Why does it appear impossible to dispute obvious lies and falsehoods with simple and self-evident truths?
That’s the first line in a great new piece penned by the pseudonymous author behind Notes From Disgraceland.
“Lies and falsehoods are neither exonerated, nor are they getting flushed out”, he continued, before lamenting that untruths just “continue to pile up on top of existing ones with no drainage mechanism in place.”
If you haven’t read that linked post yet, you should. It contains a series of profound observations about capitalism with clear ramifications in the current political environment, characterized as it is by increasingly desperate efforts to demonize the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose penchant for speaking the unvarnished truth from a newfound position of power has folks like the Mercer Family Foundation running so scared, that they’re now funding billboards in Times Square (only to be hilariously lampooned on Twitter).
“Few things effectively communicate the power we’ve built in fighting dark money and anti-worker policies like billionaire-funded groups blowing tons of cash on wack billboards (this one is funded by the Mercers),” AOC wrote Thursday.
In any event, this week brought yet another example of lies and falsehoods being perpetuated with impunity by the President of the United States who, you’d like to think, would be one person the public can trust to only lie “when it becomes serious” (to quote Jean-Claude Juncker).
There is nothing at all “serious” about Trump’s border “emergency” (or “emergy” as he called it back in October). The myriad lawsuits Trump is already facing in the wake of his emergency declaration are all predicated at least in part on the notion that his “invasion” is completely contrived, a contention he inadvertently confirmed a week ago when he said, on national television, that he “didn’t need to do this”.
There is virtually no evidence that supports his emergency claim. Statistics from his own government refute his wild characterizations of the southern border as a lawless wasteland and when pressed in the Rose Garden to cite any credible statistics whatsoever in support of his claims, he told the inquisitive reporter to “sit down.”
It is astonishing that more of Trump’s supporters don’t recognize that kind of thing as a red flag. Even if you were brainwashed and thus wholly inclined to fall hook, line and sinker for the propaganda, it should alarm you that Trump cannot cite a single, solitary statistic to back up his claims. Remember, you can make statistics say almost anything you want – even statistics won’t lie for Trump!
Everything is either an anecdote or, worse, an allusion to a movie about cartels (earlier this month it became abundantly clear that Trump’s references to “duct-taped women” and “prayer rugs” were lifted directly from Sicario: Day of the Soldado).
But as wild as all of that most assuredly is, perhaps the most blatant and readily disprovable lie is Trump’s contention that he’s “built a lot of wall”, a falsehood that will apparently be part of his 2020 campaign, at least if we go by the “Finish The Wall” banners he hung from the rafters at an El Paso rally earlier this month.
To reiterate, zero miles of new wall have been built under Trump. None. There is no disputing that. Let me say it again: under this administration, not a single, solitary mile of new border wall has been constructed. Period.
Despite that, Trump posted the following video on Twitter this week:
The first thing that sticks out there is obviously the absurd music and also the fact that he sped it up to make it seem as though someone, somewhere is moving at warp speed to build this “badly needed” section of wall.
“We have just built this powerful Wall in New Mexico. Completed on January 30, 2019 – 47 days ahead of schedule!”, Trump said, captioning the visual before insisting that “many miles more [are] now under construction!” For good measure, he employed a “#FinishTheWall” hashtag.
Unsatisfied, he would later retweet his own initial tweet that contained the video, this time with the following all-caps declaration:
THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW!
Well, guess what? It’s a lie. That whole thing is a lie
Here is the actual CBP press release that describes what you see in that video – this is dated April 9, 2018:
SANTA TERESA, N.M, – As part of the President’s Executive Order 13767, and at the direction of the Department of Homeland Secretary, construction for a border wall replacement in Santa Teresa with new bollard style wall will begin on Monday, April 9.
“We need effective barriers to deny the entry of illegal aliens and contraband,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron A. Hull, U.S. Border Patrol, El Paso Sector. “Our agents know that a balance of physical infrastructure, technology and personnel is key to securing the border and keeping our communities safe.”
CBP awarded a construction contract January 22 to Barnard Construction of Bozeman, Montana. The area of the border wall replacement will be a 20-mile section of existing vehicle barrier located just west of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry and extending westward. The existing barrier will be replaced with an 18- to 30-foot high bollard-style wall. The contract also includes removal of existing vehicle barrier as well as roadway and drainage improvements.
Construction is slated to run for approximately 390 days. The project cost is approximately $73.3 million.
To begin to meet the need for additional border infrastructure in this area, DHS is replacing legacy vehicle barriers that no longer meet the Border Patrol’s operation needs with new bollard wall.
So, that video does not depict any new wall being built. It is merely a video of an existing fence being replaced.
As the New York Times notes, “the money for the steel-slatted barrier came from a congressional appropriation in 2017, not from newly authorized spending in the recent deal that averted a government shutdown, or from money the president is seeking to take from other federal projects under his national emergency declaration from last week.”
In other words: Trump’s video has nothing to do with anything. It’s just a couple of excavators replacing an old fence with a new one with funds that were authorized by Congress two years ago.
Trump’s tweet is the rough equivalent of me promising to build a new titanium pier starting on my back deck and extending 14 miles into the ocean and then posting a video on Twitter of someone replacing three wooden planks in the existing ramshackle walkway with a “#FinishMyTitaniumPier” hashtag.
Of course the truth about Trump’s tweet won’t matter, because the base doesn’t care if he’s lying and, perhaps more disconcertingly, the rest of America has become so exhausted with this charade that we all just let it slide, having resigned ourselves to a scenario where the country is run by a guy who is engaged in a perpetual effort to drag everyone kicking and screaming into his dark, twisted fantasy (and yes, the Kanye pun there is fully intended).