- Norman Young
'Fact Checking' Schumer and Pelosi
Last night, President Trump addressed the nation regarding a crisis at America’s southern border. Some news outlets debated whether or not they would air Trump’s address at all. And, predictably, this morning’s headlines were littered with “fact checks” on the President’s speech. But, as has been the case at least since the 2012 election, articles that claim to check for correct facts are mostly checking for correct opinions. A typical article from the Washington Post demonstrates how mainstream media outlets spin facts into “falsehoods.” After Trump claimed that 300 Americans were killed by heroin per week and that 90% of it comes from Mexico, the article responded this way:
“In 2017, more than 15,000 people died of drug overdoses involving heroin in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That works out to about 300 a week. But while 90 percent of the heroin sold in the United States comes from Mexico, virtually all of it comes through legal points of entry. ‘A small percentage of all heroin seized by [Customs and Border Protection] along the land border was between Ports of Entry (POE’s),’ the Drug Enforcement Adminstration said in a 2018 report. So Trump’s wall would do little to halt drug trafficking.”
This is not a “fact check.” This is an “opinion check” which transforms true statements by the president into something the Washington Post can declare to be “false.” So, in the spirit of all of these supposedly-objective “fact check” articles I have seen floating around, I have decided I will apply the same level of “journalism” to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s response to Trump’s address. So, buckle up.
Toward the opening of her remarks, Nancy Pelosi said the following:
“The fact is, on the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to reopen government and fund smart, effective, border security solutions.”
I guess it is true that Democrats did, in fact, pass legislation to reopen the government. And I suppose it is also true that their bill looks a lot like the bill Senate Republicans proposed in December. However, December was a very different situation. Things have changed, and right now Republicans would not propose such a bill. So, I am going to go ahead and call it a “falsehood" when Nancy calls the bill “Senate Republican legislation.” Why? Because only the Democrats want to pass it, now.
Moreover, claiming that this legislation would promote border security is, in my opinion, incorrect. In my view, Democrat attempts at border security typically fail. That is because, I believe, Democrats don’t actually want border security; they want future Democrat voters. The fact that Schumer once supported a wall and now doesn’t anymore confirms my opinion on this. Therefore, saying that Democratic legislation would produce border security is another falsehood. Nancy went on,
“But the president is rejecting these bipartisan bills over his obsession to force American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall.”
Like I said above, calling the legislation “bipartisan” simply because the bill resembles one the Republican Senate proposed before the new year, while factually accurate, is, in my opinion, intended to mislead. So, another “falsehood” there. Moreover, calling a 5 billion dollar wall a “waste” of money, when the government spends orders of magnitude more money on projects I consider pointless, is wrong, in my opinion. So, falsehood #4. Also, whether or not a wall is “expensive” is a matter of interpretation, and I interpret the 5 billion dollar price-tag as being “cheap.” So, Pelosi’s statements are false again. And, finally, calling a wall “ineffective” before it has even been tried is asserting something without evidence. Prisons have walls, so, checkmate. Falsehood #6.
Now that I think about it, let’s go back to that earlier paragraph, where Pelosi described the Democrats’ border solutions as “smart” and “effective.” In my view, Democrat policies are never effective and only stupid people try to implement them. So Now we’re up to 8 “falsehoods.” Nancy went on,
“The fact is, the President has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety, and well-being of the American People and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation—many of them veterans.”
In my opinion, asking for funding for a border wall is a reasonable request that any reasonable Congressperson would agree to. If my opinion is correct (and I think it is), this means that, by not agreeing to give the president those funds, it is Democrats who are causing the government shutdown by being unreasonable. They, then, are the ones holding “critical services” hostage. Also, calling non-essential government jobs “critical services” is a stretch. It’s right there in the name: "non-essential." Also, calling all 800,000 federal employees “innocent workers” is presumptuous. Some of those guys are probably guilty of something. And how many veterans count as “many”? Hmm.
Now that we’re well above 10 “falsehoods” in Nancy Pelosi’s first minute, let’s switch over to Chuck Schumer. He begins,
“My fellow Americans, we address you tonight for one reason only: the President of the United States, having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American People to foot the bill, has shut down the government.”
Whoa, not a good start. First off, these two clowns are not making their speeches for “one reason only,” but for a whole host of reasons, which include: furthering their political careers, opposing the president, promoting illegal immigration, and so on. Next, claiming that the President failed to get Mexico to pay for the border wall, while true, does not take into account my opinion that better trade deals with Mexico should count as a kind of metaphorical payment. So, that’s two “falsehoods” so far.
Also, Schumer claims that Trump has been unable to convince the American People to foot the bill for a border wall. While it’s true that a border wall has yet to enjoy majority public support, in my opinion, that would change as soon as it gets built and Americans see how big and beautiful it is. Then, when America is so much safer, Americans will be happy that taxpayer dollars were used for a wall. So, I’m counting this comment from Schumer as “misleading.” And finally, as was mentioned earlier, in my opinion, the blame for a shutdown falls on Democrats. So, that’s four “falsehoods.” Schumer continued:
“Make no mistake, Democrats and the President both want stronger border security. However, we sharply disagree with the President about the most effective way to do it.”
Ha! This gets a laugh. To me, Democrats seem happy that border security is low because it encourages illegal immigration. Schumer is, in my opinion, hiding his real feelings on the issue for political reasons. He also certainly knows that walls are effective, but pretends otherwise because it will please his open borders base. Two more “falsehoods”!
“Most Presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.
“Noble purposes,” eh? That might be true if we don’t count the many Democrat Presidents who used their bully pulpit to increase the size and scope of government or entangle Americans in useless wars. And who says that opposing illegal immigration is ignoble? I think it’s quite noble. No Constitutional republic can survive without borders, after all. Now, claiming that Trump’s speech stoked fear is certainly a fact. But, in my opinion, stoking fear is not always a bad thing. There are certain things that a country should fear, like legitimate security threats. An unenforceable border is just such a threat.
Finally, I don’t like that Schumer used the word “turmoil” to describe Trump’s administration. Sure, it is true that his administration has had record levels of turnover. But, in my opinion, that is not “turmoil.” Change can be good! Trump changes things up because he’s an outsider to Washington who is figuring out which people best serve his presidential agenda. So what might look like turmoil to some should be interpreted, in my opinion, as wise leadership. How many falsehoods was that? I lost count. But I could go on.
Of course, everything I have been saying above regarding Schumer and Pelosi’s speech is far from a “fact check.” In fact, it is nakedly partisan trash. However, what I have said here is no more nakedly partisan than the kind of analyses that have been emanating from sources in the supposedly “mainstream” news media, recently.