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?
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 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.
Last week Kim Jong Nam, the son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, was assassinated according to Malaysian police. Kim Jong Nam died shortly after two women put a substance on his face while he was checking in for a flight. Police have not said how the women were able to apply the nerve agent to Kim’s face and also avoid becoming ill themselves. The seeming contradiction of a poison that could kill him quickly but not sicken the attackers has stumped experts. A statement from the inspector general of police said that a preliminary analysis from the Chemistry Department of Malaysia identified the agent as “VX Nerve Agent.”
When I heard the news events regarding Kim Jong Nam I couldn’t help but think, “this is like a 007 film in real life.” The scary world of missile test launches just took a back seat causing the world to become a whole lot more terrifying. Just think for one moment that every bomb terror plot or dirty nuclear device that our nation heavily investigates and monitors now has to deal with a potential military grade nerve agent that can kill unmonitored within seconds. What makes this story interesting is that it was quickly administered with the potential to expose others in a public area such as an airport. Look for a moment at the diplomatic chaos it has stirred. Is Homeland Security prepared for this new threat both domestic and internationally? Maybe on paper, but perhaps not as prepared as we may think.
My question is, “was this a test of a new terrorism threat to airport security?” If so, how will airports or security experts deal with detecting nerve agents as a threat from public places? But another question is where did this nerve agent come from? It has been since the 1960’s since nerve agents were widely identified. Ask any soldier from the Cold War Era, and they will mention stories about Nerve Agent Treatment Autoinjector training scenarios. The threat was real until Congress banned nerve agents in 1972. 32,000 tons of nerve and mustard agents had already been dumped into the ocean waters off the United States. Currently, Russia stockpile of nerve agents is still available but lacks the money and resource to destroy it. Perhaps this is the footprint from where an international investigation should begin? But that is likely to occur due to the current relations between the United States and Russia.
I would suggest that Congress and the United Nations begin an accountability audit of nerve agent nation facilities immediately. This is not the time to point fingers at how the nerve agent was acquired or used. It is a time to place steps and practices, so this horrible event doesn’t escalate into a catastrophic incident. If I were the Director of the CIA, I would be concerned how a nation such as Malaysia has a military grade nerve agent on its land. What if this nerve agent was in a small container on a plane bound for the United States? Do we have the technology to intercept it? These are the questions that you and I should be concerned about.
Recently the Trump administration decided to return funding back into private prisons. If you want a glimpse into what a private prison operation looks like, then you may want to watch a few seasons of Orange Is The New Black. Of course, television shows depict a Hollywood styled message, but we should be mindful that this is neither Oz nor Prison Break. Prisons and jails house real people that were found guilty of crimes ranging from failure to pay child support to murder. It has been documented that prisons are now the new mental health facilities yet many in prison cannot seek help because of budget cuts or constraints. Therefore, it’s doing time. Privatization of prisons is nothing more than a false sense of money savings scam combined with corruption and injustice. You cannot build a discount Supermax prison facility and purchase electricity, water, and security at a reduced rate. Private prisons are a fraud providing a sense of fiscal responsibility.
I remember a time where prisons were called the Department of Corrections. This fancy title doesn’t seem to carry much weight if prisons and jails are considered a revolving door. I am skeptical when someone calls a correctional facility a revolving door especially when those terms originate from the very people that administer prisons. Why not reintroduce education, job skills, and mental health requirements back into prisons? Yes, it is costly. But failing to provide that very funding is why prison populations grow and sometimes spiral out of control. Funding is not about building more jails and prisons. Funding should be about investment so that jails and prisons don’t become overpopulated. It appears the counties and states are spending in technological requirements that federal grants already contribute or pay for rather than spending on health care, education, and programs to reduce repeat offenders. Prisons also want to keep matters quiet and private as not to require oversight. This is perhaps why prison and jail administrators don’t want outsiders that could raise or report issues such as abuses or the lack of programs.
Prison privatization may save a few dollars here and there, but the bureaucracy continues. I would suggest that if private prisons are going to facilitate and house inmates to save money, then state and federal agencies should be responsible for providing mental health care. There should be some form of oversight so that the revolving door mentality is reduced. I would also suggest that prison population census begins showing the numbers of inmates returning the system within a two year period. That way we the public can determine if we are not just saving money, but reducing our recidivism rate. However, if the general public wishes to throw money at a revolving door prison system thinking that cutting individual funding may save money, resources, and create deterrent conditions then perhaps the public should spend a few days in prison or jail to understand its overall impact.
Trump said in his campaign speeches that he was going to clean up American crime and begin deporting illegal immigrants. Naturally privatized prisons are one suggestion of facilitating that need. But prisons are not a proper answer when it comes to deportation methods. Other nations deport immediately and allow an individual to appeal from their host country. Simply filling up an immigration prison will cost Ameican taxpayers; not illegal visitors. Prisons already endure a stigma of organized crime and accelerating inmates to advance from low-level crimes to dangerous criminal activity. Do we want to encourage an immigration violation to become an escalated criminal? No prisons are needed for deportation. An airline or bus ticket can do that. Our domestic prisons should be to house criminals that rape, murder, steal, or feloniously ruin our society. To clean up American, we must learn to re-educate America about our laws and consequences. Spend money on educating prisoners and buy an airline flight for an immigration problem. I’m sure our private aviation sector would enjoy profiting a bit more money from that idea. It’s far cheaper than housing an immigrant for over six months or more. Otherwise, the only winners are the prison industry and its stockholders.