End Of Week Open Forum, Or, If You Like, “The Friday Forum”

Friday

The last open forum was only two weeks ago, but I am considering having a commentary free-for-all more regularly, indeed every week. This is an experiment: the open forums have been remarkably consistent in attracting 30-40 comments, which I would like to see increase of course. They also have the virtue of buying me some time to complete multiple Ethics Alarms projects that, as many of you keep reminding me, have been stalled or languishing: the grand finale of the Wuhan virus series, the last of the the Big Lies (that the President mismanaged the pandemic AND caused the lockdown-driven economic collapse—I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that the most ridiculous and unsupportable of the Big Lies turned out to be the most effective), the half-finished Ethics Guide to “Miracle on 34th Street,” which has been in aspic for a year, and even, after several years’ hiatus, maybe the year-end Ethics Alarms Awards for the Best and Worst of Ethics.

Then there is always that annoying thing called “work”….

Yes, that would be the second “Dobie Gillis” reference this week. That’s a good thing.

As always, keep it civil, keep it relevant, be bold and brilliant, and “go do that voodoo that you do so well!”

47 thoughts on “End Of Week Open Forum, Or, If You Like, “The Friday Forum”

      • Re : smoking gun…

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/georgia-suitcase-video-ballots-trump-b1766363.html

        A video Donald Trump’s campaign alleged was “smoking gun” evidence that secret “suitcases” of ballots went counted without observers, has been dismissed by Republican election officials.

        Layers for the Trump campaign had claimed in court on Thursday that a surveillance video showed poll workers remove suitcases from underneath a table at the State Farm Arena in Georgia on election night, and count ballots while no observers were present.

        Rudy Giuliani, the US president’s personal lawyer, told state legislators the video provided “smoking gun evidence” of election fraud, alongside a witness, Jackie Pick.

        Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, said afterwards that the surveillance video provided no evidence that was suspicious, and that there was no wrongdoing.

        Speaking to Lead Stories on Thursday, Mr Sterling was one of two Republican election officials in Georgia who denied the Trump campaign’s claims.

        Mr Sterling said the suitcases were moved across a room as “normal procedure”, and that there was nothing “odd” about the process, because poll workers were tasked with scanning the ballots once observers and vote counters had left the State Farm Arena.

        “If you look at the videotape, the work you see is the work you would expect, which is you take the sealed suitcase, you place the ballots on the scanner in manageable batches and you scan them,” Mr Sterling said.

        Frances Watson, the chief investigator for Georgia’s secretary of state, told Lead Stories that Republican and Trump campaign observers were not told to leave, and that the ballots scanned in the surveillance video had already been counted, in contrast to Mr Giuliani and Ms Pick’s assertions.

        “Nobody told them to stay. Nobody told them to leave. Nobody gave them any advice on what they should do,” she said. “And it was still open for them or the public to come back in to view at whatever time they wanted to, as long as they were still working.”

        Obviously just one more piece of evidence showing how deep this Grand Conspiracy runs…

        North Korean ships landing suitcases of ballots in Maine, falsification of records provided by Giuliani to Republican investigators after their provision, and worst of all, the ex post facto complete deletion of all historical records of the existence of Edison County in Michigan, where the fraud was most obvious.

        “In another case for Edison County, MI,” the witness’s statement reads, “Vice President Biden received more than 100% of the votes at 5:59 EST on November 4, 2020 and again he received 99.61% of the votes at 2:23 PM EST on November 5, 2020. These distributions are cause for concern and indicate fraud.”

        • At this point, the only thing the denials are accomplishing is to make many people more paranoid, angry and distrustful. We already think we are being fed propaganda by corrupt officials and politicians. Do a bipartisan signature audit, show us the machines aren’t rigged, and everything will calm down.

          Refusing to show your cards only confirm that our suspicions have merit.

          Where did you hear about North Korean ships delivering suitcases of ballots? I haven’t seen that anywhere.

    • I just read that at around the same time this video was taken, 98 percent of one batch of 23,487 votes all went for Biden in Georgia.

      I don’t know what is going on in that video, but it looks like fraud. The 98% Biden rate looks like fraud.

      Georgia should do an audit, with bipartisan support, of the votes for that location at the very least. The appearance of fraud is pretty striking, and that appearance is harmful to people’s faith in the electoral system.

    • I think the coming-out of the video is a deliberate test to provoke the negative and outraged reactions. The idea is to shove the corruption in the faces of the anti-corruption forces, then, come out with some spin-story (lies, all) to “debunk” the corrupt actions with the “It Isn’t What It Is” approach. No matter who cries “Corruption!”, no matter how blatant and damning the evidence, the corrupt will find a way to hone their social engineering techniques to discredit and gaslight their accusers.

  1. I would love to say more here right now, with a creative-writing kind of comment along the lines of a fictional (that is, fictional, so far as I know) meeting of the Wokeville City Council. I have in mind a transcript, or, minutes, or something, of such a meeting, where the COVID Freakout-related topic of discussion is “Christmas Caroling.” City councils are ideal places to make rules for such, of course.

    But alas, I must also be an anti-Krebsist, and do some work from home today. Maybe later…

  2. Has anyone other than Jack and I noticed how the tone towards the pandemic vaccines has changed since Biden is the presumed President Elect (PE)? I remember before the election Democrats spouting rhetoric like if Trump says the vaccine is safe why should anyone believe him and a vaccine can’t be released just because Trump says it’s safe – I think I remember Biden spewing something like this too; now it seems like that Democrats are onboard with the vaccines being released since Biden is the PE and he says he’ll take it if Fauci says it’s safe, heck even three past Presidents are jumping on the vaccine bandwagon now.

    Yup, the tone of politics is changing since Biden is the President Elect. I’m sure Biden will somehow get credit for the vaccines being developed and released and Trump will get no credit. It’s all Biden, Biden, Biden now, it’s as if he’s already President and controlling the pandemic response.

    I find the entire demeanor of Democrats to be unethical since Biden issued his acceptance speech and is the presumed President Elect. Their blatantly open hypocrisy towards their treatment of President Trump and now they are basically demanding that Biden and the Democrats be treated completely different, and on that note…

    I think it’s really “interesting” how, after the political left didn’t get their way in the 2016 Presidential election, the political left started a new precedence on how a President of the United States and anyone that supports the President should be treated by the opposition and their lapdog media and they continued that precedence for four years straight and now the political left wants them and their President to be treated in a different way than the new precedence that they set? Transparent double standards and open hypocrisy are prominent character flaws of the political left in the 21st century.

    I’m not much for using a tit-for-tat rationalization myself; however, I’m not going to fault the political right too much for continuing the same Presidential treatment precedence that the political left started. The modern Democratic Party led by extremist progressives and the irrational and violent social justice henchmen they empowered, implemented an unending scorched earth policy against a President of the United States and his supporters for four straight years and those choices are coming back to roost on their pompous-ass heads and dig their talons straight into the foreheads of the political left; choices have consequences. As the rhetorical blood drips down the political left’s forehead they should be forced at every turn to remember that the political left made their bed and is now estoppled* from complaining about being treated badly.

    *Estoppel: the principle which precludes a person from asserting something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement of that person or by a previous pertinent judicial determination.

    Here’s my message to Joe Biden, Democratic Party politicians and those that support the Democrats right now, you’re fucked and it’s your own damn fault. Suck it up buttercup.

    All that said; tit-for-tat is still unethical and I’m going to do my best not to personally engage in it but it’s becoming harder and harder to resist corrupting myself and go full tit-for-tat towards the Democratic Party and anyone that supports it, that’s really saying something.

    • I was just thinking that as a Yahoo headline touted how quickly the vaccine will be dispersed. If Trump had been re-elected, you could guarantee that doom-and-gloom predictions about the efficacy of the vaccine would have persisted well into the new year since it would be politically expedient to continue to destroy our economy while blaming Trump for it.

  3. Check out “I’m Changing EEVERYTHING, If We Don’t Build Culture NOW Then We LOSE Later, I Hope Youre Ready” by Tim Pool. He mainly talks about how leftists control the social institutions of America and how people who don’t like the creeping totalitarianism of the modern left need to complain less and do more to shift the generational tide in favor, not conservatism per se, but more like traditional American leftism and maybe the new less religious American right.

    I think it’s worth thinking about the actionable tactics and strategies that we can use to win the ethical long game.

      • Jack wrote, “I honestly don’t understand how so much of the population was asleep at the switch as public schools and universities became full-time indoctrination factories.”

        People have been stuck in their own little bubble trying to make as much money as possible to satisfy their material “needs” and allowed society to babysit and indoctrinate their kids in the schools while they spent their time build huge houses trying to keep up with the Joneses. People’s priorities have been terribly skewed!

        • That’s a bit harsh. Most people have been working harder than ever to provide for their futures and their families and don’t have the time to wonder what the halls of higher education are doing to their children. It’s only after their children come home for the holidays armed with discussion points about the relative merits of the Affordable Care Act and gender and racial diversities that parents take a step back and think, “What the hell is my child saying? Where did she/he get that nonsense?” Then, they look at the college curriculum and go, “Well, damn. That’s not what I signed up for. Why am I paying $50k per year for my child to spout liberal nonsense when my child doesn’t have the reasoning skills necessary to survive in a changing labor market?”

          jvb

          • johnburger2013 wrote, “That’s a bit harsh. Most people have been working harder than ever to provide for their futures and their families and don’t have the time to wonder what the halls of higher education are doing to their children.”

            You say that’s a bit harsh and then provide examples that support my opinion?

            Providing for their futures and families are in fact material “needs”.

            So we’re in violent agreement, right?

      • School board meetings where new books were adopted without much review, professors who were slapped on the wrist for blatant bias in the classroom, homework assignments with questionable questions posted onto facebook with a tsk-tsk; and anyone who connected the dots was dismissed as a conservative fear-monger who just needed to get with the times. Pixel by pixel, the schools – the news media – the entertainment industries have been changed. It’s like playing red light/green light with a stop motion animation. As soon as you freeze the whole picture to get a good look at it, the movement disappears. And after years of it, that’s how you have swaths of young people who genuinely believe that the news media is biased in favor of Trump, 50% of the country are malevolent, racist assholes, religion is a tool of the devil (but not the actual devil, because even if he did exist, he’d be preferred to the obviously sinister God, who expects people to obey and stuff) personal rights are a nice-to-have, and societal equity trumps any and all other national concerns.

    • I completely agree – and so do many other blogs/people – complaining isn’t going to change anything. But, no where do I find the next steps. Exactly what are we supposed to do? I don’t have a public forum, I don’t excel at public speaking, I don’t run a business and won’t be running for anything except maybe HOA treasurer (not much of a race btw)… How am I going to change anything? Please, give me suggestions.

        • You don’t need to hold office our be good at public speaking. All that is necessary is to make noise in the public arena and make it difficult for the left to advance.
          Start with responding to their assertions with “prove it” or “you have no hard evidence to support your ideas” or you are making baseless claims. Then say here is why. That is my method.

          • Chris Marschner wrote, “You don’t need to hold office our be good at public speaking. All that is necessary is to make noise in the public arena and make it difficult for the left to advance.”

            Chris is correct.

            Your participation can simply be going to public meetings and energetically approving/applauding the things you agree with and voice concern in non-spoken ways about the things you disagree with. The social justice warriors have taken over public meetings with their boo’s and outspoken verbal condemnations, there needs to be people to counter the irrational social justice warriors and ridiculous policy proposals. Sometimes it’s simply the numbers of supporters that fuel things along with the squeaky wheels get’s the grease; social justice warriors have the squeaky wheel thing down pat and with no one to stand in opposition their voice is the only voice heard.

            Kaydee, just find the level of public participation that you’re comfortable with and let’er rip!

            Please get involved.

              • Kaydee, I can vouch for the points Chris and Steve have made, from my personal experience.

                Decades ago, when I was in my twenties, I attended a meeting with the developers of the neighborhood where I had purchased my first home, at the invitation to residents by the developers. I can’t recall the form of government we had at that time, exactly. (“Municipal Services…Benefit Unit (MSBU)?” I can’t remember the technical term. This was in Florida.) All I recall is that the governing “board” that called the meeting consisted exclusively, or almost exclusively, of people employed by the developer. One older guy – who lived directly across the street from me (and we were acquainted well as neighbors) – also attended. Neither of us knew or expected to see the other there. I was just curious about the whole thing; maybe the older guy knew better what was afoot, and why residents of the relatively new housing development were invited. I would say it was well-attended – maybe 100 people showed up.

                Anyway, at some point in the meeting, there was a call for nominations for people to be elected to serve on the board. My older neighbor, sitting near me in the big room, looked at me and said, “You ought to be on that board!” I didn’t react much; I just sat there, dumbstruck and baffled. I gave him a head half-cocked, quizzical look. He happened to be there with other guys who were also older (middle-aged to elderly) and were obviously his buddies; I had never seen those men. Unbeknownst to me, they nominated me. Then, a vote was held. The old guys must have voted for me, too…

                I didn’t know anyone, either on the board or in the crowd, other than my neighbor. I had never even seen any of the board members; all their faces were previously unknown to me. So I didn’t even pick up or turn in a ballot. When the votes were counted, the guys on the board looked over at where I was sitting near this gaggle of older men; they appeared to be staring at ME. I just stared back, still quizzical. My neighbor tapped me on the shoulder and said something like, “I think you just got elected. Watch those jerks fix the vote to keep you off the board.”

                Sure enough: the meeting leaders called for a “break,” and most of us stood up and milled about, or (like me) made a pit stop in the men’s room. After the break, one of the board members called out, “Who is [and said my name!]?” I raised my hand. The board member acknowledged my hand-raising, then quickly turned to a close cluster of the other board members. They seemed to mumble to each other for a few seconds, then, they announced who had been elected. I wasn’t one of the elected. Lucky me!

                Anyway, my whole point, Kaydee, is that if you REALLY want to get involved, it ain’t hard to do. You’ll find allies and supporters who otherwise would not promote you if you didn’t show up.

  4. Well, then there is this exchange betwixt and between Jake Tapper and Joe Biden, where says that if he and Kamala arrive at a fundamental, moral difference on policy, he will develop an illness and resign, as he said he told St. Barack. Doesn’t he have it backwards? Isn’t he the supposed President? Why shouldn’t she resign instead?

    Check it out:

    jvb

    • It is a gotcha, but an almost fair one given his age and the rumor swirling. At most, he misspoke slightly. To me, it is a deliberately uncharitable reading into his plain meaning.

      He was very specifically speaking about his time as Vice-President, that if he fundamentally agreed with then President Obama, Biden would quietly resign with an unrelated excuse and not embarrass the president by publicly contradicting him.

      Presumably, he expects that Vice-President Harris would do the same; that she would resign and not embarrass President Biden.

      • Maybe the inference is that Harris would resign in the event of an irreconcilable difference, but look at Kamala’s expression. She has no idea what he is talking about. Over at Althouse, the discussions bounced between his implied statement that Harris should/would resign, that he would resign, and/or it is some sort of post-stutter verbal tic. Here is a thread on those comments:

        https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6329595&postID=5021930345466444768

        I don’t know which it is but it seems like a strange thing for Biden to say.

        jvb

        • Amusing. In consecutive “thank-you” posts, you endorse a deliberate misunderstanding of Trump’s meaning, which was obvious to any no-biased, fair readers paying attention, and praise a debunking of an equally unfair reading of a Biden statement. Classic double standard.

  5. There once was a man name of Biden.
    In his basement, he was ahidin’.
    But once came the vote,
    We should take note,
    ‘Cause on the woke train he was ridin’.

  6. Why has this apparent major gaffe by Joe Biden gone unreported in other than minor news outlets? 250,000 covid deaths in the next month or so? Say it ain’t so, Joe. Here’s some attention being paid in an obscure blog: https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/joe-biden-covid-scare

    Forbes is the only traditional media outlet that comes up in this google search. https://www.bing.com/search?q=joe+biden+250000+more+covid+deaths&cvid=d406fc97253e4c28af247e4b102672bb&FORM=ANAB01&PC=U531

    As grandson number two says, “What the heck?” Are Joe’s statements going to be “curated” (as hipsters in Brooklyn are so fond of saying) by the mainstream media? When he says something boneheaded, it will simply be buried? “Dumb statement? What dumb statement?”

  7. I was irritated, but not surprised, this week as I hit the grocery store, passed the aisle where all of the non-grocery Christmas decor and gifts are located and spotted the following:

    Yes, it is a cheater’s version of Monopoly. There’s also a Sore Losers version (would it be unfair to call it the Democrat’s version?)

    Is there where our culture is now? The Sore Losers version is bad enough, but encouraging cheating violates several ethical virtues, not the least of which is fair play.

      • I think it’s a bad example.. It’s saying, “We know cheating happens, so we’re going to make a version that acknowledges it”. No one needs more than one Monopoly game anyway – though there are a million themed-versions now – much less one that encourages cheating.

  8. About a year back, Google fired a male employee who argued very persuasively that the differences between male and female engineers at the organization were expressions of biology and not evidence of anti-female institutional bias.

    This story is interesting in that context, as it might reflect the fired employee’s viewpoint. Most likely not, instead it looks to me like someone put in play an ultimatum they weren’t prepared to accept and is now butthurt about it and trying to leverage intersectionality to shame Google.

    https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2020/12/3/22150355/google-fires-timnit-gebru-facial-recognition-ai-ethicist

    • I don’t think there are any biological differences affecting male and female engineers when it comes to software engineering. Most people point to flawed studies regarding differences in males and females ability to mentally rotate abstract 3-d objects and claim that women are less likely to play video games or enjoy math. Those studies are only applicable to ABSTRACT 3D objects that look like 3D Tetris blocks. The differences disappear when you examine non-abstract object rotation such as letters, or real world objects. Unless someone is playing 3D Tetris, programming 3D Tetris, or doing math on 3D Tetris blocks, this is an irrelevant finding.

      Female programmers are less common due to inclination and cultural factors. Programming is mostly a field filled with men. Programming education is mostly a field filled with men. It can be intimidating to go into a field where you are surrounded by the opposite gender. Women also are very influenced by what their peers do, and few of their peers are going into programming.

      People also like to pretend that programming is this mystic field that only super smart people can understand, which isn’t true. They maintain this illusion of mysticism by using circular definitions of technical jargon and odd usage of punctuation symbols.

      Programming itself isn’t that complicated. Memorize the basics: loops, if statements, arrays, and functions. Then practice organizing them in understandable ways so your code isn’t a mess.

      People also like to pretend that there is a ton of math required for programming, which isn’t true in most cases. Some fields, like video game programming need a lot of math. Otherwise, the math is only needed if you are working on software that does math, in which case you probably have a subject matter expert providing you the mathematical formulas.

      Really, you just need the ability to think algorithmically, which is not what most American math classes teach. They teach calculations, and computers do that for you.

      Thinking in algorithms just takes practice, programming just takes practice. Programmers spend most of their time looking stuff up and researching, much like other STEM fields where women are not underrepresented.

      Quotas for female programmers are not going to fix anything, it’s just virtue signaling. If they want more female programmers, they should start teaching it in middle school.

      • In the 50’s and 60’s, programming was seen as women’s work, fit for the girls of the typing pool.

        I wrote my first code to “help” my father back in 1965, as a precocious 7 year old. So I remember those times, when Dinosaurs such as SYLLIAC, Pegasus, UNIVAC, and WITCH roamed the Earth.

        • Very good point. When software engineering was viewed as “women’s work”, women did it. Ergo, women can program just as readily as men.

          This is what I mean when I say cultural factors cause less women to go into programming, not biological factors.

    • It is difficult to tell exactly why they fired Timnit Gebru simply based on those sources. Based on her comments you can only see that she was unhappy they ordered her not to publish a paper and gave them an ultimatum about what circumstances she would continue to work for the company under. It looks to me like she overestimated her value to the company, and was let go.

      The topic of the paper she wrote is never specified, so determining Google’s reasoning is impossible. There are valid reasons to prevent publication, such as protecting IP. It is difficult to draw hard conclusions from the information specified.

  9. California Governor Gavin Newsom threatens to withhold funding from California cities and counties who refuse to implement and enforce his shutdown orders. The media celebrate his leadership.

    Trump threatens to withhold funding to states that refuse to abide by his open up orders. He declared a tyrant, a fascist and an autocrat.

    Is that about right?

    jvb

    • Colorado legislators did the same thing, counties who refuse to follow protocol will not get extra funds for small businesses from the state. I wonder if this is some “right back at ya” for when Trump refused to send funding to sanctuary cities? The premise is similar in my mind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.