Denial – A Movie Review Part III
Instead of the earnest and dedicated Deborah Lipstadt in Denial, who would like to sting like a bee (the meaning of Dvora in Hebrew), but was not permitted to do so by her legal team in the trial, and who certainly does not float like a butterfly, the script has been well adapted from her book. David Hare recognized that seriousness is best wrapped in wit so, that humour can allow the bitterness of medicine to go down. When individuals forget that, as Donald Trump did at the Catholic charity dinner last night, the result is disastrous.
Al Smith IV, great grandson of the first Catholic governor of New York State and candidate for president, introduced the two candidates in this dinner to raise funds for Catholic charities while allowing candidates to set aside their boxing gloves, engage in some humorous self-deprecation while pummeling their opponent with light-hearted jabs. Smith set the tone. “They have just returned from their third debate and I think they are both grateful for a format in which nobody can interrupt anybody else.” Sometimes he was more biting. “Donald, even though there’s a man sitting next to you in a robe, you’re not in a locker room.” But they never came close to crossing the line of unacceptability in this white tie and tails affair in which Donald Trump last night crossed the line even with Cardinal Timothy Dolan sat between the two belligerents for the evening.
Donald told a very funny joke, at the expense of his wife, Melania, when he asked how come Michelle Obama can make a speech and receive plaudits, but when his own wife makes the same speech, she is widely criticized. However, he definitely crossed the line – and, in an unprecedented event for an Al Smith dinner, was booed – when he said, “Hillary believes it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy. And a totally different policy in private.” This echoed the previous night’s bitterness in the debate. He then went onto say, to even more boos and noticeable discomfort, “I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I? For example, here she is tonight in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.”
Hillary, on the other hand, both had much better lines and had a better sense of timing in telling jokes and never crossed the redline from self-deprecation and ribbing to offensive and aggressive remarks. Though Trump had cracked a very good joke at Hillary’s expense when he said that earlier in the evening she had bumped into him and said, “Pardon me,” (referencing that when he was president he would lock her up), Hillary’s managed to consistently sting like a bee while never venturing even close to the imaginary red line.
“Donald really is as healthy as a horse. You know, the one Vladimir Putin rides around on,” she quipped.
I have “now stood next to Trump longer than any of his campaign managers.”
Though some jokes fell flat, Hillary Clinton proved she had a much better joke-writing team and could deliver her zingers with a broad smile.
But why write about Trump and Clinton when I am reviewing a film about David Irving’s suit against Deborah Lipstadt for calling him a Holocaust denier? Because as one lie after another of Irving’s came out in the trial, I could not help hearing Donald Trump from the debate the evening before tell one lie after another.
“In the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby right out of the womb, just prior to the birth of the baby.” As Hillary countered, the decision to abort, especially late in a pregnancy, is the most horrible ordeal for a woman to go through. She could have said outright that, abortions in the ninth month are virtually non-existent. Almost 90% of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Only about 1% take place in the last trimester and these are almost always either because the health of the mother is severely threatened or because something seriously wrong was learned about the foetus.
Trump accusing Hillary, said, “Just like when you ran the State Department, $6 billion was missing. How do you miss $6 billion? You ran the State Department, $6 billion was either stolen. They don’t know. It’s gone, $6 billion.” First, the six billion cited by the State Department Inspector General in 2014 was not stolen. Nothing, in fact, was stolen. The expenditures were just inadequately documented. Further, most of these expenditures included in the criticism did not even take place during Hillary’s turn as Secretary of State.
“I started with a $1 million loan … but I built a phenomenal company.” But the initial stake was $14 million documented when he applied for his casino license in 1985, ignoring the $3.5 million in chips his father purchased in contravention of the gaming commission rules. Further, his father co-signed a $70 million loan with the Hyatt chain.
Hillary “destroyed 33,000 email criminally.” Lock her up became his rally refrain. The staff had requested that the emails unrelated to her government work be deleted long before the subpoena was issued and the FBI said there was no evidence of intention or criminality.
“If you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote … that shouldn’t be registered to vote.” People move. People die. Voter lists quickly become obsolete and full of errors. There is virtually no evidence of voter fraud.
Trump said he did not initially support the invasion of Iraq referring to an Esquire article. He did one year before that article appeared.
On Obamacare, “the premiums are going up 60, 70, 80 percent.” They are expected to go up 71% in Oklahoma, the highest in the nation. But average increases are expected to be 9% and, in any case, 80% of enrollees receive government subsidies.
“We take care of illegal immigrants — people who come into our country illegally — better than we take care of our vets.” Absolutely false! In fact, immigrants pay far more into the Social Security system ($12 billion) but are not eligible to receive benefits. The three incidents cited by the Trump organization of vets being treated worse than Obamacare enrollees have been investigated and disproven.
My economic plan does not “add a penny to the national debt.” Not according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. His plan would add $5.3 trillion to the national debt.
“Hillary Clinton wanted the wall. Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006 or thereabouts. Now, she never gets anything done, so naturally the wall wasn’t built. But Hillary Clinton wanted the wall.” She never did. She consistently criticized Donald’s proposal for a 30-60’ concrete wall. She had supported and voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006. There is a difference between a normal border security fence and a wall.
“She’s taking in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, who probably in many cases — not probably, who are definitely (my italics) in many cases, ISIS-aligned, and we now have them in our country.” There are no such cases. The American vetting system is interminable, often taking two years. Almost 80% admitted are women and children. And all Clinton has proposed is to increase Obama’s miserly figure of 13,000 somewhat, but nowhere near the 550% that Donald proclaimed.
“Those stories [of women saying Trump assaulted them] have been largely debunked. Those people — I don’t know those people. I have a feeling how they came. I believe it was her campaign that did it.” They have never been debunked. In fact, a number of the stories have been corroborated by well respected people who were told the story at the time of the occurrence. There is no evidence that the Clinton campaign was behind the women making the charges and they only spoke out after the 2005 tape was revealed and immediately afterwards on CNN in an interview with Anderson when Trump was cornered into stating that he had never acted on his boastful claims about grabbing women’s pussies and kissing them against their will. Only then did they come forth in this last week.
And these lies are merely some of the more prominent ones he told in the third debate.
Trump, like David Irving, is a pathological liar and sociopath. Why and how would the Republican Party select him as their candidate for president? Trump fabricates even when the only result is that he shoots himself in the foot. He lies and the press reports what he says, though they increasingly fact check his remarks – fact checks I relied upon to write this summary. He clearly gets the attention he so cravenly seeks. The lying is frequent and repeated. “The election is rigged.” It is as if Donald Trump is impervious to the fact that he is now consistently caught out in his lies. Further, it seems to be tied into his spontaneity and why, as the length of time of the debate increased, he increasingly resorted to lies and petulant behaviour. The lying seems integral to his extreme form of narcissism. Complementing the narcissism and lying are patterns of abusive behaviour and impulsive aggressiveness. Most of all, he never admits that he lied. David Irving did what Donald does – when the judge’s verdict blasted him for his deliberate lies, Irving pronounced victory and insisted that the judgement had praised him.
There is no indication that Trump has any real self-understanding of his serial and compulsive lying. There is no indication that he ever feels guilty about what he says. He doesn’t need to be provoked to tell a lie and when challenged about the lie, he digs deeper and reinforces the lie instead of backing off. And, as demonstrated in the David Irving trial, these types of pathological liars knowingly, willingly and intentionally lie.
His lying and abusive behaviour are also connected with his absence of empathy for the people taken in by those lies. In contrast, when Clinton ended her speech at the Catholic dinner yesterday evening, she recalled her history of empathy for and work with women and children. To have cooperation, we need empathy. Empathy breeds civility. To have civility, we need respect. To have respect, all parties have to be committed to the truth.