Sunday Ethics Catch-Up, 8/11/2019: Cape Cod Dreams And Nightmare Jerks

Sigh.

This would be the week that my dad typically took his vacation. At this moment, when I was 10, I would be on a beach in Dennisport on the Cape, sampling the sandwiches my mother packed,  sitting in bathing trunks on my father’s army blanket that he carried all over Europe during the war, and listening to Curt Gowdy describe the Red Sox game on mt transistor radio  . Nothing could have been farther from my mind than ethics. Those were the days…

1. Once again, 7-11 ethics in Alexandria, VA.. I’ve written about several ethics encounters at my  local convenience store. This time I was patiently waiting for a space to open up (eventually I am going to tell one of the jerks who have finished their errands and sit in the space texting and surfing on their smart phones while others are desperately seeking parking spaces that he or she is an antisocial blight on the community) when a car backed out almost in front of my vehicle. before I could slide in around him from the right, an SUV that just entered the parking lost quickly moved into the space. The driver had seen me; he just did it because he could. As the young black male moved toward  the store, I got out of my car and shouted: “Classy. You knew I was waiting for the space, and you jumped in ahead of me anyway. You’re an asshole.”

Two thirty-something African American women exited the car in the space next to the one I have just lost. “Sir?” one said. “My girl friend just said exactly what you did. He is an asshole. Some black men just don’t care abut anybody, and I can say that, because I’m black. It really pisses me off. Look—take my space. I can park across the street. Please.” I told her that really wasn’t necessary, but she insisted.

My wife came back to the car after she had purchased the items we came for, and as we drove away, I could see the Good Samaritan giving hell to the young man who had snatched my space.

2. Hollywood ethics, confused as usual. Universal is temporarily cancelling the release of “The Hunt,” an R-rated satire in which progressive elites hunt “deplorables” for fun.  The film was scheduled to open in September. The reason for the cancellation was apparently the recent mass shootings. “While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for “The Hunt,” after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film,” the studio said in yesterday’s statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

Interesting question: what is the “right time” to release a film like that? The answer, I would think is either “never,” or “now is as good a time as any.” It’s an ugly, tasteless, offensive idea for a film, but Ethics Alarms will defend to the death Hollywood’s right to make ugly, tasteless, offensive films. On the other hand, maybe releasing this film while the antifa is roaming the fruited plains and Democrats are encouraging people to harass and attack anyone wearing a MAGA cap is a tiny bit irresponsible. On the other hand—there I am with three hands again—if we are going to go down the road of speculating what bad behavior movies and TV might trigger, we’ll end up with Care Bears, Smurfs, and not much else.

3. Trump Tweets. Of course President Trump shouldn’t be tweeting Jeffrey Epstein murder conspiracy theories involving the Clintons or anybody else. Stop asking me about it.

4. Speaking of MAGA caps: The jerk in the restaurant dilemma.  Here in Greater Washington D.C.,  mother Amanda Braun provoked near uniform anger and outrage when she told local outlet WJLA that her family was asked to leave the Glen Burnie, Maryland Outback Steak House when the manager told them he had  “received a noise complaint” for Braun’s 4-year-old son, Killian. Killian has a disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, which affects his behavior and communication skills.

“He said that he was very uncomfortable coming to our table to tell us that but unfortunately we needed to finish our meals and leave. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Braun wrote. “I was in total shock!”

If the problem was a child being disruptive, shouting and othewise demonstrating that the parents were irresponsible and unfair to take him to a restaurant where he would be likely to disturb other diners, that would be a different issue. That’s the screaming baby in the movie theater scenario, and the ethics offense is with the parents. Childhood apraxia, however, doesn’t require extraordinary tolerance from bystanders, just a small amount of basic compassion and the Golden Rule.  We have seen diners asked to leave because other patrons told managers they objected to MAGA caps, when the proper response from the manager should have been, “They’re not bothering anyone but you, and you’re being unreasonable. If you want to leave, go ahead.”

Should the response to the people objecting to the child because he’s making unusual sounds be any different if the restaurant were of a slightly higher caliber, say, Red Lobster or Applebee’s? What about the Prime Rib? Parents have to show consideration too, but the verdict when we’re not talking about the Ritz is easy.

5. Are the same Democrats who keep screaming that Trump always lies really going to nominate Joe Biden? Joe is as addicted to unsubstantiated hyperbole as the President. At the state fairground in Des Moines, Iowa last week, he boasted, “There is nothing we’ve ever decided to do we’ve been unable to do. Period. That’s not hyperbole. We have never, never, never failed when we’re together.” Well, a.) that is hyperbole, because b), its completely untrue. “We” tried to ban alcohol, and gave up. “We” have failed spectacularly in bringing African-American lifestyle and success markers, like two-parent homes, illegal drug use, crime and unwed pregnancies into the same range as other demographic groups. “We” have not been able to keep the national dept from growing. “We” are failing to provide even minimally acceptable public education; “we” have failed to keep our infrastructure in repair. What is it exactly that Joe is talking about?

Then there was this statement in the same speech: “We choose truth over facts.”  I’m not even sure that’s a gaffe. It sounds like an accurate description of  Joe’s party’s operating deception for years: the Democrats choose an approved narrative—like “Mike Brown was murdered” or “Russia stole the election,” and it becomes their “truth.” Facts literally don’t matter. It is, as far as I can determine, the Democratic equivalent of Kellyanne Conway’s infamous “alternative facts” line.

6. Why is Google trying to illicitly influence elections  less alarming than Russia using Facebook to try to illicitly influence elections? Now explain why the testimony of Dr. Robert Epstein before the Senate Judiciary Committee has received virtually no coverage by the mainstream media, considering what he said under oath.

Epstein,  a psychologist, professor, and  former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today. made it clear that he is a liberal Democrat, calling himself a “vocal public supporter” of Hillary Clinton. (This strongly indicates that he is corrupt, but never mind. Different issue.)

Despite his partisan leanings, Epstein testified that in the 2016 election, Google generated a minimum of 2.6 million votes for Clinton through its deceptive manipulation of search results, and that in upcoming 2020 election, the Big Tech companies’ concerted efforts on behalf of their own political agendas—guess what those might be— could affect up to 15 million votes.

I don’t believe him for a second, just as I find the claims that the puny Russian Facebook campaign swung a single state in 2016, but the issue is worthy of flagging, especially as the attempted manipulation of communication and public opinion by the social media platforms and Google become more brazen.

 

39 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Catch-Up, 8/11/2019: Cape Cod Dreams And Nightmare Jerks

  1. “Truth over facts” is nothing new. Biden is really just saying the same thing that AOC said months ago.
    “There’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”
    The sad thing is that they correctly recognize that the social media bubbles and echo chambers in which so many of us live render the actual truth irrelevant. Nuance and principle are hard. It’s so much easier to choose your political tribe and stick with it.

    • In fact, I would argue that the only difference between what Biden and AOC said is in who is saying it. Were it just AOC and her pals talking like that, the Dems could hand wave it away as not representative of the party as a whole. That’s a lot more difficult when it’s said by someone as entrenched in the party establishment as Biden.

      • The words are similar. I don’t believe that they were thinking teh same thing when they said. It AOC was echoing the old radical left’s theory that the Great Ultimate truths are all there are, and facts that get in the way should just be ignored, denied, or chenaged in the official report. She’s a true believer.

        Joe was just saying stuff.

  2. On point 1. What you are describing is the growing sense of entitlement. Such attitudes are ecumenical. Women and men usually under 35 seem to believe their time is far more important than everyone else. There is also a direct positice relationship between the value of the vehicle driven and sense of self importance.

    Re: Point2
    All the controversy over some film that is merely a rendition of The Most Dangerous Game is silly and giving the movie unearned media attention.

    Let them release it and ignore it. If it demonstrates any level of poor taste then discuss that. Bitchin and moan’n about it makes it appear the complainers are just as much a snowflake as those we often ridicule.

      • The fastest way to bring about an ignominious end to such a sophomoric derivative work is to ignore all attempts to get people riled up over its attempt to exploit societal friction.

    • The Most Dangerous Game. That was my exact thought, as well, Chris Marschner. Killing people just for sport can’t be worse than killing them for ideology, right?

      -Jut

    • The Left is hanging all it’s totalitarian hopes and dreams on the notion that supposed ‘dog whistles’ (that is, words and phrases that don’t even remotely mean what Leftists claim that mean, but Leftists ascribe horrifying connotations to) by conservative politicians essentially give direct commands to supposed hordes of white supremacist acolytes to engage in mass murder.

      A movie about Leftists murdering non-Leftists seems to me to fall well into the category of “incitement” by even the most generous version of the definition the Left has applied to Conservatives. Maybe they don’t care about mass murderers, maybe they care about the increasingly apparent notion that, if we are to take these ‘manifestos’ seriously, that most of these shooters are inspired by left wing ideology.

      Now, I don’t know how much ideology is actually a motivating factor in these shootings, or if it’s mostly a function of unattached young men, who have been raised in increasingly isolating circumstances, with little to no anchors in their lives, finding their only chance at glory being to engage in violence.

      • Now, I don’t know how much ideology is actually a motivating factor in these shootings, or if it’s mostly a function of unattached young men, who have been raised in increasingly isolating circumstances, with little to no anchors in their lives, finding their only chance at glory being to engage in violence.

        It is an interesting thought. Jordan Peterson has numerous videos which go right to the heart of that general concern. Some of his vids are quite worthy. Peterson — a Jungian and a Campbellian — is very interested in The Hero Archetype. But in the Hero Myths the young man must have something he serves: some lofty ideal worthy to live & die for.

        It is very true — I say this because I have dedicated time to watching, listening to & reading a great deal of the videos and writings of these nearly all young-men — that they are deeply concerned for heroic missions. They see the bland, visionless present as destroying meaning & value. And they say that the Systems that have been installed, and which operate like vast machines with non-heroic machinations.

        But more important and more relevant, to them, is the destruction of social continuity through perverse processes of social engineering and multiculturalism. So, they are working, intellectually and socially, to redefine ‘heroic activity’ of a heroic personality in a present where heroic concerns are given precedence.

        And the heroic concern for those concerned (as one commentator puts it) with ‘white well-being’ is to define precisely what has happened in our present that has brought about these conditions of general decadence, and the rise of a totalitarian régime.

        Ideology? Yes, surely that is some part of it. But it is far more basic as well. It has to do with the perception that ‘they’ are being undermined at a most fundamental level. The ‘heroic task’ is to 1) become able to see what is going on and why (that is referred to through the metaphor of the Red Pill), and 2) become willing to act as an activist for a higher good and a higher mission: a heroic task.

        I realize that you are making a reference to a genuinely deranged action by a deranged person. Undertaking a mass shooting cannot be considered a ‘heroic journey’ of overcoming self to serve Self.

        I am trying to alert those who read here to a ‘larger picture’ of concerns and to a rising reaction against the constructs of hyper-liberalism. These concerns can be investigated and studied and understood, or they can be denied, repressed and dismissed.

    • The original title was “Red State v. Blue State”. We already have left-wing activists shooting up the country, throwing milkshakes and cement on their opponents, running people out of restaurants, attacking people just for wearing a MAGA hat, dragging people out of cars and beating them, kidnapping and torturing people for maybe voting for Trump. Since Trump took office, 3 Republican Congressman have been attacked by leftists. So far this year, there have been over 600 attacks on Border Patrol agents including Mexican firing at border agents and firing into the US. I wish Hollywood would heavily advertise this movie and put it in every cinema in the country. It would let the country know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Democratic activists don’t even believe that Trump voters are human. The political violence is coming overwhelmingly from one side. This movie shows why.

  3. […] and that in upcoming 2020 election, the Big Tech companies’ concerted efforts on behalf of their own political agendas—guess what those might be— could affect up to 15 million votes.

    I don’t believe him for a second,

    Well, the truth is, the Big Tech companies’ (like Google and FB) show behavior that suggest concerted efforts on behalf of their own political agendas.

    And maybe the ’15 million votes being affectedv prognosis isn’t precisely, factually, and semantically correct.
    However, another truth (or fact?) is that EthicsAlarms is boycotted on FB.

  4. “We have seen diners asked to leave because other patrons told managers they objected to MAGA caps, when the proper response from the manager should have been, “They’re not bothering anyone but you, and you’re being unreasonable. If you want to leave, go ahead.””

    Is that the appropriate response?

    What if the manager has received quiet requests from *every* single other patron that the MAGA hat ‘offends’ them?

    Seems like quantity of complaints doesn’t matter if the complaints are all equally based on unreasonable standards.

  5. “If the problem was a child being disruptive, shouting and otherwise demonstrating that the parents were irresponsible and unfair to take him to a restaurant where he would be likely to disturb other diners, that would be a different issue. That’s the screaming baby in the movie theater scenario, and the ethics offense is with the parents. Childhood apraxia, however, doesn’t require extraordinary tolerance from bystanders, just a small amount of basic compassion and the Golden Rule.”

    Here are some facts.
    1. We only have one side of this story.

    2. We don’t know how disruptive the child was.

    3. There is no way that fellow patrons can know if the disruptive child was being disruptive because of irresponsible parents or childhood apraxia, the perception is the same regardless – it’s a disruptive child.
    End of facts.

    It’s my opinion that the parents were being irresponsible, in that they were not aware that their special needs child was being disruptive to others. If the parents did not know that their special needs child’s behavior was disruptive (the child is 4 so this is not likely) before this point in time then they certainly know now. It’s the parents responsibility to take appropriate steps to correct behaviors that are disruptive to others, it’s not the responsibility of others to accept disruptive behaviors.

    The mother said “The anger has subsided…”; I don’t believe her!

    Here is her entire Facebook post:

    “Saturday night the family and I decided to go to Outback Steakhouse in Glen Burnie for dinner. We were seated almost immediately. We ordered our drinks while skimming the menu then finally ordered our dinner. Our meals came out in good time and all of us were enjoying ourselves up until we were asked to leave because of a noise complaint about my 4 year old son. My son Killian was born with a neurological disorder that affects his speech called Childhood Apraxia of Speech. This disorder affects Killian in many ways especially communication and behavioral. He is a very energetic kid with much to say, however when he speaks his words are unclear. A man approached our table about 5 minutes after our food was brought out and introduced himself as the manager. He asked us how our meals were but he didn’t stop there. This gentleman said that he received a noise complaint for my child. He said that he was very uncomfortable coming to our table to tell us that but unfortunately we needed to finish our meals and leave. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was in total shock! As an apology he gave us a $20 outback credit to use at a later date. But needless to say there isn’t going to be a later date. Why would I subject my son and the rest of my family to that type of discrimination? What would ever make me want to return? Would we be asked to leave again if my son were to be loud? This is not ok and I’m not stopping here. I will be in contact with corporate. I ask that everyone that sees this post to please share it. Outback labels itself as a family friendly restaurant just not families with special needs restaurant.”

    She is clearly angry and wanting public revenge against Outback Steakhouse.

    I personally know people that have children with special needs including behavioral disorders and they don’t take their children out to restaurants until they are quite sure that their special needs child can act appropriately in public. They pay close attention to if their child is disturbing others and if their child does disturb others they apologize for the disruption and take appropriate steps to either correct the behavior or remove the child from the area until the child is no longer being disruptive.

    It is not responsible to expect the general public to fully understand all behavioral disorders and use that understanding as a rationalization to ignore the child’s behavior, to do so is to pander the child and enable the behavior.

    The problem was created by the child and ignored by the parents. The golden rule that was violated was the parents of the child that was ignoring the fact that their child was disturbing others in the restaurant. The parents are pandering their child and thus enabling behaviors that are disruptive and the mothers public campaign against Outback Steakhouse is unethical.

    Okay, discuss.

    • All that said; the manager at Outback Steakhouse should have made the parents aware that the child was being disruptive and given them the opportunity to correct the behaviors before telling them that they needed to leave. To give the benefit of the doubt; we don’t actually know that the manager didn’t do this first, remember we only have one side of the story.

    • An additional factor here is that often times the best way to address disruptive behavior by a child is to ignore it.

      The behavior many kids exhibit in a checkout aisle is that of a gambling addict pulling the “attention” lever over and over because occasionally it wins them a candy bar.

      • “An additional factor here is that often times the best way to address disruptive behavior by a child is to ignore it.”

        I understand that concept but not when the behavior is being disruptive in public.

  6. 2) Maybe the movie was pulled because there is just too much suspension of disbelief.

    I mean, we’re talking about a society where either the deplorables are disarmed. Or the deplorables aren’t better at handling firearms than their peers on the coasts. Or there’s a society where progressives aren’t absolutely turned off by the notion of being in the presence of firearms let alone touching them — I’ve seen videos of coastal and inner city elites who actually had physiological reactions, near vomiting, just by holding a firearm.

    I mean, I’ll suspend disbelief in space wizards and laser swords…I’ll suspend disbelief in a virus reanimating the dead…I’ll suspend disbelief Melissa McCarthy being a funny person…but what I’ve got to suspend disbelief in for “the Hunt” to make sense….that’s a bridge too far…

  7. We have seen diners asked to leave because other patrons told managers they objected to MAGA caps, when the proper response from the manager should have been, “They’re not bothering anyone but you, and you’re being unreasonable. If you want to leave, go ahead.”

    The correct objection would’ve been to wearing hats in a restaurant. Where the hell were these people raised, Ice Station Zebra?

    I don’t care what your political affiliation is, take your damn hat off when you enter a restaurant or leave it in the car. Yes, that means your US services ball cap with scrambled eggs as well as your MAGA or Hillary! cap.

    My mother would as soon let me come to the dinner table nude as allow me to wear a hat there.

    It’s just sad.

      • “I don’t take my hat off when I enter a restaurant, but I do remove it when I sit down.”

        I still remove my cover when walking through a door to the interior of a building; although, being out of the military for many years now I do catch myself forgetting that once in a while but I don’t think I’ve ever forgotten to remove my cover by the time I’ve sat down especially at a dinner table.

      • It depends on the restaurant. My rule is, if I’m waiting in a public waiting area, it’s okay to leave it on (although I never do). If I enter any of the dining or bar areas, it has to come off. In fast food restaurants, I’d say wearing it is okay in the line, but not okay in the dining area. The only place where it gets pretty gray in my opinion is outdoors. If you’re exposed to the sun, then it’s okay to wear it even at a table. Hats are intended to protect our heads from the elements, after all.

        But if there is a suitable shade/shelter available, it should come off at a table, in my view.

        Truthfully, I don’t even abide by all that, I take it off when I enter most places that are not large supermarkets, home improvement stores, or other very large common-area buildings, and always at a table that is not out in the exposed outdoors.

  8. 3. Trump Tweets. Of course President Trump shouldn’t be tweeting Jeffrey Epstein murder conspiracy theories involving the Clintons or anybody else. Stop asking me about it.

    First, some notes on The Sirens:

    In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.

    The Greek philosopher Plato says there were three kinds of sirens- the celestial, the generative, and the cathartic. The first were under the government of Zeus, the second under that of Poseidon, and the third of Hades. (A parallel might be intended here between the three planets, and the deities of the same name.) When the soul is in heaven the sirens seek, by harmonic motion, to unite it to the divine life of the celestial host; and when in Hades, to conform the soul to eternal infernal regimen; but when on earth their only job to “produce generation, of which the sea is emblematic”.

    The etymology of the name is at present contested. Robert S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin.[4] Others connect the name to σειρά (seirá “rope, cord”) and εἴρω (eírō “to tie, join, fasten”), resulting in the meaning “binder, entangler”,[5] i. e. one who binds or entangles through magic song. This could be connected to the famous scene of Odysseus being bound to the mast of his ship, in order to resist their song.

    Oh dear but this is getting complicated! For those with afflicted attention spans, please proceed on . . .

    CG Jung said something interesting about his own process of dealing with the Anima (which for the sake of this comment I will associate with unrestrained possessive hysterical reaction and therefore with ‘sirens’): that when confronting it you have to have all your wits about you. You have to be in a vigilant state and ever on the watch so that you don’t get sucked in to the hysteria.

    First, from all that I have examined so far — very little of it coming out in the MSM — there is something really really weird about the Epstein Affair. Perhaps the hottest/darkest possibility is that he was a MOSSAD agent or was being used by MOSSAD agents in elaborate blackmail schemes. Some of this came out in the MSM and then — poof! — it disappeared.

    The other ‘disturbing’ possibilities indeed have to do with ‘high-profile figures’ as everyone knows. But the implications of an Israel-Intelligence connection and the reasons why blackmail would be used — I won’t bother to spell it out — is definitely concerning. Yet this is ‘unthinkable thought’ and certainly could not be taken seriously by anyone with an official position. Because one would then have to examine more closely the perverse relationship of the US to Israel. There are YouTubers and writers who investigate the affair and they have a great deal to say about it, some of which is pretty compelling.

    Now, arising concurrently with Trump’s Tweetsies — and keeping to the theme of ‘captivating narratives’ — is Biden’s commemoration of Charlottesville video:

    Again, staying with the implied theme of ‘Siren Songs and what Plato speaks about as ‘cathartic’ . . .

    If Trump is, say, indulging in exaggerations of the falsereal, and perhaps any speculation about Epstein’s death is just that, at the same time and intercalated everywhere into the present are bizarre, distorting narratives that do not reveal truth, nor do they even try, but spin versions of the falsereal.

    Now, the object for a thinking person must be, can only be, to tie themselves to the mast, as it were, as they sail through the Siren’s territory, and to be able to distinguish what is real from what is false.

    This is becoming, so it seems, nearly a spiritual task! That is, it is only after prayer and meditation and profound self-centering that one can restore oneself to a position from which one can try to ‘make sense of things’.

  9. Why blame me that there is so much to work with here?!? So much to think about?!? This from today’s Times [“Epstein Suicide Conspiracy Theories Show How Our Information System is Poisoned”]

    The dueling hashtags and their attendant toxicity are a grim testament to our deeply poisoned information ecosystem — one that’s built for speed and designed to reward the most incendiary impulses of its worst actors. It has ushered in a parallel reality unrooted in fact and helped to push conspiratorial thinking into the cultural mainstream. And with each news cycle, the system grows more efficient, entrenching its opposing camps. The poison spreads.

    Mr. Epstein’s apparent suicide is, in many ways, the post-truth nightmare scenario. The sordid story contains almost all the hallmarks of stereotypical conspiratorial fodder: child sex-trafficking, powerful global political leaders, shadowy private jet flights, billionaires whose wealth cannot be explained. As a tale of corruption, it is so deeply intertwined with our current cultural and political rot that it feels, at times, almost too on-the-nose. The Epstein saga provides ammunition for everyone, leading one researcher to refer to Saturday’s news as the “Disinformation World Cup.”

    So let me get this straight: The NYTs editorial board is going to help me get clear about what is true and what is false?!?

    What I wish to know — please feel free to comment — is what exactly is this ‘poison’? I mean if they-we are going to use such a term it really has to be defined. But to define it is itself next-to-impossible! Why? Because the versions of truth that are spinning around us all have various levels of connection to narratives wielded by power-concentrations. To unravel those connections involves the Self in an unraveling of its profound connections with and deep dependence on the ‘narratives of the falsereal‘.
    _________________________________

    In the meantime, I found this. Really pretty alarmingly good song, if you go in for such things:

    • I saw a comment that in this case, the ‘conspiracy theory’ that Epstein was killed or is being hidden actually is the more reasonable opinion. What do you think is more reasonable?

      (1) The official narrative: Epstein, had either tried to commit suicide recently (official view) or was attacked by another inmate (his statement). He was a very high-profile prisoner whose testimony could implicate many powerful people. He was placed on suicide watch. Then, he was taken off of suicide watch. Then, for no reason, his cellmate was removed leaving him alone in the cell. This is against written policy for prisoners who have recently been on suicide watch. Then, for no good reason, all the guards from that area were removed, again, against policy. Then, for no good reason, the cameras in that part of the prison were turned off, but only around the time he died. His death is the only suicide in 2 decades in that prison and the result of vast and systematic incompetence of everyone in the prison at only the exact place and time he committed suicide.

      (2) The ‘alternate’ idea. An incredibly wealthy man accused or horrible crimes is being held in prison. He has information that could potentially lead to the imprisonment of untold numbers of powerful politicians and wealthy individuals. He previously had been given an unbelievably lenient plea deal for his crimes, resulting in the evidence collected in the investigation never saw the light of day, but now all of that has been undone.To shut him up and make sure the information about them never sees the light of day, he was either killed or he was freed from prison to live out the rest of his life somewhere under an assumed identity.

      Now, remember that we have all seen how the law enforcement and justice departments in this country fabricate evidence, lie under oath, leak information, manipulate the press, mishandle evidence, blatantly act based on partisan motives, investigate and charge people merely to use them to ‘get’ a political opponent, and can even convict people for actions that aren’t crimes and send them to prison.

      So, which is the ‘reasonable’ explanation and which is the conspiracy theory? Honestly, this would make a good poll. It was reported that a series of journalists were asked if they thought Epstein would ever make it to trial and not a single one thought he would.

      • Looks pretty damning.

        My own position? My relationship to the whole problem is a bit odd. I am more concerned that we are forced to ‘cobble together’ a narrative line because we cannot see into the event. Everything is obscure and our perceptual powers are limited. Our seeing is not really seeing because a thousand filters have already been applied.

        My view has been influenced by Thomist psychology: the field where we *see* and *interpret* is in our imagination. The part of our mind where we hold ‘the images of the things that we perceive’.

        There, we process or perhaps *cook* the things we perceive. But, things have been ‘pre-cooked’ and ‘spun’ prior to our receiving them.

        But we mix into that distorted batch many other and different elements from other parts and portions of our ‘self’. The things that we refer to as invisible influences: hope, fear, suggestion, the influence of chthonic force, the influence of celestial force. This is the ground in which we have our being. An odd matrix.

        What stance can the Soul arrive at where it can accurate *see* and *understand* what is going on in this World? That is why I say that everything depends on a priori metaphysical conceptions.

        The ‘state of the soul’ is highly relevant to the interpretation-process.

        Of course I get all my best metaphysics from The National Inquirer . . .

        I am certain that JutGory fully understands what I mean. 🙂 Jut? Care to add anything?

  10. I don’t believe him for a second, just as I find the claims that the puny Russian Facebook campaign swung a single state in 2016…

    It’s not so much a matter of Google or Facebook or Twitter trying to manipulate politics (or anything else: fonts, fashion, climate …) but of misusing their power to give a hard time to, if not banning outright, any intelligent, fact-supported, convincing information to the contrary in order to eliminate any threat to their profits. Witness Ethics Alarms.

    Perhaps I can’t say “misusing” because they are not bound by any Constitutional “free press” rule nor any ethical consideration to be even-handed. Their powers are technological, and thus believed, however mistakenly, to be neutral by definition. Negative proof of this is with YouTube, which has cleaned up its act as far as trolling commenters go by simply ‘disappearing’ them. Nor can I say it’s not a relief. I have several musician friends whose sites were overrun by this trash almost entirely, posting the same inane, immaterial or gratuitous entries, often repeatedly, while viciously attacking anyone who tried to reason or fight with them.

    YouTube did this clean-up job simply by requiring a detailed registration in order to participate on their site – everything but shoe size and social security number. I no longer comment at all because I refuse to give them personal information to which they are not entitled. It used to be called a “Soviet Swap”: yes, you will be assured lifetime employment and health care but you won’t be able to change the forever low-paying job that’s boring you to pieces or dangerous or both, and no, you may not keep your doc…. oh, did I get off track? Bottom line: it isn’t worth giving up what little privacy I have left (even if, in fact, it’s long-gone) to have online conversation or the occasional stimulating exchange with other like-minded people. I very much regret the lost freedom, but such freedom is gone from the Internet anyway; it only existed for a few years damped down, like the victims of the bully at the birthday party, by turning the garden hose on the cake and thus spoiling it for everyone, including himself.

  11. “Despite his partisan leanings, Epstein testified that in the 2016 election, Google generated a minimum of 2.6 million votes for Clinton through its deceptive manipulation of search results, and that in upcoming 2020 election, the Big Tech companies’ concerted efforts on behalf of their own political agendas—guess what those might be— could affect up to 15 million votes.”

    I found most of Epstein’s testimony based on his “science” to be interesting but terribly problematic. As many people have said, statistics can show a probability that something might have happened but that doesn’t mean it did happen but more importantly you cannot use this kind of “science” as proof that something will happen in the future based on something that might have happened in the past. All Epstein presented was conjecture, a conspiracy theory about the methods that may be true, not proof of a direct influence.

    That said; it’s likely that Google can actually manipulate really stupid people by constantly putting the same things in their face, yes, or push people that truly are sitting on the fence one way or the other, yes, but is there proof that it’s actually happening, I don’t think so. It’s all statistical correlation equals causation arguments.

    • You can use statistics to “prove” just about anything, it just depends on the subjects chosen to participate in the survey, how the survey is conducted, and how the data is compiled; all you have to do is use your imagination.

      Consider the following:
      A statistical analysis was done to find out what cat turds taste like, and the results showed that cat turds tastes like chicken.

      Just because a statistical analysis has been conducted and a conclusion reached does NOT mean that what “The Survey Says” actually represents reality. In the above scenario; dogs were the test subjects, but for some statisticians trying to prove a preconceived notion, that’s irrelevant.

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