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Face Off: Congress v Zuckerberg

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony revealed much about both the social media industry, and our government’s mentality.

First, Zuckerberg. He seemed “in over his head,” repeatedly inserting “run out the clock” words and phrases into his responses to evidently hide his nervousness (do you blame him?). How many times did he say, “Congressman!” and “that’s a great question”? (Well, of course it was a great question, I waited for someone to say, because if it wasn’t so great, I wouldn’t have asked it!) Zuckerberg time and time again seemed to be buying time, running seconds off each elected representative’s four or five minutes of allotted time.

Zuckerberg got buffeted by representatives on privacy, on European regulations, and most notably by Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Steve Scalise on the subject of political bias.

Yet Zuckerberg disappointed before a worldwide audience. He had a chance to tell the world that:

1. no, a private tech company is not an unpaid deputy of the government, acting with the authority and power of the state;
And

2. A private tech company is not acting
in loco parentis when it obtains user information, and

3. Users across the world are free to use, or leave, Facebook and that these freedoms often exceed the freedoms people enjoy under the laws of most nations in the world today. Facebook, warts and all, is one of the most democratic institutions on the planet!

Instead, Zuckerberg came to Capitol Hill, showing contrition over the involvement of Cambridge Analytica (a third party as to which Facebook’s responsibility is unclear and dubious). What we saw — what the world saw — was the United States Congress bullying a private social media company.

Now, Zuckerberg is hardly a sympathetic figure. Many people envy him for his fantastic wealth and profile, and for his youth. Also, Silicon Valley and indeed much of American big business is quite leftist (Zuckerberg acknowledged this). But his beating — which he handled pretty well, all things considered — was both undeserved and likely to backfire.

Some representatives used the hearings to preen, showboat and showcase their “fighting for the common man” bonafides, and any business leader makes for a great whipping boy these days. But almost everyone grilling Zuckerberg showed a zeal for flexing the awesome powers of government.

There are many problems with the operations of major social media platforms. The growing publicity surrounding these problems is already causing reform, and in some cases, boycotts and departures from the platforms, and innovations by new competitors.

All we got from Washington, DC was a group of elected representatives reminding the tech innovators of America of “who’s the boss.”

I can’t help but think that, across the world, innovators and disruptors are heeding that message. So are, I fear, America’s competitors.

Entertainment and Sports

Here’s how polls have reacted since Taylor Swift endorsed Phil Bredesen

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Taylor Swift just gave Marsha Blackburn the fundraising boost she needed to win in Tennessee

There is still plenty to debate about the effectiveness of political endorsements by entertainers. 2016 demonstrated that a unified Hollywood was not able to make a dent in President Trump’s momentum. Some say their incessant crying actually riled up more Trump supporters than Hillary Clinton supporters.

The latest major entertainer to throw her hat in the political endorsement arena is singer Taylor Swift. She stayed focus on her home state of Tennessee by endorsing Phil Bredesen for Senate. That was a week ago. How has the endorsement played in the polls?

Let’s just say the Bredesen campaign is trying to stay positive by pointing to internal polling since public polling is abysmal.

Tennessee Senate race poll: Marsha Blackburn leads Phil Bredesen

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/10/15/tennessee-senate-race-marsha-blackburn-widens-lead-over-phil-bredesen-new-york-times-poll/1646568002/Republican nominee Marsha Blackburn has widened her lead to a commanding 14 percentage points over Democratic rival Phil Bredesen, according to the latest major public poll of Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race.

But the Bredesen campaign is pushing back in a memo to supporters that highlights recent internal polls taken by the campaign that show the race is still tight.

There has been plenty working against Bredesen since an October 3 poll put him at down by 5-points. He faced backlash for claiming he would have voted for Brett Kavanaugh to be confirmed. Then, an undercover video by Project Veritas revealed his staffers and volunteers claiming he didn’t really mean it. The combination of lies, bad press, and Swift’s endorsement have made his poll numbers plummet.

Entertainers should entertain. They are entitled to their opinions, of course, but attempts to use their clout to sway politics is only effective if they take the time to get directly involved. Most do not.

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Entertainment and Sports

There’s one thing missing from Hollywood’s multitude of excuses for First Man failing

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Theres one thing missing from Hollywoods multitude of excuses for First Man failing

Hollywood’s latest anti-American biopic, First Man, was poised to be a box office hit. There was tons of buzz, great critical reception, and the winning combination of actor Ryan Gosling and director Damien Chazelle who dazzled us with the Oscar-winning La La Land. When it failed miserably to meet its first weekend’s modest expectations at the box office, Hollywood started making excuses.

The one cause they still refuse to accept is the choice they made to not include the iconic planting of the American flag on the moon. Their excuse: the moon landing was a human achievement, not an American achievement.

The moon landing was an American achievement despite movie’s depiction

http://noqreport.com/2018/10/13/moon-landing-american-achievement-despite-movies-depiction/No matter how much Hollywood hates America and does everything it can to downplay our accomplishments while highlighting our mistakes, many Americans are unwilling to reward them for their hatred. This was a conscious decision to spite the United States. It’s plain and simple.

It isn’t just an insult to Americans. It wasn’t received very well by some who participated in the event.

Despite backlash from conservative journalists and moviegoers alike, Hollywood continues to scratch its collective head. They had the right mix. They had the right topic. They made the movie well. Surely it must be something other than the blatantly obvious, right?

They point to The Right Stuff, a 1983 space biopic that also failed to be as successful as they expected. They ignore Apollo 13, which was a smash hit.

Some are attributing First Man’s failure to the success of Venom and A Star is Born, but there’s a problem with that excuse. They knew these movies were coming out when they made their estimates. Both had been successful the week before, so they even adjusted expectations for First Man down to compensate. It still wasn’t enough.

They’ll blame everything they can imagine, but they’ll never accept that patriotic Americans who were interested in seeing Ryan Gosling playing American hero Neil Armstrong lost interest when they heard about the rewriting of history the movie did for purely political reasons.

I’m one of them. As an avid moviegoer who loves Armstrong and is proud of OUR accomplishment to put him on the moon, I would have seen it on opening night had it not been for the unpatriotic snub.

Don’t tell that to the Hollywood spin machine. They’re still unwilling to accept it.

Why ‘First Man’ Got Grounded in Its Box Office Debut

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-why-first-man-got-grounded-debut-1152224So far, there’s no evidence that a dust-up over Chazelle’s decision not to show the famous image of Armstrong planting the American flag has impacted the movie. Rather, films about space have always been a risky proposition, whether pure fiction or based on a real story, even if several have gone on to become box office successes.

“Damien’s vision and passion for filmmaking are evident in every frame of First Man,” says Orr. “He is building a diverse résumé of titles that will stand the test of time in our business, and we will be talking about his work for years to come.”

Let’s hope Hollywood someday learns their role in this world is to entertain and sometimes even inform. It doesn’t behoove them to rewrite history to match their globalist, anti-American worldview.

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Culture and Religion

Elizabeth Warren releases DNA proof that she’s at least 1/1024th Native American. Twitter responds appropriately.

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Elizabeth Warren releases DNA proof that shes at least 11024th Native American Twitter responds appr

There’s a strategist in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ear who thought it was a good idea to release results of a DNA test showing a likelihood that one of her very distant descendants was Native American. The advice taken. The results were predictable.

The test shows she is at most 1/32nd Native American if she is six generations from her Native American ancestor. That’s her best-case scenario. At worst, her ancestor was as far back as ten generations which would make her 1/1024th Native American. To put that into perspective, if she were to honor her heritage by engaging in 1/1024th of a four-hour Native American Sweat, she’d be in and out of the lodge in 14 seconds.

Elizabeth Warren releases results of DNA test on Native American ancesty

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2018/10/15/warren-addresses-native-american-issue/YEUaGzsefB0gPBe2AbmSVO/story.htmlThe inherent imprecision of the six-page DNA analysis could provide fodder for Warren’s critics. If her great-great-great-grandmother was Native American, that puts her at 1/32nd American Indian. But the report includes the possibility that she’s just 1/1024th Native American if the ancestor is 10 generations back.

Undergoing the test and releasing the results reveal how seriously Warren is taking the attacks from Trump, who has been able to effectively caricature and diminish his national foes via nicknames and conspiracy theories. Trump pushed then President Barack Obama into releasing the long form of his birth certificate to prove what most knew was already true: He was born in America.

This publicity stunt was designed to let everyone know she’s serious about running for President in 2020. She wanted to be able to call out President Trump on his promise to give $1,000,000 to charity if she could prove Native American heritage. He won’t pay, of course, which will get plenty of headlines calling him a deal-breaking scoundrel, but was it really if for her to be the focus of even more jokes on social media?

Here are some of the reactions on Twitter. You decide:

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