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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Mailvox: no market for a game channel

An industry veteran explains why it doesn't make sense for us to create a game review site and channel:

Hey Vox - There is a hole in the community, but it's not a hole in the market. Because there's no market for games journalism.

Games journalism traditionally offered three things:
  1. New information about games that ordinary people couldn't get
  2. Credible reviews of games that could guide purchase
  3. In-depth features, interviews, and editorial
#1 collapsed for AAA games because the game companies now all employ large community management teams to communicate directly with their fans. They don't need or want game journalists as gatekeepers. #2 collapsed for AAA games, too. The rise of review aggregator sites meant that gamers just visited the review aggregator rather than any particular reviewer. The pressure on game journalists to have access and ads made reviews less credible, teaching people to ignore journalist reviews and just look at user reviews. And the rise of Let's Plays on Twitch made reviews irrelevant because you don't need to read about how a game plays, you can watch it be played in real time with live commentary.

The result of these trends was that game journalists who wanted to do #1 and #2 had to turn to indie games. That's how you get Zoe Quinn's Depression Quest being something worth talking about. But nobody really cares about indie games outside of that small niche. If they did care, they wouldn't be indy. So the journalists all ended up cramming into category #3 and focusing on features, interviews, and editorial.

But here they ran into a problem, too. If you try to do Rolling Stone type content, you discover that game publishers simply don't let their game developers be rockstar/celebrity/talent the way other creative industry does. You're simply never going to get to talk to a game designer and get real truths anymore. And if you do manage to talk to them, it turns out gamers don't really care anyway, because it's a participatory medium and they'd rather be playing. The only thing that gets traffic is outrage, so you trigger outrage. But if you trigger outrage about anything meaningful, you lose your ad dollars and what little access you have left. So it becomes all faux outrage all the time. Meanwhile, fewer and fewer readers and more and more people just watching YouTube and Twitch. 

Meanwhile, even if you say "yes, we'll ignore all that and focus on great personalities who don't worry about ads and make money from subscriptions", then you run into problem #4. Gamers don't want to spend money on content. They get outraged if a mobile game costs more than $2.99. They are furious about having to pay $60 for a game that gives them 60 hours of joy. They angrily rant about DLC. And even so, such money as they have, they do spend it all on games. They don't spend it on subscriptions. And to the extent they do, it's clustered into a tiny number of top streamers like Pewdie Pie. Then it becomes a dry well. To put it into perspective, a gaming site doing 60 million page views per month, with multiple million-view streams per week, earning $1M in ad sales, might earn perhaps 1% of its revenue from subscriptions. .

Jeremy Hambly of The Quartering has been trying to make it work, with a new site; as has One Angry Gamer and a bunch of others. No one is having any major financial success. There's a community, there's just no market.

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OK Boomer

A Boomer booms defensively:
It's always hilarious to read a Gen-Xer's attempt to blame things on Boomers, instead of where it belongs: in Obama's generation, GenX. Projection is ugly to look at, but it's alive and well in the GenX Boomer Bashers. 
Barack Obama was born in 1961. The Baby Boomer generation ended in 1964. In addition to their vast panoply of other generational flaws, Boomers are observably stupid.






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A hard no

I'm with JJ Watts on the new NFL proposal to the NFLPA:
The new proposal includes expanding the NFL's regular-season schedule to 17 games, which wouldn't go into effect until 2021 at the earliest. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier this week that the proposal would also boost the sport's postseason from six teams per conference to seven.
The NFL has been remarkably stupid under Roger Goodell. But this takes the cake, especially in light of the appearance of a new potential competitor. Watering down the regular season AND the postseason defies belief.

All sports leagues make changes in the hopes of increasing revenue. But as NASCAR has demonstrated over the last decade, it's very far from impossible for these changes to result in steeply declining revenues.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

The importance of rhetoric

No emotion, no victory:
The American media strategist Bill Knapp, who helped Obama into office in 2008, flies over to start preparing David for TV interviews. At the end of a long day, Bill takes me aside.

'I gotta be honest with you,' he says. 'You're never going to win this one unless you have an emotional argument for Remain. And you've gotta have a better answer on immigration.'

Of course, Bill has zoomed in straight away on our two core problems — problems we never resolve.

It's true our message isn't a very emotive one. No one is pretending the EU is a perfect institution. Quite the opposite. We've spent years arguing for reform. Securing our special status.

Essentially, we're stuck arguing for a marriage we've just taken to mediation. Saying: 'It's about more than just the relationship; it's about the kids — and their kids. The house, the car, the holidays, our social life. About our lifestyle.'

But still, at the core, we're having to mount an argument for what appears to be a soured relationship – and this is hard.

All the emotional energy is with the other side, the side that chants for liberty, freedom, a fresh start.
Immigration is a losing issue everywhere, except in the United States. But soon, it will be here too. Because the immigration = economic growth = societal wealth argument is now as observably and objectively false as the free trade = economic growth = societal prosperity argument.

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Go ahead, call that "bluff"

It's going to be an interesting debate for future generations. Who was more stupid, Prince Harry or Meghan Markle?
Meghan Markle has told friends there is nothing 'legally stopping' her and Prince Harry from using their Sussex Royal name, despite the Queen banning them from using it, DailyMail.com has learned.

The 38-year-old complained to her inner circle that using the name 'shouldn't even be an issue in the first place and it's not like they want to be in the business of selling T-shirts and pencils,' the insider said.

They added: 'Meghan said she's done with the drama and has no room in her life for naysayers, and the same goes for Harry.'

On Tuesday, DailyMail revealed the Queen and senior officials agreed the two could no longer keep the word 'royal' in their 'branding', despite the likely thousands of dollars Meghan and Harry have already sunk into their website and trademark applications.
There was nothing "legally stopping" Princess Diana from driving through that tunnel in Paris either....

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Repatriation or war

Those are always just two options. And there is no guarantee the native population will win the latter:
An Indian minister known for fiery and inflammatory rhetoric has declared that India’s Muslims should have been shipped to Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947, arguing the move would have saved the country a lot of trouble.

The controversial comment came from Giriraj Singh, minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, during a recent address in Purnia. He suggested that widespread unrest over two contentious laws – the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) – could have been avoided had Indian Muslims been deported to Pakistan when the country was divided from present-day India.

“It is the time to commit ourselves to the nation. Before 1947, [Muhammad Ali] Jinnah pushed for an Islamic nation. It was a big lapse by our ancestors that we're paying the price for,” Singh said.
From Canaan to Byzantium to the USA to India, the lesson is the same: always, Always, ALWAYS sink the damn ships. As Australia can confirm, the rabbits are never good for the native species.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

A hole in the market

This piece is absolutely true. The SJWs have entirely taken over game journalism as well as far too much of the game industry itself.
An influential figure from a leading gaming website says that a clique of like-minded media figures are colluding to prevent right-leaning journalists and developers from having a voice in the industry. “If you were openly a conservative and tried to apply to any of the mainstream outlets that are on the coasts, I don’t think you’d have a chance in hell of getting in,” says the senior source, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions. There’s a lot of us that probably think there’s a clique, well, that know there’s a clique.”

The “clique” is composed of journalists from well-known gaming and tech websites: among them Kotaku, Polygon, Vice, Ars Technica, GameDaily, Gamespot, Eurogamer and loads more.

“People won’t write something, or we won’t say anything on Twitter or whatever because you spew one wrong opinion and you’re asking for trouble,” says the source, who has admitted keeping their own opinions private to avoid sanction.

“Unless you don’t care about potential opportunities within the industry, a lot of people just don’t say what they’re actually thinking.”

The dominance has directly impacted the integrity of the journalism at the publications run by the clique members.

In one example, which was described to me in detail that I have obscured to protect my source, staff members were discussing coverage of a controversial figure who’d been wrongly punished by a gaming organization.

Several members of the site objected, saying that the figure did not deserve fair coverage because they are not a good person.

Their crime? Being openly right-wing.
This clique is constructed on the foundation of the old GameJournoPros mailing list that inadvertently inspired GamerGate. As a former CGWer, I find this absolutely appalling. So should this be our next project? If you're a gamer, what would encourage you to subscribe to it?

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Never trust anyone over 30

Captain Capitalism addresses the Baby Boomers and how they produced the Millennials:
The Millennials didn’t grow up in a vacuum.  They weren’t born in the cabbage patch, sprouted legs one day, and then “POOF,” 22 years later found themselves $120K in debt with a Master’s degree in Diversity and Inclusion.  Like everyone else they were a product of their environment.  And a huge part of that environment, if not the most influential part, was the elders who would raise them.  Parents, teachers, professors, guidance counselors, therapists, bosses, even politicians and media personalities would directly and indirectly wield incredible, if not total influence over the Millennials and would be the single most determining variable in how the Millennials would turn out.

This is the way it has always been throughout human history because there’s no other way for it to be.  Younger generations have to be raised by older generations.  But the Millennials were going to be raised by a very unique generation of elders.  A generation of elders that the world had never seen before in terms of its wealth, stability, pampering, and privilege.  Nor had the world seen such an arrogant, self-important, completely delusional, and completely wrong generation before. And it was this generation that was going to prepare the Millennials for the real world - the Baby Boomers.

What I absolutely love about the Baby Boomers, what I find so incredibly rich is how they were the generation that coined the phrase “Never trust anybody over 30.”  And you need to really break down this statement to appreciate how hypocritical, delusional, arrogant, and simply wrong that statement is and therefore how wrong the Baby Boomers are.

First, Boomers said this when they were young.  Not only stupid, but inexperienced and young.  They were a bunch of teenage, 20 something know-nothings, who never worked a job, had yet to start families, draft-dodged a war, but somehow they thought they knew better than their elders and the culminated eons of human history.  Not only is this against common sense, it’s the epitome of hubris and arrogance.  Many of them hadn’t even gone to college to have a political religion installed in them so they’d parrot such outlandish stupidity.  They were just that naturally stupid and arrogant on their own!
It's remotely possible that the Baby Boomers aren't the worse generation in human history. But they certainly did manage to destroy what was once the wealthiest, freest, most powerful nation on Earth. It wasn't entirely their fault; they did not plant the seeds of that destruction. But instead of weeding the garden of those evil shoots, they enthusiastically watered them.

And that is why future generations that never even knew them will hate them. They will not hate the Boomers for the same reasons that Gen-X and Gen-Z hate them, but they will hate them all the same.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Mailvox: how NOT to respect your deltas

One son of a Delta has some unpleasant childhood memories stemming from his attractive mother:
The part about alpha trying to hit on the very attractive wives of lower status men resonates with me. My mother was always a very attractive woman and she was married to my father, a delta. Alpha men were always hitting on her, including my father's boss at a Christmas party that later devolved into a huge argument when we all returned home. 
It's a difficult situation because it's almost inevitable and is going to be hard on the Delta husband even if his attractive wife is entirely faithful to him. First, it's always pleasant to know that people are drawn to you, and second, it's actually the Delta's lack of confidence in his ability to keep his attractive wife that tends to undermine the relationship.

Because if he gets his panties in a bunch every time over the behavior of others that she can't control, eventually she's going to decide that she might as well do the crime if she's going to do the time anyhow.

The father shouldn't have argued with his wife after the Christmas party, he should have complained to the boss's boss. The most effective weapon against an alpha is a bigger alpha.

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Bloomberg is Deep State

As if it wasn't already entirely obvious, (((Bloomberg))) is in it up to his tiny little neck along with (((Epstein))) and (((Maxwell))):
Democrat presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg appears in the late pedophile and accused child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book of contacts. Bloomberg appears on page six of the address book maintained by Epstein’s late former butler. Bloomberg was also photographed socializing with Epstein’s close companion Ghislaine Maxwell.
The fact that they've given up on Little Gay Pete and turned to Mini-Mike to buy the nomination and election is another indication of the Deep State's desperation.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

She is not amused

Her Majesty the Queen of England is observably getting tired of Megan Markle's antics:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex must drop their 'Sussex Royal' label after deciding to step down as working royals. Following lengthy and complex talks, the Queen and senior officials are believed to have agreed it is no longer tenable for the couple to keep the word 'royal' in their 'branding'.

Harry and Meghan have spent tens of thousands of pounds on a new Sussex Royal website to complement their hugely popular Instagram feed.

They have also sought to register Sussex Royal as a global trademark for a range of items and activities, including clothing, stationery, books and teaching materials.

In addition, they have taken steps to set up a new charitable organisation: Sussex Royal, The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

It has now been made clear that they will need to 're-brand'.
It would probably be a wise idea to steer well clear of Paris, too. Especially if Markle is dumb enough to defy the Queen and use it anyhow.

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MNGGA

According to Mini-Mike, America is not a nation and Americans are not a people, but Israel is a nation and Jews are a people who have more rights in America than Americans do.
Billionaire presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said he will charge Americans with "domestic terrorism" for "hate crimes" if elected and bashed "nativists" in America before affirming his commitment to Israel remaining a "Jewish state" in a recent interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Forget MAGA. Bloomberg is working on making Nazi Germany great again. He should be charged with a hate crime against America.

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Go gay, fade away

The Boy Scouts of America put a new spin on "go woke, go broke" in filing for bankruptcy:
The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection. Facing mounting legal costs from defending itself against lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of boys, the venerable nonprofit sought Chapter 11 protection in a court filing early Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that the filing had "two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come. The BSA intends to use the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims."

The Boy Scouts said that only the national organization had filed for Chapter 11 and that local councils that provide programming and other services are financially independent.
It's  impossible to feel any sympathy for these suicidal organizations. Once you allow infiltration, cooption is only a matter of time. The remarkable thing is that they still managed to permit this infiltration despite the language of the very Boy Scout's oath.

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. 

Of course, as we've seen, mere words are insufficient to keep out the inverters, who simply redefine strong to mean weak, awake to mean asleep, and straight to mean gay. This is yet another lesson in why one must always sink the ships.

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Spiderman is gay

It's like they're trying to hand us the superhero market:
In recent years, there’s been a growing desire from fans for the character of Spider-Man to be diversified. Into the Spider-Verse was fantastic for that, as it featured Miles Morales, the first non-Caucasian Spidey, in the lead. We still have yet to have a Spider-Man who’s part of the LGBT community, however, but current incumbent of the role, Tom Holland, has lobbied for this to happen at some point.

And it seems Sony agrees and is looking to make it a reality. We Got This Covered has been informed by our sources – the same ones who told us a She-Hulk show was coming to Disney Plus back in April, and that Taskmaster would be the villain in Black Widow – that the studio is developing a live-action Spider-Verse movie. As you’d expect, the hook would be that it would unite Holland with his predecessors, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. We’re also hearing that Sony is particularly keen on getting Garfield back, as they want to portray his version of the hero as bisexual and give him a boyfriend in the film.
In not-entirely-unrelated news, The Legend Chuck Dixon and I finished the first draft of the Rebel's Run script this morning.

Spider-man, Spider-man, he's as gay as a spider can....

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Please clap

It's remarkable that despite the obvious success of the god-emperor's approach, the cucks of the world are still convinced that the winning approach is a firm handshake and an impeccably adjusted bowtie:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told a Presidents’ Day audience of investors and money managers that it’s time for a return to civility in the nation’s politics. And the man who was ousted early from the Republican primaries of 2016 gave a decidedly mixed review of the first term of President Donald Trump, who bruised him often on the campaign trail.

Bush spoke Monday to an audience of several hundred investors in Hollywood at a conference sponsored by the financial firm Noble Capital Markets of Boca Raton.
What a shameless whore....

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Monday, February 17, 2020

The numbers are fake

I'd already reached the same conclusion about the legitimacy of the statistics after keeping track of the official Corona-chan numbers for a few days. The spread of the disease was far too smooth to be genuine. So, as usual, the one thing we can be certain isn't true is the official story:
In terms of the virus data, the number of cumulative deaths reported is described by a simple mathematical formula to a very high accuracy, according to a quantitative-finance specialist who ran a regression of the data for Barron’s. A near-perfect 99.99% of variance is explained by the equation, this person said.

Put in an investing context, that variance, or so-called r-squared value, would mean that an investor could predict tomorrow’s stock price with almost perfect accuracy. In this case, the high r-squared means there is essentially zero unexpected variability in reported cases day after day.

Barron’s re-created the regression analysis of total deaths caused by the virus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year, and found similarly high variance. We ran it by Melody Goodman, associate professor of biostatistics at New York University’s School of Global Public Health.

“I have never in my years seen an r-squared of 0.99,” Goodman says. “As a statistician, it makes me question the data.”

Real human data are never perfectly predictive when it comes to something like an epidemic, Goodman says, since there are countless ways that a person could come into contact with the virus.

For context, Goodman says a “really good” r-squared, in terms of public health data, would be a 0.7. “Anything like 0.99,” she said, “would make me think that someone is simulating data. It would mean you already know what is going to happen.”
About the only thing we know at this point is that non-Chinese victims are not dying at anywhere near the same rate as Chinese victims. And Occam's Razor strongly suggests that the manufactured numbers underestimate the actual ones.

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The terrible pressure of fame

It's not Jordan Peterson's fault. He's not weak. He's not psychologically broken. Sometimes, definitely not methamphetamine is the only way to cope with the terrible pressure of success and fame:
Fame can send people into a tailspin, and this kind of fame, especially so. Peterson has hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, and they have brought him wealth and renown. He also has hundreds of thousands of enemies, and many of them work in the media. The fans love him for what he says and writes, and for the conviction he adds to it. The enemies hate him for what he is. They put him ever on the defensive. He must prove his innocence, and he can’t. In their company, the issues aren’t salient; he must justify himself. Worse, he must justify himself to people who will never believe that he is justified.

It’s exhausting; it’s exasperating. The people who have challenged Peterson to explain himself, and who then mangle his explanations, seem altogether secure in their position. They have big institutions and left/liberal culture behind them. They will leave the interview unchanged. Peterson, meanwhile, walks away, irritated and uncertain.

I am not sure that these episodes played a large role in his collapse, along with the illnesses in his family and the fatigue of nonstop travel and the medications. But this set-up, crafted by an academia/media juggernaut that demands fealty to dogmas about patriarchy, racism, and gender fluidity, is a unique type of pain. It is dispiriting to sit down with someone for the first time and read in his eyes dislike. It’s singularly frustrating to realize that nothing you say will lift the cloud over your head. And then to maintain your politeness . . . well, Peterson deserves a rest.
It's interesting to note that one never sees this sort of sympathy expressed for Milo, for Richard Spencer, or for any evil white racist sexist homophobe who is pilloried relentlessly by the media. In other words, they're still trying to salvage Jordan Peterson, the Right Answer for Young Men, despite the fact that he is observably a trainwreck of an individual.

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Amazon can't fix fake reviews

It's astonishing to me that Amazon STILL can't figure out how to fix fake reviews, so instead of doing the obvious and preventing people who have not bought a product from reviewing it on their site, they are trying to weight the star rating instead:
Fake reviews still exist on Amazon, but the dominant online shopping platform recently made a big change that might help drown them out instead.

The online retailer quietly introduced one-tap ratings for product reviews late last year, making it possible for shoppers to provide a star rating without needing to write a review to accompany it.

The change has already led to an increase in overall customer feedback, a competitive advantage that Amazon has over many of its biggest brick-and-mortar competitors. And new products are generating feedback on Amazon sooner, the company says, which could be a boon for new brands and sellers. But some industry observers believe another indirect impact of the change will be a significant increase in authentic ratings that will make it harder for fake reviews to break through the noise.

“As the number of ratings increase, customers can see a larger set and thus a more accurate rating,” said Patrick Miller, co-founder of Flywheel Digital, an agency that helps large consumer brands sell on Amazon. “For brands, this means the black-hat review clubs and sellers will have less impact, as fake reviews as a percentage of legit reviews should decrease.”

The new rating feature arrives at a time in which fake product reviews have been attracting more attention from the media, regulators, and Amazon itself as more consumers conduct more of their shopping online. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission brought its first case involving paid fake reviews, settling a complaint against an Amazon seller who purchased fake five-star reviews for a weight-loss supplement. Amazon has also filed at least five lawsuits related to fake-review schemes over the last five years. On one end, fake positive reviews can simply lead to the purchase of poor-quality merchandise and distrust among shoppers. But in certain categories, a flattering review of a bad or faulty product can be flat-out dangerous.

The new one-tap feature asks customers to select from one to five stars for a product. It’s only available to customers who have actually purchased the item from Amazon — “verified” buyers. That barrier alone creates one hurdle that will make the new rating system harder to game, since Amazon does allow written reviews from non-verified buyers. And as the new rating feature attracts more and more feedback from verified buyers, it’ll get more expensive for schemers to buy enough phony reviews to try to break through the noise.

“The more customers who purchased the product [who] provide feedback, the more accurately the star rating reflects the experience of all purchasers,” is how Amazon spokesperson Angie Newman put it, without directly referencing fake reviews.

Amazon does not provide many specifics about how a product’s overall star rating is calculated, other than stating that it is not a simple average but instead uses “machine-learned models” that take into account factors such as how recent the rating or review is and whether it was a verified purchase or not. It’s not clear whether one-tap ratings will carry as much weight in these models as written reviews.
It's better than nothing, but it's downright embarrassing that a company as heavily invested in AI and machine learning, and as dependent upon an algorithm, as Amazon is can't figure out how to write an algorithm that can easily distinguish an obvious fake review from a legitimate one.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Juror 1261

The Roger Stone trial demonstrates how the Prometheans pervert the U.S. justice system:
Juror 1261, we now know, was Tomeka Hart. Her identity would have remained publicly unknown except for a public statement she made after the Department of Justice (DOJ) rescinded its initial sentencing recommendation for Trump confidant Roger Stone. In the midst of the firestorm of allegations of political interference, Hart disclosed that she was the foreperson on the Stone jury and gave a full-throated defense of the trial prosecutors: “It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors.”

That statement led many people to Google her name, and what they found was a litany of postings not only hostile to President Trump and his administration but also specifically commenting on Stone and his arrest — before she ever appeared for jury duty.... Hart is a Democratic activist and critic of the Trump administration. She was the Memphis City Schools board president. Not surprisingly, given her political background (including a run for Congress), Hart has been vocal in public on her views of Trump and his associates.

She referred to the President with a hashtag of “klanpresident” and spoke out against “Trump and the white supremacist racists.” She posted about how she and others protested outside a Trump hotel and shouted, “Shame, shame, shame!” When profanities were projected on the Trump hotel, she exclaimed on Jan. 13, 2018, “Gotta love it.” On March 24, 2019, she shared a Facebook post — no longer public — while calling attention to “the numerous indictments, guilty pleas, and convictions of people in 45’s inner-circle.”

More worrisome are her direct references to Stone, including a retweeted post, in January 2019, from Bakari Sellers, again raising racist associations and stating that “Roger Stone has y’all talking about reviewing use of force guidelines.” She also described Trump supporters such as Stone as racists and Putin cronies.

In addition to her prior statements about Trump, his associates and this case, Hart is a lawyer. That only magnifies concerns that any bias on her part may have had a more pronounced influence on her fellow jurors.

In fact, except for a jury pool composed entirely of House impeachment managers, Hart would appear to be a standout for a peremptory challenge by the defense team over bias. That is why the most surprising aspect of this story is not the review of her public statements but the review of her examination before trial. The brief examination in the voir dire hearing shows that Hart did disclose her ties to the Democratic Party. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson asked if Hart’s political history would prevent her from being fair, and Hart assured her it would not.

While Hart’s answers on the jury questionnaire remain sealed, Judge Jackson noted, “You've also indicated a fair amount of paying attention to news and social media, including about political things?” Hart does not volunteer that she did far more than “pay attention to news and social media” and was, in fact, an anti-Trump protester and social media critic.
The exposure of a jury plant demonstrates the same technique used in the media narrative, in town meetings, in political caucuses, in science propaganda, and every other type of collective activity in which the illusion of a majority consensus is required or deemed desirable.

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Plagiarizing the narrative

It's not a mystery. Fiction authors don't predict events, the crisis manufacturers simply rip off their narratives from them from time to time:
The Eyes of Darkness, a 1981 thriller by bestselling suspense author Dean Koontz, tells of a Chinese military lab that creates a virus as part of its biological weapons programme. The lab is located in Wuhan, which lends the virus its name, Wuhan-400. A chilling literary coincidence or a case of writer as unwitting prophet?

In The Eyes of Darkness, a grieving mother, Christina Evans, sets out to discover whether her son Danny died on a camping trip or if – as suspicious messages suggest – he is still alive. She eventually tracks him down to a military facility where he is being held after being accidentally contaminated with man-made microorganisms created at the research centre in Wuhan.

If that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up, read this passage from the book: “It was around that time that a Chinese scientist named Li Chen moved to the United States while carrying a floppy disk of data from China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon of the past decade. They call it Wuhan-400 because it was developed in their RDNA laboratory just outside the city of Wuhan.”

In another strange coincidence, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which houses China’s only level four biosafety laboratory, the highest-level classification of labs that study the deadliest viruses, is just 32km from the epicentre of the current coronavirus outbreak. The opening of the maximum-security lab was covered in a 2017 story in the journal Nature, which warned of safety risks in a culture where hierarchy trumps an open culture.
Sometimes they get away with it, sometimes they don't. For example, the keyboardist/DJ in Psykosonik "borrowed" a techno riff for the post-chorus for one of our songs from dance groove he liked to spin by a little-known European techno group. Not a big deal, that's something that techno and house groups do all the time and is generally considered homage, not plagiarism. We did find it a little embarrassing, however, when that initially-unknown song somehow blew up into a stadium anthem that is regularly heard to this day.

Ironically, both songs made the Billboard Top 40 club chart, at numbers 14 and 37, respectively.

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