Any performer knows that “polished”, “confident” and “assured” performances such as that delivered by Hillary Clinton on Tuesday do not just happen. One factor relevant to the specific circumstance was previously discussed: it’s easy to sound convincing in a debate when you can invent whatever facts are required to support your assertions as Clinton did again and again.
But lying is one thing, lying well is something else.
And with Clinton we are dealing with a true virtuoso, one whose skills in lying were developed over three decades at the highest levels of public life.
Most recently, she honed her craft in her capacity as Secretary of State where, as David Sirota has documented, she lied about the human rights records of numerous governments thereby allowing firms (many of them donors to the Clinton Global Initiative) to obtain lucrative foreign contracts. Prior to that, as U.S. Senator, Clinton insisted that demonstrable falsehoods about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were “beyond dispute” and “not in doubt” justifying her tragic vote in support of the authorization for the use of force in Iraq. In her tenure as first lady, she was a lead player in undermining core new deal programs and the evisceration of domestic economy through trade deals such as NAFTA, usually justified by lies and fudged statistics.
Running the tape back to her tenure with the Rose Law Firm, she would help develop the arsenal of anti-union tactics deployed by her main client Wal-Mart, with which she now, acccording to the New York Times, claims to have had “serious differences”-a lie, as evidenced by her maintaining “close ties with Wal-Mart executives.”
That was in the past. What this means for the present is that she is now able to invent facts about her record with complete comfort and assurance as displayed on at least the following four occasions on Tuesday:
1) In response to Anderson Cooper’s question, Clinton declared herself an “enemy” of big pharma. Michael Moore’s Sicko provided the most effective demolition of this lie, one scene featuring Clinton parading across the stage at her inauguration to the U.S. Senate while displaying the price tag from having been a top recipient of contributions from the medical services industry. Not surprisingly, Clinton herself walked out of the screening of the film when this scene appeared and an aide later smeared Moore by referring the film as having been financed by Al-Qaeda.
2) A particularly brazen lie was Clinton’s claim that her intervention in the Copenhagen IPCC convention forced China to come to the table to negotiate stronger limits on greenhouse emissions. In fact, Rather than achieving a deal, the Obama administration played a leading role in scuttling any possibility for binding limits, according to virtually all environmental organizations in attendance who described the meeting as “a major disappointment”, and a “huge failure” as “Hopenhagen became Nopenhagen”, in the words of Mark Hertsgaard.
3) Among the more surreal of the evening’s exchanges involved Clinton divesting “the big banks” of responsibility for the financial crisis shifting the blame to the defunct firms AIG and Lehman Brothers and unnamed “shadow banks”. According to Matt Taibbi these claims would be dismissed as “laughable (by) people in the industry.” But, as Taibbi notes “that’s probably the point – that the average voter won’t know how absurd and desperate it is to point to faceless ‘shadow’ financiers as villains when the real bad guys are famed mega-firms that are right out in the open”, many of them Hillary main campaign contributors.” Or at least it won’t be known given the lack of interest mainstream reporters have shown in exposing this an other egregious lies.
4) Clinton suggested that rather than fleeing prosecution Edward Snowden should have returned home to “face the music” since “He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower.” Again, likely a fully conscious and transparent lie. As Politifact noted, that Snowden would be protected is demonstrably false since he would have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act thereby exempting him from whistle blower status.
All this raises the question of how she gets away with it. And the answer here is that, as we all know, outing someone as a liar is an uncomfortable business. In politics accusing an opponent of lying is the definition of “going negative” something which Clinton’s main competitor, Bernie Sanders, has promised not to do.
The corporate media, bought and paid for by same interests as Clinton herself, won’t do the job.
That job is up to us.
We either expose her lies or suffer the consequences of corporations and the wealthy continuing to wreak havoc on what remains of the planetary ecosystem and its increasingly impoverished, frightened and angry inhabitants.