The incipient death of DC

Forbes doesn’t see a future for DC Comics in the wake of the AT&T acquisition of WarnerMedia:

Earlier this month at San Diego Comic-Con, returning attendees noticed a major change on the show’s massive exhibit floor. The booth for DC Comics, which had been a massive standalone pavilion in the center of the publishers’ area in the center of the hall, was gone. America’s oldest and second-largest comic book publisher had retreated to the far back corner of the hall, where it was incorporated into the multi-level WarnerMedia exhibit, in the shadow of banks of giant monitors previewing upcoming shows and cast appearances.

The subtext of this move could not have been clearer. AT&T—now the parent company of WarnerMedia and its divisions, including DC Comics (previously known as DC Entertainment), HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros.—does not seem terribly interested in being in the comic book publishing business….

A generation ago, faced with a similar situation, DC’s then co-President and Publisher Jenette Kahn appealed to Time Warner management that wanted to dramatically cut back on DC’s current publishing in favor of reprints, saying that the company’s new material was the lifeblood of the company, a source of new fans and new IP without which the characters and related merchandise would decline into obscurity. She won that argument and DC, under her stewardship, ended up minting many of the golden coins in which it still trades, including The Dark Knight, Watchmen and Sandman, despite never being a gigantic engine of revenue within the Time Warner corporate umbrella.

Today, DC Comics is in a similar situation. Following a demoralizing mid-decade move from its traditional home in New York to Warner Bros’ headquarters in Burbank, CA, the company has stumbled through various events and line reboots, milking assets like Frank Miller’s once-fresh take on Batman and post-Alan Moore Watchmen for the last dregs of fan appeal and relevance, and relying on high priced milestone thousandth issues of long-running titles like Action Comics and Detective Comics to make up in dollar share what they are losing in unit share of an increasingly crowded comics market.

Recently, DC co-President Dan DiDio publicly fumed that reissues of comics 30 and 40 years old were outselling current stories featuring the same characters, calling that a “failure on us.”

The SJW takeover of DC is precisely why AT&T’s best bet is to shut down the publishing business before the current generation of editors and writers start to harm the valuable brands that were created over decades. The world observably neither needs nor wants new Batman and Superman comics, particularly not those that transform Batman into a black transgirl and Superman into a lesbian Hispanic woman. There isn’t enough money in new comics to be worth the risk of moronic SJWs devaluing the brands that are the only real value of DC’s publishing business.

AT&T’s management will almost certainly do the math and realize this, which is why I expect Arkhaven to see off DC, and probably sooner rather than later, just as it has already witnessed the ugly last gasp and mercy killing of Vertigo.

Neon Revolt sums up the Devil Mouse

Neon’s latest post borders on the mind-blowing, as he’s figured out the reason for the symbolic connection between the Epstein temple and the Turkish bathhouse upon which its design is based, as well as what General Flynn may have actually been doing inside the Obama and Clinton operations.

Obama sets up biofuel credits in order to “legally” fund human trafficking operations (and other nefarious endeavors).

Washakie sets up their operation to defraud the government with the help of government insiders (a fact attested to by the tip-off they received about the raid), and with foreign help/investment from Turkish businessmen and elites.

Why do they do this? Because they know of what the FLDS group has been doing, and think they can not only replicate it, but surpass it. (There are connections between the Kingston group and FLDS, which are outside the scope of this article).

Lev Derman is the US point of contact/man-on-the-ground for Sezgin Baran Korkmaz.

Korkmaz is aware of all that is going on, and Alptekin must too, since he sits on the board of one of a Kingston-owned investment company. Given Alptekin’s proximity to the Turkish Government, its likely Erdogan knows about all that is going on, as well.

Washakie proceeds to launder minors to Turkey for years, where they are raped, tortured, and executed – most likely.

They get most, if not all of these minors, from their home-grown population of child-bearing women, who pop these babies out with extreme regularity. Because when your founder himself has over 300 children, who is really going to notice or care when one or two “troublemakers” disappears overseas for “mission work” or “rehabilitation” or whatever excuse they use.

The wealth of the Kingston clan explodes, since white children fetch higher prices on the human trafficking markets.

Meanwhile, Korkmaz launders his share of the money from the US Gov’t biofuel credits and trafficking operation through his holding company in Turkey. Some of this money goes to Alptekin. Alptekin hires Flynn to help with the Gulen Issue, since megalomaniacs are always trying to deal with perceived threats to their power.

But really, Flynn knows about the trafficking, and dives in to attempt to root out all this evil.

It’s a long and winding post, but read the whole thing. It’s worth it for all the dots it connects as well as the additional it suggests will eventually be connected. At this point, what do you think the odds are that the Devil Mouse is not somehow involved in this child trafficking, especially given the fact that it runs TWELVE massive operations around the world that are specifically designed to entice children to come within its grasp?

I’d say there is a higher probability that the Patriots miss the playoffs this year.

“Snorkel stop”

Is that Disney for “cheese pizza”? Q drops an illuminating note about the Disney Cruise Line:

Afterward, make your way to your second snorkel stop — Little St James Island — where curious fish dart back and forth in the clear blue water, and colorful coral formations nestle next to amazing underwater formations.

It certainly appears to be the case:

Walt Disney VP Sentenced to Prison in Child Sex Abuse Investigation

Former Walt Disney Company executive Michael Laney has been sentenced to 81 months in prison for four counts of first-degree sexual abuse involving a 7-year-old girl. According to WTKR, Laney, who is 73-years-old, “will have to register as a sex offender and pay a $4,000 fine.”

The Devil Mouse may well be the most evil corporation in the world. Disney is Satandom’s PR department.

A $5 billion traffic ticket

This “record-setting” corporate penalty is the equivalent of fining the average American household $483.04:

The Federal Trade Commission voted this week to approve a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook that could end an investigation into its privacy practices, according to a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak on the record, a deal that could result in unprecedented government oversight of the company.

The settlement — adopted with the FTC’s three Republicans supporting it and two Democrats against it — could end a wide-ranging probe into Facebook’s mishandling of users’ personal information that began more than a year ago.

The FTC’s $5 billion punishment against Facebook sets a new record as the largest penalty ever assessed against a tech company that broke a past promise to the government to improve its privacy practices. The matter from here rests in the hands of the Justice Department, which typically must finalize FTC settlements, though DOJ rarely has upended them.

Facebook warned investors earlier this year it could face an FTC fine as high as $5 billion. Wall Street appeared to reward the company for setting aside a large portion of that penalty earlier this year, as the company’s stock rose almost 2 points following news of the settlement Friday.

Fines don’t dissuade corporations in the slightest. Putting the CEOs, board members, and other executives in jail when the corporation breaks the law would be a much more effective disincentive.

No, no, HELL no!

What sort of drooling moron is going to give Mark freaking Zuckerberg control over his money, however virtual?

The much-hyped launch of Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra has met a brick wall of institutional skepticism as politicians and regulators take one look at CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy record and raise a collective eyebrow.

Calibra, the new Facebook subsidiary which will operate Libra, has made no secret of its ambitions to branch out from funds transfer into credit, bill payments and other more sophisticated products. Such consolidation of power in the hands of a company that already has a monopoly on online social interaction for its 2-billion-plus users – and a terrible record of protecting users’ privacy – has understandably worried the skeptics.

I already deactivated my Facebook account – and I’ll activate it only to delete it entirely. There is literally ZERO chance I will ever make any use of Libra. I’d rather trade in seashells.

What’s good for Google

Is most definitely NOT good for America. It’s more than a bit ironic that Pichai Sundararajan is appealing to the very sort of white Christian male innovation that Google observably hates in trying to prevent Google from being broken up:

Google’s CEO has made an appeal that the company should not be broken up, as federal regulators and Congress are directing increasing scrutiny at the tech goliath.

Google’s massive size allows it to invest in future technologies without worrying about ‘short-term profits,’ CEO Sundar Pichai insisted in an interview with CNN Business on Thursday.

‘Scale does offer many benefits, it’s important to understand that,’ argued Pichai. ‘Big companies are what are investing in technologies like AI the most.’

Pichai even hinted that if Google were subject to antitrust regulation, it would spell doom for American innovation, allowing competitors like China to seize the advantage.

The amount of contempt that Pichai has for Americans can be seen in this appeal to the benefits of Google’s monopoly position. If only AT&T and Standard Oil had been clever enough to argue that their monopolies were actually beneficial…..

I have considerably more confidence in Chinese communists than in US-citizen corporatists. Say what you will about communists, but at least they are atheists that don’t actively worship the devil.

Uber settles arbitration claims

This settlement of a series of arbitrations might prove educational for some readers here:

Uber Settles ‘Majority’ of Arbitrations for at Least $146M

Total settlements are between $146 million and $170 million A “large majority” of the more than 60,000 Uber Inc. drivers filing arbitration claims for employment misclassification will receive settlement payments as part of agreements reached by the company, Uber said in a regulatory filing May 9.

12,501 arbitration claims filed out of a potential 60,000. The filing fees alone could have cost Uber $75 million. Since the arbitrators can get paid as much as $9k a day, well, it’s not exactly hard to figure out why Uber quickly decided to settle for 2x the amount of the filing fees.

Interestingly enough, Uber initially tried to avoid paying the filing fees for the very process they contractually required. Check out this article from December 2018.

Uber fought as hard as any company in America in the past few years to assure the enforceability of its contractual arbitration provisions. When drivers who had signed contracts with Uber attempted to sue the company for wage and hour violations, Uber and its lawyers at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher won key rulings from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that effectively ended the drivers’ quest to litigate their claims in court – or even to arbitrate their claims as a class. For Uber drivers, the only way to go after the company for alleged state and federal employment law violations was to file an independent arbitration claim.

Amazingly, thousands of Uber drivers did just that. Between August and November of this year, about 12,500 drivers, many of whom had been class members in cases in which Uber successfully moved to compel arbitration, served individual arbitration demands on Uber, claiming the company failed to pay them the federally-mandated minimum wage and failed to pay overtime wages. These thousands of drivers filed their arbitration demands at JAMS, as mandated in Uber’s contracts.

But nothing has happened in almost all of the drivers’ cases. Of the 12,500 arbitration demands filed by Uber drivers, the company has paid the requisite JAMS initial filing fee in just 296 cases, according to a newly filed petition by drivers seeking to compel Uber to pay the fees JAMS requires to launch arbitration. So far, arbitrators have been appointed in only 47 of the cases drivers have brought against Uber – and Uber has paid the arbitrator’s nonrefundable $1,500 retainer fee in a mere six cases.

In other words, Uber caved after paying out $67,750, then doing the relevant math and realizing that they were already on the hook for an absolute minimum $34,375,000, which would almost certainly have exploded into at least $318 million even if every single arbitration was kept to three days or less… not including legal fees.

More interesting information, courtesy of an exhibit that quotes the JAMS general counsel and explicitly points out that corporations can’t avoid playing by the rules they impose on their employees and users.

In a Jan. 23 notice to Uber and the drivers, JAMS general counsel and national arbitration committee cochair Sheri Eisner noted Uber’s request that JAMS review the role of the drivers’ firm Keller Lenkner in a consolidated proceeding, before Uber is required to pay initiation fees in all of the cases.

Eisner said that’s not how JAMS procedures work. “While it is not our preference to force the parties to litigate these issues seriatim, our policies and procedures, absent party agreement otherwise, require that we collect a filing fee in each case to be pursued,” she wrote. “Further, the parties’ arbitration agreement appears to clearly prohibit collective determination of any issue absent party agreement … Therefore, absent party agreement otherwise, JAMS must proceed in the normal course, following receipt of filing fees by commencing and appointing an arbitrator to each case.”

As Eisner said in the notice, JAMS had put a hold on arbitration demands for about 8,500 drivers in California while a single arbitration weighed Uber’s opposition to the post hoc vice admission of Keller Lenkner in 40 cases in which Uber has already paid initiation fees. The hearing officer, according to the JAMS notice, has determined that his decision on the pro hac vice application will apply only in the 40 cases before him, not across all of the 8,500 arbitration demands. The JAMS GC said that the hold on thousands of other California arbitrations is now lifted.

Eisner’s notice ended with language that’s extremely important for the future of mass arbitration. “JAMS is mindful of the significant resources (both in time and expense) expended by all parties and counsel in determining the best path forward to resolve these matters in multiple jurisdictions,” she wrote. “JAMS strongly encourages the parties to consider engaging a third party (whether a mediator, arbitrator or administrative representative) to assist the parties in addressing the variety of process issues presented by numerous cases proceeding in multiple jurisdictions.”

JAMS, in other words, isn’t going to help Uber out of the jam it’s facing as a result of imposing mandatory individual arbitration agreements on its drivers. Based on Eisner’s notice, Uber can’t rely on a consolidated JAMS proceeding to decide even recurring threshold issues, such as whether the drivers can rely on the law firm that filed their arbitration demands. For Uber – and any future mass arbitration defendant – hoping to cut the cost of litigating thousands of individual arbitrations by resolving across-the-board concerns in one proceeding, the JAMS letter makes it clear that the arbitration service isn’t going to bend its rules and overlook contract language to allow that.

The lesson, as always, is this: even if you write the contract and stack everything in your favor, you’d better not break it with thousands of people or you’re going to pay a lot of money for the privilege.

What else did you expect?

Alexa has been playing Stasi since her inception:

Would you let a stranger eavesdrop in your home and keep the recordings? For most people, the answer is, “Are you crazy?”

Yet that’s essentially what Amazon has been doing to millions of us with its assistant Alexa in microphone-equipped Echo speakers. And it’s hardly alone: Bugging our homes is Silicon Valley’s next frontier.

Many smart-speaker owners don’t realize it, but Amazon keeps a copy of everything Alexa records after it hears its name. Apple’s Siri, and until recently Google’s Assistant, by default also keep recordings to help train their artificial intelligences.

So come with me on an unwelcome walk down memory lane. I listened to four years of my Alexa archive and found thousands of fragments of my life: spaghetti-timer requests, joking houseguests and random snippets of “Downton Abbey.” There were even sensitive conversations that somehow triggered Alexa’s “wake word” to start recording, including my family discussing medication and a friend conducting a business deal.

But don’t worry. They totally mean well and would NEVER deplatform you simply because they have you on record committing crimethink.

Indiegogo plays science police

They were already playing thought police, but now they’re branching out into policing science:

The last year has been the worst on record in the US for measles outbreaks since the disease was declared ‘eradicated’ in 2000. Even though vaccination rates across the country are still high, (according to the CDC) there remains some communities where disinformation campaigns which claim that ‘vaccines are dangerous’ (often called ‘anti-vaxx’ campaigns) have led to parents refusing to vaccinate their children. Sadly, this can lead to a deadly outbreak when members of the public are exposed to someone who has picked up the disease, often overseas. Measles is highly contagious and can be fatal, especially amongst children.

And despite President Trump telling Americans to “get their shots”, 45 has previously appeared to link vaccines and autism. Public health experts say there is no link.

At the same time, over half a million children in Britain have been left unprotected against measles in the past decade and Unicef has called for a renewed focus on immunization.

It’s with this background that some tech companies are starting to realize they may have been part of the problem.

Yesterday Crowdfunding site Indiegogo said it would no longer allow anti-vaccine fundraisers or similarly unscientific, so-called “health campaigns”, to use its platform.

The move came after $86,543 was raised for a documentary, called Vaxxed II, based on the false claim that vaccines cause autism. Although the organization behind it, The People’s Truth, will still get their cash, minus the site’s 5{e8a4cc2da20ae907408fc668f824b0c1c953618ed39cb8b4e4c88688f9991565} fee, Indiegogo said it was now planning a new policy to keep similar anti-vaccine projects off its site, a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News Friday.

The fundraiser did not violate IndieGoGo’s existing policies on untruthful campaigns, but Indiegogo never promoted it on its site, said a company spokesperson. Executive directors of the “documentary”, Polly Tommey and Brian Burrowes, have criticized tech companies’ ‘de-platforming’ of their film as “censorship”.

Indiegogo is the latest in a line of tech companies coming round to the idea of cutting off the oxygen of publicity and cash to such campaigns.

The unmentioned elephant in the room is the I-word. Immigration. That’s the real reason for the increase in measles everywhere, along with the increase in a whole host of other diseases for which there is no vaccination.

The fact that none of these pro-vaccine activists will even mention the word serves to demonstrate that their professed concerns about measles, and their professed concerned about children’s health, is entirely false.

Consistent with their values

Disgraced director James Gunn is back at Disney:

James Gunn has certainly been on a roller coaster of a ride with Disney and his role on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. First, he was fired. Then, Disney wouldn’t hire him back. Then, Gunn’s script was going to be used. Now, Gunn has been hired back to direct.

Shockingly, Disney has changed its tune about Gunn, according to Deadline. He will both write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which currently does not have a release date.

Back in July 2018, Gunn was fired by Disney when controversial tweets, from many years prior, resurfaced where Gunn made joked about pedophilia and rape. Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said, “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”

It would appear those “offensive attitudes and statements” are no longer inconsistent with Disney’s values. As if they ever actually were.

UPDATE: Disney never even considered getting another director. The whole Gunn “firing” was simply a charade performed for the public in order to take the heat off Disney.

James Gunn is back as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — and it sounds like Disney never seriously explored a replacement after all.

Gunn, who was fired from the Marvel superhero sequel last summer when old tweets of his joking about rape and pedophilia were resurfaced, on Friday confirmed reports that he has been rehired for the project.

Vol. 3 was originally expected to be released in 2020, but preproduction was put on hold last August after Gunn’s firing. Reports suggested that Disney was launching a search for his replacement so the movie could go forward, with The Hollywood Reporter writing that the studio was taking a “measured approach in their search for a director.” Rumors swirled for months about who was being considered, and Vice director Adam McKay suggested in an interview that he had discussed possibly taking over the project.

But The Hollywood Reporter now reports that “what almost no one knew” until today was that Marvel and Disney had actually “never undertaken a search” for another director at all and, in fact, had “gone back to Gunn and made a deal…in secret.” Deadline similarly reports that the decision to bring back Gunn was made “months ago” and that Marvel “never met with or considered any other director.”