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Day 69 - Of Lies and Fraud versus Truth and Facts

28.05.2020

As we near the possibility of an end, for a second time, of lockdown, once again I prepare for the possible end of this lockdown blog. So, in case I don’t get the time later, here is my vow about the 69 days, so far, of this blog: I have tried to make it a truthful blog. I have made every effort, while also being I hope a bit humourous, and managing the feat of writing both “for LALIT” and “a personal view”, to avoid any lie or falsehood. Thus my confession. A falsehood crept into a text. It is of no likely harm, but here it is: I wrote that we had “lasagna” for dinner one night, when in fact it was “moussaka” we had cooked. Ram, proof-reading, did not spot the mistake. The two dishes look much the same from the top, I suppose. Kisna, translating into Kreol, knowing we had eaten moussaka not lasagna, spotted it but decided to let it go because the English version was already uploaded, and then, anyway, later Alain would check against the original and it would all get too complicated. Later I remembered the mistake, so the whole story came out and we all laughed. But, the truth is we cooked moussaka not lasagna. Another day, afterwards, when I had said in the blog that we were going to cook fish “pie” for supper, Ram announced that he had changed his mind and would make fish “cakes”, instead. But, remembering what the blog said, we decided to make the “pie”, as promised. So prevent a falsehood.


So, there you go. If there are any other inexactitudes or false claims you have spotted in these 69 blogs, dear Reader, please let me know.


The point here is that truthfulness is important. In small things, like lasagna, as in big things like politics, economics and epidemics. There is enough uncertainty in the world without us adding intentional deception in order to hide the truth, or even confusing people with any negligence with regard to facts.


But, we live in a world right now that is particularly full of lies, false claims, ill-intentioned conspiracy theories, anti-science and anti-rational extreme-right-wing propaganda, as well as routine negligence and hurtfulness – including on social media. All these are also jet-propelled by algorithms around “bubbles” on the same social media, while the owners of the social media rake in the money from such antics.


Which brings me to today’s big international news.


Let me set it up for readers. Yesterday for the first time, the owners of Twitter put a “fact check” on their biggest customer, Donald Trump President of the USA, who also happens to be the biggest liar ever documented in history.


He has lied or made misleading claims over 18,000 times while in office. The lies increase at moments when he feels his support waning. His ruinous handling of the Coronavirus epidemic has led to two huge problems: the sheer numbers of sick and dead people in the USA (a quarter of the world’s while the USA is 5% of the world’s population) and this, in turn, causing a massive economic slump. Now Trump has to lie his way through the coming election.


So, Tuesday morning, he gets on Twitter and accuses a TV host he does not like, an ex-Republican member of the House of Representatives, of murdering a woman who fell at work and died 20 years ago. The widower of the dead woman, a research engineer, sent a heart-rending formal demand to the Twitter bosses to remove the Trump Tweet. His plea was taken up by all the US and even world news the day before yesterday.


Finally, the next day, that is yesterday, the Twitter bosses fact-checked the President for the first time.


But, it was for another pair of false Tweets.


Trump had Tweeted that “mail ballots”, if used for the coming Presidential elections, will mean election fraud. Mail ballots are key for the November elections given that no-one knows whether the Coronavirus epidemic will yet be under control. Then again, five states have only mail-in voting, in any case. Most States use mail ballots. The President, himself, sent a mail-in ballot in 2018 mid-term elections.So, he is a hypocrite as well.


All Twitter then did was to tag Trump’s Tweet in pale blue, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” and to give a link. If you follow it there is an article titled “Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.” Twitter bosses are scared that, like Facebook in Trump’s 2016 election, they will be blamed should this dangerous man be re-elected. Mark Zuckerberg does not care. Like Trump, he has no feelings for anyone except himself. He thinks social networks are like mere post offices, delivering mail. When social networks are in fact publishers – like newspapers, magazines and radio-TV outlets – that have a social responsibility.


Anyway, today’s big news is Trump flew into a rage and Tweeted a vengeful reply, “We will strongly regulate, or close them down.” No less. A tyrant. The emperor really could be sewn a suit of invisible cloth. Quelle horreur.


All the other lies, including the one about a dead woman, remain without any fact check.


His lies and false claims are of great concern because of his power, and even more so in an epidemic. Words have effects.


The situation is alarming.


 Sometimes only humour can help us get over our alarm. The link below made me laugh out loud, literally. It is a brilliant woman actor really stripping Trump of his Emperor’s clothes, of his podium and the sycophants around him, leaving his fraud exposed in his own threadbare words that, in turn, expose his simpleton mind:


 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gPrRYNYgdQ


 


Lindsey Collen


for LALIT, a personal view.