Believe Every Word!

All we’re doing is passing our savings on to our client base.
It’s a proprietary strategy. I can’t go into it in great detail.
But take my word for it, for the most part
you can ignore those market swings.
Bernie Madoff responding to his clients, 2001

————

Lesson 1: Why lying well or sounding truthy can be self-nurturing and very lucrative. I am not saying that one needs to be a conspiracy theorist 24/7. What I am saying is that much of the time you need to stay sharp and not take everything at face value, especially when it is all dressed up looking and sounding pretty. Here are four more examples that beg for fools and fun, or painful trouble, depending on which side of the result you’re on.

  • In order to become old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.
  • The most dangerous animal out there is the shy, silent man.
  • Wouldn’t it be great to have a six-month vacation twice a year?
  • Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life.

The art of verbal flatulence is alive and well today. In all honesty, it has been quite well and thriving for many centuries and likely several millenia. Only today, it is sometimes dressed up and symphonious then other times so audaciously in your face and eccentric that the gullible audience begins to consider “Well, maybe it IS true.” Take for another prime example last evening’s State of the Union address to Congress.

Thanks to the Poynter Institute’s commitment to excellent journalism and its unparalleled non-profit service in providing a resource for anyone who aspires to engage and reliably inform all citizens. They serve 21st-century democracies, around the globe for people who honor all human rights, self-government, and freedom of expression (speech) coupled with a speaker’s or writer’s ownership of truths or lies. They also provide the invaluable Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking website PolitiFact.com.

Here are some of [President Trump’s] comments [during the SoU address], fact-checked or with additional explanation or context. This report includes information on three accurate statements and 12 claims that are inaccurate, exaggerated or lack context.

Because 25% (to be kind) is such a horrible score at telling the truth, I am picking eight of Trump’s 12 wrong, overblown, and lacking good context comments to illustrate that not every word can be believed by Bernie Madoff President Donnie Trump.

On the Economy

President Trump:  “Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades.”

Wages are indeed rising, but they began their upward trajectory under President Barack Obama, and wages actually rose a bit faster under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

One common measurement of wages is median usual weekly real earnings for full-time wage and salary workers 16 years and older, an inflation-adjusted figure.

During Trump’s presidency, this figure has risen from $351 to $355, an increase of 1.1 percent over the better part of two years.

But the current wage increase began in earnest in the second half of 2014, when Obama was still more than two years away from leaving the White House. Overall, wages increased by 7.5 percent over that period, from $330 to $355.

This rise in wages wasn’t as steep as the country saw in the 1990s. Between the fourth quarter of 1997 and the first quarter of 2002, wages rose from $314 to $341, an increase of 8.6 percent.Louis Jacobson

President Trump:  “African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded.”

This was accurate in 2018, but is out of date. Unemployment levels for each group reached record lows under Trump’s watch.

African-American unemployment fell to a record of 5.9 percent in May, and is at 6.8 percent as of January. Asian unemployment fell to 2.0 percent in May, and is now at 3.2 percent. Hispanic unemployment reached 4.4 percent in December 2018, and is now at 4.9.

But these trends began under former President Barack Obama, and economists say presidents don’t deserve either full credit or full blame for the unemployment rate on their watch.Manuela Tobias

President Trump:  “Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination, and control.”

This is a variation on misleading attacks Republicans repeatedly made on Democrats during the 2018 midterms.

The narrowest definition of socialism is where the state owns all the means of production. Democrats have not called for the government to take over business.

American politicians such as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., or U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have used the term to call for a dramatic expansion of the social safety net, including already available health care programs. They typically propose much higher tax rates to pay for the programs.

That resonates with the systems in place in Europe, not Venezuela.Amy Sherman

President Trump:  “We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs.”

Trump is close on overall job creation but less accurate on manufacturing jobs.

The United States has added 5.3 million jobs since Trump was elected in November 2016. Counting from when he took office in January 2017 makes the figure a bit smaller, at 4.9 million.

As for manufacturing jobs, the number rose from about 12.4 million in January 2017 to 12.8 million in January 2019, or an increase of 454,000. We should add that the increase in manufacturing jobs under Trump followed a rise under Obama that began in 2010, when the worst of the Great Recession had passed.Louis Jacobson

On Foreign Policy

President Trump:  “For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by friends of ours, members of NATO — but now over the past couple of years, we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.”

This could [might] be true two years from now.

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said that’s what the European members expect to spend, and he credited Trump’s “clear message.”

“By the end of next year, NATO allies will add 100 — 100 billion extra U.S. dollars for defense,” Stoltenberg said on Fox News Jan. 27.

In constant dollars, NATO member defense spending has gone up about $24 billion since 2016. In current dollars, the amount is $48 billion. While we don’t know Stoltenberg’s starting point, $100 billion requires a steep rise, and we won’t know if it comes true until many months from now.Jon Greenberg

On Abortion

President Trump:  “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”

This distorts the circumstances covered by the law signed Jan. 22 by New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

Previously, women in New York could only get abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if their lives were threatened. Under the new law, women can also get an abortion after 24 weeks if their health is threatened or the fetus isn’t viable.

The law codifies for New York the same standards established by the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.

Jen Villavicencio, an ob-gyn in the Midwest who provides abortions, told PolitiFact recently that late-term abortions are rare and usually due to medical crises. The Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both report that slightly more than 1 percent of all abortions occur after 21 weeks.

“Abortions are not performed at 40 weeks on healthy, viable pregnancies,” Villavincencio said. “Overwhelmingly, abortions that occur at this point in pregnancy are pregnancies where lethal fetal anomalies have been diagnosed.” —Jon Greenberg and Ciara O’Rourke

On Immigration

President Trump:  “Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.”

We can’t specifically document how many U.S. citizens have been killed, because there is no national database on murders committed by immigrants in the country illegally. There also is no national data or study tracking the nationality of the victims, experts have also told us.

And while some immigrants here illegally have committed murders, research indicates that immigrants are less likely to engage in criminal behavior than the native-born population. —Miriam Valverde

On Energy

President Trump:  “We have unleashed a revolution in American Energy – the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.”

This is mostly accurate. The United States ranks first in both, but that’s only new for crude oil.

In 2017, the United States ranked first in the total production of petroleum and other liquid fuels as well as natural gas. Within the subset of crude oil production, the United States edged past Russia and Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2018, according to the Energy Information Administration, the federal office that collects energy statistics.

But the United States has been the world’s largest oil producer since 2012, and the largest natural gas producer for years.Manuela Tobias

Lesson 2: Lying better and sounding sensational doing it can also be very self-nurturing, very lucrative, and somewhat bumpy stepping on and over the many imbecile suckers in your wake of destiny. To the patient, experienced critical-thinker the minute you have to embellish, to sensationalize, hype it up and (try to) push people’s buttons and triggers… you are showing all your cards. Game over. But not everyone understands the con-man’s, showman’s game. Otherwise this man would not be in the White House in the first place.

That said however, Americans are not hard to figure out. The Land of Capitalistic Opportunity” or anything goes unless you get caught does enable the massive egos of the clinically psychiatric to thrive. Many Americans love (are obsessed with?) a great bombastic rebel. Our national history is without a doubt replete with them.

Fyi Nan, the clip is only 2.5 minutes. 😉

To read the rest of PolitiFact.com’s fact-checking on President Trump’s February 5th State of the Union speech, click here. It deserves noting too that the immediate Democratic response to the President’s speech by Stacey Abrams was also without context and more specific facts — hence, leaning to rhetoric and propaganda.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Look Deeper for Your Own Good, Please!

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31 thoughts on “Believe Every Word!

    • He certainly isn’t the first. Duh, right? But he takes it to a whole different level because he doesn’t even try to dress it up — probably because he wouldn’t know how. In order to be a brilliant liar you have to have superb cunning and a vocabulary ABOVE an 8th-grade level. He has none of those, and he might know it… so he has a non-existent conscience allowing 8th-grade words to flow unimpeded (like diarrhea) out of his mouth. 😩😒

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Excellent post. Something else we need to be aware of on the economic figures is that: 1) the decades-long demise of the middle class has not abated due to continuing rises in income inequality and the wealth gap, 2) the current low employment figures result from a high percentage of people who have left the workforce as well as from a huge shift of full-time jobs with benefits towards part-time jobs with few benefits since the Great Recession, and 3) the persistence of wage stagnation among the nation’s service-oriented jobs with respect to inflation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Robert,

      Those are three spot-on Economic realities for the bulk of Americans. Now of course it is a little more complex in some ways considering all contributing factors; I mean ALL FACTORS. But you’ve summed them up nicely. Two Nobel Prize winning Economists I follow are Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. They offer me a hard-facts, realistic, understandable way of cutting through and tossing out the political BS and fluff that both U.S. parties spew. So I’ll comment briefly on each of the three from their expertise and POV.

      #1 — More and more “middle-class” Americans are either slipping into financial distress just to remain (afloat) in decent-to-good affordable housing by living beyond their means to stay there, OR to avoid financial distress having to live in indecent-to-poor housing. But get this! Even in those decent urban/suburban areas of housing they have high homeless populations. Why? According to the Urban Institute and National Housing Conference:

      There is not enough affordable housing in the United States. For every 100 extremely low income households, there are only 29 adequate, affordable, and available rental units. That means two parents who both work minimum-wage jobs might wait years to find a safe, affordable place to live with their two kids. With such high demand, why aren’t developers racing to build affordable apartments?

      It turns out building affordable housing is not particularly affordable. In fact, there is a huge gap between what these buildings cost to construct and maintain and the rents most people can pay. Without the help of too-scarce government subsidies for creating, preserving, and operating affordable apartments, building these homes is often impossible.

      This leads to what Stiglitz and Krugman call/define as “Rent-seeking.” Look it up under Investopedia. Been going on for several decades now. Go here for some more info:

      http://apps.urban.org/features/cost-of-affordable-housing/

      #2 — Yes! For four straight years (almost 5) while I was desperately trying to get on as a full-time permanent teacher (Gen Ed or Spec Ed) in SIX different Dallas-area school districts — to earn a whopping $39k – $43k salary — I was constantly pushed to be a teacher’s assistant for “1 or 2 years” or Special Ed Aide, making essentially a Part-time salary of $19,500/yr or $21k/yr. When I looked into other second jobs, most all decent/good paying companies were offering only part-time positions without benefits/insurance — they knew I’d eventually leave them anyway. Well DUH!!!! A single man paying monthly child-support to an already very harsh, unforgiving state OAG Child-support Division, that pay is impossible to live on! No safety net whatsoever.

      Many times I felt like telling these school principals or assistant principals to just give me a rope with a noose in it. And Robert, this is the case just in public education systems or Psych/A&D field (two fields I’m qualified in)! They are so poorly funded with necessary programs, grants, subsidies, etc, that over 1-2 generations we’re feeding and fill-up our prisons with mental-health/illness patients… WHO BY THE WAY come from a struggling public school systems that are ALSO undermined by private interests, charter schools, private schools pushed by Republican ideals and policies for the advantaged in America!!!

      I didn’t need Stiglitz or Krugman to teach me any of that, btw. LOL 😛

      #3 — Well, I sort of addressed this in my previous two commentaries didn’t I? Hahaha. My two fields of expertise and experience are firmly inside that “public service-oriented” industry! Can you imagine Robert, what these advantaged (white?) Americans would do if there were no public services?????? No mental health professionals or clinics to deal with the drug-addiction epidemic in this country????? No primary or secondary teachers to educate minorities, the disadvantaged, or those decent families TRULY SEEKING asylum here… to save their life and their family’s!!!????? 😮

      When do we return to a more public service mentality in this country? Where we HELP each other rather than find cunning ways of beating and winning against each other for more wealth, image, fame, and material stuff?

      Liked by 2 people

      • When do we return to a more public service mentality in this country? Where we HELP each other rather than find cunning ways of beating and winning against each other

        When we consistently get enough people to the polls to outvote the knuckle-dragging Deliverance mutants despite the effects of voter suppression and gerrymandering. It will get easier as they die off.

        As for the speech, Hair Furor Agolf Twitler barely even pretends to believe most of what he says, aside from the wall stuff, and that’s just to keep his wallnut followers loyal. He doesn’t stay consistent from one day to the next — what he supports today he may repudiate tomorrow if Ann Coulter insults his hand size over it. I see little point in trying to analyze his gabble.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Yes, and I will simply add one of my favorite quotes from “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future” by Stiglitz. I’ve read this book 3-times it is so good. He sets it up by first explaining the many virtuous and health benefits of giving, not just by writing a 10-digit check, but doing your part with your own hands, your own time/effort, and your own empathy. He says personal philanthropy beyond “foundations or institutions” is very good for business, sure, but also more importantly one’s soul. I’ll emphasize the last sentence…

          The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this has been something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Often, however, they learn it too late.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Our society is set up something like a casino and a majority of people have a lottery mentality. So many of us seem to be trying to figure out how to win the big jackpot and live like capitalist royalty – hanging around the edges of the wealthy gawking, trying to glean insight into how to be like them. Well, being like them entails reducing compassion & empathy, trying not to see or think about those we leave for roadkill in our path to glory and doing whatever our rivals don’t have the stomach to do. Look at the traits that are encouraged in the system we’ve built. Look at what we aspire to be. We’ve learned to respect mindless greed and have taken that obsession with “15 minutes of fame” and turned it into a way of life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ashift, your assessment is essentially spot on. I agree. In fact, I am finishing up the next post (a 2-part series at the moment) which dives deep into what you are alluding to and explicitly calling out. The series is called Black Underworld Inc. I will not only cover the history of how we Americans have set all of this up for ourselves, as you aptly point out, but also get into how we continue to feed/fuel the black markets around the world, especially in our own hemisphere of the Americas. I think you’ll be very interested in it Ashift. 😉

      As always, thank you for your feedback here! You always have good stuff to say. 👍

      Like

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