Political Ads, Robo-Calls, “No Call” Lists, Confidential Information, and Privacy?

Political ads are not a part of any fair or honest debate process.  One of the primary reasons they are not, is that so many of them seem to be lies, half truths, and innuendos.  There are no honest judges present to throw out invalid sources, and no rebuttal of questionable statements allowed unless the person wishing to give rebuttal can come up with the money to pay for it.

Then, it won’t be positioned in any timely manner that might offset the “perception management” strategies (propaganda), but placed according to the governance of the media it is purchased from.  The media is happy to sell the space for these ads, as it is very profitable for them to do so.  It comes down to which dominator-bully can collect the most donations (bribes?), and hire the cleverest political science writers to script their self-inflated lists of accomplishments, and fear-mongering, doesn’t it?

The rhetoric, all being parts of the speech to persuade, prey upon the phobic nature of the masses–most of whom are passive thinkers at best; scientifically illiterate, and not very familiar with their own history.  While what is happening is disgusting, I remain disappointed, but not surprised.  It’s all about money and power, and common decency and ethics have absolutely nothing to do with it.

And while the Supreme court has ruled that any person, groups of persons, or corporations can, in effect, buy the influence of public office without it being considered bribery, we are inundated with mail and phone calls, not just from the campaign offices of the lying politicians themselves, but from every crack-pot organization in the country, even when it is just a local election.  Again, I say it’s all about money and power, and common decency and ethics have absolutely nothing to do with it.

In business, there are laws intending to prevent false advertising and overt actions that would deceive the public. People still break these rules on occasion, but from time to time those who do get held accountable.  And this accountability is not considered by the public to be any infringement on “free speech”, but an intended safeguard against unethical greed and avarice taking unfair control over the lives of what would-be free and independent ordinary citizens.

Yet, we have no such rules in politics that prevent false advertising.  We have no rules in place that have any teeth that would prevent politicians from deceiving the public.  We have allowed politicians to be above the law, so to speak, in almost all measures that we would hold ourselves to in all of our other business affairs.

In the business world, people who dispense favors to venders and suppliers who have provided that officer with gifts or other consideration are often fired, and also viewed in their own business community as unethical, dishonorable, and therefore not trustworthy to handle the affairs or money of businesses, or that of the owners or stockholders of such businesses.  But in governance, it is an acceptable practice?

As a boy, I heard my grandfather say:

“A half-truth is no truth at all. And the intent of it is to lie.”

The average citizen is warned in courtrooms not to lie.  They are instructed to “…tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  And of course, you understand why we have such a rule as that, without having to have ever heard any opinion about it from my grandfather.  Unless the judges and juries can operate on some belief that witnesses are compelled to be truthful, there would be no reason to depend or act upon testimony.

If people lie, or misdirect focus to things that never happened, or reported to have happened differently that what is factual, arguments about equity and consideration would make no sense, and guilt could never be presumed beyond reasonable doubt.  In other words, the system would fail.

What you’d have left would be ruthless gangs struggling for power, and expect those gangs once they get such authority, to render each and every civil right of the individual now protected by the constitution null and void.  Yet we have come to accept this pattern to exist and be “the way things are” in the Congress, the Senate, and in the legislative bodies of all fifty states.

How is it then, that we have come to expect, almost without exception, those who ask that they be allowed to hold the sacred trust of public office to be liars, when we’d send a common citizen to jail for committing perjury?  Why is it that “freedom of speech” be construed to allow misinformation that equals slander, deception, and even the cover-up of criminal behavior when the intent of it is so harmful to the public, when it is not to be allowed in the private sector?  So how is it that perjury, or the equivalent of it, is allowed in politics?

Why should politics enjoy such an immunity, when your local service station is not allowed to lie about the number of gallons their meter says you’re pumping?  Folks, this all goes way beyond differences of opinion, or even differences of interpretation of statutes.  It is by all rational, moral, and any ethical sense, criminal behavior based on bandit decisions.

Further, how is it that we have laws on the books that allow private citizens to put their phone number on a “No Call” list that exempts these political liars, and all of their favor-purchasing friends who wish to call on the politician’s behalf?  Don’t they realize most intelligent people are offended by this practice?  Is that the presumption?  They should only have to worry about offending the smart people?  What does that say about their opinions of the the people they are supposed to represent?  Unfortunately, I suspect that indictment might stand up under rather superficial scrutiny.

We all are aware by now, the “No Call” list is a joke.  The FCC is underfunded and understaffed, and state law enforcement agencies don’t have enough time or money as it is to even pursue all the violent crimes reported to them.  So, nobody is going to stop the people who’ve been calling you multiple times a week for the past several years to tell you “this is your last chance to change to lower the interest rate on your credit card account” even though the caller has no idea what your interest rate is, or who your account is with.  Further, the statement that it’s your “last chance” is a lie.  They will not stop the callers who intend to defraud you by implying you’ve won some free service (that may only cost you a few thousand bucks to accept).

So, don’t expect phone companies, all of whom make huge profits just because the sky is blue on occasion, or government offices, where if any real work takes place at all, is done by a staff of clerks who are often not paid very well, and live in the fear of offending somebody who “donates” to some powerful authority figure.  The system is corrupt, and broken possibly beyond reasonable repair.

Here are a few more thought you might care to note:

If you’ve voted in recent elections, I’d imagine you get junk mail often from the offices of people you have voted for.  Oh, you also get mail from their opposition, but haven’t you recognized that the majority of it seems to indicate the way you voted in a “secret ballot” process somehow does not seem to have remained much of a secret?  Imagine that!

There are few secrets.  Medicare and Medicaid fraud is a huge problem, not because citizens are collecting benefits they don’t deserve, but because patient lists are illegally and unscrupulously sold to all kinds of “clinics” that submit fraudulent claims for services and products that have never been provided.

You can do your own research about the scandal of fraudulent medicare billings submitted by Columbia/HCA and implications about co-founder Rick Scott, if you wish.  He was not found guilty of anything; got to keep his money, and is, at the time of this writing, now the governor of Florida.  Additionally, he has a good chance of being re-elected, because the members of his own party are willing to believe all the charges against him are the willful intent of his opposition to discredit him.

People will vote for the Devil himself if the Devil gets their party’s nomination.  Such memetics result in belief disorders, which is the predominant cause of the continuing problem.  And it would be delusional to believe that those who represent not the people, but those who line their pockets, should be expected to care about who gets to call your house at all hours for whatever reason, even though they call you on your private number that you pay dearly to have.

You buy a piece of real estate? All of a sudden, you’re inundated with offers from people who want to lend you money, and sell you more real estate. Make a donation to a charity?  You’re inundated “opportunities”, by junk mail and by telephone, to donate even more money to other charities, some legitimate, and some not so much.

And since it is evidently quite a successful method of fleecing well meaning citizens of good intent, and since the public is so gullible and easily swayed to act on information and misinformation just the same, the process will continue unabated until we have a population educated enough to think for themselves, and take action to do something about it.

I have absolutely no confidence in expecting such as that to happen. One of the reasons I don’t, is because we have politicians in office who have benefitted from the transfer of confidential and personally private data about you, and your neighbors.  I’m not talking about invasions of your privacy by The National Security Agency, but by clerks that just might be employed by your personal physician or your local hospital.  In the past, several of them have been “clever” enough to receive large sums of money in exchange for lists including names, addresses, social security numbers, insurance policy numbers, and specifics about your personal medical history.

Once again, it’s all about money and power.  Common decency and ethics have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Is Not Conservation Essentially the Quintessential Conservative Position?

When it comes down to the politically polarized issues about our environment, a good many people seem to be arguing about things outside their understanding.  It isn’t a new practice; it’s been going on for thousands of years–millions perhaps if you go back to the early beginnings of the hominids.  About 95% of our population is scientifically illiterate (according to Dr. Carl Sagan), and consequently fearful about what they don’t understand.

It is because of what they don’t know (and do not want to know), that they will presume to get their conclusions from other people.  The overwhelming majority are phobics, and as a large subset, get their opinions, not from research, or study, but from accepting the ideas presented to them by their bullies (dominators).  And as long as certain dominators are blinded by the prospects of a hugely profitable immediacy, the inability to postpone gratification, one of the basic character flaws found in individuals and societies as a whole, they will passionately pursue those profits, and support a campaign program of perception management to keep their phobic followers seeing everything as simple, and in some way similar to a pep-rally at a high school football game.  To them, it is just easier to see it as a game.  And during games, they will yell: “Hooray for our side!”

Some are not convinced, in the face of data they literally do not understand, that if we must err, it would be wiser to err on the side of caution.  Strangely enough, they have been convinced (which should give any reasonably bright person a clue to what is happening) that protecting the earth, air, and water in some natural way that can sustain life is some kind of communist plot. At the same time, the delusion has now spread so far as to insist conservation itself, which is the ultimate conservative position, is somehow a bad idea.

Furthermore, it is presumed bad by those who externalize good and bad to things outside themselves, especially if they do not understand them.  What makes it easy for dominators to benefit from such idiocy is the very nature of the phobics.  It is common for them to fear what is framed as “the opposition”, and fear it vehemently more so if it is not understood, or if at all, not very clearly.

And what irrational fear seems so profoundly expressed so loudly and so often?  What more so than the in-your-face insistence of an idea from someone seen to be of an opposing political or religious ideology?  In fact, since that very angst drives humans to become passionate about war, it appears that fears associated with threats they recognize (though not always rationally) to the fabric of their beliefs, will overwhelm even the fear of the loss of life and limb.  You’ve seen it in lots of places.  I’ve seen it on fields of battle.  You can find lots of evidence to support what I just said, if you’ll just look for it.

In the meantime, while incidences of melanoma continue to rise, while a glacier in Nova Scotia continues to melt risking thermal dynamic alterations to The Gulf Stream, while crude oil still leaks into the lower part of that Gulf Stream, while humans and their children have flammable liquids come into their homes through their kitchen faucets, since what was once thought to be an unlimited source of food in our oceans seen now to be endangered and very finite, while we continue to breathe air so unlike the air from just a mere century ago, people turn their backs to the problem, primarily because…they don’t even understand it?  And all of these things are happening whether anyone is willing to admit it, or not.

Oh, these issues are likely to bring sickness, pain, and death to some of the children and grandchildren of our people, but it is much easier to just not think about it than to risk the odd chance of becoming aware of the possibility that some things may have already gone too far.  And to turn our backs and not stand up to face these adversities is not a very responsible, or even a brave thing to do.  When others are seen to be not facing, and even hiding from things that could threaten them, it is often observed as the essence of cowardice, isn’t it?  Maybe we here in the home of the brave, should think about that a little bit.

I thought of some apparent confusions about irrational fearfulness and bravery the other day while looking at a photograph of a man carrying an AR-15 with him to the grocery store.  Imagine so many other people going to buy their daily bread without so much as a pocket knife on them.  Is it that they do not understand all the imminent dangers omni-present all around them?  Or instead, are they just enjoying the freedom that is found only in a peaceful mind?  And perhaps to some, is that not a peacefulness passing far beyond what others might have developed as skills, or ever made habits to even begin to understand?  Well, of course it is.

Human life exists on this planet, as does lots of other kinds of life, due to delicate balances within nature itself.   Some want to believe all this life, all this nature, is the good work and good gifts to us from an unerringly good Deity, yet they would trash it?  Hardly makes sense when you think about it.  But to think about it and want to understand requires an effort.  Those who are lazy with ideas and only want to stand on those built by someone else, some authority they’ve acquiesced their rights to self-reliant thought processing, will not think about it without becoming irrational, thus angry and even hateful.  Peacefulness, a by-product of understanding, is not the business of those willing to be enslaved by their own misunderstandings.

So the fearful will be sedated by the empty promises of their dominators, and remain faithfully in hope of being lead to safety.  And absolutely nothing outside those empty promises will be of any long-term benefit to the phobics, or to their children.

“Stop worrying about these rumors you’re hearing about Agent Orange.  It’s just a defoliant, and cannot cause any harm to people or other animals.”
 ~ Lt. Commander (name withheld), Civil Engineer Corps, USN, 1969, just outside DaNang, Vietnam.  I remember it well.

The Roar, The Smell, The Feel, and the Flavor of the Greasepaint…

The natural woman is a beauty.  So, is the beautiful woman a natural?  Sometimes she is.  The girl who knows herself to be pretty might let go of the crutches of enhancements once in awhile, or not use them at all.  And the unassuming one without pretentiousness that leaves it alone can be wonderfully alluring, and not even know it.  But the painted woman, exotically so or not, can also be attractive.  When tastefully applied, certain shades and highlights can attract in a fascinating way, even perhaps be temptingly erotic.  Leave it rare or medium-rare, and not overdone.  Remember:  Overdone is not necessarily well done.

In fact, the incorrectly done can look clownish, obviously exaggerated, and even plastic when seen up close.  Some ladies mark and draw all over themselves as if to be seen across an arena from the back of a chorus line, but up close take on an almost ghoulish appearance rather than girlish–untouchable, almost dirty, glaringly advertising that a deception is afoot.  All the obvious accouterment gives it away.  If your mascara has big lumps in it, a man might think you got your face too close to a bucket of roofing tar.  In that case, he might want to hire you to help him work, but not necessarily want to dance with you.

Oh, by the way, don’t overdo the artificial aromas, either.  Teenagers, lacking the experience of years of proper practice, mingle in herds as if they are all trying to out-smell each other assuming it to be of some benefit.  At that age, to be irresistible to a boy is not nearly as difficult as some young ladies presume it to be.  To be sure, a lot of the perfumes and colognes available and sold everywhere from salons, department stores, and even service stations, are rather offensive smelling to men, unless it has motor or gun oil in it.

By saying men might find your store-bought fragrance to be unpleasant, I let a cat out of the bag that might otherwise suffocate.  It’s an amazing truth well hidden behind an avalanche of advertisements.  And the lie sells by the ounce.  The industry does not want you to be aware at all that what you’re buying costs a thousand bucks a gallon.  Most of the time, you’d get better mileage with about twenty-five cents worth of soap and water.  To bathe might be nice, but natural pheromones override fraudulent ones almost every time.

But don’t worry about it.  Once you’ve gotten their attention, they will put up with the odor of it even if you sprayed it on with a fire hose.  If it is a disagreeably odor-some distraction to them at first, be certain men are tough, and will charge full steam ahead as if going into battle given half the chance, or even the hint of any chance at all of a victorious outcome.  A good rule of thumb is the more you pay for a perfume, the less the man will care for it.  But other women will be jealous of you if they get a whiff, which, if you’re being honest with yourself, may be why you have it on in the first place.

I remember a young age when the boys were having to learn how to use their voices as hormones began to erode their ability to sing soprano.  During that time, the girls in my school peer group began to experiment with base makeups, eye shadows, and lipsticks.  It seemed customary to not paint the entire wall, but to abruptly stop at the chin-line so as not to get it on the collars of their blouses.  But I was willing to let them get it on mine, if I’m recalling correctly.  Yes, I was, and a bit curious about the taste of that lip gloss as well.  At that age, the game seemed to be to transfer all the paint from her face to mine, and wear it home almost as if it were a trophy, even though the prize won was only a kiss and the hint of a possible future promise.

One night I came in having spent the absolute best part of the evening in pleasant company.  As soon as I walked in the door, my father said:

“My God, son!  Don’t you carry a handkerchief?  Wipe your face before your mother sees you.  And learn to launder your own shirts from now on so I won’t have to see her cry.  Mercy!”

In theater, makeup is a part of the illusion, sometimes exaggerated to allege youth, or to confess age.  From any proper aesthetic distance, without makeup, the audience might just see washed out and almost shapeless faces in the bright lights, with features of any definition remain unnoticed.  Up close, the illusion doesn’t work.  And once the colors are known to be artificially applied, the illusion is broken, and all who see know that what is in the package is covered by more wrapping than required to make it pretty.  Other than that, it’s just ceremonial war paint, so be mindful of that as you head out the door to do battle.

I began performing as Mark Twain almost forty years ago at this writing, portraying him as a man in his seventies.  Back then, I needed the crutch of lots of makeup to be convincing.  Today I still spend hours in the makeup room, but not to put on much makeup, now.  No, I need the extra time just to fasten the buttons on the vest of the costume, as over the decades it seems to have shrunk tremendously around the waist.

So, to paint or not to paint?  Ladies, that is up to you.  But be ye not deceived about the benefits of it.  Please accept that you do it to declare something you might subconsciously feel necessary to compete with the other girls–not so much to outshine them at attracting the boys, but to declare rank.  If you even for one wild minute presume the boys will not be attracted to you sexually without a thick coat of mud on your face, you will be mistaken.

Want to make sure to be attractive to a man when standing close enough to see each other’s face?  Just make eye contact, and hold that gaze a bit.  And just as you break the stare and look down as if to blush, smile at him.  He will read your direct attention as an inspection, and read your smile as a clear sign of him passing it.  All men are vane in that way.  And if you court that vanity and if he likes you at all (and trust me he does), after that you can then drag him about by the nose if you wish.  You’ll not need to spend a penny at the makeup counter, trust me on this, as well.

One more thing:  Don’t play dumb.  The best thing that conveys, if there is any benefit to it at all is, you might be easily persuaded to make hapless decisions, or even stupid ones.  And if you think that is what the boy is looking for, go out and find another boy.  They’re around.  A new one is born about very twenty seconds–that’s more than four thousand of ’em a day.  Just be careful you’re not the one birthing a disproportionate number of them all by yourself with no one wanting to stay around to help.  But that’s another story entirely, isn’t it?

 

Done Your Best? Was it Good Enough?

” ‘I have done my best’, that is about all the philosophy of living that one needs.”                                                               ~ Lin-yutang
*****

I might wish to disagree with the message, because it implies it is acceptable to believe all that we have already done is, and always was, the best we could have done.  So, I would not encourage others to accept it as true unless I was convinced that their average or even their worst was the best they could do.  Since we speak of the past, their worst may have been the best they did, bot NOT necessarily the best they could have done.

Besides that, why would we want to say: “This is about the only philosophy of living we need”?  By that, should we throw away all the other philosophies?  What about the brilliance of Bertrand Russell?  Should we throw out Epicurean philosophy, too?  Without it, Thomas Jefferson and many of his peers (if he had any) would not have pressed the American revolution as they did, I’m fairly certain of that, but I could be wrong.

While we’re at it, should we throw out John Locke?  Daniel Dennett?  Descartes?  Spinoza?  Maybe throw out some of Plato, but not all of it.  We might want to keep the “Allegory of the Cave” story that he said Socrates told him about.  I think as lot of people need a good dose of that.

Perhaps  Lin-yutang’s core message is to call for people to think better of themselves generally, and to pull away from the “conditioning” that has convinced them of what they are not capable of doing, or even not worthy of doing.  It’s that kind of conditioning that causes people to have a low threshold of self-expectation, and keeps them from even believing they can do better.  But please don’t presume too much about that believing stuff.  Believing and truth is not always an equation.  But at the same time, neither is NOT believing always an equation with truth.  That being said, believing you can accomplish something is far more motivating than believing you cannot.  You know that yourself from experience.  We all do. 

The person who does believe, and always has believed what they are doing is the best they can do, or could be doing, is either delusional or extraordinary.  Either way, to “admit to yourself that you have always done your best” is to say you believe you cannot do better than you have already done.  Also it says that whatever you have already done could not have been improved upon no matter how much effort or thought might have been applied.  I’ve spoken with people who were severely depressed.  That’s what they believe.  They believe they’ve already done the best they could.

Oh, they don’t believe their “best” was okay; no, not at all.  What they believe, what is the ever present frustrating sensation that pulls them constantly further down, is that the very best they have ever done about anything…was pathetic.  And that belief often brings them to the very brink of self destruction.

“Best” is often arbitrary, isn’t it?  It is a perception of value.  And when it comes to values, not everyone always agrees about what is the “best”.  Maybe better than just accepting or settling for whatever mess we make of a thing, we consider what we’d have to do to fix it.  Often we can’t fix everything at once.  But when we understand what is necessary, and work to incrementally increase the quality of our average efforts towards that end, we’ll have some hope of reaching it.  Otherwise, we can hope it doesn’t matter, but then we’d usually be lying to ourselves.  So, no.  To always claim I’ve done my best would come short of a proper philosophy of living if for no other reason than it would not be the truth.

“Sometimes it is not enough to do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”                                      ~ Winston Churchill

Robin Williams is dead. More importantly, he lived.

We often miss the deep back story if it has not been shared with us. Every person on earth has a back story.

“There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.” ~ Mark Twain

*****

“O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head;

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;

From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

But I, with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.” ~ Walt Whitman

*****

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play ‘goes on” and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
~ Robin Williams as the character, John Keating in the movie: “Dead Poets Society”

*****

The Captain cannot now rise up.  But can he not?  Perhaps he learned things that could not be unlearned, thus taking him down a dark corridor previously traversed by Ernest Hemingway, whose death many have tried to explain, but most done with pathetic misunderstanding.  I cannot always fairly be the judge of what depression truth and knowledge will bring upon another.  I suspect Robin Williams had a profound understanding of things far more complex and much deeper than many people can even imagine.  Death is a part of life, and while death may end a life, it does not negate it.

I do feel Whitman’s poem (posted above) was used quite powerfully in “The Dead Poets Society”, a performance given by Williams, like so many of his other performances, so close to his awareness of circumstance.  In the story, he got through to a small group of young men, but in doing so, fell victim of the narrow-minded bullying hand of “status quo”.

In real life, Robin was loved by millions.  He was a masterful wit and performing artist.  But was he really only understood by few?  Some have said of genius that it is perhaps entirely understood by nobody else living.  While I can presume why it could be said, I do not entirely believe it so.

And to some degree, that is also fair to say there has been a great deal of misunderstanding about lots of bright people, particularly of the philosophers that gave birth toThe American Revolution.  In some ways, it was possibly often best to not expect the masses to grasp the depth of the tyrannies you oppose and why you opposed them, but to just listen enough to get a feel for what you’re about–that, at least for a bit, so that some of the good you intend to be a benefit to them might shine through.  But what is kept from them intentionally will not be heard.

The privacy desired by any man so much in the public eye is often filled with trouble, just as are the very reasons he would want to be allowed some private thought.  I will not likely to ever fully understand why Robin chose to end his story as he did, but it isn’t my place to know it.  Except for one thing, and that I can be brought face to face with the sobering concept that some things can seem insurmountable even at, and possibly because of, levels of extreme brilliance.  I do not necessarily always hold with Phil Donahue’s explanation that: “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  While it is permanent, other than the permanence of it, no other solution may ever surface.

So often, Mr. Williams spoke out against tyrannies that suppressed the very thinking of people in such a way that it would suppress the right of self determination about ones own private life and behavior.  He was against suppressions that harmed people due to the power of largely accepted dogma and narrow-minded traditions.  And when he did so, he also felt the ridicule of the bullies who oppress others with their powerful myths.  So, we must suspect there were times, not at all unlike the times many of us feel so overwhelming, that we have to keep something inside sometimes that by being kept inside, makes us sick because of the poisons in it.  Perhaps he found something in common with another great wit and deep thinker:

“Death, the refuge, the solace, the best and kindliest and most prized friend and benefactor of the erring, the forsaken, the old, and weary, and broken of heart, whose burdens be heavy upon them, and who would lie down and be at rest.”  ~ Mark Twain

Robin Williams will be remembered for so many things he did, and for things he said.  But what we will not generally remember en masse will be the deep thoughts he held that remain now forever unsaid.  And some of those who remember, will from time to time…rise up.  If that is not true, it will be a pity.

“If a group of people hear a tree fall in a forest and nobody talks about it afterward, how do we know that anyone heard it?” ~ Matthew Stewart, p 34, “Nature’s God–The Heretical Origins of the American Republic”

So, you think you have either an “A” or “B” type personality?

“I know nothing more annoying when people I don’t know jump to conclusions on my person based on nothing but gossip or speculation.”                                                                                                                                    ~ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, actor, producer and screenwriter

*****

I’m no fan of the simplicity of using the either A or B personality formula.  It is not very academic or scientific.  A and B type personality assessments were intended to determine the likelihood of a person having a coronary.  You can look it up.

It is a poor tool for determining overall temperament, character analysis, social style, or general personality.  Unfortunately, in the business world, it has been used as a screening tool, with an assumption of some iron-clad rule that one type is more likely to succeed than the other, and that the template works the same for all jobs in all industries.  That would be not only incorrect, it would be foolish.  Here’s your real A/B:

“One group of people believes everything can be divided into one of two groups.  The other group of people doesn’t.”

Never treat supposition as fact.  That would be no more scientific than using a coin toss to make all important decisions.  Also, be cautious of the risk of falling prey to illogical deductive reasoning:

“All safe motorcycles have at least two good wheels.  My lawnmower has at least two good wheels.  Therefore, my lawnmower is a safe motorcycle.” 

That’s right, factual perhaps in the statements, but the conclusion is ludicrous; not very scientific at all.  So, if it isn’t scientific, what is it?  Emotional?  Well?  Don’t most people make decisions because of what they feel more than by what they think?  Yes, they do.

A good example of the is when a person buys a car.  No matter how analytical they thought they were during the process, the decision to buy is ALWAYS an emotional one.  The only plausible argument with that would be that what you are feeling does go through your mind.

Most people who try to measure behavioral qualities of other people by using generalized cookie cutter templates might find some of the erroneous conclusions they will draw to become problematic; even harmful.  This mistake is also a common occurrence with self-assessments, too.

When a person reads a profile of themselves they like, and considers it flattering, they will want to believe it true whether it was in the astrology section of todays newspaper, or a fortune cookie.  Believing such things allows thinking to not seem so necessary.  And people do prefer a set of beliefs far more than they do the idea of having to logically analyze empirical evidence, or even look for it.  Modern psychology has come up with much better tools, but using them does require some thought and effort.

Look at people as individuals instead of using some presuppositional tool to put labels on them.  Folks are likely to resent labels, especially if they believe they came by superficial means.  Don’t forget about the times you have felt you were judged incorrectly or wrongly by someone who was obviously being prejudicial.

So it is with that in mind that I ask you to please be cautious about using any simplistic template where any of the descriptive labels used will be seen by the people you are “judging” as judgmental. When they discover what you’ve concluded or said, it is very likely to come across to them as unfairly critical, narrow-minded, condescending, or possibly rude if not mean-spirited.

Some folks prefer simple explanations, or at least the appearance of them.  By that measure, they will think this A/B tool is wonderful.  Those go for the simplicity of it are likely to quickly pack it away in their toolbox along with the other belief disorders they have collected over the years.  And that toolbox usually holds things folks have learned to believe on their own by jumping to conclusions, or have been taught to believe in accordance with the leap some other person or persons want you to take.

But as I’ve said before, what people believe to be true to in fact be true, is not now, nor has it eve been required.  But be careful when it come to challenging what other people insist they believe.  They might attack you, or even kill you if they feel it necessary to, not so much for themselves personally, but that their beliefs be kept safe.  For without ideology, idiotic or otherwise, you cannot have war.

House Committee Says No Benghazi Coverup. Fox Immediately…Says Nothing.

“The most outrageous lies that can be invented will find believers if a man only tells them with all his might.” ~ Mark Twain, from a letter, 1867

*****

The House Intelligence Committee now says there was no Benghazi cover-up.  Fox News Network, which has aired hundreds of comments while the committee did it’s work, did not immediately respond at all.  Not a word.  Why do you think that a subject that was constantly on their agenda seems to have vanished so quickly?

The Australian Rupert Murdoch made a lot of money with a fake film about space aliens–even making part of it appear to be taken from old 16mm film stock to appear to have come from archives.  It’s an effects trick.  Evidently, his point was that you can sell anything to gullible people.  And, he did.  Lots of folks today still think it was a true story.

How does the news industry–newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, make money?  They sell advertising to sponsors.  What do sponsors want?  From a business point of view, they want circulation or coverage to be large enough to be effective in selling their commercial messages; they want the target market to be made up largely of people who can and will buy, and particularly they want viewers and listeners who are eager and happy to believe messages brought to them by that media.  For example, a company that sells sporting goods is much more likely to place their ads in “Field & Stream” than in “People” magazine.  Another thing the sponsors also often want is to be able to “like” the kind of format, layout, or programming of the medium that carries their name with it.

Consider this:  If you wish to attract an audience eager to see pictures of motorcycle gear, place your ad with media that covers motorcycle stories.  If you know an audience that is traditionally superstitious and fearful, scare them, and point out to them hope: tell them where to run for safety.  If you know them to be dogmatic, sell them dogma.  If you know them to be gullible, oh please, please please hurry and get your message in front of them.

Rupert Murdoch had a plan to make lots of money.  He would get it from other people who had lots of money by selling them stories they liked, and making it appeal to the subset of those easily swayed to want to believe those kinds of stories.  So the people with money saw it as a win/win in advertising: get a format they liked, and get an audience eager to believe things they see and hear through that format’s presentation.  Bingo.

Rupert founded The Fox News Network in 1996.  He promised advertisers and sponsors their messages would go out to people that can buy, and that those people will be eager to believe ANY messages they see and hear on that medium.  That was eighteen years ago at this writing.  Since then, they have never broken a single news story.  No, not even one.  Try to find one if you wish.  It will be a futile effort.

Here’s a kicker.  Most of their audience is so loyal that not only do they watch them exclusively for “information”, but when a story gets busted as false or misleading (a normal everyday occurrence?), they STILL BELIEVE IT just like those gullible people that still believe Rupert’s space alien video was real.  Benghazi?  A terrible and sad situation.  Has Fox been honest about what they have chosen to broadcast on the subject?  No, they have not.  But what about their audience?  Even though the House Intelligence Committee now says there has been no coverup, what do you think Fox’s loyal audience will continue to believe?   Imagine that!

*****

“One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.”
 ~ Mark Twain, ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson’