22 thoughts on “Holiday Madness Open Forum!

  1. I recently browsed an online parts house that I’ve ordered parts from before, so I logged in to get my price for some specific parts I’m thinking about getting to upgrade a tool I have. I found what I was looking for, got my price and went my merry way searching other online parts houses for similar parts. I make my decisions on such things after I get a bunch of different ideas and sources and think about all my options, I’m not a spur of the moment buyer. The next day I received an email from that initial parts house that said, and I quote…

    “We don’t mean to intrude but…

    This item is selling fast and may soon be on backorder status. If you want it, you should grab it while you still can!”

    I blew off the annoying email, deleted it and went on my merry way. The very next day I received another email that said, and I quote,

    “We all get busy…

    But we certainly don’t want to intrude.

    So this will be your Last Reminder that this product is still available, but perhaps not for long. Supply chains are still an issue… especially in our business.”

    That was the last straw for me. I replied…

    You wrote, “But we certainly don’t want to intrude.”

    BALDERDASH!!!

    You say you don’t want to intrude and then you literally choose to intrude and you’ve done this twice; your statement is literally a lie.

    Your customers are not idiots that can’t figure out when they want to order, so stop bothering your customers or potential customers with truly annoying spam, we’ll order when we’re good and ready to order.

    Does this kind of spam email come across as unethical to you as it does to me?

    • Steve, I’m going to hitchhike on your spam comment with one of my own. I usually stay out of the Open Forum, but I’m going to make an exception for this bit of web evil, which I am sorely tempted to reply to with all the venom at my command. It arrived yesterday:

      Greetings!
      I have to share bad news with you. Approximately a few months ago, I gained access to your devices, which you use for internet browsing. After that, I have started tracking your internet activities.
      Here is the sequence of events:

      Some time ago, I purchased access to email accounts from hackers (nowadays, it is quite simple to buy it online). I have easily managed to log in to your email account jamproethics@verizon.net.

       One week later, I have already installed the Cobalt Strike “Beacon” on the Operating Systems of all the devices you use to access your email. It was not hard at all (since you were following the links from your inbox emails). All ingenious is simple. :).

       This software provides me with access to all your devices controllers (e.g., your microphone, video camera, and keyboard). I have downloaded all your information, data, photos, videos, documents, files, web browsing history to my servers. I have access to all your messengers, social networks, emails, chat history, and contacts list.

       My virus continuously refreshes the signatures (it is driver-based) and hence remains invisible for antivirus software. Likewise, I guess by now you understand why I have stayed undetected until this letter.

       While gathering information about you, i have discovered that you are a big fan of adult websites. You love visiting porn websites and watching exciting videos while enduring an enormous amount of pleasure. Well, i have managed to record a number of your dirty scenes and montaged a few videos, which show how you masturbate and reach orgasms.

       If you have doubts, I can make a few clicks of my mouse, and all your videos will be shared with your friends, colleagues, and relatives. Considering the specificity of the videos you like to watch (you perfectly know what I mean), it will cause a real catastrophe for you.

      I also have no issue at all with making them available for public access (leaked and exposed all data).
      General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Under the rules of the law, you face a heavy fine or arrest.
      I guess you don’t want that to happen.

       Let’s settle it this way:

      You transfer 2.2 Bitcoin to me and once the transfer is received, I will delete all this dirty stuff right away. After that, we will forget about each other. I also promise to deactivate and delete all the harmful software from your devices. Trust me. I keep my word.

       That is a fair deal, and the price is relatively low, considering that I have been checking out your profile and traffic for some time by now. If you don’t know how to purchase and transfer Bitcoin – you can use any modern search engine.

       You need to send that amount here Bitcoin wallet:
      bc1q6r5tk8v2mase3a83h4ypk4f2hfyvruj09xyjf5

       (The price is not negotiable).
      You have 5 days in order to make the payment from the moment you opened this email.

       Do not try to find and destroy my virus! (All your data is already uploaded to a remote server).
      Do not try to contact me. Various security services will not help you; formatting a disk or destroying a device will not help either, since your data is already on a remote server.

       This is an APT Hacking Group. Don’t be mad at me, everyone has their own work.
      I will monitor your every move until I get paid.
      If you keep your end of the agreement, you won’t hear from me ever again.

       Everything will be done fairly!
      One more thing. Don’t get caught in similar kinds of situations anymore in the future!
      My advice: keep changing all your passwords frequently.

      • Steve’s situation strikes me as modern-day internet assisted sales puffery. “This is the last one in stock, and we’ve been told by our supplier the price is going up.” I don’t think it’s unethical. Steve can always unsubscribe to the vendor’s website. Your case is extortion. Unethical and … ILLEGAL AS HELL!

        • Other Bill wrote, “Steve’s situation strikes me as modern-day internet assisted sales puffery. ‘This is the last one in stock, and we’ve been told by our supplier the price is going up.’ I don’t think it’s unethical.”

          In my opinion, it’s unethical marketing to inundate customers and potential customers inboxes with repetitive marketing spam that contains lies.

          Other Bill wrote, “Steve can always unsubscribe to the vendor’s website.”

          That only works when there are ethical people at those companies that honor such requests. There are multiple places that I have unsubscribed to emails and I still get their marketing spam daily, weekly and monthly.

          I nailed one online computer supply house for giving out my email address, I know they gave it away because it was a brand new company email address that I had just created and that company was the ONLY one to receive an email from me from that address and within a couple of hours my inbox was full of spam. When I complained to management at that company I got rationalizations and lies until I finally got a senior marketing person that admitted they had an email address database that was accessible for a fee. Our company used to do between $7K and $20K annually (depending on the year) with that company and now we’ve done zero with them for about 10-12 years, I also personally stopped purchasing anything from them which was probably $1K-$2K a year – I like to keep computers that are used daily reasonably up-to-date for both hardware and software.

          At my work, any email addresses we get from our customers or potential customers are kept 100% confidential and never given to anyone for any reason. The only time we use their email address is for sending quotes, invoices or questions regarding a specific order. A while back the company president wanted to send out marketing emails to our entire email list and I told him that if he did that I would resign and walk out the door immediately. I told him the exact same thing when he expressed interest in looking at having some of our manufacturing done outside of the USA. There are lines that I will not cross.

        • Your case is extortion. Unethical and … ILLEGAL AS HELL!

          It is unethical and probably illegal, but it’s not extortion. There is no virus or remote server, just a scam to bilk non-websavy people of their money.

          It is sent to every email on the spammer’s list. I’ve gotten it, and know for a fact the videos claims to have recorded cannot exist. The “wallet” is real, and you can send the spammer money, but everything else about this particular scam is a lie. The only thing to do is to mark it as “spam” in your email program.

          Real ransomware attacks do exist, but these usually encrypt your files, and coerce you into sending payment to get the decryption key. I’ve heard these are usually overseas mafia operations, and even have “customer support” to help the victims pay the ransom (the victims often get a bunch of keys, and have to try them all to potentially recover their files. This is one reason back ups are so important, because recovery of ransomed data is not a guarantee!). The scam Jack describes is meant to sound plausible to those who’ve heard of ransomware, but don’t quite understand the details. In reality, spammer’s send millions of these messages, and simply don’t have the time to personally monitor and torment an individual like the email claims. They hope to check a few dupes to make their illicit profit, knowing full well most will see through the scam and properly ignore it.

          • Arizona Revised Statues Sec. 13-1804 Theft by Extortion.

            A. A person commits theft by extortion by knowingly obtaining or seeking to obtain property … by means of a threat to do in the future any of the following:

            3. Cause damage to property.

            I’m going to assume the Virginia version is similar if not identical and derived from a uniform criminal code.

      • Jack Marshall wrote, “Steve, I’m going to hitchhike on your spam comment with one of my own.”

        That actually part of the purpose of posting what I did. 😉

        I see similar spam to what you posted too.

        You should see some of the spam I get at work about webhosting, international transactions, hacked computers, mid transit shipping hijacks, emails that don’t go through, webcams that have been hacked (we don’t have any webcams), etc, etc. My work spam/junk filters intercept a couple of hundred every day and that’s just the ones that it’s trained to catch. Since I’m also the I.T. guy at work, (way too many hats to wear) I also get regular questions from our customer service department about other suspicious emails that aren’t caught when they come in. It took a couple of years to train customer service staff to question absolutely every email they get instead of just blindly clicking. Taking care of all this spam nonsense so the company doesn’t get hacked or charged thousands of dollars for crap has taken away a good handful of hours a week from other things I could do and the software to help with this kinda thing is beginning to be a more significant expense every year.

        Criminals via the internet have increased cost to individuals and companies and there’s no end in sight to the increases. We need some very aggressive investigation and enforcement of existing fraud laws, isn’t attempted fraud a prosecutable offense?

      • Obviously a bluff. it works because many do exactly as he described. I would bet it only takes 1 in a thousand letters to hit one that does masturbate to online porn.
        These people idiots prey upon the gullible.

  2. Here is an article worth discussing.

    https://bringbackdemocracy1.quora.com/Adventures-in-false-equivalency-Bothsidesism-Media-industry-pundit-edition

    And now in 2022, you don’t have to be a journalism expert to see that:

    “Both Sides” are not actively subverting democracy.
    Both sides do not reflexively lie about anything and everything.
    And both sides don’t have sitting elected members in Congress who refuse to acknowledge President Biden beat Trump in 2020
    And both sides don’t lie to voters about non-existent threats to their way of life (see the non-existent problem of voter fraud, impacting 0.0002%—four ballots, all cast for Trump—of the 154 million ballots properly cast and tabulated in the last presidential election.)

  3. Not to beat a dead horse completely, but I think there’s more to the Sam Brinton story.

    Not only is he weird, kinky, proud, and a luggage thief, but (and imagine my shock) it also looks like he isn’t above lying for clout. Apparently, Brinton entered the scene and gained a following based on work he did with the Trevor Project, which included talking about his experience with an abusive family and an extreme form of conversion therapy.

    https://www.losangelesblade.com/2022/12/09/sam-brinton-a-story-too-good-to-be-true/

    “Brinton says that they were then sent to a cruel and sadistic Florida conversion therapist, who they saw for two or three years [Brinton’s timeline periodically changes depending on the media interview]. Brinton alleges this practitioner used aversion therapy, which included sessions where they were tortured with extreme heat, ice and needles.

    “We then went into the ‘Month of Hell’,” Brinton alleged. “The ‘Month of Hell’ consisted of tiny needles being stuck into my fingers and then pictures of explicit acts between men would be shown and I’d be electrocuted.”

    The idea was to associate homosexual feelings with extreme pain, so the urges would disappear. While such practices were more common in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was exceedingly rare to find such cases when Brinton allegedly attended therapy, approximately between 1999-2001. The paucity of finding active cases, that employed such barbaric techniques, meant that added due diligence was necessary to ascertain the veracity of Brinton’s explosive testimony.

    Brinton also claimed that conversion therapy led them to attempt suicide, and they were later thrown out of the house by their parents.”

    The problem is that this almost certainly didn’t happen.

    “As an LGBTQ activist fighting against conversion therapy with my organization Truth Wins Out, as well as the author of “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth”, I had hoped to work with Brinton to expose the harm of conversion therapy. Their story was compelling and could influence public opinion against “ex-gay” practices, which has been my life’s mission.

    I excitedly reached out to Brinton, and they were oddly inaccessible, communicating indirectly through intermediary LGBTQ activists in the Boston-area, where they were attending MIT. The reason for Brinton’s scarcity had to do with two simple questions I had asked them: Who was your conversion therapist and in which facility did the therapy occur?”

    This basic inquiry was critically important for two reasons. First, in order share Brinton’s story, we had to verify if it was true. Second, Brinton’s testimony involved a torture center where hideous abuses were presumably still occurring against children at least as young as eleven years old. If such a place existed, there was a moral imperative to rapidly identify the abusive therapist and contact the authorities to stop the atrocities.

    Why was Sam Brinton the ONLY survivor of conversion therapy I’ve encountered since 1998 who refused to answer these questions? Not only had every other survivor provided this information willingly, but they were eager to fight back and shut down their own therapist or “ex-gay” minister.”

    […]

    “Other holes in Brinton’s story have emerged. In some versions Brinton claims that they went to a Florida therapist. Yet, the Des Moines Register reports that they “began a series of out-of-state treatments.” Why won’t Brinton clarify which state the reporter was referring to?

    A 2011 LGBTQ Nation story reports that “Sam specifies [his counselor] was a ‘religious therapist’ and not a doctor.” Yet, Brinton penned a 2014 piece for the National Center for Lesbian Rights that described his counselor as a “psychotherapist.” The same year he told the U.N.’s Committee Against Torture in Switzerland, “When I was a child, a licensed psychotherapist tried and failed to change something I never chose.”

    So, when Brinton was trying to specifically ban licensed conversion therapists from practicing, they suddenly upgraded the credentials of their mystery therapist. Interesting.”

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

    • I think when any individual who aspires for authority and power but also makes their public image one of aggressive non-conformity to professional standards (in others words actively seeks to look like an untrustworthy weirdo) – we should believe them that they are untrustworthy weirdos and instead of playing the cutesy game of “awwww he’s being true to himself” we are right to say “keep that man away from responsibility”.

    • I was just revisiting the Sam Brinton situation and ran across this story as well. I was curious as to whether he’d been fired or resigned or what. I’m curious about this statement from some government spokesperson: “Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee. By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

      I’m guessing there are administrative law practitioners among the EA commentariat. Is this statement true? Is it more often honored in the breach? If this were a Trump appointee, wouldn’t someone at DOE have spilled the beans to David Corn or Maggie Haberman?

      And wouldn’t the administration want to make public the fact it had taken some appropriate action regarding this guy? Or is any adverse event involving a gender fluid person to be buried with a “nothing to see here?”

    • If people are still wondering how Brinton ever got that job in the first place, this might answer the question (if my link code works):

  4. Via Instapundit, here’s a report that NBC News suspended reporter Ben Collins for his coverage of Elon Musk and Twitter.

    My brief analysis is that this is surprisingly ethical behavior from NBC, not because I particularly dislike Collins — I can’t recall being more than marginally aware of his existence other than his tweets attacking Musk. His tweets reporting on Musk’s purchase of Twitter are not universally unworthy, but some of them were beyond the pale.

    Another notable part of the report is that the New York Times asked their reporters not to fight with Musk on Twitter. I think this was sage advice, in line with a mission to report rather than engage in advocacy. I suspect it will be ignored by some of the more… strident Times reporters.

    My exit remark here is to note that many other “reporters” from other outlets made very similar remarks to the worst of Collins’. Those news companies apparently prefer to happily ignore their employee’s unethical behavior, which leads me to believe they are endorsing it by their silence. Unsurprising to many, I know, but there it is.

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