The disaster with separating migrant families – lies upon lies upon lies

While people are often tempted to compare politicians they disagree with to Nazis, it isn’t something I have ever done before. Saying something like that is really something you need to think about.

I’ve thought about it. Ripping babies and young children away from their mothers and penning them up in cages is what Nazis would do. And the Trump administration is doing it today.

The outrage is palpable across all political spectrums. And Trump’s lies about it just make it worse. This is something he could fix with one phone call to Jeff Sessions.

Some notes from the week that will probably define the Trump presidency:

First the big lie: On Twitter, Trump has continued to falsely blame Democrats for the separations. “I hate the children being taken away,” Trump insisted Friday on the White House lawn. “The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.”

As everybody knows, that is just a lie.

Then there is the White House confusion:

“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted last night. “Period.”

On the other hand, Trump’s top domestic policy adviser, Stephen Miller, was quoted in Sunday’s New York Times praising the crackdown. “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry,” he said. “Period.”

Then there is Kellyanne Conway repeated Trump’s lie. On “Meet the Press” she said, “Nobody likes seeing babies ripped from their mothers’ arms. As a mother, as a Catholic, as somebody who has got a conscience… I will tell you that nobody likes this policy.” Then she blamed the legislative branch.

But it’s not the fault of the legislative branch. Neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama did this. It’s Trump and Sessions.

Rudy Giuliani added to the confusion. He said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Sessions is “not giving the president the best advice” on how to handle this situation. “I know President Trump doesn’t like the children taken away from their parents,” he said. “Jeff is not giving the president the best advice!”

Possibility – Trump blames everything on Sessions and fires him? Trump certainly would never admit he was wrong.

First lady Melania Trump (an immigrant herself) called for the government to show “heart” when enforcing the law. “Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform.”

But she misses the point. Both sides of the aisle don’t need to come together to stop these abuses. Her husband just needs to pick up the phone and order these actions be stopped.

Then there was Sessions, who attempted to use the Bible to justify these outrages. He said, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”

Just about every evangelical clergy person, from Frank Graham to Sessions’ own minister condemned his remarks, which were also used to justify slavery back in the day.

It was Laura Bush who said it best, and I will leave with her extremely rare, and moving, political commentary in an op-ed in the Washington Post:

“I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned.

“Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation … If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place. … Recently, Colleen Kraft, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics, visited a shelter run by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. She reported that while there were beds, toys, crayons, a playground and diaper changes, the people working at the shelter had been instructed not to pick up or touch the children to comfort them. Imagine not being able to pick up a child who is not yet out of diapers.

“People on all sides agree that our immigration system isn’t working, but the injustice of zero tolerance is not the answer. I moved away from Washington almost a decade ago, but I know there are good people at all levels of government who can do better to fix this.”

Trump lies and claims there is a trade deficit with Canada when there is actually a surplus

There are so many lies to unravel here. But let’s just sum up.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal. According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!). Minimum is 17B.”

Even after more than 500 days in office, Trump shows no understanding of the basics of trade and economics. He focuses on trade deficits, falsely claiming that the United States is “losing,” when virtually every economist would argue it is far more important to focus on overall trade and investment between nations. If overall trade increases between nations, people in each country generally gain, no matter the size of the trade deficit.

But putting that aside, his claim about a trade deficit is just a lie. According to statistics issued by the U.S. government headed by Trump, the United States has a trade surplus with Canada.

Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, in the 2018 annual report signed by Trump, said that was the case, writing: “In 2016, the United States ran a trade surplus of $2.6 billion with Canada on a balance-of-payments basis.”

Also, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative says the trade surplus with Canada was $8.4 billion. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis says the surplus was $7.7 billion in 2016 and nearly $2.8 billion in 2017.

Those are actual facts. Trump is lying.

 

Trump lied repeatedly about meeting with Kremlin-Tied lawyer

Trump’s lawyers and press secretary repeated the same lie over and over again for almost a year. No, they said, Trump did not dictate a statement with lies released in his son’s name.

“He certainly didn’t dictate,” said White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“The president was not involved in the drafting of that statement,” his lawyer Jay Sekulow told NBC News.

“That was written by Donald Trump Jr., and I’m sure in consultation with his lawyer,” Mr. Sekulow told CNN.

“The president didn’t sign off on anything,” he told ABC.

But in a confidential, hand-delivered memo to the special counsel, Trump’s lawyers acknowledged that, yes, it was Trump himself who dictated the statement, where he tried to deflect questions about a meeting with a Kremlin-tied lawyer at Trump Tower. Prosecutors want to know if that statement was part of an effort by Trump to obstruct a federal investigation. If he dictated it, it almost certainly is.

If Trump ends up in the witness chair with Mueller, he would face serious consequences for lying.

Asked about shifting explanations for statement on Trump Tower meeting, Rudy Giuliani says, “This is the reason you don’t let the president testify. Our recollection keeps changing…”

Uh huh.

Mueller has told Trump’s lawyers that only by interviewing the president can prosecutors determine whether he had intended to obstruct justice. Trump has said he is eager to sit for an interview. He told reporters in January that he expected to do so within “two to three weeks.”

That, of course, did not happen.

Trump double-downs on lies about FBI infiltrating campaign as 2 prominent Republicans say it’s just not true

And this was on Fox News too…

Two top Republican allies of Trump have disputed his claims that the Obama administration used a spy to infiltrate his 2016 presidential campaign, an unsubstantiated theory he and far-right conspiracy theorists have dubbed “Spygate.”

In an appearance on Fox News Tuesday evening, Rep. Trey Gowdy, who attended a classified briefing last week on Capitol Hill with top members of the Department of Justice and the FBI, said that Trump should rest assured that the FBI was not “spying” on members of his campaign.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got,” Gowdy said.

Another staunch advocate of Trump on cable TV, Judge Andrew Napolitano, also appeared on Fox and expressed agreement with Gowdy’s assessment that the president and Rudy are lying by saying that a spy infiltrated the Trump campaign.

“The allegations by Mayor Giuliani over the weekend, which would lead to us believe that the Trump people think that the FBI had an undercover agent who inveigled his way into the campaign and was there as a spy on the campaign seem to be baseless,” Napolitano said. “There is no evidence for that whatsoever.”

But Trump as recently as Tuesday evening doubled down on the lie that a spy found its way in the ranks of his campaign.

“How do you like the fact they had people infiltrating our campaign?” Trump asked a crowd at a campaign rally in Tennessee. “Can you imagine?”

While Trump is going all crazy over Jeff Sessions over the last 24 hours, saying he regretted appointing him as Attorney General, Trump has not, however, responded to Gowdy’s comments in the interview disputing his claims regarding ‘Spygate.’

Trump Lies and Says NY Times Made Up Source about Korea Summit Meeting

Trump lied and accused The New York Times of making up a source in an article about North Korea, even though the source was  actually a senior White House official speaking to a large group of reporters in the White House briefing room who asked not to be named.

The briefing on Thursday afternoon in the White House briefing room was attended by about 50 reporters, with about 200 or so more on a conference call, so there were over 200 witnesses to Trump’s out-and-out lying.

Trump lies and says that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have sent humans to Mars

On March 13, 2018, Trump signed a directive calling on NASA to return to the moon and to boldly go where no man has gone before.

He couldn’t resist adding a daily lie to the moment claiming, “This would not be happening if Hillary Clinton was president, You wouldn’t even be thinking about it.”

Washington Post Fact Checker  Meg Kelly unearthed a video clip showing that Clinton has been talking about getting humans on Mars since at least 1999. As first lady, Clinton helped launch the “Mars Millennium Project,” an educational campaign “to imagine a new life on the red planet.”

In a 1999 speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Clinton said this project was “challenging schoolchildren around the nation in conjunction with NASA to design a community that they would want to live on the planet Mars in the year 2030.”

During the 2016 race, Clinton’s campaign submitted written responses to questions about space travel from ScienceDebate.org. She said one of her goals would have been to “advance our ability to make human exploration of Mars a reality.” (In response to the same questions, “Trump did not formally support a human Mars exploration program or other specific initiatives,” Space News noted.)

Clinton even visited a factory in Michigan making parts and tooling for the Space Launch System. That’s the rocket for the Orion spaceship NASA is building for the Mars voyage and other deep-space destinations. “I got to see what’s happening here to help build the SLS rocket that is going to go from Macomb to Mars,” Clinton said in August 2016.

The White House did not respond to the Washington Post’s request for comment. I guess they are thinking of “alternate facts” to spin.

Trump repeatedly lies about trade deficit with Canada – and even brags about lying

This story has grown to be more than the regular Trump lies we see on a daily basis.

On Thursday, Trump repeated his false claim that the United States runs a trade deficit with Canada. This was the morning after privately telling Republican donors that he had deliberately insisted on that claim in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada even without knowing whether it was true or not.

Trump’s private admission to having a loose grasp of the facts and his public refusal to back down from the lie — the United States has an overall surplus in trade with Canada — were vivid illustrations of the president’s cavalier attitude about the truth, and a reminder of how that approach has taken hold at the White House.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Trump had chosen his figures “selectively” in the conversation with Trudeau.

She also acknowledged that Trump had fabricated an anecdote he told the donors about unfair trading practices — Japanese officials, he claimed, conduct a test on American cars by dropping a bowling ball on their hoods from 20 feet high, and those that dent are barred from being imported. That is completely not true.

Marc Garneau, who is the chairman of the Canada-U.S. relations committee in Trudeau’s cabinet, rejected on Thursday the president’s deficit claim.

“At this point, it’s very important to point out that there is over $2 billion a day of trade between our two countries and over all annually the United States has a small surplus with Canada,” Mr. Garneau told reporters in Montreal.

The president’s reported remarks dominated the news in Canada on Thursday morning and were greeted with bafflement.

“It is scary, as his lying has become the new normal,” said Cory Whiteduck, 35, a radio host and cigarette seller in Kitigan Zibi reserve, near Maniwaki, Quebec, about 85 miles north of Ottawa. “Normally, it would raise red flags, and a politician would be in trouble. It is not a productive way of doing things or a good mentality.”

Bruce A. Heyman, the United States ambassador to Canada under President Barack Obama, said that Mr. Trump’s approach was “creating a crisis where none existed before.”

“Lying to your friends only hurts the relationship,” Mr. Heyman wrote on Twitter. “Canada has been there for us thru thick and thin. How can you just casually damage this realtionship?”

Trump caves to NRA and breaks promise to enforce more gun control

Fox News host Shepard Smith called out Donald Trump on Monday for backpedaling on his vow to reform gun control.

After publicly stating earlier this month that the National Rifle Association had little power over him, Trump tweeted Monday that the White House would support NRA-approved gun control measures instead.

“The president told the kids at Parkland, ‘I’ll go strong on this, I’ll work on this age thing,’” Smith said. “He came up to the general public and said to the Congress, ‘Oh, the NRA has a lot of pressure on you, has a lot of effect on you, but not on me so much.’ And then he met with the NRA.”

After the Florida high school massacre last month, Trump explicitly called on live television for raising the age limit to purchase rifles and backed 2013 legislation for near-universal background checks. He later told lawmakers that while the N.R.A. has “great power over you people, they have less power over me.”

But on Monday, it was Trump who knuckled under, yet again dramatizing the sway that the N.R.A. still maintains in Republican circles. And showing how quickly Trump regularly goes back on his word.

Trump claims his State of the Union speech ratings were the highest in history – they were not

On Thursday morning Trump lied and said the 45.6 million people who watched Tuesday’s State of the Union was “the highest number in history.”

That’s not true.

“45.6 million people watched,” he said, which is what the ratings company Nielsen announced on Wednesday. But several State of the Union addresses in the past were higher-rated, including Barack Obama’s first address in 2010, which had 48 million viewers.

The 6 highest ever were (1) Bush in 2003 (62 million), (2) Clinton in 1998 (53 million), (3) Bush in 2002 (51.7 million), (4) Obama in 2010 (48 million), (5) Clinton in 1994 (45.8) million and finally (6) Trump in 2018 (45.6 million).