“Now What?” #2, But No Quiz. Just NOW WHAT?

I admit—perhaps you could tell?—I was very irritated at the former commenters here who treated me like I was Alex Jones because early on it became clear to me that the Russian Collusion coup attempt was a partisan plot, carried out by entrenched members of federal law enforcement agencies in the U.S., enabled by the Democratic party, and perhaps even Barack Obama. I remain very troubled by that experience, and am waiting for one—just one would be satisfying—to come back and have the courage and decency to write, “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to believe it. You were right.”

I have a couple of candidates who might show such integrity, and I still have hope. I will not, however, hold my breath,

I have been reluctant to write about the obvious (it seems to me) conclusions recent declassified documents point to regarding Obama’s overt and sinister efforts to undermine the Trump administration and seed the beginnings of the collusion narrative before the President had even been sworn in. The fact is, I have neither the time nor the skill to follow all those breadcrumbs and be a reliable analyst—at least not reliable enough. I have been waiting for a thorough investigation to be launched by a news organization, like the Post did on Watergate, or the Indianapolis Star did to expose the Larry Nasser/ Michigan State/U.S. Women’s Gymnastics scandal. Those things win Pulitzer prizes and enhance reputations, don’t they? Why hasn’t there been a thorough, published indictment of Obama’s perfidy? Wouldn’t there be, if the evidence is what it seems to be? Maybe I’m wrong.

It is suspicious, I have to say, how the major mainstream media outlets have been almost silent on the clear indications that Obama and Biden met with various Justice Department and FBI personnel and discussed how to “get” Michael Flynn. For one thing, the notes taken by Peter Strzok tell us that Joe Biden is lying. Don’t they care? Isn’t  that important? Doesn’t democracy die in darkness? Oh, the Daily Caller and the Federalist and other “conservative” news organizations have written about it, but you know, they’re conservative. It’s all lies The claims are being fabricated by “Trumpers.”

The reactions of my Facebook friends tell me what the wider reaction would be to my connecting the dots publicly. These people are supposed to be my friends, and it is astounding how vicious—and irrational–most of them are any time I, or anyone though few now are so audacious, challenges “resistance” Big Lies and the “likes”-fertilized cant that metastasizes in their cyber-bubble.  I’ve just about reached my limit, in fact. Some of these people really are friends, or I thought they were, and they are acting like, to be crude, assholes. I’m about ready to de-friend about 400 of them, including some relatives. Not only are they being crummy friends, they are bad citizens too.

Which is much worse.

I have a measure of sympathy, I suppose,  because they are being misled by propaganda and the news media’s complete corruption, and are reacting to the natural human impulse to be with the “in-crowd,” like gang members and “mean girls.” But just a measure, and I’m about out. These people are smart; I don’t have many dumb friends—some, more than I thought, definitely, but not a lot.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

Today, an objective and credible commentator, a better lawyer than me  and someone with more to lose professionally than me  but a brave truth-teller nonetheless, came out and said what I could say and reap nothing but insults and mockery. That commentator, as you might have guessed, is Professor Jonathan Turley. He writes today in the Hill in part (read it all here):

The Washington press corps seems engaged in a collective demonstration of the legal concept of willful blindness, or deliberately ignoring facts, following the release of yet another declassified document that directly refutes past statements about the Russia collusion investigation. The document shows the FBI used a security briefing of then candidate Donald Trump and top aides to gather possible evidence for Crossfire Hurricane, its code name for the Russia investigation.

What is astonishing is that the media has refused to see what should be one of the biggest stories in decades. The Obama administration targeted the campaign of the opposing party based on false evidence. The media endlessly covered former Obama administration officials ridiculing suggestions of spying on the Trump campaign or of  improper conduct in the Russia investigation. When Attorney General William Barr told the Senate last year that he believed spying did occur, he was lambasted in the media, including by James Comey and others involved in that investigation. The mocking “wow” response of the fired FBI director received extensive coverage.

The new document shows that, in the summer of 2016, FBI agent Joe Pientka briefed Trump campaign advisers Michael Flynn and Chris Christie on national security issues, a standard practice ahead of the election. It included a discussion of Russia interfering in the election. But this was different. The document detailing the questions asked by Trump and his aides and their reactions was filed a few days after the meeting under Crossfire Hurricane and Crossfire Razor, the FBI investigation of Flynn. The two FBI officials listed who approved the report are Kevin Clinesmith and Peter Strzok.

Clinesmith is the former FBI lawyer responsible for the FISA surveillance conducted on members of the Trump campaign. Clinesmith opposed Trump and sent an email after the election declaring “viva the resistance.” He is reportedly under review for possible criminal charges for altering a FISA court filing. The FBI had used Trump adviser Carter Page as a basis for the original FISA application, due to his contacts with Russians. Soon after that surveillance was approved, however, federal officials discredited the collusion allegations and noted that Page was a CIA asset. Clinesmith had allegedly changed the information to state that Page was not working for the CIA.

Strzok is the FBI agent whose violation of FBI rules led Justice Department officials to refer him for possible criminal charges. Strzok did not hide his intense loathing of Trump and famously referenced an “insurance policy” if Trump were to win the election. After FBI officials concluded there was no evidence of any crime by Flynn at the end of 2016, Strzok prevented the closing of the investigation as FBI officials searched for any crime that might be used to charge the incoming national security adviser.

Documents also show Comey briefed President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the investigation shortly before the inauguration of Trump. When Comey admitted the communications between Flynn and Russian officials appeared legitimate, Biden reportedly suggested using the Logan Act, widely viewed as unconstitutional and never used to successfully convict a single person, as an alternative charge against Flynn. The memo of that meeting contradicts claims that Biden he did not know about the Flynn investigation.

Well, what do you know? That’s what I see as well. Now what?

As usual, Turley is infuriatingly professorial and unflappable when he needs to be flapping vigorously. The media “seems engaged in a collective demonstration of the legal concept of willful blindness, or deliberately ignoring facts”? How about, “Our nation and its form of government is being threatened by a conspiracy that includes the vast majority of our journalism establishment, aimed at undermining an elected President. The news media is indeed the enemy of the people, as extravagant as that description seems. Those citizens who want to protect and preserve the United States of America , as all citizens should, now must oppose this effort, or accept the consequences”? Because that’s what this warrants. Since 1974, we have been told that Richard Nixon’s efforts to subvert the political process and our laws posed an existential threat to America that we narrowly averted, in part because of the efforts of the Washington Post.  Now Turley is alleging, and correctly, is that the news media is complicit in a similar plot by its refusal to inform and warn the public.

Why? I’m not sure. Because it involves exposing a former President whose popularity relies on emotion more than facts? Because journalists have gradually come to reject the essential ethics and mission of their own profession, and now see themselves as partisan operatives for what they have decided is the greater good? All I am certain of is that there is no longer a credible argument that their “wilful ignorance” isn’t sinister and dangerous.

So again, now what? Being passive, observational, or inertly professorial in the face of a threat to one’s nation and society is not an ethical response.  I am under no illusions that writing blog posts to a limited readership is action. This is why I gave up on the formal study of ethics: ethicists are mostly inert and useless. They can cut and slice any conduct according to dozens of theories and standards, then wax philosophical for hours (or pages) on end, never reaching any definitive conclusions, and definitely not pointing the way to any productive action.

Action is needed. Sitting around and talking about democratic institutions being turned against our republic and feeling superior because we can see what is going on while so many are willfully blind is negligent. It is an abdication of the duties of citizenship. It is not enough. I know that.

But now what?

24 thoughts on ““Now What?” #2, But No Quiz. Just NOW WHAT?

  1. You’re asking us what constructive things we can do to improve the state of the country? I’ll take that as license to expound on the toolbox I’ve compiled for just such an occasion. But not tonight, because I have an appointment in the morning.

    Long story short, I concluded that human stupidity caused about half our problems and perpetuated the rest, so in order to anything to get meaningfully better, I’d need to cure human stupidity. I searched for the most sensible, rational, nuanced ways of looking at the world and dealing with problems, and distilled them down into basic concepts that people could learn and practice.

    Using those tools, we can identify where and how to apply efforts to shift the national conversation about various sectors of society towards a healthier standard. In the process, we can equip more people with more of these tools, so they can help spread competence and responsibility.

    • I return.

      Here is the plan I’ve been working on for the last ten years.

      First, I sought the pieces of wisdom that people are missing: the truths that we know that most of the world doesn’t, and the truths they know that we don’t.

      It’s impossible for anyone to learn all of these, let alone everyone, so as I collected all of these pieces of wisdom, I condensed them down into their most basic underlying principles, and compiled them into a toolbox. This toolbox can be used to easily and effectively describe and predict problems and the flaws in how people approach them, and what they need to do to fix the problems. It serves as a checklist for what people need to consider in different situations. With a working knowledge of this toolbox, a person has a place to start dealing with any situation as a mature adult. They won’t be able to tackle just any problem, but they should have no blind spots which render them completely helpless. They should know enough to start learning about any topic without being a complete idiot, and without being easily tricked.

      However, people will still need to calibrate the way they use the tools in the toolbox. The tools (principles) themselves are universal, but how they translate into specific decisions varies with the situation. There is no way to prescribe a right answer for every situation in advance, so the tools/principles come in opposing pairs which complement each other, and people must learn how to apply them effectively, as individuals and groups.

      The current phase of my plan is to find people who care about solving human stupidity and equip them with the toolbox. They can demonstrate its effectiveness and help other people learn how to use it effectively. Wisdom cannot virally spread as easily as conventional memes, because to gain wisdom requires getting feedback and calibrating based on that feedback. It’s slower and requires more effort and humility. Nevertheless, it’s visibly effective, and therein lies its advantage over simplistic soundbites.

      The only obstacle I face right now is reaching people who are willing to put effort into solving the problem of human stupidity. Many people have given up hope, even though overcoming this problem is the key to solving so many others. Those that are willing to tackle human stupidity usually have some half-baked Maslow’s Hammer stuck in their heads, which further contributes to the cynicism of those who resign themselves.

      I admit, it was quite difficult to build the toolbox, but now that it exists, a large part of the work is done for you. This isn’t just some academic concept, a label with no practical power. I’ve used the tools to quickly and effectively resolve conflicts, disasters, personal crises, and even a few bad habits. They’re not magic, but they’re invaluable for quickly making sense of things in a way that makes meaningful, constructive action possible.

      I’m still learning how to apply the tools day to day, because sustained consistent behaviors are what create great works. They’ve gotten enough field testing, though, that it’s time we step up and show people how problem-solving is done.

      Jack, please give my email address to those who ask (unless it’s a likely spammer).

      Anyone who thinks this project could benefit your own goals and values, I’d like to meet with you to discuss how we can make that happen. Feel free to contact me. (You can address me as ExCeph or XF for short.)

  2. “But now what?”

    Keeping the matter strictly focused on the Russia framing, it seems that the minimum would be to deny the plotters the fruits of their efforts. Specifically by voting to return President Trump to the office that he (and more to the point, his voters) has been denied fair use of these last four years.

  3. “Democracy Dies in Darkness”

    Notes:

    It seems to me that one must face the fact that we have — all — entered a period of chaos and confusion. Jack implies that he has a Vision of America that is stable and I might also say viable and real. I suggest that this is false. I admit that there exists a *romantic hope* that this Dream America does exist — still exists — but we need to face the fact that the very Idea of America is in doubt. You will not be able to recreate it no matter if you had 100,000 Tom Hanks intoning it as if it were a reverberation from the center of the Kosmos itself to man’s ears.

    Getting to the fair and accurate description of *what happened* and then *why this happened* is agonizingly difficult. But one has to start somewhere, even with a sort of ‘shotgun approach’. A few things stand out: One is that America ceased to be a Republic in some definite senses. I mean a ‘constitutional republic’ and one dedicated, truly, to those high ideals. America has become — here I refer to George Friedman who is capable, it seems to me, of describing America in many senses truthfully. America became a neo-empirical nation (See: “Will the U.S. Decline ? | Ask The Right Question with George Friedman” on YouTube. There are others as well that describe more fully his assertion that America has become an ’empire-of-sorts’. And what this means is a business and one that must be managed according to the rules of business).

    What I took from Friedman is that the very nature of America is different from what one is taught to believe or to say and think about America. That means that a *real description* of what America actually is — actually as in the French sense of ‘now’ and ‘in this moment’ — is required.

    I do not observe anyone writing here who shows even slight interest in *seeing* what really is, and I see many people who hold to an outmoded idea of what was. What America was and in a sense what *we* were. So we have to state some facts: It is older folks, from a former America, who come here to *lament* the loss of an America that has been, or is being, superseded.

    But here it gets really contentious. Because if I further mention ‘displacement’ and ‘dispossession’ and the shift in demographics — in combination with an array of other factors, and there are many, and each of them needs to be mentioned and described — and the shrinking of America’s ‘original demographic’, this very idea is unthinkable to many who write here. A thousand times I say this, a thousand times I will repeat it. A New America is rising to take possession and direct America along new lines. This has to be a starting point for conversation, analysis, and exchange of ideas.

    Another crucial aspect to defining What America is Today has to do with understanding the activism we see around us. It is nearly totally — all of it — activism that arises out of Marxian principles. The end aim of Marxist ‘praxis’ is the destruction of the State. I think that is why, even if it is confused and muddled people who make the propositions, that there is a movement to ‘defund the police’. In strict Marxist terms the State is understood to be the oppressive structure a ruling elite uses to enforce oppressive conditions. And the police (and the prisons) are the tools of that oppression. But now, in this present, something really strange and confusing is going on: it is the System itself (substantially but not completely) that is spear-heading the activism! It is not a spontaneous movement rising from below and from student organizations on the campuses that is ‘shaking the system to its foundations’, but rather a significant portion of the system itself — media, government, intelligence, business, academia — that is directing the *Movement* such as it is.

    I would not deny that there is a *popular element* and something spontaneous that moves in people though. So, there is a *popular pole*. But in America the ‘popular pole’ has always been, and is now, being ‘manipulated’ by those powers & interests that have the means to do so, perseveringly and over time, and who have *ownership interest*. And this implies, of course, collusion and cooperation between those sectors within business and government who will, who must, protect their interests. But that brings the discussion to an examination of ‘interest’. And interest is not, not necessarily, respect for republican values as they were idealistically defined a few hundred years ago.

    However, the stark element that must be seen and understood, as a starting point, is that of ‘general chaos’ in the idea-realm. Who is serving what? What *America* is being defended and by whom? Because there is not, not now, one America. There are various americas and they are in battle. One will have to, it seems to me, carefully distinguish each one define each one’s ‘interest’.

    • I have to point out in reference to one image in that WP video — because it is relevant to my general approach, and though it is very difficult for some and I assume almost all who write here — is that there is a tremendous amount of substantial evidence that the Oklahoma Bombing was a para-military operation. It is impossible that a truck bomb, according to physical laws, could have done that extensive damage. But that is just the tip of the argument that contradicts the official narrative. It became imperative that the National Police go after an neutralize those *patriot* groups that had been organizing in the United States. This ties in to my assertion that powerful factions, those with *ownership interest*, and those for whom the United States of America is their *investment portfolio*, are now and will always be the ones who have a significant interest in directing the events of the present to their ends.

      I do find it veery *interesting* that that image — that reference really — would be used in that context: a patriotic declaration about America where, subtly, America’s enemies are identified.

      Some of you, right now, today, may be becoming ‘America’s enemies’ if indeed you have an outmoded vision of what America is and should be and if you do indeed mobilize your self to defend *it*.

      But this of course turns back to my idea that *you* cannot define this America. Just like everyone you are, to one degree or other, extremely confused about What America is. Who is ‘belongs to’. If this is so how will you defend *it*?

      If all the problems related to this *confusion* and *mystification* get put out on the table for genuine and far-reaching (unfettered) conversation, then, at that point, some ‘forward direction’ might be arrived at. But not until then. Additionally, to arrive at a actionable stance will also mean, concomitantly, that you are ready to engage in genuine struggle to preserve the America you define.

      The more clarity you have, the sooner will the political and social war come into focus.

      Look to meta-politics.

  4. It is seriously depressing. I’ve more or less stopped initiating political threads on Facebook; the majority of my FB friends (many of whom actually ARE friends) are libs or progressives. They believe – in large part, I think, because they desperately WANT to believe – that Trump is evil incarnate and represents and existential threat to the nation.

    But I posted Turley’s article this morning. And I await the blowback, which I’m certain will come. Constantly reinforced in their views by scurrilous media and their own social media echo chambers, Many of these folks will almost certainly denounce Turley’s column as fantasy, gaslighting and conspiracy theorizing. But I view doing so as important, if only because if the Durham report is as devastating as I suspect it will be, it will be discarded by these folks out of hand as just more of Barr’s machinations.

    I’ve been thinking a LOT about this lately. What so many people fail to grasp – especially, those in media, who are supposed to know better – is that Trump isn’t the disease, and he never was. He’s a symptom. Bernie’s nearly-successful insurgency in 2016 was, in my opinion, another symptom. The disease itself is that 1) government has become bloated, incompetent and corrupt; 2) that it no longer works in the best interest of the citizenry, 3) the public senses this, even if it can’t clearly articulate it, and 4) was thus willing to take a flyer on a narcissistic carnival barker like Trump (or an economic crackpot like Sanders) as a desperate long-shot way to find a fix.

    What I struggle with is whether what’s going on now with what used to be the George Floyd protests is actually another symptom of the same disease, or whether instead it’s actually a malign actor that fully understands the disease and is attempting to exploit it to their own ends. I go back and forth on this one.

  5. Most of what we see from the left leaning media is seditious propaganda and the anti-Trump resistance swallows it whole. Testing for Acute Propaganda-Induced Anti-Trump Hysteria Syndrome

    The transparently partisan left leaning news media has been subverting the system that we have in the United States of America since before the November 2016 election an they have rationalized all the subverting with the ends justify the means being their primary rationalization.

    What now? That is the one hundred trillion dollar question.

    • What comes after a trillion?
      ________________________

      I will try to project my self into *them* (to some degree, though I will vacillate between their and my perspective) to answer your questions:

      Do you believe that President Trump is not a legitimate President?

      He was elected legally, but not popularly. The larger proportion of the nation’s people did not want him. This is a significant aspect of our opposition. Trump is, we feel, both a mistake and a ‘wrong-turn’. We are obligated to oppose him (and all that he represents).

      Do you believe that President Trump is a fascist?

      The actual question is Is fascism possible in America? Fascism is, from an anti-fascist’s perspective, in the nature of the State. The State is necessarily fascist and what will oppose that fascism is a dictatorship of the proletarian. Our efforts — we declare this on our websites — is literally to topple the State, just as we topple monuments. Fascism is a ‘state of mind’ really, as is ‘authoritarianism’.

      Trump represents ‘structural forces’ ties to an oppressive system. The State embodies this oppression and the oppression is show through police violence and the prison system (see Angela Davis on that point).

      We call for a New System and a New America. Won’t you joint us and employ your glowing teeth in service to the New-Being-Born?

      Do you believe that President Trump is a dictator?

      Trump has personality elements that are strongly representative of a dictatorial personality. But when the State is threatened (according to Marxian analysis) the State must become reactionary and must suppress dissent. We push against this reaction and we get more reaction from those elements in American society that are ‘reactionary’ to our stated plans.

      Trump, and the American State, could become dictatorial, and indeed as the Federals intervene in the cities of the states we see (we must see, we need to see as well, and we also provoke) a reaction to which we then further act against. The nature of Marxist praxis is in provoking reactions that we say ore ‘disproportionate’. We use this as a fuel to inflame ‘indignation’.

      Do you believe President Trump is a Nazi?

      Nazi is a multi-use term. Everyone uses it as it is needed to make their point. A Nazi is the symbol of metaphysical evil. If you are ‘bad’ and I mean really bad you are, by nature, a Nazi. The term Nazi represents a terrestrial and I would say a ‘horizontal’ evil. A Nazi is dead-set on material advantage at any cost.

      You would get further along if you would see that almost all the terms used today are both extremely meaningful and simultaneously meaningless. Language and description are in chaos.

      Do you believe that President Trump is a racist or a white supremacist?

      Trump was elected, largely, by an angry demographic of Whites. Among those Whites are many who are not at all happy what has been done to their nation (insofar as they can say “It is ours”). These are the people who just a few decades ago joined the second manifestation of the KKK in many American cities. That is to say your grandfathers and great-grandfathers. American ‘nativism’ is a problematic outlook. And the various forms of nationalism that are powerfully America (in this untutored American sense) are extremely problematic for the managing elite of America who desire a Walmart America.

      Trump is very aware of his *constituency* and so is the New York Intellectual Establishment which hates Trump with a hatred you cannot fathom. Everything is projected into that hate. Indeed Trump is the very vision of Nazi Evil because, for the Establishment I mention, new manifestations of Nazism are ever-present. They have been flaming up.

      But you would have to read a greeaaattt deal more to understand any of this.

      Do you believe that President Trump’s defiance of “norms” is a threat to Democracy?
      Do you believe that President Trump Is anti-LGBTQ?
      Do you believe that President Trump only cares about himself, not the country?
      Do you believe that President Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 Presidential election?
      Do you believe that President Trump is a traitor?
      Do you believe that President Trump is mentally ill?
      Do you believe that President Trump obstructed justice by firing subordinates?
      Do you believe that the Bully Bush tape is “proof” that Donald Trump has sexually assaulted women?
      Do you believe that the Mueller Report proved that President Trump violated the Constitution?
      Do you believe that President Trump broke the law with his phone call to the President of Ukraine?
      Do you believe that President Trump violated the Constitution and obstructed Congress by challenging House subpoenas?
      Do you believe that President Trump said that Article II gives him unlimited power as President of the United States to do anything he wants as the President?
      Do you believe that President Trump is a Putin puppet?
      Do you believe that President Trump has lied over 16,000 times since the Presidential inauguration?
      Do you believe that President Trump is a criminal?
      Do you believe that everything President Trump says is a lie?
      Have you ever stated that President Trump is not your President?

      I would of course, as courtesy, provide those answers that will help you to get your bearings, but as it happens Mr Fox, my beloved and crafty husband, has killed a Wabbit and we are right on the verge of devouring it! You will have to guess the other answers . . .

      • Alizia,
        In my opinion; this really is the wrong place for you to be posting this kind of critique of the content of my blog post. Feel free to post it as a comment on the actual blog post.
        Steve

        • ::: munching a bloody rabbit claw :::

          You opinion both counts, and counts not. The problem with you is that you comprehend nothing. Or your capture is so superficial that it is useless.

          I recently made it clear that I am going to do everything in my power to expand *the conversation* to include all things that are relevant to it. You linked to what you wrote, and what you wrote has relevancy, if only because it is part of your exposition of your ideas. I often suggest that you do not fully understand what is going on, and why. Your questions reveal to me something about your general ignorance.

          This thread (this blog post of Jack) has to do with 1) mounting frustration with what is going on, and 2) the start-point of some sort of activism to counter-act the influences we understand to be destructive.

          And in that context it seems to me vital to understand what motivates ‘those others’. You refer to a blanket assessment that they are *stupid*. But that is not enough.

          They are constructing an alternative world. Much of this is done in accord with Marxian ideas and for that reason this must be understood better. Some other part of it is more-or-less an expression of populism (popular will without specific ideology) and this needs to be understood as well.

          No no no, in no sense is whaqt I wrote ‘the wrong place’. This is the Right Place for the entire conversation to develop.

          Shine your luminous teeth my way! C’mon man!

  6. What to do? That is the question. Where it is nobler in the mind to suffer the twits and posts of outrageous pronouncements, or take arms against a sea of lies, false accusations, and cover-ups, and by opposing end them. So speaketh the Bard. But how?
    I am amazed time and again when, within my small group of friends and relatives, I confront these opposing views, the disparity of information between the two sides. They are adamant that Trump is a racist, and by extension those who support him, Russian collusion is still alive and well in their minds, the Gestapo that have been released to unlawfully confront the rioters, that masks are the panacea against this virus, but not effective enough to allow schools to reopen or keep prisoners behind bars, and countless others. My “alternative facts”, using Kellyanne Conway’s term so universally condemned, are simply ignored with a scoff, a contemptuous roll of the eyes and shaking of the head, or laughed off as the ravings of a misguided fool, but never directly addressed. This is the power of the press. I’ll say if again with a little more gusto, THIS IS THE POWER OF THE F-ING PRESS! Against which, the individual is virtually powerless to overcome.
    So how do we turn the tide? THE ELECTION. We have 100-days to stop the powers that want to remake this country into some kind of socialist/Marxist utopia. Forget fighting each little skirmish that erupts from the maceration of the Big Lies, and dwell on the salient question: What political, economic, and social philosophy do you want shaping the country for the next four years? It is not Trump v Biden. It is America v Something Else. Are a majority of American actually ready to abandon the foundation of what made this country great or is it an extremely vocal minority with a voice greatly amplified by the megaphone of the press and social media? I have to believe it is the latter.
    I am heartened by a recent American Spectator poll ( https://spectator.org/conservatives-moderates-self-censor-cato-poll-silent-majority/ ) that dramatically indicates and majority of Americans over 18-years of age have political views they are afraid to share.
    Nearly two‐thirds of Latino Americans (65%) and White Americans (64%) and nearly half of African Americans (49%) have political views they are afraid to share. Majorities of men (65%) and women (59%), people with incomes over $100,000 (60%) and people with incomes less than $20,000 (58%), people under 35 (55%) and over 65 (66%), religious (71%) and non‐religious (56%) all agree that the political climate prevents them from expressing their true beliefs.
    It is, as the article points out, significant that they do not claim to be apathic or unmotivated to share their beliefs, but “afraid”. What beliefs are they afraid to share, Trump is a racist, Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police, and Silence is Violence? I don’t think so.
    The battle in front of us is to defeat the progressive socialists on November 3rd, and if successful, pray that those we elect do not pull an “Et tu, Brute”.

    • Bill Wolf wrote, “They are adamant that Trump is a racist, and by extension those who support him”

      A friend of mine said in December 2019 last year, “I will never not believe Trump is a POS racist and a traitor to the nation”, I get similar statements from a LOT of fully consumed anti-Trump and anti-White leftist bigots. I believe that the leftist media is functioning on that exact same basis, they already made up their mind and nothing is going to change it. These people are completely closed minded anti-Trump and anti-white “racist” and the mask was pulled off in November 2016. They call others racists simply for disagreeing with his opinion. The racist brainwashing started during President Obama’s administration. These bigoted and racist people completelyeliminate anyone from their sphere of influence if their opinion differs from their own, they are contained within their emotion based cultist ideological bubble, no real facts or real evidence to support their emotional bull shit.

      • It is wise — or perhaps instructive is the right word — to grasp how Trump is understood by the harder, ideological Left. What fascinates me is the contrast between the different points of view that operate in the nation, in the minds of people, in this unreally bizarre juncture. How has this come about? How was this outcome constructed?

        To me, this indicates the degree to which everything depends on *interpretation* but the criteria of interpretations are so different. Literally, two people can stand facing each other and the world they will describe to one another do not match! It is a crisis of meaning, a crisis of understanding and of value.

        The whole world (literally) watches America and cannot make sense of what is going on.

  7. Jack,

    I’ve fallen a little behind on your posts — this past week or so has been grueling — but this post strikes at the heart of both the dilemma I’ve been facing about all this, as well as how I came across Ethics Alarms in the first place.

    As a controls engineer, one of my primary goals is producing for our operators tools that provide them with high situational awareness. (Situational Awareness is the current buzzword in the general field of industrial automation, and effectively means making your operators actually know what’s going on with their stuff.) One of those aspects of situational awareness is Alarm Management, which making sure that alarms meet the following (and more) criteria: unique, timely, meaningful, and actionable. Think of your gas tank alarm. An alarm right when you’ve emptied the tank and the car dies is not particularly helpful, because it does not give you enough time to take an action to prevent the consequence (your car dying) from happening. An alarm when you still have a quarter of a tank is maybe a little more helpful, but that might be so far from empty that you start ignoring the alarm, and so it isn’t really actionable. An alarm that sounds at a quarter tank, and another that sounds when you’re almost empty might seem like an improvement, but in reality that first alarm is going to be ignored in favor the one when you’re almost at empty, so these violate the principle of unique. A good gas tank alarm will tell you when you’re close to empty with enough time to comfortably get to the gas station, but not leave you comfortable in ignoring it for any amount of time. But more situational awareness would also be to include a miles to empty indication…

    Now think of that wonderful check engine light. It is pretty useless, because you need a separate computer to talk to the car’s computer to find out which of a myriad of conditions it represents. A lot of people start ignoring it because there seems to be no consequence in ignoring. An alarm like this fails because it isn’t meaningful to the driver.

    Anyway, I think you can see where this story is going. I’m trying to research the standards (EEMUA 191, ISA 18.2, etc) on alarm management, and the second entry in Google is Ethics Alarms. Since my interests are broad, and that I study history, mathematics, philosophy, and theology, and ethics touch on many of those, I started reading, and was hooked.

    And now to my dilemma. We have ethics alarms ringing. If we place them in context of EEMUA standards, those alarms are not just timely and meaningful, but they must also be actionable. And thus the question in the title of this post, “Now what?” is extremely pertinent. I disagree with assessment that writing an ethics blog that only reaches a small audience is not action. It is. The role of the alarm system is not as glamours as the control system, but it is vital in helping to make sure people know that something is veering off course.

    But I would concur that EA readers then have an obligation to propagate, if not the EA posts themselves, at least the analysis and messaging in the posts. (And EA readers should offer well-defended contrary opinions, if need be…) And EA readers should keep in mind that very handy list of rationalizations. I find myself referring to it both in interpersonal actions and in writing.

    But what other actions should these alarms provoke? There is a list, I think: vote, write letters to our elected officials, and most of all be willing to make a defense of the values and principles that are under attach. One doesn’t have to be professional debater, but one can certainly speak up and make it know that there are contrary positions to what is being pushed through the mainstream media, and if one can’t make the argument alone, pass along references to Ethics Alarms and Ann Althouse and Jonathan Turly and anyone who is making the imminently reasonable and rational arguments. It may seem cliche, but it is still true, that the reason the mainstream media is getting away with their biases, and the reason so many corporations are cowering before the progressive, woke mob, is because there isn’t the loud voice on the other side that demands accountability and reveals that there are as many or more who will be just as offended by caving to the mob as those in the mob itself.

    I know the willingness to speak out is difficult. There are very real risks to job, health, livelihood, and even our families by doing so. But as in industrial automation, where it is at times more prudent to shut down equipment in order to prevent the aggressive disassembly thereof, so it is in the world at large that taking the personal risk is necessary to prevent a broader disaster from enveloping us. Now I just need to find the courage necessary to do that myself…

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