Trump lies bigger than Texas

Donald Trump is well known for lying and making false claims, and he often keeps repeating them.

El Paso is on the US-Mexico border and has taken issue with comments Trump made in his State of the Union address last week.

The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.
Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.

Simply put, Trump is making false claims again to try to get support for his wall.

El Paso Times – State of the Union: Facts show Trump wrong to say El Paso dangerous city until fence

President Donald Trump used El Paso as an example of a safe city to bolster his argument that the United States needs to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border during the State of the Union on Tuesday.

This isn’t the first time the White House has tried to make this argument about El Paso, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton shared a similar comment with Trump during his visit to Texas in early January.

They debunk Truimp’s claim in detail. And also similar claims by Trump spokespeople and associates.

Houston Chronicle editorial: Welcome, Mr. President. Here’s the truth about El Paso

At nearly every turn, Trump’s statements and actions before and after he took office two years ago have revealed an ignorance of even the most basic aspects of life in Texas. Recall when he talked, absurdly, about the thousands of pleasure-boating Texans during Harvey who had to be saved by the Coast Guard. In fact, they were braving storm-tossed waters to rescue neighbors.

Trump seems even more confused when he talks about the border. Take his recent comments about El Paso and the border fence completed there in 2009.

The quote from his SOTU speech as above.

That’s unequivocally wrong. All Texans know that El Paso lies directly across the border from Juarez, where murder and kidnappings have at times overwhelmed local authorities. We also know that El Paso itself has for decades been universally considered one of the safest cities in America.

The border fence completed in 2009 didn’t make that so. The crime rate, and especially the rate of violent crimes, had been falling for nearly 20 years before that fence was completed.

That El Paso has been safe for decades is borne out by more than FBI stats. Elected officials from both parties have called out Trump’s falsehood repeatedly in recent days.

Does any of any this really matter? We wish it didn’t. But sadly, Trump has a powerful hold on a significant swath of Americans — and their congressional representatives — who want so badly to believe his promises of greatness that they don’t bother to check the fine print. They believe quickly and blindly. And by the time the fact-checkers weigh in, Trump will have moved to the next rally.

But Trump bullshit isn’t in the fine print. He blares it all over Twitter.

More concerning perhaps is that his speech writers have presumably played a hand in his SOTU script, which is more bullshit.

MediaFiled:  Was The Media’s SOTU Fact-Check Fair?

Along with the typical suspects–like Snopes and FactCheck.org–most mainstream, reputable news sources took a deep dive into the logical fallacies and falsehoods they claimed the President espoused in his 82-minute-long speech.

Outlets like The New York Times took the time to break down substantive policy claims on international affairs, immigration, abortion and the economy with nuance, specifying whether a claim was true, false or misleading.

Forbes pushed back on Trump’s economic statistics, pointing out that he fibbed facts on created jobs, wage and economic growth. The El Paso Times clarified that saying their city’s violent crime rate makes a case for “walls working” is untrue. CNN refuted Trump on undocumented crime in general, with most point-by-point analyses painting Trump’s narrative as incorrect.

While most of these fact-checks weren’t partisan commentary, the sheer volume of articles published created a sense of anti-Trump bias for some. That’s without mentioning the sources that FOX interpreted as “nitpicking.”

The sheer volume of articles pointing out Trump lies has something to do with the number of times Trump lies.

Pundits like Brian Stelter went further in their defense, expressing frustration at “Trump’s [worsening] level of lying, of deceit” and calling for news organizations to be more equipped to tackle falsehoods during “the Super Bowl of fact-checking.”

But on the other hand, in an age where a whopping 75 percent of conservatives don’t feel like the media even understands them, nitpicking against conservative champions isn’t the best look.

Ah, having a president who is a compulsive liar isn’t the best look.

“The ‘fact-checkers’, Hell-bent to prove Trump wrong, have become just another tool of advocacy journalism.”

Fact checking what the president says is ‘advocacy journalism’? I would say it is a fundamental role of political journalism.

Just because some people that poor Donald is being unfairly criticised doesn’t negate the need for or validity of criticism.

David Harsanyi, Senior Editor of The Federalist, points out what seems to him to be partisan media hysteria, describing how fact-checking subjective assertions and talking points with hyper-precision can, itself, obscure information.

“There are plenty of legitimately misleading statements worthy of fact-checkers’ attention,” wrote Harsanyi in a column for the New York Post.

“Yet, with a veneer of impartiality, fact-checkers often engage in a uniquely dishonest style of partisanship.”

Whether you think that Trump compulsively lies or that the media’s narrative of him constantly lying has gone too far, it’s clear that the press need to hold government accountable now, as it always has.

But in order for it to do so, journalists must also hold themselves to a higher, objective standard and reflect on whether or not partisan biases are clouding their judgment.

It seems remarkable that fact checking journalists are being held to ‘a higher, objective standard’ (fair enough to call for that) because they keep pointing out how dishonest President Trump is. This suggests Trump’s tactic of diverting from his lies to the media reporting those lies has been in part successful.

 

Slater reverses his claims about leaker

Cameron Slater has reversed his claims about who leaked Simon Bridges’ expenses, switching from saying with some certainty that Jami-Lee Ross was the leaker to saying he wasn’t.

Slater often makes dubious claims, and often doesn’t back up his claims with facts. And when one of his claims later turns out to be true he claims to be some sort of brilliant sage – but he doesn’t mention the ones that are disproven or never proven.

So I think that most people are (or should be) very sceptical of what he claims without having or showing any evidence.

He also sometimes directly contradicts himself, as he has done over the expenses.

18 August: Who is the leaker?

The back channel chatter suggests that the leaker of Simon Bridges’ travel expenses is in fact a National caucus member.

My sources inside National as well as inside Labour are saying it is now known who the leaker is and it is only a matter of time before they are outed:

They will have to resign, because if it is a National MP it will have caused destabilisation of the leader and also no one will ever speak to them again. It was also a stupid move as there was no real gain and it looks like it will blow back on them bigly.

24 August: Who’s National’s dirty little leaker?

It is obvious that the leaker is connected to a caucus member. It is also obvious that people know who the dirty little leaker is.

Simon Bridges must act strongly on this, both the leaker and the caucus member who provided the details need to be rinsed very hard and very publicly otherwise he will appear weak. If Bridges fails to act strongly it is only a matter of time before he is stabbed and at a time that would be inopportune for him.

I still suspect the caucus member concerned is a member of “The Puddle”. I guess we will find out soon enough though because my caucus sources say that it is almost certain that the culprit/s will be found.

Here Slater suggests that the caucus member responsible may have used someone to do the actual leak.

And note he says that “the caucus member who provided the details need to be rinsed very hard and very publicly otherwise he will appear weak” – now Slater is blaming Bridges for pressuring Jami-Lee Ross.

24 August: Let’s play connect the dots to help find National’s dirty little leaker

I happen to have Mallard’s mobile number, and Bridges. However, I categorically deny that I have active mental health issues and further deny, since people are speculating, that it was me who leaked. I certainly would never leak to Radio New Zealand or to Newshub, especially to Tova O’Brien.

It is widely suspected that Slater leaked communications from Ross , claimed to be with Ross’ permission, to Radio New Zealand two days ago.

This was a stupid leak, that has achieved nothing, as it was all going to be public anyway, and Simon Bridges was just doing his job, using resources allocated to him for that purpose.

Frankly, I believe the excuse of mental health issues is just a bit too convenient.

An interesting comment given what we know now.

At this stage it appears that Slater doesn’t know the identity of the leaker.

26 August: Herald editorial on National’s dirty little leaker

Simon Bridges should have just shrugged and said that leaks happen, meh, and the information was going to be released in a few days anyway. He didn’t and so the mess he has is of his own making.

He still has a problem in that the leaker seems to have gotten away with it, and will now likely be emboldened to go again. It is also obvious that this was personal and political, an attempt to destabilise the leader. This hit failed, but ultimately it may well be the first of many cuts to come from National’s dirty little leaker. Bridges should give the task of outing the leaker to someone who can handle it. To do nothing will cement the impression that he is weak.

Here he appears to be trying to goad Bridges into doing more to out the leaker to avoid appearing weak. From this comment it sounds like Slater could know something about the campaign against Bridges.

27 August: When not if for Simon Bridges if he can’t find the leaker

Heather du Plessis-Allan thinks it is now just a matter of time for Simon Bridges’ leadership if he fails to find the leaker.

I still believe that this leak and the subsequent texts were from ‘The Puddle’ and people closely associated with them.

Either a diversion from Ross, or at this stage he doesn’t know who was responsible.

28 August: When not if for Simon Bridges if he can’t find the leaker

He said police told him they would ensure the person had all the wraparound support they needed.

Gay. He should be hunting down this person and cutting their throat.

He still gives no indication he knows who the leaker was, but proposes continuing the hunt and a ruthless response.

19 September (Newshub) – Winston Peters tells Parliament everyone there already knows who the leaker is, while looking at Jami-Lee Ross’ vacant seat.

“The New Zealand taxpayers paying for this absolutely mindless, hopeless inquiry, the end pathway and result of which we already know. So why don’t we just cut to the chase here? Pay the money over to us, and we’ll give you the answer. Ha, ha! It is phenomenal.”

22 September:  Winston to Bridges: “…reveal to the public who the leaker is, or I will”

Winston Peters says he knows who National’s dirty little leaker is, as do many, but he has upped the ante on this by saying that unless Simon Bridges names the leaker then he will.

I believe that Winston Peters does know who the leaker is. It is pretty much an open secret now among National people. I understand that the leaker has admitted as such to some Young Nationals in Auckland. I also know now who it is, and that is from many sources, all saying the same name. The clock is ticking.

So while Slater suddenly claims to know who the leaker is, after Peters indicated Ross in Parliament, he suddenly starts saying that the identity is widely known.

But in comments:

So Winston proves he has no compassion, doesn’t this person have mental issues. Imagine if they topped themselves, how would Winston feel then.

Slater: They do not have mental issues. That was a ruse to distract from the real leaker and to smear other National party MPs who do have issues.

1 October: A history lesson for National’s dirty little leaker

National has a leaker. This person, who three days before they were to be released anyway, leaked the travel expenses of leader Simon Bridges.

To what end no one knows as apart from a pathetic couple of text messages to the speaker and Bridges himself they have remained silent. The brave leaker used the cowards device, a burner phone, but reportedly was traced anyway by police.

Leakers usually leak for a number of reasons, mostly it is hurty feelings at their perception of being treated badly. Sometimes it is a higher ethical rational, but not often .

3 October: A history lesson for National’s dirty little leaker

Bridges and especially Paula Bennett are trying to spread rumours. It will backfire, and seems to have backfired.

6 October: Yes Tracy, I think he is a dead man walking

There is a lot of water to go under the bridge yet on the leak scandal. I don’t think that Bridges will survive that now.

7 October:  Why the media beat-up on Simon Bridges?

I will admit that Bridges did not handle either the issue of the leaked expenses or Jamie-Lee Ross’s departure on medical leave very well. He could have done better on both counts but that doesn’t make him a ‘dead man walking’.

He is quite inconsistent at this stage. he has said he knows who the leaker is but hasn’t named them.

15 October: War breaks out in National as Jami-lee Ross named as leaker

This afternoon Simon Bridges released the report into the leaker and named Jami-lee Ross as the leaker. This confirms what I have known for more than a month.

Peters pointed his finger at Ross just under a month earlier. Slater showed no sign of knowing who the leaker was before that.

He now accepts that Ross was the leaker.

Simon Bridges is as exposed as Jami-lee Ross is right now. He is exposed for his weakness as a leader, in not dumping Ross weeks ago and taking the soft option.

My position as regards to the leaker is the same as it has always been. Find them, rinse them, move on.

Another suggestion to ‘rinse’ the leaker.

Slater in comments:

You need to read more carefully. I’ve been saying for months it was a National MP.

That was a fairly easy guess to make.

16 October: Career over for Jami-lee Ross, probably for Simon Bridges too

Jami-Lee Ross has been named as National’s dirty little leaker, and even though he is a friend my position remains the same. He’s finished as a National MP. No caucus member will tolerate him and it is unlikely that he can tough this out.

The caucus will vote to rinse Jami-Lee because he is a sneaky weasel who caused their privacy to be invaded when he knew all along it was him. That’s the politics. He could have said when Bridges announced his inquiry that he was the leaker and then dropped the recordings he says he has.

If he does have those recordings now is the time to drop them. It will finish off Bridges if they say what Jami-Lee says they say. He may as well drop them because his political career is over, and he may as well take Bridges with him.

Once Ross was named as the probable leaker Slater seems to accept that this is true. He doesn’t argue against it.

There is no coup, but there is huge disappointment in Bridges and the way he has handled this. He’s known for months who the leaker was. If I knew then so did Bridges.

But there is no indication that Slater knew who it was ‘for months’. It is common for him to try to sound well informed and in the know, but he tends to embellish this.

But over the weekend Ross was committed into mental care and Slater became closely involved. And his claims changed. He bitterly blasted Bridges for putting Ross under pressure – and he started to claim that Ross wasn’t the leaker.

22 October: Whaleoil backchat (Comments):

So Slater now claims that Ross didn’t leak the expenses? He has previously bragged about knowing it was Ross ‘for months’.

He could be technically correct – in August he said “It is obvious that the leaker is connected to a caucus member. It is also obvious that people know who the dirty little leaker is.” So Ross could have used a third party to do the actual handing over of the information to O’Brien – but if he initiated it he is still a leaker.

24 October: Despicable text sent to Jami-Lee Ross by female MP

Isn’t it far simpler to believe that what Jami-Lee Ross said was correct…

Ross denies being the original leaker. Slater is now suggesting that he be believed? On everything?

In comments:

So a hatchet job, against all medical advice ,that nearly killed someone…is hot air? Good to know.

Earlier Slater had claimed “They do not have mental issues”, and “He should be hunting down this person and cutting their throat.”

The point is there was no wrong doing. JLR didn’t even leak the expenses. So why the hatchet job…and now the cover up.

He now claims that Ross didn’t leak the expenses. This is quite a reversal.

The hit job was designed to utterly destroy any sympathy for JLR, not that I ahve any for his actions. he needs to own those and I’ve said constantly that he must. But there are other people acting in this, against JLR and they need to explain their own actions too. What was presented by the National party and the complicit media was a shabby, stitched up hatchet job. That hatchet job was against all medical advice and Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett are lying about what they knew and when. The state that JLR got himself into on Saturday is as much their fault as it is his. I am not defending JLR but I am holding the leadership to account.

It seems clear that suddenly Slater is talking to Ross and believing what he says. Ross has proven as unreliable in what he says as Slater.

“The media needs to focus on holding people to account for their actions and their continued lies.”

“The more they lie the more they will need to be corrected for their lies.”

That’s what I’m doing here. But with Slater it can be difficult to separate bullshit, bluster and lies. in my experience people like him don’t seem to know when what they make up is incorrect or inaccurate.

 

 

Trump escalates ‘enemy of the people’ to ‘war’

Donald Trump’s ongoing attacks on media as ‘fake news’ and ‘enemy of the people’ has been widely criticised, for good reason. See Trump’s “enemy of the people’ attacks teetering on tyranny.

 

But as is typical of Trump when he is criticised, he has escalated his rhetoric.

So he emphases his tyrant talk of ‘enemy of the people’ and then ups the ante to ‘War’! One could question whether he is becoming unhinged under pressure – which is a dangerous thing for someone who can easily start wars.

Will Trump use a war to try to justify his claims, and then blame it on the media?

One thing that is apparent about Trump – he projects.

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings.

It Trump’s case it may not be unwanted feelings, it looks more like a propensity to blame others for one’s own problems or aims.

Purposely cause great division and distrust? That’s exactly what Trump is doing, more and more.

Can also cause war? That’s much more likely to be a president than a newspaper.

Very dangerous and sick? That could be a very worrying projection.

Trump frequently tells lies. Sometimes he may simply make things up to suit his line of attack, but he repeats many of his lies, suggesting in part at least it is a deliberate strategy.

He tries to sound truthful (and blame others for lying when they report and criticise him).

He is also known for his contradictions.

It wouldn’t seem out of character for him to start a war (like starting a war with the media or a trade war), and try to make murder respectable, and at the same time blame others.

The Trump attacks are not limited to crazy tweets. He seems to be increasing the number of campaign style meetings where he stirs up crowd emotions, promoting division with attacks on opponents, critics and the media with lies and manipulation – much like tyrants of the past have done.

For a long time the US has been able to avoid war on it’s own soil, but a Trump provoked or inspired civil war is effectively under way already. If that turns violent it could get very messy.

For how long will Trump be allowed to follow such a high risk path before someone steps in and tries to restore relative sanity?

Or will the Madness of King Trump be allowed to continue unabated? That looks like an increasingly risky option.

A very casual relationship with the truth

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Chris Cillizza: Donald Trump’s Friday morning proves the massive danger of sitting down with Robert Mueller

President Donald Trump has a very casual relationship with the truth. To him, facts are fungible. They are things to stretch, pull and sometimes break — all in service of the story that he tells himself about his life.

In his first 466 days in office, Trump said more than 3,000 things that were either partially or entirely untrue, according to a count kept by the amazing Fact Checker blog at The Washington Post.

Trump’s penchant for prevarication is, at some level, an accepted piece of his presidency at this point. It’s a feature, not a glitch. For most people — both those who support Trump and who vehemently oppose him — his exaggerations, mistruths and, in many cases, outright lies are baked in.

If you like him, you don’t really care — seeing it as Trump being Trump, with little practical effect on your life or his presidency.

But there’s one place where Trump’s lack of candor and honesty is a major liability: in a legal deposition where lying carries criminal penalties.Which brings me to Friday morning — and Trump’s interview with Fox News’ Steve Doocy and subsequent 30-minute scrum with other reporters gathered on the North Lawn of the White House. And the ongoing debate over whether Trump will sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller to answer questions about the 2016 election, his firing of FBI Director James Comey and a bunch of other things.

Here’s the thing: If Friday is any indication of how Trump would speak in a deposition with Mueller, it would be hugely problematic for him, legally speaking.

MSNBC’s Katy Tur counted 19 lies or mistruths from Trump just on Friday morning.
In the words of Radiohead, the distortions, half-truths and flat-out lies were everywhere all of the time.
Here’s a sampler platter:

  • The Justice Department inspector general’s report on the 2016 election “totally exonerates” Trump in the Mueller investigation
  • The reason children are being separated from their parents at the southern border is because of a Democratic law
  • Former President Barack Obama “lost” Crimea
  • The nuclear threat from North Korea has ended

Those are some — but not all — of the biggies. There are more.

Any one of those statements would be very problematic if Trump tried to make them across the table from Mueller. And it’s worse than that for Trump: Remember that Mueller and his special counsel team have talked to dozens of people. All of whom have helped fill out a picture for the special counsel’s office. Which means Trump’s version of events, conversations and the like would be compared against all of the other versions Mueller has gathered.

There’s a big difference between preaching to the social media unquestioning faithful, and a high levela legal investigation.

Giuliani did not have “his facts straight”

In the ever changing story about the hush money payment to ‘Stormy Daniels’, one of Trump’s latest revolving door lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, appears to be in damage control after putting his foot in his mouth in an interview yesterday. He now claims he didn’t have his facts straight.

With issues involving Trump ‘facts’ seem to be fluid statements of convenience, but as they change it is difficult to differentiate mistakes and lies. A lawyer speaking on a serious legal matter involving the President should have his facts straight before going on public television.

Reuters: Trump lawyer Giuliani defends legality of porn star payment

Hours after President Donald Trump said his lawyer Rudy Giuliani did not have “his facts straight,” the former New York mayor issued a statement on Friday saying $130,000 in hush money paid to an adult-film star before the 2016 election was not an election law violation.

Giuliani late on Wednesday revealed that Trump had repaid Cohen for the $130,000 the lawyer had provided to Daniels. Trump previously had denied knowing about the payment.

The next morning, Trump said on Twitter that Cohen was paid back through a monthly retainer, not campaign funds, to stop Daniels’ “false and extortionist accusations.”

Giuliani on Thursday had connected the payment to Stormy Daniels by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter she said she had with Trump to the election, remarks that raised the possibility that the transaction violated federal election law.

“There is no campaign violation. The payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President’s family. It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not,” Giuliani said in a brief statement “intended to clarify the views I expressed over the past few days.”

Giuliani in a TV interview on Thursday wondered what would have happened if the Daniels’ claim of an affair had come up in a debate between Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, adding, “Cohen made it go away. He did his job.”

“Rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago. But he really has his heart into it. He’s working hard. He’s learning the subject matter,” Trump said.

“He’ll get his facts straight,” Trump added, though he did not specify the statements by Giuliani to which he was referring.

If Giuliani did not have ‘his facts straight’ that is appalling incompetence for a lawyer dealing with something like this.

Even Fox News raises questions in Giuliani clarifies statements on Stormy payment

Rudy Giuliani put out a three-point clarification Friday regarding comments he made in bombshell interviews this week about the hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and more, just hours after President Trump said the latest addition to his legal team would “get his facts straight.”

Notably, Giuliani did not walk back the statement that Trump reimbursed Cohen, in his clarification on Friday. But he tried to clear the air on several other potentially problematic statements.

Earlier Friday, Trump defended Giuliani as a “great guy” who “just started days ago” and said “he’ll get his facts straight.”

“When Rudy made the statements—Rudy is great, but Rudy has just started and he wasn’t familiar with everything,” Trump said Friday in a press gaggle at Joint Base Andrews. “He’s a special guy and he understands that this is a witch hunt.”

Also from Fox – Judge Nap: Giuliani’s Claim That Trump Didn’t Know About Stormy Daniels Payment Is ‘Unworthy of Belief’

On “Fox & Friends,” Napolitano said that Giuliani’s claim that Trump gave Cohen $130,000 and didn’t know where it was going is “unworthy of belief.”

He said it’s up to the American public to decide if they believe Trump is the kind of person who would “pour money down a hole” without asking to whom the money was going and for what purpose.

“How would Michael Cohen know that Stormy Daniels needed to be silenced?” he added.

Napolitano said the good news is that if the money came from Trump’s personal funds, then Giuliani is correct that there was no campaign finance violation.

“But it does create a problem because the president has said that he knows nothing about this. This is a problem between the president, his personal morality, his wife and his base on one side, and the president and the law on the other side,” Napolitano explained.

Whatever the facts, and Trump is known to often not care about facts and to bareface lie, this just makes aspects of his presidency more of a farce – a dangerous farce given what can be at stake.

 

The irresponsibility of Gower and NZ First sources

My last post was on The responsibility of forming Government and shows that Winston Peters appears to be taking his responsibilities in playing a part in forming the next Government seriously, as he should do. The country depends on it, as does Peters’ reputation and legacy.

But sensationalist opinion writer Patrick Gower (and whoever in Newshub allow him top the 6 pm news billing) has chosen to promote his unsubstantiated assertions. He claims to have senior  sources in NZ First – also acting irresponsibility if Gower is not just making things up as Winston has claimed.

On election night peters warned his party – from Newsroom Winston Peters plots a path as kingmaker:

Perhaps with former colleague Richard Prosser’s recent outbursts on his mind, Peter also sent a stern warning to members of the party to stay in line during what could be sensitive negotiations.

“To all my colleagues out there watching tonight, please don’t circumvent or foreclose on the right of your party and your colleagues to collectively decide what we must do in the future.

“Don’t make comments that will embarrass the party, don’t make comments that mean the party’s democratic processes aren’t followed.”

Prosser was dumped down the NZ First list and missed the cut so is now an ex-MP, and has already been expressing some of his opinion to media openly.

Gower has led the Newshub 6 pm news for the last two nights citing senior NZ first sources but making a number of unsubstantiated claims. Notably the online Newshub items are labelled as ‘Opinion’.

And Winston is not happy, claiming they are lies.

First on Monday night: Patrick Gower: Meet the backroom operators wooing Winston Peters:

I’ve been talking to multiple and senior sources inside all the camps and have the lowdown.

Gower makes a number of claims including:

You might assume Steven Joyce would be there but you’d be wrong… Peters hates him – and Joyce knows it, so he has already stood aside.

Also on Monday in Patrick Gower: Revealed – Winston Peters claims first scalp from National

Winston Peters has claimed his first victim should he go into Government with National – Speaker of the House David Carter.

Peters despises Carter and it will be an unwritten or unspoken demand that he will have to leave the job should New Zealand First go with National.

That sounds like nonsense.

I don’t know whether Peters despises Carter or not, they certainly clashed in parliament frequently but that may be game playing or personal.

But claiming “Peters has claimed his first victim” is a ridiculous claim when followed by “it will be an unwritten or unspoken demand”.

Gower has asserted as a fact something he just assumes. He admits he has no evidence.

Then on Tuesday Patrick Gower: Winston Peters wants utu from Steven Joyce

As becomes clear, Gower hasn’t been told anything by Peters about what he wants. And Peters has accused Gower of lying and making things up.

OPINION: Winston Peters could be out for revenge against National over their attempts to take him down during the campaign.

Gower begins with “could be” – so he is assuming or guessing. It is his opinion.

A New Zealand First source has told Newshub Peters is particularly resentful towards Steven Joyce, whom he personally detests.

Peters believes Joyce orchestrated a four-pronged attack against him by National…

Gower has no direct evidence, he is quoting hearsay from someone he claims is from NZ First – someone with an apparent agenda.

Peters believes National dropped a scandal on him.

His pension over-payment was leaked to the media. It hit him hard but didn’t knock him down.

Now he wants utu – revenge.

Again this is hearsay and conjecture stated as fact. This is very poor from Newshub’s senior political reporter.

The Newshub tip-off

The tip was given to Newshub on the Friday six weeks out from the election just as National was undertaking its co-ordinated attack on Winston Peters.

It was an anonymous phone call, from a blocked number, from a man who knew lots of details.

It could have been a public servant.

But investigations by the Ministry of Social Development, Inland Revenue and Ministerial Services, which manages staff in the Beehive, have all failed to find the leaker.

That leaves a senior crew as suspects – two ministers, Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett, as well as the Prime Minister’s chief-of-staff Wayne Eagleson.

No it doesn’t just leave those three people. No one has been found and everyone has denied responsibility.

Failing to find leakers from MSD, IRD and Ministerial Services does not rule out everyone from those departments, it just means no one was identified as a leaker. A good leaker would know how to not leave any trace.

There is likely to be others associated with Tolley, Bennett and Eagleson who are possible leakers.

And while I think it’s unlikely the leak came from Peters or someone associated with him that can’t be ruled out.

There is talk that Winston Peters wants another scalp if he is to do business with National.

“There is talk” could be anyone guessing, as many are.

Paula Bennett has been upfront about the fact she won’t be Deputy Prime Minister any more.

Stated as ‘fact’ but evidence suggests differently.

MSN: Bennett, Davis would give up deputy roles

Current Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett revealed on Tuesday she’s “not too bothered” by the chance she might lose the job as part of the negotiations.

“I love what I do, I’d still be deputy leader of the party, that’s the main thing really so we’ll just sort of make our way through it,” she said.

It’s an obvious possibility but no more than that. Deals haven’t been discussed let alone decided. The same applies to Labour’s deputy:

Kelvin Davis, currently Labour leader Jacinda Ardern’s deputy, would become deputy prime minister in a Labour-led government – unless Mr Peters wanted it.

“If it has to be, it has to be,” he said.

Again only an obvious possibility.

Back to Gower:

The sources inside NZ First have directed me today to a number of speeches Winston made recently…

It looks like Gower is being played by someone and he is willingly playing along.

This is all a clear play by NZ First to get the message out there that it’s not a done deal with National, and they’re deliberately getting the message out to raise the stakes in the negotiations.

Not clear, and not clearly by ‘NZ First’. By an unnamed source or sources with unknown party associations, with Gower’s embellishments and opinion piled on top.

Tomorrow, we see the man himself. Winston Peters is set to front up at Parliament and all the political positioning will simply go next level.

An admission Gower has not even sought any comment from Peters, he is going completely by uncorroborated secret assertions.

And Peters has responded scathingly of Gower and Newshub. On Facebook last night:

Whatever Patrick Gower and the Newshub producers are on, they should get off it.

Their TV news broadcasts about New Zealand First the last two nights have been fiction, and grossly misleading. I will not be explaining what parts are fictional. Some of it is barefaced lies.

Newshub is claiming sources that don’t exist, and is merely toying with viewers and presenting make believe instead of facts. It’s the very worst form of journalism and Newshub is not the only one doing it – sad to say.

None of it will have any bearing on New Zealand First in the coming talks around the establishment of the next government.

“The very worst form of journalism” – Newshub, Gower, fed by someone with an agenda associated with NZ First.

Gower is on Newshub now. he says that Peters wants to be seen as inscrutable. He also says that Peters is in a terrible position, quite different to his news reports.

Gower is asked about his claims and he just talks vaguely about general things, no specifics, and just laughs off Winston’s indignation and claim of lies.

The media has a responsibility to hold politicians and parties to account.

They also have a responsibility to do this fairly and honestly, and to not act as the pawns of people with agendas.

So far Peters appears to have met his responsibilities. Not so apparently someone associated with NZ First.

This is poor and irresponsible of Gower and Newshub. Forming a Government is very important and a serious process, and deserves far better from media.

Fake president doesn’t think he’s lying

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, has said that Trump doesn’t think he’s lying. This may well be correct, Trump may believe everything he says – but it doesn’t make his  repeated claims true.

ConwayStelton.jpg

CNN: Kellyanne Conway offers alternative fact to explain why Trump isn’t lying

Here’s an exchange on Sunday between CNN “Reliable Sources” anchor Brian Stelterand counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway:

STELTER: “The scandals are about the President’s lies. About voter fraud, about wiretapping, his repeated lies about those issues. That’s the scandal.”

CONWAY: “[Donald Trump] doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues, and you know it.”

On voter fraud…

… Trump has repeatedly insisted that widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election led to 3 to 5 million illegal votes being cast. Those votes for Hillary Clinton are the sole reason she won the popular vote, he argues.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted on November 27, 2016 — 19 days after he won the presidency.

 

According to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, there were only four verified incidents of voter fraud in the 2016 election as of December. That accounts for 0.000002% of all ballots cast in the race.

Beyond just the 2016 election, there has never been a serious study of elections that suggests any widespread voter fraud. Not one. Let’s repeat that: There has never been a serious study of elections that suggests any widespread voter fraud.

Trump’s allegation that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during the presidential campaign:

That comes from this tweet sent at 6:35 a.m. ET on March 4: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

Trump — and his administration — offered zero proof for this claim. James Clapper, who was Director of National Intelligence during the 2016 election, said, unequivocally, that it did not happen. “I have no information that supports those tweets,” former FBI Director James Comey told a congressional committee under oath in May.

Trump has no revised or reversed claims when it has been shown that they are untrue.

What Trump is doing is lying. He may believe it. But that doesn’t matter at all.

Kellyanne Conway knows that. Which makes her attempt to explain away lies the President keeps repeating all the more ridiculous.

It is ridiculous, but this sort of thing from Trump and is acolytes has seriously impact on Trump and White House credibility.

And that is contributing to a lack of progress.

Politico:  GOP despairs at inability to deliver

The Republican Party is more powerful than it’s been in more than a decade — and yet it has never seemed so weak.

Continuing chaos in the White House has been punctuated by the failure to deliver on the GOP’s seven-year pledge to overhaul Obamacare, and has many asking whether the party can capitalize on the sweeping victories it has achieved at the federal, state, and local levels.

Ahead of this week’s crucial Senate vote on health care, White House aides are already considering how to distance President Donald Trump from Congress and how to go after the Republicans who vote no — an idea the president seems fond of, according to people who have spoken to him. Several people said he plans to keep up the fight, no matter how this week’s vote goes.

He threatened Republicans on Twitter Sunday, saying they would face electoral consequences, and complained about his party not defending him — even though congressional Republicans are tired of defending him all the time.

“It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, those close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say they are frustrated that the president has shown little focus on his political agenda, particularly health care. Trump’s interview with the New York Times this week, for example, where he raged about Attorney General Jeff Sessions instead of promoting health care, was “political malpractice,” one senior GOP aide said.

With control of both Congress and the White House — and yet no major legislative successes to point to — the Republican Party is finding itself stuck. A GOP Congress is frustrated with the president, and is unsure what will happen next in his daily West Wing drama.

The president expanded the power of the political neophytes in his administration, elevating the Manhattan hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci to White House communications director, at the cost of an operative – press secretary Sean Spicer, who announced his resignation on Friday — with years of Washington experience.

Spicer was not the only establishment casualty. Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff who, at least in title holds one of the most powerful jobs in Washington, has been largely sidelined.

The hire of Scaramucci as communications director was the biggest shot yet at Priebus, White House officials say, because he was opposed by Priebus, will report directly to Trump, and will be far more powerful than a normal communications director.

Let “the president be the president” is how Scaramucci described his new job in a Fox News interview on Sunday.

Even Trump supporters are beginning to express frustration with the constant chaos in the West Wing. “There are a lot of missed opportunities,” said Julius Krein, who founded the pro-Trump journal American Affairs in February in an effort to give the Trump movement some intellectual heft. “It has all degenerated into D.C. tempests and teapots,” Krein said, characterizing policies championed by the administration in the first six months as “mediocre conventional Republicanism with a lot more noise.”

While Trump has specialized in delivering self-inflicted blows, the Senate Republican conference is demonstrating that it, too, is capable of administering them.

With the Republicans in the strongest political position they have been in for some time, and the Democrats in disarray,  the opportunity was there for the incoming president to make bold changes.

But Trump won and took over with a lot of Republican politicians less than enthralled. He seems to have failed to get them on his side.

Trump seems to be continually distracted with petty point scoring and fighting personal grudges and battling the ‘fake news’ with a fair amount of fakery of his own.

Believing his own bullshit doesn’t make him credible, nor powerful.

If this continues ‘fake president’ may stick.

 

Post-truth and posting lies

‘Post-truth’ is contradicted on blogs which which often seem to post distortions and lies.

This is sometimes as the agents of political parties, or as volunteer lie posters who think they are helping a cause.

This can  be through deliberate attempts to mislead, but sometimes may be through ignorance, and some could be through an inability to interpret without prejudice.

Post-truth politics has been mentioned recently in the UK with the Brexit campaign and also in the current US presidential campaign where blatant lying has reached new lows.

lies

RNZ Toby

Wikipedia:

Post-truth politics (also called post-factual politics) is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of “secondary” importance.

It has also come up in in a New Zealand context over the last few months.

  • Andrea Vance at 1 News: Opinion: A post-truth era in politics
    The campaigns of Donald Trump and the Brexiteers have been a triumph of emotional populism over cold, hard facts. In this distorted reality there are imaginary MSD squads flying in to help the homeless, and new emergency beds that already existed.
  • RNZ: Is a ‘post-truth’ era upon us?
    The government has shrugged off events and evidence contradicting claims made by ministers recently, frustrating many journalists. Are we really in a “post-truth” period where the facts don’t matter any more? If so, do the media share the blame?
  • RNZ: Toby & Toby on… post-truth politics
    The condition has also been observed in lands as distant as the Pacific paradise of Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Stuff: Are NZ politicians joining the international tide of post-truth politics?
    But are we any different down here on the edge of the world? Is the New Zealand body politic keeping itself trim on a stern diet of facts and evidence, or are we, too, choosing the sugar-rush of anecdata, the greasy mouthfeel of a racist porky, the finger-licking goodness of unsupported rumour?

Is it getting worse in New Zealand? Politicians have probably lied since politicians. The Stuff article looks back:

As long as there’s been politics there have been lies. In Ancient Greece the Athenians talked about “demagogues” – rabble-rousers who appealed to emotion and prejudice rather than fact and reason.

In his deranged autobiography Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler spoke of the propaganda value of the “big lie”: saying blatantly untrue things so loudly and often that the populace can’t believe you’d have dared make it up.

In the past decade though commentators have been picking a new trend – not so much that lies are being told, but that the old counterbalances, research, empirical evidence – were losing their corrective power.

The immediacy of Internet reporting plus it’s reach and lack of checks and balances and commenting has contributed to lie spreading.

Jonathan Swift (1710): “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect…”

Thomas Francklin (1787): “Falsehood will fly, as it were, on the wings of the wind, and carry its tales to every corner of the earth; whilst truth lags behind; her steps, though sure, are slow and solemn, and she has neither vigour nor activity enough to pursue and overtake her enemy…”

‘A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on’ and variants were used through the 1800s, and since.

Lying in New Zealand politics is more than suspected, with Winston Peters’ ‘NO’ sign from 2008 still being mocked. Surprisingly this isn’t mentioned on his Wikipedia page but the Parliamentary censure is: The Privileges Committee returned a report on 22 September recommending that Peters be censured for “knowingly providing false or misleading information on a return of pecuniary interests.

Posting lies on political blogs is a common accusation. A high profile case between Colin Craig and Cameron Slater is due in court next year to test claims of lies.

Whale Oil is well known for making claims that will never be substantiated, like:

And so it begins…

By Cameron Slater

Make no mistake, this is a deliberate undermining of Andrew Little by Twyford.

Post-truth in relation to blogging came to mind over the last few days with a string of questionable posts at The Standard.

Racist Nats Attack Chinese Grannies Shock!

Written By:

National have slammed the door shut on the parents of already settled migrants who wish to move to NZ to complete the family unit. Minister Michael Woodhouse accuses elderly Asians of bludging off the NZ taxpayer. You won’t believe the howls of outrage from the right!

The crime spike

Written By:

Who would have thought that a surge in homelessness would result in a spike in crime, and that a dramatic increase in the number of people with no or compromised housing situations would cause an increase in burglaries, robberies and assaults.

I see a poverty of ideas and a poverty of Government responsibility

Written By:

Judith Collins yesterday said that child poverty is the fault of parents and not the fault of her Government.

Housing Corp is running out of money

WrittenBy:

It seems that the strip mining of Housing Corporation so that the Government could declare a surplus is reaching its logical conclusion.  Treasury is forecasting Housing Corp to be out of money by next February.

There is no surplus

Written By:

In Year Eight of this National government, the idea of a budget surplus is a joke. They’ve promised it for nearly a decade. They’ve fiddled the books. The truth is, there is no surplus.

The truth is that Rodgers is is wrong, either deliberately or out of ignorance. And most of the comments on her post continue the misconceptions and misinformation.

It’s difficult to know when the lies are deliberate, and when they are repeated so often amongst their political peers they come to believe they are true.

Regardless, there may never have been an era of truth in politics but in the Internet age the perpetuation of lies has become far more obvious.

New Zealand surely can’t slide to the lying lows of the US presidential campaign but the signs of untruthfulness look ominous for the political future.

Is there any chance that democracy can avoid self destruction?

Trumped by his own lies?

Will Donald Trump end up being trumped by his own lies? There’s plenty of scope for it if voters thinks honesty matters.

Paul Krugman at New York Times: A Lie Too Far?

I suspect Donald Trump is feeling a bit sandbagged right now, or will be when he wakes up. All along he has treated the news media with contempt, and been rewarded with obsequious deference — his lies sugar-coated, described as “disputed” or “stretching the truth,” while every aspect of his opponent’s life is described as “raising questions” and “casting shadows”, despite lack of evidence that she did anything wrong.

A large irony is that some people bought that line that Trump tells the unvarnished truth, whereas he has frequently blatantly lied.

But the print media appear to have finally found their voice . The Times and the AP, in particular, have put out hard-hitting stories that present the essence in the lede, not in paragraph 25.

What’s so good about these stories? The fact that they are simple straightforward reporting.

First, confronted with obvious lies, they don’t pretend that the candidate said something less blatant, or do views differ on shape of planet — they simply say that what Trump said is untrue, and that his repetition of these falsehoods makes it clear that he was deliberately lying.

Second, the stories for today’s paper are notable for the absence of what I call second-order political reporting: they’re about what Trump said and did, not speculations about how it will play with voters.

You could say that the lies were so blatant that doing the right thing became unavoidable. But there were plenty of earlier lies — Trump lying about his opposition to the Iraq War, about his donations to charity, and much more. There was already the unprecedented contempt for the press he showed by refusing to release his tax returns.

The Matt Lauer debacle may have helped bring things into focus.

There are now two questions: will this last, and if it does, has the turn come soon enough? In both cases, nobody knows. But just imagine how different this election would look if we’d had this kind of simple, factual, truly balanced (as opposed to both-sides-do-it) reporting all along.

The Times’ editorial Donald Trump’s Latest Birther Lie addresses Trump’s deliberate dishonesty, saying that he has even lied when admitting he had been lying about where Obama was born.

The midday bulletin arrived as another bizarre moment in the absurdist presidential campaign of Donald Trump: News Alert: Trump admits Obama was born in the United States.

What? It read like some variation on “Trump Finds the Earth No Longer Flat.” But no, Mr. Trump, the ultimate mountebank, was at it again, altering but not abandoning the Big Lie campaign that first made him the darling of wing nuts and racists five years ago: his vicious insistence that President Obama was not born a legitimate American citizen.

Did he apologize to Mr. Obama and the American people for the political poison he spread for so long? Of course not. Being Mr. Trump, he instead substituted a lie for a lie. He falsely accused Hillary Clinton of starting the birther myth, then further claimed he had nobly “finished” it off by badgering the White House for proof that Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii, not Africa.

The facts — because facts still matter — are that Mr. Trump continued toheap doubt on President Obama’s birth certificate even after it was released, slyly retweeting others’ contentions that it was a fake and a “computer generated forgery.”

After he tried to pin the birther smear on her, Mrs. Clinton called it what it is: an “outrageous lie” intended to “delegitimize our first black president.” Mr. Trump delegitimized his own candidacy instead.

Also at New York Times:

Fox News: Trump plays the press… again

That sound you hear are thousands of plaintive sighs from thousands of political reporters around the country as they realize they have yet again been snookered by Donald Trump.

After building anticipation for a day over a big revelation to be made about Trump’s former efforts to prove that President Obama was actually born in Kenya, the Republican nominee managed to not only get wall-to-wall coverage of an otherwise unremarkable endorsement from retired military leaders, but also even a lavish plug for his new hotel in Washington.

As Trump did with generating wild speculation about whether he would endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan, or whether he would back down on his call for mass deportations of illegal immigrants, Trump did the conventional thing, but used his reputation for unconventionality to blow up press coverage and dominate the news cycle.

And like he did in the times before, Trump eventually came out with the conventional position – in this case that the president was born where he said he was born – but did it in such a way to distract from his shift.  

The tricky part about this dismount was that Trump probably wouldn’t be the Republican nominee if it wasn’t for his birtherism, but birtherism continued to weigh down his White House ambitions.

He couldn’t very well take on the subject of his quest to prove Obama an African in America rather than an African American during the first debate 10 days from now. The birther business needed to be offloaded pronto.

Except this time the offloading doesn’t seem to have happened pronto. Media have decided to hold him to account for his trademark lie, and his follow up lies.

Also from Fox: Clinton campaign, Blumenthal fight back against accusations of spreading ‘birth rumor’

Trump, a leader in the call for Obama to finally make public a copy of his Hawaii birth certificate, said on Friday the issue is over and called for the campaigns to move on with substantive issues.

Still, he blamed Clinton for starting the controversy.

But:

On Saturday, 2016 Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told Fox News: “As multiple, independent fact checkers have affirmed in the years since, neither the 2008 campaign nor the candidate ever questioned the president’s citizenship or birth certificate.”

“This is false. Never happened,” he said. “Period. Donald Trump cannot distract from the inescapable fact that he is the one who embraced and promoted the racist birther lie and bears the responsibility for it.”

Time will tell whether this exposure of lies laid upon lies will have any effect on trump’s campaign and on his electability.

Bur serious questions have been raised – again – about Trump’s lack of honesty and his deliberate use of lies throughout his campaign.

There’s areas of concern around Hillary Clinton, but Trump’s level of lying must be of concern, given the position of responsibility and power he is seeking.

The US needs to be able to trust what their president says, the world needs to trust what the US president says.

Surely?

Trumps speech and more lies

I think everyone knows that Donald Trump blatantly lies.  Some people don’t care and want him anyway, others care a lot and do want him anywhere near the White House.

I’ve mostly avoided his convention acceptance speech, it’s a highly orchestrated even and should be a carefully written teleprompted speech.

The Herald has Donald Trump’s full speech to the GOP convention (video)

Politico has the pre-leaked script: Full text: Donald Trump 2016 RNC draft speech transcript
(I have no idea whether the leak was ineptness or more orchestration).

And fact checkers have been quick off the mark: Eleven lies Donald Trump told in his Republican National Convention speech (only eleven?)

Despite promising “the truth, and nothing else” in his convention speech, Donald Trump presented the nation with a series of previously debunked claims – and some new ones – today.

He even brazenly lies about telling the truth. Unless he actually believes his own bullshit.

1. TRUMP: “Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17 per cent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years.”

THE FACTS: A rollback? President Barack Obama has actually achieved some big increases in spending for state and local law enforcement, including billions in grants provided through the 2009 stimulus.

2. TRUMP: “The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.”

THE FACTS: The pace of releasing immigrants is driven not by the Obama administration, but by a court ruling. A federal judge ruled last year that the government couldn’t hold parents and children in jail for more than 20 days. Trump is right that the number in this budget year has already exceeded last year’s total. But it’s down from 2014.

3. TRUMP: “When a secretary of state illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence – I know that corruption has reached a level like never before.”

THE FACTS: Clinton’s use of a private server to store her emails was not illegal under federal law. Her actions were not established as a crime. FBI Director James Comey declined to refer the case for criminal prosecution to the Justice Department, instead accusing Clinton of extreme carelessness. As for Trump’s claim that Clinton faces no consequence, that may be true in a legal sense. But the matter has been a distraction to her campaign and fed into public perceptions that she can’t be trusted.

4. TRUMP: “The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 per cent compared to this point last year.”

THE FACTS: Not according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks police fatalities daily. The group found that the number of police officers who died as of July 20 is up just slightly this year, at 67, compared with 62 through the same period last year. And overall, police are statistically safer on America’s streets now than at any time in recent decades.

5. TRUMP: “My opponent has called for a radical 550 per cent increase in Syrian (refugees). … She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people.”

THE FACTS: Trump persists in making the bogus claim that the US doesn’t screen refugees. The administration both screens them and knows where they are from. The Department of Homeland Security leads the process, which involves rigorous background checks. Processing of a refugee can take 18 months to two years, and usually longer for those coming from Syria. Refugees are also subject to in-person interviews and fingerprint and other biometric screening.

6. TRUMP: “Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when President Obama took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely. … President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing.”

THE FACTS: Trump is playing with numbers to make the economy look worse than it actually is. The sluggish recovery over the past seven years has been frustrating. But with unemployment at 4.9 per cent, the situation isn’t as bleak as he suggests.

Trump’s figure of 14 million who’ve stopped working since Obama took office comes from the Labor Department’s measure of people not in the workforce. It’s misleading for three reasons: The US population has increased in that time; the country has aged and people have retired; and younger people are staying in school longer for college and advanced degrees, so they’re not in the labor force, either.

On national debt, economists say a more meaningful measure than dollars is the share of the overall economy taken up by the debt. By that measure, the debt rose 36 per cent under Obama (rather than doubling). That’s roughly the same as what occurred under Republican President George W. Bush.

The Hispanic population has risen since Obama while the poverty rate has fallen.

7. TRUMP: “After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis now threatens the West. … This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

THE FACTS: It’s an exaggeration to suggest Clinton, or any secretary of state, is to blame for the widespread instability and violence across the Middle East.

Clinton worked to impose sanctions that helped coax Tehran to a nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers last year, a deal in which Iran rolled back its nuclear program to get relief from sanctions that were choking its economy.

She did not start the war in Libya.

Clinton had no role in military decisions made during the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

On Iraq, Clinton as a senator voted in 2002 to grant President George W. Bush authority to invade Iraq, but has since said it was a “mistake”.

8. TRUMP: “America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.”

THE FACTS: Trump continues to repeat this inaccuracy. The US tax burden is actually the fourth lowest among the 34 developed and large emerging-market economies that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Taxes made up 26 per cent of the total U.S. economy in 2014, according to the OECD. That’s far below Sweden’s tax burden of 42.7 per cent, Britain’s 32.6 per cent or Germany’s 36.1 per cent. Only three OECD members had a lower figure than the US: Chile, South Korea and Mexico.

9. TRUMP: “My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”

THE FACTS: Hillary Clinton has not proposed any revocation of the constitutionally protected right to bear arms. She does support a ban on certain military-style weapons, similar to the law President Bill Clinton signed in the 1990s. That ban expired after 10 years and was not renewed. Clinton also backs an expansion of existing criminal background checks to apply to weapons sales at gun shows. The checks now apply mainly to sales by federally licensed gun dealers.

But when one of the most powerful jobs in the world is at stake why worry about telling the truth?