Trump’s Malarkey Machine

Years ago comedian Bill Maher still offered the best description of Donald Trump to date when Maher said, “He’s a bullshit artist.” On the level Trump is now playing you can’t do it all by yourself. You need enablers and reinforcements if you want to be a world class liar. He has Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders on his payroll. Who can forget the soon to depart (and already removed from visibility) Sean Spicer. To top them all there was the cameo but memorable appearance by Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci. Outside the White House there is the entire right wing mythology machine including the king of them all Fox News. Let’s explore.

Yesterday I was scanning headlines when one from Fox News caught my eye. It boasted of Trump’s creation of 1.29 million jobs since taking office. Let’s analysis that figure. Even after going to Fox’s article it is difficult to see exactly where they came up with that number but if you use their approach it is somewhat accurate. Since they appear to be giving Trump credit for January job growth numbers I decided to divide the 1.29 million by seven months. That number is 184 million. That is respectable job growth. I don’t like to give a new administration credit or blame for their first three months because it takes some time to enact policies and for them to have an effect on the numbers. Trump likes to talk of the “Trump effect” on the economy as if his very being were magic so I’ll give him everything from his inauguration at this point in the discussion.

Using the same methodology the economy created 11.25 million jobs during President Obama’s 48 months. That is 117,000 per month. That number includes charging Obama for his first three months in office when the economy was losing 750,000 jobs per month as it was at the end of the George W. Bush administration in a reaction to the Great Recession which was brought on largely due to Bush era deregulation policies. Trump claimed to have inherited a “Big mess”; Obama actually did.

Fox is giving Trump credit for the first three months of 2017 which I contend is more accurate to attribute to Obama. If you adjust for three month on either side you get job creation of about 14 million which gives you a monthly average of 145,000. Add to that the fact that many of the new jobs created under Trump were long in the planning and really would be more accurately attributed to Obama than Trump.

Another interesting point when evaluating Obama’s numbers is that on his watch government jobs decreased by 354,000. That is a fact and runs counter to right wing mythology. I don’t think you will discover that on Fox.

That is a lot of playing with numbers which even has me a bit confused. While presidents can set the tone it is foolish to attribute or blame the entire economy on them. While job growth under Trump has been good it is not a miracle – in fact it is more like an extension of the Obama era. If you want to give Trump credit it would be more accurate to credit him for not messing the economy up yet. Instead of presenting an intelligent analysis Fox decided to continue in its role as Trump’s most viewed cheerleader.

It appears that Team Trump (very much including and perhaps led by Fox News) is leading the preemptive attack on the validity of an indictment(s) that the administration feel may be forthcoming. If, as they claim, the administration did nothing wrong why are they anticipating indictments and why are they engaged in a cover-up?

It appears they have come to the realization that firing Robert Mueller would be politically disastrous. Their attempts to discredit him and his team have failed to resonate outside the core of their base. Now the strategy appears to be to preemptively discredit the “fruits of their labors”. Their loudest “megaphone” has been Fox News.

This week embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a desperate attempt to curry enough favor with Trump to hold on to his job a bit longer, announced that he was tripling the forces to crack down on White House and other government leakers. The press saw through the charade and labeled it what it really was: a warning being issued to reporters that the Justice Department would take legal action against them if they tried to protect the anonymity of their sources.

Sessions justified the future actions based on national security. I understand and agree with the need to protect military secrets and covert activities. Leaking proof that the President is an incompetent jerk on a phone call with a foreign head of state does not jeopardize national security. Neither does illustrating that the President is lying to the American people including his base. It not like say the Vice President or a senior member of his staff outing a CIA agent. Now that jeopardizes our national security.

You are going to continue to hear a lot of disinformation coming out of the White House and their surrogates like Fox News. The similarities between the Trump administration and the rise of fascism in the 1930’s in Europe are starling. Suppressing the free press and replacing it with a propaganda machine was textbook methodology for fascist dictators.

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