types of slavery.

Climate Deniers in Congress

April 30, 2013

It seems that Organizing for Action is going to shift to global warming/climate change/ climate chaos/ etc. after their embarrassing defeat on gun control.

David —

Right now, way too many lawmakers in Washington flat-out refuse to face the facts when it comes to climate change.

We’re never going to make real progress on this issue unless members of Congress get serious. Instead, some of them have made a habit of publicly mocking it.

We thought it was time to call them out for denying what’s basic science.

Watch this embarrassing video of climate deniers in Congress — and say you’re ready to help hold them accountable:

The science matters in this.

That’s the message way too many people in Washington need to hear right now.

In 2011, there were 240 members of Congress who voted to say that climate change is a hoax.

Most of them are still around today, and they’re getting away with it — some of them are actually proud of it. They think the whole debate is pretty funny.

If we want to make progress on climate change, we need everyone in Congress on board for a solution. It’s our job to show them there’s a price to pay for being a climate denier.

Take a look at this video and join the fight:

http://my.barackobama.com/Climate-Change

Get ready — more on this coming soon.

Thanks,

Jon

Jon Carson
Executive Director
Organizing for Action
@JonCarsonOFA

The use of the word “denier” is meant to suggest that questioning the hypothesis that the Earth is warmer due to man made carbon dioxide emissions and that drastic action involving increased government control of individual lives is necessary to combat this warming is equivalent to denying the historical fact of the Holocaust. It is a intellectually dishonest and despicable choice of wording and the use of “denier” is sufficient to indicate that the user does not have the facts on their side.

Here is the video. On the whole, I think it is only embarrassing for the people who made it. The politicians who are showcased actually seem to know what they are talking about, which is very odd.

Comments are disabled for the video on YouTube. I wonder why.

No the science is not overwhelming nor have the models that climate scientists have used turned out to be particularly accurate. The Earth is not currently warming to the extent they predicted. The Earth’s axial tilt does oscillate over time which does affect the climate, though what relation, if any, that long-term process has on recent shifts in climate, I do not know. The reference to the Vikings that the makers of this video found so humorous was probably a reference to the Medieval Warm Period, in which temperatures were probably somewhat higher than they are presently, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. During this period, the Vikings were able to colonize Greenland and even North America. When the climate became cooler in the thirteenth century, the Vikings were forced to abandon these colonies.

Mars’ ice caps seem to be melting. This is most likely a periodic phenomenon with no relation to events on Earth. Still, it would be very interesting and beneficial of we could get some idea how the temperatures have changed on other planets, especially Mars. It is certain that even insignificant changes in solar luminosity would have a far greater effect on the Earth’s climate than anything human beings could possibly do.

No, Mr. President. Hurricane Sandy, while devastating, was not unprecedented in size. There have been worse droughts in North America and droughts are a periodic phenomena, influenced by El Nino/La Nina more than our carbon emissions. When even the mainstream media is finally starting to admit that the world is not going to end, why does Organizing for Action feel they need to take action on this issue?

 

Terror in School

December 2, 2012

I think this video, which I found on YouTube, courtesy of Moonbattery, does a fairly good job of explaining the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in easy to understand terms.

I find the comments for this video illuminating, at least the anti-Israel ones.  The idea seems to be that since Israel doesn’t have a perfect record and may occasionally kill civilians used as human shields, than any atrocity committed by its enemies must be excused. There is also the idea that the Jews have no business being in the Middle East, that they stole the land from the Palestinians who are only fighting a just war for their own homes against a criminal state.

There are also the Muslim commentators who just think all the Jews everywhere should be killed because the Koran says so. There are also the usual anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Jews owning the media, although if they did why is so much of the world’s media anti-Israel?

Republican Zombie Defense

November 4, 2012

I really hope that this video is a parody.

 

If not, than there is something seriously wrong with a large number of people who fantasize about murdering people they have political disagreements with. What is interesting is that a lot of these are just the sort who fretted about Republican violent imagery after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. It is strange and hypocritical to complain about targets on a map while finding humor in this gore.

There is a website RepublicanZombieDefense.com. It seems to be mostly about the video and selling t-shirts.

I know that the video is meant to be humorous and it is so over the top that I wouldn’t have any doubts that it is meant as a parody, but this isn’t the only time Leftists have put murderous fantasies about their opponents on video. Remember the notorious “No Pressure” video a couple of years ago.

There is something deeply malign and corrupting about Leftist ideology which causes these people to lose any standards of decency over time.

 

 

Bill Nye

September 26, 2012

Bill Nye, the former Science Guy does not like the way evolution is taught, or rather not taught in this country. I read about his views in a story by AP.

Nye

Nye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The man known to a generation of Americans as “The Science Guy” is condemning efforts by some Christian groups to cast doubts on evolution and lawmakers who want to bring the Bible into science classrooms.

Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer and star of the popular 1990s TV show “Bill Nye The Science Guy,” has waded into the evolution debate with an online video that urges parents not to pass their religious-based doubts about evolution on to their children.

“The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,” Nye said in an interview with The Associated Press, citing scientists’ estimates that it is about 4.5 billion years old. “It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.”

Millions of Americans do hold those beliefs, according to a June Gallup poll that found 46 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago.

Nye, 56, also decried efforts in recent years by lawmakers and school boards in some states to present Bible stories as an alternative to evolution in public schools. Tennessee passed a law earlier this year that protects teachers who let students criticize evolution and other scientific theories. That echoes a Louisiana law passed in 2008 that allows teachers to introduce supplemental teaching materials in science classes.

“If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you’re not going to continue to innovate,” Nye said in a wide-ranging telephone interview.

In the video he tells adults they can dismiss evolution, “but don’t make your kids do it. Because we need them.” Posted by Big Think, an online knowledge forum, the clip went viral and has 4.6 million views on YouTube. It has garnered 182,000 comments from critics and supporters.

Naturally, young earth creationists do not appreciate Nye’s plunging into this controversy.

It drew the ire of the creationism group Answers in Genesis, which built a biblically based Creation Museum in Kentucky that teaches the stories of the Old Testament and has attracted headlines for its assertion that dinosaurs roamed alongside Adam and Eve.

The group produced a response video featuring two scientists who say the Bible has the true account of Earth’s origins, and that “children should be exposed to both ideas concerning our past.”

Ken Ham, a co-founder of Answers in Genesis, said dating methods used by scientists to measure the age of the earth are contradictory and many don’t point to millions or billions of years of time.

“We say the only dating method that is absolute is the Word of God,” Ham said. “Time is the crucial factor for Bill Nye. Without the time of millions of years, you can’t postulate evolution change.”

While I am somewhat sympathetic to Bill Nye’s concerns, I nevertheless believe that that he is out of line. He does not have the authority or the right to tell parents what they should teach their children. He is saying that parents should not teach their children what they believe to be true. To his credit, Bill Nye has not suggested that the government should compel parents to teach their children the theory of evolution, at least not yet.

Frankly, I think the greatest jeopardy to science in America is the tendency to treat science as a list of facts to be memorized and orthodoxies to be accepted without question. I am afraid that the way the theory of evolution is taught is an especially bad example of this tendency.

The theory of evolution is a scientific hypothesis that purports to explain the development and adaptation of the many organisms on Earth. As a hypothesis, it is a very good one and there is quite a lot of evidence to support it. Indeed, most of what we know about the science of biology doesn’t really make sense outside of this theory. It is important to remember, however that the theory of evolution is only a hypothesis that stands or falls solely on the evidence. Charles Darwin did not receive the text of The Origin of Species on tablets of stone on Mount Sinai. However unlikely it may seem not, it is possible that the theory of evolution will be replaced or modified in the future. After all, the theory of phlogiston, the theory of the four humors, and the luminiferous ether all seemed to have plenty of evidence in their favor.

That being said then, why shouldn’t the students be encouraged to question evolution? Science ought to be taught as a means of asking the questions and getting the answers rather than as facts to be memorized for the test. Don’t just tell students that the theory of evolution is true. Show why the great majority of scientists believe it to be true and why there is not, at present, any real alternative. Better that than teach evolution as a thing that must be believed. If we are going to teach unquestioned orthodoxies in the schools, we might as well teach young earth creationism. At least, it is somewhat less controversial.

I think the progress of science, and society in general, would be better served by young people who are taught to ask questions, whatever their views on evolution .

The Creation of Adam

After all, it could have happened like this.

 

Egypt to Try US Citizen for Blasphemy

September 23, 2012

I read this story in the Hill last week.

Egypt’s general prosecutor on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for Florida Pastor Terry Jones and seven Coptic Christian Egyptians linked to an anti-Islam video on YouTube that sparked riots across the Middle East, The Associated Press is reporting.

The eight individuals, none of whom are believed to be in Egypt, are charged with harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information. They could face the death penalty.

Jones promoted a 14-minute trailer for the movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The man behind the film, California-based Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, is also among those charged.

I expect that the  Justice Department will be arranging for their arrest and  extradition as quickly as possible. Though maybe Obama will wait until after the election when he will be more flexible.

Political Stalking

July 16, 2012

The latest trend in politics these days seems to be stalking politicians by hanging out at their homes and posting recordings on YouTube.

Video “trackers” are a mainstay on the campaign trail nowadays. Dispatched by candidates to shadow their rivals, they lurk in the crowds and the receiving lines waiting for the opponent to slip up, then capture the embarrassing moment on camera and post it online.

But this season, Democrats are taking the practice to a new and, some say, uncomfortable level by recording the homes of some Republican incumbents.

Two of the recent targets this year have been Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci and Wisconsin Rep. Reid Ribble, whose homes appear in roughly 30-second video clips posted online.

“It really crosses a line,” Ribble told Fox News. “I think it’s fair game for a tracker or the other party to tape what you’re saying. But this doesn’t do anything for them or the political process. And quite frankly it really disturbed my wife.”

In the Ribble video, posted online June 18, his Wisconsin home is filmed from several different angles on a windy day. It’s unclear whether anyone was home when the video, which has no sound, was shot. The Renacci video follows the same formula — straight, raw footage of the congressman’s home posted to YouTube.

Democrats are defending the practice. They say the videos of GOP members’ homes — which are generally spacious, nice-looking dwellings — expose the fact that congressional Republicans used this session to help the wealthy and themselves.

“House Republicans have spent this entire Congress trying to hide that they’re protecting benefits for millionaires and perks for themselves instead of protecting the middle class. But we won’t let them keep it secret any longer,” said Jesse Ferguson, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The rival National Republican Congressional Committee also uses trackers, but in a more limited scope, spokesman Paul Lindsay said.

“Our trackers serve as eyes and ears to hold Democrats accountable in public events and public spaces only,” he said. “Anything beyond that would be a violation of our policy.”

I can’t say that I am really surprised that it is the Democrats that are doing this, and seem to have no idea that there is anything wrong with this creepy behavior. I wonder if they will take responsibility if some unstable person commits an act of violence, perhaps to get back at the evil 1%.

If you think that perhaps are are safe from this sort of thing because you are not a politician, think again. The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections or DISCLOSE act is making its way through Congress. If you want to make a large contribution (more than $10,0o0) to a campaign or any polilical cause, than be prepared to have your name and address known. Here are some FAQs about this legislation from the League of Women Voters.

Q.  Why is the DISCLOSE Act needed?

A.  Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, we have seen a huge increase in election-related advertising through supposedly “independent” expenditures – and most of the money comes from secret sources.  Corporations, unions and wealthy individuals can hide the fact that they are funneling tens of millions of dollars into ad campaigns designed to elect or defeat candidates.  The DISCLOSE Act would remedy this situation by requiring disclosure.

Q.  Why is disclosure important?

A.  Voters deserve and need to know the sources of funding for election advertising so they can make informed decisions.  Secret campaign money has no place in America’s democracy simply because it undermines the role of the voter and corrupts the election process.  Voters have a right to know — whether it is a corporation, union, trade association, or non-profit advocacy group making unlimited campaign expenditures and influencing elections – so they can judge whether to believe the ads.

The League of Women Voters believes Americans deserve all the information they can get before they vote.  Tell us where the money is coming from and let the voters decide.


Q.  Is there any other reason for disclosure?

A.  It is often said that sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Disclosure will operate as a deterrent to quid pro quo corruption because it stops the secret spending that could be part of a corrupt arrangement.


Q.  What does the Supreme Court say about campaign finance disclosure?

A.  On an 8 – 1 vote in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court upheld disclosure requirements.  In fact, the Court pointed in the direction of enhanced disclosure when it said that disclosure is important to “providing the electorate with information.”  It also supported disclaimer requirements “so that the people will be able to evaluate the arguments to which they are being subjected.”  We couldn’t agree more.


Q.  What does the DISCLOSE Act require?

A.  The DISCLOSE of Act 2012 is carefully crafted to require disclosure by outside groups of large campaign contributions and expenditures – those over $10,000 – and includes a valuable “stand-by-your ad” provision for ads run by such groups.  It requires outside groups to certify that their spending is not coordinated with candidates and, very importantly, covers transfers of money among groups so that the actual sources of funds being spent to influence federal elections will be known.


Q.  Covering transfers of more than $10,000 among groups for election advertising is really important?

A.  Yes.  Unless large transfers are disclosed, corporations, unions, trade associations and wealthy individuals would still be able to hide their spending and deceive the voters through “dummy” corporations.


Q.  How is enhanced disclosure accomplished in the legislation?

A.  One of the key elements of the DISCLOSE Act is the definition of “electioneering communications” that triggers the disclosure requirements.  If an ad uses the name or likeness of a candidate within the calendar year of a particular House or Senate election, then disclosure is required.  Current law only requires disclosure of ads within 90 days of a general election, a period of time that is proving much too short with the huge campaign expenditures we are seeing – and made possible by – Citizens United.


Q.  Is the “stand by your ad” requirement an important part of disclosure?

A.  Yes, it is.  The requirement for the main funder(s) of an ad to appear briefly in the ad ensures that the voters will hear directly and immediately who is paying for and is responsible for the ad.

It sounds good and I would support such an act, except that activists have used such information to harass and intimidate  supporters causes they don’t like.

Supporters of California’s Proposition 8 are reporting harassment and even violent assaults from opponents protesting the passage of the ballot proposal which rescinded a California Supreme Court decision that imposed same-sex marriage on the state. Homosexual activists have held large protests at Mormon temples and Catholic churches, deriding their opponents as hateful.

Paul Bishop, a Los Angeles Police Department supervisor reported on the election aftermath in Meridian, a magazine for members of the Latter-Day Saint Church, who are also known as Mormons.

Bishop told how he, as a private citizen, had attended rallies in support of Proposition 8. While both supporters and opponents of the measure honked their horns, he wrote, “the way to tell the difference is the No On 8 supporters usually accompanied their horn honking with an obscene gesture or a string of obscenities. They also liked to swerve their cars toward the children on the curb.”

He noted that several of his ward members had received hate mail after their names, religious affiliation, contribution amounts, and addresses were published on a web site inciting Proposition 8 opponents to target the individuals listed.

“Their houses and cars had been vandalized, their campaign support signs stolen, and opposition signs planted in their place,” Bishop wrote.

This is an opinion piece from US News & World Report

It’s not the new system they don’t like—even while they attack it. It’s that without knowing the identity of the donors who are giving the money to the GOP, they can’t send their mobs arising out of the “Occupy” movement and like-minded groups to the homes of donors in an effort to intimidate them into closing their checkbooks. Last week, for example, hoards of protesters descended on a neighborhood in New York to picket the home of a couple holding a Romney fundraiser, including a plane towing an obnoxious banner overhead.

Other donors to Romney have been singled out by name by the Obama campaign, triggering boycotts of the companies with whom they are affiliated. No such actions have been taken, on the other hand, against individuals or events organized to raise funds for pro-Obama groups. The hypocrisy of the left on these issues should be apparent to anyone who cares to look. They don’t want an even playing field. They don’t want fairness. They want to force, through new law or through intimidation, the GOP’s money out of the political process so they can do all the spending they want, unmatched by anyone who disagrees.

The moral here, is that if the DISCLOSE act is ever passed, conservative activists had better lay low and shut up, or have their homes featured on YouTube, and Occupiers show up at their doorstep.

 


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