However else one opines on the merits or perils of artificial intelligence (AI), everyone of good faith…
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Record Labels Rightly Sue Abusive AI Music Generators

However else one opines on the merits or perils of artificial intelligence (AI), everyone of good faith can agree that it mustn't become a tool for brazen copyright infringement.  Artists who pour their (sometimes literal) blood, sweat and tears into their creative works shouldn't have those works stolen and exploited by AI bots.

That is particularly true as it relates to AI music generators specifically created for that exploitative purpose.

For that reason, we should all welcome and applaud major record labels for their decisive lawsuit against AI generators Suno and Udio, whom they accuse in their complaints of copyright violation on an "unimaginable scale."

The complaints make for gripping reading unlike most legal filings, but we're not talking here about sampling various songs…[more]

July 02, 2024 • 06:30 PM

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Fifty Years Later: JFK Conspiracy Theories Rightfully Erode Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, November 21 2013
Four simple points refute what constitutes the core of most conspiracy theories.

According to a new Gallup poll, the number of Americans who believe that the assassination of John F. Kennedy resulted from a conspiracy has declined to a low not seen since conspiracy theories began infecting the public arena in the late 1960s.  And according to Rasmussen, the public is now evenly split on the matter.  That is a positive trend, but the toxic element remains all too prevalent. 

Like many who develop a historical fascination with the assassination, I began under the default assumption that a conspiracy explained the events in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. 

Almost immediately, however, I realized that the evidence demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever that Lee Harvey Oswald indeed acted alone in murdering the young President that day.  It’s actually not even a close case. 

A thorough recitation of the avalanche of evidence justifying that assertion requires thousands of pages, and others have accomplished that task admirably.  For anyone interested in the debate from either perspective, Charles Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s 1,612-page “Reclaiming History” provides the alpha and the omega in assassination scholarship.  Gerald Posner’s “Case Closed” offers a more abbreviated, but still impressive, overview of the realities of the assassination. 

Briefly, however, four simple points refute what constitutes the core of most conspiracy theories. 

First is the mythical “Magic Bullet” theory.  As popularized by Oliver Stone in his shameful and grossly inaccurate film “JFK,” that theory asserts that a single bullet could not have caused the initial wound to Kennedy (through the soft tissue of his neck/shoulder area, which caused him to grasp his collar area before the fatal head shot) and Texas Governor John Connally.  The theory assumes that Gov. Connally was sitting directly in front of Kennedy in the limousine and at the same elevation, when in fact Connally was to Kennedy’s left and in a jump seat closer to the floor.  Moreover, Connally was turned to his right and speaking with Kennedy when that first shot hit, making a direct line for the bullet’s path. 

Second, any conspiracy theorist must confront the reality that no conspiracy to assassinate a president would ever select Oswald as its gunman or fall guy.  He was simply too unpredictable, too unreliable, too loose a cannon for a scheme that would obviously need to maintain complete secrecy.  Moreover, no conspiracy would have allowed Oswald to leave the school book depository from which he shot Kennedy.  Instead, a waiting getaway car would have taken him to a secluded area to meet his own grisly fate, never to be seen again.  What actually happened is that Oswald fled the building, fatally shot a Dallas police officer who approached him and attempted to kill other officers who finally cornered him in a movie theater.  Those are not the actions of an innocent man, and they’re certainly not the actions of the type of cool, composed assassin that a conspiracy of this magnitude would demand. 

Third, and related to the second point above, think back to almost every other assassination or attempted assassination prominent in public memory.  All of them involved lone gunmen.  That list includes Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, John Lennon, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II Gerald Ford and Robert Kennedy.  Yet somehow, people cannot accept that Kennedy could be the victim of the type of deranged lone assassin as all of the other major figures? 

Fourth, anyone who has visited the assassination site would immediately realize that the area in question is much more confined than photographs suggest.  When one stands on the infamous grassy knoll, one understands instantly that it is so close to the street and bystanders that a gunshot would be deafening and unmistakable to anyone at the scene.  It is nearly on top of the street, and there would simply have been no question to anyone in the area of the origin of the shots had that been the gunman’s position. 

But why does all of this matter, 50 years later? 

One answer is that historical accuracy is important in and of itself.  As Bugliosi notes in his opening dedication, “To the historical record, knowing that nothing in the present can exist without the paternity of history, and hence, the later is sacred, and should never be tampered with or defiled by untruths.”  Unfortunately, few events have been infected with such brazen, intentional misinformation as the JFK assassination. 

Conspiracy theories also erode the fabric of American trust in our institutions, which are necessary for a healthy, functioning democratic republic.  That is particularly true in the sense that liberals have falsely used JFK’s assassination as an empty vessel to demonize their political opposition and use him as a martyr for their own causes.  Kennedy was a staunch anti-communist who cut taxes and whose most famous words were, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  A far cry from the entitlement mentality, high-spending, accommodationist agenda that liberals advanced after his passing. 

Oswald was a communist who literally fought on behalf of Fidel Castro and defected to the Soviet Union, yet liberals used Kennedy as a symbol to demonize firearms, pass such things as Medicare that are slowly destroying our fiscal health and even malign an entire state in which he was killed.  Conspiracy theories also allow liberals to demonize the Vietnam War and allege that Kennedy was murdered for attempting to halt it, even though he was escalating it at the time of his death. 

Fortunately, the utter lack of any rational evidence supporting a conspiracy theory has slowly undermined their prevalence and potency.  Nevertheless, it is important for a society to mourn the man fifty years after his life was cut short, but also to maintain that event in its healthy, proper perspective. 

Notable Quote   
 
"President Biden's high-stakes press conference at this week's NATO summit was a triumph -- for his challenger, former president Trump.Why? Because Biden's performance did nothing to resolve the Democratic Party's dilemma over his status as its 2024 presidential candidate. The press conference supplied Biden's internal critics with ammunition against his candidacy, such as when he misidentified Kamala…[more]
 
 
— Matthew Continetti, Washington Free Beacon
 
Liberty Poll   

Will President Biden be the 2024 Democratic candidate for president following the Democratic National Convention in August?