Sunday, August 28, 2016

Whats the Fuss About the Clinton Foundation?

All ex-presidents have the opportunity to pursue worthy endeavors after leaving office.  Bill Clinton came up with the idea of forming a foundation that can address some of the major challenges in the world, such as world hunger.  Using his enormous prestige, he was in a position to accumulate great amounts of money for this foundation.  It must be remembered that neither he nor any of his family received any remuneration from this foundation.  It is  purely an elleemosynary enterprise.

Foundations of this sort are found among the rich, especially in this country, and they have a proud tradition. Carnegie, Ford , Rockefeller, Gates and Buffet are prominent examples.  They have made the world better and are honored as great philanthropists.

 Clinton had every reason to believe that his work would be similarly appreciated.  However, the appreciation for his good works came to an end when his wife entered into the world of politics on her own. Politics is a vicious business and  her enemies grabbed onto the fact many people from around the world had made generous contributions to this foundation.  They characterize it as “pay for play” though they admittedly have no proof.  Instead they grabbed a state department log that shows that many visitors to the Clinton state department were also contributors to the Clintons charity.

There are two problems with jumping to the conclusion that there is impropriety. First, there was no “pay.” The Clintons received nothing.  The money went to an entity which by law is not to be used for their economic benefit.  Second, what if some of the benefactors were invited to the state department as an expression of appreciation for the generosity? What is wrong with that?  Every White House invites big donors on occasion.  Some are rewarded with ambassadorships in appreciation for their political contributions.  If Hillary received people who are donors, that should be considered to be an “appearance of good politics” rather than any “appearance of impropriety.”

Monday, February 29, 2016

Donald Trump is a Liar

It has been my experience that people who are habitual liars are most prone to accuse others of lying. This tendency is the product of a peculiar moral code in which liars seem to think that there is nothing wrong with telling a falsehood, if they are able to find errors made by others.
Donald Trump is a liar. conducts an annual independent survey evaluating the truthfulness public statements made by political leaders. They stated that “in the 12 years of’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.”  They go on,”this year the evidence is overwhelming and, in our judgment, conclusive. So for the first time, we confer the title ‘King of Whoppers.’”

Politifact is another independent fact checker, and they came to the same conclusion. They reviewed 94 statements made by Trump.  Sixty two of them were either false, mostly false, or what they call “ Pants on fire”. Of the remaining 22, 15 were half truths and 6 were mostly true but not completely.  Of the 94 statements, Trump made only one that was completely true.

We have always valued truthfulness, and our leaders have disappointed us many times, but it is important to us.  Bill Clinton was impeached and almost lost his office, and what for?.  The principal charge against him was not that he engaged in an extramarital affair, but because he lied about it. That was one lie. We can expect lies from Trump on a regular basis.

The thrust of this message is to urge voters , regardless of their political persuasion, to place character on a high priority in determining who you will support.  Frankly, Donald Trump fails the test.