A couple of weeks ago, a couple of Thai restaurant operators were sentenced to 723 years in prison… each. What egregious crime did they commit to warrant such a sentence? Basically, they lied. False advertising. They sold a bunch of vouchers that they couldn’t possibly honour… things like a full seafood meal for 10 people… for $30. People gobbled up the vouchers, but quickly started running into problems cashing them in… like a waiting list of several months. The restaurant finally pulled the plug and went bankrupt. “Sorry — we can’t keep up with this demand, so we’re outta here”. Not so fast.

This is textbook fraud… fraud 101… and Thai people aren’t quite so tolerant. In 2017, a Thai court sentenced a fraudster to more than 13,000 years in prison.

You don’t just get to say “OK, I lied…”, and move along. And truthfully, around here, lying is a pretty big deal too. A lot of people mess up, and the courts or whatever else deal with it… and that’s that, usually. But if you lie about it, it’s lot more serious. A good example that comes to mind is Martha Stewart… she did something stupid, for a stupid amount of money… a drop in the bucket for her… maybe $50,000. She acted on inside information, and, knowing before the public that a certain stock price was going to drop, sold some shares. So, she didn’t actually make $50,000 — she actually just avoided losing it. Stupid. And she got caught. And if she’d just admitted to it, she would’ve gotten a slap on the wrist, a fine that would also have been nothing more than a drop in the bucket, and the story would’ve been in the news for at most one day. But she lied about it… under oath. And for that, she went to prison for 5 months.

Here’s another word of the day:

Anecdoche: (noun) A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening.

There’s a lot of that going on these days. Actually, it’s probably been going on for a long time. There are a lot of people who just like to listen to themselves talk. They often don’t have much of substance to say, but that doesn’t matter… that’s not the issue. They like to talk… at, not “to”, anyone who’ll listen. A room full of those sorts of people is a very special sort of cacophony. But that cacophony is greatly amplified when some of them are liars. And then just change it… it’s not a room of people, who ostensibly could be having real conversations; no… it’s leaders and decision makers… talking to each other, through each other, making it up as they go… contradicting themselves, contradicting reality.

This is what’s it’s like listening to most people with a microphone. This is what it’s like reading most of the news these days. So-and-so said this, so-and-so said that. They talk at each other. They lie. Then couldn’t care less how their exposition is received; they just need to say it, attempt to make it “stick”, and now — frighteningly — do not care when it’s not accepted, because there’s no consequence. There’s no judge, there’s no 5-month prison sentence. There’s nothing. Just take it. Don’t take it. Whatever. Move on.

If these were 5-year-olds, perhaps it’d be fun… watching kids weave their complicated houses of cards… and then watching them get in trouble from the teacher when it all collapses. The thing is, this isn’t kindergarten…. this is the real world, where as a result of lies and the inability or desire to listen, people will die. Lots of them… and some of them, before they die, will feel betrayed and cheated that they were lied to.

My morbid fascination led me to watch a few minutes of this rally in Oklahoma… I was interested to see the background. The crowd behind the speaker (it’s Eric Trump as I write this) is beautifully curated, as always. Lots of red shirts, lots of red hats, lots of white people… but also, strategically placed (perfectly placed, in fact). An Asian guy. A Black guy. Hey, good looking young ethnic people, want to be on TV? Come with me. Very few masks. How do you convince people they’re being lied to… especially when maybe they know, and don’t care? You don’t, I guess. And the consequence of these lies isn’t some ridiculous number of years in prison. It’s serious illness, or worse.


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