Just when you think Campaign 2016 has reached its nadir.…
Voters face from the frontrunners a contest that will likely turn in large measure on which candidate’s lies should be thought more reprehensible, and hence be more fully penalized at the ballot box.
Do we condemn Trump’s clumsy schoolboy lies about how he feels about Gov. Susanna Martinez more than Hillary’s as to her exploding email mess? Of the latter we may savor Peggy Noonan’s delicious adjective, “creamy”: “I hate to say lied, but she has lied coolly and — in a creamy, practiced way. It doesn’t look good.” And if Trump thinks a Mexican-American judge is biased against him, is it OK for Hillary to publicly juxtapose Trump’s German heritage with “dictator”?
Do we condemn Trump’s bait-and-switch Trump University scheme (which is in litigation) more than the “Clinton Cash” megabucks money-laundering operation? And what of the Clintons’ involvement (Bill was Chancellor, no less) in the Laureate University hustle, an 800,000-student, $4 billion global education scheme?
And how far back do we go in tallying lies? Trump’s 1970s activities are under scrutiny by flagship progressive reporters at the New York Times and Washington Post. Do we repair to Hillary’s phony authorship of her first book (others were cut-and-paste jobs)?
Best of all, perhaps Hillary’s most brazen fairly tale (out of many) was her Oct. 1978 — July 1979 cattle futures 100 to 1 score (10,000 percent 9-month return, versus George Soros’s best annual return, of 122 percent, for 1965-95). Among the many specific points showing telltale signs of fraud were precision timing near daily highs and lows; short selling — going against the trend — in a powerful commodities bull market; trading on grossly inadequate margin — well below typical investor standards required by trading firms; open positions of over $1 million, once for over two weeks, in the famously volatile commodities market; no margin calls made despite her precarious financial position and potential huge exposure had the market turned against her; two-thirds of her trades showing profit by day’s end, and 80 percent ultimately were profitable. She initially claimed to have done this trading part-time between meetings using the Wall Street Journal; after that explanation collapsed, she cited advice from a connected friend. Reality: the only plausible way to do this is have someone allocate trades, with retroactive time stamps, which means as she made money one or more other investors were allocated losses. As the old IBM Intellivision commercial (1:04) used to say: “You make the call.”
So, how should we rank lies? Least harmful, because they are least useful, are schoolboy lies, improvisational fibs that are easily exposed. Trump’s schoolboy lies are too clumsy and overt to do him any good. Hillary has improvised her share of kiddie fables — my favorites: (1) her supposedly being named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who conquered Mt. Everest in 1953 but was an obscure New Zealand beekeeper when Hillary was born in 1947; (2) her claiming that in 1996 she landed as First Lady under sniper fire in Bosnia, which the Secret Service would never have permitted; and (3) her claiming that daughter Chelsea was jogging around the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers were toppled on September 11, 2001.
A notch up on the scale are standard candidate (and officeholder) lies, such as inflating one’s résumé, misrepresenting one’s voting record, or exaggerating one’s accomplishments. Another notch up covers sins like plagiarism. Even worse is slandering opponents. In a class by itself is lying to grieving family members about why their sons were killed. Hypocritical lies — Hillary using the “war on women” Democratic meme, having waged war against some of Bill’s babes — are another form of sliming opponents.
But at the top of Mt. Mendacity are what might be called lawyerly lies. Start with the definitions, from Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary of a lawyer: “one skilled in circumvention of the law.” Add for liar: “a lawyer with a roving commission.” These are the kinds of lies Peggy Noonan called “creamy” — smooth, rehearsed, carefully framed. Behind a kernel of truth they conceal a bushel of falsity.
Consider how Hillary framed her email mess as never having material marked “classified” on her homebrew server. Well, there is no stamp of “classified” in the government security hierarchy. Marks include “confidential,” “secret,” and “top secret,” plus other more specialized designations. Paragraph 1 of the federal government’s Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement covers information whether marked or unmarked, written or oral. The recent State Dept. inspector-general report utterly demolishes Hillary’s position.
As this farrago of lies and lying unfolds my LCPR colleague Jed Babbin reports that the U.S. Navy shrinks. Jed offers scary metrics provided by GOP Rep. Randy Forbes of the House Armed Services Committee: over $1 trillion in defense cuts during the Obama years; with 10 aircraft carriers, soon to be 11, we have enough strike fighters only for 6; in 2007 the Navy could meet 90 percent of its combat commanders’ needs, but in 2016 the figure has fallen to 42 percent. Resort to cannibalized parts is routine. Total ships are down to 272, with Congress having rejected an effort by President Obama to trim another 12 percent (another 34 ships, down to 238).
And while America’s defense posture deteriorates, we see the worst jobs report in six years, as well. With immigration the candidates are positioned at polar extremes: build an end-to end wall to keep (practically) everyone out (Trump) versus let (practically) everyone in (Hillary). Ironically, none other than President Jimmy Carter staked out a strong intermediate position during the 1979-1981 Iranian hostage crisis.
On November 10, 1979 — just six days after Iranian militants (acting with approval of the Ayatollah Khomeini) took 52 American diplomats hostage in Tehran, pursuant to the powers granted him under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (McCarran-Walter Act), Carter ordered all 50,000 Iranian students staying in the U.S. to report to the INS; he directed the INS to deport all those staying in violation of their visas. On December 27, 1979, a federal appeals court upheld Carter’s order.
On April 7, 1980 Carter issued a proclamation on new visas:
… [T]he Secretary of Treasury [State] and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly. [Emphasis added.]
Perhaps above all the Supreme Court sits at the center of the campaign. Hillary will seek clones of lefty stalwart Ruth Bader Ginsburg — “Notorious RBG” to her fans. Imagine — if you can stand it — how a Hillary-tilted Supreme Court will decide laws criminalizing climate change skeptic speech — in lefty newspeak, “deniers.”
To end a dreary parade of horribles on a semi-positive note, a feminist scientist has named a new species of praying mantis — described as “one of the most loved of the insect world to humans and one of the most feared to other insects” — after RBG:
The new species is green, with a flattened body, conical eyes and broad wings with “venation that resembles the vein patterns on leaves,” according to the release.
Researchers said they named the Madagascar native for the 83-year-old Brooklyn native… to honor the esteemed judge’s “relentless fight for gender equality.”
Like Ginsburg, the mantis is something of a feminist pioneer, since it is, according to the news release, the first mantis classified by distinct qualities in its female reproductive parts, rather than its male ones.
RBG’s namesake usually consumes the male after — sometimes during — mating; to this the males often passively submit! Female mantises also have been known to attack far larger animals, such as frogs and lizards. The morons who came up with this idiot idea also cited the ruffled collars RBG wears, akin to the creature’s neck.
Someone should ask Trump what insect Hillary resembles.…