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Culture War Roundup for the week of November 28, 2022

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Sam Brinton is in the news this week.

For those who don't know, Sam is the first non-binary, gay drag queen to hold a federal government leadership position. I know him for his distinctive appearance, with moustache, bald head, and typical cross-dressing clothing and makeup. Here's another piece about him, from several months ago. The culture war angle should be obvious, as this man was highlighted, along with Rachael Levine, as examples of progressive hiring in the Biden administration. Suffice to say that he is not the kind of person I can take seriously, and I do not think he should have been hired, and certainly shouldn't have been celebrated. But that's not why I'm posting.

Now, why was he in the news this week?

Brinton was caught stealing luggage from an airport terminal. I'll notice that this article has no pictures of him. A summary, from here:

On Sept. 16, a female traveler alerted the Airport Police Department at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport that she was missing a piece of luggage.

Law enforcement officers who reviewed surveillance footage that same day saw Brinton remove a navy blue, hard-sided, 26-inch roller bag made by Vera Bradley from Carousel 7, according to the criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court.

The victim confirmed, through a digital still of surveillance footage, that it was her bag with total contents worth $2,325, according to the complaint.

The same style of Vera Bradley luggage sells for $295 from VeraBradley.com.

Law enforcement confirmed that Brinton arrived at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport at 4:27 p.m. Sept. 16 on a flight from Washington, D.C., and had not checked a bag when he departed Washington.

Law enforcement learned that Brinton stayed at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront hotel, and video surveillance from that hotel showed Brinton checking in with a bag that fit the description of the stolen luggage.

So he's been put on leave, for now, and he's due in court on the 19th of this month. At first, I wouldn't have considered posting this, as I simply found it funny in an absurd way, but then I ran across what is really the reason why I posted. I ran across a thread on twitter explaining why this was actually serious, and reflected a dangerous escalation of perverse behavior. I'll quote the main points:

The public needs to understand that this sexual deviant did NOT accidentally pick up the wrong suitcase, as he checked no bags on the flight. This was likely a targeted attempt at gaining access to a woman's underwear. This is what the Biden Admin desperately wants to keep quiet.

With nearly 13K clinical contact hrs, over 14+ years, working in a clinical capacity with men who sexually offend... with men who've done very deviant and heinous things to women and children... I can assure you that, once you see a man steal female items, it's really serious.

Go ahead and read the whole thread.

I hadn't considered this angle, at first, but once it's been pointed out to me, I can't shake it. It's the most plausible argument I've heard of for why Sam would steal the woman's luggage, given that all others make no sense.

So, to wrap up, my questions. First, should he be fired for stealing? Second, how likely is it that Sam stole the luggage specifically for underwear? And third, does this move the needle for you in any way, when considering whether to trust, hire, or promote people like Sam?

Would this have been interesting news if Brinton weren't so... outspoken? If it was a generic everyperson sort of bureaucrat stealing a generic everyperson sort of suitcase, would it have made any national news, or just been an internal kerfuffle?

If you care I'll offer the leftist perspective on this. Of course this story is bigger than usual due to Brinton's identity. But Brinton isn't to blame for their outsized persona. I think Brinton's personal life adequately sums up how they came to be the person they are today.

Backstory:

Brinton grew up with homophobic parents who sent him to a conversion camp for two years after he came out. These camps are notorious for being both ineffective (clearly lol) and inhumane. Brinton's experience was so bad that they contemplated suicide while at the camp. Once out of the camp, Brinton was motivated to prevent others from having their same experience and started a successful political campaign to end conversion camps nationwide. After, they earned graduate degrees at MIT and starting working for several liberal think-tanks. The Biden administration then offered them a position which Brinton accepted. Despite having high-value degrees & work experience, Brinton received criticism for being a diversity hire. Then the suitcase incident happened.

Here's how Brinton's life would have gone if we lived in a Leftist Utopia™️:

Brinton grew up with supportive parents. After graduating high school, Brinton earned graduate degrees in nuclear science from MIT. They then worked with liberal think-tanks until they were offered a mid-tier government job in the area of their degree & work experience. Then the suitcase incident happened

Looking at the two stories, it's clear that Brinton's real life story is heavily influenced by their identity. Their entire childhood and pre-college experience would have been very different if they were straight or if society accepted them as-is. I'm seeing a lot of people talk about how Brinton is at fault for the extra attention due to their appearance & persona. But that's not Brinton's fault (unless you believe that Brinton is just making it up). The attention that's been given to Brinton is mostly negative - people questioning their credentials, calling them a diversity grad, a freak, etc.

If any other mid tier government employee took the wrong bag from the airport and claimed it was an honest mistake, it would only make the news AFTER a guilty verdict was reached (if guilty). Instead, this has become a major story because of Brinton's identity.

I'm seeing a lot of people talk about how Brinton is at fault for the extra attention due to their appearance & persona. But that's not Brinton's fault (unless you believe that Brinton is just making it up).

I mean... setting aside the way he dresses and his pronouns, how is it not his fault that he makes his "puppy play" fetish part of his public persona? Why can't he keep his kinks and fetishes inside the bedroom?

how is it not his fault that he makes his "puppy play" fetish part of his public persona?

This 'public persona' is a part of their private life that has now been made public by the media. A lot of people do a lot of interesting shit - I'm sure if we followed other mid-tier government officials closely we'd find some interesting shit too. But it's not like they're doing anything illegal here either.

Why can't he keep his kinks and fetishes inside the bedroom?

Because they don't have to? I keep my sexual life private as most people do. But I don't do that because it's against the law. I do it because I choose to do so. If someone else has a different approach, good for them. This isn't exclusive to the LGBT community either - plenty of straight people engage in similar things and get half as much flack for it. Our decision on how we conduct our private lives is up to us assuming we don't break any laws. Just because we find something weird to us doesn't mean that it is or that we should immediately disapprove of such behavior.

At the end of the day, we're talking about a mid-tier official. Their personal lives are irrelevant as long as a) they're qualified for the job b) perform the job well and c) aren't a threat to national security. Brinton (assuming he's innocent lol) meets these criteria.

This isn't exclusive to the LGBT community either - plenty of straight people engage in similar things and get half as much flack for it.

Can you name a single other government employee who has voluntarily talked to the media about their fetishes in comparable detail? What about celebrities in general? What passes for you as an example of a straight person doing something similar?

Can you name a single other government employee who has voluntarily talked to the media about their fetishes in comparable detail?

Can you name a straight government employee that was even asked about something like this? It's not a fair comparison because different groups get treated differently.

What passes for you as an example of a straight person doing something similar?

There's plenty of BDSM conventions, fetish clubs, and other things that straight people engage in all the time. Most of us don't talk about it too much because that's not the norm. Even if we did talk about, we don't get labelled as a sexual deviant. However, there are definitely exceptions to this rule as there is in the LGBT community.

Can you name a straight government employee that decided to give public seminars on their sexually deviant lifestyle?

Not saying it hasn't happened, but that's also my point - We only care about Brinton because of their sexual identity and our current obsession with identity politics. Any other straight employee would never have faced this sort of spotlight.

More comments

Can you name a straight government employee that was even asked about something like this?

Are you implying Sam was just blindsided about it, apropos of nothing, in a totally unrelated interview, and that their history of activism on the topic does not justify doing so?

I never said that? I did say that the media blew up this story and investigated his private life far more than any government employee due to their sexual identity. That isn't a false statement and I'm not claiming anything other than that.

Even if we did talk about, we don't get labelled as a sexual deviant

This is absolutely not true. I don't remember leftists standing up for Larry Garfield after he was fired for kinky sex stuff his employer only found out about by someone doxxing and reporting him.

It's the hypocrisy and gaslighting that's most upsetting about this. Who gets absolute freedom to do anything they want to whomever they want is strictly "who/whom," and the rules will never be applied to protect a group that isn't under the untouchable shield of "queerness."

different groups get treated differently.

One group gets to do BDSM sex play in front of children in public or get paid to come to your kids' library dressed like this, and the other is hunted for sport by the exact same groups promoting the former.

The question is why this goal is so important to these groups. Do you have any ideas from the inside?

Celebrities is a little too low of a bar. As awkward as Brinton's seminars are, they're still not as overt as Madonna's infamous Toronto masturbation performances, and there's a small industry of shock jocks that'll describe far more than you need to know about their personal tastes on your way to work every morning.

But as you've pointed out many times, even listening to those at work is grounds for a federal investigation (what was the case with the Gadsden flag(?) you cite whenever this came up?)

Yeah, there's a very awkward contradiction, not just with the EEOC v. Sheldon, where merely wearing the wrong t-shirt can require investigation, but also cases like Reeves v CH Robinson Worldwide where a radio playing sexually-charged content was tortuous. And those aren't outliers; they're just particularly legible examples, where as most of it ends up in the penumbras of understandings of HR policies that still toss people to the curb.

There's ways to thread this needle, even if SlightlyLessHairyApe's "specifically directed" was spoiled at the time he'd written it. But it's very hard to come up with versions that don't read as post-hoc, with exceptions that conveniently cover the people the rule-marker likes and rules that cover the ones the rule-maker doesn't.

On the other hand, you need to notice the allowances and exceptions explicitly, to notice the depth of the problem.

This 'public persona' is a part of their private life that has now been made public by the media.

Nope, they were the one who posted tweets about, and photos of themself with the pups online (though they seem to have scrubbed their Instagram now). It wasn't the media that went out and dug up private photos. This is "live by the sword, die by the sword" material; Brinton deliberately made use of a public platform to be open about their, uh, non-conventional interests in order to mainstream them and remove shame around it etc. Well, then they don't have a leg to stand on when the "guy who likes to shave his head and wear lipstick and heels and do BDSM stuff is accused of bizarre crime with possibly, who knows, sexual kink undertones" reporting happens.

I don't think they stole the case for the contents (women's clothes) because they can get those themself anyway, but who knows? Maybe it was all part of a 'thrill of the forbidden' indulgence. Maybe they just really liked the case and wanted it. (Why not buy one of their own?) But if you're going to be kinky in public, then this is the kind of speculation that you are inviting, because this is the world we are living in.

Nope, they were the one who posted tweets about, and photos of themself with the pups online (though they seem to have scrubbed their Instagram now). It wasn't the media that went out and dug up private photos.

This is exactly what I mean by private life being made public by the media. This is usually how this sort of stuff happens - the media obtains photos (publicly available photos as well as nonpublic photos), write articles based on what they found, and then publish those photos to millions of people. The media blew this story up. Brinton merely posted about these on their personal social media channels as anyone else would do. Yes, the photos were still 'public' beforehand. But they are now hugely popular talking points because of media involvement, not due to Brinton. Now of course both sides of the media are making this a huge story for obvious reasons.

Of course, anything you put online has a chance to get out into public despite your personal intention. But that's not what I'm talking about here - you and other commentators are baselessly assuming that Brinton intentionally and willingly is using these sorts of photos to create a public persona for their brand. I'm just pointing out that the media are the ones doing this, not Brinton. The media wants us to think certain things about Brinton to drive clicks on both sides.

This is exactly what I mean by private life being made public by the media. This is usually how this sort of stuff happens - the media obtains photos (publicly available photos as well as nonpublic photos)

If you have a social media account under your own name and you share photos about your life, you have consented to those photos being viewed by anyone who cares to view them. As such, you cannot reasonably complain about your privacy being violated when people (including journalists) pull photos of you from a publicly available source when you yourself gave your consent for those photos to be viewed (and, by extension, shared) - up to and including if they use these photos to present you in an unflattering light.

A journalist gaining illicit access to your iCloud account in order to steal naked photos of you which you did not intend for public consumption? Unethical, a legitimate violation of your privacy, illegal in many jurisdictions. A journalist downloading photos which you yourself published on a public Instagram account under your own name? Fair game and entirely legitimate journalistic practice.

All of the above goes double if you are a public figure employed by the government and paid by the taxpayer.

If you share nude photos of yourself with your boyfriend, then your boyfriend shares them with other people without your consent, that is absolutely a violation of your privacy. In many jurisdictions (including my own) it is in fact a criminal offense. But if you post nude photos of yourself on a public platform, you have given your consent for those images to be seen by anyone who cares to see them. Or to put it another way, a porn star who voluntarily consents to appearing in a pornographic film cannot reasonably claim that their privacy was violated when the film is published for public consumption.

Sam Brinton's Instagram is private, although I don't know if this is a recent change. Brinton's Twitter is public, which means that any content posted there is fair game for a journalist to use, including journalists who do not share Brinton's politics.

Of course, anything you put online has a chance to get out into public despite your personal intention. But that's not what I'm talking about here - you and other commentators are baselessly assuming that Brinton intentionally and willingly is using these sorts of photos to create a public persona for their brand.

I don't understand what the second sentence is supposed to mean. Do you mean to imply that Brinton was coerced into sharing photos about their kinks on social media? I would be very surprised indeed if someone put a gun to their head and forced them to post photos about their kinks or whatever on Instagram.

I'm leaning towards the kleptomania thrill-seeking angle because it's the only one that really makes sense of all of the facts.

I dunno, "it's not illegal" is a far cry from "it's not his fault." It isn't illegal for him to engage in public "puppy play," but it also isn't illegal for us to criticize his extreme and gratuitous violation of social norms.

Kanye's antisemitic speech isn't illegal either; did Adidas err by firing him?

For sure, but I'm advocating for consistency. Your 'social norms' are probably very different than mine. I don't even think criticizing someone for breaking social norms is really acceptable either - Why is this specific action 'bad'? Should we cast judgement on someone because they do things differently? etc.

Why is this specific action 'bad'?

It undermines the norms of monogamy and private sexuality. Why isn't it bad? If you're the one proposing a radical change in public norms, shouldn't you bear the burden?

Why are those dudes who go naked under their trenchcoats and then flash children on the subway bad? Do you agree that they're bad? What specific harm are they causing?

Why are those dudes who go naked under their trenchcoats and then flash children on the subway bad? Do you agree that they're bad? What specific harm are they causing?

I can't believe this comment has 8 upvotes - you're telling me that you can't see what's wrong with directly exposing underage, nonconsenting children to sexual body parts? Or exposing themselves to any nonconsenting adult? Reading an article online about a kink is in no way comparable.

It undermines the norms of monogamy and private sexuality. Why isn't it bad? If you're the one proposing a radical change in public norms, shouldn't you bear the burden?

Why is undermining a norm a bad thing? Isn't that what humans have done for thousands of years to get us to this point? Sure, it's different, but that doesn't immediately make it 'bad'.

If its that easy to undermine the norm of monogamy, then that is what should happen. People are naturally polygamous, that is why people take a lot of risk to cheat on their consort, fucking the same person gets old after a while and so less pleasurable. I thought you were gay? Ymttm you dont make it a point to make love with new guys on a regular basis?

Private sexuality is a norm that if dissolved, would allow people to enhance their pleasure by having sex in public if that is what pleases them, and by letting people who want to see other people have sex because it gives them a fluttery feeling that they like and gives them something to think about afterwards be able to satisfy these desires.

Men flashing children on the subway is not bad unless the subway owner does not allow it but I think the subway owner should allow it because of pretty much the same reason as for the prior idea.

But that's not Brinton's fault (unless you believe that Brinton is just making it up).

Yes, that's exactly what I believe. This kind of thing reminds me of the kid in my class who used to make stuff up for attention constantly. "My eyes change colour when I'm mad" being a notable standout. As far as I can tell, it's mostly the same thing minus being able to immediately and obviously prove it as bullshit on the spot. But bullshit it remains, as far as I'm concerned. Brinton is just a dude seeking attention.

What's your basis for your assumption that Brinton is lying about his rough childhood?

What's your basis for your assumption that Brinton is lying about his rough childhood?

Criminals are usually not the most trustworthy sources, and, face, it, the whole thing was no accident.

Such accidents happen daily on every airport of the world, and are easily resolved when normal, non criminal people are involved.

https://www.quora.com/What-happens-if-someone-else-takes-your-luggage-from-the-airport

Aniruddha Joshi

I experienced this at Mumbai international airport. A person with a similar last name (Mr. Doshi, pun intended!) mistakenly took my bag and walked out of the airport. His bag was of the same brand as mine, and I found it unclaimed at the belt. I immediately alerted the airline staff. They told me not to worry and from the baggage tag traced the owner and his cell number. Luckily, this person was not too far from the airport and was asked to report back to the exit gate of the airport. Meanwhile, the airline ground staff took me to the customs officer and explained that the bag that I was carrying belonged to another person. The bag was promptly X-rayed and I was allowed to exit. Meanwhile, Mr. Doshi was at the exit gate and we exchanged the bags.

The airline ground staff at Mumbai airport was very professional, calm, and prompt. As a result, the entire problem was resolved in 30 minutes. I sent their team an email of appreciation. The airline was Swiss Air.

Sarah Lockwood

I’ve been the one who did this, actually!

I was away for a weekend without my spouse/kiddo, and my flight home was delayed. When I finally landed, and got to the baggage carousel, I saw my big black Osprey backpack with a rainbow luggage tag and grabbed it, since I was running late and didn’t want to miss my family. I got in a cab, went to meet up with my family and that was that. Until I opened up the bag for a gift for my kiddo and the bag didn’t have my stuff in it.. Well CRAP!

I called the airline, who were decidedly uncooperative, and then called the airport and asked to be connected to the airline luggage desk. I explained the whole thing, told them whose name was ACTUALLY on the bag, and that I would return the bag and pick up mine… only they didn’t HAVE mine. Turns out, the guy whose bag I had, had mine.

The airline at the airport called him, explained the situation, and he turned around to head back to the airport. My family and I headed back as well. We parked, got on the escalator to go to the luggage area, and the guy in front of us on the escalator - yep, you guessed it - it was the guy with my bag! We all walked to the airline desk, swapped bags in front of them so they knew it was good, checked that we had the RIGHT bags, shook hands, and walked away. As it happened, he had a short turn-around: he was returning from one business trip and was going back out the next morning…I would have had to wait weeks for my stuff, and he would have been stuck without his gear.

Also, I switched my luggage tag to something more distinctive - no more mistaking it for someone elses!

I agree that what Brinton did cannot reasonably be characterised as an honest mistake. But it seems like a bit of a jump to think "this person committed a crime, therefore we must assume that everything they have ever said about their personal life was a lie and nothing they say can be trusted." Being guilty of one crime does not imply that you are guilty of all crimes, or that you are a pathological liar.

His behavior was exactly one of pathological liar.

"yes, this was not my suitcase, but the clothes inside were mine"

WTF? Ordinary junkie stealing shit to get the next fix would find better excuse when caught. This guy is supposed to be some high IQ irreplaceable genius?

Ordinary junkie stealing shit to get the next fix would find better excuse when caught.

I agree, which is why I don't think Brinton is a pathological liar. I would naively predict a person who lies compulsively to have more practice at coming up with convincing-sounding lies on the spur of the moment. Brinton's behaviour seems more consistent with someone who did something stupid and then panicked when caught red-handed, than with a smooth cunning con artist effortlessly talking their way out of a tight spot.

If Brinton had been caught red-handed, but immediately came up with an untrue-but-believable explanation on the fly, that would cause me to update in favour of their being someone who routinely tells lies and gets away with it. The fact that they got caught red-handed and their "explanation" was so unconvincing (as you said yourself) suggests to me that they do not have a great deal of practice in telling lies i.e. they are not a pathological liar.

More comments

I don't have any opinion on that. I just think is gender identity is made up for attention.

I don't really buy into the whole "non-binary" thing either.

... while I don't think it's especially relevant for this case, some of the details in Brinton's past summaries are extremely unusual, especially for their time period. Conversion therapy doesn't work, but even into the late-90s it'd mostly turned into very creepy talk therapy and sometimes the use of psychiatric drugs to reduce sex drive. Which can still get pretty damn overtly abusive!

Brinton alleged that an unnamed therapist applied severe heat, ice, needles, and electrical shocks. There were still therapists using electroshock aversives against children in the early 2000s, but even places like the Judge Rotenberg Center (mostly for autistics) were far outliers and acting in far more circumspect ways. Most serious reports along things line date back to the early 80s or late 70s. The scientific discrediting of aversion therapy probably wasn't enough evidence against its use by some of the more extreme anti-gay actors, but the combination of increasingly bad publicity related to the tactic and changing norms related to psychiatric therapists made it much less common.

And most of the stuff is in that class. It's not that Brinton's father shamed or even beat Brinton for being gay; on coming out, his father allegedly punched the child in the face hard enough to result in one of seven ER visits, and later aimed a gun at the kid. See here for a Blue Tribe perspective. It's possible Wesen's covering for the movement now, but he does point out suspicions dating back to 2011.

This isn't strong evidence: Wesen focuses on Brinton's unwillingness to name names, but it's not quite so completely unheard of to have difficulty with them. And there have been some reports of the use of foul-smelling chemical aversives into the mid-90s and early-00s. And violent threats aimed at gay children weren't completely unheard of in the 00s, and you'd expect some correlation between parents punching kids and parents willing to have their kids electrically shocked. But it raises some questions.

Thanks for the detailed response.

I used to think like you so I know that I'm not going to convince you in a comment.

This kind of thing reminds me of the kid in my class who used to make stuff up for attention constantly.

But this is still very interesting to me - one of the reasons I changed my mind on this is because I saw people in my own life (real people) come out and it made me question this reasoning. These were people that I knew for decades, people who didn't need attention, and often people who came out at a great expense (their families kicked them out, etc). I knew them well enough to know that they weren't just totally bullshitting me.

I think it's naive to think that people will go to a conversion camp for two years all for.... attention? It doesn't really follow that older LGBT people in their fifties are still doing it for the attention either. So why do you think that this is primarily attention related? If it was simply a personal choice you could turn off and on, why risk getting kicked out of your home or being discriminated against in a job interview?

often people who came out at a great expense (their families kicked them out, etc).

Reads to me as a "no fuck you Dad!". I'm presuming there was already some tension there beforehand and this was the latest in a long line of actions intended to upset the parents or push back on their values or otherwise frustrate the rules of their house. That's the situation I personally see most often. "I don't like my parents so I'm going to make myself hideous and demand they respect it to get back at them/show they don't own me/whatever". It's the (de-?)evolution of bringing a black guy home, or having a fling with a same-sex partner, I guess.

So why do you think that this is primarily attention related?

Because the only things that happen are a person makes themselves ugly (usually, some go low effort and don't bother), and then starts demanding special treatment from everyone around them. This leads me to believe that the special treatment is the primary goal. The cheap and petty power thrill of making people stumble over their language for you. The constant reassurance to an insecure soul that people will inconvenience themselves for you. It seems parasitic, almost.

If it was simply a personal choice you could turn off and on, why risk getting kicked out of your home or being discriminated against in a job interview?

Why do people get piercings or tattoos knowing they could be discriminated against in future? (Not that I really believe it would constitute a malus to employment, if anything you'll become a diversity hire and get spotlights and positions far beyond what you deserve.) But we don't consider having face piercings a gender, and we don't consider having hand tattoos a gender. A person might feel incomplete if they were unadorned, even. Feel like they weren't being themselves. People might even get kicked out of their home for coming home with a tattoo their parents don't approve of! But crucially, they don't then demand inkself pronouns or nonsense like that. There's no impetus on other people around them to acknowledge and validate them, which means I can believe tattoos are done for the person's personal satisfaction in a way that I cannot believe for genderspecials.

ed; As for the older LGBT -- getting older as a homosexual is a constant barraging reinforcement of being told you're too old to matter and should just go off and quietly die in a hole somewhere because nobody wants or cares about you anymore. So any trend they can get in on to try and still feel "young" and "with it" will naturally be pounced upon. It's Dr Evil doing his silly little dance to try and impress Scott.

Reads to me as a "no fuck you Dad!". I'm presuming there was already some tension there beforehand and this was the latest in a long line of actions intended to upset the parents or push back on their values or otherwise frustrate the rules of their house. That's the situation I personally see most often. "I don't like my parents so I'm going to make myself hideous and demand they respect it to get back at them/show they don't own me/whatever". It's the (de-?)evolution of bringing a black guy home, or having a fling with a same-sex partner, I guess.

That's an interesting experience of which I'm not familiar with. I'm sure this does happen but this seems to be quite a one-sided reading of these situations. As I get older I regret giving the benefit of the doubt to adults as much as I have in the past - Parents whose kids "magically, out of nowhere" became rebellious and attention seeking always had a very different story once they were able to speak freely about their situation. We can go back and forth on this of course due to our varying personal experiences.

Because the only things that happen are a person makes themselves ugly (usually, some go low effort and don't bother), and then starts demanding special treatment from everyone around them. This leads me to believe that the special treatment is the primary goal. The cheap and petty power thrill of making people stumble over their language for you. The constant reassurance to an insecure soul that people will inconvenience themselves for you. It seems parasitic, almost.

This is quite the one-sided take again. The only things that happen are people making themselves uglier? Uglier to whom? A woman might be uglier to you while becoming more appearing to a lesbian (no offense intended). Regardless, you're acting as though special treatment is the primary motivating factor here. What is your reasoning for that other than a personal assumption? I have to assume that you don't have much personal contact with these groups of people because this sort of reasoning is only something I read about in hypothetical right-wing publications. It's certainly not the norm.

Why do people get piercings or tattoos knowing they could be discriminated against in future?

This is a laughable comparison. You're talking about a group of people who think that sexuality is an innate trait and comparing it to jewelry that can be removed in a few hours.

You continue to make the assumption that that sexuality is as much of a choice as choosing to get a tatoo. Where are you getting this idea? Surely not from members of the LGBT community. I'm really curious to hear.

As I get older I regret giving the benefit of the doubt to adults as much as I have in the past - Parents whose kids "magically, out of nowhere" became rebellious and attention seeking always had a very different story once they were able to speak freely about their situation.

Funny, because as I get older I mostly realise that "oh god, my mother was right about everything all along". At least 90% of the time. And of course a teenager (or mental teenager) is going to have a different perspective on the matter, but that doesn't mean they're not histrionic. What I always think of is this video;

https://youtube.com/shorts/PJdmTZCWKXM

Now that's from the kid's perspective and it still makes her look like a useless waste of space. Her parents asked for a moderate contribution to living in the house post-18 and the response was to refuse, and to try to "educate" them, and hide behind mental illness to avoid doing what was asked of her. Presumably because it would involve getting off her ass and actually doing something other than fester on twitter/tiktok. This is what these sorts of identity and mental illness celebrants always remind me of.

Regardless, you're acting as though special treatment is the primary motivating factor here.

Why wouldn't it be? Nothing else changes when you demand silly nonstandard pronouns. We are told that people can present however they want and you are obligated to kowtow to their requests instantly and without question.

I have to assume that you don't have much personal contact with these groups of people

I'm gay. I could hardly have more contact with them if I tried. And believe me, I try to avoid genderspecials at all costs.

This is a laughable comparison. You're talking about a group of people who think that sexuality is an innate trait and comparing it to jewelry that can be removed in a few hours.

I wasn't talking about sexuality at all. You're the only one talking about that. I'm talking about genderspecials; people who identify as made up, non-male/female genders and demand nonstandard pronouns. And as far as I can tell, doing so is nothing more than a fashion trend. You maybe change how you look a little (for the worse) and that's it.

I think it's naive to think that people will go to a conversion camp for two years all for.... attention?

I don't really know the circumstances here, but a statement like 'I went to a conversion therapy camp for two years' can leave a lot of stuff unsaid, assuming that you will envision a precocious teenager being prodded with tasers and subjected to Clockwork Orange-style aversion therapy behind barbed wire fences. When it could also mean being sent to a boring stuffy Christian camp two summers in a row to sing lame songs about Jesus. Now I don't know the specific details, and of course it can also be very unpleasant to be taught that your sexual feelings are inherently sinful and can never be acted upon. But they are still very different things, and in a society that rewards victims, there will always be a tendency to round up one's traumatic past to the nearest cliche.

In this case, Brinton was suicidal in these camps and was so disgusted by them that they went on a nationwide campaign to ban them. You can read more about their personal experience as well. It's pretty tough stuff and certainly something that you'd think a teenage would push through for attention. I do understand where you're coming from though.

If any other mid tier government employee took the wrong bag from the airport and claimed it was an honest mistake, it would only make the news AFTER a guilty verdict was reached (if guilty). Instead, this has become a major story because of Brinton's identity.

If Joe Bloggs, mid-level civil service minion, took the suitcase of Jane Doe or John Roe from the airport, had video evidence of them taking the case and ripping off the tag, denied that they took the case, then said maybe they took the wrong case but their clothes were inside it(?), then said they left the clothes that were inside in their hotel room (and the hotel says no clothes were left), and had gone around for a few weeks or a couple of months using that suitcase as their own when on trips - there would and should be questions asked, because what the hell was going on?

Yes, Brinton's public persona contributes to the publicity, as does the fact that it was a woman's property and contained her clothing. But if this was Sam Brinton, straight cis guy in a suit, and he did the same thing - then yeah, the same questions should be asked. Why did he take it? What happened to the contents? How could it be an 'honest mistake' if he didn't have a bag on the flight with him? Was he drunk? Stoned? Suffering from some mental impairment? Has he done anything like this before?

Maybe it's kleptomania. But being genderfluid queer non-binary doesn't constitute a "Get out of jail free" card, anymore than being anonymous boring cis het white male should do in a case like this.

Here's how Brinton's life would have gone if we lived in a Leftist Utopia™️:

high school

graduate degrees

liberal think-tanks

mid-tier government job

So, in the most utopian dream world you can imagine, all these things are still around? Rather low definition of "utopia".

If any other mid tier government employee took the wrong bag from the airport and claimed it was an honest mistake, it would only make the news AFTER a guilty verdict was reached (if guilty). Instead, this has become a major story because of Brinton's identity.

You are right, it would not be treated the in same way.

If outspoken Christian fundamentalist activist hired by Trump administration made such "mistake", it would be on front page of all respectable news sources worldwide, it would not be left to British tabloid gutter press.

(insert your favorite "imagine if the situation was reversed" meme)

The latter. But they went out of their way to hire a freak and the freak did super weird stuff right away. It's newsworthy.

What exactly makes them a freak?

Also, why would you say that went out of their way to hire Brinton? They have dual masters' degrees in nuclear engineering from MIT & plenty of relevent work experience. I'd say they earned their position. Is that not enough for the deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy?

Plenty of people, even gay people and people with made up gender identities, know better than to insist on talking about their fetish for pretend bestiality while giving interviews about their appointments to the department of energy. The whole kink lifestyle is weird enough, you don’t have to go on TV talking about it.

fetish for pretend bestiality while giving interviews about their appointments to the department of energy.

Can you link this interview? I'm not familiar with it and I wasn't able to find it

The whole kink lifestyle is weird enough, you don’t have to go on TV talking about it.

What kink lifestyle are you referring to? Is it in the same interview as above?

Thank you. So what is your point with this? People are freaks if they talk about their kinks to an audience who wants to hear about it? Are you saying that the government shouldn't hire people who talk about their personal life?

If he deliberately makes his private life public, people should be able to make negative inferences about him based on the information that he voluntarily made public.

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Yes, he is a sexual deviant. That’s in itself only one strike against him, but he has dedicated a significant portion of his life to spreading(technically ‘advocating’) his sexual deviancy. And I’m totally comfortable saying the government shouldn’t hire people who talk about how awesome it is to have sex with animals.

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Are you saying that the government shouldn't hire people who talk about their personal life?

You know what? Yes. I don't need to know shit like this about people in the public eye. I don't want to know it. If they want to talk about it to a particular audience, find somewhere private to do that.

God almighty, the whole gay rights decriminalise sodomy and later on legalise same-sex marriage was publicised as "it's nobody's business what two consenting people do in private in the bedroom". Now we have people dragging us into their bedrooms, or rather putting their bedrooms out in the public square, in order to tell us all about what they do.

Shut. The. Hell. Up. About. Your. Love. Life. That goes for straight celebs as well.

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I think it’s this one:

https://freakonomics.com/podcast-tag/puppy-play/

Around minute 37ish. It’s a professor of something or another, and he came specifically to talk about it.

If I'm reading correctly, it looks like this was published in 2019. The commenter I was replying to specifically said that they were talking about this while also talking about their appointment to the DoE (which happened in 2022).

A few years back I was listening to a Freakonomics podcast where the guest was talking about their "pet play" fetish where a bunch of gay men would pretend to be dogs and have sex. Oddly, the host of Freakonomics was very supportive, almost going out of his way to endorse this bizarre lifestyle.

How did we pivot so quickly from "whatever happens from closed doors is your own business" to celebrating sexual fetishes in public and if you don't like it you're a bigot. Normal people don't take talk about their fetishes at work.

What's doubly-bizarre is that if a straight man did this at work, he'd be taken to HR almost instantly. "You see, Alice, I practice a lifestyle of enjoying having sex with attractive big-breasted women."

Oh don’t be cute, you know exactly what makes him a freak. Any reasonable definition of freak would include this guy. He is undeniably an extreme, bleeding edge outlier on the spectrum of gender/sex weirdness. You may love that, but it doesn’t change his outlierness. Just be honest please

I never said they weren't an outlier? But 'freak' and 'outlier' are two completely different things with completely different social connotations, especially when talking about a person.

This is unnecessarily confrontational, and when the question is over what makes someone a "freak," there is a clearly a disagreement over definitions. You may think your definition is obvious and undeniable, but it is not, and you don't get to just tell people "Be honest and accept my premises." Less consensus-building, less antagonism.

Probably his appearance, along with his insistence on sharing his fetishes loudly and publicly.

You've been told and told and told and told.

Now you're banned. One week this time.

What's concerning for me is his excuse.

Taking him at his word, he accidentally picked up the wrong back. Instead of owning up to an honest mistake and fixing the situation, he disposed of all the clothing by leaving it in hotel room drawers.

This tells me that he probably shouldn't be in charge of disposing nuclear waste. Defaulting to "dump it somewhere to avoid any blame" is just the wrong personality type.

he disposed of all the clothing by leaving it in hotel room drawers

Allegedly. The hotel says there wasn't any clothing left behind, which is why all the speculation about "they stole the suitcase to get their hands on women's underwear" 🙁

If it was a generic everyperson sort of bureaucrat stealing a generic everyperson sort of suitcase, would it have made any national news, or just been an internal kerfuffle?

I think it would have been, just because it's so odd. Bureaucrat steals suitcase of random person from airport, there is evidence of them using that case as their own, they lie through their teeth about it - why? Even if it's a fancy expensive suitcase (and if it cost $200+ that's not the most expensive one out there), why on earth steal it like that? What did they do with the contents? Why pick that person's suitcase, was it random?

Throw in that this was the luggage of a woman passenger and Brinton is gay gender-fluid non-binary likes appearing in public in women's clothing, heels and lipstick, and you should expect a lot of media coverage because it's bizarre and they can exploit the implied sexual kink angle. Very probably the fact that this is a Biden administration hire for the sacred cause of gender and sexual orientation diversity is why the press aren't making a three-ring circus out of it.

I guess I left out a link. I had viewed this article when I was searching for the first few links I provided. It didn't make it into the draft, but it has pictures.

Or had, at least, since they were on his personal IG, and have since been deleted.

  1. Almost certainly. They should almost certainly be charged; I have no idea what the federal standards for actually firing are. I’ll agree with @gattsuru’s observations on security clearance.

  2. Not impossible, but unlikely. Does it have more predictive power than stealing the most expensive looking bag? Because that’s what I’d expect motivates most bag thefts. (As a bonus, I’d guess women’s luggage is more likely to be visibly expensive and thus targeted.)

  3. Conditional on being right about 2), no. If I’m wrong and Mx. Brinton was unable to control perverted urges...yeah, I guess.

I do object to your weaselly “people like Sam,” since I’d consider the appropriate category to be “kink activists” or “identity politicians” or even “people who make the personal political.” Somehow I imagine your chosen category is more broad.

Not impossible, but unlikely. Does it have more predictive power than stealing the most expensive looking bag? Because that’s what I’d expect motivates most bag thefts. (As a bonus, I’d guess women’s luggage is more likely to be visibly expensive and thus targeted.)

This was my first thought as well, but others downthread have suggested that the bag itself was only valued at about $300, which is not an especially expensive piece of luggage. Maybe it looked expensive?

It is difficult for me to put into words why "the kind of person who does public kink shows" automatically registers to my mind as "the kind of person who is likely unfit for public office at any level." I don't think that being into BDSM or dressing like a dog or even crossdressing is especially likely to correlate with being bad at making dispassionate policy decisions, or whatever else it takes to be a good public servant. But being quite loud and public about that sort of thing does give me a strong impression of rampant, unchecked narcissism, narcissism-adjacency, or some other idiopathic impairment of personal judgment.

"the kind of person who is likely unfit for public office at any level."

Your intuition is correct. Their participation in these behaviours means they reject polite society

I suspect "polite society" being used to judge fitness for public office would just be moral busy bodies banning anyone outside of a puritanical norm. Like how all homosexuals were banned from security clearances and witch hunts were ran to try to root out closeted homosexuals from security and defense jobs.

And yes, in this one case such moral nannies would have been correct. But as a general principle I don't want them gatekeepers. A closeted gay engineer in the 80s working on missile tech shouldn't live in fear of getting caught and fired since polite society had nothing but cruelty and derision for such people. Hell, I'm in a mixed race marriage. Thank God it isn't a few decades ago when polite society didn't take a fond view of miscegenation and deviants such as myself.

If we have to hold the line at firing the gay engineer to prevent getting to this point, well then I’d be fine with that. The slippery slope seems to have been very real, and so it’s just a question of where the slope became too steep to stop our slide.

TBH it seems like there's a pretty firm brightline between a closeted gay man and a man who wears women's clothing to work and gives lectures on his sexual preferences.

But being quite loud and public about that sort of thing does give me a strong impression of rampant, unchecked narcissism, narcissism-adjacency, or some other idiopathic impairment of personal judgment.

I think that it basically comes down to impulse control. If Jack likes to cross-dress and puppy-play in xer home dungeon, but when xe goes to work xe wears a business suit and uses "he/him" pronouns, then Jack can put a sock in it when necessary and I expect that if Jack ever gets a little "hmm, it'd be sort of easy for me to embezzle some of this money", that Jack can quash that impulse.

If Jack likes to cross-dress and puppy play in xer home dungeon, and when xe goes to work xe dresses up in (unflattering) red lipstick and heels and sends out an email to all xer colleagues about the particular pronouns they should use, oh and by the way there will be an interview on the local radio morning chat show where xe is discussing with the host xis involvement in the local kink scene, tune in at 10 a.m. tomorrow, then I am going to be more inclined to think that if Jack gets a little impulse towards "hmmm, it'd be sort of easy for me to take some of this money", xe has less rigorous safeguards around breaking stuffy old rules.

Is that unfair to Jack? Quite possibly, but on the other hand - 'the louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted the spoons'.

TBH, some of this behavior is simply inappropriate in the workplace. If I sent out a department wide email about doing an interview on my sexual preferences, I would quite rightly be in HR, likely to be fired.

Only if you're a straight white guy, though; otherwise, that would be homophobia and transphobia to single you on the basis of your sexual and gender identification. I think this is at the heart of what people are objecting about - "if I did this in my job, I could expect to be in serious trouble and likely even get fired. I couldn't expect a host of people to be standing up defending me about 'just some creative roleplaying' and the likes of it".

What's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. Should Brinton get the presumption of innocence, just like everyone else, regardless of their weird lifestyle? Yes, they should. Should Brinton get protection from investigation and presumption of "this is persecution", because of their weird lifestyle? No, they should not.

For me part of it is the special treatment based on identity category.

If I, a straight man, gave a talk on my favorite Playboy centerfolds, there's a very good chance I'd become unhireable in my industry. Even if it was a joke PowerPoint I delivered privately to a few friends and it happened to get leaked.

If you're a nonbinary queer activist, you can be much more risque, completely in the open, and be celebrated for it.

TBH that's as much class norms as anything else- posting your favorite playboy centerfold as a decoration at your desk would be totally accepted behavior in many working class jobs(yes, including the ones that have desks). Doing a comedy routine centering on your favorite playmates wouldn't even be remarked upon(although sending it out as a department wide email would be seen as beyond the pale).

But being quite loud and public about that sort of thing does give me a strong impression of rampant, unchecked narcissism, narcissism-adjacency, or some other idiopathic impairment of personal judgment.

Setting aside what personality traits may motivate it, isn’t it better for a high-level government staffer to be public about what many might consider embarrassing? No one can likely blackmail this fellow about being a kink enthusiast, or whatever.

Plausibly, but this assumes that everyone who puts their (metaphorical) dirty laundry out in the open doesn't necessarily imply an absence of darker secrets available for blackmail. That might be true, but in this case the open parts didn't include "steals luggage and clothing for presumably nefarious purposes." Did the analysis include the risk of compromise by being paid off under the table in stolen women's luggage?

It is difficult for me to put into words why "the kind of person who does public kink shows" automatically registers to my mind as "the kind of person who is likely unfit for public office at any level." I don't think that being into BDSM or dressing like a dog or even crossdressing is especially likely to correlate with being bad at making dispassionate policy decisions, or whatever else it takes to be a good public servant. But being quite loud and public...

Similarly, most defenders of this guy would probably object very strongly to giving the same job to someone like Andrew Tate. That would be true even if he had a degree in nuclear engineering or wrote 12 academic papers on the topic.

Yeah, with the caveat that I wouldn’t recognize expensive luggage if I saw it.

I don’t even have a problem with being loud and public about such hobbies. Especially as activism. It’s crossing over, no pun intended, with their actual position that might be fraught. The government mouthpiece ought to be staid and boring and decidedly not transgressive.

Conditional on being right about 2), no. If I’m wrong and Mx. Brinton was unable to control perverted urges...yeah, I guess.

Let's assume the worst: They stole the bag for sexual reasons.

Given that this single person's actions moves the needle for how you'll trust, hire, or promote other members of Brinton's group:

Does a story of a man repeatedly abusing and eventually murdering their young child move the needle for how you'll trust, hire, or promote other men?

Does the story of Sandy Hook move the needle for how you'll trust, hire, or promote other white men?

Does the story of Pittsburg Synagogue shooting move the needle for how you'll trust, hire, or promote other people with right ring beliefs?

Considering that all of these stories are far worse than the worst thing Brinton might have done, I'd hope that you'd have the same response.

You seem to be trying to compute probabilities by counting occurrences within a reference class, and then forgetting to divide by the size of the reference class. That's odd.

(# of sandy hook and synagogue shooters) / (# of white men) = small

(this one guy) / (# of transvestite puppy play wtf this guy is) = much bigger

To be fair, if you can pick the reference class, you can do anything.

Guess what, you can pick the reference class. I'm giving you permission. "The reference class is left as an exercise for the reader," sounds far better than "I left it vague on purpose." So thanks for that phrase.

I understand that. I didn't want to get down to the nitty gritty of accurately defining or sizing the reference class since it's a fairly inexact and tedious thing to do.

Let's take the example of men who commit sexual violence - obviously 'men' is a large group. But studies show that a certain population of men - ranging from 1% to 5% - have committed some sort of sexual crime (regardless of prosecution). So even at the best estimates 1/100 isn't exactly the smallest proportion. I don't know the specifics of how large Brinton's group is nor do I know the estimated number of sexual crimes they commit. But I think you're giving the OP quite a pass to use assumptions about a group that they probably couldn't name as justifications for discrimination.

Lets actually roll with your example:

Does a story of a man repeatedly abusing and eventually murdering their young child move the needle for how you'll trust, hire, or promote other men?

Apparently it has, for professions where this is relevant. 89% of childcare workers are women and about 85% of elementary school teachers are. So it does appear that we, as a society, have decided that it's too risky to let men work around children.

https://www.zippia.com/child-daycare-worker-jobs/demographics/

This story discusses that the suspicion you describe is rampant.

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/men-teach-elementary-school/story?id=18784172

I would be curious to see your studies which claim 1-5% of men do sexual crime. A quick google search suggests that about 1.5% of America has ever been in jail and about 1/10 of violent crime is rape. Assuming another 1.5% of America got away with a crime, all criminals are men, and everyone in jail is a violent criminal, that gets us a ballpark of (1.5% + 1.5%) x (10% of crime is rape) / (50% of america is men) = 0.6% of American men did a sex crime.

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2020.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

I don't know the specifics of how large Brinton's group is nor do I know the estimated number of sexual crimes they commit. But I think you're giving the OP quite a pass to use assumptions about a group that they probably couldn't name as justifications for discrimination.

Consider an experiment one might run:

  1. Allow gattsuru to select a person he considers central in this group.

  2. Put that person, along with 9 randomly selected other people of the same gender and race into a lineup.

  3. Me, an internet rando who believes he understands gattsuru's point, has to pick the person from (1) out of the lineup from (2).

With what odds do you think I'll get it wrong?

What an odd conflation of highly identifiable niche/deviant behavior and uselessly broad identity categories.

If a man with swastika tattoos applies for a job with you after several other men with swastika tattoos blow up a Jewish orphanage nunnery, and your coworker says "woah there, you can't be prejudiced against all men just because other men have committed crimes," I think it's reasonable to suspect that the coworker is simply trying to deflect from the swastika tattoos, yes?

What an odd conflation of highly identifiable niche/deviant behavior and uselessly broad identity categories.

Can you clarify why you don't think these examples are relatable? Specifically with men and sexual abuse - men are significantly more likely to commit sexual crimes and a large amount of them do so. We're talking men of all shapes and sizes. If this rare incident changes your perception of an entire group than surely the rather commonplace sexual crime committed by men should do the same?

I think it's reasonable to suspect that the coworker is simply trying to deflect from the swastika tattoos, yes?

This hypothetical isn't relevant. Swastika tatoos are historically and contextually related to violence and a highly specific type of person. It's impossible to compare that sort of history and baggage with something like a subset of the LGBT community.

To reiterate, these sorts of events are not as common as you think they are. These stories do get happily promoted by the media when they do happen because that's the society we live in. We aren't writing headline stories about yet another father molesting his daughter.

To reiterate, these sorts of events are not as common as you think they are.

No way, the media is burying this because it goes against their narrative. I don't see anything on either CNN or MSNBC about this. The OP's news link didn't even have his picture. If an official appointed by Trump had done this it would be front page on all of those sites and the tonight shows would be hooting about it for months.

Burying what exactly? You're putting the cart well before the horse here. Strip all identity politics out of this story and here's what you get: A mid-tier government official claims to have accidentally stolen luggage on a business trip.

Why is that worth reporting on? A story this small rarely makes the news. The only reason this is news is because it involves identity politics. I thought we were against identity politics here?

You should be asking the other question: Why did right ring media jump all over this minor story? It's simple, it's because they knew they'd get easy clicks by sensationalizing a story involving identity politics. Again, I'm pretty sure most of us here are opposed to media outlets doing this. But now it's somehow not only ok but appreciated? Especially when we have no proof of what happened yet and have good reason to believe this was a stupid mistake? It's ridiculous.

And a non-binary man who dresses like he’s trying to queer the joker, brags about pretending to have sex with animals, and can’t be normal for five minutes, is also a highly specific type of person.

A person does not choose to be white, or male.

A person does choose to look like... well, what the subject of this discussion looks like.

Contrary to prevailing narrative, most of the time looks are an incredibly valid basis to judge people on. At least, when it comes to things a person obviously chooses for themselves. I would say that judging people on their choices is probably one of the best ways to judge people, even.

This isn't about choice, it's about an action by an individual leading to a stereotype of an entire group. They could be talking about the type of person to wear a suit to a party for all I care.

Considering that all of these stories are far worse than the worst thing Brinton might have done, I'd hope that you'd have the same response.

I think I'm coming at it slightly different than @netstack, but I don't have the same response. Put simply, Brinton's group (defined broadly) failed in their duty to promote positive role models. This makes me distrust their judgement.

If you can find anyone who loudly supported Adam Lanza or Robert Gregory Bowers, then I'd lose some trust in them as well. I just don't think those people exist.

Given that this single person's actions moves the needle for how you'll trust, hire, or promote other members of Brinton's group

Well, what is Brinton's group? Who are we defining as their group? Non-binary people, genderfluid people?

Or people who make a big public declaration of "Ooh, I'm so unconventional, me! I'm smashing the gender patriarchy! I don't adhere to any of your dull boring conventional morality!"?

Because people who go on about how they're breaking taboos are going to seem like "well, if you're happy enough to be shocking about this and to break the rules on that, why shouldn't I think you might be looser on keeping other rules like 'not stealing' and such like?"

Look at our friend Sam Bankman-Fried: has he moved the needle on trusting, hiring or promoting guys who promise to save the world through charitable donations that come from vast profits via magic beans trading?

I do object to your weaselly “people like Sam,” since I’d consider the appropriate category to be “kink activists” or “identity politicians” or even “people who make the personal political.” Somehow I imagine your chosen category is more broad.

You call it weaselly, I call it vague on purpose. You get to choose what to think when I say people like Sam. You get to decide what makes someone like, or unlike, him. My category is broadly queer activists, which is the umbrella which covers your kink activists, and overlaps with your identity politicians.

He's going to appear in court, say "I took it by mistake I was tired after a long voyage", nobody is going to check if he has a similar type of bag and it's going to end there. It's probably even true. Either way nothing is going to come out of this.

PS. I'm surprised it even went this far. This retroactively justifies every time I double-checked the tag on my bag at the airport.

I'm surprised it even went this far.

You should read the Daily Signal link.

Investigators called Brinton on Oct. 9 and asked him whether he took anything from the Minneapolis airport that didn’t belong to him.

“Not that I know of,” Brinton replied, according to the complaint.

Brinton later admitted to taking the wrong bag, but said that he didn’t have the clothes and other contents that the woman said were in the suitcase.

“That was my clothes when I opened the bag,” the Energy Department official said, according to the complaint.

Brinton confirmed that he still had the bag.

Two hours later, Brinton called investigators and apologized for not being “completely honest.” He admitted to taking the Vera Bradley bag and said he was tired at the time and thought it was his.

Brinton told investigators that when he opened the bag and realized it wasn’t his, he got nervous and didn’t know what to do, according to the complaint.

So, Brinton said, he left the clothes from the bag inside drawers in his Saint Paul hotel room. He admitted to checking the bag at the airport Sept. 18 for his return flight to Washington.

When asked why he took the bag with him Sept. 18, Brinton said it would be “weirder” to leave a bag in the hotel room than the clothes, according to the complaint.

I don't see many ways for prosecutors to fail on this one (though I wouldn't be at all surprised if they deliberately failed). From this account I am more inclined to believe that he stole what he recognized as a very expensive piece of luggage, rather than what he expected to be women's underwear. But it is also presumably possible for both of those things to be true at once.

Just to be clear - the entire contents of the bag are worth over $2K while the suitcase is only worth $295 brand new. It would really shock me that someone in this position would a) risk a government job for petty theft B) steal a non-collectible, relatively inexpensive suitcase. What's the max you could even resell a used $300 suitcase for?

Obviously this story is really weird. But life is crazy enough that something like this could happen and at this point it was likely a mistake.

How about him just stealing for the momentary thrill as opposed to the money? Crimes are not generally committed by people acting rationally anyway.

Since we don't know the full story, that could be a possibility too. However, given what we know, it doesn't seem likely that this crime was committed for the adrenaline rush for the reasons mentioned earlier.

And Bill Clinton risked his presidency for a BJ, people do stupid things all the time so it seems perfectly plausible to me. Every sign points to this being theft. He made no effort to return it, ditched the clothes, used the bag after knowing it wasn’t his and lied to police. What more do you need? If he never admits: “Yep I stole it” is he all good?

"It was a mistake" works right up to the moment when they opened the case and saw the clothes weren't theirs. Even then, "oh crap what do I do?" is excusable as a panic reaction, but first claiming "the case might be wrong but the clothes were mine" (that's a terrible lie, how do you expect to be believed?) and then "I took the clothes out and left them but took the case with me" isn't any better. Surely it would be easier to either take everything with you, or else leave everything behind. Granted, people don't act rationally when in a panic, but unless they can produce the other case that really belongs to them and have both cases for comparison, then "I thought it was mine" doesn't work, and unless there are two identical cases where they can do "This is mine and the one I was using on other trips, this is the case I took by mistake", then it does look like deliberate theft.

Why? I honestly have no idea. Maybe it was one moment of craziness. Maybe they are a kleptomaniac and it's going to come out that they've taken other stuff before.

Reacting to that situation with panic at all is just pathetically terrible judgement. Act like a fucking adult, and call the airport to explain what happened.

I've read it now. His story is weird but not impossible. If there is no sexual motive (which, if the bag doesn't have a garish floral motive, there probably isn't) then it's going to be even harder to prove anything.

I haven't seen a picture of it but people on Reddit were saying that that brand of suitcases is known for having garish floral patterns.

From this account I am more inclined to believe that he stole what he recognized as a very expensive piece of luggage

I too tend towards that explanation, but goodness gracious me, even for $295 price tag, if they had to steal it then what salary is a poor, downtrodden deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition expected to scrape by on and eat cold beans straight from the tin? 😁

Didn’t he get caught on camera looking at and removing the luggage tag?

They've already confirmed that he didn't check a bag on that flight, he did not act to return the item when prompted by police, he has been formally indicted and placed on administrative leave. I think his goose is cooked.

Dems are done with this shit, they are swinging back to the center on race and sexuality issues and focusing on abortion and bread and butter liberal economic issues like healthcare and student debt forgiveness since the midterm proved it works. They passed a statute codifying same-sex marriage, and that is the face they want to put on "LGBTQ" issues, not this rolling disaster of a person. SCOTUS is going to deep-six affirmative action and that is not a winning issue for the Dems, plus it doesn't work to motivate their racial client groups, so don't expect any more BLM-branded racialist muckraking. We're going back to First Term Obama, minus the drone strikes.

From your lips to God's ears.

Though I wonder how that'll play out in the primary, if Biden doesn't run again. I do suspect that Dems can wash their hands clean enough of the past couple years to blunt Republican arguments.

Sure seems to me like Biden is running again.

I think that's extremely optimistic and mirrors a lot of what was said about Clinton repudiating the left excesses of the late-80s. Will come back to this later, but Left inc has always been very good at correcting oversteps by publicly signalling a change in course while simply preparing for another push in the original direction.

See how long repudiating BLM extremism lasted after 2015. They just quietly worked to make the next rollout overwhelming shock and awe while everyone else was thinking "thank God that's over with."

I dunno, Clinton actually did pass harsh mandatory minimum sentences, overhauled welfare to replace it with TANF which generally required people to get a job, etc. He wasn't just talk.

nobody is going to check if he has a similar type of bag and it's going to end there

Eh, maybe not:

Surveillance footage showed Brinton allegedly grabbing the luggage from the carousel and removing the ID tag identifying the owner. Brinton was later captured on surveillance using the same suitcase on at least two trips to Washington, DC, on Sept. 18 and Oct. 9, according to authorities.

If it was innocent mistake "I took the wrong case", you would expect that they would try and return it or find the owner. I can't find the report now, but another article on this described them as 'walking briskly' away or some such phrase which was newspaper-speak for "they took the case then ran out of the airport before they could be stopped".

EDIT: It was from the "Statement of Probable Cause" filed with the court

"DEFENDANT removed the blue bag’s tag and put the bag tag in the handbag they were carrying. DEFENDANT then left the area at a quick pace."

Best defence is to claim they were drunk as a skunk after coming off their flight, grabbed the case in a drunken daze, and were too scared to return it once they sobered up. That still doesn't explain "so why were you using the suitcase as your own property?" for further trips, but everyone knows this was theft, we're in the face-saving phase here.

Best defence is to claim they were drunk as a skunk after coming off their flight, grabbed the case in a drunken daze

Also possible

That still doesn't explain "so why were you using the suitcase as your own property?" for further trips

The bag used in further trips could also be his, which happens to be the same model. That he stole it for personal use is the least likely explanation, surely he's paid enough that he can afford to buy a $300 bag.

He's going to appear in court, say "I took it by mistake I was tired after a long voyage", nobody is going to check if he has a similar type of bag

I can't find a pic of the luggage, but if it is Vera Bradley most of that stuff is super-duper patterned, unless he had the exact same pattern you'd never confuse it. They do list one plain black suitcase, but the rest are wild stuff you'd never mistake for something else.

I always use distinctive suitcases, and on the list of paranoid things I do is take a picture of myself with my suitcase on my phone, in case I get in a dispute at luggage claims.

If the price they report is right it could be this one: https://verabradley.com/collections/rolling-luggage/products/hardside-large-spinner-2813515185?variant=40622072627244 which does come with garish floral patterns but also in generic black and silver. All other models have one or two "boring" (sane?) variants. Regardless, none of this is a unique piece.

He had no checked luggage at all, so that's going to be a hard sell.

Depends the forum it is brought in. The FBI only has a good J6 record because they are allowed to bring them all in DC.

I’m not sure there’s an explanation that makes Sam look good or innocent, but given that he doesn’t swing that way I’m not finding the ‘stealing a woman’s underwear for sexual purposes’ particularly convincing.

I will say that his apparent inability to separate his sex life from … anything at all should have been red flag numero uno that he would do something wildly inappropriate, and that stealing woman’s clothes was probably for the purpose of wearing them(why doesn’t he just buy them? Presumably for the same reason he insists on giving interviews about how much he enjoys dressing as a dog during sex to celebrate his appointment as a nuclear waste undersecretary). Would I hire him? I mean, if he was actually qualified(which he doesn’t appear to be) and showed up to the interview looking and acting normal(which he seems entirely incapable of), possibly.

I mean, if he was actually qualified(which he doesn’t appear to be)

When first hearing about his appointment and seeing the kind of photos* he deemed appropriate for workwear in the office, that was my first thought. But seemingly he does indeed have qualifications in the field and worked there before. So it's not quite "some arts graduate got a sinecure as deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition purely for the woke optics". And seemingly I should be referring to them as "they" per Wikipedia:

Education Kansas State University (B.S.), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.Sc.)

In 2016, Brinton was a senior policy analyst for the Bipartisan Policy Center, lobbying for updated regulations so nuclear waste can be used to power advanced nuclear reactors. In February 2020, the website of Deep Isolation, a Berkeley, California, nuclear waste storage and disposal company, listed them as its Director of Legislative Affairs and in May 2022 they were its Director of Global Strategy. In 2022, Brinton's profile at the Department of Energy indicated their previous work with the Breakthrough Institute, the Clean Air Task Force, and Third Way

*Though my fashion tastes are extremely conservative and bland, I've never worn lipstick, and all my shoes are flat and sensible. So others may find this apparel perfectly cromulent.

EDIT: And while I'm speaking about fashion and makeup, I don't think he has the kind of face that suits the makeup he wears. I don't know why he shaves his head and, er, don't educate me on gay puppy-play dress codes thanks (this is something where ignorance is bliss). But every time I see him, I get the image of the character Balok from the original Star Trek series episode "The Corbomite Manoeuvre".

Personally, the vibe I got was more like the Talosians from The Cage/The Menagerie.

The Talosians have better fashion sense.

Oh undoubtedly. It was specifically his head that made me think that.