Conspiracy Theories v. Facts!

Conspiracy theory: Altoona,  PA August 12, 2016:  Donald Trump is talking to a packed friendly crowd  about the election in November.   He warns, “ The only way we can lose, in my opinion — I really mean this, Pennsylvania –is if cheating goes on.”   The  audience erupts with loud boos.  He goes on to ask for volunteers to “watch the polls on November 8.”  “There’s an application form on my campaign website. Help me stop Crooked Hillary from rigging this election!”

Facts: For several weeks, Trump, after a disastrous month since his convention, has been in free fall in the polls.  Clinton holds a double digit lead in Pennsylvania.  The suburbs around Philadelphia show a 40 point margin for Clinton.  Historically, Republicans have never won PA in a presidential election since l988.   Thus, his bogus claim is a way to create anger among his followers when he loses, amid chaos at polling places on November 8.

Reponsible poll watchers are chosen by both parties  at presidential elections all over the country.  The last thing needed is an inundation of rabid Trump supporters arriving on November 8 with charges that the system is “rigged”.  

Conspiracy theory : Donald Trump has been questioning Hillary Clinton’s  “physical and mental health and stamina” in interviews and at rallies .  His campaign aides have been claiming that “Hillary Clinton is sick , perhaps dying! “  They don’t identify any specific illness.   A video of a stumble she took is posted so that viewers can see “how weak” she is.   Trump often comments that “Hillary is sleeping.”

Facts: Clinton has been keeping a vigorous campaign schedule, with coast to coast meetings, speeches and very successful fund raising events.  Her trips span California to Massachusetts. She does not rent arenas for huge rallies  as Trump does.  She speaks to groups that Trump has avoided, like the NAACP  and the Urban League to reach African American leaders.  And the press conference for Latino reporters to reach Hispanics nationwide.  Clinton’s  energy  and strength are evident in the television coverage of these events.  She also has given important  detailed speeches on economic development and foreign policy.  Anyone watching and listening would find it impossible to believe that she is very ill or dying.  When she pauses and asks , “Are you tweeting, Donald”, we know she hasn’t lost her sense of humor.

Both Clinton and Trump released health reports from their physicians  in 2015. There is a distinct contrast between the documents.   Donald  Trump released a four paragraph statement from his enterologist in December .  It contained no details about his heart or respiratory rate,  Cholesterol level or medications.   His blood pressure was 110/65; laboratory test results were described as “astonishingly excellent”.  The doctor, Harold Bornstein of Manhattan, concluded that Mr. Trump, if victorious, would be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”.   This claim was met with wide skepticism as unprovable and unscientific.

Hillary Clinton released a detailed two page letter from her physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack of Mt. Kisco, NY  in July, 2015 . It included her vital signs of heart, respiration and blood pressure as well as information about a concussion she suffered in 2012 which left her with double vision.   Dr. Bardack said those symptoms were resolved within two months.  She also issued a statement in late August, 2016  that Mrs. Clinton “is in excellent health and fit to serve as president of the United States.”   She did this in response to fake  documents that were circulated claiming that Clinton had suffered seizures with memory loss after her concussion.  It is not known who circulated the fake documents.

Conspiracy theory:  Donald Trump labeled The Clinton Foundation as a “pay for play” organization that Hillary Clinton promoted as Secretary of State to foreign donors for millions of dollars.  At a rally in Akron Ohio in late August, he stressed the “criminality” of her actions to benefit the Clintons  personally.  Cries of “Lock her up!” arose from the crowd as he called for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate.  CNN,  Fox News and MSNBC focused on the “breaking news” of the latest Clinton  “scandal”.

Facts:  The Clinton Foundation was established in l997 by Bill Clinton after he left the presidency.  It is a non-profit corporation dedicated to global initiatives to improve the lives of men, women and children across the world.  Since it began, significant programs include building health and wellness, eliminating  H. I. V. and AIDs  in Africa and Asia,  rescuing children from hunger and famine in  third world countries and improving women’s independence in their societies.  Most Americans are probably unaware of the valuable work the foundation has accomplished since it was founded.  The cable news anchors and panels rarely include those facts in their coverage.  They run clips from Trump’s daily tirades about Hillary and The Foundation.  He appears frantic to change the subject from his disastrous previous month and  low poll  numbers.

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State traveled millions of miles to 112 countries , rebuilding the low image of the United States that the George W. Bush wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had left.  When she met with foreign leaders such as the Crown Prince of Bahrain, it was part of her job.  It was not to solicit funds for the Clinton Foundation as  the Trump team declares.  Bill Clinton has already made very clear that donations  from foreign countries will cease if  Hillary becomes president.  It is a given that neither she nor he would hold positions with The Foundation.

Conspiracy theory: Clinton e-mails are once more in the news.  Judicial Watch, a far-right conservative advocacy group, has been trying to compel Clinton to testify in person under oath about her e-mails.  A federal judge ruled that they should submit written questions to her within a month to be answered by her within a month in writing.  This would run the calendar through October past November 8.  A second focus on her e-mails is from the State Department reviewing  15,000 emails from her total that have already been reviewed.  Why they are doing this is not clear.  Third is the House Oversight Committee’s return to their Benghazi hearing to discover if Secretary Clinton committed perjury when she testified  before them for a marathon 13 hours!  Republicans in charge are determined to discover that some of her testimony does not agree with her testimony to the F.B.I.  which Director Comey said was “truthful.”

Facts:  Bernie Sanders declared to Hillary Clinton in their first debate,”The American people are sick and tired of your damn e-mails! ”   She laughed, thanked him and they shook hands.  He was probably right then and now. Polls show that most voters are focused on the economy, immigration, security and foreign affairs.  Donald Trump  and other opponents continue to dredge up Benghazi.   Ambassador Stephens’ father said after his son died, “I do not want his death to become politicized.”  Unfortunately, his mother spoke emotionally at the Republican convention, blaming Hillary Clinton directly for his death.   A current Trump ad shows Benghazi burning with Hillary laughing in the background.

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Excellent source on Conspiracy theories vs. facts :  Brennan Center for  Justice, New York University Law School .  A non-partisan  public policy Institute.  Check their verified information on lack of fraud in presidential elections.  Practically non-existent!  All the Voter I.D. laws passed by Republican legislators to prevent “fraud”  have served to suppress the votes of  African Americans, Hispanics, young, old and disabled voters.

 

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