Observations of an Expat: Fact Checking

January 10, 2019 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS , United States

Reuters photo



Tom Arms



Donald Trump takes a reverse scientific approach to issues. He searches for the voters’ greatest fears; enunciates them in the most dramatic and divisive language possible; and then twists and invents facts and reinvents history to support his claims.


Some might say, so what? Isn’t that what every politician does? Yes, but the President of the United States has taken the practice to an entirely new level, and in doing so has undermined a political class which was already standing on crumbling foundations. The Washington Post, which keeps a tally of presidential lies, reported in his first 601 days of his presidency, Donald Trump lied or made misleading statements 5,000 times.


You would have thought that the Donald could have temporarily broken himself of this nasty habit when addressing the nation from behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. Wrong. Instead, his televised speech justifying the government shutdown and a demand for a southern border wall was possibly the best example yet of Donald Trump’s inability to speak the truth.


First off, there was no justification to use the tool of a televised address to the nation. There is no crisis. America is not being invaded. Terrorists are not flooding across the US-Mexico border. These fears were manufactured by Donald Trump to insure his election to the White House and they are now being exaggerated to keep him there.


Trump is using the oldest political trick in the world. When in trouble create a crisis. Create an enemy. Offer a solution, the more expensive and grander the better. Trump’s crisis is the “invasion” from the south. The enemies are the Democrats, Hispanics and anyone who has a wish to live and work in the United States. The solution is a visible wall which Trump can point to and say: “See, look, there it is, the wall, I did something that no other president would.”


Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush may have been justified in declaring a national emergency back in 2000 when they exchanged tenancies in the White House. In that year 1.6 million people were arrested trying to cross into the United States from Mexico. Trump said that his predecessors did in fact tell him that they wished they had built the wall he proposes. They deny this. A lie.


The number crossing the border in 2016—303,916 was nowhere near the level 18 years ago. And building a wall will not resolve the illegal alien problem because the largest category of illegal aliens is those who have overstayed their visas—629,000 in 2015, according to the latest figures from the Department of Homeland Security.


Trump claims the wall would also be a barrier against drugs. It is true that most of the heroin, cocaine, and marijuana that enters the United States comes through Mexico. It is another lie that the wall would stop it. Again, according to US government statistics, 90 percent of the drugs are smuggled through legal points of entry.


What about the rapists, murderers and terrorists flooding northwards? A large proportion of Hispanics settle in Texas, whose state police department report that the arrest rate of illegal immigrants was 40 percent below that of native-born Americans. Immigrants—especially illegal immigrants—know that if they break the law they will be deported and their American dream ends.


As for terrorists, the CATO Institute reported that from 1975 through 2017, seven people who entered the U.S. illegally from “special interest” countries — states tied at least loosely to terrorism — were convicted of planning attacks on U.S. soil. None crossed from Mexico.


For the supporters of Donald Trump, belief in the president is more of a religious experience than a political one. They accept the word of Trump as literal truth because it reflects their fears. But perhaps, just perhaps, if the fact checkers keep chipping away at the wall of lies, support for Trump will totter and, eventually, crumble.





Tom Arms

I am a journalist, entrepreneur and historian with extensive experience in print, web and broadcast journalism. I started as a diplomatic correspondent, wrote several books (The Falklands Crisis, World Elections On File and the Encyclopedia of the Cold War), and then in 1987 started my own business (Future Events News Service, www.fensinformation.com) which over 25 years established itself as the world and UK media’s diary. Our strapline was: “We set the world’s news agenda.” I sold FENS in December 2012 but retained the exclusive broadcast rights to all of FENS data. To exploit these rights I set up LookAhead TV which produces unique programmes which “Broadcasts Tomorrow Today” so that viewers can “Plan to Participate.” LookAhead has appeared regularly on Vox Africa, Radio Tatras International, The Conversation and Voice of Africa Radio.

In addition to being a syndicated broadcaster and columnist on global affairs, Tom is also available for speaking engagements and can be contacted on TwitterLinkedin and email[email protected]

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1 Comment

  1. Thriveni C Mysore January 12, at 03:34

    Your excellent essay reminded me of the lines: "The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world".Perhaps each and every human being across the globe is facing chaos of some sort. Thank you TUCK for such a veracious article.


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