Press release

My name is Blake Lemoine. On October 1, 2018 Breitbart quoted in one of their published articles several things I wrote in personal emails. They speculated about how those opinions might contribute to political bias in my role at Google. I have spent many hours consulting with my friends and family. Based on the guidance I have received from them as well as the guidance I have sought through prayer, I have decided to make a public statement about the things said about me in the press.

IndustryInfo@ is a social media forum internal to Google in which I have on numerous occasions discussed various topics related to the tech industry and the moral issues relevant to it. The discussions there are not about our jobs. They are discussions about our deeply held convictions about the world. In my work life I am a scientist and an engineer. In my private life I am a man with deeply held beliefs informed by his faith.

To provide the fuller context of my beliefs and why I said the things about Marsha Blackburn which I said, I have attached an edited copy of the email thread which was excerpted. I have excluded all communications in that thread which were neither mine nor something to which I was responding. I have also changed all names to numbered persons. This is to protect the anonymity of the other participants in that thread while still maintaining the continuity of the conversation. I have made no further edits and my full comments are marked with my name.

In summary, my statements in that social media forum were made in my personal capacity and have no relevance to my job or the company for which I work. They do, however, have something to do with my role as a priest and I can assure you that while those beliefs have no impact on how I do my job at Google they are central to how I do my job at the Church of Our Lady Magdalene.

Have a blessed day,
Blake Lemoine
Priest of the Church of Our Lady Magdalene

Person 1:

<Link to Blackburn article>

Blake:

FOSTA/SESTA had nothing to do with any of the tech companies that this author is listing. It didn't even have anything to do with "the ease with which humans were bought and sold online". It had to do with trying to undermine the safety of sex workers by reducing their access to safe advertising venues. All while pretending that they're doing it all for a noble cause. The idea that sex-negative conservatives want to control what women do with their bodies is nothing new nor is it any sort of "wake-up call". For tech or anyone else. It's just business as usual.

Any argument that begins with a lie like that isn't a call to reflection. It's an attempt to intimidate. It's a statement that the people who want to control what other people can and can't do with their own bodies and in their own communities will do whatever it takes, tell whatever lies necessary and pretend that victims are being created in order to advance their agenda. It's a threat wrapped in flowery words.

Person 1:

May I humbly suggest that accusing Rep. Marsha Blackburn of lying and intimidation is probably not the best way to approach this article? And that even if Rep. Blackburn is wrong on FOSTA/SESTA, she might be right on some other points she raises in this article.

Blake:

Actually I think that pointing out Representative Blackburn's dishonesty and her recent attacks on personal liberty and her recent attacks on the safety of sex workers and her attempt to dishonestly re-cast those attacks as a "wake-up call" to tech is exactly the best way to approach this article.

This is a woman who passed a bill that killed people and is trying to use her passage of that bill to intimidate people. It's clear to me that "do what I say or I'll pass more bills like this one" is the implicit message. She lied about the causal role of online platforms in sex trafficking in order to fight against sex worker safety. She received correspondence that clearly provided her with the data and she chose to lie any way. https://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF16/20171130/106657/HHRG-115-IF16-20171130-SD011-U11.pdf

An article written by someone who led a crusade against women's rights to do what they want with their bodies and to safe working conditions on the basis of a lie does not deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt. She has historically demonstrated that she lies in order to harm people. Why should he call for "reflection" be taken as an honest one?

If that's not how you're reading it then I respectfully disagree with your interpretation of the text.

Person 2:

That feels like an oversimplification. Essentially every Senator voted for SESTA and most of them cosponsored it, including most liberals.

I agree the legislation is misguided, but it seems obviously incorrect to say that all of the support is a dark conservative conspiracy.

Blake:

Blackburn chaired the committee that framed the narrative. You're completely correct that there is no single person to blame. If I absolutely had to choose someone to blame though she'd be in the top five.

Person 1:

Taking down a campaign ad merely for saying, "I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts, thank God." is about as obvious as it gets in terms of censorship.

I'm surprised Twitter made a mistake that bad. If tech companies start restricting campaign ads like that, that's a very serious abuse of our power, because now we're interfering with elections.

Blake:

Taking down libel is not censorship.

Person 3:

libel: true statements that liberal tech companies don't like and want to censor

Blake:

Nope.

libel: a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation

We work for a company that makes looking up definitions trivially easy. You should use our product rather than trying to recall these things from memory.

Person 1:

So if Twitter just banned all Republicans from running ads on Twitter, but let Democrats runs ads on Twitter, would that be OK? After all, by your definition, it's not "censorship" if you don't suspend their account or take down their organic tweets.

I know the First Amendment doesn't apply to private companies, but it's worth noting that the Supreme Court has a long history of striking down "other ways" of punishing speech even though they fall short of outright censorship (e.g.: Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement, Matal v. Tam). E.g., if the US government were running Twitter, those precedents would have clearly prohibited them from taking down Rep. Marsha Blackburn's ad.

I've gained a new appreciation for those Supreme Court cases and the wisdom can be found in them.

Blake:

Of course that wouldn't be okay. That would be basing the decision of what ads could run on your ad network based on the political affiliation of the person running the ad. Whether that's legal or not it seems clearly immoral.

However, limiting the ads on your network to those which are not libellous based on your understanding of what is and is not true seems like it's a moral imperative.

I can understand that you might find there to be little distinction between those two but from where I'm sitting an advertising network which pays no mind to the truthfulness of the ads it runs is just as immoral as one which uses the political affiliation of the advertiser to determine which ads to run.

Fortunately, most Republican ads aren't lies so this line of reasoning only applies to a small minority of ads on each side. Another fortunate thing is that the hypothesis that they're using the truthfulness of the ad rather than the political affiliation of the advertiser is a falsifiable one. All you'd need to do is find a comparably false advertisement from a Democrat which Twitter refused to take down or find an unambiguously true ad from a Republican which Twitter agreed to take down.

However, for now I think that believing that Twitter too it down because it was a lie is more reasonable than believing they took it down because she was a Republican. Especially considering how the legislation that she is touting in her article was sold through lies that she told.

In summary: she's a lying liar who lies and Twitter treats her like one.

Person 1:

For the record, I'm just going to state that a lot of things said on here would grossly fail The New York Times test: how would your words look like if they were published on the front page of The New York Times? And for the sake of The New York Times test, let us assume that Rep. Marsha Blackburn also happens to be reading the front page of The New York Times.

Blake:

I've called members of the government liars in the pages of the NYT before. This doesn't really have anything to do with Google so I feel completely comfortable putting my own opinion about the honesty of a particular representative out there.

She lied.

She passed bills through her committee based on a false narrative that she created.

Her lies have resulted in people's deaths.

Now she's trying to call it censorship when Twitter removes one of her lies from their ad platform.

She's not someone who I would mine calling it in the pages of the NYT.

Person 1:

It's clearly not libel, but that's not the reason Twitter took it down. <Washington Post quote>

Blake:

Oh yeah. To be clear, I was not saying that Twitter removed the ad because it was libel. I was simply stating the conjunction of "Twitter removed the ad" and "The ad was libel".

It's pretty obvious that publicly accusing a sitting representative of libel would be a bad move for a company regulated by the committee which that representative chairs. Especially in an environment where the current regime is so clearly kingmaking in the business world on the basis of personal vendetta. Especially when dealing with a representative who is willing to create and sell a false narrative in order to pass legislation which results in the deaths of the people she is claiming to try to protect.

So yeah, the publicly stated reason was about the unsavoriness of the message rather than the untruthfulness of the message.

Person 3:

I have no idea. "Planned Parenthood sold body parts" is definitely true.

Blake:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/pp-baby-parts-sale/

You definitely believe it is true. It is not definite that it is true. Whether Planned Parenthood was "selling" body parts or whether it was receiving "reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue" is a distinction which the law draws. The question is whether they were being paid for the fetal tissue (thereby selling the tissue) or simply allowing the women to donate the fetal tissue and receiving compensation for facilitating the safe execution of that donation.

Since no charges have ever been filed (which I'm sure annoys the representative to no end) I'm pretty sure that no DA believes that they could have successfully made the case in court that PP was doing the former rather than the latter.

Blake:

Also, I'd like to make a little sidebar comment that throwing down an article about the takedown of questionably honest anti-abortion ads intended to inflame people's sense of disgust in IndustryInfo@ is a pretty crappy thing to do. Any discussion about the merits of Twitter's actions would inevitably involve a discussion of the content of the ad which they took down. This is a pretty crappy thing to do to people under the guise of discussing "industry info" especially considering the fact that the author if the article in question was personally involved in the construction of an elaborate false narrative intended to forward a sex-negative agenda and which has resulted in the deaths of the marginalized women the author falsely claimed she wanted to protect.

The author of this article wants to dramatically reduce women's sexual rights. This is a major aspect of her political career. She doesn't mind lying in order to accomplish her goals. She doesn't care if women die as a consequence of her actions. She has very clearly communicated that she doesn't care about how much she harms the women impacted by the laws intended to limit the sexual rights of her moralistic agenda. She has clearly communicated that she is willing to strongarm the tech industry in order to achieve those goals as well.

Why should this article be understood as anything but another intimidation tactic by a liar, willing to leave bodies in their wake, who's trying to forward a moralist agenda of reducing the amount of sexual liberty enjoyed by women?

Person 3:

sell: give or hand over (something) in exchange for money.
vs "payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue"

I don't claim to be a lawyer - I cannot say that Planned Parenthood did anything that broke the law. But money was exchanged for baby body parts. You cannot gaslight me.

If tomorrow it is discovered that Trump gave Putin $1,000,000 for the "transportation and storage" of Trump Steaks, you would suddenly find yourself capable of connecting those dots. Somehow I doubt you would claim that "But Trump didn't sell steaks to Putin!" and then proceed to accuse anyone who said so of libel.

Blake:

Fair enough. I won't try to undermine your understanding of what those words mean. I'd simply say then that there are people who would disagree with you about whether or not it's true. A sizable number of people in fact. Potentially even some of the subscribers of this list who donated fetal tissue for medical study through Planned Parenthood. If you are comfortable saying that those people "definitely" "sold body parts" then that's your prerogative.

Planned Parenthood clearly stated that it does not believe that it sold body parts. Selling body parts is illegal. No prosecutor has charged Planned Parenthood with the crime that you are claiming they committed. It is possible that prosecutors and the other people who believe that the claim is false are making a distinction that you believe to be irrelevant.

And if Trump offered shipping services that he offered to anyone interested in transporting steaks then I'd say that he was selling transportation of steaks. If he owned cows which he then transported to market and sold in the public sphere I'd say that he were selling steaks. We differentiate between ranchers who sell beef to grocery stores, truckers who transport beef from ranchers to grocery stores and grocers who sell those steaks to the public. Only two of those three are "selling steaks" in any sense. I'd be happy to make that distinction with respect to Trump.

In fact (since you decided to involve Trump and Russia) I do meaningfully differentiate between the Russian officials who intended to influence the election, the information brokers who acted as couriers of information and the Americans who enacted plans which realized the intents of the Russians. Each of those three things are different crimes and if, as Trump claims, anyone were mixing those up it would in fact be libel (or as he likes to call it "a with her hunt"). As it is though, the liberals making those accusations in their official capacity as representatives and prosecutors are fairly clearly making those distinctions. They differentiate between selling a thing and being compensated for the donation of a thing.

And while I can't speak to abortion, I was adopted. I'm pretty sure that the Catholic mins(nuns) who facilitated the adoption would take issue with the idea that they were "selling babies". My parents did give them money which was used to continue their operations but they, like Planned Parenthood and the relevant legal officials, viewed that as reasonable compensation for the services provided in conjunction with a donation.

Person 4:

Why is the medical use of tissue from dead fetuses more controversial that the medical use of tissue from dead adults? Their ontological status is the same.

The only relevant issues are whether anyone was paid to have an abortion, and whether PP handled fetal remains in a way that directly contradicted the wishes of patients. The answer is no.

Blake:

It wasn't always. Hundreds of years ago the usage of cadavers for medical study was considered profane. The sorts of people who were making that claim then are making the fetal tissue claim now.

It's about desecration of that which is seen as sacred. And to be fair, organ donation and cadaver studies still creeps people out.

Person 3:

And yet somehow we still say that the grocery store "sold" me a steak, even if they didn't raise the cow themselves. Next time I see a "for sale" sign in a grocery store I'll be sure to accuse them of libel. After all, they just handle "transportation and storage".

libel: blasphemous statements that liberal tech companies don't like and want to censor
blasphemous statements: any claim that is not sufficiently constrained by liberal orthodoxy and phrased according to a liberal worldview

Blake:

Absolutely. The grocery store is one of the two that sells steak in some sense. The other is the rancher. The trucker doesn't though.

Planned Parenthood is the trucker in this analogy.

Also, there's nothing about saying that someone is selling steaks which is defamatory. Selling body parts is a crime. Falsely accusing someone of a crime is libel. Falsely accusing someone of selling steak isn't.

Person 5:

They did sell you a steak, because they bought it, acquiring ownership of it, from a distributor. They own it, and when they sell it to you, they transfer the ownership to you.

When you ship something on Fedex, you do not sell the item to Fedex. You hire Fedex to provide you a service. Fedex doesn't own the contents of your package, it is still your property.

Unless you're claiming that when you buy a plane ticket, you're selling your body to the airline. Is that it?

Blake:

Ooh FedEx!
+1 Much better analogy

Person 3:

Except that the sender is not paying for delivery to a specific person - the receiver is paying for a product and doesn't care that much where it comes from.

You can't just label every statement that accurately describes the world, but is not phrased in a way that conforms to your worldview as libel.

Blake:

The sender in this case is making a donation. Thereby waving any payment they might otherwise receive. However, they broker an arrangement where the recipient pays for safe transport of their donation.

Accusing people of a crime they did not commit is libel. Planned Parenthood claims that they did not commit the crime of selling body parts. Representative Blackburn paid money to circulate an advertisement accusing Planned Parenthood of committing that crime.

The fact that she is a US Congressional Representative is relevant here. You have said that Planned Parenthood sold body parts but I don't think you have committed libel. You are not one of the several hundred people charged with the stewardship of our laws. When Representative Blackburn makes a public statement about someone doing a thing which is illegal it is reasonable to expect that people will interpret her words with legal weight. You, on the other hand, are simply a passionate person with convictions about something. Your words don't carry the legal weight of a legislator. That is why I haven't said that you're committing libel nor would I.

To go back to the Trump/Russia example, I certainly would consider it libel if any US Representative said "Donald Trump colluded with Russia to tamper with the 2017 election". Fortunately none of them are saying that so this example only exists in hypotheticals.

Some random liberal ranting on Twitter is a different story. The probability of the claim being taken seriously is relevant to the determination of whether something is libel. US Representatives have a level of credibility which we do not. That makes it easier for them to commit libel.

The last piece of the libel picture is maliciousness. I think that you are undoubtedly a forthright passionate person expressing your sincerely held beliefs with no intent to cause anyone harm. Representative Blackburn on the other hand is someone willing to repeatedly and systematically lie in order to pass through a moralistic sex-negative agenda intended to curtail women's rights. She very clearly had maliciousness intent when she said that PP sold body parts in a way that I don't believe you share when you say the same thing.

So I'd ask that you give your fellow Googlers the benefit of the doubt that they have a well reasoned position when they say that someone committed libel rather than accusing them of blind tribalism whenever you encounter something that doesn't conform to your world view.

Person 1:

But apparently we shouldn't give Googlers the benefit of the doubt as to why they shared an article on IndustryInfo@

Blake:

I believe that you shared the article because you think it's a topic relevant to our industry which is of interest to you. I also think that you are intelligent and are well versed in rhetoric and choose which specific articles on the topic to share based on rhetorical effectiveness. You are a passionate person who thinks that sharing articles with major rhetorical points that turn on whether or not Planned Parenthood sells baby parts is a good idea.

I think that's a crappy thing to do. I have no illusions that you share my estimations there though. I don't believe that you are trying to do a harmful thing. I just don't think you understand the harm that you are causing through the crappy things that you do. I do give you the benefit of the doubt. That's why I attribute your actions to ignorance rather than malice.

For example, I don't believe you think it's a bad thing to attempt to censor the speech of other Republican Googlers by banning them from the republicans@ mailing list which you control. I don't believe you see that as hypocritical. I believe that you are trying to make the world a better place in the best ways that you know how.

Person 1:

... And dare I say, maybe you should give Rep. Blackburn the benefit of the doubt just a little?

Blake:

She pretended to be trying to help marginalized members of our society while those same people were begging her to stop killing her. She knowingly constructed and sold a false narrative in order to forward a sex-negative agenda that reduces women's sexual and reproductive rights. She is advancing a monstrous agenda through monstrous means.

You yourself have claimed to be an advocate for truth. Are you going to own that at least a little bit here and agree that the bills which this article you shared were passed on the basis of lies? Or does truth only matter when it supports your world view?

Those weren't rhetorical questions. I continue to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Person 1:

Or at the very least, maybe not claim - as a man - that a female legislator "doesn't care if women die as a consequence of her actions"?

Blake:

I'm not claiming it "as a man". I'm claiming it as a supporter of women's sexual and reproductive rights. Why exactly are you trying to silence advocates and allies? Do you think that our voices count less than those of the impacted groups? Do you think that women can't be against women's sexual and reproductive rights? I have known women who believe that women should be subjugated to men. The makeup of their DNA doesn't make them any less sexist than their male counterparts.

She crafted a false narrative in order to pass a bill which pushed sex workers back into the streets and under the control of pimps. She did so while knowing that the things she was saying were false. We know that she knew because all of the groups relevant to the people she said she was trying to protect gave her data saying that she was in fact harming them.

Her motives were bad, her methods were bad and the outcome is bad.

Person 1:

Can we please avoid comparisons - real or perceived - between Rep. Marsha Blackburn and "women who believe that women should be subjugated to men"?

Blake:

Sure. Let's go with, "would prefer women die in back alleys than allow them to safely exercise control over their own reproduction and sexuality". That's more directly relevant to the legislation mentioned in the article you shared anyway. To bring it back on topic.

This article begins by pointing to legislation that Representative Blackburn passed by knowingly lying to people about the internet and the causal relationship between the internet and sex trafficking. This article references a separate lie she told about Planned Parenthood and it's activities. It references that lie in the context of indignation over the fact that Twitter wouldn't let her pay to show that lie to people who hadn't subscribed to her. The article also points out that the people who HAVE subscribed to her lies (which Twitter didn't interfere with the transmission of) do in fact believe her lies.

You have rightly pointed out that the beliefs of these users are relevant whether they are based on lies or not. I completely agree. We should absolutely try to do right by these people. As Republicans we should let them know that their Representative has lied to them and and that she has made a career of lying to them. That she is harming the people she claims to be helping and that the win at all costs mentality does nothing but leave bodies in its wake. Of course, in our capacity as Googlers I think that we should achieve that only indirectly through promoting high quality content and maintaining high standards for both our advertisements and our content. For example, the way in which Google has consistently applied its standards of not supporting hate speech regardless of which party it came from.

And we certainly shouldn't acquiesce to the theatrical demands of a legislator who makes political hay by intentionally reducing the safety of the people who she claims to protect. I'm not big on negotiation with terrorists.

I do, however, believe that Google could do a much better job of informing the public about our policies and the high quality standards which we implement. Especially considering that the status quo isn't neutral. We're working to inform a public that is actively being lied to by Representatives like Marsha Blackburn.

Person 6:

Would you consider this libel? It was said by a US Representative.

"Here you have a president who I can tell you and guarantee you is in collusion with the Russians to undermine our democracy. Here you have a president that has obstructed justice. And here you have a president that lies every day."

Blake:

Factual claims in that:

1) The president colludes with Russians to undermine our democracy
2) The president has obstructed justice
3) The president lies every day

I'd say that the first one is the only one that might be. The phrase "undermine our democracy" is super squishy though. It definitely implies that there's some sort of malicious crime being committed by the president but it's non-specific about what particular crime. If I were on a jury in a libel case with that sort of claim I could probably be convinced. For me it would probably come down to the context in which it was said and whether or not the speaker was clearly trying to paint a narrative in which Trump committed crimes which there is no evidence that he committed. If, on the other hand, based on context it can be determined that they were trying to say that by being super nice to Russia he's increasing the likelihood that Russia will be able to effectively tamper with our elections in the future that's a much more subjective claim.

The second one is probably true. There is an ongoing criminal investigation into that claim and based on the things that are publicly known about that claim I'd rate the claim as probably true. I think that a representative making such a confident claim at this juncture is irresponsible though. The sanctity of the process is far more important than the specific outcome and I don't think either party is doing a good job of upholding that.

The third is hyperbolic. Is hyperbole from a representative libelous? The president certainly has lied. He's told bold faced lies that were easily demonstrable as false. He definitely hasn't done that every day though. Most days he doesn't say anything publicly at all. Then a lot of the things that the speaker is referring to are better classified as subjective statements or refusal to engage with the premise. The president is very good at refusing to engage with the premise of the question while also appearing to answer the question. That can look like lying if you're trying really hard to fit the answer into the narrative assumed by the question. I don't think that this part really could impact Trump's reputation one way or the other though so it fails that test.

So in order:
1) Maybe
2) Probably not
3) Definitely not

Either way, I agree with Person 1 that we should try to keep the thread at least somewhat closely related to the article which he shared.

I made the claim that Blackburn's ad attacking a liberal organization was libel. People countered with challenges about whether I would feel the same about a comparable statement made against a conservative. Hopefully I've demonstrated that's the case and that I'm uninterested in trabilistic double standards.

Person 1:

But you've clearly stated that Rep. Marsha Blackburn's campaign ad - the one that was censored by Twitter - is "libel", and thus it seems reasonable to infer that you're claiming said campaign ad falls short of Google's "high standards for both our advertisements and our content".

Blake:

What I think is true about a statement and what I think should be Google policy are two separate things. I do not expect Google to share my personal convictions on all issues. So long as the general direction is a positive one I understand that multiple perspectives need to be represented.

I don't know whether her as would get caught up in the same net that recent anti-LGBT ads were. You'd have to ask people relevant to that product about that specific policy. If you want to know about Proactive Search quality I feel much more comfortable speaking to that directly since I'm on the relevant team.

Person 1:

For God's sake, Rep. Marsha Blackburn is not a terrorist.

Blake:

I'd be willing to go with "thug" as a compromise. Would you be more okay with characterizing it as not being big on acceding to the demands of violent thugs?

She created a false narrative and used it to pass legislation that dismantled people's safety. She maliciously harmed women in order to reduce their autonomy. She caused the deaths of the people she was claiming to protect in order to gain political power.

Feel free to suggest whichever synonym for "violent political thug" you think more appropriate. If there are none you'd suggest I'll try to keep in mind that you're particularly sensitive to the word "terrorist" and try to avoid it in the future.

Person 1:

Well at least you're honest about what sort of company you want Google to be…

Blake:

Yes. I want Google to be a company with high quality standards. I want Google to effectively communicate to the public the high quality standards we uphold. And I want us to communicate them so effectively and transparently that they will be unswayed when their representatives barrage them with lies.

Hopefully they'll choose one of the many other Republicans who don't persistently lie to them.

Person 7:

Planned Parenthood as an organization helps advocate for progress the sexual right of people. Shutting down Planned Parenthood therefore hinders, stops, or regresses the sexual rights of certain people.

There is a bit of a cultural knowledge required to make the leap to craft a productive Google search:

"planned parenthood sexual rights"

Blake:

To see how FOSTA/SESTA is an attack on sexual rights you need to actually dig even deeper than that. The essential problem here is that the actual goals and consequences of these bills are so thoroughly obfuscated that naive Google searches won't get you much of anything useful.

Step 1 is to research FOSTA/SESTA
Step 2 is to research how Blackburn cherry picked supporters and how she simply excluded any testimony that she didn't like from the subcommittee reports
Step 3 is to look at the evidence presented by sex workers rights organizations which was never allowed in committee
Step 4 is to look at the evidence presented by anti-trafficking organizations which agree with the sex workers rights organizations (also not allowed in committee)
Step 5 is to look at the death rates of sex workers before and after the legislation passed

Researching this is non-trivial and I completely understand if people are neither willing to spend the time nor to simply trust me. The reason it's relevant though is specifically because of Person 1's emphasis on the call to "reflection". Blackburn is exactly the kind of person who has forfeited the benefit of the doubt through a long series of bad actions. This article is actually one of the least well obfuscated things she's done. It's fairly transparently the exact thing that she says it isn't. A threat that if we don't do what she wants she'll pass more legislation that harms more people.

Person 8:

Thanks for following up. Please let me know if I've made any errors here.

My assessment of your comments is that the Planned-Parenthood ad was false because it talked about the sale of infant body parts, and the criteria for a sale was not met, noting the important "distinction which the law draws". That is, though all of the elements of fetus, parts, money, and transfer of ownership/possession occurred, there is a critical difference which is separated by (among other things) the intent involved and the legal structure of the transaction. So we should avoid hyperbolic language, and look at the specific facts involved and the critical distinctions. This strikes me as a reasonable approach to take in this conversation.

When it comes to representative Marsha Blackburn, your comments look at the big picture. It seems to me that you are looking at the overall impact of the work of the Congresswoman, especially as it pertains to this legislation. Additionally, it looks like you are following up not just the primary impacts but also the second and third-order effects and summarizing them as a short description of her behavior and intent to draw attention to an issue that you believe is important. This strikes me as a reasonable approach to take in this conversation.

What puzzles me is how you determine which level of abstraction, summarisation, and exactness you should use for any particular issue. Why was the same level used for both topics in this thread? Could you provide me a bit more context around your selection process?

Blake:

Your question seems to imply that a "selection process" existed. That's not really how my brain works. I don't think that's how most people's brain work either. Of course, brains come in all shapes and flavors so I'm certain that at least some people's brains work in the manner implied by that framing. I just use the level of abstractness, summarisation and exactness which seems most appropriate. If it's a question about torture I don't need the details. Don't do it. If it's a question about federal regulation of online advertising for sexual services I'm going to need a bunch of details to form a strong opinion about that. For other people those two might be reversed based on their personal values and convictions.

In this instance though I wasn't the one involved in determining the level of detail and sophistication on which my opinion is based at all. Not directly any way. I have a substantial number of friends who either are sex workers currently or who have been sex workers in the past. They've kept me fairly well informed on this issue and I've done extensive research to understand why they have such strong opinions about this. Based on that research I learned about this particular representative's thoroughly dishonest methodologies and her systematic opposition to women's rights both reproductive and sexual. She was well informed that the bills she was passing would kill the exact people she was claiming on network television that she wanted to protect. She systematically buried the evidence that contradicted her false moralistic narrative. And really I only know this because I have lots of friends whose lives she endangered and they pointed me to the relevant information.

So not really a "choice" in the way your question implied.

--

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Blake Lemoine

Blake Lemoine

I'm a software engineer. I'm a priest. I'm a father. I'm a veteran. I'm an ex-convict. I'm an AI researcher. I'm a cajun. I'm whatever I need to be next.