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Tuesday 14 May 2013
Child sexual abuse can be a traumatizing experience. As it turns out, it can crop up in more places than previously thought.
Is child sexual abuse on the rise, or is mass media simply paying more attention to it? Stephen and Thomas look in some places that may appear to be unlikely havens for such horrific things. MP3 may be downloaded here.
Monday 06 May 2013
Ever shopped for a computer and realized that you couldn't afford it? Stephen and Thomas discuss legal ways of obtaining electronics cheaply or even at no charge.
No matter where you search for computers and electronics, always keep in mind that caution is very important. Always ask for a receipt where applicable. If on E-Bay, check the seller's listing. If you're using Craigslist, always meet in a public place where other people are surrounding you. Whenever possible, make sure there is a paper trail. If there is none, create one.
E-Bay: Website devoted to selling unwanted items. You can even make a profit depending on what you sell.
Craigslist: Free online classifieds can be listed here. This is a great place to obtain computers and electronics.
If at a pawn shop, always take a can of air to whatever you buy. You never know where it came from.
Monday 29 April 2013
DragonCon is a well known convention surrounded by controversy. Thomas and Stephen discuss Ed Kramer's legal tactics regarding his arrest in 2000 for child molestation.
Monday 22 April 2013
Today marks an important day in constitutional freedom and the Internet.
Stephen and Thomas catch up on Jack Swagger's situation and shoot the breeze in general.
Monday 15 April 2013
Hot of the digital press is The *Nixed Report #2
In this Issue
The book and Orwell himself are discussed in this episode of The *Nixed Report podcast.
In terms of thrilling stories that make one think, there is often more than one way to convey it to the masses. Thomas discusses the book and Orwell himself along with Stephen Kelley who talks about the movie version that is in the public domain. North Korea also comes up in discussion as well.
Tuesday 09 April 2013
We've heard of Google Glass and the possibilities that it can offer, but what about the pitfalls, and are we leaning too much on technology?
Thomas and Steve talk about Google Glass and look at both sides of this interesting contraption. The conversation also brings up the question on whether we're relying on technology too much and if more balance is needed.
Wednesday 20 March 2013
The book that provides a dire warning to humanity is still relevant today.
By Thomas Holbrook II
“Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past”
For my 30th birthday I purchased a gift for myself that cost less than $10.00 USD. It was one of the books that I knew about for several years, yet for the first time that I know of, I would read all of it. George Orwell's 1984 has sold so well that a movie version was made.
As they say, sometimes reading the book is better than watching the film. This piece of literature was far from disappointing.
The story's main protagonist, Wintson Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth editing news stories from the past so that it always agrees with The Party. When a party member falls out of favor, they are erased from history.
The irony is that the Ministry of Truth is involved with printing lies and misinformation. The primary objective is to manipulate public opinion. Throughout the years, Oceania would fight Eurasia or Eastasia. Whoever the country was at war with, would be the eternal mortal enemy.
If Oceania was at war with Eurasia, they were always at war with Eurasia. Records would be altered to indicate as such. The Times, Oceana's newspaper, would often have its archives edited as well to reflect the party line.
The world in 1984 is practically upside down. The party line is as follows:
The perceived main enemy of Oceania is not a country, but an individual. Emmanuel Goldstein, the alleged former inner party member who rebelled later on, is often used as the boogeyman so that the entire population gives up all their rights.
The two minutes of hate is organized on a regular basis to ensure loyalty to Oceania and those who rule it. A video is played of Goldstein talking about freedom of speech among other topics while people booed, hissed, and told him to shut up.
The population is constantly starved by its rulers, yet the people often believe they are better off than before. Such contradictory things are involved in a concept known as doublethink. It's a form of brainwashing used to manipulate the population into going along with whatever The Party dictates.
Winston eventually stumbles upon a shop and purchases a blank book along with appropriate writing utensils. He starts a diary back at his apartment in Victory Mansions in a spot where a book shelf had once been years ago.
Upon being frightened by a female party loyalist while being reassured with a sympathetic glance from O'Brien during the session of two minutes of hate, Smith starts writing in his diary.
Fortunately for him, it was out of view of the telescreen, a device that can broadcast messages as well as transmit them from people who watch them. They act as a form of entertainment while spying on the people to make sure they don't commit a thought crime. If caught, the Thought Police hauls the offending person off to the Ministry of Love to be brainwashed back into compliance before being killed.
Winston dislikes The Party and its propaganda. He's no fan of Big Brother and how he constantly watches the entire population of Oceania. He hears of The Brotherhood, a group allegedly led by Goldstein. He considers himself dead for he has committed a thought crime.
The woman who had scared him actually fell in love with him. Her name was Julia, and they would eventually begin a love affair. Smith would rent a room above the shop in which he bought the diary. Life seems to be going grand until O'Brien meets him in front of a telescreen at work under the pretense of offering an advanced copy of latest edition of the Newspeak dictionary.
He eventually takes Julia to O'Brien's living quarters in order to declare that he is against the party and wants to join The Brotherhood. O'Brien offers instructions for obtaining Goldstein's book, and sends the two on their way. While Smith does come into possession of the book, it turns out to be a ruse.
The shop owner in question was actually a member of the Thought Police the whole time. O'Brien was never really a member of the opposition. He had been watching Smith for seven years and determined him to be a threat.
Through various forms of torture, Smith is brainwashed and reintroduced into Oceanic society with a different job and a more intense addiction to Victory Gin. At the end of the novel, after a successful military attack, he begins to love Big Brother, an indication that he was about to be killed.
From start to finish, Smith was doomed just for thinking the wrong thoughts. Anybody that can't be controlled is compromised, then eliminated. The brainwashing and re-education was designed to eliminate martyrdom.
The book does go into quite a bit of description and detail at times. Nonetheless, it is fascinating and still relevant today. The book itself is Totalitarianism 101. The main subject of the book is power and control over everything.
For example, in chapter five of part one, there is a conversation between Smith and one of his comrades, Syme. Syme is one of the individuals responsible for updating the language known as Newspeak. One of the things he said is very profound:
"Don't you know that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten."
By controlling vocabulary, one can control a significant amount of expression. Today, there are many stories about people being offended for one reason or another. War is also a constant theme. In reality, all three major powers of the world have a totalitarian regime that operates in the exact same manner. The oligarchy operates by keeping its populace in perpetual war to distract them and to drain their resources on a constant basis.
Above all, there is nothing noble about The Party. In chapter three of part three of the book, O'Brien explains the goals of The Party:
"Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps even believed, that if they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me? "
The brutal honesty of The Party regarding the subject of power is what sets it apart from all the other major forces in the real world. There is no pretense of nobility. Only pure power is the goal.
Perceived enemies are also to be kept alive in the minds of the people in order to rally them. When Smith asks O'Brien whether The Brotherhood was real, he was informed that he would never know one way or another.
If it turned out that such an underground network did not exist, then The Party's propaganda would not have the desired effect on the people. On the other hand, if they did exist, then the potential for people truly joining the group would be too much for the rulers of Oceania.
The overall intent involves turning people into machines that can't feel emotion at all. The one thing O'Brian and other inner members of The Party do not consider is that sooner or later, the pent up fear and hatred would drive the people to want to conquer both Eastasia and Eurasia.
When there is nothing left to conquer, humanity would have turned on itself and self-destruction would begin. That's the trouble with claiming the entire world. At some point, there is nothing left to take. In today's world, people can be disappeared at any moment in the name of national security.
It's even possible that media organizations have altered articles after the fact they were published. The BBC did so regarding an article in 2001 about the 9/11 hijackers. Though it was a small edit, people expressed that they were disturbed by the editing instead of adding a note at the end of the article linking to an update regarding the matter.
Ironically, Eric Blair, who used George Orwell for a pen name, worked at the BBC.
The novel drives home the message of individualism as well as humanity. It is an excellent tome for high school teachers to use in their literary or history courses.
Tuesday 19 March 2013
Steve brings up the topic of Tucker Carlson on Fox and Friends mischaracterizing Wicca and Paganism.
Episode 4 Show Notes
On the Fox News Channel, Tucker Carlson has a few words about the University of Missouri's policy advocating diversity. The guide includes Wiccan/Pagan holidays. Steve and Thomas discuss why attacking alternative points of view lead to nowhere and offer suggestions as to how to begin alleviating the problem.
The show can be downloaded here.
Tammy Bruce and Tucker Carlson Misinterpret Wicca
Tucker Carlson on Fox and Friends Regarding Wicca at MU
Tucker Carlson Apologizes for His Remarks
Mizzou's Holiday Guide and Suggested Accomodations
Mitt Romney Facing Similar Misunderstandings During 2012
Yes, Even Scientology Has Holidays
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