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Virginia Woolf made me do it... Options
Posted: Friday, September 27, 2019 1:53:26 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/3/2012
Posts: 2,211
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"When a subject is highly cannot hope to tell the truth."
See today's Quote of the Day.

The subject is of political nature thus, against my best judgement belongs here, but I'd rather
approach it from a language perspective.
What makes us interpret, read into something said or written at least two categorically opposed versions of the truth? Oops! here comes the philosophical perspective claiming to be addressed.

I am talking about the latest episode of what I call the "comedy of being right" stirred by the controversy over the telephone conversation of two presidents, as viewed by the media and the political foes.

If you look at The Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, find it here
Note the paragraphs of each president's turn in the conversation and count down for the context, starting with the opening statement from The President to which I assigned para#1.

In para #4 Zelenskyy said "we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country."
To this Trump launched in para #5 the tirade about the European countries doing less for Ukraine
than the US is doing.
Zelenskyy agrees and goes on to thank Trump for the United States' support especially in the area of sanctions against the Russian Federation and that of defense.(para#6)

In para#7 Trump is asking for the favor: "because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike...I guess you have one of your wealthy people...The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you're surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it." Then he mentioned "as you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it if that's possible."
There is nothing said about Biden's son or Joe Biden, but this is the context for asking for the favor. And I can't recall any reporting that questioned or explained the sense of this paragraph such as: the whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike, one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it. What does it all mean?

They go on, Zelenskyy lambasting Ukraine's ambassador just recalled from the US. He is the one first mentioning Giuliani in para#8 in the context of improving the two countries relations etc.
Zelenskyy ends his little speech in this paragraph: "I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you."

Trump picked up on that and in this context he brings up the removal of a good Ukranian prosecutor and the bad people involved in that from the previous Ukranian administration. In para#9 he goes on
"The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that."
(My underline of "from", which could be actually "to", perhaps a mistake in the Memorandum.)
Then comes: "The other thing", (my clumsy underline gone too far) "there is a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around braging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it...It sounds horrible to me".

Finally Biden's son, not Biden, first comes up, this once, suggesting that Trump asked his counterpart to look into Biden "having stopped" a Ukranian prosecution. And why "the other thing", as if by the way of the previous administration of Ukraine and the bad people?

Between quotation marks and hopefully in Italics, my typed passages quoted from the Memorandum, can be checked out by anyone who gives a hoot and compared with the wordings of the reports and claims in the media. Ah, what the heck! Here is a quote from CNN's report published by the same web site
as the one I linked to for the Memorandum: "The anticipation ahead of Maguire's testimony was also amplified by the White House's decision [u]to release a transcript of Trump's July 25 phone call with the leader of Ukraine that shows the President repeatedly pressed his counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son."
My emphasis and underline. You be the judge.

Poor Virginia ought to rest assured that we are still at it, can't tell the truth. We look at the same facts and come up with diametrically opposed conclusions. What a waste of the English language! A few edits later perhaps I abused it as well. But what a rant!Think

Posted: Friday, September 27, 2019 3:46:43 AM

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I think that sanctions against Russia are not that much helpful for Ukraine as potential stronger economic links with West.
Sanctions against Russia cost less than investing in Ukraine's infrastructure, for example.
Posted: Friday, September 27, 2019 4:53:22 AM
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Joined: 6/25/2017
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Location: Kurgan, Kurgan, Russia
Verbatim wrote:
"The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that."
(My underline of "from", which could be actually "to", perhaps a mistake in the Memorandum.)

No, the woman is the former US ambassador to Ukraine. There was a scandal about her when the chief prosecutor of Ukraine (not the one 'fired' by Biden but his successor) said that she had given him a list of persons that should not be investigated.
Posted: Friday, September 27, 2019 3:21:05 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,290
Neurons: 55,506
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

The reason I started following American political scene in 2016 was from a linguistic pov; so yes, I agree with both you and Virginnia. Partially.

I agree - and indeed prove the point! Because when I read her quote (it's not one with which I'm familiar so am coming to it with no pre-conceptions or context) my interpretation was that she didn't use "cannot" meaning that we willfully lie; but that we aren't able to know what the truth is. A "controvosy" usually IS controversial because not all of the truth has been revealed. We don't know enough of the true facts yet (or ever, sometimes) to call it a "scandal".

It's realing interesting to chart all the changes to our language in these three years; new words which have popped up; old ones which have come to symbolise different things to different English language groups;common words being hijacked to express political significance;

It'll be interesting to see whether these changes will remain after the current administration has gone; or whether the words "truth", "facts", "I swear..." "I give my word", will ever regain the importance they once had. Or if we'll have to make up new words for these concepts, whose meanings have been so corrupted that those words have lost their original meaning in English?
Posted: Friday, September 27, 2019 5:11:30 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 13,914
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I'm not sure what the point of all this is supposed to be, or why the Democrats/ a.k.a., Socialists are barking mad about it (Well, I do know why, but I'll let it pass for now). It is perfectly reasonable for the President to ask cooperation from Ukraine for prosecuting criminal activity.

The US has a treaty, signed by Bill Clinton, with Ukraine for exactly that purpose. This would be especially true if that criminal activity involved our elections (hacking of DNC computers by Russians, according to CrowdStrike, who may or may not be lying since there is absolutely no evidence presented to verify that claim), or members of our government, or their families.

Joe Biden's son, Hunter, was paid around $50,000 dollars per month for sitting on a Board of Directors for an oil and gas outfit, while knowing nothing about Ukrainian oil and gas, and who would have been part of an investigation into corruption, until Joe Biden extorted the previous President of the Ukraine to fire the prosecutor. Biden was even filmed bragging about it.

So when someone admits openly to extortion of government officials, and Russians from Ukraine are said to have hacked the DNC computers, and there is obvious pay-for-access behavior, it seems perfectly reasonable to ask for assistance concerning those things.

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