Sunday, May 6, 2018

Truth, Lies, Facts, Shakespeare, Robocalls, Operations

Facts, Fiction, Theories and Lies

Facts are “what truly is” and “what truly was” and which is scientifically or historically verifiable.  Everything else is merely “theory,” and though something might seem to be logical, believable or sensible, without irrefutable scientific or historical validation, it remains something less than “fact.”  Calling it “fiction” implies it was “made up” by someone which might not always be the case, so let’s call supposed facts which are unproven, “theories.”  That's what scientists do. That is certainly a better word than “alternate facts” which seems to recognize a thoroughly underserved credibility.

Some “theories” or “fictions” are believed to be facts by many.  The key word here is “believed,” and obviously, all religions fall into this category.  They require “belief” in their being factual without irrefutable scientific or historical evidence.  That is what faith is all about.  This is the only area where fiction or theory may be granted an exception and accepted as fact, and rather than get into lengthy discussions of belief with followers of a religion, any religion, it should be left at that.

Beyond that, no unproven fictions nor theories should ever be accepted as facts.  This is especially true in politics, government and economics, where many practitioners believe their ideas to be facts.  It extends to marketing, sales, banking and finance as well, and when a bridge collapses, we realize it extends to engineering too.

Always be careful what you accept as factual.  It may just be a logical sounding, believable and sensible bit of theory or a downright fiction made up by someone.  They might even be lies.

Which brings us to an interesting treatment of lies, by none other than William Shakespeare.  Read on.
Jack Lippman

Lies and Equivocators (Shakespeare)

In Scene 3 of Act 2 of Macbeth, a drunken gate keeper at Macbeth’s castle, where Macbeth has already murdered King Duncan and is going to lie about it, confuses his job with that of the keeper of the gates of hell, with which Macbeth’s castle, in view of what has happened there, can readily be confused. 

Wondering who is knocking at the gate, he inquires “Who’s there? Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake yet could not equivocate to heaven.  O, come in, equivocator.” 

(I see these words as referring to someone who has committed an act of treason, is capable of taking whatever side is expedient to them but cannot get away with that kind of excuse with God. Shakespeare is philosphizing about this point which obviously relates to his play, Macbeth.)

In the footnotes in the Folger edition of Macbeth, the following appears in explanation of what these words are all about. “Equivocator:  One who intentionally speaks ambiguously, either by using words that can be taken more than one way or by mentally hedging or limiting his or her words.  (Jesuits were charged with equivocation, and many scholars see this passage as referring to the 1606 trial and execution of a Jesuit, Father Garnett, whose defense included the claim that, by the doctrine of equivocation, a lie is not a lie if the speaker intends a second, true meaning by his words.)”

I doubt if Donald Trump has ever read any Shakespeare or looked into the Jesuit doctrine of equivocation (although he did attend a Jesuit college, Fordham University, for two years before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania).  Nevertheless, his repeated lying, at least in his mind, is for the ultimate purpose of justifying what, again in his mind, is a greater truth, his agenda, whatever that might be.  Bottom line: the ends justify the means, and that includes lying or more politely, equvocating.  Why, even the Jesuits did it.  This man must go, and if he were around today, Shakespeare would sign a petition to rid the White House of the equivocator who occupies it.  The drunken gate keeper had it right!

The Ugly Place Where All This "Lyin'" Can Lead

While the Trump team tries to figure out a plausible story as to what actions they took and when they took them, and then fabricate a slew of backdated documentation to back up that story, the country looks on with increasing incredulity.  This pertains to his womanizing as well as to those of his actions which are broadly classified as “collusion” but might be much less or perhaps much more.  The President is not above the law.  It is not “his” Department of Justice, nor “his” anything.  The government is “ours” and we elect a president to run it, serving as its “chief magistrate,” as the Founding Fathers called the position.

Eventually, Trump will be impeached, will resign, be arrested, or whatever, and be put out of office legally.  Ultimately the Supreme Court will support the “law” over whatever claims Trump makes, even the “unconstitutionality” of the office Special Counsel Mueller.  But that won’t be the end of it.

Trump’s gullible base will believe this all to be part of a conspiracy engineered by “the dark state,” the “legacy” media and of course the Democratic sore-losers.  These are people who swear by whatever they see and hear on Fox News.  Truly, they would still back the President, even if he, as he once boasted, shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.  

They represent a populist uprising which is willing to sacrifice the democratic process in seeking solutions for their problems.   These people will present a problem regardless of what happens to Trump.  Some of them would conceivably demonstrate against the legal ouster of the President.  Some of them are armed and claim the Second Amendment has given them the right to possess arms in the event of just such an illegal (in their eyes) act on the part of the government.  Some State governments might support this position.  There might even be bloodshed.  This is the great danger the country faces.


Two Operations the President Might Consider on Advice of Counsel

Advice for the President:  Because you are so good at telling your doctors what to say about your health, why not have them recommend two surgical procedures for you to undergo. Your lawyers would probably agree.  First, would be an operation to remedy a supposed maxillary disorder requiring your jaws to be wired shut, impairing your ability to speak.  Secondly would be operations on both wrists for a supposed diagnosis of “carpal tunnel syndrome,” impairing your ability to use your fingers to send out tweets.  Such medical intervention worked well with the diagnosis of “bone spurs” to keep you out of government service at the time of the Vietnam War; it can work now with the result, perhaps, of keeping you in government service in the White House a bit longer until the law finally catches up with you and boots you out. 

Jail Robo Call Offenders  and throw away the key

Robot telephone calls are a pain in the ass.  

While I do get a few on my mobile phone where it is a simple task to block that number from ever reaching me again, I get many, many more on my home number (which we used to call a “landline” but now reaches me, I believe, through my internet connection).  These annoying calls far outnumber “real” telephone calls made to my home number, on which my equipment has the ability to block up to twenty calls.  I easily fill up that quota about every ten days or so and when I try to block a fresh robocall, the message “Blocked Calls Filled” pops up.  I then delete some of the previously blocked numbers to make space for the new numbers I wish to block.  On the rare occasions when I attempt to dial one of these numbers, I get a message saying that that the number has been discontinued.  Unfortunately, if somebody in St. Louis, for example, is actually trying to reach me, most likely I will not pick up the phone and block the number.

I recently read that one of the low-life scoundrels who make money from these robocalls specializes in making them from discontinued local numbers to which he manages to get access.  (He is currently fighting a potential 120 million dollar FCC fine.)  I am less likely to block a number identified as coming from the town or county in which I live than from a distant out of state location.  Putting my telephone numbers on government “do not call” lists does not work because these scoundrels know how to get around that.  Also, I do not know how effective the “call blocking accessories” available on the internet are, and they are not inexpensive.   

I feel the only solution to this annoying practice if for it to be mandatory that the culprits, if they are found to be breaking any laws and are convicted, serve hard time in a state or federal prison, and not be let off easy.  Fines, however large, are not enough.  Jail should be mandatory.  And if there are no laws that they are breaking, there should be.

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