Twisty Little Passages We Liked: Remembering Zork

Zork (later called Zork 1) was released by Infocom in December 1980.

By today’s standards, Zork was exceedingly primitive: an Interactive Fiction game where you typed in your commands and the basic language parsing system responded.  There were no graphics, no sound, only a screen of text and a score counter.  And yet it became an instant classic in computer gaming because it was one of the first immersive games ever made.  You felt like you were entering another world, and acting within it.  You are about to be eaten by a grue.

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Cause The Change You Wish To See: Remembering “9 To 5”

The film “9 To 5” was released on December 19, 1980. If you’ve seen it, you know why it’s great. If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it.  It wasn’t just great comedy, it represented (and caused) a sea-change in how working women are treated in the real world and in film.

And not just because the three women kidnap their unspeakable boss.  More below the fold.

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The New Normal Troubles: Fashionable fascism dominates the scene

The trouble with normal is, it always gets worse.

Politico reports that MAGA fanatics are starting to openly call for insurrection and the overthrow of the goverment by force.  They couldn’t win by voter fraud (purging voters from the lists), they couldn’t win by votes cast, and they couldn’t win by frivolous nonsense court cases.  The petulant children are trying to break the toys so no one gets to play with them.

MAGA leaders call for the troops to keep Trump in office

An 1807 law invoked only in the most violent circumstances is now a rallying cry for the MAGA-ites most committed to the fantasy that Donald Trump will never leave office.

The law, the Insurrection Act, allows the president to deploy troops to suppress domestic uprisings — not to overturn elections.

But that hasn’t stopped the act from becoming a buzzword and cure-all for prominent MAGA figures like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, two prominent pro-Trump attorneys leading efforts to overturn the 2020 election

[. . .]

At its core, the Insurrection Act gives the president authority to send military and National Guard troops to quell local rebellions and violence, offering an exemption to prohibitions against using military personnel to enforce domestic laws. Historically, it has been used in moments of extreme national strife — the Civil War, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, violent labor disputes, desegregation battles, rioting following Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

Only once, however, has it been used in the wake of an election — and that was to stop a literal militia from seizing the Louisiana government on behalf of John McEnery, a former Confederate officer who had lost the 1872 governor’s race.

I doubt the US will see domestic military intervention.  Before the election, scores of retired US brass broke with tradition and openly stated support for Biden. And in November, days after the election, Mark Milley stated unequivocally that the military’s loyalty was to the constitution, not an individual.  He apologized for participating in one of Cheetolini’s publicity stunts.

Top US general stands firm amid Pentagon turmoil

The top US general is standing firm amid sweeping changes at the Pentagon which have seen senior officials replaced by Trump idealogues and alarmed senior defense officials.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley made clear his dedication to the constitution at an event Wednesday while standing beside the newly installed acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.

“We are unique among militaries. We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual. No, we do not take an oath to a country, a tribe or religion. We take an oath to the Constitution. And every soldier that is represented in this museum, every sailor, airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman, each of us will protect and defend that document, regardless of personal price.”

The national military is unlikely to back a coup and overthrow of the system.  But the largest paramilitary in the US – cops – are another matter, and they might be willing to do it.

In August, in September and in October, cop unions repeatedly “endorsed” Cheetolini, openly supporting his racist and fascist turns, openly inferred that a Biden victory would mean they will overrun your cities and you won’t be safe!”  (“They” being the same colour as the colour of that word.)  The vocal support of cops was so egregious and openly racist that Black cops broke from the unions and against their own:

Black officers break from unions over Trump endorsements

Police unions nationwide have largely supported President Donald Trump’s reelection, amid mass demonstrations over police brutality and accusations of systemic racism — but a number of Black law enforcement officers are speaking out against these endorsements, saying their concerns over entering the 2020 political fray were ignored.

Trump has touted his support from the law enforcement community, which includes endorsements from national, city and state officers’ unions — some of which publicly endorsed a political candidate for the first time. He’s running on what he calls a “law and order” platform and tapping into a strain of anger and frustration felt by law enforcement who believe they are being unfairly accused of racial discrimination.

I can’t and won’t say that cops will participate in an attempted overthrow, but I won’t be surprised if we hear Cheetolini attempt to spew more “law and order” dog whistles to white cops, as he has done in the past.  His haste to murder prisoners (so-called “executions”) are certainly in line with it.

There are 800,000 cops in the US, and two thirds of them are white, a higher number than the general population.  There wouldn’t be enough cops to control the entire country, but enough to control the street if Cheetolini starts advocating for people to stay home.

I can think of one reason why cops wouldn’t go along: because it would show their true colours.  Even amongst cop apologists, the notion of overthrowing the government would be too much for some.  Some might start calling to defund the cops and for reform if the majority of cops show themselves to be openly racist and violent.

 

I Fangirled And I Squeed: Naoko Yamano turns 60

Naoko Yamano was born in Osaka, Japan, on December 18, 1960, turning sixty years old today. She is the guitarist, singer, primary songwriter and only permanent member of Shonen Knife since their founding in December 1981.  One could say she is the Lemmy Kilminster of Japan, and it’s likely both would take it as a compliment.

The original lineup of Shonen Knife also included her sister Atsuko Yamano on drums, and their friend Michie Nakatani on bass and keyboards. The three had jobs, but they were “Office Ladies”, a type of dead end job many Japanese women used to take until they married.  It was a prospect that did not appeal to the three. They were all fans of music, so they acquired instruments and began learning and playing songs. They released their first recording on cassette in 1982, “Minna Tanoshiku”, their first album “Burning Farm” in 1983, and their second “Yamano Attchan” (named after drummer Atsuko) in 1984.

In 1985, “Burning Farm” found its way to the US where it gained the attention of K Records. By the late 1980s they were touring the US and UK in support of other bands. Kurt Cobain heard their cassette and (in his own words) became a screaming fangirl at a Beatles concert. Nirvana invited Shonen Knife to tour the UK with them in 1991, and became instant friends. There is a lot more to their history than that, but the focus here is on Naoko Yamano’s birthday.  More below the fold.

 

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Different Stances Adopted: Comparing the UK and Hungary on adoption

Hungary’s government is joining other Eastern European countries in becoming depraved despots and bigots. They have outlawed adoption by anyone who isn’t a cisgender binary heterosexual. And no doubt only couples, too. This comes as Hungary’s neighbors also try to legalize violence against women and LGBTQIA people.

Hungary passes anti-LGBTQ law effectively barring same-sex couples from adopting

Hungary’s parliament has voted to redefine the concept of “family” in the country’s constitution, a move that will effectively bar same sex couples from adopting children. The move has been met with outcry from human rights groups and LGBTQ advocates.

The country’s politicians approved the bill on Tuesday. The new law defines marriage as between a man and a woman and asserts that the “foundation of the family is marriage and the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man.”

As a rule, only a married couple in Hungary can adopt, with some exceptions made for single people, which would have previously been the pathway for a same sex couple.

Rights groups have decried the new law. “This is a dark day for Hungary’s LGBTQ community and a dark day for human rights,” said David Vig, director of Amnesty Hungary.

“These discriminatory, homophobic and transphobic new laws — rushed through under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic — are just the latest attack on LGBTQ people by Hungarian authorities,” Vig added.

Compare this with the UK, where (despite the lavaTories’ attempts to do otherwise), LGBTQIA people and couples are adopting children.  In the year ending March 31, 2020, one sixth of all adoptions were by LGBTQIA couples – possible more since bisexual and pansexual couples still may not be out.

What really stands out to me is the kids those LGBTQIA people are adopting: kids labelled “too old” (i.e. over four years) and have special needs like disabilities. Cisheterobinary people ignore and abandon the children who are most needly, while same sex (and similar couples) give the kids loving homes.

Same-sex couples are now adopting 1 in 6 children in England

Same-sex couples are now adopting one in six children in England, official figures confirm.

That’s a massive growth from 2012 when just one in 22 adoptions were to same-sex parents. Meanwhile the total positive impact of LGBT+ parents to children needing new families is certainly even greater.

The growth in same-sex adoptive parenting comes at a crucial time with more children in care than at any other time in the past.

New Family Social, the UK’s charity for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers, told GSN there had been a ‘welcome revolution in LGBT+ adoption’.

The figures from the Department for Education today show LGBT+ couples were behind 570 of the 3,440 adoptions in England in the year ending 31 March 2020. This is the highest number since records began.

[. . .]

They also tend to be more open about adopting older children – with many adopting parents considering children as young as four to be too old.

As a result, some same-sex parents wait less time to adopt a child than their heterosexual peers.

Rightwingnuts are liars when they say “only cisheterobinaries can provide a loving home!” while at the same time they refuse to give these children a loving home.

This is why I call them hypo-christians.

What I Learnt Today: It was 35 years ago that Creative Computing ceased publication

Yes, it’s exactly what the title says.  David H. Ahl founded Creative Computing magazine, publishing the first issue in October 1974, the last in December 1985.

Today, the internet makes accessing infornation easy, the world at your fingertips.  But in 1974, there were no home computers, only minicomputers and mainframes.  The first personal computer was the Altair 8800, and that was released in December 1974.  Enthusiasts built homebrew computers or used computers at their workplaces or universities.

When Creative Computing was first published, it was the only popular computer culture magazine.  Creative Computing showed there was a market, and others rushed to fill it.  Byte was first published in September 1975, Dr. Dobb’s Journal in January 1976, Call-A.P.P.L.E. in 1978, and others followed as home computers appeared on the market.  It’s possible that only Computer (by the IEEE Computer Society) preceded it, in 1970.

Creative Computing was a mix of articles, source code software and stories.   It didn’t focus on one specific topic or type of computer, since evangelizing (aigh! that word!) computers was the main idea of that era.  Into the 1980s as specific brands and models sold and magazines specialized, Creative Computing ceased to be the only source of information and lost its wider relevance.  But in its day, it was the magazine to have if you were into computers, and helped make personal computing possible.

Archive.org has scans of all the issues, beginning to end.  The University of Pennsylvania library has the last three years scanned in.

Atari Magazine archives also has the issues, plus the first, the second, and the third “Best of Creative Computing” books.

Several other legendary David H. Ahl books are on the Atari Archives, among other titles.  You can download the source code to the games in the books:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Side note: I found out about this while researching for a bigger item in January.

Hit Or Miss: A hit-piece that misconstrues her words

Zinnia Jones, ex-FtB writer, vlogger and author of Gender Analysis, recently made an innocuous and sarcastic statement on her twitter account. Remember back in 2017 when she talked about dating while Trans?  Her words were misrepresented and taken out of the context, falsely claiming that she said “cis people should be forced to date Trans people”?

The corporate media and TERF trash are again dogpiling on her and pretending she said something that was never stated nor inferred. Not only that, in writing about Jones most are deliberately avoiding discussion of the issue which she was talking about: the UK’s denial of proven medical care for Transgender children.

(Important note: I have never had first hand contact with Zinnia Jones. If I screwed up here and misread or misrepresented her words, I will gladly accept correction. Just please be gentle.)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

First some background.  This was a topic two weeks ago, but I have been stuck on how to write about it. Now I’m not.

On December 1, 2020, a trio of incompetent judges decided that the Nasty Heteronormative Sycophants of the UK’s NHS should obey the dictums of TERFs, bigots, Boris Johnson and his cast of tory clowns. They have ruled that Transgender children under eighteen years of age should be denied puberty blocking hormones.

Their false argument is that “children under 18 aren’t legally capable of consent”.  They are denying treatment to ALL Transgender children based on ONE individual who “detransitioned”.  That individual happily joined in forcing the will of bigots onto others, much the same way “ex-gays” participate in self-hating bigotry.

Puberty blockers: Under-16s ‘unlikely to be able to give informed consent’

Children under 16 with gender dysphoria are unlikely to be able to give informed consent to undergo treatment with puberty-blocking drugs, three High Court judges have ruled.

The case was brought against Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which said it was “disappointed” but immediately suspended such referrals for under-16s.

The NHS said it “welcomed the clarity” the ruling would bring.

One of the claimants, Keira Bell, said she was “delighted” by the judgment.

Ms Bell, 23, from Cambridge, had been referred to the Tavistock Centre, which runs the UK’s only gender-identity development service (GIDS), as a teenager and was prescribed puberty blockers aged 16.

She argued the clinic should have challenged her more over her decision to transition to a male as a teenager.

In a ruling, Dame Victoria Sharp, sitting with Lord Justice Lewis and Mrs Justice Lieven, said: “It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers.

“It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.

Really? Twelve to eighteen year old kids can’t form consent? And yet the UK still engages in the forcible heteronormative mutilation of Intersex children’s genitals. (Yes, there is a current proposal in the UK parliament to ban surgery on Intersex children, which should have been stopped decades ago.) Is the NHS suggesting that infants who can’t talk somehow consent to surgery that forces them into a gender they may not want later, but teenagers who can speak can’t decide their own gender? Or is this just more cisgender hypocrisy? “Surgery and treatment are only acceptable if it makes kids cisheteronormative!”

Puberty blockers for Transgender teens are life saving treatment because they save these kids’ mental health. THEY ARE NOT SURGERY, and they are reversible, unlike the genital mutilation of Intersex kids. How many more Transgender children will self harm or die by suicide because they are denied puberty blockers?  27% of Trans kids in the UK have tried to kill themselves. How many Transgender boys will be forced to grow breasts against their will? How many Transgender girls forced to endure body hair and lowered voice? How many other unwanted body changes will Transgender and Non-Binary kids have to endure and require costly surgery to correct later, adding to their dysphoria and further damaging their mental health?

Puberty blockers are not permanent. If children stop taking them, their bodies’ own hormones will kick in. The tories, TERF trash and the NHS know this. Their goal isn’t the best interests of children, it’s imposing ideological bigotry and hoping that these children harm or kill themselves.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Which leads us back to Zinnia Jones. In response to the UK’s third rate medical system deciding to harm children, she wrote a series of tweets suggesting that if Transgender kids are “too young” to be taking puberty blockers, then perhaps we should put all children on puberty blockers until they are eighteen when they can legally decide their own gender.

Her suggestion is clearly a “modest proposal” type of sarcastic response. Unless you’re a rabid and dishonest ideologue, that is.  Then it’s ammunition.

“I really appreciate all the attention y’all have brought to this thread so that I can continue clowning on you at my leisure.” – Zinnia Jones

What has been the response of anti-Trans bigots and TERF trash? To pretend “PBs for everybody!” is a serious statement, that Jones wants people to forcibly neuter all children against their will until adulthood. In all the third rate and third hand “reporting” I have seen thus far, few of them address the NHS’s decision to deny puberty blockers to children.  Most intentionally avoid the real issue or fail to do any research on the actual discussion.

Colour me unsurprised.

Downward Spiral: Another year of more oppression and less freedom

A year ago, I mentioned CIVICUS and its State of Civil Society Report for 2019 which said the world was becoming less free, more restricive of human rights and more people were living under oppressive regimes.  Sadly, it appears 2020 is another year of decline.  From the CIVICUS website:

11 countries downgraded in new global report on civic freedoms

  • A growing number of people are living in ‘closed’, ‘repressed’ and ‘obstructed’ countries
  • Downgraded countries include the USA, Philippines, Guinea, Slovenia, and Iraq
  • Top violations include: detention of protesters, censorship and attacks on journalists
  • Freedoms of speech, association and peaceful assembly  deteriorated during COVID-19

The fundamental freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression continue to deteriorate across the world, according to a new report released today by the CIVICUS Monitor, a research collaboration that tracks fundamental freedoms in 196 countries. The new report, People Power Under Attack 2020, shows the number of people living in countries with significant civic space restrictions continues to increase year on year. 

87 per cent of the world’s population now live in countries rated as ‘closed’, ‘repressed’ or ‘obstructed’ – an increase of over 4% from last year. Over a quarter of people live in countries with the worst rating, closed, where state and non-state actors are routinely allowed to imprison, injure, and kill people for attempting to exercise their fundamental freedoms. China, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and 20 other countries fall under this category. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dire impact on civic freedoms globally. In times of crisis, space for open and constructive dialogue between governments and civil society, as well as access to prompt and reliable information, are fundamental. However, our research shows that governments have taken a different path and are using the pandemic as an opportunity to introduce or implement additional restrictions on civic freedoms. 

COVID-19 used as an excuse to oppress dissent and violate human rights.  How unshocking that is.

The State of Civil Society Report for 2020 can be downloaded here.

Another Legend Lost: Charley Pride, 1934-2020

Charley Pride was born on March 18, 1934, and died on December 12, 2020 from complications related to COVID-19.  Other than being 86, he had no outstanding health issues until he contracted it at a country music event in November.  (*)   Pride’s voice was a rarity, a deep baritone yet somehow with a nasal twang.  I’ve never heard anyone like him.  It made him immediately recognizable, regardless of who his backing band were.  Growing up in a rural town with two radio stations, one of them country, his songs were a regular part of my childhood and early teen years.

Pride played in the Negro Leagues back in the 1950s, and was a minor league baseball prospect for several MLB teams until leaving the game in 1962.  He began singing while in baseball, and met popular artists like Red Sovine who encouraged him and helped him make connections in the business.  Chet Atkins heard a demo tape in 1966 and gave him a recording contract and released his first single.  His early recordings contained no promotional photos for the obvious reason of racism in the 1960s.  His management wanted to music to be heard without bias.

From 1966 until 1984, 51 out of 54 of his singles reached the top ten on the US country music charts, 29 of them reaching #1.  Some sources say he had as many as 39 #1s, which is more than the Beatles and Michael Jackson combined.  And his success wasn’t limited to the country music charts, ten songs reached the top 100 on the mainsteam charts, most notably his biggest hit, “Kiss An Angel Good Morning”.

In 2008, many MLB teams did symbolic “drafting” of many famous Negro League players.  Pride was drafted by the Texas Rangers, fitting since he was from Texas.  He had appeared at spring training as a fan during and since the 1970s, even participating in practices.  In 2010, Pride was part of an 18 member group that bought the team along with Nolan Ryan.  Funny how the Rangers never appeared in the World Series until after the purchase.

Pride won several Grammy awards, Country music awards, was a member of the Grand Ol’ Opry, and is in the Country music hall of fame.  I mentioned Charley Pride in a comment on my post about Billy Squier.  I knew then he deserved more and better than that.

(* NO, that is not blaming or criticizing his decision to appear, it’s regret that’s he’s gone.)

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: John le Carré, 1931-2020

John le Carré was born on October 19, 1931 and died of pneumonia on December 12, 2020.  He was a prolific author of espionage novels (more than two dozen spanning nearly 60 years), he was a spy himself, a member of MI5 and MI6 from 1958 until 1964.  Yes, that year.  His career was affected and ended by the defection of Kim Philby and the Cambridge Five to the Soviet Union.

When it comes to authors of espionage, I prefer Len Deighton, but John le Carré was still worth reading.  And re-reading.  His tales of Cold War espionage showed how dirty, violent and immoral it was, especially in “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold”.  There were no heroes, only survivors.  Richard Burton’s “Cowboys and Indians” speech from the film of the same name truly captures the era and the attitudes of those involved.

The end of the Cold War did not deprive him of source material.  As someone with inside knowledge of politics and dirty work, he knew and could see changes and dangers in the world after communism – corporatism, terrorism, and other issues.

John le Carré, author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, dies aged 89

John le Carré, who forged thrillers from equal parts of adventure, moral courage and literary flair, has died aged 89.

Le Carré explored the gap between the west’s high-flown rhetoric of freedom and the gritty reality of defending it, in novels such as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Night Manager, which gained him critical acclaim and made him a bestseller around the world.

On Sunday, his family confirmed he had died of pneumonia at the Royal Cornwall Hospital on Saturday night. “We all deeply grieve his passing,” they wrote in a statement.

[. . .]

According to Le Carré, the novel’s (“The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”) runaway success left him at first astonished and then conflicted. His manuscript had been approved by the secret service because it was “sheer fiction from start to finish”, he explained in 2013, and so couldn’t possibly represent a breach in security. “This was not, however, the view taken by the world’s press, which with one voice decided that the book was not merely authentic but some kind of revelatory Message From The Other Side, leaving me with nothing to do but sit tight and watch, in a kind of frozen awe, as it climbed the bestseller list and stuck there, while pundit after pundit heralded it as the real thing.”

[. . .]

As the cold war came to a close, friends would stop him in the street and ask: “Whatever are you going to write now?” But Le Carré’s concerns were always broader than the confrontation between east and west, and he had little patience for the idea that the fall of the Berlin Wall signalled any kind of end either for history or the espionage that greased its mechanisms. He tackled the arms trade in 1993 with The Night Manager, big pharma in 2001 with The Constant Gardener and the war on terror in 2004 with Absolute Friends.

More below the fold.

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Money Talks: It’s the only way to get their attention

For years, Pornhub and other online porn companies have raped. . .I mean, raked in millions by selling people’s bodies, mostly women’s. Some were sold without their consent, some not old enough to consent. And the pornographers have never been held accountable.

It has been known and proven for years the much of the video on porn sites was uploaded without the consent of those in the videos, but nothing was done.  A new law in the US would hold these companies liable for the content they sell (a law which could be misused to threaten other companies into silencing speech). It needs to be precise about what it bans so it can’t be abused.

New Senate Bill Would Let Sex Trafficking And Revenge Porn Victims Sue Websites Like Pornhub

A group of bipartisan senators led by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would give victims of crimes like revenge porn, sex trafficking and sexual assault the option to sue websites like Pornhub in civil court for hosting illegal content depicting them, the latest ramification for the adult entertainment giant after the New York Times reported the site hosted and profited from footage of child abuse and sexual assault.

“We shouldn’t have to pass a law to keep companies from profiting by sharing, without consent, intimate images. But we do,” Hassan said in a statement Wednesday. “The harm that these companies cause is extraordinary, lasts a lifetime, and should be unthinkable.”

The threat of a new law has finally resulted in meaningful action – not by the government or by porn peddlars, but by credit card companies. Visa, Mastercard and Discover have banned their use on such websites, depriving pornographers of revenue. Pornhub has responded by (allegedly) removing all unverified content. In other words, anything which was not produced by a porn producing company or not verified as containing consensual acts.  Amazingly, a company as unethical as Paypal cut off Pornhub a year ago.

Mastercard, Visa and Discover cut ties with Pornhub following allegations of child abuse

Mastercard, Visa and Discover are blocking customers from using their companies’ credit cards to make purchases on Pornhub. This comes after allegations were made against the pornographic website in a New York Times column on December 4 accusing the site of showing videos of child abuse and nonconsensual sexual behavior.

Following the Times’ column, Mastercard (MA) launched an investigation into the claims against Pornhub and said it found them to be substantiated.

“The use of our cards at Pornhub is being terminated. Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site,” Mastercard said in a statement. “As a result, and in accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance.”
Mastercard said it’s also investigating other websites for potential illegal content.

As always, companies only listen when you hit them in the wallet.  Now that they are cut off their revenue stream, they finally do something about the rape videos and child pornography.

Pornhub claims it will only allow “verified content”, from registered porn studios (or perhaps individuals posting only videos of themselves).  Call me untrusting, but I won’t take them at their word.  They should be monitored and shut down imediately if any illegal content is found, whether Pornhub knew it or not.

It’s not enough that they are forced to use only proven legal content and delete everything illegal.  Their assets should be seized and forced to pay their victims.  Or seize 20% of their future revenue to pay reparations.

 

Data Leak: Real life Manchurian candidates

Two million CCP spies have been outed at EVERY level of business, education, media and other entities around the world.

Two blinking million.  That it happened does not come as a surprise given the known attempts of the mass murderers in Beijing to influence NGOs, the UN, WHO, universities and other international entities.  It’s the sheer number that shocks.

Every single one of them should be rounded up, arrested and either charged with espionage or deported from sovereign states.  I’m sure the CCP will cry “racism” or some other nonsense if that happens, but this is an attempt to influence, intimidate or control foreign nations worldwide.

A data leak shows that over two million Chinese Communist Party members were secretly embedded in organizations around the world including India

In a explosive data leak, around two million Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members who got secretly embedded in some of the world’s biggest companies, banks, media groups, universities and government agencies, have been exposed.

‘The Australian’ newspaper obtained the leaked database which apart from the names of around two million CCP members, has their party position, birth-date, national ID number and ethnicity.

Among the companies mentioned in the list are manufacturers such as Boeing and Volkswagen, pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and banks like ANZ and HSBC. As per the documents, around 600 people at HSBC, Standard Chartered banks are CCP members.

Canada’s own history of rooting out communist spies (read up on the Gouzenko affair of 1945) says clearing them all out is the best thing to do to protect democracy.

Major leak ‘exposes’ members and ‘lifts the lid’ on the Chinese Communist Party

A major leak containing a register with the details of nearly two million CCP members has occurred – exposing members who are now working all over the world, while also lifting the lid on how the party operates under Xi Jinping, says Sharri Markson.

Ms Markson said the leak is a register with the details of Communist Party members, including their names, party position, birthday, national ID number and ethnicity.

“It is believed to be the first leak of its kind in the world,” the Sky News host said.

“What’s amazing about this database is not just that it exposes people who are members of the communist party, and who are now living and working all over the world, from Australia to the US to the UK,” Ms Markson said.

“But it’s amazing because it lifts the lid on how the party operates under President and Chairman Xi Jinping”.

Ms Markson said the leak demonstrates party branches are embedded in some of the world’s biggest companies and even inside government agencies.

“Communist party branches have been set up inside western companies, allowing the infiltration of those companies by CCP members – who, if called on, are answerable directly to the communist party, to the Chairman, the president himself,” she said.

“Along with the personal identifying details of 1.95 million communist party members, mostly from Shanghai, there are also the details of 79,000 communist party branches, many of them inside companies”.

Ms Markson said the leak is a significant security breach likely to embarrass Xi Jinping.

“It is also going to embarrass some global companies who appear to have no plan in place to protect their intellectual property from theft. From economic espionage,” she said.

The entire network answers directly to Xi Jinping.  It is an attempt to create a worldwide dictatorship.

Why Wait: Cleveland FINALLY plans to change the name

Decades after being told the name was racist, and a year after NFL owner Dan Snyder was shamed into dropping his team’s racist name, the Cleveland MLB team will finally do the same.

Now the question is, how will they rename it?  Spiders and Naps should be the obvious choices, but obvious and good choices don’t guarantee owners won’t choose ludicrous names instead (e.g. “raptors”, “pelicans”) just to spite the fans and media and prove “who is in charge”.

Cleveland MLB team to drop ‘Indians’ from its name

The Major League Baseball team in Cleveland, Ohio, will drop “Indians” from its name, according to a report from The New York Times and later confirmed by other news outlets.

The team declined to comment on the situation, but said it did not dispute the Times report, which cites sources familiar with the decision. Major League Baseball has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

The decision to change the team name could be announced as soon as this week, the Times reported.
Change the Mascot, a national grassroots campaign, applauded the move on Monday saying it shows a growing understanding that Native people should not serve as mascots for sports teams.

“With their commendable decision to alter the team name, Cleveland’s team is taking an important step,” Ray Halbritter, leader of the Change the Mascot campaign, said in a statement. “For decades, Native American leaders including the National Congress of American Indians have called on Cleveland to change the name and logo. By finally acting, Cleveland’s team is moving the team and professional sports forward down a new path of inclusivity and mutual respect.”

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Remembered Well: The VIC-20 at forty

Commodore International released the VIC-20 home computer in June 1980.  It was Jack Tramiel‘s second attempt to cash in on the growing microcomputer revolution with a low cost yet usable computer to compete with the Apple II, TRS-80, Atari 400/800 and other early personal computers.  It was not Commodore’s first home computer, but it was a major advance over it’s first effort, the Commodore PET.  It was the VIC-20 which brought down prices and “democratized” computing, forcing and allowing other companies to produce low cost machines.  (Yeah, I know I’m six months off the release date.  Let’s pretend we’re talking about the first big “computer christmas”, where they were given as gifts in large numbers.  I’m also doing this now in response to a recent video I saw on youtube.)

Ironically and by pure chance, I’m writing on December 14th.  Noted in the link above, Jack Tramiel was born on December 13, 1928.  The creator of the 6502 chip that powered Commodore’s computers, Chuck Peddle, died December 15, 2019.  Beginning, middle and end.  More below the fold.

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Music Rules: And why homophobia sucks

Billy Squier was born May 12, 1950 (dang, another birthday I missed!), seventy years ago.  His first album “The Tale Of The Tape” was released in May 1980, and for about five years, Squier was one of the biggest names in rock music.  Then within the span of six months, he lost it all.  Not through drugs, not through scandal, and not through lousy music.

His audience left him because of a four minute music video.

“The Tale Of The Tape” contained the single “The Big Beat” (video link), a song that lives up to the name.  His second, third and fourth albums produced many hit singles, five in the top ten, and two #1s.   Three of his albums sold platinum or better.  Squier produced and co-produced his own albums, heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin’s “up front” drum sound.  “The Big Beat” has been sampled by twenty different hiphop or other groups over the years, a cash cow for him.  Several of Squier’s songs have been featured in soundtracks and video games.  Like Nick Lowe, his music has become more famous than he is (more below).

Some people credit Squier as the inventor of “power pop”, bridging the gap between hard rock and pop music.  His music was hard edged and hook laden, a combination that grabbed attention from all directions in the era of synth heavy New Wave and guitar driven Heavy Metal.  (Picture Nine Inch Nails, but ten years earlier.)  Squier, along with Canadian guitarist Aldo Nova created the template for pop metal that would be exploited for years by the likes of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi.

From Squier’s 1981 album “Don’t Say No”: “The Stroke”, a #1 hit; “My Kinda Lover”; “Too Daze Gone”

From 1982’s “Emotions In Motion”: “Everybody Wants You”; “Emotions In Motion”; “Keep Me Satisfied”; “She’s A Runner”

Live, he was great, a singer who never needed autotune.   Listen to his performance of “Lonely Is The Night”. Small wonder he played to arenas.

In 1984, he released “Signs Of Life”, which would become another platinum selling album.   The leadoff single “Rock Me Tonite” is a great song which reached #1 on the charts.  But the video was perceived as “homoerotic” by the media, by MTV, and by the public.  In six months, Squier went from playing to arenas of 20,000 to theatres of a few thousand.  It has been labelled “worst video ever” by many.

This was the 1980s when being or appearing gay could damage your career.  “Rock Me Tonite” was released in June 1984, two months after Queen’s “I Want To Break Free”, a song which harmed Queen’s sales and popularity in the US, which they only got back after “Wayne’s World”.  Americans have never gotten the joke about “camp”.

Squier’s attempts at damage control included firing some of his management team, and the inevitable and awful, “I’m not gay, but I don’t hate them and I have gay friends.”  (Again, this was 1984.)  Nothing worked.  Between 1985 and 1993 Squier released five more albums, several to critical acclaim and had some minor hits, but never regained his earlier success.  He left the music business in 1993, recording only one more album in 1998 (the blues album “Happy Blue”), but has made numerous guest appearances and live performances since.

In 2013, the New York Post (normally a trash heap for news) did a respectful retrospective on Squier’s career and life after fame.  He may have burnt his wings, but he didn’t crash and managed to land safely.

The hip-hop rebirth of Billy Squier

Ask anyone under 25 if they’ve heard of Billy Squier, and the answer is likely no. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t heard him.

Squier has one of the most unusual stories in all of pop culture: a one-time superstar who, in the ’80s, straddled glam, pop and hard rock. Then, in 1984, after his unintentionally camp video for “Rock Me Tonite” hit MTV, featuring Squier prancing around in fluffy hair and satin sheets, his career was over, just like that. “Flapping his wrists like a French chef whose souffle has just fallen,” said Rolling Stone.

Thirty years on, the most famous of rock ’n’ roll exiles has a stealth second career as the most sampled musician in the history of hip-hop.

“I think he has millions of fans that love his body of work but probably thousands of fans that love him,” says Big Daddy Kane, who has sampled Squier’s “The Big Beat” so often he’s lost count.

“He’s definitely someone who helped mold and shape hip-hop with his music,” Kane says. “I would put him in the category of James Brown, the Honeydrippers and Chic. He gave the B-boys and B-girls a track to dance to, but it would only be a DJ or an MC who knows who Billy Squier is.”