Alternative Fact: “We can talk about experience but the VA, when you think about 13 million people, you could take the head of the biggest hospital corporation of the world and it’s peanuts compared to the VA. So nobody has experience” — Trump on Fox & Friends this morning.
Real Fact: The VA does not have thirteen million employees, they’ve just just under 400k. By their own documentation, they have nine million enrolled veterans. Unless this number does not include dependents who *quality* to receive services *and* there are an additional four million qualified dependents … thirteen million is another Trump-ed number. Even if they’ve got thirteen million people enrolled in their health plan, the number of patient *visits* (i.e. one guy comes in every week, that’s fifty patient visits a year), a standard metric within the health care industry, is more useful (and, honestly, impressive sounding). They had 95 million outpatient visits and 700k inpatient admissions in 2015.
Now that’s a lot of employees , but Amazon has more. Amazon also has something like 300 million active customers. So it’s not like anyone anywhere is this size. But OK, he’s limiting it to hospital corporations.
Hospital Corporation of America has like 200 thousand employees and handles twenty seven million patient visits a year. Less, sure, but how many employees and patient visits does the White House doctor handle? It’s not like Trump went with the Cleveland Clinic guy who oversees fifty thousand employees and seven million patient visits and defends the choice saying anyone’s experience is going to need to scale when joining the VA.
Alternative Fact: Courtesy of Mnuchin on Fox News Sunday:
MNUCHIN: Well, it doesn’t need to be reality. And I’m not going to comment on what the president will do. But as you heard him say, he’s not planning on doing this again. I think — I think they should give the president a line item veto. These things should be looked at —
WALLACE: But that’s been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, sir.
MNUCHIN: Well, again, Congress could pass a rule, OK, that allows them to do it. But —
WALLACE: No, no, sir, it would be a constitutional amendment.
MNUCHIN: Chris, we don’t — we don’t need to get into a debate in terms of — there’s different ways of doing this.
Real Fact: It actually is a Constitutional amendment, and while there may well be many ways of “doing this” … they shouldn’t fare any better. That’s the basic principal of the three branches of government. Sadly, I suspect many in Trump’s administration could use a civics refresher. While the principal of a line-item veto could be rewritten in an altered form, the decision in Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998) wasn’t quibbling details. They found that the Executive branch altering legislation violates the Presentment Clause.
Alternative Fact (from Trump’s Twitter @ dark-o-clock today): “When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”
Real fact: Not buying a billion dollars of stuff from country X does not mean said “stuff” will now be produced domestically (assuming the domestic capacity and raw materials to produce the “stuff” exist). It may well mean we’re paying for a few cents more (bad for people with limited income streams) to source the “stuff” from country Y (until Trump sufficiently offends them too and we have to move on to country Z at yet another slight cost increase).
Retaliatory actions significantly reduce American exports too (see: Bush 2’s steel tariff a year or so into his presidency). So maybe you’ve managed to reduce the trade deficit with country X. You’ve increased the overall trade deficit twofold: we’re paying more for our imported “stuff” AND the targeted countries (and possibly non-targeted countries) are buying less from us.
Now theoretically slapping wide-spread tariffs on everything sourced from everywhere would be an easy trade war to win – assuming you want to restrict your country to domestic markets (again, retaliatory action). I expect that means domestic corporations with international operations would spin off international divisions. An ugly mess … and probably why the stock market reacted so poorly yesterday.
Bonus real fact: China isn’t our biggest trading partner for steel or aluminium. That would be Canada. And the EU. Both of whom, I must assume, will object to the tariffs (again, see Bush 2 in 2002)
Alternative Fact: From Trump Jr, attorney client privilege protects a conversation he had with his father because attorneys were present with both parties. Seriously.
Real Fact: FRE Rule 501 makes privilege a little difficult to figure out in federal cases. And privilege may not even apply to Congressional testimony. But considering attorney client privilege in general — Attorney client privilege restricts what the attorney can divulge. A reasonable protection, otherwise people wouldn’t be able to have frank conversations with their attorneys. There is precedent for the witness invoking privilege regarding a conversation they had with their attorney. But that doesn’t mean every utterance a lawyer hears instantaneously becomes top secret information that cannot be disclosed by either party.
First of all, the communication has to be for the purpose of obtaining legal advice. Iffy, but you might be able to sell that. Wanting to understand the legal ramifications of publicizing information.
Having a conversation with ones attorney in the presence of a third party can nullify the privilege. There’s a joint defense privilege which allows parties with common interest in the litigation to share information without waiving privilege. This applies for parties “sharing a common interest in the outcome of a particular claim” [United States v. LeCroy, 348 F. Supp. 2d 375, 381 (2004)]. Common interest in the outcome doesn’t mean “daddy cares what happens to me” or “I was working on daddy’s campaign when I did this”. It means a legal interest. So they’ll need to sell that there’s a joint defense going on (which admits that Trump Sr has some involvement in these events of which he claims ignorance).
Furthermore, there’s an exception to privilege when the communication is itself seeking to commit a crime or fraud. Even if Jr rang up his lawyer to discuss what false narrative should be presented under oath to Congress, that is not privileged communication.
There’s a legal principal that the parade of horrors shouldn’t be considered when adjudicating a case — essentially you need to ignore the ramifications of the order — but if the presence of a lawyer in a conversation makes the conversation privileged, wouldn’t a whole bunch of rich dudes just have a lawyer go with them everywhere?
Claimeth John Kelly: “But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand”.
Yes, John Kelly, rich white dudes refusing to compromise their profits for human decency totally caused the civil war. Now let’s address all the things rich white dudes refuse to compromise their profits for today … sustainable production, livable environment, human decency, REALITY.
Speaking about his failure to address the death of American soldiers in Niger, Trump said he’s mailed / is mailing / will mail tomorrow (yeah) letters. And defended this method of communication saying “Other presidents did not call, they would write letters, and some presidents didn’t do anything”. Most certainly, he is correct that some presidents did not call the family of deceased service members. The first telephone was installed in the White House in 1877 – and even then, I don’t know that phone service throughout the country was advanced enough to warrant phone calls from the chief executive.
Statistically, I am certain some presidents did do nothing too. Over half a million Union soldiers died in the Civil War — penning an individual letter to each family (even if you could combine a couple of siblings into one letter) would have been unrealistically time consuming.
We’re ten months into the administration, and I think we’ve finally gotten a fact fact!
Alternative Fact: Courtesy of Trump at some meeting with military sorts and discussing North Korea: “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm”
Real Fact: It is literally after the storm in several devastated areas of the country. Trump’s comment was irresponsible viewed from a military or diplomatic perspective. But from the perspective of a compassionate person whose memory spans two news cycles? Probably better not to mention storms at all.
The Trump administration’s fabrications of current events, euphemistically coined ‘alternative facts’ by Conway, have migrated into fabrications about history. General Pershing did not shoot Muslims using bullets dipped in pigs blood.
Had Pershing done so, this comment would be much the same as decreeing that American internment camps had the right idea (yeah, Trump’s said that too) – whilst one cannot argue the historical validity of the event, one most certainly can admit that the country made a grave mistake.
Real Fact: Much like the “leak” regarding an employee’s termination where the leaker was Scaramucci himself … the “leaked” financial document was a public record completed by … Scaramucci. At some point, is this dude going to have to fire himself?
When taking a position in an administration that goes on and on about witch hunts, undertaking one’s own witch hunt is, in and of itself, a rife with risk. But in a witch hunt for leakers, maybe one should undertake extensive research to verify that they themselves are not the leaker in question.
Alternative fact: “Politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard where they have information and you take the information.” Trump at a joint press conference with French President Macron in Paris.
Real fact: There is an interesting article on Politico from someone who actually conducted oppo research. Obtaining private (and anything so sensitive that it needs to be discussed with you instead of your dad’s assistant is somewhat obviously not public record type stuff) information from frenemy nation governments.
When a public investigation in the Ukraine revealed payments to Manford, receiving information from a public investigation … well, using it might be sleazy politics (in that respect, Trump is not wrong … politics is not nice). But buying a computer on sale from a well known retail store isn’t illegal whereas purchasing one for half retail from the back of some guy’s van behind the Tower City is probably going to garner a receiving stolen goods charge.
There was a car theft ring in Pennsylvania that obtained blank titles from Harrisburg. Purchasing a car with a valid title from a used car dealer is not a suspicious circumstance. Victims were out money because the cars were returned to their rightful owners, but they were not charged with a crime because nothing about their scenario seemed suspicious.
The item itself, nor its provenance , are not the only considerations — how suspicious a reasonable person would have been of the circumstances is the distinction between a criminal activity and being a victim of a crime.