As the election day nears, many have started expressing their concern over the direction in which the US Presidential election is going. This dread is darkening as the untruths uttered by both the candidates are coming to the fore
Dilip Chaware in US
Once George Washington was being praised as America’s “Indispensable Man”. The second President, John Adams said, “Instead of adoring a Washington, mankind should applaud the nation which educated him… I glory in the character of a Washington, because I know him to be only the exemplification of the American character”.
American’s Founding Fathers included George Washington, Adams, Thomas Jefferson and many others. They were highly educated, brilliant men, followers of Christian religion, of solid character. That such men of high moral integrity could have been produced from a relatively small population base is testament to the truth of John Adam’s remarks.
In 1776, when 13 American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain, their total population was about 2.5 million. It has risen to 324 million now, or around 130 times over the years. But in 2016, the two major party presidential nominees are alleged to have been lying to the nation. This has created a sense of dismay across the USA.
While many analysts are busy exposing one or both – Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump – candidates for their lack of integrity, Trump is seen to be a more hardened liar. But the crucial difference is that he has not occupied any public office till now. On the other hand, Hillary has been the First Lady for eight years, Secretary of State (External Affairs Minister) for four years and Senator of New York State. Therefore, her alleged lies are considered more serious than those of Trump. But many responsible people in the US have expressed doubts about Trump’s mental capability to handle such a onerous responsibility, especially taking a decision on use of nuclear arms. A
couple of them, in fact, have advised him to withdraw from the contest so as to avoid any later complication.
The choice for the voters is between Trump and Clinton, leaving little scope for them. As the election day nears, many individuals and organisations have started expressing their concern over the direction in which the election is going. This dread is darkening as the untruths uttered by both the candidates are coming to the fore.
One such agency, PolitiFact, found out that 27 per cent of Clinton’s public statements were mostly false or worse. However, Trump’s almost 70 per cent of the statements were far away from truth. The statements examined are categorised as lies, falsehoods or worse. Its analysis said two per cent of Clinton’s statements were lies, compared with 19 per cent of Trump’s. Thus, Trump has spoken lies nine times more than Clinton.
Trump is known for boasting about his business, his buildings, his books, his wives. Much of it is a mixture of exaggeration and falsehoods. Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter for “The Art of the Deal,” an autobiographical account, says of Trump, “He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.” When Schwartz began writing the book, he realised that he needed to repackage and make Trump’s loose relationship with the truth somehow palatable for the reader. So he invented a misleading phrase. Trump says at one place in the book, “I play to people’s fantasies. . . People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and it’s a very effective form of promotion.” Schwartz now states, “Truthful hyperbole is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?’ ” According to him, Trump loved the phrase.
Several commentators have denounced Donald Trump by saying that he has no wish to evade the truth but he does not care if what he says is true or not. A number of writers and websites have highlighted just three episodes to show how Trump lies. In the first instance, it was shown that for many years, Trump posed as his own spokesman, calling himself John Miller or John Baron. Under this pretext, he bragged to reporters about his sex or adulterous life. He admitted this in a court case. But later, he denied it. His supporters loved him more than ever for this blatant dishonesty.
During the recent Republican convention held at Cleveland, Ohio, Trump said, “I wanted it to be here. And they had lots of choices. I wanted it to be in Ohio. I recommended Ohio.” The Republicans’ decision to hold the convention in Cleveland was announced in July 2014. Trump was not in the picture at that time. Although this may seem as a small matter, it speaks volumes about the person.
In the midst of a primary debate, Trump had boasted about Russian supremo Vladimir Putin, “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes (a TV debate). … And we did very well that night.” The fact is that Trump was interviewed in the US while Putin was in Russia. Trump later said that he had never met Putin. Republican senator Ted Cruz says that Trump could say one thing and then the dead opposite, and pass a lie-detector test each time.
Another sore point for Hillary is her false claim that on her landing in Bosnia, she was under attack. This was highlighted by Trump. Clinton had claimed in 2008, “I remember landing under sniper fire in Bosnia. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base,” Hillary said.
Unfortunately for her, the news clips of that night showed what had really happened. There she was in a long black coat and scarf (no helmet or flack jacket) walking about 50 feet to an eight year old girl who handed her a piece of paper. Hillary was travelling with a comedian actor and he denies any attack happened. This was the second time she told the same lie. She later retracted the entire statement.
Another charge against Clinton is that she earned 21.6 million dollars giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interest groups… Together, she and Bill Clinton made 153 million dollars giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs and foreign governments in the years since 2001. This charge is found to be accurate. CNN and the Associated Press have both reported the 21.6 million dollar while CNN has also recorded the 153 million dollar figure. Bill Clinton alone earned 104 million dollars as speaking fees between 2001 and 2012, more than half the speeches delivered in foreign countries.
Trump’s charge that Hillary deleted at least 30,000 emails has been found to be more than accurate since before turning over some 30940 emails to the State Depart, Clinton deleted more than 31000 without any government review. She later said that it was her personal correspondence.
Another sensational charge made by Trump was that the Benghazi victims were “left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed.” Experts have come to the conclusion that in a broader sense, it can be interpreted to imply that Clinton was inattentive throughout the hours in which the attacks occurred. But this contention has not been supported by any of the Congressional investigations into Benghazi.
“Ambassador Chris Stevens and his staff in Libya made hundreds and hundreds of requests for security. …Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused them all,” Trump had said in that charge. The experts observe that the State Department was repeatedly asked to provide additional security but there’s no evidence to establish that the requests reached Clinton directly. Therefore, it can’t be said that she personally denied the requests.
But Hillary Clinton is described as a pathological liar by many others. “In fact, she’ll tell a lie when the truth sounds better. She’s such a big liar, that she needs to get psychological help. Bill Clinton is a big liar too; who ever heard of smoking weed and not inhaling?” quipped a blogger.
In his 1996 article, journalist William Safire exposed her lies as First Lady on several points. “Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realisation that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar,” he said. “Remember the story she told about studying The Wall Street Journal to explain her 10,000 per cent profit in 1979 commodity trading? We now know that was a lie told to turn aside accusations that as the Governor’s wife she profited corruptly… her account being run by a lawyer for state poultry interests through a disreputable broker. She lied for good reason: To admit otherwise would be to confess taking, and paying taxes on, what some think amounted to a $100,000 bribe.”
Dick Morris’ new book, “Rewriting History,” is basically a rebuttal of Hillary’s own book, “Living History,” which is full of false claims, distortions, and flat out lies if Morris is to be believed. For example, she said that in an airport, she happened to run into Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first man to climb Mt. Everest. She claimed that her mother named her Hillary after Sir Edmund Hillary. But Sir Edmund Hillary didn’t make news climbing anything until five years after Hillary Clinton was born. Before then, he was a beekeeper. While there is no denying that Trump is not always telling the truth, his attack on Hillary Clinton’s character, judgment and policy record elicited similar scrutiny of the former First Lady. When he pointed out to her email server statements and referred to Clinton’s defence of her use of a private email server, Hillary repeatedly claimed that the practice was “allowed.” But this is not correct nor right. It has been established conclusively that Hillary was hiding the truth.
FBI Director James Comey has indirectly declared that Clinton lied when she said she had State Department approval for the email server in her home. He also implied that she lied when she said she had only one server, and that no classified or secret material was transmitted. Clinton said her emails were stored in a secure area. This, too, was false. Hostile actors and hostile regimes, said Comey, had access to email systems of those with whom she communicated.
Comey said he found no criminal “intent” in what Clinton did. But he charged her with having been
“extremely careless” with US national security secrets. He refused to recommend her prosecution, but added,“This is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequence. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.”
What Comey was saying was that had Clinton still been the Secretary of State and was such recklessness
discovered on her part, she could have been forced to resign and divested of her security clearance permanently.
Columnist Patrick J Buchanan has raised a pertinent question after explaining this background. He asks, “Yet if Clinton is elected President, our commander in chief for the next four years, and her confidantes… will all be individuals the FBI has found to be reckless and unreliable in the handling of national security secrets. We will have security risks running the armed forces of the USA.
“You, the American people, should decide, given all this evidence, if Clinton should be commander in chief. You decide if a public figure with a record of such recklessness and duplicity belongs in the Oval Office.”