Rob’s Weekly News Wrap-up 12/21-12/28

The “Elves” are citizen activists in the Ukraine and Germany who use their computers to counter Russian propaganda:

Sweden has launched a nationwide school program to teach students to identify Russian propaganda. …In Lithuania, 100 citizen cyber-sleuths dubbed “elves” link up digitally to identify and beat back the people employed on social media to spread Russian disinformation. They call the daily skirmishes “Elves vs. Trolls” (above) ….Consortiums such as StopFake.org, about Ukraine, and Correctiv.org in Germany have sped up fact-checking with new digital tools and with cross-border journalistic partnerships. ….

Democracy Digest

I hope you find this video about the Baltic ‘Elves’ as interesting and inspirational as I did.

This week was dense with news despite the focus of most news outlets on Trump’s shut down of the Federal Government.

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Ari Melber is brilliant

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Rob Goldstein 2018

Uncle Sam Poster made from a public domain template.

Accept the Gift

This is my traditional Christmas post.

First posted 12/11/2016 as The Night Bobby Found Christ in an Abandoned Subway Car.

I imagined a modern Nativity and saw a homeless kid who finds the abandoned Christ child in an old subway car.

Will he accept the burden of this gift?

An avatar that represents an alternate named Bobby is shown finding the Christ child in an abandoned subway car
A homeless youth finds the abandoned Christ child in an unused subway car.

I got the idea for the subway car from Dark Days, a documentary made in the 1990’s about a tribe of homeless people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels of New York.

I used VR to make a video of it.

I use two photo-shopped frames from the documentary as an homage to it.

I first came up with this idea in 2011 but didn’t have the skill I needed
to make a video work the way I envisioned it.

I was going to remake the video for this Christmas but had a soul sucking
bout of the  flu that still lingers.

The video works but I see ways to make it better so I WILL remake the video
for next Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the World!

May we find our way back to reason and light.

I’ll see you guys after Christmas.

The video is a series high-resolution panels staged and shot in virtual reality and processed in multiple apps.

I cropped a cover of Silent Night  found at the Internet Archives.

To the best of my knowledge the recording is in the public domain.

Rob Goldstein 2016-2018
Revised 2018

A Christmas Homily: Why Did God do That?

According to the New Testament, the God of Israel becomes
mortal: Immanuel, God with us.

God can descend as an adult and live as a God.

God can choose birth to a royal house and live as a man of the educated
upper class.

Instead, God decides to break the Law of Moses by impregnating a young,
unmarried peasant girl who is already betrothed and likely to suffer
execution by stoning  for the crime of adultery.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” Matthew 1:18-19

Joseph later adopts Jesus as his own.

Everything about the birth of Jesus is unsavory in terms of Mosaic Law and the rigid class system of the ancient world.

“Unlawful intercourse with a woman betrothed to a man was adultery, because the betrothed woman was deemed as inviolable as the married woman. The punishment for this crime was stoning to death at the place of public execution (Deut. xxii. 24). The punishment for Adultery according to the Mishnah (Sanh. xi. 1) was strangulation; the rabbinical theory being that wherever the death penalty was mentioned in the Bible, without any specific statement of the manner of its infliction, strangulation was meant. The Jewish Encyclopedia


The child of an incestuous or adulterous relationship was branded a mamzer.

 

A mamzer was not permitted to become a member of the Jewish body politic (Deut. xxiii. 3 [A. V. 2]), and could not intermarry with a Jew or Jewess (Ḳid. iii. 12), although it did not lose its right to inherit from the husband of its mother, who, while not the legitimate father, was for this purpose the putative father.”’ The Jewish Encyclopedia

There is no room at the inn for Mary’s mamzer, so he is born in a cave where he sleeps in a device for feeding livestock.

(Away in a manger, no crib for his head)

So, why did God do that?

 

Animated GIF of Matt Damon doing math on a mirror
found on GIPHY

Why did God choose to live and die as an outcast?

 

 

Rob Goldstein 2018
Portrait of the Christ with Red Hair (c) Rob Goldstein 2018
Animated gif from GIPHY

Rob’s Saturday News Wrap Up, December 15, 2018

Here are a few of the reports I watched this week.

My focus is the United States and the hysterics of our Red Queen of a president but I do include reports from France and the U.K.

I use multiple news outlets to verify facts.

Professional fact based journalism is not a liberal conspiracy.

The facts of a story don’t change when reported by credible journalists.

A good reporter tells you when she has moved from fact to analyses and opinion.

The GOP wants to brand hostility to Putin’s vision of America as a blatantly corrupt totalitarian state as a leftist plot.

My Father raised me to believe that targeting a group of people for persecution and extermination is the ultimate act of human evil.

The penultimate act of human evil is watching people suffer and die in silence.

I will not sit silently and watch Latin immigrants become the TrumpGOP’s ‘Jews’.

I will not have this stain on my country.

In Trump’s America, we who stand for democracy and human rights are the conservatives.

Eleanor Roosevelt holds up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Eleanor Roosevelt holds up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This list of videos is not comprehensive, please feel free to add fact based links  to news items of your own in the comments section.

Special counsel to reveal new details on Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort-CBS

Ex-FBI chief James Comey speaks after House hearing-CBS

Mueller filings pose growing peril for Trump | Meet The Press | NBC News

House Republicans Release James Comey Closed-Door Hearing Transcript | NBC Nightly News

Adam Schiff says Trump faces “real prospect of jail time” after leaving office – Face the Nation

French President Emmanuel Macron On Paris Riots: ‘I Take My Share Of Responsibility’ | NBC News

Carl Bernstein: This could make the world tremble-CNN

Jamal Khashoggi’s last words: ‘I can’t breathe’

Theresa May delays UK Brexit vote – CNN

Michael Cohen Speaks Out Against Trump -ABC

FBI Foils Two Unrelated Terror Plots – NBC

Trump Threatens Shutdown in Meeting with Top Democrats: PBS

How a 7-Year-Old Migrant Girl Died While in U.S. Detention: PBS

‘If you Google the word idiot, a picture of Donald Trump comes up’ – BBC News

Robert Mueller slams Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI: CNN

Maria Butina Admits Being An Agent Of Russia, Will Help US Prosecutors | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Laurence Tribe: President Donald Trump Can Be Indicted For Federal Crimes | The Last Word | MSNBC

Opinion | Republicans are choosing party over country

 

Photo of the cover of the December 2017 National Enquirer at the local Safeway.

Rob Goldstein 2018