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Use-Mention distinction fading; Idiocracy ascendant

Uploaded: Jul 21, 2018
Failures to make this distinction can have substantial real-world consequences, damaging reputations and lives. Yet in even the simplest cases of this aspect of basic journalism, the national "news" media can't seem to be bothered to get right even simple, obvious cases.

I expect that most, if not all, of my readers know what the ^Use-Mention Distinction^ is, but that many don't know the name. So what is it? It allows us to talk about words and how they are being used. The proofreader might say "You spelled 'incorrectly' incorrectly." The first instance of "incorrectly" is a mention of the word and the second instance is a use of the word. In a game of Scrabble, you could truthfully say "Chris has four letters" (letters = tiles). But it would be false to say " 'Chris' has four letters" (letters = characters) because it has five (witness "it", not "he" or "she").

The Use-Mention Distinction is analogous to your making a statement versus your quoting someone else's statement. However, some argue that they are separate subcases of a larger phenomenon. This has a long and contentious history in field of Formal Philosophy -- disagreement being the bread-and-butter of philosophy. But I am not going to plunge you into this.

This distinction also occurs in computer programming, and that may provide better intuitions, as well as additional motivation for being sensitive to the distinction. A variable can be used in multiple places in the program (a piece of text). In some places it is used for setting (changing) its value; in others, getting the current value. In algebra equations, variables have no physical existence, and they can be regarded similarly in many computer programs. However, this is an abstraction away from reality because a variable in a program is a name (mention) for a location in the computer's memory, one that holds the (current) value for the variable. Good programming practice is to minimize the section of the program that knows of the variable. However, sometimes the programmer needs to have a few other sections of the program have access to that variable's value, so he passes to those sections a reference to that memory location -- the memory location now has difference references (names or mentions) in different places in the program. An analogy is that if John is inviting people to a party at his house, "my house" is appropriate for those who have already been there, but a street address will be needed by others.

The Use-Mention Distinction is relatively easy when there is only a single level, but it can get complicated when there are multiple levels of references (names). One major category of errors in computer programs is the failure to turn a mention into a use (called de-referencing), and "modern" computer programming languages have been designed to minimize the opportunities for the programmer to create those error-prone circumstances. But I digress.
Aside: I wanted to be able to say that that this was starting you "down the rabbit hole", but it is only "Through the Looking-Glass".(foot#1)

----Substantial real-world problems----

To avoid triggering readers who don't understand the Use-Mention Distinction, for the purpose of discussion here (including comments) let me posit that the Undead regard the word "vampire" to be a slur. Because even mention of this word creates outrage, the word has been given a name, the "v-word". However, in some private discussions about what to do when the word "vampire" occurs in existing and new literature, some people don't say "v-word" but instead used "vampire" directly. This is then falsely reported as them having "used" the slur.

Part of my doctoral thesis work was in this area, so failures to make the distinction register much more strongly with me than with most people. What triggered this blog was two recent occurrences in major news stories. The most recent involved Papa John's founder, John Schnatter. Even though the original story made it clear that he had only mentioned the slur in a discussion of policy, the headlines in that and all derived stories falsely asserted that he had used the slur.(foot#2) He resigned or was removed. The details are irrelevant here, especially since there appears to be a lot that is not publicly known or disputed.

I expect corporations to take the easy path when faced with the "Outrage Machine", but there have been a few that stood up for principles and for the falsely accused. The big disappointment was that the University of Louisville also immediately caved in, seeing him resign from the Board of Trustees and removing names from several buildings. I would like to be able to expect universities to stand up for principles: Part of the social contract with universities was for them to host a pool of experts who could be relied upon to provide that expertise to public debates. Academic Freedom for faculty provides a layer of protection for when pressure is put on the university administration. Unfortunately, today when I see professors in public debates, my initial reaction is that they are not offering any expertise, but are merely corporate shills or advocates for some political or other interest group.

A recent similar incident where Netflix fired its Chief Communications Officer for mentioning a certain word in discussions of policy about the use of that word. Again, the news media falsely reported him as having used the slur.(foot#3) What I found remarkable about this incident was that while various Netflix products actually uses the slur, which is acceptable to them, but a mere mention isn't. Logically, it should be the reverse.

This blog's title starts "Use-Mention Distinction fading" because of an incident back in November 2015. A class of graduate students in the Communications Studies Department at Kansas University either didn't respect or didn't understand the Use-Mention Distinction. There had been a major demonstration at another university (U. Missouri) and a townhall meeting at KU, and a professor was having a discussion with her graduate Communications class about how to talk about such events. I infer from the articles that a student claimed that s/he saw a certain racial slur on buildings around campus, and the professor responded that she hadn't seen such slurs on their campus, mentioning the word itself rather than using the euphemistic name for the word. Outrage ensured and the grad students wrote an open letter calling for her firing. The letter included other claims against her, but her mention of the slur seems to be the primary point, and my reading between the lines suggests that the real issue was her asking for examples/evidence of claims being made by the students. She was placed on paid leave and eventually cleared, but the University subsequently decided not to renew her employment contract. As expected, the media falsely claimed throughout that she had "used" the slur. What I found remarkable is that no one commented that the students' Open Letter also contained a mention of that word. By the students' own standard -- that such warranted firing the professor -- they should have been expelled.(foot#4)

Declared to be off-topic: Since the mention of a word is logically equivalent to using a name for that word, one might reasonable expect that there would be no different reaction to the two variations. I know of no research why there is such a difference in this case, possibly because it would be hard to design practical experiments to explore it. Since any discussion would involve speculation and personal experience and not discussable facts, I have declared this question to be off-topic (comments will be deleted).

----Context doesn't matter----

The late, great comedian George Carlin had a bit where he uttered a long sequence of words that could be used as slurs in order to make the point that such words needed context to be offensive.(foot#5) Distressingly, this is no longer true. In the incident involving the Papa John's founder (above), part of his apology was "Regardless of the context, I apologize.".

In an earlier blog, I wrote of the Nazi Pug case in Scotland where the court explicitly rejected that context matters and intent matters and convicted a comedian. And this was far from an isolated case in the UK.(foot#6)

Ignoring context causing legitimate posting to be banned happens so frequently on social media that I don't bother to archive the really good examples -- I can easily find enough with simple web search.(foot#7)

----Idiocracy: Rule (government) by idiots----

"^Idiocracy^" is a 2006 movie set in a future where the intelligence of the population has progressively descending into actual idiocy over the centuries. Inspired by "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king", the script injects into this situation two people of normal intelligence from our present times.
Please, no disparaging comments or banter about this -- the reference is to inspire thought. And don't use "idiot" as an insult.

In the novel ^1984^, "^Newspeak^" was the incremental dumbing down of language to limit what people could talk about, including eliminating aspects needed for discussion of complex thoughts.


The Use-Mention Distinction may appear to be a minor technicality, but it is one of a increasing number of basic journalism skills that I no longer expect to find in the national "news" media. As part of an earlier blog, I discussed experiences that lowered my expectations of journalists,(foot#8) but those expectations continue to decline.

Most of us are too far removed from the media giants to have much impact. The best you can do is read more critically and point out good examples to friends. The rising alternative news media is a potential option, but the Internet giants are issuing policies that prioritize the large, corporate sites. They claim that this is to address the problem of fake news, but those favored sites are prime purveyors of fake news and not held accountable by the policies. If you have personal connections to people who work at the Internet giants -- Facebook, Google/YouTube, Twitter, ... -- you might mention this to them in case such input somehow filters up to their policy makers.

1. Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
is a 1871 novel by Oxford University Mathematician and Logician ^Charles Dodgson^ writing under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. The problem of names and names of names appears in Chapter 8:
The White Knight said "... The name of the song is called 'Haddocks' Eyes.' "
"Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?" Alice said, trying to feel interested.
"No, you don't understand," the Knight said, looking a little vexed. "That's what the name is called. The name really is 'The Aged Aged Man.' "
"Then I ought to have said 'That's what the song is called' ?" Alice corrected herself.
"No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The song is called 'Ways And Means' : but that's only what it's called, you know!"
"Well, what is the song, then?" said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.
"I was coming to that," the Knight said. "The song really is 'A-sitting On A Gate' : and the tune's my own invention."

Untangling this:
- The song is "A-sitting on a Gate".
- The song is called "Ways and Means" -- its commonly used name.
- The song's name is "The Aged Aged Man" -- its title, that is, its official name (presumably little used or unused)
- The song's name is called "Haddocks' Eyes" -- the common name of its title / official name. Don't ask why the text -- a string of characters -- that is the title would need a name.
I think this passage is slightly wrong: The song is what is sung, so "A-sitting on a Gate" a reference to the song, which would imply that it and "Ways and Means" and "The Aged Aged Man" would each be ways of referring to the song. However, in Lewis Carroll's time, one couldn't include the performance of a song in a document, so I regard this "error" as a knowing fudge to accommodate that limitation.

2. Papa John's incident:
Original story: ^Papa John's Founder Used N-Word On Conference Call^ by Noah Kirsch - Forbes, 2018-07-11. Web search will find similar headlines in major news outlets.

3. Netflix slur incident:
Example headline (and article) (paywall): ^Netflix Fires Chief Communications Officer Over Use of Racial Slur^ - NY Times, 2018-06-22.

4. Kansas U and mention of slur:
- ^An Open Letter Calling for the Termination of Dr. Andrea Quenette for Racial Discrimination^ - archived version of article at Medium?.
- Original story from which other coverage is derived?: ^KU professor who used n-word in class discussion is placed on leave^ - Lawrence Journal-World (Kansas), 2015-11-20. "Andrea Quenette has been criticized on social media and now faces formal discrimination complaint."
Example news coverage:
- ^Kansas professor under investigation for using racial slur that left students "in tears"^ - The Washington Post, 2015-11-23. "I was incredibly shocked" a black KU grad student said. "Before I left the classroom, I was in tears.".
- ^Kansas professor who used racial slur in class is cleared of wrongdoing^ - The Washington Post, 2016-03-20. "Andrea Quennete, who used the 'n-word' and upset several students, plans to return to a University of Kansas classroom."

- ^Kansas professor on leave after using racial slur in class^ - The Washington Post, 2015-11-21. "A white University of Kansas professor is on paid leave after using a racial slur during a class discussion about race."
- ^KU is terminating professor who used N-word in class^ - The Kansas City Star, 2016-05-25.

5. George Carlin performance:
This performance can be found on the web, and especially on YouTube, with the title "They're Only Words", or you can do a web search for "george carlin slurs context".

6. Scotland: context doesn't matter:
My blog "^Mocking Nazis is a crime in Britain: Free Speech #1^", 2018-05-01.

7. Banned regardless of context:
"^Why is Instagram Censoring a 1992 poem revered by the LGBTQ community?^" - Quartz?, 2018-01-26.

8. Earlier blog: low expectations of journalists:
^This time we're not lying. HONEST! No, really!^, 2018-01-19. Non-clickbait headline: "Highly partisan media, the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect & examples from my history".

An ^abbreviated index by topic and chronologically^ is available.

----Boilerplate on Commenting----
The ^Guidelines^ for comments on this blog are different from those on Town Square Forums. I am attempting to foster more civility and substantive comments by deleting violations of the guidelines.

I am particularly strict about misrepresenting what others have said (me or other commenters). If I judge your comment as likely to provoke a response of "That is not what was said", do not be surprised to have it deleted. My primary goal is to avoid unnecessary and undesirable back-and-forth, but such misrepresentations also indicate that the author is unwilling/unable to participate in a meaningful, respectful conversation on the topic.
A slur is not an argument. Neither are other forms of vilification of other participants.

If you behave like a ^Troll^, do not waste your time protesting when you get treated like one.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 7:03 am

The MSM's constant use of the phrase "Russian election meddling" is a perfect example of this. Russia hacked into the DNC server because of the Dem's inferior cybersecurity. They meddled in the DNC campaign, they didn't meddle in the election. They didn't mind control Americans to pull the lever for one candidate over another.

But the MSM's word usage is a naked attempt to propagandize that Russian hacking is the only reason Trump won. They are calling it an "attack on America". How did we get from "meddling" to "attack".
It really is an effort -- using the lawyerly twisting of words and misinterpretative
meaning -- to disenfranchise all the people who voted for Trump.
Get a fresh charismatic candidate for 2020 or work on abolishing the electoral college.
But please stop with dishonesty.

Posted by add-on, a resident of Woodside,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 9:21 am

"They meddled in the DNC campaign, they didn't meddle in the election."

Factually incorrect, according to court documents. According to the latest round of indictments, they hacked/stole one campaign's property, and gave it to the other campaign. Specific to the indictments - analytics. They also ran a marketing campaign on Facebook and other social media based on much of those 'analytics'. That goes beyond one campaign and well into the sphere of 'election'.

"They are calling it an "attack on America""

The same round of indictments were against 12 Russian military officers, from the GRU. You prefer to call a Russian military operation only "meddling" over what is properly referred to as an "attack"? That's quite the stretch.

"But please stop with dishonesty."


Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 12:55 pm

"Even though the original story made it clear that [Papa John's founder, John Schnatter] had only mentioned the slur in a discussion of policy, the headlines in that and all derived stories falsely asserted that he had used the slur."

"Netflix fired its Chief Communications Officer for mentioning a certain word in discussions of policy about the use of that word. Again, the news media falsely reported him as having used the slur."

"the University subsequently decided not to renew [a professor's] employment contract. . . the media falsely claimed throughout that she had "used" the slur."

Maybe I'm missing something, but why didn't you mention libel law? US tradition and statutes hold an individual's reputation to be both valuable and fragile, such that someone negligently publishing claims about a person that are both factually false and damaging can be made to pay compensation. There is greater latitude for widely-known public figures, but surely that doesn't describe all three people cited above. You asserted there (I haven't checked the publicity, I'm going from your statements) exactly such false claims on the part of news media. Which presumably entail some deep pockets (proven lawyer-bait) -- so where are the logically ensuing actions for libel?

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> "why didn't you mention libel law?"

Although the headline and bulk of these stories claim that the slur was used, if you carefully read the whole story, you should recognize that it was only a mention. Although psychology research tells us that most people will take away that the slur was used, my observation is that the courts will decide that the buried "clarification" is enough to "disprove" libel. Caveat: I am not a lawyer.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: comments by Resident and add-on

While the underlying topic -- how to categorize what the Russians did -- is an example relevant to this topic, I would request that commenters attempt to abstract out the partisan advocacy.

For example, the media has shown incredible historical illiteracy about this topic (more idiocracy ascendant). Some media reports have included minimal acknowledgements that the US has "meddled" in other countries elections, but without details, and that foreign countries have long "meddled" in US politics.

I am not trying to defend or excuse what Russia did. Instead, I am trying to bring a historical perspective to what we need to expect to occur. Expending energy in outrage over what we cannot change diverts from investing it in making changes that will better protect us next time.

During WW1, the British ran a brilliant campaign to get the US to enter the war on their side. For example, in their propaganda about German atrocities they gave particular emphasize to those against the Catholic Church, especially nuns. The result was that Irish-Americans, who would have been expected to be anti-British, became strong supporters of intervening against the Germans. The Zimmerman Telegram could be seen as analogous to the DNC hack.

Again during WW2, the British had a massive propaganda operation in the US, playing a significant role in reducing isolationism and making a Germany-first policy acceptable (instead of a Japan-first response to Pearl Harbor).

In 1968, South Vietnam and Taiwan worked to influence the US Presidential election in favor of Richard Nixon.

Israel was long been active in influencing US elections, with the most clear cut instance in the 2012 Presidential election when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in every sense except saying it was an official endorsement.

Then there are all the countries that have funneled money to candidates in US elections.


The US has a long history of interference in other countries electoral politics. For analogies to the Russian meddling, ignore direct interventions and actions in client states (such as South Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq).

Yesterday's NY Times opinion piece The Essay That Helped Bring Down the Soviet Union by Natan Sharansky is a reminder of the essay 50 years ago by Andrei Sakharov that argued for people in open societies to fight for those in closed societies. During the Gerald Ford presidency, the US began a policy of supporting dissidents in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union. President Jimmy Carter focused on Latin America, creating a wave of democracies there -- it was said that his administration kept the pro-democracy leaders out of jail long enough to build movements strong enough to stand against the reactionary forces.

Putin has long complained that US support for pro-democracy groups within Russia constitutes support for opposition groups, which is the US meddling in Russian electoral politics. Russian and multiple other countries have clamped down on such groups, including expelling US citizens supporting their operations.

Repeating: I am not trying to defend or excuse what Russia did. Instead, I am trying to bring a historical perspective to what we need to expect to occur. Expending energy in outrage over what we cannot change diverts from investing it in making changes that will better protect us next time.

Posted by add-on, a resident of Woodside,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 3:24 pm

"attempt to abstract out the partisan advocacy"

Highlighting the facts laid out in the indictments about Russian military involvement is partisan advocacy?
[[Blogger: An indictment is untested claims. In Texas there is a saying that a prosecutor can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich.]]

Allow me to posit:
- "support for pro-democracy groups within Russia" (if true) might well be interpreted as meddling.
- action by military officers against another nation is not *meddling*, by any reasonable definition.
[[Blogger: Other countries have *claimed* that the US support for pro-democracy groups is a CIA operation. For the sake of argument, let's assume that that is true. Is there any real difference between actions taken by a civilian intelligence agency and a military one? If the GRU hackers had been civilian employees rather than members of the military, would that have made any difference in how to regard their actions?
These are the sort of distinctions, or lack thereof, missing from the current media coverage and the debate. Discouraging.

I concur with your desire for this blog to not expend energy in outrage, as it's purpose is to discuss language. Yet the first poster purposefully misstates fact - is that not against the point of most of your blogs?

"They meddled in the DNC campaign, they didn't meddle in the election" is a falsehood on many levels, proven with court documents and declarations.
[[Blogger: Since you replied to the first comment before I saw either, I retained it as the correction.]]

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 3:55 pm

[[Blogger: removed as being only partisanship about the situation. If you are interested in such arguments, they are easy to find in the national media.]]

I don't want to get too partisan, Doug, but the entire nature of what's going in is 100 percent partisan so its impossible to be scientifically objective because that is not politics.

[[Blogger: It *is* possible to abstract away, and it is a useful skill to have.
The media behavior in these circumstances could be used as examples of "Agenda Setting" or "Cultivation Theory". Or it could be media being crassly commercial - shaping their stories to get them the most clicks. Or targeting them at demographics that are the most likely to "Share" the article. Or...

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 4:08 pm

[[Blogger: removed as partisanship.]]

Also I am really annoyed with the overusage of the word "fact" because you heard something on CNN about "court documents". You didn't see them, you didn't read them yourself, you weren't there, you have zero evidence to claim that anything is "fact".

Posted by Military intelligence, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 5:56 pm

[[Blogger: Deleted. Off-topic. Another person who illustrated the problem using a relative of the Use-Mention Distinction: He apparently can't distinguish partisan back-and-forth from the meta-discussion of how issues can be discussed.

Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 6:40 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Since when is support for pro democracy groups in an authoritarian regime the equivalent of an authoritarian regime interfering in democratic elections of another nation through computer hacking of one, not both political parties, and the spreading of false information designed to ensure the win of one party over the other?

Has the blogger paused for one moment to wonder if Russia went all out to ensure that Trump won the elections because it has a hold on him, and his election would be an unprecedented bonanza for Russia?

Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American analysts for the NSA, transferred back in the 1980s top secrets to Israel, considered one of our main allies, yet was sentenced to life in federal prison. Despite persistent pleads from Israeli advocates, the US has refused to pardon him and he is still serving a life sentence in a federal prison. How is meddling in our elections by Putin's agents, labeled as anything but warfare.

By all account, Trump and surrogates invited that warfare. How can they be considered as anything but traitors?

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> "Since when is support for pro democracy groups in an authoritarian regime the equivalent of an authoritarian regime interfering in democratic elections of another nation through computer hacking..."

It could be argued that the Russian hack of the DNC was a pro-democracy operation: They released emails showing that the DNC was rigging the primaries in favor of Clinton.

I am trying to get people to think pragmatically and consider multiple perspectives, and not simply represent tribal impulses ("Us good; them evil").

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 7:06 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> " hacking of one, not both political parties"

Again. This falsely assumes that both parties were equally vulnerable. Both parties were warned of the threat. Reportedly, the Democrats ignored it while the Republicans paid attention.

Additionally, the DNC seems to hire based on "identity" and diversity. After the election, the DNC had an opening for a computer security specialist that went out with the caveat that White male applicants were not welcome. There is an extreme shortage of qualified computer security personnel and excluding a very large portion of them virtually ensures that you will hire a lesser qualified person (basic probabilities).

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> "if Russia went all out to ensure that Trump won the elections because it has a hold on him"

The antecedent is false, but in this case I don't blame the media. It has been well reported that during the general election that some of what the Russians did could favor Trump, some might favor Clinton, and some that aimed to create non-partisan discord. In total, sowing civil discord might well have favored Trump.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> "Jonathan Pollard ... the US has refused to pardon him"

Pollard was pardoned by Obama and released 20 November 2015.

> "transferred back in the 1980s top secrets to Israel"

Pollard admitted spying for other (unnamed) countries.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 7:45 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> "By all account, Trump and surrogates invited" the hacking.

This is a good example of why one shouldn't trust the media, but check the primary sources, which we are now fortunate to have thanks to the Internet.

This claim is based upon a press conference by Trump on 27 July 2016 (during the Democratic National Convention) in Miami: C-SPAN video
I listened to this because I had noticed the logical problem in the media claims. Because I worked in computer security, stories about this are more likely to trigger my curiosity.

Trump is not inviting the Russian to hack Clinton to find the missing emails because the Clinton team had testified under oath multiple times that the emails had already been deleted. You can't find something that no longer exists.

Instead, Trump seems to be pointing out that Clinton may have already been hacked by the Russians and mocking her by suggesting that the Russians hand over those emails to the media (just as recently been done via Wikileaks for the DNC emails).

However, media bias is such that they reversed what Trump said and excerpt it to hide the problem in the logic.


If you are interested in what was actually said, but want to read, rather than listen to, the relevant portion of the press conference, the below is from the automatically generated transcript (with a few corrections by me). Recognize that Trump's presentations tend to wander ..., but I think I got the relevant context (plus some extra).

@5:09: (Inaudible question from press). Trump: It's just a total deflection, this whole thing with Russia. In fact, I saw her campaign manager, I don't know his title, Mook? I saw him on television and they asked him about Russia and the hacking. By the way, they hacked. They probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted, because you would see some beauties there. So let's see. But I watched this guy Mook and he talked about, we think it was Russia that hacked. Now first of all, it is what was said on those is so bad, but he ...

@10:58: (Inaudible question). Trump: I'm not going to tell Putin what to do. Why should I tell Putin what to do? He did something today where he said don't blame them essentially for your incompetence. Let me tell you something. It's not even about Russia, China or whoever it is that is doing the hacking.
It was about the things that were said in those emails. They were terrible things. Talking about Jewish. Talking about race. Talking about atheists. Trying to pin labels on people. What was said was a disgrace.

And it was Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And believe me -- as sure as you are sitting there -- Hillary Clinton knew about it. She knew everything. Debbie Wasserman Schultz could not breathe without speaking and getting approval from Hillary Clinton. Couldn't breathe. And you saw that.

And it showed that it was a fixed race, but I have been saying that long before I saw the emails. It was a rigged race, totally rigged. And Debbie Wasserman Schultz rigged it for Hillary Clinton.
And the sad part is Bernie Sanders has -- to use an old word that I use on occasion -- he's lost his energy. He wants to go home and go to sleep. But he's got a lot of people that walked out last night. Now, hundreds of people walked out of the Democrat National Convention last night.

I didn't even hear about it. Nobody showed it. I didn't see it on television. You people don't talk about it.

The Republican Convention was incredible. I hear I had one of the biggest bounces in decades. Like some people are saying nine points. In fact, a poll came out just 10 minutes ago, Los Angeles Times, Trump 47, Clinton 40. And the reason is that people are sick and tired of Hillary Clinton.

(Inaudible question). Trump: What do I have to get involved with Putin for? I have nothing to do with Putin? I have never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him, other than he will respect me. He doesn't respect our President.

And if it is Russia, which is probably not. Nobody knows who it is. But if it is Russia, it's really bad for a different reason. Because it shows how little respect they have for our country, when they would hack into a major party, and get everything.

But it would be interesting to see. I will tell you this: Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens.

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 10:58 pm

"Trump seems to be pointing out that Clinton may have already been hacked by the Russians and mocking her by suggesting that the Russians hand over those emails to the media ... .
@5:09: (Inaudible question from press). Trump: It's just a total deflection, this whole thing with Russia. In fact, I saw her campaign manager, I don't know his title, Mook? I saw him on television and they asked him about Russia and the hacking. By the way, they hacked. They probably have her 33,000 emails."

If one believes Trump (and there exist naive souls that do), he knew that Clinton had already been hacked, not that she *may* have been hacked.

And this discussion seems to be veering off topic, Mr. Moderator. Regarding the stated topic, everyone is much too sensitive today. Like our prezz. It's that simple.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 21, 2018 at 11:33 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Curmudgeon

While this has wandered from the initial topic, I am letting it go as long as it is related to critical reading, and accurate writing, about events. And I am trying to pull the thread back into that topic area.

1. Mook was talking about the DNC hack, not about any possible hack of Clinton's server (web search "mook russian hacking": Mook suggests Russians leaked DNC emails to help Trump).
Commonsense: The Clinton team had and continued to insist that the Clinton server had not been hacked, so that should have eliminated any remaining ambiguity.

2. This misrepresents Trump's statement of "probably" as certainty. Given Trump's propensity for gross exaggeration, my inclination is to interpret this "probably" as "possibly" or even "not impossible".

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 22, 2018 at 12:46 pm

"2. This misrepresents Trump's statement of "probably" as certainty. Given Trump's propensity for gross exaggeration, my inclination is to interpret this "probably" as "possibly" or even "not impossible"."

You are way over-interpreting Trump. He lives and speaks only in the moment, no planning or analysis or symantical parsing. Take him strictly literally, and you will have a correct snapshot every time.

Posted by Dan, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 23, 2018 at 10:03 am

I don't think this loss of distinction has been entirely accidental ... it is an intentional choice to obscure the distinction in the environment where people have short attention spans, seek out only views with which they align, and news as entertainment has so many sources that each needs to scream out to attract enough attention to remain a viable business. Unless a miracle occurs, I don't think that this will change once Trump is out of office. It really started back in Bill Clinton's presidency.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 27, 2018 at 12:18 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

I thought you were going to use the " Humpty Dumpty " discussion with Alice, that would " cut to the quick " on this discussion. I take it that you actually watched the movie. The Lead,Follow discussion is down to the root and cure message for the change of no thought or GROUPTHINK of the State of Idiocracy. I have read 1984 and Animal Farm; 1984 was written in 1948 and depicted our future, hence 1984. Many of the aspcts have come to pass. The same for Animal Farm.

Real programmers use Assembly Code. Lazy programmers use easy other types of compilers used in higher level languages. I had an IMSAI 8080 that required a front panel boot up using zero one switches IE BINARY. No BIOS yet, you just gave the binary command to load a mag tape $$$ or floppy disk $.

You Must use EXACT binary code to make operations work. No deviations allowed.
Next step up hexadecimal " language " representing banks of the binary switches. You still have to enter switches but in banks of four for each hexidecimal " word " 16 switch positions possible in one bank of 4 switches. You still have to be EXACT or nothing happens.

Now we can get to some sloppiness: Assembly code. Here you can start seeing NO OP Problems and work-arounds to those errors. Why not just fix the computer problems than entering more code fixes? That is why a print out of the code is so long; all of the problems and work-arounds to those problems get printed out. No one stops a programmer to fix the problem because many programmers get a GOD complex and and the boss as a working program, which is the only thing he cares about. My Test Engineer job was to confrnt these types of programmers " Why "? These programmers cannot BS me, because I know the basic languages a computer/processors use. ( yes I have taken communication courses at SJSU ). This comment boils down to the exact things a computer must have to operate and how sloppy programming gets in, just like in language/speech. Also get into noise levels and communication. Too much external noise, no communication.

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