No kidding, it’s getting difficult to write this blog without becoming depressed. The news can drive one to drink – which isn’t all bad. But like many folks, you’re probably avoiding TV and the Internet more these days. So no offense if you just delete all political emails and avoid political blogs. I understand. But bear with me for a bit; I promise to keep it mostly light.
In reading news articles and researching the factual claims that politicians make it becomes obvious that some of them miss the bullseye on the truth target and some miss the target altogether.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) railed that the GOP tax plan is “kicking” 13 million people off their health insurance. No doubt repealing the Obamacare individual mandate will cause some number of healthy people to voluntarily drop their insurance coverage and that will raise premiums for others. It’s these less healthy people who find their policies too expensive to afford that are being forced out of the insurance market. The Washington Post fact checkers gave Schumer two Pinocchio’s for this mislead.
On the other side of the isle, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who supports repeal of the individual mandate, said: “One of the things I hope we do as part of this tax process is repeal the tax on poor Americans. Right now, about half of the people that pay the penalty under the individual mandate are people who make $25,000 or less”
Like Schumer’s comment this one begged for a fact-check and it wasn’t long in coming. The debunk of Cornyn’s claim is too complex to provide in detail but the Washington Post gave Cornyn two Pinocchio’s because he used “an incomplete statistic that lacks significant context.”
Cornyn is a white-haired, sort of grandfatherly looking guy who appears quite believable. But when talking about Obamacare or the GOP tax plan he lies with the best of them. I prefer liars who clearly look like liars, say — for example — President Donald Trump.
The new numbers are out on Trump’s prevarications. The Washington Post has documented 1,628 false or misleading statements from El Presidente in his first 298 days in office. That’s an average of over five per day. Wow, Trump really has set a new record for something. Is there a Liars Hall of Fame?
Those who are turned off by the news may have missed a photo of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton – who was very expensively attired — holding a sheet of newly printed one-dollar bills. They were the first to bear Mnuchin’s signature. One sarcastic critic observed they were “picking up some toilet paper;” another chided that they looked like villains in a James Bond film. I guess even the ultra-rich have bad hair days.
Mnuchin is just one of many billionaires in Trump’s cabinet but another one made the news last week too, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Evidently Ross – and I’m being kind here – didn’t tell Forbes magazine the whole truth about his wealth. As a result, Bloomberg Billionaires Index lowered his net worth from $3 billion to $860 million. The story is more sinister than just that slap in the face, but I’m wondering if Trump will boot Ross off the cabinet because he no longer meets the qualifications.
Trump campaign officials like Jared Kushner and Attorney General Jeff Sessions seem to have a bad case of amnesia. They don’t recall anything investigators want to know related to connections with Russia until they get caught lying. Trump seems to have a selective memory too. It’s a good thing the nuclear codes are written down and carried by a military officer – or is it?
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the difference between sexual harassment charges against Sen. Al Franken (D-Min.) and Trump is that Franken has admitted his harassment and the president hasn’t. Yep, we all know that, but it’s a difference with considerable distinction – Franken’s honesty. Sander’s comment should win a prize of some type. The White House is all about winning things, even if they are outrageous.
The Washington Post has documented 31 times that members of the Trump campaign met with or corresponded with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. I’m waiting for Press Secretary Sanders to claim they were only seeking a recommendation on where they could buy the best Russian borscht. These people probably prefer caviar but that would come off as too elitist.
The U.S. Navy recently made BIG news in the skies over Washington State. One of its pilots used the exhaust from his jet to draw the outline of enormous male genitals. I’m not sure what he was trying to say with this maneuver but you have to admire his flying skills.
And lastly, I don’t think we are getting the full story on the playground nastiness between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jung-un. I’m surprised Trump has been so restrained in responding after Kim called him an old man. In private I suspect he is saying something like: “Liddle Kim is not only short, fat and ugly, check the hair, but he has little hands — and for him that really means something, heh, heh, heh.”