By now, we should know who the winners were in the Super Tuesday primaries. I already know who the losers are, though—the American people … or at least those who prefer logic and truth to partisan shenanigans.
Fact-checkers have been working overtime, I’m sure, to try to keep up with all the hyperbole and outright falsehoods being spouted in the election campaign. An awful lot of these politicians (and staff … and supporters) really need to go back to history and civics classes since so many don’t seem to understand how the Constitution, history and life in general work.
Let’s look at just a few of the myths that keep getting passed around in this campaign.
♠ Donald Trump’s campaign is fully self-funded.
Yeah, that’s false. FactCheck and others determined that, while he has funded part of his campaign, about half or more of it is actually funded by campaign donors.
That fib is far from Trump’s only one. FactCheck wrote in December: “It’s been a banner year for political whoppers—and for one teller of tall tales in particular: Donald Trump. In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match. He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.”
Of course, obviously everyone is just lying about him … probably jealous …
I mused to a friend Tuesday that perhaps the Trump campaign is all just part of a bet to see how far he could take his snake-oil shtick. Who the bet would be with, I dunno, but the possibilities are endless.
♠ The Benghazi investigation is the longest congressional investigation in history.
Nope. In October, just weeks before Hillary Clinton’s 11-hour testimony, the investigation had clocked in at 17 months, and is now at nearly 22 months from its beginning on May 8, 2014, with the first of eight committees given the responsibility of investigating the events in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
PolitiFact found at least four investigations by select (or special) committees in Congress that lasted longer, running from 30 months (Committee on Assassinations, 1976-1979) to 90 months (Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, 1941-1948). Some investigations by permanent committees were also lengthy, but those committees have other things to do that can delay them.
By point of interest, the Benghazi investigation passed the time taken on the 9/11 inquiry in January, and is still going on. God willing, it won’t surpass that National Defense committee’s span.
Now watch Trey Gowdy go all Barney Stinson on us.
♠ Liberal activist judges were responsible for Roe v. Wade allowing abortion to be legal.
Again, no. There hasn’t been a majority of Democratic-appointed justices on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1971. Of the seven justices who ruled in the majority in the 1973 case, five were appointed by Republican presidents, as was one of the two dissenting justices. If all three “liberal” justices had dissented, it would still be 5-4 in favor.
Not that it matters to so many who feel the need to exaggerate and obfuscate where this particular ruling is concerned. All that matters is politics (which should have nothing to do with jurisprudence) … and it seems activist judges only exist when the ruling is disliked, regardless of any legalities that led to the decision. It is the job of the courts to interpret the law, not cater to politicians.
For all the things I didn’t like about Antonin Scalia, he was at least able to put partisan animosity and differing views of the Constitution aside, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan were two of his closest friends.
I know! Crazy!
♠ The majority of Syrian refugees are young, able-bodied men.
Donald Trump and others have made this statement quite often, but PolitiFact found that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which registers and tracks the Syrian refugees in camps in several nations, says no.
As of Dec. 31, more than 4.6 million refugees had been registered; of those, 50.7 percent are female, so already, the statement’s wrong. Additionally, 51.8 percent of the 4.6 million are 17 or younger (boys and girls). Only 22.7 percent are men older than 18.
Of migrants arriving in Europe by sea (about a million), 49 percent are adult men (no mention of age or condition), 19 percent adult women and 31 percent children. Those numbers are closer to the claim, but still wrong, especially since it’s only a subset of total refugees.
But what’s a little mathematical magic between (exceedingly gullible) friends?
♠ Illegal immigrants are pouring over our borders.
Um, no. The Washington Post Fact Checker said in its check of the Thursday GOP debate: “Data show illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades. … The flood of undocumented immigrants from Mexico peaked in 2000, when more than 1.6 million people were apprehended, according to Department of Homeland Security data. Those numbers have decreased about 400,000 per year since 2012 and continued to go down in fiscal 2015.” The illegal immigrant population itself, PolitiFact found, has leveled off by about a million, from its peak of 12.2 million in 2007 to 11.3 million in 2014, 5.6 million of those from Mexico.
Data from the Census Bureau further demonstrate that net migration between the U.S. and Mexico is essentially zero. That hardly suggests “pouring.”
I think I’ll pour myself a cranberry ginger ale. I’m feeling a bit queasy. Politics and its lies do that to me.
A year ago Tuesday, I had a stroke. It seems apropos that the anniversary fell on election day, a day marked by confusion and dread. And that’s just the campaigns themselves.
Since then, I’ve worked on my weight, my blood pressure and my stress level, with mixed results, especially on my weight; efforts to lose tend to result in gains (doing nothing, though, I lose … go figure).
As far as stress goes, one thing I’ve done, since I usually go shoeless while in the newsroom, is taking to wearing fun socks (usually kitties); that way even if I’m a bit stressed out, my feet aren’t. You have to start somewhere.
I also make sure to tell those I love how I feel about them, as we can’t know when they or I might die (though my mom and the furry one are never allowed to do that; I have it in writing).
I’m hoping for no more such health crises, but I know it mostly depends on me.
I’m also hoping for lots of blooms in what I’m planting for spring and summer … especially those plants that bring birds and butterflies to the front window. The furry one needs entertainment when I’m not home, and destroying the couch doesn’t count.