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Friday, July 22, 2016


Well, that was bracing, wasn't it?

by Tom Sullivan

Nothing like nearly 90 minutes of red-faced anger to build confidence in a confidence man who has no idea what he's doing and no experience doing it. But like the American tourist who acts as though some foreigner will understand English if he simply raises his voice, Donald Trump is at least loud. Give him that.

Trump's acceptance of the Republican nomination for president last night in Cleveland ran long, as Trump speeches tend to. It was an unsettling speech by an unsettled man. Apocalyptic, really. Pro tip: When telling a Republican audience how much the country you love sucks, make sure to tell them how exceptionally it sucks. Trump did. He said, "This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness." Yes, weakness, because flaccid, limp, and spent are a little too blunt even for Trump.

Watching felt like being inside a familiar movie:

Tonight, I give you my most solemn vow: that justice will be swift, it will be righteous, and it will be without mercy. — Chancellor Adam Sutler from V for Vendetta
The Washington Post dubbed the speech "Donald Trump’s vision of doom and despair in America." The Chicago Tribune described it as "A dark vision based on specious stats." Not that the truth matters to Trump's followers.

Stephen Colbert's blustery alter ego observed recently, "Truthiness has to feel true, but Trumpiness doesn't even have to do that ... Truthiness was from the gut. Trumpiness clearly comes from much further down the gastgrointestinal tract." As late as Donald Trump spoke last night (EDT), there isn't time before going to work designing factories where Americans get jobs making stuff to get that far down into Trump's bowels of darkness. Thankfully, the Trumpiness checkers are all over that like, well, you know.

Here is a sampling:

Washington Post:
“The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year.”
This is wrong.

The number of law enforcement officers killed on the job has increased 8 percent compared to this point in 2015. He may be referring to the total number of officers killed in shootings, which has increased 78 percent. This includes the recent shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

The overall number of police deaths has decreased in the past two decades. For the past 10 to 15 years, traffic-related incidents (including criminal pursuit and instances where officers are intentionally struck by offenders) have been the leading cause of death among police officers.
NBC News:
CLAIM: Hillary Clinton "is a world class liar"

The facts: According to PolitiFact, 59% of Trump's checked claims have been deemed false or "Pants on Fire" false, versus 12% for Clinton.
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, but supported a NATO intervention well after violence broke out between rebels and the forces of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country slid into chaos after Gadhafi was ousted and killed in 2011, leaving it split between competing governments.

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. Republicans' claim that high-level officials in Washington issued a "stand-down" order delaying a military rescue in Benghazi has been widely debunked.
Trump says: "58 percent of African-American youth are not employed."

In fact: CNN's Tami Luhby looked into this claim and found that the 58 percent figure was extrapolated from the fact that roughly 42 percent of black Americans ages 16 to 24 were employed as of earlier this year. That's an erroneous way to calculate; many of those people aren't unemployed but are simply in school or otherwise not looking for work. It’s technically true to say they’re "not employed," but that gives a misleading impression that they’re out of work and struggling. —Dylan Matthews

Ruling: Misleading
Chicago Tribune:
"Forty-three million Americans are on food stamps."

Trump's point is that America's economy has suffered under the Obama administration. But he fails to mention that this is the lowest number of people receiving food stamps since the program reached its peak in 2013, a sign that the economy is finally improving enough to help the desperately poor families who depend on it.
New York Times:
• “The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015.” Fact Check: This is true, according to reports from the Border Patrol, which said that more than 51,000 families have been apprehended on the border in the first nine months of the fiscal year, compared to about 40,000 last fiscal year. But that is still less than 2014, when a surge of families across the border caused a political stir.
There is much more. But if you need a palate cleanser after last night, here's Stephen Colbert reprising his famous blowhard character. Trump outdoes him, but then Trump isn't playing at being a demagogue. Trump is the real deal: