Who are Schumer’s four witnesses?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has referred to the Senate hearings as a sham trial, as McConnell in the initial rules, rejected calling witnesses or issuing subpoenas for documents.  Yet, after the Bolton’s unpublished manuscript was leaked to the New York Times, the pressure to call him was definitely on.

There are two names I think everyone recognizes:  Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the White House’s Chief of Staff and John Bolton, former National Security Adviser.  Then there are two lesser known officials :  Robert Blair and Michael Duffey, both working for Mulvaney in different capacities.     I think if Schumer has his way, he would start with Blair and Duffey.  It would put pressure on Mick Mulvaney to tell the truth.   Just working up the food chain, of course.

Robert Blair: An assistant to the President, appointed by Mick Mulvaney as Trump’s Chief of Staff 

Blair, who was associate director for national security programs in the Office of Management and Budget, followed Mulvaney in January to the White House when Mulvaney became acting chief of staff. Mulvaney made Blair an assistant to the President. Blair serves as Mulvaney’s senior adviser for national security issues.  Blair’s hiring allowed Mulvaney to have a hand in national security issues without having to go through former White House national security adviser John Bolton. After Bolton was fired, one administration official said that Blair could be a favorite to replace Bolton because of his support from Mulvaney.

Blair was one of just a small group of officials on the line during Trump’s controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mulvaney was not.  During the July 25 call, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden — despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe Biden or his son, Hunter, in Ukraine. The phone call was part of a whistleblower’s complaint that alleged Trump sought “to solicit interference” from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and that the White House took steps to cover it up. Trump has denied doing anything improper.

Before joining the Trump administration, Blair worked for the past 14 years as a staffer for several committees in the House of Representatives. His last position was staff director on the House Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations. He previously worked as a regional adviser for Africa at the US State Department of State from 2001-2003.  According to his LinkedIn profile, he received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and two master’s degrees from Tufts University. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa during the mid-1990s.

Michael Duffey, OMB, associated director of national security programs  

Michael Duffey, a politically appointed Office of Management and Budget official, was given authority by the White House to keep aid to Ukraine on hold after career budget staff members questioned the legality of delaying the funds.  Duffey previously served as executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.  “While career civil servants put an initial hold on the aid, Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs in OMB, was given the authority for continuing to keep the aid on hold after the career staff began raising their concerns to political officials at OMB, according to people familiar with the matter,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Duffey also began overseeing the process for approving and releasing funds for other foreign aid and defense accounts, according to the report.  Trump’s order to withhold nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in July is at the heart of House Democrats’ move to launch an impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump used U.S. foreign policy powers to benefit himself politically.  Duffey, 41, left Wisconsin’s Republican Party in December 2016 when he was named to then-President-elect Donald Trump’s national security team at the Pentagon. He joined the administration when another prominent Wisconsin politician, Reince Priebus, was Trump’s chief of staff. Priebus held that post until July 2017.

What makes Michael Duffey’s testimony so important, is an email he wrote about 90 minutes  following   Trump’s  phone  call  to  Zelensky,   notifying  the  Department of  Defense,  that  a hold had  been  put  on  the  Ukraine military  aid,  and  given  the  sensitive  nature  of  this  hold,  this  information  limited to those with a need to know.  It further confirms the testimony of Sondland and others,  that it was a “dollars for dirt” deal.

This memo was released in December 2010 as part of a FIOA requestl

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Truth Matters 2

Wow. What a day!  Trump’s letter to Pelosi sent on Dec 17, 2019 repeats Politifact  “Lie of the Year” for 2019 and also the lie that I thought should have won (my personal favorite).  It adds some “golden oldies”  well known to be false.

Here’s the lie that got  Trump the 2019 award:

“…  so-called whistleblower who started this entire hoax with a false report of the phone call that bears no relationship to the actual phone call that was made.”

As so carefully analyzed by Politifact, the whistleblower’s report coincides very well with what the transcript says.

Trump’s lie is embedded in another misleading statement, that the White House was denied the right to call or  cross examine witnesses.  CNN reports:

Allowing the subject of an impeachment inquiry to call witnesses or present counter evidence is not required in either the Constitution or House rules. Furthermore, the House voted in late October to allow Mr. Trump’s lawyers to cross examine witnesses once the impeaching hearing moved to Judiciary Committee. But the White House declined to participate. If the House successfully votes to impeach a federal official, the Senate then holds trial. The impeachment rules in the upper chamber do offer the impeached person some rights.

But, this letter also contains my personal choice the lie of the year, as follows:

You know full well that Vice President Biden used his office and $1 billion dollars of U.S. aid money to coerce Ukraine into firing the prosecutor who was digging into the company paying his son millions of dollars.

That’s exactly the line Trump planned to use to gain the support of the Americans in 2020.  Except he would add,  “This is based on an ongoing investigation by the President Zelensky of Ukraine as announced in 2019” if the whistleblower hadn’t ruined his plans.  You know what – he’ll probably still use it.   He can say that this is based on an investigation by Rudy Giuliani or an  OANN investigation or Attorney Joe DiGenova research., passed on to the FBI.

Well, of course Rep. Pelosi knows this is  total rubbish, because the firing of Ukraine’s General Prosecutor Shokin was very well explained  in the House Judiciary Committee report as follows:

Similarly, there is no legitimate basis for President Trump to claim former Vice President Biden behaved improperly in calling for the removal of Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin. When he called for Mr. Shokin’s removal, then-Vice President Biden acted in accordance with and in furtherance of an official United States policy and the broad consensus of various European countries and the International Monetary Fund.615 Indeed, in late 2015, the International Monetary Fund threatened Ukraine that it would not receive $40 billion in international assistance unless Mr. Shokin was removed.616 Vice President Biden was subsequently enlisted by the State Department to call for Mr. Shokin’s removal—and in late 2015 and early 2016, he announced that the United States would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees unless Mr. Shokin was dismissed.617 Ultimately, in March 2016, Ukraine’s parliament voted to dismiss Mr. Shokin.618 Moreover, multiple witnesses confirmed that the removal of Mr. Shokin would have increased the likelihood that Burisma would be investigated for corruption, not the opposite, given that Mr. Shokin was widely considered to be both ineffective and corrupt.619 Any suggestion that former Vice President Biden called for Mr. Shokin’s removal in order to stop an investigation of Burisma, the company whose board Hunter Biden sat on, is inconsistent with these facts.620

I’ve left in the footnotes 615 to 620, which are references to documents in the report.

The letter is nasty, with numerous false or misleading statements, including:

Speaker Pelosi, you admitted just last week at a public forum that your party’s impeachment effort has been going on for two and a half years

Just the opposite is true.  The 2 1/2 years is the Mueller investigation, which was initiated by the Justice Department.  After the report was completed, the Speaker was reluctant to begin impeachment proceedings.  Yes, other Democrats felt the impeachment case was strong, but Pelosi held out.  The obstruction of Congress would have occurred in either the Russian or Ukraine case.  With the Ukraine scandal, Trump really handed Pelosi a much more straight forward violation of the constitution.

And Trump adds one of his all time favorite lies:

Congressman Adam Schiff cheated and lied all the way up to the present day, even going so far as to fraudulently make up, out of thin air, my conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine and read this fantasy language to Congress as though it were said by me.

Fact checkers know this as the “short version” of the big lie.  The longer version of the lie, told at Trump rallies, is that Schiff first invents the conversation, then Trump reveals to the public the real transcript exposing Schiff as a liar.  Great at rallies, but twice as false as the shorter version.  I call the longer version, the comic book one, because it not only has a villian (Schiff) but a hero to boot (Trump).     From the New York Times critique of the letter:   In a congressional hearing in September, Mr. Schiff said he was conferring the “essence” of the conversation that was meant to be partially “parody.” His account veered from the transcript in chronology and details at points, but it generally tracked with the transcript’s version of what Mr. Trump said on the call.”  The longer version is absolutely wrong, because Schiff’s summary of the conversation was done after the transcript was released in September.

The tone of the letter is angry and inappropriate for anyone holding high office.   It is taking aim at elected representatives, who come to Congress to represent their constituents.  It attacks the FBI.    The critical information is the letter has been proven to be untrue.

The letter was characterized by Rep. Pelosi as “sick.”  The headlines in the New York Times,  “Trump’s 6-page Diatribe Belittles Impeachment as an “Attempted Coup,”  The polemics are disgraceful.  The lies are consistent with the last 3 years of Trump’s presidency.  See link for the letter.  There are dozens of analyses of the letter on the internet.

I would just say it is sad when we have a president with so little regard for the truth.

Please don’t count on Facebook postings, Twitter,  Fox and OANN commentators, Trump rallies  and other sources for factual news, particularly on impeachment.   These are sources of misleading and frequently false information.

I invoke the Daniel Moynihan admonition: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”   If we start to get straight the facts, our differences are likely to be less.

I also like to recent comment Judge Amy Berman Jackson, ‘”If people don’t have the facts, democracy doesn’t work.”

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

There is a lot of good fact checking website as I list under the links.

Letter-From-President-Trump-Final

Politifact website

CNN Fact Checking

Factcheck.org

 

 

 

 

Truth Matters

I believe in truth.  Lying from high officials can do great harm.  They use social media to rapidly spread lies.  Political parties use lies to increase their base.

Politifact 2019 lie of the year goes to Donald Trump.  He is now the four time award winner (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019).  Yes, I was unhappy that he did not get the award in 2018,  but I suspect they wanted to draw attention how very harmful lies  from anonymous sources or obscure websites that go viral  on social media.   The headline for the 2018 lie was: “Online smear machine tries to take down Parkland students” and it relates to the protests movement after 17 students were gunned down at a high school in Florida.  “Claiming some of the students on TV after #Parkland are actors is the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency,” wrote Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Twitter on Feb. 20.  Kudos to Rubio and others who quickly denounced this lie.  Politifact did  not attributed to any one person, but to obscure unnamed  websites.  Politifact names  OANN commentator Graham Ledger for broadcasting the theory that students were “crisis actors” and Donald Trump, Jr. liked a tweet stemming from the Ledger commentary.  It is the commentators on  OANN (Outside Any Normal News) that conspiracy theorists find an audience.  Anything for a rating, right!

Ok, back to 2019 Lie of the Year:  ” Donald Trump’s claim whistleblower got Ukraine call ‘almost completely wrong'” won the award.  There are a whole slew of lies, Trump has originated or re-tweeted,  on virtually every topic,

But this one seems to be one of his all time favorites.  According to Politifact:

Since the Sept. 26 release of the whistleblower complaint about his call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump has insisted more than 80 times that the whistleblower’s account is fake, fraudulent, incorrect, “total fiction,” “made up,” and “sooo wrong.” (sounds like Trump)

It was likely a tough choice, because Donald Trump  lies continuously.  I liked the 2017 lie of the year:   Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story’  or in 2016: Fake news.  Trump is not considered the source, but the enabler of this lie.    The 2015 award is for  campaign misstatements of Donald Trump.    President Obama also won an award for a lie in 2013: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”  but I think the real difference is, that he apologized for this lie.

My choice of the lie for 2019 would be: “Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its prosecutor …. the prosecutor said he was forced out for leading a corruption probe into Hunter Biden’s company. … Democrats want to impeach President Trump for discussing this investigation with Ukraine’s President.”   which was part of an ad campaign for Trump’s re-election.   It is very clever, because the real lie is in the information not provided.  The prosecutor was corrupt and had sidelined the Burisma investigation,   The pressure to fire Prosecutor Shokin came from the US, IMF  and EU leaders.  See links below.

The Washingon Post calculated  Trump has lied 15,413 just in the last 3 years since becoming president.  It looks like the lying is going to get worse (hard to imagine).   See last link.

Wake up America, – We are much better than this.  (Elijah Cummings)

Stay tuned,

Dave

10 things Donald Trump got wrong about impeachment in 2019, fact-checked

The silence of the year: What did Hunter Biden do for Burisma?

Lie of the Year 2019: Donald Trump’s claim whistleblower got Ukraine call ‘almost completely wrong’

A look back at Lie of the Year, 2009 to 2018

President Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading claims over 1,055 days

 

Who is telling the truth in the impeachment hearings

Politicians lie.  They all do it.  But they also get caught doing it.  That’s the purpose of fact checking organizations.  Trump supporters have a lot to explain, and their defense of Trump includes a lot that is just not true.  I encourage my followers to fact check what they read here, and it really isn’t hard. Also, “main stream media” such as CNN and the print media, including  the New York Times and Washington Post are very reliable sources of information.  The House Intelligence Committee puts an incredible amount of raw information,  i.e. transcripts of testimony and documents on their website.  It is hard to keep up with all of this, but it is out there.

It is very consistent for Trump to launch a counter offensive attack on impeachment, by supporting and often retweeting  statements by Republican senators, which are without foundation, when his actions are indefensible.

Here is a short list of statements  which are absolute rubbish:

Question 1: Did President Barack Obama immediately fire all Bush-appointed ambassadors “the day he was elected office”?

FALSE

As is the custom, Obama immediately replaced most — not all — of Bush’s politically appointed ambassadors. Obama did not remove any of the career appointees to ambassadorships.

Sources:  Factcheck.org and politifact.com

Question arises because Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was recalled after a smear campaign was launch against her by people close to Donald Trump, including Rudy Giuliani and Representative Pete Sessions.  There is a lot more to this story, but Trump got caught before he could put a political appointee into the Ambassador position.

Question 2:   Is it true that several news organizations reported that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. Senator Kennedy states, “It’s been well documented in the Financial Times, in Politico, in The Economist, in the Washington Examiner, even on CBS, that the prime minister of Ukraine, the interior minister, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, the head of the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption League, all meddled in the election on social media and otherwise,”

A:   From Politifact.com:

FALSE

We found that these articles paint a picture of Ukrainian leaders fearful of Russia and of Trump’s comments that took a more conciliatory stance on Russian aggression. The news coverage shows Ukrainians preferred Hillary Clinton because she was tough on Russia. However, the articles don’t show a vast, top-down approach ordered to boost Clinton.

Kennedy mentioned The Economist multiple times. The Economist’s U.S. editor John Prideaux told us: “We are a bit puzzled by Sen. Kennedy citing us to the effect that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 elections.”

Republicans frequently mention a 2017 Politico article, which focused on the work of a Democratic political contractor who tried to dig up dirt on Trump and his advisers. We vetted it and found that the GOP has used its findings selectively.

Question 3:  Is Sen. John Kennedy similar accusation true?  The Senator says former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko “actively worked for Secretary Clinton.

FALSE

Answer by Politifact.com – see link.

His sources are  completely lacking.   It didn’t get the “Pants on Fire” designation, but it should.

Question 4:  What about the 2017 Politico story that shows the Sen. Kennedy statements are true?

FALSE

A:  “The article did not state that the Ukrainian government conspired with the Clinton campaign or the DNC,” said Melissa Cooke, a booking manager for Politico, in an email. “It also emphasized that the acts of Ukrainian officials to raise questions about Trump were not comparable to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and reported that the then-Ukrainian government was trying to make amends with then-President-elect Trump.”

Senator John Kennedy is a Republican from Louisiana.

Question 5: Is Trump’s statement true: “They never thought, Dan, that I was going to release that call, and I really had no choice because Adam Schiff made up a call,” Trump said Nov. 15. “He said the president said this, and then he made up a call.”

FALSE 

Trump has repeated this statement numerous times.  Schiff already had the released memo, and was just giving a “dramatized synopsis” of key points.  See link.

—-

I’m stopping at 5 false statements for now.  For more false statements,  please follow this link to politifact.org   (Fact-checking Impeachment Claims) .    One of the few true claims came surprisingly from Fox News, and their legal analyst who stated it is perfectly legal to have witnesses testify in private.  I’ve included this link at the end.

There will be an enormous number of false statements, coming from Rep. Jim Jordan,  Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Attorney diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing (see link below), Sen. John Kennedy from Louisiana, and of course, Donald Trump.  I encourage everyone to check out these links and dig in more to get the truth.  It doesn’t come from Facebook or Twitter, that’s for sure.

In the coming few weeks, the false statements will increase.   Republicans know when the impeachment goes to the Senate, they have the votes to acquit Trump.   It is highly likely they will not only acquit him, but cast the Democrats as the true villains,  is concocting false evidence against Trump, because they can’t  deal with their loss in 2016 or because they can’t  win the election

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Sen.  Kennedy claims that Ukrainian President Poroshenko actively worked for Clinton is False

What we know about the Politico story at the heart of a Ukraine conspiracy theory

Did Obama Fire All Bush-Appointed Ambassadors?

Donald Trump gets Ukraine phone memo timeline backwards

Exclusive: Giuliani Ally Pete Sessions Was Eyed for Top Slot in Ukraine

Fox News analyst correct: Impeachment inquiry is following rules by questioning witnesses in private

Other Fact checking resources:

AP FACT CHECK: Trump and the people he forgets he knew

Politifact.com

Republicans Cherry-Pick Facts on Impeachment

Factcheck.org

Investigation #1 – 2016 elections interference

I’ll admit this – the narrative of the two investigations in return for aid money gets long and complicated, due to the many official involved and various meetings and encounters.   And as in any organization, there were a lot of short hand expressions, such as “2016 elections” which needs some explanation. So, here is how Trump laid it all out:

Trump began, “A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine. They have the server, right? From the DNC — Democratic National Committee. The FBI went in and they told them ‘get out of here, you’re not getting it, we’re not giving it to you.’”

He continued, “They gave the server to CrowdStrike, or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian. And I still want to see that server. You know the FBI has never gotten that server, that’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”

When Doocy asked Trump “Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?”, the president seemed to wobble, saying “Well, that’s what the word is.”

It’s is very wrong on a whole series of levels.   It begins with a huge lie.  One of the founder of Crowdstrike, is Dmitri Alperovitch, is  a Russian-American who has lived in the US since 1994 with no connections to the Ukraine.  The other two co-founders are George Kurtz and Gregg Morrison and are as American as apple pie.   I felt a bit silly looking up where each of the co-founders were born.  So the narrative begins with a “Pants on fire” lie.   When a computer gets hacked, the signs of the hack can be pretty subtle and not discovered for months.  A small piece of code, had been inserted into the server, which facilitated unauthorized  access to critical files.  There is no need to physically remove the server and dust for fingerprints.

The  Democratic National Committee (DNC) called Crowdstrike,  to determine if, in fact, the security had been breached and information stolen.    The top priority  is to remove any unauthorized code on the system to prevent future access. A secondary objective would be to figure out the origins of the code.   The code in this case, has been identified as

Now, there is a badly misconstrued morsel of truth, in what Trump is saying.    The DNC did decline an odd request by the FBI to allow the illegal access to continue, in order to get more evidence on the hacker activities.  I think this was very reasonable given the elections were 5 months away and a miserable time to conduct a sting operation.  From the Daily Beast website:

The DNC turned down one unusual FBI request early in the hack investigation. The bureau wanted access to the DNC’s network while the Russians were still in it, most likely to stage a counter operation against the GRU. The DNC declined, perhaps reluctant to have two intelligence agencies playing capture-the-flag in their systems five months before a presidential election. The DNC later authorized Crowdstrike to share full copies of the hacked servers with the bureau, giving the FBI access to the same evidence Crowdstrike had.

The GRU is the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian military.  The full copies of the server would generally be referred to as “cloned copies”  allowing the forensic experts to examine an exact copy of the operating system at the time the copy was made.  Crowdstrike turned over all  copies of the servers it made and all analysis to the FBI, who reached the same conclusion that the hack came from Russia.   Other organizations made the same conclusion.     Robert Mueller secured Grand Jury indictments on 12 GRU agents responsible for interference in US elections, including hacking.

But just for grins, let’s follow the Trump’s crazy story.   The FBI comes knocking on the door demanding the DNC  turn over the server.  Instead of complying with the FBI,  the IT guys at the DNC call Crowdstrike,  which takes physical possession of  the server  and puts it on a plane to the Ukraine.  I guess they do this in the dead of night, so nobody sees them pulling out all the equipment.  (fails the laugh test).      Now, Ukraine has total access to all the Democratic emails, by way of Crowdstrike operating under the orders of the DNC and they subsequently  leak them to Wikileaks.  We know that the FBI and others involved in computer forensics got the cloned copy of the server and concluded that this hack was done by the Russians.   So it follows that Crowdstrike would have to alter the cloned copy, inserting a false Russian code,  and putting their growing billion dollar company at risk.  Also, after removing the server,  Crowdstrike had to install an exact duplicate server, also in the dead of night, so nobody would notice the equipment is missing.   These systems work 24/7, with all kinds of security checks and backups.

So, is there anyone besides Trump  promoting this stuff?   Yes.  Vladimir Putin for one, who early on pointed the finger at the Ukraine, after the usual denials.  Similarly, he denied the assassination attempt in 2018,  on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.    There are three other individuals as far as I can tell.  Two other conspiracy have been convicted for lying to the FBI:  Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.  It was pretty obvious that these two individuals were desperately looking for ways  to avoid long sentences.  Also, helping the general cause cause was Julian Assange (Wikileaks)  who said he did not get the emails from Russian agents, but did not point the finger at Crowdsource or Ukraine.    Julian Assange remains in prison in England,   Obama did not extradite him to the US, so this of course feeds into the conspiracy narrative.   Trump said he would, but the stature of limitations may run out.  Also, he will be claiming his right as  journalist,  Of course, there are a whole slew of radical right wing websites which love to spin conspiracy theories.  But it isn’t easy to find a promoter who hasn’t been sued or imprisoned.    Almost forgot- Rudy Giuliani promotes this stuff because Trump wants him to.    When you are a personal  attorney, you stick with your client come hell or high water.   And Mike Pompeo has turned his head so many times, he’s getting neck pain.

Dr. Fiona Hill really nailed it at the inquiry, when she pleaded to the committee to reject these wild conspiracy theories, and accept the collective conclusions of the intelligence community and Mueller investigation, that Russia had interfered with the US elections.  Trump attempted to resurrect and reinforce a debunked theory about Ukraine’s “theft” of the DNC servers via Crowdstrike by withholding military aid to Ukraine is an impeachable offense.  Yet I believe the Senate will acquit him, as the Republicans hold the majority.   I am hoping that this victory will be short lived, when the US electorate overturns his Senate win.

I’ve only included a few links, because so much can be found by Google searches, including the incisive statements by Dr. Hill.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wired:  July 16, 2016:   Here’s What We Know About Russia and the DNC Hack

(Wired got it right more than 3 years ago!  –  yet this, the FBI and Intelligence community couldn’t convince Trump)

Daily Beast:  Updated Oct 16, 2019: The Truth About Trump’s Insane Ukraine ‘Server’ Conspiracy

Trump Explodes About Ukraine Conspiracy on ‘Fox & Friends’

“Are You Sure They Did That?” Even Fox Questions Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy Theory

Wikipedia:  Crowdstrike company

Daily Beast: June 17, 2018:  Trump’s ‘Missing DNC Server’ Is Neither Missing Nor a Server

They all lie!

This is the response I get when I tell a Trump supporter of Trump’s trouble with the truth.  He’s been amazingly consistent with lying throughout his career in real estate (see Wikipedia link below).   Just recently,  Trump stated that some of the DACA recipients were “harden criminals.”   Of course, that is a lie, because they would be immediately disqualified for the program if they have any convictions.  His record of 4% totally true statements from politifact.com website is really unbeatable among politicians.

Yes, they all lie, but nobody tells as many lies in both critical domestic and foreign areas as Trump.  He never admits he was wrong.  He is very self centered and often exaggerates his own success, while ignoring the accomplishments of others.

So, how does Trump’s record stack up with Biden, Sanders and Warren.  Or with Obama.   Trump is clearly the winner – far and above the biggest liar of  them all.

I used Politifact, and summed up the percentages each of them were as far as truthfulness (True, Mostly True and Half Truth):

Warren  (17% true, 38% mostly true, 42% half true)  =  87%
Sanders (13% true, 36% mostly true, 26% half true) =   65%
Biden   (13% true, 23% mostly true, 25% half true)  =   62%
Obama  (20% true, 27% mostly true, 26% half true)  =  73%
Trump   (4% true, 10% mostly true, 14% half true)  =  28%

Pretty incredible difference.   If I sum up the false and pants on fire category, the rankings would be:

Trump  = 50%
Obama = 13%
Warren =  0%

Of all the politicians,  Elizabeth Warren ranks the most truthful,  followed closely by the other Democrats.  Warren has made one statement considered mostly false or 13%.  Donald Trump is the most dishonest by almost any measure. Politifact does not consider how often a person repeats a lie.   The Washington Post does, and the tally in October 2019 came to an incredible 13,435 lies or misleading statements, over 993 days or 13.5 lies per day.  See links below.

Other websites have reveals many false claims from President Trump.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Politifact.com

Wikipedia:  Veracity of statements by Donald Trump

Factcheck.org Oct 11, 2019 Trump’s error filled cabinet meeting

https://www.factcheck.org/

Trump lies constantly

Who would go to a rally where Trump lies constantly?    I mean at his Texas rally, it was one lie every 3 to 4 minutes, for a total of 26 in 87 minutes.  And yet they were cheering all this rubbish.

Here’s a few whoppers:

Trump conflated his accusations against former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden — railing against Hunter Biden’s business dealings, then saying that Joe Biden “takes a billion-five” from China and “allows China to rip us off.” He added, “So the Bidens got rich while America got robbed.”
Facts First: There is no evidence Joe Biden has received large sums of money from China or has otherwise gained wealth as a result of his son’s business dealings abroad.
Trump has previously made the “billion-five” accusation against Hunter Biden. While a conservative author has used this figure, it has not been proven. A lawyer for Hunter Biden, George Mesires, says the investment company in which Hunter Biden has an equity stake was capitalized with a total of about $4.2 million at today’s exchange rates, “not $1.5 billion.” Even this investment was not a direct payment to Hunter Biden; Hunter Biden holds a 10% stake in the firm, Mesires says, and has not made a profit to date.

Trump said again that the whistleblower who complained about his dealings with Ukraine “got it all wrong.”
Facts First: The whistleblower’s account of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was highly accurate — as the rough transcript released by the White House confirms.

Trump: Vowing to end the AIDS epidemic in the US within a decade, Trump said the Obama administration spent “no money on that.”
Facts First: The Obama administration spent $10.8 billion on domestic HIV/AIDS research between the 2013 fiscal year and 2016 fiscal year alone, according to a review by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and $85.1 billion more on domestic HIV/AIDS care, housing and prevention programs in those four years. It also spent $26 billion on international HIV/AIDS initiatives of various kinds over the same time period.

Trump said again that his tariffs on imported Chinese products have “cost us nothing,” claiming China has “eaten” the cost.
Facts First: A bevy of economic studies have found that Americans are bearing the overwhelming majority of the tariff costs, and Americans make the actual tariff payments.
Trump repeated his promise to “always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.”
Facts First: The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills and filed lawsuits that would weaken Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Trump is currently supporting a Republican lawsuit that is seeking to declare all of Obamacare void. He has not issued a plan to reinstate the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions if the suit succeeds.
Each of these were lies I caught easily.  These false statements related to some pretty important issues – the impeachment inquiry, AIDS epidemic, trade war with China, and Trump’s alternative to Obamacare,  I go back to the quote from the late Senator Moynihan:  “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
Links:

Saudi Arabia attack – Who do you trust?

“Half of Saudi oil production wiped out” was the headliner.   I predicted that Saudi Arabia had shut down a lot of their processing and storage facilities simply as a precaution while inspections were underway.  Saudi Arabia yesterday announced that 70% of their production was restored.  They are able to maintained contracted tanker liftings using their reserve oil.  WTI oil prices are around $58/bbl, about what they were before the attack.

The question still remains, as to whether the Houthis or the Iranians were behind the attack.   I don’t know.   Our President is a non-stop liar.    According to politifact.com,  69% of the 720 statements he has made were in the category of Mostly false, false or pants on fire.   Only 4% of his statements were true.

If you work with Donald Trump,  then you have to toe the line, and you better find a way to support him, or you will be out the door in a second.   So, I guess the question keeps coming around, who do you believe?

Not Trump nor Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.  And that doesn’t leave me believing the Iranians either.   I believe more in that the drones or any missiles were not sent from Iran, because it is not in Iran’s national interest to provoke a war with the Saudi’s.     But, there are a number of UN inspectors, which I feel will be far more impartial.

It definitely was the crisis that wasn’t.  The petroleum industry including  oil rigs, processing and export facilities, refineries and petrochemical plants are all vulnerable to drone attacks.  They were before the attack, but the public awareness wasn’t there.

It is easy to accuse Iran, but as I said, it just doesn’t make any sense they would provoke a war with the Saudis.  Of course, the Houthis are completely different.   They are already at war with Saudi Arabia.

 

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Links:

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/

 

 

 

 

Fake News and Facebook

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes,” A nice quote, but it wasn’t said by Mark Twain.

Thanks to the internet, we have lies spreading at the speed of light.  I don’t use Facebook to obtain news.  It is filled with tabloid junk.  I have never bought a tabloid at a grocery store checkout.

Here are a sample of truly false stories:

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/facebook-posts/statements/by/

This is from Politifact.com.   They don’t identify who made up the lie, as this just gives some individuals the free publicity they are seeking.  Facebook is being responsible by banning a very select group who stream out massive numbers of  false allegations faster at incredible speed, so they can profit from the sale of videos and books.

I support what Mark Zuckerberg is trying to do, by permanently banning the worst of the bloggers from Facebook.   He will be criticized no matter what he does, usually based on the idea of curbing free speech.  However, it’s completely legal and pretty routine as every  media outlet will screen out  advertisers for violation of their policies.   Infowars doesn’t care about the truth – only publicity and fortunately they have been taken to court a number of times as follows (see Wikipedia link):

  • In February 2017, the lawyers of James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, sent Jones a letter demanding an apology and retraction for his role in pushing the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Under Texas law, Jones was given a month to comply or be subject to a libel suit.[141] In March 2017, Jones apologized to Alefantis for promulgating the conspiracy theory and retracted his allegations.[142]
  • In April 2017, the Chobani yogurt company filed a lawsuit against Jones for his article that claims that the company’s factory in Idaho, which employs refugees, was connected to a 2016 child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis cases.[143] As a result of the lawsuit, Jones issued an apology and retraction of his allegations in May 2017.[144]
  • In March 2018, Brennan Gilmore, who shared a video he captured of a car hitting anti-racism protesters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, filed a lawsuit[145] against Jones and six others. According to the lawsuit, Jones said that Gilmore was acting as part of a false flag operation conducted by disgruntled government “deep state” employees in promotion of a coup against President Trump.[146] Gilmore alleges he has been receiving death threats from Jones’ audience.[146]
  • Leonard Pozner, father of a Sandy Hook shooting victim who has been forced to move several times to avoid harassment and death threats accusing him of being a crisis actor, has filed a defamation suit against Jones in Texas.[147]

I feel sorry for these individuals.    They had to go to court and suffer with Infowar’s attack for over a year.  The victims of Jones’ attack  certainly did not deserve this and it looks like all they got was a retraction.     When you  allow Alex Jones to use the Facebook platform to make libelous and hurtful statement about Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, you give him the right to attack anyone.   And his history says he will.

I don’t buy into the “slippery slope” idea. I believe Facebook will use a lot of discretion in banning individuals, because they are the beneficiaries of a free flow of new ideas, even some very radical ones.

Facebook is working with fact checkers to block false information, see link below:

How is Facebook addressing false news through third-party fact-checkers?

I’ll end with a great quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

So,  go out buy a real newspaper or reliable internet sources,  support fact checking organizations  and stay away from the tabloid world.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Wikipedia Alex Jones 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/03/trump-jr-accuses-facebook-silencing-conservatives-day-after-it-bans-some-far-right-users/?utm_term=.97fc760b8479

AG Barr’s summary of Mueller’s Report

“It was a total and complete exoneration” 

Donald Trump

No it wasn’t.

AG Barr’s memo:

The Special Counsel’s report states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

However, consistent with the President Trump’s statement:

“the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”

No clean bill of health.  Not for Trump nor his campaign officials.

I guess it’s best just to read AG Barr’s memo.  It’s only 4 pages.

AG March 24 2019 Letter to House and Senate Judiciary Committees

Normally, I would include links, but there is just so much out there, you can take your choice.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

2018 myth of the year

Politifact selects a lie of the year.    They don’t have a similar award for myths.  They should.

A political myth is perpetrated usually with great concoction of bits of truths mixed in with a lot of lies or exaggerations.  John Kennedy got it right in 1962 when he said:

“The greatest enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.  Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears.  We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations.  We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

I am concerned with the mix of news and opinions presented primarily on cable news.  Fox News is a clear example of this.

“You’re entitled to your own opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Let’s consider a few examples:   Trump sent the military to halt the impending invasion of a caravan of immigrants, filled with would be criminals.

Basically,  this was just a mid-term election stunt.   Unfortunately, a very unnecessary one.  But it was done to because immigration was a hot button issue, and Trump wanted to stand out, as the toughest guy on halting illegal immigration.

But the myth of the year, I believe is Trump’s  simple statement:

“Trade wars are good, and easy to win”

Trade wars makes every economist who understands the mechanisms of capitalism cringe.   Tariffs imposed on China result almost immediately in China imposing tariffs on the US.   No one is ahead in negotiations.  The government gains because they receive the tariff income, but industries which import from China must pay higher costs.   Higher steel prices strongly impacts the oil industry and their capital investments.  I believe Trump has  killed any chance of the  Keystone XL pipeline, Phase 4 of every being constructed given the sharp drop in oil prices and the increase in steel prices.   Trump bragged at his ability to talk down oil prices, by getting Saudi Arabia to increase production.   The Saudi’s increase production as Trump pushed through new sanctions against Iran, and importers of Iranian oil.   Of course, Trump then reversed course and granted waivers to many countries, so Iranian oil could keep flowing to the world market, creating a temporary oil glut.

The Department of Energy will let oil companies drill almost anywhere they want, but the economics of many projects are gone.  This includes the decades of controversy of drilling in northern Alaska and extensive oil shale developments.

Mr. Tariff man, you’ve made a mess of things!

Stay tuned

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

Never let a good crisis go to waste

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not before.”

This quote comes from Mayor  Rahm Emmanuel.  It has been used completely out of context since he said it in an interview in 2008. What he meant was a crisis gets the public attention to a problem, and puts pressure on government to come up with solutions.

The raging forest fires in California should have been the crisis to tell us that the impacts of climate change are real and resulting in deaths around the world.    Trump’s comments on Californian’s forgot to rake their leaves was laughable.  It’s also sad, because human lives are at stake.  I am not saying that climate change caused the forest fires, but that global warming results in hotter and longer summers in California, resulting in very dry brush.  This makes many large and populated areas more vulnerable to rapidly spreading fires,

So let us add:  “Never let a crisis be pointed to you or your organization.”   With the second important proviso,   “Be creative.”    Trump meant to say that the state of California was responsible.   They didn’t maintain their forests well.   This became laughable again, when Trump insisted that Finland rakes their leaves.   The President of Finland was confused.    Learn to pivot and deflect, at the same time as appearing to answer questions.  Avoid like the plague the follow up question.  The buck stops somewhere else.

As news of Trump’s involvement in a potential Trump Tower in Moscow has leaked out,  an additional proviso comes to mind.  “If creativity fails, try lying.”     Trump claims that the Trump Tower project in Moscow was public knowledge in 2016, which I am hoping that this qualifies as the “Lie of the Year”  for Politifact annual contest.  Another tactic, is to change the subject to a completely different crisis that is not your fault.    Trump has tweeted that the FBI is wasting their time investigating the Russian interference (aka, “Witch hunt” and “hoax”)  when they should go after Hillary Clinton,  James Comey,  Loretta Lynch, Clinton Foundation,  Uranium One, etc,  or really anything connected to  Democratic campaign.      Like science fiction,  the public can never get enough of big  scandal stories, even the manufactured narratives.

So, while Emmanuel just wanted to say how a crisis helps in solving real problems,  he had not envision the new era of creating scandals out of  practically nothing, for purely political reasons.  The best defense is a good offense.   Be inventive and retaliate with another scandal, blown out of proportion.     Example: Hillary’s email scandal was real and 10X worse than the Russian collusion, which we know is a hoax.    Another example — the caravan story  and the imminent  invasion of half of Guatemala’s  criminal population,  along with Middle East terrorists.  This was only good up to the mid-term election.

Remember there is strength in numbers.  You can lie without statistics, but it just sounds more impressive with statistics.   Even false statistics.

So,  to re-iterate:

  1.  You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not before.
  2.  Never let a crisis be pointed to you or your organization.   Learn to deflect and pivot.  The buck stops somewhere else.
  3.  Be creative.  If creativity fails, try lying.
  4.  The best defense is a good offense.  Be inventive and retaliate with another scandal, blown out of proportion.
  5.  There is strength in numbers.  You can lie without statistics, but it just sounds more impressive with statistics.  Even false ones.

Poor Mayor Emmanuel who looked on the positive side of a crisis.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_best_defense_is_a_good_offense

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Rahm_Emanuel

 

 

The deleted emails of Hillary Clinton – Same old BS

Ivanka Trump is now in hot water over using a personal cell phone to conduct government business.   Trump has claimed what Hillary Clinton did was far worse. Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton defied the Benghazi committee’s subpoena and deleted emails.  This  is untrue.   This has been investigated exhaustively by the Benghazi committee,

Here’s what happened (see Wikipedia link below):

In 2014, months prior to public knowledge of the server’s existence, Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and two attorneys worked to identify work-related emails on the server to be archived and preserved for the State Department. Upon completion of this task in December 2014, Mills instructed Clinton’s computer services provider, Platte River Networks (PRN), to change the server’s retention period to 60 days, allowing 31,830 older personal emails to be automatically deleted from the server, as Clinton had decided she no longer needed them. However, the PRN technician assigned for this task failed to carry it out at that time.[98]

After the existence of the server became publicly known on March 2, 2015,[99] the Select Committee on Benghazi issued a subpoena for Benghazi-related emails two days later. Mills sent an email to PRN on March 9 mentioning the Committee’s retention request.[98] The PRN technician then had what he described to the FBI as an “oh shit moment,” realizing he had not set the personal emails to be deleted as instructed months earlier. The technician then erased the emails using a free utility, BleachBit, sometime between March 25 and March 31.[100]

Since this episode, Clinton critics have accused her or her aides of deleting emails that were under subpoena, alleging the server had been “bleached” or “acid-washed” by a “very expensive” process[101] in an effort to destroy evidence, with candidate Donald Trump stating the day before the 2016 election that “Hillary Clinton erased more than 30,000 emails as part of a cover-up.”[102] Trump continued with this narrative as late as August 2018, asking “Look at the crimes that Clinton did with the emails and she deletes 33,000 emails after she gets a subpoena from Congress, and this Justice Department does nothing about it?”[103]

Thus,  there was never an attempt by Hillary Clinton  to disobey the subpoena by deleting personal emails,  so Trump’s statements in 2016, 2017 and now in 2018 are all FALSE.

Trump yesterday, November 20, 2018, repeated the deletion allegations.   Factcheck.org  reviewed allegations made by both Trump and Pence, and found them to be False.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump falsely claimed Clinton “acid washed” 33,000 personal emails to delete them, calling it “an expensive process.” The FBI said Clinton’s tech team used BleachBit, which is a free software program. It does not use chemicals.

Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, falsely claimed the FBI found “more than 15,000 additional emails dealing with national security.” The FBI recovered about 14,900 emails, but not all of them are work-related and only three contained classified information.

End of story.   At least it should have been.  It was a lie in September 2016 that Clinton ordered deletion of emails.  It is still one today.   Trump is playing to his base, but are they that gullible?

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wikipedia – Deletion of Emails

https://www.factcheck.org/2016/09/trump-pence-acid-wash-facts/

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/dec/05/donald-trump/donald-trump-falsely-claims-hillary-clinton-lied-f/

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/oct/09/donald-trump/donald-trump-says-hillary-clinton-deleted-33000-em/

 

Liar in Chief

 

I’ve discussed this before.  Donald Trump has a problem with the truth.  This is the famous line from Republican Bob Corker.  Great places for lying are campaign rallies.  Twitter works well.  He stays away from solo  press conferences – he’s holds the record for the fewest.   That’s when reporters, who really know their facts will trip him up.   Zingers don’t work at press conferences.

The rallies were for his supporters.  He knew the House may flip.  We’ll know today.     Two major theme – My administration is doing incredible great things and the Democrats are your worse enemy.  And the media – it’s also your enemy.  And actually,  ignoring a lot of very important issues, like for instance the budget and well, the world at large.    It’s all about Donald and the narrative, and largely untrue.

Trump said that they were close to reaching a deal on the China tariffs.  Stock market did nothing.  If it came from Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, and someone I admire,  the stock markets would have exploded.  With Donald, it was a sound bite.    Xi Jinping had a  swift and harsh rebuttal.    He referred to  “beggar-thy-neighbor” which in economics,  is a policy through which one country attempts to remedy its economic problems by means that tend to worsen the economic problems of other countries.   He accused the US as play by the  “law of the jungle” obviously ignoring the World Trade Organization, which we have built up over the years to promote free trade.  In fact,  Xi Jinping has probably better standing as a global capitalist than Trump.

Campaigning and marketing are similar.  It  is simply that everything I can offer you is great and will make your life better.  Everything my competitor has is awful and will make your life horrible.  Truth is expendable.   Fear works.   Caravans of dangerous criminals approaching the border is good.   Stalemates in Congress over budgetary issues – forget,  too boring.

Donald Trump on the campaign stump: His most glaring falsehoods, is Politifact’s latest update on our liar in chief.   The folks at Politifact know their stuff, and could have written a lot more.  But by saying these are the “most glaring”  falsehoods, they can go home before the sunrises.   I guess my favorite is:

“The Democrat plan would just obliterate Medicare and terminate Medicare Advantage … seniors who have been paying for this for years (and) will not be taken care of anymore.”

which perhaps I would be worried about, but it came from our liar in chief and is false.   It is just the opposite, as the Sanders bill would greatly expand benefits.

Should the measure pass, it would offer much more than the current Medicare program, including dental, vision, hearing and long-term care. With few exceptions, there would be no premiums, no co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, however. The price tag would be in the multiple trillions of dollars.”

Some lies are so simple, such as the US Steel plants:

“US Steel is now building seven plants.”

No they’re not.  Nor six as in his prior statement.  No new plants, Mr. President!

The last of the glaring falsehoods,  #8,  is a whopper as everyone wants to help our wounded warriors.   Trump said:

 “We passed veterans’ choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor, rather than waiting on line for weeks and weeks and weeks. 44 years they’ve been trying to pass that. I got it passed.”

Nope Trump  didn’t.  Obama got it passed in 2014.  the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014.   It was smart to put a year on it, just so we know it wasn’t Trump’s act.  There were some changes to it during Trump’s term,  but it was Obama bill.

Politifact and Factcheck.org  come to similar conclusions – Trump will lie on almost any issue.   He gets caught and doesn’t seem to care.  I said the birth right citizenship was more about getting airtime.   Fox News actually found “legal experts”  who could explain why there were some exceptions.     Absolutely amazing.   Apparently, if say Venezuela invades Puerto Rico (for instance), then it would not be under the jurisdiction of the US.    What is a saving grace in these situation, is that all cases coming before the Supreme Court, must be associated with an actual case already heard by the lower courts, not some hypothetical case from an attorney.   So no, no Executive Order on birthright citizenship.

Marketing has little to do with the truth and everything to do with airtime.   Get on television, social media, anywhere possible.  Make it as personal as possible – like the lie on the wounded warriors.   It hits everyone who has a friend or neighbor serving in the military.  And it was a whopper of a lie that Trump has used many times.

Trump’s statements, as evaluated by Politifact,  fall in the  mostly false, false or pants on fire about 69% of the time, and true statements are 5% (about 1 in 20).    A falsehood repeated at a dozen rallies and aired over the media, still counts as one lie.   His highest percentage (33%) is False, followed by Mostly False (21%).  Of course,  these are only statements presented as facts, not opinions.

There are some really big messes and scandals looming.   If the House stays Republican, they will go after Rosenstein and Mueller.   The deep state nonsense will  re-emerge.  I believe Mueller will be announcing more criminal  indictments after the elections, and not just Russians.   Roger Stone,  adviser to the President is my guess of who is next.  There will likely be demands for Trump’s tax returns, which the Donald will not like.    Ryan Zinke,  Secretary of Interior, is being investigated for illegally profiting from policy changes, and might be the next cabinet official to leave in disgrace.  Iran and North Korea nuclear talks will go nowhere.   Iran is not caving in to US demands, but pushing back.   And China trade wars could get really nasty.  The caravan, well forget it, the troops will be returned within 3 to 4  months of inactivity.

I better stop here.  Vote today.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Donald Trump’s Record – Politifact

The most glaring falsehoods  – Politifact

 

 

 

 

Crazy s*** on immigration

Note:  Tom Toles is one of my favorite cartoonists.  This is from the Washington Post.  Trump later said he might send up to 15,000 troops to the border, when the caravan was 900 miles away, and the participants, many mothers with their children,  looked very weary.

Immigration is a hot button issue.  There are a lot of folks, who are either unemployed or struggling with low paying jobs, who blame everything on immigrants, particularly Mexicans.  Add a bit of bigotry into this mix, and irrational fears of the caravan approaching the US borders, and Trump has created an energized  constituency that will vote straight Republican in the next election.

What Trump can not do, nor any president, is take away any of our constitutional rights, through Executive Orders.  Headlines in CNN this morning, reads “Trump claims he can defy Constitution and end birthright citizenship.”   Any executive order would typically be routed through the Department of Justice, and they would not give their blessing.  An executive order is effective until a court issues an injunction.  The injunction would happen very quickly.   The Fourteenth Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”  My guess is that Trump isn’t that stupid to sign such an Executive Order.

It has succeeded.   Trump wanted more media coverage.  He sure as hell got it.   It is only a desperation ploy, given early voting in the mid-term elections has started.

Next is the caravan.   I’ll go as far as saying Trump’s  characterization of the caravan as being an invading force is pure fiction.   Now, the truth is, there is widespread chaos in Honduras. According to the New York Times:

Trump has consistently conflated Central American migrants with members of gangs like MS-13, even though many Hondurans joined the caravan precisely to escape the gangs. And while migrants have a right under both international and U.S. law to seek asylum at the border, Trump has continuously voiced his opposition to their arrival. He urged Mexican authorities to prevent the caravan from reaching the United States, called for 4,000 members of the National Guard to be deployed to the border and urged U.S. lawmakers to vote for stricter immigration laws.

Immigration stories by bloggers, are  almost all false.   Unfortunately even Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,  Kirstjen Nielsen, joined with them, spreading false stories:

There are billboards in Central America in the Northern Triangle countries advertising how to grab a kid to get into the United States illegally. Because that loophole is so big. Billboards,” Nielsen said during a July 19 interview with NBC’s Peter Alexander at the Aspen Security Forum.

Politifact labels her statement “false” as there has been no evidence of any billboards.   The US during the Obama administration, did help support billboards to help prevent illegal immigration, not promote it.   See link at the bottom.

Just as I went to post this blog, Trump double down on his false claims:

The Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of illegal aliens into our country. And they want to sign them up for free health care, free welfare, free education, and for the right to vote.”

The statement is false in every aspect. See link below.   In fact, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schummer, got it right responding to Donald Trump’s  actions as simply trying to distract attention from other issues, many health care.  Further Pelosi added:

Pelosi reiterated that message in another statement: “Despite Republicans’ fear-mongering, this group of families may not even make it to the U.S. border, and those migrating for economic reasons will not qualify for asylum.”

The qualifications for asylum are based on the rules of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS).    Trump doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally change the rules.  The Department of Justice, and AG Jeff Sessions will be involved in any changes.   The courts will likely decide if it is within the executive branch’s authority to make changes.

The false claims on the caravan are too long to discuss all of them.  The caravan has existed since 2008.  The people are poor.  Many are women with children.  Many are fleeing gang violence in their countries.     George Soros, a billionaire and strong Democratic supporter, is not funding the caravan.  In fact, just about every claim against Soros, spread through social media is untrue.

The mid-term election might turn the House of Representatives to Democrat.  That’s what this heated rhetoric on immigration is about.

At this point, Trump would light a school bus on fire if he could get an extra 5 minutes of air time.  And distract the electorate from horrible policies – ranging from pulling out of the  Paris climate accord,  eliminating many rules governing clear air and water, and the attempted elimination of health care for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Unfortunate there will be a slew of more lies as we get to Nov 6.   VOTE!

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

False statements on the caravan

Kirstjen Nielsen falsely says there are billboards in Central America on illegal immigration.

Trump says he will restrict asylum, claims troops will shoot at rock throwers