Mon, 11 March 2019
All NEW episodes of the Majority Villain podcast.
Mon, 16 April 2018
There is no planet B. So what’s the plan once we destroy this one?
Enter: SCIENCE! New and improved, “Science” has the answer. The only catch? It’s up to us to give a crap. Take a virtual walk of Denver’s March for Science with Gregory and Andi.
Music recorded live at Denver’s Civic Center Park: Papa Juke,
Sun, 25 March 2018
This episode of the Majority Villain podcast has some pretty adult themes. If you’re a sensitive listener, you may want to have a friend proof-listen the show. Otherwise, we feel the topics here need to be discussed again and again, and we welcome heartily your sincere feedback. As always, you can email me your thoughts, concerns and input: email@example.com.
Please consider following up with more of this content and the nationwide protests that have taken place around gun violence under the hashtag #Marchforourlives.
A look back at three horrific tragedies and the vastly different responses by governments following them:
All music, art, and show clips were taken via the Free Music Archive, Flickr, and Youtube under Fair Use and Creative Commons Licensing. Today’s show image by sari_dennise, with music provided by Evil Bear Boris, Blue Dot Sessions, and Kai Engel.
If you found value in today’s show, please consider doing two things: Share the show with a friend, and tell them why you liked it. And please leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts or on the device you’re already using. It takes a few minutes, but its impact on the work we are doing will be felt for years. Thank you very much for taking these actions.
As usual, you can find us @MajorityVillain on Twitter and Facebook, and you can always send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We read every single email we get, and promise you a thoughtful response.
Until next time… Status quos are for suckers.
National Center for Health Statistics,
-Assault or Homicide
-National Vital Statistics Reports
Open Secrets, Profile for 2016 Election Cycle:
Mass shootings and gun control (6/2/2010)
How Many Gun Bills Pass After Mass Shootings? (9/13/2013)
Massacre Energized gun debate not lawmakers (Article from 2000) http://extras.denverpost.com/news/col0419g.htm
What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer
Mass Shooters Are All Different. Except for One Thing: Most Are Men.
Australian Gun Stats
Just 3% of Americans own more than half the country's guns
United States — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law
Mon, 12 March 2018
For over a year now, much of the world has been watching the United States. With Donald Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States, and an investigation being opened into his campaign shortly after his inauguration, many of us, including all of us here at Majority Villain, have been watching with a healthy mix of shock and curiosity to see what will REALLY come of the allegations of collusion with Russia. Every day, we open our preferred 'fake news' branded site to see what car accident we get to watch in slow motion today.
From an outside perspective, it seems as if Robert Mueller, the former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is producing results and untangling the interwoven threads that make up the 2016 Trump Pence campaign. To date, criminal proceedings have been initiated against 19 people. Out of the 19, five of them are United States citizens, and four of them worked for the Trump Campaign itself.
Robert Mueller and his team are on a mission, and they are producing results. But, this begs the question: Who are these people that have been charged? How did they get themselves into such a predicament? Let's go ahead and start with number one. The first man to be indicted: George Papadopoulos. The man that started it all. But… I think that I may be ill equipped to launch into this by myself. I think we need a little help from some of my better known friends… The Obstruction of Justice League of America! Aggregate!
Greg: Oh, hold on I gotta take this… Hello?
Ethan: Dude, I was just listening to the intro - and uh, yeah you can’t say that.
G: Oh hi Ethan. What do you mean? You’re too late. I just said it. Everybody literally just heard me do it.
E: Yeah, but Stephen Colbert did this already.
G: What are you talking about?
E: On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert did the Justice League thing. Back in July.
G: I don’t understand the words that you’re using.
E: He made the same joke.
G: A joke like our joke?
E: The SAME joke.
G: But that’s our thing. We made the Obstruction of Justice League.
E: HE USED THE SAME NAME, DUDE!!!!
G: What? No, that’s not possible…
E: See what I mean? You gotta change it.
G: Yeah, I mean, yeah. I see what you mean. I’m glad you said something before...
E: Ok good. I just didn’t want to see you make an ass out of yourself or anything.
G: Yeah, sure sure. Just let me, real quick.
E: I’m glad we could see eye to eye on this one. It would have been a real shame if we—
G: Uh, hey Ethan.
G: JUSTICE LEAGUE, AMALGAMATE!
E: That’s not even how it goes…
The Justice League Starring...
Longest serving FBI director since J Edgar Hoover and former vietnam marine, Robert “Superman” Mueller…. As Muellerman!
Former FBI director James “Martian Manhunter” Comey…. As Martian Manhunter Comey!
Trump Campaign pawn, and federally prosecuted, George “Brainiac” Papadopoulos…. As the Legion of Doom’s Brainiopoulos!
Donald J. Trump as Lex Luthor…. As LEXALD J. LUTHOR!
Join our band of heroes as they work together for good against the tyranny of treason as the Obstruction of Justice League of America!!!
BACK AT THE LEGION OF DOOM’S HQ - THE HALL OF DOOM
Lexald J. Luthor plans his attack on Giganta Hillary Clinton.
Campaign staffer Sam Clovis sends recruit George Brainiopoulos on a secret mission to improve relations between the United States and Russia. While in his secret London lair, the Brainiopoulos is approached by Professor Joseph Mifsud - a man with known connections to Russia and Vladmirro himself.
Brainiopoulos and Professor Mifsud meet on numerous occasions between mid-March, 2016 under the pretense that Russia has "dirt" on “Hilganta” from her private communications and on March 24th, Professor Mifsud is joined by Olga “The Cheetah” Polonskaya, in disguise as the beloved niece of Vladmirro.
Clovis encourages Brainiopoulos to travel to Russia to meet with agents of Russia’s Foreign Ministry after learning of Hilganta secret email weakness and on return boasts of alleged intel regarding Hilganta’s feculent digital trail.
BUT NOT SO FAST! The Obstruction of Justice League’s James “Martian Manhunter” Comey is keen to the rouse, and delves deeper into the doings of the Legion of Doom’s dubious developments.
After numerous requests for Lexald J. Luthor to meet with Russian representatives, Brainiopoulos is told by the Toymanafort and Gorilla Gates that Lexald J. Luthor will not make the journey - but rather, a minion in his stead.
Upon learning of Brainiopoulos’ ongoings - the Martian Manhunter Comey catches the scent of wrongdoing afoot and sends emissaries, spooking Brainiopoulos who in sensing the danger of his pursuers purges the records of his personal book of faces. He creates a new book in its place.
Luthor, sensing the unending pressure upon him, looks to banish the Martian Manhunter Comey back to Mars, lest he never be heard from again.
But Lexald J. Luthor has underestimated the Justice League’s bureaucratic power as the Manhunter’s power orb is absorbed into Muellerman (HERO MUSIC), making the Justice League and Muellerman more knowledgeable than ever before.
With all of the information in his possession, Muellerman springs to action, closes his decisive grip of justice around Brainiopoulos, bringing the young Luthor pawn and his actions to a screeching halt. Smelling the scent of defeat, being captured for his deceptions, Brainipolous pleads guilty to all charges. The world is safer for another day, and the work of Justice League of America has just begun.
Tune in next time…
Upon learning of his betrayal of his once beloved compatriot, Luthor does everything in his power to disavow Brainiopoulos, minimizing and obscuring his actions as a low-level minion fraught with/plagued by delusions of grandeur.
Greg: So, what do you think?
Ethan: Dude, I told you like 10 minutes ago, Colbert already made this joke.
Greg: I don’t recall that information whatsoever.
Ethan: Somebody is gonna sue us.
Greg: We don’t have any assets anyway.
You’ve been listening to the Majority Villain podcast. Today’s show was written by Ethan Braine and Gregory Haddock. To redeem your superfriend points for this episode visit the website at majorityvillain.com and Facebook and Twitter @majorityvillain. Show music via the Free Music Archive, and show images via Flickr. All media used under Fair Use and Creative Commons Licensing. Episode image by Tom Woodward.
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UNTIL NEXT TIME… Status quos are for suckers.
Sun, 25 February 2018
As the 2018 Winter Olympics come to a close The Majority Villain Podcast presents to you the villain’s review: our version of events, validating various vignettes of valor - the victor’s view from the vertex. Vamoose vagabonds! Vanish you valley voyagers vibrant only in vanilla vagary! Vended and verified be the vanquisher.
Today’s music brought to you by Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Nigerian Women's bobsled team becomes the first ever African bobsled team to qualify for the winter Olympics.
This of course revitalized once again the conversation that predominantly black nations from warmer regions can in fact have bobsled teams. Jamaican Bobsled documentarian John Candy explains:
(John Candy, Cool Runnings)
Nigeria is one of only 8 participating African countries in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The team is comprised of Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga. The Houston based women are trained track and field athletes. Adigun competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 100-meter hurdles and Onwumere competed in the All-African Games.
Despite previous successes, when Lagos-based writer Emmanuel Dairo spoke with Nigerian freelance reporter Linus Unah, Dairo said of the team, "Very few even know there is a winter games going on, and even fewer care.” Nevertheless, it was Seun Adigun who launched a GoFundMe page in 2016 to help raise money for their trip to the games, and after raising $150,000 she helped to establish the Bobsled & Skeleton Federation of Nigeria. The team eventually competed with a slew of sponsors as part of team Visa. Even if winning wasn’t in the cards… perhaps it wasn’t the point…"Our objective (now) is to be the best representation of Africa that the Winter Olympics have ever witnessed,” Adigun said.
North and South Korea competed as a United Korea this year in hockey, despite being technically still at war! This was the first time some of the South Koreans have met North Koreans. North Korea brought more than 180 cheerleaders (a reminder of how weird shit is over there), and were accompanied during all events by minders that sat with them, disputing any semblance to freedom there might have been. The cheerleaders acted as a stark reminder to how far the two countries have grown apart, including mixed reactions from the women at a moment when a Kim Jong Un impersonator walked in front of them. Awkward shiiiiii…
(Audio, John Candy)
For more on North Korea peruse the Majority Villain podcasts on the device you’re already using. (That means subscribing to the show!) I recommend the January episode, “North Korea Could Be Anywhere” http://www.majorityvillain.com/thepodcast/northkorea.
Teen Olympian snowboarder, Red Gerard, overslept and then won gold in slopestyle after late night binging on Netflix in which Gerard stated that he was watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine - which appears to be available only on overseas Netflix - so it’s pretty understandable, Red. Get it while you can. We dig it. After being woken up by his roommate, Gerard realized soon that he couldn't find his coat and ended up taking his roommate's which was too big. As his family spent the morning shotgunning South Korean beer, the clearly overwhelmed 17 year old clinched gold, cursing on television, ”What the fuck? Hoooly shit”. In related news, Gerard has promised his Olympic roommate either one of his kidneys whenever it is needed.
(Audio, John Candy)
The United States National Hockey League did not participate these Olympic games. The decision was announced on April 4th of 2017, stating they would not be allowing their players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, because the games take place directly in the middle of the NHL's regular season, causing issues with tickets and other operations. Another factor was injuries. With athletes going to the Olympics, injuries are always a fear that players may miss out on regular season games. Likewise, there are financial losses that NHL teams would have in their existing contracts, like setbacks on regular league play. The International Olympic Committee doesn't actually have a partnership with the NHL. This would mean that the NHL and all teams with participating players would be footing the bill to provide insurance for players as well as travel and lodging costs. All in all, the NHL saw no upside to allowing players to compete.
(Shuffling papers) Aaaand in other news the US women’s hockey team won gold in a dramatic shootout against Canada.
John Candy was born in Newmarket, Ontario. John Candy’s middle name was Franklin.
John Candy graduated from Neil McNeil High School in Toronto.
You’ve been listening to the Majority Villain podcast. I’m Gregory Haddock. Today’s show was written by Ethan Braine and myself. To redeem your villain points for this episode be sure to visit the website at majorityvillain.com and on Facebook and Twitter @majorityvillain. On a side note - Big suprirse, this show is satirical… a HUGE congratulations to the US Women’s Hockey Team on their gold medal. Thanks for the showing the NHL what a bunch of wieners they are. You guys are badass.
Wanna get a gold medal of your own? Go to Apple Podcasts. (But, uh, maybe… I, uh, later I can, uh….) No, no, no - I insist. A link is provided in the show notes…https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/majority-villain/id877298705?mt=2\ go there and leave a review for Majority Villain. A five star review is single handedly the most helpful action you can take to support the work we are doing. Gold medal sold separately.
Status Quos Are For Suckers.
John Candy was 6’2”.
Red Gerard Oversleeping
NHL Not Participating
Nigerian Women's Bobsled Team
Sat, 10 February 2018
Cryptocurrency may just seem like the latest fad for throwing your money away. It is, at least, what one man would classify as (Ethan: fake internet points). And to a degree, he’s right, isn’t he? Think about it. The internet age is a millennial specialty for our throw-away culture — like swiping right and most of the rules of grammar.
Proponents of cryptocurrency, sometimes called digital currency, like it for its more democratic ends based on the very fact that the currency belongs to no one entity. It’s decentralized from a banking system which means it remains in the public commons and is, in essence, unbound by traditional rules of economics.
That doesn’t mean that cryptocurrencies are without their struggle. Far from it. With volatile market fluctuations, cyber crime and hacking, cryptocurrencies have more than traditionally government-backed currency and regulations to contend with. They and consumers are navigating unforeseen obstacles everyday to see if they will become a major player in the future of finance or if they will become just another footnote in internet history alongside grumpy cat memes, duck lip selfies, Charlie Sheen and the mannequin challenge (shudder).
Despite the uphill battle, even the hardest of the hardcore crypto-haters out there will admit that in the face of major obstacles like record-breaking price-drops in value over the month of January 2018, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are unlikely to disappear altogether. Like it or not, we are tech-bound for the duration of our stay on Earth. Cryptocurrency is ipso facto, here to stay.
So, if you’re anything like me, you probably have one gnawing question:
Yeah, I’m going to need some help with this one. (I’m Ethan Braine with Majority Villain)
The drop in Bitcoin is actually $7915.01, as of the recording of this message, though days ago it was nearly $6000. The volatility is violent.
While many cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin allow access to a public ledger, the trails for these funds can be astoundingly complicated and drowned out in the process. Hackers may have numerous “wallets” where questionable transactions are mixed in with clean funds and then sold off at a later date when the money in question is digitally mixed enough through a process called “tumbling”. Think of it as the money laundering of the future!!!
There are plenty of reasons cryptocurrency is a good idea. The elimination of a central government - means no government or company can control the currency or directly manipulate interest rates. There are also no limits on how much money can be transferred so banks are a non-factor, and the fees are almost non-existent. Best yet, they can be used anywhere! So a Bitcoin in Bulgaria is a Bitcoin in Burkina Faso, and a Bitcoin in Belarus is a Bitcoin in Boston and a Bitcoin in Bolivia is a Bitcoin in Bangladesh and a Bitcoin in Bermuda is a Bitcoin in…
The Dark Web makes all kinds of things possible. It’s dark, because it is all the seediest activities humans aren’t typically willing to do in overwhelmingly public, well-lit areas. The following is a re-enactment of one type of seedy dark-web behavior. Listeners be warned as this audio clip contains adult content taken from a real-life dark web incident.
Man 1: Why hello there sir. How do you do?
Man 2: I do. And you?
Man 1: I do too. Thank you. Now, tell me my good man. Where might I purchase some drugs?
Man 2: Why why, my good man. I would be happy to accommodate your drug request by providing said drugs to you, hereby to be referred to simply as “drugs”.
Man 1: Bully! Naturally it would be poor form to simply hand you paper currency, hereby to be referred to as “cash money” for said “drugs”.
Man 2: Understandably so. Let us then conduct our cash money for drugs transaction via a cryptocurrency delivery to one web address, to then be split and muddled into multiple addresses, thereby disguising the cash money and drugs in question.
Man 1: Bully! In that case I will also acquire one unit of sex for more cash money.
Man 2: Bully! Consider the sexy sex for cash money delivered.
…And that’s how it happens. Just. Like. That.
The pain is real. The Mt. Gox hack resulted in the absolute ruin of some investor’s. Real people, real consequences.
From a reddit post in 2014, following the Mt. Gox bankruptcy:
— (originally I tried to withdraw $30,000.00, but Mt. Gox cancelled my withdraw and asked me to change to GBP. Funds never arrived. Mt.Gox admits in the e-mail funds are mine.)
— I have about 90 BTC in my Mt. Gox account, which I would very much like to receive back at some point. It's only just sinking in that it might all be gone.. I can't believe I waited so long before getting it out somewhere safe, but.. here we are.
— I have about 650 BTC in Gox. I haven't slept in days and haven't been able to tell my wife how much I've lost. I was an early adopter, just mining in my basement, and I can't imagine all of my time and work vanishing like this. Please contact me with what I need to do.
Think this all sounds crazy? Don’t. We do it everyday. Try eating a handful of dollar bills and tell me how full you feel, but that may sound stupid because that money is government-backed. However, there is one other type of financial speculation much more similar called a “future”. A future is a financial arrangement in which the thing being traded back and forth is not intrinsically for the item in question, but rather for the value that item has on the market at any given time. In other words, the Wall Street speculator that purchases 1000 future shares of cattle livestock doesn’t actually want 1000 shares of cattle livestock to show up to his office. That idea is so silly, we wouldn’t even know where to begin. But that doesn’t mean those future shares of that very livestock won’t change hands multiple times in one day as men in black suits with black ties yell back and forth on the trading floor to move those future shares. Imagine what the average rancher thinks of all this!
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t all that different. The value isn’t the weight of the bitcoin sitting in your hand. It’s about the value of these “fake internet points” the market places on it. This isn’t just an internet-age phenomenon either. 17th century Dutch saw entire fortunes won and lost on the exchange of exotic tulips. Yes, those tulips. As 1630s trades for tulips ramped up in the Netherlands, a 1000% market-value increase for one type of bulb in the span of a single month was not unheard of. A link to an article comparing the Dutch tulip craze and cryptocurrency on Focus Economics is located in the show notes.
You’ve been listening to the Majority Villain podcast. I’m your host, Gregory Haddock. A very special thanks today to the Villain’s newest, correspondent, Ethan Braine, who helped write much of today’s show. To redeem your villain points for this episode be sure to visit the website at majorityvillain.com and on Facebook and Twitter @majorityvillain. In signing out I would like to ask one very particular favor: please click on the iTunes link in the show notes and leave a review for Majority Villain. A five star review is single handedly the most helpful action you can take to support the work we are doing. Thank you in advance for taking action.
In the meantime… Status quos are for suckers.
Real life stories of people screwed at Gox...
Tulip Mania: When Tulips Cost As Much As Houses
From $900 to $20,000: Bitcoin's Historic 2017 Price Run Revisited
Link to power consumption
Regulation from South Korea
South Korean regulatory page
Top Five hacks
Nvidia asks retailers to stop selling graphics cards to miners
Warren Buffett says he won't invest in cryptocurrency
Info on BitConnect lawsuit
Sun, 28 January 2018
The Doomsday Clock is now two minutes to irrevocable worldwide destruction; the closest it has been since 1953, when the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists wrote, “Only a few more swings of the pendulum, and, from Moscow to Chicago, atomic explosions will strike midnight for Western civilization.”
The Bulletin, a group accredited by the membership of its 15 Nobel laureates, began with former Manhattan Project scientists who could, “not remain aloof to the consequences of their work.” Their warning to the human species came as humankind entered the age of nuclear war, and the tense relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union quickly deteriorated.
The clock, a metaphor of humanity’s countdown to midnight, coarsely whispers the warning to our species if we are unable to change our trajectory. The minute hand has only moved 22 times in that 73 years, and since 2007 it has also reflected the effects of climate change.
Citing the Trump administration’s outright rejection of the scientific community’s consensus on climate change, and President Trump’s disturbing comments toward North Korea, Iran and Pakistan in January of this year, the Bulletin saw the need to move the minute hand a half-minute closer to global catastrophe, stating the current situation is as dangerous as it has ever been since World War II.
Tragic irony rings deep echoes in noting that it was Barack Obama who was the first US President to call for a “nuclear-free world”, but it was also Obama who announced a trillion dollar investment to modernize the nuclear-weapons program — and it was another first when he visited Hiroshima, and then offered no official apology when it was the healing power of reconciliation they truly needed.
There is no doubt that the times we live in are hectic, dangerous and absurd, but the answer to the question of what one could do with two minutes should be all we need to hear: not much.
I’m Gregory Haddock. This is Majority Villain.
Show Image: Trinity Bomb Test, July 16, 1945, New Mexico
Sun, 14 January 2018
Rate The Majority Villain Villain Podcast on iTunes! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/majority-villain/id877298705?mt=2
We’ve all heard the reports about North Korea.
There’s no shortage of information about the nation most people love to hate. We hear a lot regarding missile tests, prison camps and brainwashing. We know the stories of Kim Jong-un and his late father Kim Jong-il, but not too much about the true patriarch of the nation; Kim Il-sung. Reports and discussions over the behavior of North Korea are abound, while self-reflection of the roots of these resentments and ill-feelings remain silent.
Today, on Majority Villain we will consider the questions:
Why does North Korea hate America? Or more succinctly put: why does it seem that way?
And two far-less talked about questions…
So, let’s have at it, shall we? This is Majority Villain.
Are we going to have a nuclear war with North Korea?
This question gets thrown around. A lot. So much so that I fear we don’t anticipate what it would mean. The levity with which we pose the question seems to traverse beyond varying degrees of caution and concern, instead springing head first into some kind of patriotic excitement on how a full-on war could somehow revitalize the American spirit. The two longest wars in American history raging on right now in Iraq and Afghanistan would suggest otherwise. It seems to me then, we ought to be wary of the words we use to describe such a scenario, lest we not anticipate what would likely be the consequences. Regardless, we continue to ask: Are we going to have a nuclear war with North Korea? Variations of the question include whether or not we should (as if choosing to have a war would place us into some type of scenario where there would be clear advantages. There probably wouldn't be). Other variants include WWIII references (beyond scary), the duty of America to be the peace-enforcer (paternal), how evil or crazy Kim Jong-un is (ironic), and more recently how the United States should use its strong arm over China to wield its powerful influence in bringing North Korea under control (dream weaving).
Let’s talk fire power.
Occasionally, people scoff at the idea that North Korea could ever successfully attack the United States with a nuclear payload missile, citing a three decade-long program littered with international embarrassments; early on it was only short-range tests, and then later a total overhype of test trajectory, and sometimes tests were flat-out failed launches. It’s not the most solid track record on missile tests in history, and that tends to lead a lot of people to thinking that the United States is safe. On the other hand, North Korea’s weapons program is young (just over 10 years old), they have an unknown number in their arsenal, and most terrifyingly - as recently as November, 2017 have they launched a successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) experts say is capable of reaching anywhere within the continental United States. Is North Korea's program riddled with flaws? Yes. Does the United States have a missile defense program designed to shoot these things out of the sky? Yes. But do we know how many the United States would need to shoot down, has that missile defense system been tested, and are we even sure the United States would be the target of that attack? No, no and no.
Most experts says that the United States partner-country, South Korea would be on the receiving end of what would certainly be far too many missiles to defend against. By all accounts, South Korea would be decimated in unimaginable ways.
That makes Donald Trump’s, and more generally, the United States’ tough guy approach all the more scary — not to Americans — but to South Koreans particularly, because they would take more than their fair share of the bombardment.
Unfortunately, it’s much easier to carry a big stick than it is to speak softly. Specifically, to speak about the nuance regarding North Korea, namely, the people. It’s easy to forget that there are a lot of innocent people in North Korea, both imprisoned and free who don’t necessarily agree with the aims and goals of the Kim regime. When we say things like, “North Korea is crazy” we undermine the reality of millions of citizens who are trapped in very real ways. The North Korean propaganda machine is the best in its class, censorship on rogue ideas is strictly forbidden, and dissidents who speak or act out are not given very many second chances — if ever. Most of the country is under an electric blackout and quality food sources are scarce — even among those who are not imprisoned or in labor camps. The bottom line is this: North Korea cannot be abrasively labelled as aggressive without attention to the massive population of people who are oppressed in inconceivable ways. If the United States were to attack North Korea the casualties would be astronomical just as they were the last time US troops were there.
Flash back to 1950 as global relations are beginning to take new shape in the aftermath of failed a attempt by Axis Powers led by Germany, Italy and Japan. Korea has been occupied for some three decades by the Japanese and is split up into two dictatorships; One North, one South. One protected by communist Soviet Union and one protected by capitalist America. A North Korean military front, led by Kim Jong-un’s grandfather Kim Il-sung heads into the South to take over the land. The newly formed United Nations responds under immense persuasion by the United States to intercede. What begins as a protection and post-WWII peace enforcement mission in the former Japanese-occupied country pushes back against the North, not only to the original borders, but far beyond, just shy of the Chinese border. By 1953, non-militarized treaty lines between the North and South are established where they still exist on a map today. The casualties are immense.
Howard Zinn recalls the words of a BBC journalist as he described the trauma in both Koreas after the 1950 June invasion by the North resulted in a US led campaign of 3 years of bombing, shelling and even napalm in his book, A People’s History of the United States. Sensitive listeners advised as the following description is rather unsettling.
“In front of us a curious figure was standing, a little crouched, legs straddled, arms held out from his sides. He had no eyes, and the whole of his body, nearly all of which was visible through tatters of burnt rags, was covered with a hard black crust speckled with yellow pus…. He had to stand because he was no longer covered with a skin, but with a crust-like crackling which broke easily…. I thought of the hundreds of villages reduced to ash which I personally had seen and realized the sort of casualty list which must be mounting up along the Korean front.” (Zinn, People’s History, 1980)
Zinn estimated during this time that as many as 2 million Koreans were killed. To try to put that into perspective, it is a figure nearly 9 times higher than the number of deaths accrued during the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs dropped by the United States just 5 years earlier.
Typically, this is the part where somebody argues that neither Kim Jong-un nor Donald Trump are responsible for actions taken 70 years ago. True. But that answer feels wholly insufficient, does it not? While decades-old resentments remain, a closer look at current behaviors is needed. Political linguist Noam Chomsky says that a good start to normalized diplomatic relations (like getting North Korea to freeze its nuclear weapons program) would be ending the threatening military maneuvers facilitated by the United States military right outside North Korea’s borders. And understandably so! Imagine what public opinion would be if Russia had 35,000 troops located in Toronto and were running drills on how to attack New York… you know, just in case. Not a good feeling, right? But Chomsky doesn’t end the argument for understanding North Korea’s fears and frustrations there. Rather, he explains quite clearly the legacy of the root of that hostility.
(Audio clip of Chomsky explaining how US troops leveled NK.)
Perhaps the irony with North Korea is our leaders are so alike. Here is a short quiz taken by the BBC, with some notable quotes of my own choosing added. I’ll read you a quote, and after a few seconds I will tell you if it was Kim Jong-un or Donald Trump. You can keep score at home. Finally, a game the whole family can enjoy!
“The military might of a country represents its national strength. Only when it builds up its military might in every way can it develop into a thriving country.” - Kim
"If we push the buttons to annihilate the enemies even right now, all bases of provocations will be reduced to seas in flames and ashes in a moment.” -Kim
"They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” -Trump
"Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him.” - Kim
“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice!” -Trump
“We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.” -Trump
"Let us bring about a radical turn in the building of an economic giant with the same spirit and mettle as were displayed in conquering space.” -Kim
“There can be no prosperity without law and order.” -Trump
If you got a perfect score - congratulations! You know your dictators from your dickheads! Missed two? Not too shabby. If you got anything less than that - you really gotta admit it - they’re pretty damn similar, and that should give you cause to reflect on the dangers of unmoving nationalism.
International Relations in academia have competing schools of thought when it comes to a state’s behavior. There are ongoing dialogues about the varying degrees between state sovereignty vs world cooperation, military might vs diplomacy, border security vs international investment. Realist schools of thought place a premium on the need to securitize the nation, reign in foreign nationals, and build up a mighty military with the force to destroy at a moments notice if not for the home team’s offense, then for a monumental dissuasion for those with ill intentions from ever even thinking about trying something against us. Never question the home team. It is us vs them.
If the two leaders of these two governments are so eager to measure their members, display their plumage, yell the loudest, fire the biggest rockets, and ignore their own advisors, then we shall reap what we sow…
(Sound of rocket taking off)
(Ring Ring - News report: North and South Korea open up previously closed direct contact line)
What thickens the irony all the more is that Kim, unlike Trump, might be more willing to compromise. Given recent rhetoric by President Donald Trump, even in a diplomatic setting like the United Nations… (Audio of Trump at UN session) North and South Korea have been more eager to communicate today than they have been in at least two years. Does this mean that Donald Trump’s tough guy approach has worked? Or does it imply that the Koreans are finding the United States to be an obstacle to compromise? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I will not be able to answer that question here.
The more important question is how we view success as a nation. It is a me-first approach? Is there room to question the home team? Is dissidence simply permitted or is it cherished as a means to problem-solving? Howard Zinn’s take on patriotism was much different:
“If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, not as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one's country, one's fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.”
The United States proudly calls itself a peace-enforcer, but there is no such thing as enforcing peace. A farmer does not enforce the growth of corn. He cultivates it. An architect doesn’t enforce the construction of a new building. She develops it. Likewise, peace cannot be imposed, forced, coerce or even won.
It’s unfortunate that our über-macho society masculinity places such a premium on aggression. We see what we want and we go and make it happen. We manifest the desired outcome with elbow grease and a can-do attitude. Of course these cultural traits have their value, but why are they seen as an all-encompassing replacement, overshadowing their counterpart attributes of compassion, listening, patience and empathy.
In light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day - I leave you with his own words on the subject of nationalism.
“This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.” (Beyond Vietnam)
You’ve been listening to the Majority Villain podcast. I’m your host, Gregory Haddock. To redeem your villain points for this episode be sure to visit the website at www.majorityvillain.com and on Facebook and Twitter @majorityvillain. If you liked the show you have three tasks; Tell a friend, Subscribe, and Rate the show on iTunes. A link is at the very top of the show notes are on the device you’re already using.
Peace, love and villainy. Status quos are for suckers.
Music provided by the Free Music Archive under Creative Commons licensing. Today’s music by Audiobinger, Evil Bear Boris, Ari de Niro and Lee Rosevere. Show image by NASA.
Tue, 12 December 2017
Welcome to Maj-j-j-j-jo-o-o-rity Vil-l-l-l-lain-n-n-n
What is Net Neutrality?
Today, the internet and access to it remain open. It remains accessible. It remains “free”, because anyone, anywhere at anytime can use it.
But that very freedom is scheduled to be rolled back dramatically on December 14th when the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote to remove the internet as a public utility from Title II of the Communications Act.
Exactly. That legalese is most likely what your internet service provider, commonly called simply ISPs, has been counting on in order to keep consumers willfully ignorant about the future of the internet. But here’s where the rubber meets the road: it’s not working. Yep, as high as 2/3 of Americans from all walks of the political spectrum are keen to this corporate coup. And for good reason, right? From ridiculously long and non-intelligible user agreement forms to shoddy bundling packages with landlines that most kids in the year 2017 don’t even know exist, to simply trying to terminate your cable plan with customer service representatives who are more beast than man (Video of guy cancelling). This last video went viral after that man repeated those cancellation requests to Comcast customer service for nearly 20 minutes. Hell, I personally was sent to collections by Comcast over their mistake for about $30. Cable companies and internet service providers clearly have one lasting motive: the bottom line.
So is Net Neutrality just the latest gimmick? Most experts say it’s much more serious than that.
Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu first used the term “Net Neutrality” in 2003 when discussing “common carriers”. Companies that have a purpose of moving goods or services from one point to another. They “carry” your phone call from your mother, they “carry” our oil in pipelines, our Christmas packages on railways, and even “carry” precious YouTube videos all the way to your ears. Obviously, some applications may be more useful than others.
The important part is that the goods get to you when you need them, and are done so efficiently and quickly.
So what might happen in the aftermath of the death of Net Neutrality? Some are saying:
The Death of Online Activism the Expansion of Censorship
Right now, I can say whatever I want about Verizon. I can say that President Trump’s FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, whom he personally appointed, is a dirty former lawyer of Verizon that likes to play with his poopy for foreplay in front of his corporate overlords at weird Verizon headquarter sex parties where the board of directors dress up like futuristic S&M dolls and virgins are led to the slaughter at the hands of anatomically correct killer robots all for the purpose of revitalizing their decrepit old skin in bizarre witchcraft rituals. And while this is clearly a true statement, under proposed FCC guidelines, they could simply block this very website altogether if they chose to.
This past December 7th saw some of the largest organized efforts to stop the FCC’s proposed changes as nationwide protests in front of Verizon stores took place. Those organizers like verizonprotests.com and battleforthenet.com could be in a state of perpetual loading if their ISP doesn’t like the content. Imagine if verizonprotests.com were located in an area where their only ISP was Verizon. There is literally nothing stopping Verizon from simply shutting down that operation. It sure doesn’t sound like a booming success for consumers, does it? It doesn’t resonate with options or protections for Jon and Jane Doe. The question presents itself then as a debate over whether or not access to the internet is a right. Should it be designated a common carrier and should consumers have proper access to it, as regulated by the government?
The words “more government” automatically give a lot of people the heeby jeebies. Fair enough, let’s look at why eliminating Net Neutrality is a good thing.
Probably the most common argument for ending Net Neutrality is economic. That argument goes like this: Why would ISPs continue to invest in internet infrastructure if the incentive for building it is financially undermined by everyone having the same access to it. Instead, internet service providers argue that being able to provide faster internet to those willing to pay for it will help create the financial incentive to build a faster internet for everyone, fast lanes for all, faster lanes for some. Sounds simple enough.
Companies like Comcast, Charter and Cox have said for sometime that slowing down internet speeds for most consumers wouldn’t be the goal of these new internet rules. Instead, they make the claim that consumers already have robust options in the internet market, and therefore this wouldn’t be a giveaway to the major ISP players. In other words, your internet service will be largely unaffected as the invisible hand of the market plays out and competes for your dollar. If company A is too slow, then company B will be a tough competitor in that market, or company c or d and so forth. Absolutely a solid argument with a strong foundation. But do people really have multitudes of ISP options?
Furthermore, could it be that the real reason money is not being invested in infrastructure is become the cable lobby is well aware that competition is weak. The main economic argument by ISPs assume that resources have been tight, and consumers can walk to another provider anytime they want. Business Insider’s Jeff Dunn doesn’t seem to think so in an April article saying, “Could Pai's net-neutrality plan lead ISPs to invest in more robust internet, and even offer it at cheaper prices? Possibly. But most of these companies have been sitting on piles of money for a long time, and they haven’t been very eager to spend the hundreds of millions needed to build out their private infrastructure into more places.”
However, according to a popular piece by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight (video clip)
Brodkin finishes the July piece stating, “That report was issued before current Chairman Ajit Pai (former Verizon lawyer) took over for Tom Wheeler (former cable lobbyist). Pai voted against the 2015 decision to raise the broadband speed definition, criticized Wheeler for excluding satellite and mobile services from the new broadband benchmark, and has said the broadband market is too competitive for strict privacy rules. Under Pai's leadership, the FCC's future conclusions about broadband deployment and competition might be more in line with the cable lobby’s.”
One of the things I’d get in trouble for when I was a kid was playing Devil’s Advocate. My parents hated it to the point that they made me a shirt that had a quote from Dante’s Divine comedy - “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” I’m reluctant to take a stand for either side of an argument because both sides usually have their own merits. And, to paraphrase Penn Jillette, you should defend the people you don’t agree with at some point in your life. That act is a step to finding out what your priorities truly are. Now, with times being what they are, it’s difficult to support the repeal of Net Neutrality. For me, that means it’s time to stand for something.
Would the repeal of Net Neutrality be as big a deal if we weren’t living in an age of kleptocrats and a lack of corporate transparency?
I can’t in good conscience support the repeal of Net Neutrality. First off, the answer to my own question is no. This sort of thing wouldn’t have been a problem in the first place it people weren’t so obsessed with the weight of their wallets. When looking up at Net Neutrality rules, I found out that the internet is classified as a Title II communication service, which essentially means that the providers had to play fair with the services that they provided and couldn’t gouge people on prices. Further research refers to regulations on communications services in the early 1900’s, a time where railways were charging lower and higher rates depending on the traffic in and out of cities. In 1934, FDR asked for legislation for the creation of a government body that could study and regulate communication services. Thus, the FCC was created. A president 80 years back created an agency to prevent consumers from being thrown to the wolves that are hungry corporate interest, and the delicious irony is that the agency responsible for originally protecting the consumers is now the one threatening to repeal the rules keeping corporations fair.
Second, the implications of a corporate stranglehold on a communications service can’t be ignored. We have a president who is currently delegitimizing the media, and the only channel he watches is fucking FOX News, a nest of vile sycophants who haven’t ceased to line up and blow the con artist in chief on live television. If the repeal of Net Neutrality means that your ability to communicate depends on how deep your pockets are, there are going to be a lot of people whose perspective on many things is narrowed significantly, and that is a dangerous prospect no matter who happens to be in office.
It should go without saying that technology is vastly different than it was in the 1930’s. It seems like these days that things have advanced so quickly that people haven’t had the opportunity to catch up with the Information Age. The advent of the Information Age has made it impossible to be completely ignorant on something, but that’s a good thing. The ability to exchange information, among other things, wirelessly and quickly has birthed a new way that we communicate ideas. One of the effects of that, however, is that there’s a lot of things that people part of older generations want to keep buried, which is a polite way of saying that old fucks have a lot of dirty laundry. There’s always going to be a conflict in a period of transition, and in the United States we are in a state of heavy societal upheaval. The last thing that we should have to worry about is how we communicate with each other and who might threaten our abilities to do so.
Now, if you haven’t made your voice heard to the FCC already, do so. Host of Last Week Tonight John Oliver shared a web address that directly links to the FCC’s website and the page you need to be on to file a complaint about the repeal of Net Neutrality. (www.gofccyourself.com) Everyone has a voice. As much as I like the idea of arguing for both sides, sometimes you need to stand for something.
One more thing - I kind of shit on Ajit Pai earlier, or at least implied I did, but I can’t do that to the fullest extent. On a personal level, the Chairman of the FCC seems like a good guy. Because of his movement to repeal Net Neutrality, however, his family has been harassed and his home has been vandalized. ("Ajit Pai Says His Children Are Being Harassed") I can’t condone that sort of thing, nobody should. That being said, this is a display of what happens when you mess with something people think should be a basic right to everyone. If Ajit Pai wasn’t formerly a lawyer for Verizon (and put in his current position specifically for what he’s doing now), the public’s perception of him would be different. But his goofy smile and comically large coffee mug won’t change the fact that Pai has pissed off a good portion of the internet community for lying and exaggerating about Net Neutrality to rally people behind his cause and blatantly ignoring the public who fucking hate his idea. It’s not an unheard of tactic for someone in political power, and it’s something that would land him squarely in the Trump White House, which makes him fit well with the other bullshit artists he has in his stable.
From, the Outsider
That last piece was produced by Vili Branyik and performed by Eric Ellzey.
What implications are there for eliminating NN?
The Death of Small Business
If the internet is reclassified and Net Neutrality is ended, then big businesses like Google or Amazon will be able to purchase “fast lanes” where you as a consumer can use their websites with almost no interruption - exactly the way you use it everyday. Internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast will most definitely like this, because they won't have to provide those same fast lanes to damn freeloaders like the Majority Villain podcast. In fact, they can do something called “throttling” (video of person explaining this) and intentionally make websites slower than they would be otherwise. ISPs will make obscene amounts of money in the process by charging mid-size to large-size companies huge premiums at whatever price they deem profitable, regardless of market demands all for the bandwidth those same companies already get today. Sadly though, ending Net Neutrality protections will be a death sentence to many small businesses, because their meager advertising budgets won’t be able to afford the service. Those businesses who cannot compete with this new flavor of corporate elitism will go back to advertising mediums that belong in a museum. Sayonara Ma and Pa.
December 14th the FCC is set to vote and end what we know as Net Neutrality. Even if you’re listening to this afterward, you can make your voice heard. Go to fccyourself.com and leave your feedback for the FCC on this disastrous decision. Change.org, battleforthenet.com, savetheinternet.com and verizonprotests.com all have actions you can take and there are links to every one of them in the show notes which you can find on the device you are using right now. Don’t just get angry, do something about it. The power is ours to create the future we want.
You’ve been listening to the Majority Villain podcast. I’m your host, Gregory Haddock.
Mon, 27 November 2017
Today’s show is dedicated to the hundreds of men, women and children killed in the November 24th attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. As this won’t reach the front pages of many papers, let’s make an effort to lift it up as we contemplate the tragedy of any lost human, regardless of location, ethnicity or religion. Thoughts and prayers abound for those struggling for meaning today.
If you or anybody you know is a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault, there are actions you can take. Please don’t hesitate to speak out! Visit the link in the show description at http://www.feminist.org/911/harasswhatdo.html for more information. And yes, that includes you too, guys.
While news and entertainment have taken the hot seat in recent sexual misconduct allegations, it is the service, retail, healthcare and manufacturing sectors that have the highest reporting of sexual harassment, suggesting that low-wage employees seen as dispensable suffer the highest rates of misconduct. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/24/the-industries-with-the-worst-sexual-harassment-problem/?utm_term=.577ba6a0d114\
Show image from Freaktography via Flickr under Creative Commons Licensing. Show music provided by the Free Music Archive under Creative Commons Licensing. Today’s music is by Evil Bear Boris, Martin Beaulieu, The Joy Drops and BenJamin Banger.
If you’re just joining us, the Graybeards have been mostly unable to put a run up on the board, except that of any resounding dignity that might have been remaining. However, they were able to strike first in the second by crushing any dissidence on their multitudes of foul foul balls - I’ve truly never seen so many foul balls in all my years of baseball.
That left an uphill road for the Supremes as only 70% of their runs were accounted for in the bottom of the first three innings. (BONK) Aaaand there goes another one. Yessiree, that glass ceiling sure prevents a lot from escaping here in Creeper Stadium.
Supremes have the bases loaded, making the Graybeards look more and more uncertain from the field. Manager Donald Trump shows no signs of changing pitchers, and the bullpen appears to be sleeping. Looks like picking up pitching coach, Bill Cosby has shown few dividends for the struggling Graybeards —- AND A LINE DRIVE UP THE MIDDLE…
As Gloria Allred strikes a ding dong danger between the feet of shortstop Kevin Spacey as he stands eying the 3rd baseman, Anthony Weiner. That’s definitely going to go down as an error.
Kevin Spacey was playing the minors for a number of years, until he was finally dragged out of triple A to be a Graybeard… And a POP FLY will end the inning. The Supremes will head into the 7th inning stretch with a morally insurmountable lead.
And now, here is a message from our sponsors at NPR.
Interestingly, there was a moment in history when America’s favorite pastime tried to make a concerted effort to expose the true nature of sexism and harassment in America, by taking baseballs new single hit, “The Olde Ball Game”, and simply rebranding it, “The Olde Balls Game”. This song did not seem to resonate with the predominantly male spectators, and the song was soon replaced with the lyrics we know today. Here, in an original recording from 1931, as given to Majority Villain by New Jersey Public Radio, “The Olde Balls Game” as sung by Atlantic City’s own Rex Ferguson:
7th Inning Stretch
Take me outta the cat call games,
I’ll buy me a whistle and an ad-vo-cate,
For it’s boot, shoot, uproot those grabby bastards,
Cos it’s 1, 1, 1 strike you’re done,
Consent to play ball!
Here we are, back in Creeper Stadium where left fielder Louis CK has utilized a trick play of his own; and the catcher has dropped the ball on strike three just as Mr. CK has removed his penis from his trousers. As everybody averts their eyes, CK safely makes his way to not just first base but second base too. Truly inconceivable baseball.
I gotta say, it’s unbelievable to me that play still gets guys to second base, as the umpire is nowhere to be seen.
And BAM - another smackaroo from the Senate Candidate Roy Moore right up the first base line - a real clutch hit as the Alabama Graybeard gets his hands all over that one. Trump is ecstatic in the dugout even telling Minnesota Al Franken to get away from the On Deck circle, even though the Senator has his own history of playing grab ball.
But there’s a problem at third base! 6 runners unable to turn the corner as we’ve got a real back between second and third. 5 separate runners, all terrified to walk by Allred, as she looks to literally eat any one of the terrified men. Louis CK, looking to pull off another trick play talking "I’m sorry”, comes out leading the pack, hoping to get a step closer to home base, but the Supremes aren’t having it!
An angry mob of mostly women have rushed the field and are literally consuming the men alive! Lord knows in all my years of announcing the greatest game on Earth, I have never seen anything like this. And there will be no golden gates for Louis CK, with or without the apology.
Another heartbreaking development for the Grody Graybeards as the Steel Supremes rise up again to devour the home team here at Creeper stadium. Surely a rain delay will need to be called as maintenance team are already rushing the field to deal with the massive amounts of blood outpouring.
From Delaware’s Creeper Stadium, this is Teddy McGimlets, and this is baseball today.
Now, this should not be something I or anybody should ever have to say, but “NO” means abso-fucking-lutely “NO”. Consent is king. Or queen. Or maybe we need to rethink even the language we use as a society to articulate the issues facing us. Some see the assault on vocabulary as a politically correct affront to the America that we’ve all grown to know and love (Donald Trump - locker room talk). Others see it as common sense - realizing long ago that the language we use reifies, as much as it describes, the social norms and practices we have come to love, know and expect. For example, consider the thought that strong women in family households are often labeled the old ball and chain, battleaxe, the one who wears the pants, or more bluntly and far-less creative: the bitch. Confer those labels that most of us have at one time or another said, thought or heard to those of men in households: the breadwinner, man of the house, king. Seriously, make a list someday and shock even yourself of the degree of absurdity we have in labeling women as sluts, whores, nags or bitches and men having ridiculously regal titles like pimp, pimpalicious, pimpadocious, and pimpbuktu. Sure, it’s funny. But is it really?
Why is a man “assertive” in the workplace while a woman is “bossy”? Why is a man “informed” on workplace ongoings, and a woman is a “gossip”? The truth is over 90% of us hear these types of terms regularly in the workplace or home, and yet we do nothing. We say nothing. We treat it like nothing. Maybe that’s because to many of us it is nothing. But to the women, some men, and large swaths of communities of LGBTQ - it is everything. Be an ally, not a co-conspirator. Be a hero, not a pussy. Oh look, I did it again. Let’s see… Be a hero, not a limp dick. There. That’s better.
Sun, 29 October 2017
This Halloween will be marked by more than psycho clowns, and masked men wielding machetes, as Hollywood’s scariest films get pushed aside by the one thing more terrifying than the mass murderers we invite into our homes on Friday movie night, and that is… the men who produce them.
Weinstein Company founder, Harvey Weinstein, has been officially X’d out of his role at one of Hollywood’s largest production companies as dozens of women have come forward to accuse the company fondler of sexual assault and misconduct. Ranging from unwanted groping and kissing, to breaking and entering into a hotel room and masturbating like a chimpanzee who has lost it’s sense of dignity after decades of captivity.
But Weinstein’s fall from fame won’t leave him alone. He will certainly have company as the rest of us try to wade our way through the sexual assaults we can forgive to the ones TV teaches us are somehow unforgivable.
Weinstein will join the ranks of Bill Cosby’s bottomless happy hour, Bill O’Reilly’s family values, Anthony Weiner’s wiener, and even the famous kid’s TV network, Nickelodeon, with the likes of former creator, Chris Savino. Weinstein even stands alongside celebrity chef John Besh, and former ABC News political director, Mark Halperin.
Weinstein will, however, not be fortunate enough to have the company of some. There is one office that seems to be untouchable for the über touchy and that’s the Oval Office.
Yes, we all know our president loves to walk in on women’s changing rooms, grab the occasional unwilling pussy, but many may not know that former President George H.W. Bush has recently been accused of being a creepy old man as well. Multiple women have come forward with surprisingly similar stories in which H.W. would grab women during photo ops using clever lines such as “Do you want to know who my favorite magician is? David Cop-a-Feel!”
But why should we expect anything less when we live in a society where a white woman earns 75% of her male counterpart, and a hispanic woman on average earns 55% of that. But who cares as long as we can still call Amy Schumer a loose whore every time she makes a joke about banging a bro she met in a bar. Yes, we are all super progressive when it comes to sexual assaulters who have been accused of their transgressions dozens of times, but we likely are unmoved by the inequality that pervades in our daily lives.
Even then, our class knows no limits in a society where it’s popular to say you respect women, and yet not bat an eye to vote for the position of Commander in Chief an overwhelmingly disgusting individual who is likely more impotent than incontinent, and yet more disturbing, likely both.
These A-holes are slowly getting their due. These issues were all-but-ignored 50 years ago. But there is hope for the aspiring sexual assaulter. Because while sexual assault on college campuses, in the military or office setting remains a serious issue that is vastly ignored, a piece of human excrement wanting to be the next Harvey Weinstein by masturbating his way to the top can be rest assured that as long as society pretends to care, but doesn’t really care about equality among the sexes, then sexual assault will remain as elusive as Donald Trump’s tax returns.
Music by Lee Rosevere, Evil Bear Boris and Ari de Niro via the Free Music Archive and show image via Flickr by Adrian Mustredo under Creative Commons licensing.
Sun, 10 September 2017
I haven't been in the United States in over two years, and I can't but help thinking over and over again,
How has America gotten so comfortable with accepting a failing status quo?
This episode focuses on Germany's checkered history and the incredible accomplishment of developing their society into one of the strongest social spheres in the world. But it wasn't by accident. Guest Patrick Schmidt helps us navigate the facts.
Music from Evil Bear Boris and Lee Rosevere via the Free Music Archive, and show image from Charleston Hospitality Group via Flickr under Creative Commons licensing.
Social media headed by Kris Shapar.
Fri, 25 August 2017
Please leave a review at https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/majority-villain/id877298705?mt=2 and help people find the show!
Music today via www.freemusicarchive.org through Creative Commons licensing by Evil Bear Boris and Lee Rosevere. Social media assistance by Kris Shapar. Show image via Flickr through CC licensing https://www.flickr.com/photos/concellon/. Produced and hosted by Gregory Haddock.
Black Power. White Power. BET, the Black Entertainment Television network. The White Entertainment Television (which would be the unfortunate acronym WET).
Let’s face it. For good reason - the term “white power” invokes almost the exact antithesis of that sentiment. It stokes fear, manipulation, inequality, and it perpetually pokes and prods the scar tissue of a wound never quite healed, occasionally reopening it for all to see the damage inside.
There is a plenitude of writing, argumentation and critical thinking in support of the position that “white power” should be a statement and mentality closeted for good. A position that has exposed the many inequities given toward people disenfranchised not only for the color of their skin, but their country of origin, their culture, sexual orientation, gender identification, and the list goes on and on. This conversation could be expanded to the treatment of Native Americans, to Eastern Europeans, Asian, and those of Middle-Eastern decent. We could have an entire discussion about the relationship between whites and Hispanics, and the obvious problems of treating everybody south of the American border as simply “Mexican”. Because of the limited scope a single podcast episode can offer, I focus on our true original sin as a nation - that of slavery. And no other racial group in America knows that as well as that of African-Americans.
But this isn’t really even about them right now. Now if you are progressive or conservative you might already be weary of where I’m heading with this, but I’m asking you to hear me through to the end of this, because I’m going to do the rather unwise act of a defense of white power.
What we don’t hear enough of is thoughtful exploration of the foundation of the fears of a dissolving “white power” that acts out in anger as it lies on the cusp of a major global shift of power. That shift being this: White European ancestry is no longer a guarantee of prosperity, and the demographic changes happening in Western Countries is rapidly resulting in a diminishing dominance economically, culturally, and ideologically.
Many may say “Good!” This is exactly what we need more of or less of - whatever the proper grammar here is.
Okay, but if you are a straight white male, born and raised in the US of A, and you “did” all that you were supposed to do as a proud American, and for the last 40 years you’re seeing progress or what looks like progress in any case of all other groups around you - except that of your own home - you are likely to become extremely confused, and then scared, and then angry. More so, as the final throes of this involuntary acquiescence of social capital becomes more and more evident - those unwilling to give in to change may become violent as their options become seemingly less and less. Hence, Charlottesville.
So if confusion fuels fear, which fuels anger, which fuels violence, we need to understand where the confusion comes from. I come from a white-dominated, small, middle-America town. And in some ways I feel I can say I was witness to, even participatory in what W.E.B. Du Bois eloquently called “double consciousness”. The black scholar coined this term at the turn of the 20th century to give vocabulary to the huge numbers of black Americans, many of the time still living vivid memories of slavery, a way to describe the feeling of being trapped between various identities. “Who am I?”
I’m well aware that co-opting a black scholar’s work that was intended for a black audience to describe white culture is culturally taboo. I’m aware it is incredibly insensitive and not much less than radically inappropriate. But, using this term speaks so well to the point I am making. In many ways, white culture has been co-opting Black culture for at least a century. Art, fashion, and music have been cornerstones of Black-American culture. Blacks in America have had to create identity for themselves in a way that whites never could imagine. For this reason, I’m sure it must be rather frustrating to many whites when they see how they’ve been “kept out” from a culture that is understandably reluctant to let them in.
Hip-hop and rap is a prime example as many white people are consistently reminded that the music they buy, listen to, and learn the lyrics of is not intended for them. This is truly disheartening for many when they appreciate the music, but are left to feel foolish for having liked it.
This is precisely why white hip-hop artists are regarded in “white culture” (a phrase that sounds funny even thinking it) as cultural archetypes for middle-America white communities. Eminem: “finally somebody who says what everybody is thinking”. It sounds awfully familiar to a prominent recent presidential campaign, right? Or the Beastie Boys massive and long-lasting success. Insane Clown Posse has a literal army of followers probably more loyal than any artist in history. Hell, even Vanilla Ice has earned his spot in time, albeit under a rather thick veil of irony.
Do minorities and people of color enjoy this music too? Sure they do. But the way these artists are reveled in white society is unmatched. It’s as if white Americans somehow “made it” into black culture, as if the roles had somehow reversed, making a white kid from the Midwest as he listens to Fifty Cent the underdog, and not the other way around.
But this confusion doesn’t stop at music itself, but continues on into the bars and clubs where straight white men can feel publicly shamed. After years of conditioning and reification the line continues on “white people have no rhythm" and no amount of practice will ever help you learn how to dance, because it is a fact of your DNA. These comments are obviously untrue as are the early pseudo-scientists of the 1800’s who attempted through biological experiments and data collection to prove the inadequacy of the black man. It’s horseshit, and everybody knows it, yet the myth pervades. To prove his subordination was the will of god. Of a white god, no less. It could feel to many as though these roles have reversed, and while one is clearly no longer acceptable to discuss in polite company these thoughts aloud, it feels as though the other remains as permissible as ever.
The confusion does not stop at dancing. Popular black comedians reference the way white men speak in a way white men no longer can, or even the way they walk, or the insufferable size of their genitalia.
Black, white, brown or otherwise - if you really want to upset a man, talk about the size of his dick.
Black men are more likely to date or marry white women than white men are to black women. From the U.S. Census Bureau:
This is a progressive podcast, and so I know what most of you are probably thinking. “Boo-Fucking-Hoo. So sad for white America”. I get it, but do you get it? 63 million Americans voted for Donald Trump - a man who is clearly bad for America. If you don’t want to try to understand the mindset of the frustrated white American, then don’t claim you know them. Don’t pretend you understand better than they do.
All of it is perspective. And all of this is about reconciliation, is it not?
If you are a conservative I hope you feel I’ve done some justice here - sought some truth. I hope you feel like I’ve delivered a rationale that is often missing in these conversations when your whole demographic is being written off as “racist” and nothing less. But, I have one request of you. It’s that you do the same honor I have bestowed here, and try to understand the plight of what 400 years of slavery - slavery almost exclusively carried out from one race upon another - and try to contrast that to the cultural frustrations you may be feeling. That when you say “slavery is over, and we should stop living in the past” what you are really saying is “I don’t care about your past”. When you voted to “Make America great again” you voted for a time past. It is grammatically an admission that the time you long for is the past, because that past felt triumphant, eternal, and righteous. But you must see that your victorious past was so many others’ painful history, and that their existence, prosperity and success today is built on nothing less than sheer determination of the will to carry on, one day at a time. Nobody is doubting that the white race could not have done that too, but what “Black Power” means is this race did it, despite all odds. And that indeed, deserves a bow, not a rally for an equally loud expression of white power or a “hell yeah” when state legislatures promise to allow drivers the freedom to run over Black Lives Matter protesters when they demonstrate peacefully in the street. This sort of chaos and raw hatred doesn’t make you powerful. It places you on the wrong side of history. As Steven Michael of Pittsburgh wrote on Facebook:
After all of this I’m left with one burning question hot in social media right now.
Colin Kaepernick cannot get signed on to an NFL team this year to save himself. I end with Kaepernick, because here is a man who cannot get a contract for reasons that seem rather obvious to most of us. Some will say he simply isn’t a good enough player, and that’s the reason he can’t get signed http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/06/colin-kaepernick-andy-benoit-blackballed-nfl. Maybe that’s true, but it doesn’t stop loads of other terrible back-up quarterbacks, much less starting quarterbacks from getting signed year after year. More than anything, from the chaos surrounding such a well-known player in a Sunday sport arguably as important as church itself or the military - his “ability” is an easy out. Would he have a better chance of getting signed to a team this year if he had simply beat up his fiancé or kids? Now, does he have to beat up his own kids or can he borrow them from somebody else. The man kneeled during the national anthem and we are ready to deport him for it. Think about that. Does that sound like freedom? Do you feel free?
The problem isn’t whether or not we love the national anthem, as much as it is that we have been sold the idea that the anthem has become equivocal to our love of the sport. The two are inseparable. There is no American professional sports event that I know of where the anthem is not sung. Interestingly, this isn’t something that is done in other countries with the type of vigor it is in the USA. Why is this a uniquely American event?
Furthermore, the honoring of military veterans during games. “Please stand and honor staff sergeant so-and-so for his commitment to honor and duty in service to our great nation.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting soldiers, but you may find it concerning that the Department of Defense has paid teams (especially in the NFL) for these time slots. According to a 2015 report written up by Arizona Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake (the same Flake Trump is currently trying to politically bury - in an act of truly childish petty grievance) - the DOD had paid as much as $53 million over three years for acts of “paid patriotism” http://www.post-gazette.com/news/nation/2015/11/06/Department-of-Defense-paid-53-million-to-pro-sports-for-military-tributes-report-says/stories/201511060140.
They are paid propaganda spots to drum up support for military expansion and endless wars in the middle east. We don’t think about the cost of these wars in dollars or lives, but rather in terms of the glorification of war by equivocating athletes with soldiers. This notion is archaic, and it leaves no room for notions of peace. Worse yet, it paints a picture to millions of Americans (especially children) that the only honorable American is an American that will blindly support whatever the United States government wants to do at anytime anywhere and for any reason, and to question that notion makes you an un-American traitor. True Patriots only ever say “yes”. To even hesitate makes you less than human. It makes you scum.
The irony is that the big government that Americans worry so much about, in particular conservatives, is made painfully obvious if one were to just take a minute and question a system that doesn’t allow for doubt, debate, or democracy. No, no, no this can’t happen! Get in line, or you’re out of line. Be a proud American, and stop questioning Uncle Sam, Big Brother - same difference.
All this in a nation that incarcerates more of its citizenry than any other nation on earth, a police force that shoots and kills its own citizens at rates drastically higher than any other developed country, and deprives its own children adequate access to education and healthcare more than any other developed nation in the Western world - and ALL OF THIS done to alarming degrees of dis-proportionality upon people of color, particularly that of Black America.
So the next time you hear somebody say “white lives matter” you can remember another three-word slogan:
“Boo Fucking Hoo”.
Sat, 22 July 2017
Repeal and..... good luck?
Republicans offer another humdinger to outdo the last egregious effort to remove millions of Americans from health insurance. Trump backs out on his promise to repeal AND replace, and three unlikely GOP defenders arise from the chaos.
Rate and review the show at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/majority-villain/id877298705?mt=2
Music by Evil Bear Boris, Rob Steady and Bacalao via the Free Music Archive and show image via Flickr by Brian Talbot under Creative Commons licensing.
Sat, 8 July 2017
Days ago, 6 leading scientists in climate change research printed an open letter stating that we have three years to stop irreversible damage to the climate.
Sometimes called the "runaway greenhouse effect", the change would be unstoppable. Whether or not three years is accurate or not, the more important question is what are we willing to gamble away if it isn't? The future of the planet has never been in more jeopardy, and it is clear there is one political party on planet Earth who is hijacking this process more than any other: The Republican Party.
The time was yesterday. Today is too late. Tomorrow is unthinkable.