Selective Censorship, Manipulation, Spin And Omissions By The News Media And Social Media: You Know It Will Only Get Worse

1.  Twitter has expanded its “hate speech” prohibitions, and not, I assume, for the last time.

Twitter announced that it has expanded its “hate speech’ policies to include tweets that make “dehumanizing remarks,” defined as remarks that treat “others as less than human,” on the basis of age, disability, or disease. These additions further enlarge on the company’s polices made last July that said Twitter would remove tweets that dehumanize religious groups. Before that, in 2018 , Twitter issued a broad ban on “dehumanizing speech” to compliment its existing hate speech policies that cover protected classes like race and gender.

This is the nose of a very dangerous camel entering the metaphorical tent. As always, the problem with “hate speech” prohibitions is that the “hate” is always  matter of subjective judgment. Censorship of any kind constrains expression, and as we head into a political campaign,  Twitter’s creeping policing of words and metaphors is ominous. You cannot trust these people to be even-handed, to make close calls, or to avoid acting on bias.

2. The threat is made worse because social media platforms allow both parties to “work the umpire,” encouraging  them to demand that Twitter, YouTube and Facebook take down tweets and posts that one or the other doesn’t like.

An example: After initially letting it stand, Facebook labeled a video shared by President Trump’s campaign that showed Joe Biden stammering as “partly false information” after the  Biden campaign protested.

While having one of his patented babbling attacks, the former VP said, “Because we can not get re-elect, we can not win this re-election. Excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.” Twitter labeled the video clip as “manipulated media,” because it cut off before Biden corrected himself, clarifying what he meant to say.  The  Biden campaign attacked  the video as deceptively edited misinformation on the basis that it left the impression that Biden had endorsed the President’s re-election. That, of course, wasn’t the point of the video, which was designed to show Biden’s ongoing confusion. THAT’s 100% accurate. Facebook finally capitulated too, and labeled the video as “partly false information.”

3. Then we have the networks deliberately engaging in false representations and partisan spin to the benefit of one political party.

Biden was touring a Fiat Chrysler assembly plant yesterday.  One of the workers confronted Biden about his proposed ban on semi-automatic weapons, telling the candidate, “You are actively trying to end our Second Amendment right and take away our guns.” Biden’s measured, respectful response to an argument: “You’re full of shit!”

The worker accurately noted that Biden’s intent to take away guns is a matter of record (which it is), but  Biden dismissed it as a lie, and  this was the resulting exchange:

Man: “This is not OK, alright?” 

Biden:  “Don’t tell me that, pal, or I’m going to go out and slap you in the face.”

Man: “You’re working for me, man!”

Biden: “I’m not working for you! Don’t be such a horse’s ass.”

I’d call this news, wouldn’t you? Not to play the “imagine  the media coverage if Trump spoke to a citizen that way” game, but imagine  the media coverage if Trump spoke to a citizen that way. Yet on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell reported on Biden’s appearance while omitting the entire exchange from the video, and  falsely reported that Biden had said “You’re full of it!”

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!

Over at CNN, they showed the clip but did Biden’s spinning for him.  John King led a panel commenting on the exchange by saying, “Some people see that as charming that a candidate is willing to air it out face-to-face with a guy on the floor. Some people say, Woah, you can choose different words, couldn’t you?”

Why yes! Some people say it’s charming who are  the same people who say that the President’s rhetoric increases division and disgraces the office, which it does.

Washington Post White House reporter Toluse Olorunnipa then said, “I think for his campaign they pushed it out and said this shows Biden’s authenticity. The ‘no malarkey’ part of the Biden approach to politics. It is interesting to see these unscripted moments,.”

One reason I find it interesting is that the candidate who is being packaged as a “nice guy” keeps insulting and threatening members of the public at campaign stops.

CNN commentator Jackie Kucinich added, “Though I don’t think that hurts Joe Biden,” That shows him pushing back on an issue that is a significant issue.”

This echoed the reaction of an extremist  Facebook friend, who wrote yesterday that there was nothing wrong with Biden’s ugly and threatening response to a “gun nut.” This is Rationalization #2 A. Sicilian Ethics, or They had it coming.

Finally, King’s panel resorted to more fatuous rationalizations, specifically  #3, Consequentialism, #8, The Trivial Trap  (“No harm no foul!”), and # 8A. The Dead Horse-Beater’s Dodge, or “This can’t make things any worse.”

“Probably not a Biden voter there, any way,” senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny said.  King added. “Didn’t appear to be a Sanders or a Biden voter.”

Yes, these are the organizations and the people who will be informing the public on the upcoming campaigns.

4. Just an aside: Would calling a person a “horse’s ass” be dehumanizing and hate speech under Twitter’s rules?

49 thoughts on “Selective Censorship, Manipulation, Spin And Omissions By The News Media And Social Media: You Know It Will Only Get Worse

  1. Yes, it will get worse the closer it gets to November, and I will leave it up to you to guess which side will get hit the hardest with censorship and the arbitrary enforcement of ‘hate speech’ policies.

    1. The ‘dehumanizing religious groups’ policy pretty much cuts in one direction (I’ll let you guess which direction), as there are apparently some religious groups that must NEVER be criticized under any circumstances, lest we endanger their very existence.

    -You better believe that the dehumanizing remarks on the basis of ‘age’ will get even more draconian, and will pretty much cut in favor of particular political candidate. Again I will leave you to guess which candidate.

    2. Not surprising that all social media allows for ‘working the umpire’ by both political parties, although in recent years it seems that one party in particular, along with the media empire that backs it, has more influence on which plays get called foul.

    3. That same incident was the cause of a dispute between my spouse and myself.

    I had made a comment about the positive spin and coverage it was being given by the likes of MSNBC and CNN, and got told to ‘stop’, because I was ‘parroting right-wing talking points’.

    I then pointed out that Trump had engaged in similar behavior in the past (incidents with Jim Acosta spring to mind), and he was roundly condemned by those same outlets. That netted me the accusation of ‘making false equivalencies’.

    4. Good question-though from a social media platform perspective, it probably rests upon who the person making the insult is (i.e. political affiliation, race, gender, etc), and who the person receiving the insult is, and how willing they, or their followers, are to leverage that identity to effect some sort of consequence(s).

    • 3. It is a false equivalency. I can’t find evidence that Trump ever threatened a person, even a reporter, with physical violence.

        • “I’d like to punch him in the face”? I mean, I guess you could quibble about whether that’s a threat or not but the old man tough guy bravado is the same. Also, Biden said something more along the lines of “I’m about to go outside with you”, which is still not ok – but if you’re going to go after him for what he says. you should get his quote correct. The audio is the video shows is more clearly than others that are circulating. https://twitter.com/CANCEL_SAM/status/1237479693764431872

          Also, all this old man dementia he’s not well stuff is getting a bit silly. Does he fumble his words a lot? Yes he does. Does a lot of that derive from his age? Probably. But if that’s a big concern for you I’ve got a few Trump videos you should look at. I’m a lot younger than both of them and I forget stuff, confuse my words, and fumble with my speech all the time. When you’ve got cameras on you 24/7, you’re never going to have a lack of evidence that you sometimes misspeak.

          • Every president has has a 57 states moment, but Biden has had a staggering number of them, and at some point, the water your carrying is going to break your back. He can’t finish a complete sentence without dunking into senility. We might ignore the exploding eye, or the loose dentures, but how about the inappropriate contact with women and girls? The “children love playing with my hairy legs” routine? Dog-faced pony soldiers? His penchant to tell people who ask him tough questions not to vote for him? I’m don’t think that’s even an extreme exaggeration… prove me wrong: Find me a clip from the last three months of Biden actually finishing a complete thought.

            The Democrat’s clown car has finally settled on two old white men who have prompted the DNC to install life alert buttons on the podiums (I kid, but it might not be that bad of an idea), and that means that during the next debate, which is two hours long, net of questions and breaks, both candidates will probably get 45 minutes to speak.

            Joe can’t do it. I know he can’t do it, you know he can’t do it, he knows he can’t do it and the DNC knows he can’t do it. So already we’re seeing the push: Get Bernie to drop out now so we can do away with the debates, or campaign hard to change the debate rules to try to give Biden as few opportunities as possible to run his mouth.

            “But Jeff” Watson asks, “The DNC can’t cancel the debates in the general, eventually Joe is going to have to square off with Trump, what’s the long game?”

            Well! I’m Glad you asked, my digital foil, the goal is to really muck up the primary process and nominate someone else at the convention. None of the DNC delegates were going to win in the general. The current two might not live to the general, and Biden might not even know what a general is at this point. No, the DNC is going to torpedo the convention with a candidate that’s not in the running yet.

            Who? Clinton maybe? What does she have to lose? Her winning record? Michelle Obama? She checks all the diversity boxes and is attached the somewhat still popular Barack. I don’t know. The problem with Clinton’s stranglehold on the DNC for the last 10 years is that the bench got insufferably shallow. There isn’t a Democrat governor outside of the slightly smarter Cuomo brother or Ralph Northam that has any kind of national recognizably, and I’m not sure their infamy plays well. .

            • how about last night? I lost count of the number of complete thoughts but there are quite a few of them in there: https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/elections/100000007024136/joe-biden-march-10-live.html

              It’s pretty easy for people to be selective about gaffes if they want to: https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/1237764804259045376

              Inappropriate contact with women & girls? Let me know when he starts bragging about grabbing pussies and has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct by more than 10 women. I don’t think some of you realize yet that for every misspeak, every unflattering video, every action or deed that could be considered inappropriate, coarse, or ill-informed, there’s a stack a mile high for Trump. You’re not going to win the election by trying to make Biden creepier, or dumber or angrier. Not unless you take away Trump’s phone so isolate him so he can’t step on his own dick every day.

              I think the rest of your ideas on the DNC nominating someone else at the convention are not well grounded.

              • What amuses me is that you aren’t arguing that Biden is good, you’re comparing him to Trump. Jack calls that the Comparative Virtue Fallacy, I call it the Doctrine of Relative Filth.

                Regardless of how bad you think Trump is, Republicans voted for him, and have to live with all his personal foibles. The Democrats have spent the last four years trying to differentiate themselves from everything Trumpian, and now it’s “Well, yeah, we’re about to elect a guy that does all that too, just a little less.”

                Great Victory, right?

                That’s all assuming you’re right. I don’t actually grant that, I’ve watched all the DNC debates, and Joe looks like he’s falling apart in real time. Trump does a rally every other week, and y’know… I wish he were saying a lot of different things, but he’s still very much the Trump we love to hate.

                If I’m wrong, and I fully admit I could be, but if I’m wrong and the DNC actually taps Biden, I think Trump is going to eat him alive.

                And if at the end of the day we disagree on that… That’s OK, we’ll get to see it all live before October.

                • I’ve got plenty of reasons I like Biden – but you gave a list of things you think will be problematic for him, and I was simply pointing out that I think Trump has the same baggage and then some. Policy aside, I also think there’s still a pretty big chasm between Trump’s style/behavior and Biden’s – so I don’t agree with your “Well, yeah, we’re about to elect a guy that does all that too, just a little less” assessment.

                  Without socialism to run against, and now with what’s looking to be a poor federal response to the Coronavirus, a plummeting stock market and an imminent recession, I think Trump is going to have a much harder time with Biden than you think. He’s not despised in the same way Hillary was, and a lot of people are going to see Biden as a safe & rational alternative to the chaos of the Trump administration. But I could be proven wrong too. All sorts of things have been changing very quickly in very big ways – just in the last month!

                  • Now…. You obviously don’t owe me anything, but could you expand on that? I don’t get it, and I’d really appreciate someone explaining this to me… What are the reasons you would support Biden over the other Candidates who were running?

                    Because again… I could be wrong, it happens…. But I have this feeling that Joe Biden is running a Nacho Cheese campaign.

                    I’ll explain that… “Nacho Cheese” is a personal colloquialism of mine. It comes from working a couple summers for FritoLay in my younger years. Quick: What’s your favorite flavor of Doritos? Chances are you said Zesty Cheese, Sweet Chilli Heat, or Cool Ranch. But do you know what the flavor with the highest sales is? Nacho Cheese. Why? Because Nacho Cheese is the party chip, it’s no one’s first choice, but no one really hates it. It’s bland and safe. To use another example; Nickleback is the Nacho Cheese of Rock.

                    I see all this support for Biden, but I’m not sure that his average supporter has any conception under God what his platform is. He isn’t many people’s first choice, only getting 15% in Iowa and not even breaking double digits in New Hampshire, but as people started to drop out, they sidled up to that safe, old, harmless, borderline senile, bland, safe candidate. He was Obama’s VP, don’t you know? At least he isn’t a lunatic commie, right?

                    Or am I wrong?

                    • Yes & no. I can only speak to my personal experience & those I’ve talked to. Part of this is just the way primaries work. Sure, there were other candidates I liked better and would have preferred. But if they can’t fund their campaigns, they don’t get to stay in the race. By the time I get to vote in my state, the selection of the nominee will be a foregone conclusion.

                      It was always going to be hard to overcome Biden & Bernie’s name recognition alone, and Bloomberg charging in with his rolls of dough certainly complicated everything. And I think voters have gotten savvier regarding both party division and the electoral college. Why vote for Klobuchar when you know she has no chance to win the nomination and spreading out the votes will only prolong the process (and further divide the party, which Bernie still seems intent on doing)? And when you look at states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin, you have to ask who is best positioned to win those necessary electoral votes? A young gay guy? A black woman? Lots of us realize that the unfortunate truth is that race, gender and sexual orientation can still weigh heavily on voter’s decisions and don’t want to risk losing one of those states against this president. And after 4 years of Trump I think a lot of people WANT boring & bland. A president they can ignore 5-6 days a week while he goes about the business of running the country. The people looking for some semblance of normalcy are winning over those looking for radical change. I think that’s the right move for this election.

      • I don’t really call an 80 year old man who can barely string together a coherent sentence, telling someone “let’s take this outside” much of a threat.

        Yes, I agree in the literal and legal sense that those statements are what one could define as threats, but do you really think that Joe Biden presents any real physical threat to anyone?

        Or could it be just bluster from an old man whose mouth is writing checks, that his butt has no intention of cashing? Empty threats from a borderline senile politician who knows full well, that his security detail will intervene should anyone decide to take him up on his offer to settle things physically, or choose to respond to his ‘threats’ to kick their butt.

        Bottom line-I view Joe Biden’s comments as just insults, carelessly hurled at anyone who challenges him. Yes, they are threats in the literal sense, but ultimately empty.

      • I don’t really call an 80 year old man who can barely string together a coherent sentence, telling someone “let’s take this outside” much of a threat.

        Yes, I agree in the literal and legal sense that those statements are what one could define as threats, but do you really think that Joe Biden presents any real physical threat to anyone?

        Or could it be just bluster from an old man whose mouth is writing checks, that his butt has no intention of cashing? Empty threats from a almost senile politician who knows full well, that his security detail will intervene should anyone decide to take him up on his offer to settle things physically, or choose to respond to his ‘threats’ to kick their butt.

        Bottom line-I view Joe Biden’s comments as just insults, carelessly hurled at anyone who challenges him. Yes, they are threats in the literal sense, but ultimately empty.

    • Got into one of those arguments over religion on Facebook yesterday.

      Someone posted something by Dinesh D’Souza about Bernie Sanders going to a potluck party empty-handed and complaining about the food everyone else brought.

      I figured this was poking fun at the entitlement attitude that a socialist mind-set produces.

      Someone else said it was anti-semitic because it portrayed a Jewish person as stingy and a complainer.

      [A rational discussion ensued, ending at an impasse.]

      The groundwork is being laid to protect Bernie from any criticism.

      -Jut

      • A rational discussion ensued, ending at an impasse.

        Sorry to hear that. Next time around let us know if someone gets cut to pieces. This is 2020! We have appearances to keep up . . .

      • Someone else said it was anti-semitic because it portrayed a Jewish person as stingy and a complainer.

        I’ve been thinking a lot about forbidden stereotypes. The stingy, complaining Jew can’t be called a stingy complainer because it’s a stereotype to say that Jews are stingy complainers. This quite naturally forms in my mind not the certainty that Jews aren’t stingy complainers, but that they actually are – and society will drag me into the street and kill me brutally for saying so. One could interpret this as a well-meaning attempt to prevent a holocaust which could burst into being spontaneously if we allow ourselves to acknowledge any distinction between Jews and non-Jews, even that there’s such a thing as a Jew at all which needs our protection. That’s all too counterintuitive to be the genuine motive.

        Instead, imagine the possibility that this is a radical group with a radical mindset. It’s preferences wouldn’t be for the pursuit of any particular principle but for the weakening of society by the erosion of public trust. It’s easier for the great spontaneous utopia to spring into being after the coercive present one is swept away.

        Consider the hypothetical man in this hypothetical state where the (in this example) Jew is given carte blanche to behave in his negative peculiarly Jewish ways, and criticism of this is regarded as a crime. He can see the great lie all around him but can’t say a thing. He’s crushed on the level of his soul wearing the psychological chains of an enforced open secret.

        This is, of course, hypothetical. In such a hypothetical state, the manacles could be thrown off easily by a universal decision not to take the lie seriously anymore. At least, Solzhenitsyn thought so. Even in a literal prison, a singled-out individual who acted ahead of this curve would be the most fundamentally free man.

    • I had made a comment about the positive spin and coverage it was being given by the likes of MSNBC and CNN, and got told to ‘stop’, because I was ‘parroting right-wing talking points’.

      She meant in fact ‘center-progressive talking points’ since there is no one that can be said to be ‘of the Right’ that has any platform at all. Orwell winks . . .

      Here, here is a *Man of the Right* (Julius Evola):

      The American mentality can only be interpreted as an example of regression, which shows itself in the mental atrophy towards all higher interests and incomprehension of higher sensibility. The American mind has limited horizons, one conscribed to everything which is immediate and simplistic, with the inevitable consequence that everything is made banal, basic and leveled down until it is deprived of all spiritual life. Life itself in American terms is entirely mechanistic. The sense of ‘I’ in America belongs entirely to the physical level of existence. The typical American neither has spiritual dilemmas nor complications: he is a ‘natural’ joiner and conformist.

      • Well, I was concerned when one of Fox’s Democratic commentators applauded Biden’s reaction to the citizen. He said this is the kind of ‘fighting spirit’ the Democrats want to see in a candidate. Yes, ‘Accept my policies or you will be beaten’ is the message they want to send. He said that Trump is popular because he is seen as having a ‘fighting spirit’, so Joe needs to have one, too. I think this one illustrates the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

        Republicans: Want someone who will fight for America.

        Democrats: Want someone who will fight America.

        See, almost no difference.

        • But it is true, isn’t it? that the Democrats need a man with a *fighting spirit*. I do not support anything that the Democrats are proposing, and in fact I am developing a position quite far to the right of the American Center-Right (basic progressivism). It makes sense, from a campaigning perspective, from those who design his PR, that he show a tough side.

          I do not regard Republicans necessarily as ‘fighting for America’. I personally think that the easy binary interpretations are to be avoided ruthlessly. But it is clear that I have a cynical understanding of what is going on and where it tends. I know, you know, everyone knows that I work with un-conventional ideas.

          The Democrat platform, as best as I am able to understand it, is sketched out by the NYTs. It has become a Maoist-like propaganda journal. But to say that they are ‘fighting against America’ does not strike the mark. They are fighting for another America. The NY Intellectual Establishment, obviously a Jewish concern, defines a particular progressive path with great energy and a certain power. They are terrified, and not without some decent reasons, of American populism and the sort of genuine right-tending political ideas that have emerged from the shadows, and have strode into the center of public discourse bringing ideas which are so outlandish to what is allowed, so utterly outlandish, that heads are spinning.

          Here on this Blog heads are also spinning. This must be very confusing. How to sort through it all? Just look around and see how some people deal with it. Steve Witherspoon is a very good example. A progressive who has internalized, in a totalized form, the central tenets of progressivism, is directing criticisms to both ends of the spectrum. The political center is being violently fought over. Who will define America? Whose ideology and whose tenets will be installed? How will the government defeat the *extremists* and how will the status quo ante be recovered? This is the battle (I explain this from what I understand to be *your-plural* perspective). What you want to *conserve* is the status quo ante.

          My views and objectives are different. The right ought to be defined in terms of forces and traditions that acted formatively on a group of nations, before the advent of the Third Estate and the world of the masses, and before bourgeois and industrial culture. This ‘Right’, of course, does not appear on any map or in any discourse appearing in the media or through the TeeVee. But it is the most important area or center for ‘genuinely constructive ideas’.

          One way or the other The System demands, and the system will get, the ‘progressive reality’ it has set its course for. One way or the other, and against all opposition, it will clear away anyone who proposes differently. I think this is a basic fact and a basic truth. Is it a helpful truth? I could make an argument that it is not. I could actually make the argument that you must defeat any contrary pole, either on the right or the left, that inhibits the full enactment of American Progressivism as you-plural define it. But gaining that does not — does not! — mean that it is good or right.

          • I meant not the RNC, but Trump. That was his message, that he loves America and he is willing to go to bat for America and Americans here and around the world. He has demonstrated this in his trade deals, his attempts to keep jobs in the US, bring jobs back from other countries, and his promotion of new jobs through reduced regulations. You can argue if he really believes that, but that IS his message and he has stayed pretty true to it in practice.

            I think there are 3 major parties right now; The DNC, The RNC, and Trump. The ‘Republican’ Party has been remade mostly into the party of Trump, The old-guard never-Trumpers are still around and in charge of the RNC (Do you think Trump REALLY wants Mitt Romney’s daughter in charge of the party?) and the voters are for Trump. Those two groups have just mostly declared a truce, giving the illusion that they are the same thing.

            • I understand what you say. I agree with it and also with Trump’s desires and proposals. I think he has set the tone and delineated a solid platform.

              That was his message, that he loves America and he is willing to go to bat for America and Americans here and around the world. He has demonstrated this in his trade deals, his attempts to keep jobs in the US, bring jobs back from other countries, and his promotion of new jobs through reduced regulations.

              Odd, these are and have always been Left-Progressive goals and objectives. Concern and love of the American worker. Strengthening their position. Getting the best arrangements for the American companies and by proxy for their workers.

              If all this is true, how would you describe the immense opposition stance that is constantly brought out against not only him but his program?

              • Well, sort of. The Left has always loved bureaucracy and increased regulation. However, Trump is a moderate Democrat. The left has moved so far to the left that they are now Communists or fascists. The ‘right’ now is everything from what was moderate-left (in the 1980’s) to the extreme right wing. Most of America is and has been moderate.

                As to the opposition to Trump’s stance, it isn’t from people but from organizations. The globalism of the neocons and neoleftists (they are basically the same thing) is in direct opposition to everything Trump does. He threatens their very existence and they control the media, academia, the Democratic Party, and the government departments. They are against the US and our people. They only care about their own power, wealth, and status.

                I see the people in America divided between the people and the elites. The people include Trump supporters, leftists, and Democrat faithful (like the person who said recently they would vote for Coronavirus for President if there was a D by the name). I see the elites as almost completely globalists who control our government and society for their own benefit to the detriment of the people. The elites include the multinationals, the social media giants, the media, academia, and our career government officials. Both the RNC and the DNC would fit into the elites category.

                Trump supporters want a government that works for the good of the people through opportunity and a good economy. The Democrat faithful do what the elites tell them. The leftists want a totalitarian government where they are on top and the rest of us will serve or be put into gulags.

  2. Wow…he’s off, really off. It reminds me of a family member in the beginning stages of Lewy Body dementia. Those with LBD don’t always display the usual dementia symptoms like sundowning, and they retain their speech capabilities and vocabularies, unlike those with Alzheimer’s. However, provoke them and their reactions are inappropriate and obvious overreactions to the situation. Some of his conduct in the past few weeks has me wondering. He could just be in over his head, tired and cranky. I hope that’s all it is.

    • “Lewy Body dementia…”, “However, provoke them and their reactions are inappropriate and obvious overreactions to the situation.”

      This kind of reaction can be caused by all sorts of things other than Lewy Body dementia including a poor character trait of being a pompous ass narcissist that thinks anyone that challenges them should be publicly berated. Can you think of any other politicians that act similarly but use choose different words, I can think of a few.

      • Dan Abrams wrote, “Provoke them and their reactions are inappropriate? The debates with Trump should go well.”

        I’ve recently been thinking the exact same thing.

        Trump is an experienced “professional” loose cannon political troll and he’s shown us that he can drag his opposition into the gutter and inspire their Trump hate to overcome their critical thinking and beat themselves to a pulp – look what the House Managers, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Chuck Schumer did with the impeachment. These people can’t help themselves. I’m not to sure Biden is up to debating Trump.

        On the other hand…

        Trump really doesn’t have a friggin’ clue when to shut up and if the moderators and Biden gang up on him they might get him to ramble on enough to say something they can later use as another witch hunt investigation leading to another impeachment. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Democratic Party politicians are already working with anti-Trump debate moderators, anti-Trump “investigators” and Biden himself trying to carefully craft debate questions and challenges to entrap a narcissist like Trump.

        • I can’t see Joe Biden saying anything articulate from behind a podium on a debate stage. I think a debate will be catastrophic for Joe. They’d be better off putting up a cardboard, life-sized Joe behind the podium and leaving it at that.

          I think Joe should be very easy for Trump to defeat, but I’d rather Joe be Trump’s opponent because if Trump somehow manages to lose to Joe, at least Joe isn’t Bernie Sanders, i.e., a Communist.

  3. #3 I really think what we’ve been seeing is Biden scrapping his previous professional politician public facade and the true behind-the-scenes character of Joe Biden is emerging in full color; Trump has inspired this kind of facade stripping from his rivals. The Julie Principle applies.

  4. How many voters is Joe Biden going to threaten to hit? This is the second I have seen. I assume Trump is going to take note and provoke Biden intentionally during a debate. What will happen when Biden challenges Trump to a push-up contest or a fight in the parking lot?

    Biden’s handlers clearly know he is not in control of himself as they tried to pull him away the moment he was confronted with an actual policy question. The fact that the Democratic Party allows its leading candidate to threaten voters with physical violence is a testament to their values.

  5. I’d like to dedicate this post to La Sylphide. 🙂

    This is the point of transformation. Alizia 2.0 has been fated by the gods: Alizia 3.0 has been born! This is so much fun . . .

    It seems to me that the repression of speech we notice in America, which comes mostly from the progressive left, is only part of a larger picture. I do not profess to understand it completely but I think I understand a part of it, at least about how the ideas of the Right — and by this I mean a real right and a genuine right and not the pseudo-right that we are familiar with — not only are being identified and excluded from discourse, but in fact must be excluded from discourse.

    In a post recently to Adimagejim I referred to ‘American ultra-patriotism’. What I identify here is a ultra-patriotic stance that determines what is appropriate and proper to think and say, and also what is not. In the case of America (to speak very generally) these patriotic sentiments are creations of an intense propaganda that was put in motion in the Postwar. These patriotic sentiments determine how one sees, and they also define the limits of what is allowed to be thought, in ways similar to that of the Progressive Left which has *absolute insistences* about what is right and also what is *true*.

    Here, there will occur a group-tirade against Twitter and FaceBook and there will be a great deal of complaining about what the Evil Progressives are doing (and they are in fact really doing something). But in fact what is happening, in the larger scale, is far more threatening and has many more difficult ramifications for those who are captured by binary patriotic sentiments.

    What is happening is that the Postwar Liberal Construct, and the tenets it was constructed upon, is coming into question. It is being questioned by people who have a genuine intellectual life when compared to those who have a superficial intellectual life where they receive ideas, but do not generate them their self, and this of course I refer to as *barking*.

    There are very very defined limits to what your average American is allowed to think. This I understand to be a core fact. It is a difficult one to put out there though. Because if it is true it must lead to a greater level of introspection, analysis, and of course discourse.

    But the same is also true on a larger scale: for example in Europe. The greatest thinkers of the genuine right, as distinct from the weak and sold-out American Conservative thinkers, come out of Europe. Some of the very basic ideas they work with, when expressed in environments of highly propagandized Americanism, cause the denizens to foam at the mouth. To entertain a contrary idea evokes a retributional spirit that looks & sounds quite a bit like hatred.

    Twitter and Facebook and Youtube and Google are working as hard as the proverbial devil to find ways to control ideas that are circulating freely. Now why is this happening? And what is this that we see here? It is the System as the Postwar Construct that is defending itself from incursion.

    And where do you stand in regard to this? See? When you answer that question — a question you never had to ask of yourself — you will reveal exactly where you are complicit. Did I say that complicity is *bad*? I did not. That would be too binary a way to look at things.

    If you are interested merely in *good citizenship* and in recovery of the status quo ante I suggest that you get on board with the censorship and mind-control efforts. Well over half of you-plural are already well-established in determined views, in received ideas. To think contrarily produces a sort of agony that is intolerable and you have to *shoot the messenger*.

    Is there any topic of the day, any of those difficult topics, that you can think freely about? There is not. The *mob* inserts itself at every juncture and beats down those who bring out contrary, challenging ideas.

    • 10, ten paragraphs. In the spirit of Inigo Montoya – I do not think “succinct” means what you think it means.

      • Twelve paragraphs technically.

        And *succinct* was your word.

        Mine was *haughty*. I’ve stayed my course! 🙂

        Is it possible that even some slight upwelling of thought occurred when you read?

        The slightest tingling of something resembling an idea?

        Now think it over carefully and only answer when you are certain-certain.

          • Nice question! Thanks.

            More certain. Less fearful.

            At this point I can say that I have over 5 years of reading — 5 years! — and I think I understand the problem in its essence. I was not sure. Now, at least, I am more sure. To understand the present, and to understand the present as a downward descent, requires tracing back the causal chain. As I have said so many times these are essentially metaphysical issues.

            The hypnotized lemmings, a phrase Pennagain just used, do not have the conceptual tools to understand what has happened in our present, what has led to this, how this came about. They live within *pure contingency* and have no way to see them selves. The implications of this are vast & strange.

            This is what America is now, and this is what America brings to the world as a horrifying necessity. A drunk descent into nescience. This is what happens at the end of the loooonnggggg causal chain: it is the loss of the proactive, conscious soul in the ever-mutating world of contingency.

            Like Cassandra I see. I say and no one is home to understand! That is the power of *drunken contingency*. Pentheus, despite his violent protest and hard-nosed opposition, came fully under the power of the demanding god and was sacrificed.

            Obstinacy makes us deaf to all counsel — for all that we have ears.

            Talk sense to a fool . . . and he calls you foolish. (Another line from Euripides).

            It’s The Ship of Fools you see: “The American mentality can only be interpreted as an example of regression, which shows itself in the mental atrophy towards all higher interests and incomprehension of higher sensibility. The American mind has limited horizons, one conscribed to everything which is immediate and simplistic, with the inevitable consequence that everything is made banal, basic and leveled down until it is deprived of all spiritual life”.

            So, what’s different? Now I have, I think, a greater confidence in my assessments. I understand better the cycle we are in and I am in.

            In the end it all turns back on myself (always the case). What is required is an absolute will to oppose what produces this, but strictly within my self.

            The theatre going on around us with leering clowns on unicycles / herds of ducks / convention floors with cartoon-like robots jibber-jabbering pure nonsense / only is a disguise for whole other machinations which remain invisible, yet insidious.

            Where is all this tending? What happens next? It is one of those *junctures* you just have to pay attention to.

      • This is an opinion piece in the NYTs by Brett Stephens.

        Trump Meets Nemesis, Punisher of Hubris
        A virus exposes the folly of what the president’s base believes.

        The word “nemesis” is too often misused. We tend to think of it as meaning a powerful, nefarious, but ultimately conquerable enemy: Vader; Voldemort; the Wicked Witch of the West. But the original Nemesis was not a villain. She was a goddess — an implacable agent of justice who gives the arrogant, insolent and wicked what they deserve.

        As a matter of public health, nobody should ever suggest that the novel coronavirus represents any form of justice, divine or otherwise. It’s a virus that must be stopped.

        As a matter of politics, however, it’s hard to think of a mechanism so uniquely well-suited for exposing the hubris, ignorance, prejudice, mendacity and catastrophic self-regard of the president who is supposed to lead us through this crisis.

        How odd! He employs the supernatural meaning of the metaphor, and yet denies that Nemesis, in exactly the way he uses it, is *real*. Nemesis therefore is what he and they wish it to be: the imposition of the justice they wield. That is, something for *the other* but not for us. Because — according to this view — we ourselves stand within *correct view* and we are *right*, but they, over there, are wrong and we set out to prove it! and we enlist the propaganda organs of the nation to do it.

        As a matter of politics?!? If hubris describes a person in the grip of arrogant ignorance, and if in the ultimate sense that ignorance is about our own self, and if the awakening in tragic theater comes about when recognition literally strikes the protagonist and a whole former understanding, or the lack thereof, collapses, then I suggest that something really momentous is occurring on a national and also on a world-scale. But what is it?

        What I find interesting is that even in trying to read The Spirit of the Time, even trying to decipher the metaphors, even trying to get clear about what these bizarre but necessary events mean, that mistaken perception intervenes with all the force of . . . hubris.

        There is a great deal to be said about how we interpret things, and the force with which we impose our ideas (hermeneutics=interpretation) on the strange strange events occurring in this strangest of times. What happens is that ‘Nemesis’ turns everything back on ourselves. We are not going to be able to escape ourselves. Try though we do.

        Gloucester: “I have no way, and therefore want no eyes. / I stumbled when I saw.”

  6. If the fact checkers say something is partly false does that mean it is also partly or mostly true?

    How exactly from that phrase do we know if it 1 % false or 99% false. Maybe the math whizzes at MSNBC can rationalize the answer.

  7. #3 – Juan William’s take was some impressive pretzel logic. He said that Biden doesn’t want to take away guns, just assault rifles.

    Apparently assault rifles are not a subset of the set “guns”.

    • I miss the old days when the left was pretending to only want to get rid of “Saturday Night Specials”, i.e. all handguns.

    • Speaking of assault weapons and their illegal usage to murder people in the USA; there’s a serious logic vs emotion problem with the anti “assault rifle” arguments.

      Excerpt from Logic vs Emotion

      “From the FBI data we can calculate that in the year 2106 there were 0.003% of existing firearms used in murders, here is the calculation (11,004 /350,000,000)*100=0.003%. Also we can calculate that in the year 2016 (using the calculated number of rifles 519), 0.000148% of existing firearms used in murders were rifles [UPDATE: May 2, 2019] Assault styled rifles are a smaller percentage of this, here is the calculation (519 /350,000,000)*100=0.000148% . So we now have an anti-firearm movement (anti 2nd Amendment movement) that wants to ban or limit availability of firearms to 100% of the people based on the illegal use of 0.003% of firearms, or better yet based on the illegal use of 0.000148% of firearms – this is not logical.”

      It seems to me that all the political left has left is emotional arguments and absolutely no common sense.

  8. Re: No. 3; Joe’s Slappage of a Union Worker.

    I have no idea of Biden is suffering from dementia or not. He is incoherent and combative. If those two traits are evidence of dementia, I am doomed.

    What bothers me with the exchange is this: A man, presumably an union automobile worker, asked Biden about gun confiscation. Now, this campaign stop was probably prearranged with Secret Service and the DNC/Biden Campaign with media in tow. Set aside the underlying fallacy in the man’s question: He poses the question of gun-enthusiasts’ possession of firearms. He should have begun from the presumption that ownership of firearms is a fundamental right included in the Second Amendment to the Constitution and not simply an enthusiast’s object of affection. If that is the case, then the man is reducing a fundamental right to the level of model trains (which, frankly, I love).

    The man reads his question from his cell phone, so either someone gave him the question or he typed it out himself to ask what he wanted to ask. Biden’s response should be a much bigger deal, and should be discussed on a larger scale than just Fox News. Why? Because Biden was invited to this man’s work place and Biden treated him with contempt. “You’re full of shit” is only part of the problem. It is the arrogance of the ruling class that requires conformity of the ruled to know their places. Biden, seeking the most powerful executive position in US politics, tramples over this man, who has every right to ask a question of a politician as any other citizen – politicians work for the country, not the other way around. Biden threatened to slap him. How dare he treat this man in that manner?! Who does Joe Biden think he is? An old, abusive man surrounded by Secret Service threatens to slap a union worker who had the temerity to ask a question about an important policy debate. And, it is not the first time Biden has done this. Trump has said some dumb things but he has never actually called a voter out or threatened physical violence against a voter like this.

    The bigger issue, though, is the Establishment’s contempt for the middle and lower middle class. Hillary Clinton displayed it in her “half a basketful of deplorables” comment; Obama did the same thing with his “clinging to religion and guns” nonsense. The DNC takes Blacks, women, Hispanics, union workers, and gays for granted. Yet, those groups take it and line up for more. It’s is astounding.

    jvb

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