Over the past year, we seem to be fixated on Russia and political collusion or electoral ties of foreign influence. A bulk of the conversation seems to focus on Facebook or other social media outlets as the center point of false news. I can only step back into time and think about when Obama was a candidate for President and used social media to get voters motivated. It was a different tactic that worked. On the other hand, there were much libelous conversations and accusations that Obama was a Muslim and possibly not American. Credible news sources, even today, redistribute conversations based on social media feeds and introduce that as a news segment rather it be entertainment or editorial coverage. The point is that news sources have contributed without much fact-finding to false news. At this point, it would be hard-pressed to blame Russia or any foreign government that they are ultimately responsible. At least with a news story, there is a journalistic standard to retract or publish a correction. The internet does not allow retraction because it becomes a trend of an unstoppable train of misinformation.
Long ago I have said that Facebook is a dangerous company with an addiction for numbers rather than quality. Today Facebook appears to be the hot topic of Washington politics. Instead, what does Facebook do to speak before Congress? It sends its lawyers instead of its CEO. But lets not just throw Facebook under the bus. It is fair to say that local news media outlets are just as responsible for allowing fake news or facilitates bias and misinformation. Take a look at any local news website and take notice of the public comment section. It is usually filled with hate speech and equally disturbing information. Sure, its community based but the rhetoric distracts from the actual news coverage towards community conversations. That is not news. That is creating an entertainment value that distorts real news to essentially become misleading news – because it’s on its website. Such comments are no different than Facebook or any other social media site.
First, Facebook is not our news source as some would like to insinuate. Television media is not really a news source either as we would like to think it is. Television regardless if its Fox News or CNN has its own bias and spin. Real reporting is old fashioned journalism where a story develops and progresses based on the facts allowing the reader to decide or speculate. Newsprint will enable us to be educated on the facts and allows constructive dialog by editors and those that engage in a sensible and respectable level. Social media has very little respect value and sensibility.
Sometimes technology and flash news briefs don’t make us smarter. In fact, I argue that it makes it hard to distinguish what is factual versus what is not credible. Old fashioned newsprint and some bits of patience could potentially restore our credibility value and reduce the hyperbolic rhetoric that appears on social media and television newscasts each day in America. For the sake of quality news, it may be safe to say its a good idea to turn back the clock and reinvest in print media once again. At least we can learn a bit of patience and not be up to our ears in news overload.
Joan Rivers said it best, “comedy is about everyone laughing to deal with issues.” That always resonates with me because we have honestly forgotten how to laugh. We have become so politically divided mixed with safe spaces that I fear that comedy is officially dead. Where is the freedom of humor and expression? Other comedians have mentioned similar negative cultures at the way we dissect comedy or simple jokes. Not all of us are born to be comedic. However, we should be mindful that having some laughter is critical towards our survival of dealing with pain and issues.
I watched a recent comedy show by the talented Lewis Black. During his appearance, he mentions that telling a joke about President Donald Trump isn’t funny anymore. Lewis went on to say that simple jokes have become toxic and divisive. There was a time where we could openly joke and speak without becoming a headline of misinterpreted hatred or labeled as discriminatory. This is where comedy and the ability to laugh has become a secret society or deemed not appropriate because it may affect someone. Folks, we must become a bit more thick-skinned than taking everything personal or literally. Humorous stories have been replaced with hurtful gossip and accusations where only the professional comedian is allowed to tell the joke; not before feeling the audience reaction. In some cases, the joke may be bleeped or edited for a broader audience. Based on that path we have censored laughter or regulated it. This is sad as an American in that should be living in a free speech world. Instead, our national comedic value has become an innuendo or suggestive setup where we are supposed to understand the punch without actually saying it.
Perhaps Joan Rivers was right to say we have become uptight assholes. Her brazen comedic talent was in your face like a therapist forcing a patient to deal with the core issue. George Carlin also tacked the same attitude values of comedy, Carlin pointed to nervous laughs because of how others may judge us. The point Carlin stressed, was to laugh and move past the problem. We have become ultra sensitive and critical of anything. Safe spaces do not facilitate or help to deal with issues. Safe spaces are no different than those suffering from PTSD that refuse to immerse themselves in situations. Therefore safe spaces only foster isolation and depressive behaviors.
It is time for us to laugh again and stop attempting the utopian society of false free expression. Naturally, there is a time and a place for humor, but sometimes it is best for us to relax a bit and become human rather than preprogrammed and neutral. You won’t find honesty in that value statement. If laughter is known as the best medicine, then we certainly have run out of supply or the ingredients to help heal the world.
Executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared today before Congress to discuss issues of possible Russian election interference. What I learned from that discussion was that internet providers are not as transparent as they claim to be. It has been a long-standing unwritten policy that the internet will not be controlled by anyone or any company. What we perceptively learned today was that the big internet giants have an interest in revenues and public image. Naturally, they do not wish to be labeled as “controllers of free speech.” But what about television, mail adverts or newspaper media flyers. They are regulated by many rules and regulations, and the deliverables of that particular irregularity or false product could be held liable for distribution not to mention investigators will be serving search warrants and filling up evidence boxes for later court dates. Such false advertising or false production is similar to snake oil pitches. Eventually, the salesman and the product can be banned and criminally charged if it causes harm.
The internet can be a dangerous place. It does have a unique mystique about it, and the data it collects and shares can be compared to a diamond mine depending on how one desires to implement a plan. But the internet today is not the porn hub central that once was deemed the 1990’s deviant playground. Today, the internet has become a part of our connected world with ala carte news and home appliance device connectivity. This is a differing contrast to European and foreign markets that protect user information. The internet has become dangerous because we have created conditions for it to be hazardous. Without fundamental enforceable law and boundaries, we have allowed the internet to be policed by not companies and people but instead analytics and software. This is not to imply a conspiracy theory of artificial intelligence taking over the world. Alternatively, the implication is that software is not human enough to determine what is real versus what is not. But to take that argument a bit further, many Americans have difficulty in distinguishing between fake or credible.
Based on that little snippet of discovery it will be hard-pressed for any prosecutor to effectively rule on the Russian election hacking issue. Not because of evidence, but because of the complexities of election laws differing across state lines and internet data servers that typically reside outside the United States as a form of redundancy and backup qualities. Let’s not mix up collusion with election tampering. Collusion is a secretive path to data where tampering is a physical adulteration of data. But I think it is equally important to ask tech giants to disclose to government or a branch of oversight how it maintains its secretive or propriety paths. For example, today I performed a random search of Kevin Spacey and Anthony Rapp separately. What I quickly discovered was that Spacey had all the press information while Rapp had similar linkage. There was not one negative search story about Rapp to include alternative viewpoints or discussions. Why? Is it that analytics immediately point to what is deemed credible or is it what tech giants want us to read?
Overall, it is very complicated, and any legal ramifications about internet tampering will ultimately set a new precedent of how we or others police credible data. Another question to ask ourselves “does metadata exclude opposite viewpoints on purpose because it deems them as false?” This would be the argument I would introduce because not one blog or publication raised issues with Rapp. I am not attempting to slam Rapp. I am only using this as a prime example of how information seems adulterated and selectively scrubbed while searching for it.
The bottom line is that tech giants have an agenda and we the people are its product. Naturally, there won’t be much transparency from tech giants because that would remove a large slice of income and data collection from its grasp. Google, Facebook, and Twitter currently monopolize our data where we do not own ourselves or our privacy any longer. Until someone breaks up the monopoly or peels back the onion of these companies, we will continue to witness distortion and snake oil pitches that seem all too real. Perhaps the internet and another nation adulterated our recent election by creating emotional harm. At what point will it become perilous where many people die or are harmed because the internet has succeeded credible standards seemingly no longer used because it’s not technical or high speed sufficient?
The recent barrage of sexual assault claims and allegations do nothing more than demonstrate how disproportionate the powerful are over the unknown. If this had been Joe Spacey and Mark Rapp from Anywhere, USA there would be a formal criminal investigation because little or no power is utilized. Anthony Rapp waited thirty years to come forward however allegedly told his friends and others about the encounter. Rapp is not sharing a story. Instead, he created a situation by using his status as power. This is no different from others that commit sexual assault and their quest for power or dominance; should that be the motive. Using a dangerous platform such as social media and networks to share a story rather than a professional therapist, doctor, or legal counsel is not a conversation. It is merely an attempt to seek power and reinforcement of control by others. Rapp seems to lose his credibility when he says he was the last person at the party watching TV in Spacey’s bedroom. I find it highly suspicious where any 14-year old seeks to spend time at a party by watching TV alone in a strangers bedroom. I am unsure what excuse Rapp told his parents about his whereabouts? However, I am sure there is another trail of lies and deception. Similar to the trick Rapp initiated by these almost seemingly “fresh” allegations.
There will always be a sexualized charged pop culture. The hordes of girls (and guys) waiting backstage at rock concerts of the past were almost a rite of passage. Band members, groupies, and stagehands were all equal participants in the sex scene. It still happens today. Data supports evidence that sexual curiosities are often peaked at events where high profile or famous people are. However, Hollywood is the first of a tumbling wall of skeletons in the closet and other entertainment or popularity based headliners will eventually be mentioned, accused, or investigated. What we are witnessing today is an adulteration or adaptation of the facts of past culture versus current culture allowing power and influence based on new policy or regulation. Kevin Spacey and others that perhaps made poor choices years ago are on public media trial today because others want or desire to abuse power based on their celebrity status or introductory profile. Surely others will throw their own spin of accusations with minor infraction but create major implications. However, the modern oligarchist society wants to identify behaviors from the past to rectify in the present based on power creating a false majority. If Rapp had a drunken man perform the same actions at an NYC subway station would the situation be immediately reported or thirty years later? Again, its nothing more than constructive abuse of power and a rush to absolute judgment. Our rush to judgment, especially about a past incident where no physical, sexual contact took place has become nothing more than the modern day Salem Trials where any form of mistake or interpretation endures no forgiveness or apologetic closure. If this had been nobody we had heard of then the story would have been shut down well before it began.
Sexual assault, rape culture, and other sexually driven motives should be a conversation on how to move forward. If there is a criminal element, then naturally there is a course to deal with that particular set of conditions. Instead, the conversation has turned into gang warfare tactics and hatred where only one side is doing all the yelling and finger-pointing. At what point do we return to the conversation which becomes an educational tool for all? As long as social media and unqualified social justice warriors shift the conversation to a single platform based on power, then free societies will become a presumption of guilt until proven innocent. Lives can quickly be destroyed at a whim of allegation or misinterpretation of the facts. That is not freedom and fails to follow in the footsteps of our ideals of “justice for all” standards. Let’s return to the discussion without the name calling. Let’s fix and discover ways to heal and educate everyone fairly and openly.
Raising a child in America ain’t cheap. Finding that high school babysitter or locating an accredited child care center may be similar to finding the right university. What can be similar is the cost of obtaining child care. A whopping $7,000 to $8,000 is the annual average cost of childcare in the North Carolina. The equates to nearly $690 a month for parents. When you add in the cost of housing, car payments, student loans, food, insurance, and a cell phone plan, it can make parenting not such a good idea.
What got us here at the cost of child care in the first place? The argument stands in overall quality. Daycare centers are nearly identical to a private academic standard. It embodies technology to entertain and enrich children. Daycare centers rely on the most qualified vetting system in America where applicants backgrounds are scrutinized at every corner to ensure the safety and welfare of the children.
Child care centers are almost fortress-like with security cameras, steel doors, fire, and carbon monoxide monitoring mixed with state of the art technology to provide parents peace of mind. Let us not forget about the cost of insurance that daycares must pay. Liability for any child is and will continually remain a vast bulk of overhead. From random food allergies to equipment FDA warning letters or recalls, child care centers must always have a vigilance stance. However, it is, we the public, that created that standard but
It is, we the public, that created that standard but doesn’t want to pay for the additional excess. This is perhaps why parents that cannot afford standardized day care continue to utilize “under the table” child services just to make ends meet. We live in a libelous nation with a social justice warrior attitude complaining about quality yet then complain when that outcome is met about the consequential effect. If you think childcare is expensive today just wait until child care employees begin demanding pay increases that level teaching or other professional services. Currently, child care professionals are drawing hourly pay at the minimum pay scale. However, that too will soon change as childcare will become a premium private regulated service.
I do not foresee childcare becoming a public need unless taxpayers are ready to begin transitioning elementary schools into daycares. I do expect childcare migrating into an Uber or Lyft related application as an alternative to saving money only to have it scrutinized or downplayed as ineffective or hurting licensed centers. It is just how America works.
I wanted to take this moment to personally say thank you to those of you that follow my blog. Honestly, writing each day has its challenges. Writing an opinion, for me, should create a bit of professionally minded controversy to get us talking about problems, situations, and sometimes hidden unspeakables that we are afraid to base our opinion on. I don’t intend to write to fuel the flames or to be compared to “shock jocks” in the media. Rather I write in hopes to provide a voice for the opposition or concerns from those that cannot seem to get in front of the microphone. It is my wish that others would blog more to foster a better understanding of one another without becoming overly emotional or critical of the writer. The focus should be the subject, and we should scrutinize it carefully not to silence each other, but to be heard equally, fairly, and open minded.
Many of you know that I am in graduate school at the University of South Dakota. Next week is spring break. I will take one week off beginning next week to have some much needed free time. I will return to my blogs on the following week. Again, thank you all, and I look forward to your comments and feedback.
I had an interesting debate with a coworker today about people that lie about sexual assaults. Many agencies that educate the public about sexual assaults naturally will advocate that sexual assaults should never be labeled as false accusations. In fact, these same advocacy groups suggest that sexual assault are extremely underreported, and all should be taken seriously. On the other hand, there are people out there that will lie about rape because they want to revenge, redemption, or redirection. We both agreed that the key to sexual assault was consent. But in America, we have 5o states, and each state has its own definition of consent or how it’s defined. Consent will continue to become difficult to prove because of its one person’s word against another, and the criteria of consent have varying interpretations.
When we think about sexual assault, we may be drawn to an immediate violent crime where a person is raped by force leaving bruises or other injuries. But that way of thinking has shifted in the current definition of sexual assault by a multitude of interpretations to include touching a sexual organ or part. But watch any television show or passionate movie, and it is doubtful that the instantaneous sex scenes will ever demonstrate either person giving consent and sometimes play a role of sexual battery or questionable touching. I mention this scenario because many situations where people are involved in sexual roles are often similar to what we see on the big screen or television. Our conversation discussed if pop culture is somewhat responsible for not providing a benefit of educating the public about acceptable consent methods. If we mix in the ambiguous definitions of each state law, then the debate will continue for eons. Sure, no means no and we should respect that limitation. But in some cases, consent suddenly becomes a no that was never mentioned or insinuated.
People don’t typically lie about sexual assault. The subject in the question is that some do and the number appears to be growing. I am not suggesting or diminishing the numbers that sexual assaults don’t occur. But finding accurate numbers with regards to false reportings can be a challenge. It would require data such as lie detection or counterclaimed physical evidence. The data that most rape advocacy groups utilize is based on studies that were completed between 1974 to 1986 which lists false reportings at 2%. But if you seek data from 1983 to 2004 then the number of false claims jump to 57% or higher. This information is provided from a 2006 paper by Philip N.S. Rumney in the Cambridge Law Journal. It demonstrates that there is a plausible argument that people do lie about sexual assaults or rape which is a disturbing trend.
But why would anyone want to lie about sexual assault? Is it because they regret what they did and want to turn back the clock as if it didn’t occur? But why would sexual assault advocate groups and law enforcement lie or mislead courts, schools, and the public about data the clearly shows a pattern of false allegations? The topic is very sophisticated and ultra sensitive to grasp. People do lie on both sides and now is the time to introduce stiffer penalties for false police reporting and perjury in court. I fear that the future of sexual relations may be filled with smartphone recordings and sex tapes galore to reduce the burdens of rape accusations. The future of courtrooms juries will become a porn-like atmosphere where sex tapes will be viewed as evidence to either prosecute or reject a sex claim. Even with DNA forensics, the courts are filled with political agendas and elected prosecutors and judges. They too have an agenda to win cases to be reelected. We should place more emphasis on the truth and balanced investigation so that we are not revisiting an innocence panel twenty years from now and paying out outrageous sums because of shotty investigations, weak data, and emotional leverage inside the courtroom.
Perhaps it is safe to say we should return to a moral conscience society where we are careful not to place ourselves in situations where vulnerability could take place. Equally, there should be basic respect that individuals don’t benefit from a situation because the conditions are favorable. But we don’t live in a perfect world. However, we shouldn’t be adding to the imperfections to create falsehoods well after the fact. It’s one thing to have a credible case but another where the credibility is clouded and vague. Those that lie about sexual assault only hurt those victims of other sexual assaults and rapes. It makes our society suspicious and apprehensive especially in a time where adults should be reduced based on education and community information. But states should also take a moment to properly codify and streamline consent and federalize sex crimes so that education is improved and reduces the mixed definitions of assault.