Donald Trump somehow got nine minutes of time on all the major networks last night to deliver a very presidential Oval Office version of the very same lie-filled immigration rant he's been performing at rallies since 2015, only sitting down and reading in his "president" voice from a teleprompter. Yes, he sniffed a lot, too. If you had any sense, you watched something else, like Stormy Daniels folding laundry in her underthings, or maybe you read a book. But nah, like us [not me! -- editrix] you probably watched in horror waiting for him to declare a national emergency, and at least he didn't do that yet, though he still might after he visits the border Thursday. Of maybe he'll declare war on Honduras, to really send a message.

So here's President Shroomdick doing the thing he did, which didn't change any minds and won't reopen the government, but was very definitely his first prime time Oval Office address to the nation, so we guess now he's really become presidential, huh?

As the Washington Post's fact-checker points out, Trump starts in on the lies in the very first sentence, where he says there's a "security crisis at the southern border." Nah. Illegal border crossings are at a 20-year low, and what the hell, we bet you'd rather read a paragraph of facts than anything Trump says:

Apprehensions of people trying to cross the southern border peaked most recently at 1.6 million in 2000 and have been in decline since, falling to just under 400,000 in fiscal 2018. The decline is partly because of technology upgrades; tougher penalties in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; a decline in migration rates from Mexico; and a sharp increase in the number of Border Patrol officers. The fiscal 2018 number was up from just over 300,000 apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border for fiscal 2017, the lowest level in more than 45 years.

Of course, there is a crisis at the border, but it's mostly one Trump created: By trying to detain every family seeking asylum (not to mention slowing the placement of unaccompanied minors with families in the US), the Trump administration has put a hell of a lot of people in detention centers. But that could be managed more humanely and intelligently, as non-idiots have been pointing out since the family separation crisis got rolling. ICE under Trump actually killed off the successful Family Case Management Program in 2017. The program allowed asylum applicants out of detention while also keeping them in regular contact with a case manager. It cost a fraction of immigration jails, and 99 percent of participants made it to asylum hearings. But it didn't look tough and punitive, and worse, people who make it to their hearings might actually get their asylum claims approved, so obviously THAT'S bad.

Trump actually did generate one bit of new news, and that was a lie too: For what we think is the first time, he explicitly claimed, falsely, that Democrats were objecting to the material his magic WALL would be constructed with:

At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It's also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense.

Nope. You won't find any record of Democrats saying they object to concrete but would simply be delighted with a big load of bollards. But now you'll see Trumpers saying, "See? He even offered to give Dems the beautiful steel wall they wanted!"

Trump then launched into more lies, saying Mexico would magically pay for WALL because of the new trade deal Congress hasn't yet ratified (that's a lie), and that really, the cost of WALL is nothing compared to the cost of all the illegal drugs it would stop, which is of course insane for several reasons: Most drugs are smuggled through ports of entry already, and WALL would do nothing about that. And the notion that WALL would "save money" at all is based on the dubious claims -- from the racist Center for Immigration Studies -- that immigrants are a net drag on the economy and that eliminating all undocumented migration would save billions and billions of dollars over time. Even the libertarian capitalist Koch-suckers at the Cato Institute don't buy that crap, and they hate welfare for anyone.

Trump spent a lot of the speech on his familiar tactic of highlighting horrible crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, because what good is a prime time speech if you can't wave blood and gore by all the murderous rapey criming illegals? The four especially gruesome murders Trump focused on actually did happen, but of course in terms of that being a "crisis," Americans are at much more risk of crimes committed by fellow citizens than crimes committed by immigrants. Undocumented immigration doesn't increase violent crime, period.

Trump at least refrained from one of his administration's biggest lies this week; he didn't claim -- this once -- that thousands of terrorists are crossing the southern border. So yeah, someone give him a cookie.

Then Chuck and Nancy dropped in with the sensible suggestion that we could maybe reopen the government and then negotiate on how to pay for border security, and the AP tweeted the stupidest "fact check" we've seen lately, and wouldn't you know it, Trump used the speech as a fundraiser to convince rubes they were helping pay for WALL. And everyone will forget all of it in less than a week, the end.

[White House transcript of Trump's remarks / WaPo / Christian Science Monitor]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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