Late-Starting Blogging Ethics Warm-Up, 8/21/2019: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Well, today can’t be worse than yesterday.

That’s something.

1. I got scammed yesterday. Somehow I missed various warnings that were repeated on yesterday, and picked up the phone when caller ID showed “Social Security Administration” and a number I recognized as the agency’s. A recorded message told me that my account had been suspended due to “suspicious action” that had prompted a response by three Federal law enforcement agencies, and if I wanted more information and to talk to an agent, I should push “1.” Like an idiot, I did.  Whoever wrote the scammer’s script knew their stuff. I got a case number, was informed that the discussion was being recorded; the agent spelled his name (Which he said was “Jerry Brown.” He sounded more like Jose Jimenez, but I asked if he was the former governor of California. (He laughed: scammers have senses of humor!) Of course, he had me “confirm” my SS number, name, and mailing address. He read a long statement that he said was an excerpt from the Justice Department warrant shutting down my account. It included two addresses in El Paso that I was asked about. It was at this point that my wife ran into my office like that fat guy runs into the middle of NORAD in “War Games” screaming that the nuclear attack is just a computer simulation, screaming, “Hang up! It’s a scam!” SHE did see the warning earlier in the day. (“NOW you tell me?”)

I reported the call to the Inspector General’s office at Social Security, as a hot line instructed me to do. I was told that, yes, that was the new scam they had wramed about, and that the next step was going to be to ask me to reveal credit card numbers, bank accounts and to send money. “They would ask you to send a money order or Google Gift Card, if possible,” I was told. “Everything you heard is a set-up to get to that point.”

“You know, as stupid as I am, I’m pretty sure that even I would figure out it was a scam if the a Social Security Administration agent asked for a Google Gift card,” I answered. She laughed. I may never laugh again.

2. Nah, the Left isn’t trying to undermine Freedom of Speech!

But wait! There’s more…

  • Here’s New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatening anyone who says things he doesn’t like: “Don’t you dare liken my family to the family you saw in ‘The Godfather’ or ‘The Sopranos…Don’t you glorify it. And don’t you repeat it, and don’t you institutionalize it.” And what will you and the government you represent do about it, if we “dare,” Governor?

This kind of threat from a government official is a direct attack on free speech. Of course, big brother Andrew was just playing Sonny Corleone to back poor brother Fredo, but the irony of someone talking like a Mafia thug while threatening anyone who makes the comparison is striking.

3.  What courage! What honesty! Several Democratic presidential candidates were asked at the Iowa State Fair if they  denounced the Antifa, which Republican Senators. Ted Cruz (TX) and Bill Cassady (LA) want to have officially labeled as a “domestic terrorist organization.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand answered by saying, “I don’t know who Antifa is.”

She really did. (So did Jay Inslee, but my interest in fringe Democratic candidate pandering extends only so far.)

Gillbrand’s chances at the nomination are nil (GOOD), but this exemplifies what a weasel she is. Either this is a bald faced lie, or she has been asleep for the last three years, which does not speak well of her competence, diligence, or judgement.

Two candidates with even less of a chance than Gillibrand ,Yang and Gabbard, were the only candidates to unequivocally condemn the antifa.

“Why is everyone against antipasto?” Joe Biden asked in response to the question. “I love that stuff! Especially the cheese and those hot peppers! Our great Italian immigrants brought that yummy dish to our nation!”

OK, I’m just kidding.

Sort of.

4. A nice parking lot moment. I was sitting in the car waiting for my wife to pick up a prescription at the local CVS. I opened the windows, and the Beatles Channel burst for the “When I Saw Her Standing There,” one of my all-time favorites, and also as joyful and unrestrained a pop anthem as has ever been recorded. (Ringo is at his best on this one.) I turned up the volume. A wite-haired man in a huge moustache left the CVS and got into the car next to me, and started to pull out. Then he reversed direction and rolled down the window, beaming. “1964!” he said. “Now that’s hard core British invasion! Boy, did that song make us happy. Thank you for that memory…You made my day!”

And he drove off, waving. I will probably never see him again

38 thoughts on “Late-Starting Blogging Ethics Warm-Up, 8/21/2019: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

  1. This is a repost of my badly formatted comment from above…

    #2 Here is an article written by the same P.E. Moskowitz that wrote the book mentioned above, The Case Against Free Speech The First Amendment, Fascism, and the Future of Dissent.

    Everything You Think You Know About ‘Free Speech’ Is a Lie
    It’s behind a paywall with only a few free views.

    Here are a couple of sample quotes from the piece so you can get a feel of the author’s point of view…

    “How far-right operatives manufactured the “crisis” of free speech with books, think tanks—and billions of dollars.”

    No Mr. Moskowitz, it’s not a manufactured crisis, Conservatives are reacting to the political left intentionally trying to intimidate the public into no allowing the free speech of Conservatives. Progressives have shown us that they do not want Conservatives sharing their opinions in public.

    “What I’ve found through my research and reporting is that free speech has become a rhetorical tool to elide something much more sinister: the state’s support and protection of white supremacists, and this country’s unwillingness to grapple with its racism and vast inequality.”

    So I supposed to accept as fact that the police presence trying to prevent ANTIFA from using their favorite tactic of physically assaulting those they disagree with is “state’s support and protection of white supremacists”? Mr. Moskowitz’s claim is BULL SHIT!

    ” ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ Their reasoning makes clear that most of the United States has a deep misunderstanding of what free speech means.”

    No Mr. Moskowitz, you’ve got it wrong – dead wrong! I signed on the dotted line and spent many years in the Army to do my part to maintain the United States Constitution which gives you the right to say whatever nonsense you want, even if I disagree. That is exactly “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Don’t you dare try to diminish the sacrifices of the United States military that’s fought for over 240 years to preserve your right to say stupid shit!

    “Most leftists I talk to… wish that police departments would not spend vast amounts of resources protecting Nazis, something that they have no legal mandate to do.”

    Is that so Mr. Moskowitz can sic his ANTIFA terrorist goons on those exercising their right to free speech and the right to protest? Yes.

    “Today, the same manufactured “free speech crisis” can be seen across the United States, with conservative groups funded by the same people claiming their rights have been similar infringed upon on college campuses. The same groups have bankrolled provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos, and fund media outlets like Breitbart News whose coverage accentuates these supposed violations. Meanwhile, the mainstream media, along with many liberals, takes the conservatives at their word, not realizing it’s playing a part in a multi-decade campaign to frame conservatives and white supremacists as victims, as opposed to perpetrators of hate.”

    Mr. Moskowitz, you reason like a damn idiot. No Mr. Moskowitz, just because these people have other outlets to exercise their right to free speech does not mean that their free speech rights are not be infringed upon in other places.

    “Meanwhile, the mainstream media, along with many liberals, takes the conservatives at their word, not realizing it’s playing a part in a multi-decade campaign to frame conservatives and white supremacists as victims, as opposed to perpetrators of hate.”

    Mr. Moskowitz, you sir lack logic and you’re a perpetrator of hate. No Mr. Moskowitz, you’re logic is a complete failure, just because someone is considered a perpetrator of hate does not mean that they are not also a victim of others infringing upon their rights.

    “We no longer think of free speech logically or accurately. Is a college protest over a conservative speaker really a violation of free speech? What about the college students’ right to protest—is that not as important a free speech issue?”

    College students have every right to protest until they abuse that right to intentionally infringe upon the civil rights of others.

    Interesting how Mr. Moskowitz fails to mention that the political left has weaponized the free speech of their hoard of irrational activists and encourages these irrational fools to abuse that weaponized free speech to intentionally infringe upon the free speech rights of others, publicly accost others and intentionally verbally abuse anyone they disagree with. They came up with the phrase “hate radio” to describe any radio broadcast that shares Conservative points of view, call nearly everything that Trump and Conservatives say “hate speech”and falsely call those they disagree with racists and yet they call the hateful words and actions that come from the mouths of their activists justified “free speech”.

    Are all those that consider themselves left of the political divide hypocrites or is it only the ones that open their mouths to prove it and then add to the list the ones that keep their mouths shut justifying it with their ends justifies the means silence?

  2. 2) “Against Free Speech”.

    Of course, this fits the narrative that if the Left is accusing the Right of doing something, they are already doing it, have done it, or are setting the stage to do it themselves.

    Since the rise of socialist fervor and infiltration of anti-American ideas of the Left earlier last century, our internal bolsheviks have always cried for their freedom of speech protections. Always knowing that if their wildest fantasies were ever realized and they could get America to go socialist, they would then actually stifle the speech of dissidents. I won’t entertain people who argue against this, the history is replete with examples of this being how the Left works.

    Now, that socialism is becoming mainstream in the Left and slowly being seen as not necessarily anathematic to America’s values, it’s going to play the game that conservative values are really just totalitarian and hiding behind the 1st Amendment. While paying lip service to protecting the 1st Amendment, this author is quietly laying the ground work for future discussion about whose 1st Amendment should get protected, all while accusing Right Wingers of wanting to suppress speech for others.

    File this under the heading of while I’ll never vote for a Democrat for national level of anything in my life time. And why Democrats at state and local level will have to fight hard to convince me they aren’t part of the growing anti-liberty movement in this nation.

    • I will never vote Democrat again. Anyone who can claim to run under that party is res ipsa loquitur for a nascent totalitarian. Anyone in that party is either 1) complicit or 2) willfully ignorant (therefore ethically complicit)

      With the GOP, I at least stand a chance of not electing a totalitarian.

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