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Pants On Fire

Donald Trump lies but he’s even a failure at that and isn’t the worst presidential liar although that is not to say that he isn’t a double-dealing, two-faced, overblown fraud, not to mention dishonest and deceitful and filled with calumny and defamation.

If Trump was Pinocchio, his nose would stretch to Mar-a-Lago and back. You could look this guy right in the eye and he would tell you without blinking that he has never, ever lied, and he would pass a lie detector test with a perfect score. Trump would even lie about not being the biggest teller of whoppers ever to sit in the White House. He has refined the dark art of prevarication simply by the sheer breath of his obloquy, which the Washington Post put at 29,508 misleading or false claims as of Nov. 5, 2020.

Trump lied about stupid things, like the number of people at his inauguration or his weight. For sheer volume, Trump wins the gold cup for the all-time lyingist U.S. president but as far as the effects of his truth-bending, the effects remain to be seen of Trump’s biggest lie, that he was robbed of the election, but what is indisputable is that he caused untold deaths with his lies about COVID19.

But like the loser he is, Trump could never hold a candle or polish the jackboots of that biggest liar of all time, Adolf Hitler, who came up with the “big lie” to justify the murders of millions of Jews.

The worst thing about Trump is that he has made lying OK. He took the emotional edge off lying and has made it an acceptable part of the political process, not that telling the truth was ever universal but he has sunk the art of lying to a new low.

Mothers and fathers can no longer tell their children to never tell a lie because they’ll just say that the president lies so it must be alright. The judge won’t be able to tell a witness to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth because of Trump. And husbands will have license to continue telling wives that they have been working late at the office every night for the past 20 years.

And then there is that pesky commandment, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” That’s done and over, you can now lie to your neighbor even after the cows come home. But it’s wrong.

Liar, liar, pants on fire. You are a dirty rotten liar. You wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you.

All I ask is that you tell the truth, that’s all, and really, is that too much to ask? Don’t lie, don’t fib , that’s all, that simple, don’t lie. No white lies, green lies, red lies, blue lies, yellow lies, no lies, period. It is not hard to know when you are being truthful or whether you are lying and in the same way it’s easy to gauge if someone else is lying or not. You can feel it and that is the real smell test, the one that spurs a feeling of either trust or whether to back away in doubt.

One sign is the track record of the liar, if he or she usually lies, you can expect more lies, kind of like a virus and vice versa, you can probably count on a person who is truthful to continue being truthful.

The problem with lying is that once you lie, you have to lie again to preserve the first lie and to hide the fact that you are a liar and of course, after a while, you say anything because you don’t even know you are lying unless you are caught and your web of lies unravels to show your true colors.

Just for the record, the blood of nearly 60,000 American soldiers in the war in Vietnam can be largely tracked back to President Lyndon Johnson’s made-up report of an “unprovoked” attack by the North Vietnamese against two U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964. The lie led to a Congressional resolution that opened the way for expansion of the war.

George W. Bush’s lies about there being weapons of mass destruction in Iraq led to a war that has claimed tens of thousands of Americans and untold numbers of Iraqis while also creating the atmosphere that led to formation of ISIS.

Back in 1846, President James K. Polk lied to the Congress, declaring that Mexico had “invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil.” Didn’t happen but it was evidence enough for the U.S. to invade our neighbor to the south and start the Mexican-American War.

President Ronald Reagan did a whole lot of lying, from pushing tax cuts and lying that they would help mostly the rich; to the Iran Contra affair that involved the illegal sale of missiles to Iran and funneling the proceeds to Nicaraguan rebels who were friendly to Reagan.

President John F. Kennedy lied when he said the U.S. had no plans to invade Cuba in 1961, when in fact, CIA-backed Cuban nationals later tried unsuccessfully to topple Cuban President Fidel Castro in the debacle of the Bay of Pigs. The failed invasion eventually led to Russia providing nuclear missiles to defend Cuba.

President Abraham Lincoln declared that “all men are created equal” while at the same time he said he believed “there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the nation that he would not send U.S. troops to fight in World War II even though he was meeting secretly with Winston Churchill to ship arms to Great Britain, an act that was certain to draw the U.S. into the war.

President Richard Nixon was the boldest and most publicized liar for covering up the Watergate burglary but he also ordered secret bombing of Cambodia, widening the war in Vietnam; and ordered covert actions, commonly known as lies, to keep leftist Chilean politician Salvador Allende from leading the country. The White House later triggered a coup and Allende killed himself.

President Bill Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky but nobody died because of her stained dress, unless you count the Democratic Party.

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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer