Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Will The Greatest Liar In American History Get Away With It?


A few days ago I saw a Morning Consult poll that showed that even among Republicans-- among whom 63% think honesty is a word that describes Señor Trumpanzee accurately-- there has been a 9% drop since January among those who believe he is honest. And, off course, normal Americans are veery aware that Trump is the biggest liar in the history of public figures. Last night, he did one of his trained seal rallies at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, where he declared himself the most popular Republican in the history of America, just another Trump big lie. The lying daughter-- as big a liar as daddy but smoother-- introduced the orange ape as someone "who keeps his promise and who will always deliver for America's workers."
One new element of this Trump was the widespread presence of people wearing T-shirts or carrying signs touting the fringe "QAnon" conspiracy theorist. Among other things QAnon promotes is the notion that leading political and Hollywood elites are involved in a pedophilia ring and that leaders of the federal government's "deep state" have tried to kill President Trump.

Not so long ago, Republicans talked of making their party a big tent party that would welcome moderates into the fold, said Republican former U.S. Rep. David Jolly of Pinellas County, who attended the rally despite being a vocal critic of the president.

"Now we're a big tent party where extremists are welcome."

...Trump said thousands who couldn't get in were watching outside on TV screens. But there were no massive TV screens outside. He lied his way through his whole speech. I checked in with Politifact, which is based in Tampa. They tend not to call True a liar... but they get the point across anyway: "During the rally, Trump made several statements-- many misleading or flat-out wrong-- about Republican tax cuts, his popularity, progress on the U.S. border wall with Mexico, and trade. Here’s our rundown.

"They just came out with a poll, did you hear? The most popular person (in) the history of the Republican party is Trump! ... So I said, does that include Honest Abe Lincoln?"

To his credit, Trump is very popular among Republicans: His approval rating within his own party has ranged from 84 percent to 90 percent since mid April 2018. The latest Gallup data shows Trump currently enjoys an 87 percent approval rating from Republicans.

However, his claim is misleading on two grounds.

First, scientific opinion polls were first designed and deployed in 1935. That’s 70 years after Honest Abe’s assassination, so Trump’s name-check of Lincoln is spurious.

Second, as we noted in a previous fact-check, Trump’s approval rating at this point in his presidency ranks roughly in the middle of the post-World War II Republican presidents. Using alternative measurements-- including his highest rating during his entire tenure-- his support among Republicans was actually worse than every post-war Republican president except for Gerald Ford.

"In some states, Democrats are even trying to give illegal immigrants the right to vote."

...Currently no states allow non-citizens to vote in state elections. There are a handful of localities that allow it for local elections or even more specifically school board elections, including San Francisco, Chicago (school board), and a handful of Maryland cities, said University of Kentucky law professor Joshua A. Douglas.

...The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 states it’s unlawful for noncitizens to vote for candidates seeking federal offices, such as the presidency or a seat in Congress. But it’s not illegal for noncitizens to vote for local offices if it’s allowed by a state constitution, statute or local ordinance.

"By the way, outside, if you want to go, we set up for the first time a tremendous movie screen, because we have thousands and thousands of people outside that couldn’t get in."

Trump’s claim is not true, per a reporter stationed outside the venue... The president’s claim that there were "thousands and thousands of people outside that couldn’t get in" also appears to exaggerate things. The Times placed the figure in the hundreds. It also noted the presence of some "150 protesters and counter protesters."

"We’ve taken the toughest ever actions in response to China’s abusive trade practices. ... This has been too many years of abuse. $500 billion a year, $500 billion."

Trump overstated the United States’ trade deficit with China-- by no small sum.

A country’s trade balance is the difference between the value of its imports and exports. When imports outstrip exports, a trade deficit results.

In 2017, the value of Chinese goods imported to the United States exceeded American goods exports to China by roughly $375 billion. Over that same period, the United States actually ran a $38.5 billion surplus on services trade with China.

Overall, in terms of both goods and services, the United States trade deficit with China in 2017 was around $336 billion. So Trump is off by roughly $164 billion.

"We've already started the wall. We've got $1.6 billion and we've started large portions of the wall."

It is misleading to state that the work has already started on the type of wall he promised during the campaign.

Trump has secured $1.57 billion for barriers along the southwest border-- advancing his promise to secure the border but falling significantly short of his desired $25 billion for a promised border wall.

The $1.6 billion authorized by Congress allows for the replacement of the old fencing, but not for the construction of any sort of concrete wall prototype as Trump requested.

The projects underway include arrays of steel posts, between 18 and 30 feet high, that allow border patrol agents to see through. The planning for at least some of these projects, which will replace shorter scrap metal fencing, started long before Trump ran for office. Congress agreed to pay for them under Trump’s administration.

"Every day, the brave men and women of ICE are liberating communities and towns from savage gangs, like MS-13, that are occupying our country like another nation would."

Trump’s far-reaching assertion lacks evidence.

The use of "liberating" suggests that communities had been under the rule or full control of the MS-13 gang. But neither the White House or ICE have named such towns. Experts on sociology and gang research have told PolitiFact they were unaware of U.S. towns that have been wholly controlled by the gang. They said Trump’s wording sounded like politically charged hyperbole.

MS-13 targets immigrant communities and has a large presence in New York, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. ICE investigators have arrested hundreds of MS-13 gang members.

Trump said that prior to a June 2017 law, "if somebody treated our veterans badly ... we couldn't do anything about it. ... Now you can say you're fired."

Trump’s claim greatly exaggerates the impact of the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, a bipartisan bill he signed into law in June 2017.

The measure is designed to make it easier to fire underperforming workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs. It created new protections to shield whistleblowers from retaliation, and quickens the process for removing problem employees.

But the notion that it was impossible to fire VA workers prior to the legislation is simply wrong.

An analysis of federal government employment data by our friends at found a 27 percent increase in the number of firings after the law’s passage. However, that analysis also showed that the VA fired an average of 2,300 employees annually prior to Trump taking office.

"We passed the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history. Biggest cuts in history."

There’s no question that the tax bill Trump signed is a significant piece of legislation. But even by estimates most favorable to the president, we found the Trump tax cut is exceeded in size by other historical examples.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, the recent tax bill is the fourth-largest since 1940. And as a percentage of GDP, it ranks seventh.

"You know if you go out and you want to buy groceries you need a picture on a card-- you need ID... In this country, the only time you don’t need it, in many cases, is when you want to vote for a president, when you want to vote for a senator, when you want to vote for a governor or a congressman."

Trump used the example of buying groceries to call for mandatory voter ID at the polls. But the scenario is an exaggeration.

A photo ID isn’t necessary to buy food at a grocery store with cash, but retailers can ask to see a photo ID when customers purchase items with a credit card. Laws also require retailers to ask to see ID when customers purchase certain items such as alcohol or cigarettes which are available at many grocery stores.

Hey, as long as we're talking about lying... Murray Waas' essay, Flynn, Comey, and Mueller: What Trump Knew and When He Knew It was published by the New York Review of Books this week. Teaser: "Previously undisclosed evidence in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller-- including highly confidential White House records and testimony by some of President Trump’s own top aides-- provides some of the strongest evidence to date implicating the president of the United States in an obstruction of justice. Several people who have reviewed a portion of this evidence say that, based on what they know, they believe it is now all but inevitable that the special counsel will complete a confidential report presenting evidence that President Trump violated the law. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel’s work, would then decide on turning over that report to Congress for the House of Representatives to consider whether to instigate impeachment proceedings."
I have learned that a confidential White House memorandum, which is in the special counsel’s possession, explicitly states that when Trump pressured Comey he had just been told by two of his top aides-- his then chief of staff Reince Priebus and his White House counsel Don McGahn-- that Flynn was under criminal investigation. This memo, the existence of which I first disclosed in December in Foreign Policy, was, as one source described it to me, “a timeline of events [in the White House] leading up to Flynn’s resignation.” It was dated February 15, 2017, and was prepared by McGahn two days after Flynn’s forced resignation and one day after Trump’s meeting with Comey. As I reported, research for the memo was “primarily conducted by John Eisenberg, the deputy counsel to the president and legal adviser to the National Security Council,” who, in turn, was “assisted by James Burnham, another White House counsel staff member.”

  ...The February 15 memo, combined with accounts given to the special counsel by Priebus and McGahn, constitutes the most compelling evidence we yet know of that Donald Trump may have obstructed justice. In an effort to persuade the American people that the president has done nothing wrong, Trump and his supporters have blamed those they identify as their political adversaries—from President Barack Obama to Jim Comey, and including entire institutions such as the FBI and CIA, and an ill-defined “Deep State.” But the most compelling evidence that the president may have obstructed justice appears to come from his own most senior and loyal aides. The greatest threat to his presidency is not from his enemies, real or perceived, but from his allies within the White House.

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At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's maybe the most frequent liar since Nixon. Clinton was competitive. But the one who lied with the most damaging effect was obamanation. "Hope for change" and "yes we can" were both out and out lies.

But americans are stupid (nearly flatlined EEGs) and gullible. so we gobbled it up, swallowed and said AAAAHHHHH with gusto.

And of course he'll get away with it. In fact he'll be celebrated for it. Because America is a shithole where money, fame and power mean you never have to answer for anything you do.

At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It was a hot, muggy day in August, and the clocks were striking thirteen. FOX claimed to be Fair and Balanced, Sessions was ordered to shut down Mueller, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the statement that one needs an ID to buy food."

Yes. The Greatest Liar In American History Will Get AWay With It.


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