civics, current events, democracy, government, politics

Checking in With Trump’s Accomplishments (Day 173)

Today I took some time out to review Trump’s accomplishments. To begin, I took a stroll through the Right Wing media machine.

My journey led me to a site called “Conservapedia”, which I had not heard of before. It is a site that mirrors Wikipedia, but angles to the right. Really, really far right. The article that I found to answer my questions regarding his accomplishments was not surprisingly titled “Donald Trump Accomplishments”. Before getting to the article I went to the citations page, and here is what I found.

16 different outlets cited, representing 85 citations.

27 citations were from Breitbart (31.8%)

24 citations were from the Washington Times (28.2%)

10 citations were from Fox (11.8%)

1 citation was from Daily Mail (1.3%)

1 citation was from whitehouse.gov (1.3%)

For a total of 63 of the 85 (74%) citations being at best unreliable sources, and at worst being complete bullshit.

I assume most folks know about Breitbart (their racist, white nationalist agenda made famous by the racist and white nationalist Trump administration headed by Bannon). Fox and whitehouse.gov are both obviously state propaganda. However, here is a quick summary of the Washington Times and the Daily Mail (I think these two are less well known).

The Washington Times – Conservative paper founded by religious cult leader Sun Myong Moon in 1982, and wholly owned by his church.  Described by the Washington Post – “The Times was established by Moon to combat communism and be a conservative alternative to what he perceived as the liberal leanings of The Washington Post. “ (1)

The Daily Mail – A Conservative U.K. paper that is often accused of printing inaccurate and sensational stories.

It is my hope that two thing happen with this. First, I want to actually explore what Trump has done. With the lies and distortions coming from every angle I have to periodically sit down and try to find truth. Secondly, I want to point out the dubious scholarship that goes into partisan media outlets as they sell to a predetermined narrative. The information “feels” right to the consumer, so no additional critical thinking is used. It’s what Colbert called “truthiness”.

I will be citing this Conservapedia (2) page a lot.

The first line of the article states that Trump gave “one of the strongest inauguration addresses in American history” and goes on to cite a Breitbart article, a Politico article, and a Telegraph article titled “Donald Trump just delivered the most American inauguration speech ever”. (3). I have linked the article below. It’s worth reading. Although cited in the Conservapedia page as supporting its claim of the inauguration speech being “one of the strongest ever”, the Telegraph article simply reports on the number of times specific words are used, and does it in a very mocking tone. The journalist from the Telegraph called it the most “American” speech solely because Trump said the word “America” more times than any other inaugural speaker. I’m guessing that the person who wrote the Conservapedia entry didn’t read past the headline of the article.

I point this out to show the lack of academic integrity. Maybe there is a connection between how Republicans hate and mistrust colleges (4) and their inability to separate fact from fiction. Or to read. But I digress.

The article continues to list accomplishments:

 

  1. Gave one of the strongest inaugural speeches in history (Irrelevant, and probably not true)
  2. Signed bill to allow General Mattis to be confirmed as SecDef (Already covered in item #11 below)
  3. Undo President Obama’s legacy (Not sure what this means)
  4. Institute conservative executive orders (This is really a strange thing for a Republican to put into the “accomplishments” category after screaming for eights years about President Obama being a tyrant for signing EO’s)
  5. Reducing regulations (True, mostly bad, and already covered in item #11 below)
  6. Enforcing American Immigration Laws (True, and probably not good)
  7. Appointing Gorsuch to Supreme Court (True, and total bullshit after Congress not filling President Obama’s nominee)
  8. Signed more pieces of legislation since any president than Truman (True, but mostly what he has signed is meaningless and the rest is quite detrimental either to the citizen’s of the U.S. or the planet)
  9. Signed more Executive Orders than any other president (False every president since Garfield has signed more EO’s than Trump (7) )
  10. Disrupted the liberal political establishment consensus (I don’t know what this means)
  11. Signed 37 bills into law, more than each of the previous four presidents (This is just repeating the claim made in #8 above)
  12. Made Congressional Republicans more united than any time in history (False)(8, 9,10)

 

Following up on some of the subs from this article, you also find these listed as “accomplishments”-

  1. Trump did not proclaim June 2017 as LGBT Pride Month, unlike former presidents Clinton and Obama
  2. Appointed Valerie Huber, an abstinence education advocate, to the position of chief of staff to the assistant secretary for health at the HHS
  3. Began to undo Section 1557 of ObamaCare, which would have helped liberals gain transexual “rights” through the courts
  4. Loosened IRS restrictions against political activities by tax-exempt religious organizations
  5. Made it easier for employers to not cover contraception
  6. Trump signed an executive order repealing Obama-era labor law compliance requirements for federal contractors, along with signing a resolution of disapproval that day on the same topic
  7. Announced he would discontinue President Obama’s “pro-transgender” policies
  8. FBI director James Comey for being unfit to serve in the position
  9. signed an order reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which defunded International Planned Parenthood and other organizations that promote foreign abortions
  10. Appointed several pro-life advocates to Department of Health and Human Services positions
  11. Repealed a Social Security Administration rule adding mental disability determinations to the background check registry
  12. Signed two orders reviving consideration for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects, which Obama halted due to supposed environmental concerns
  13. Forced the G-20 to remove any mention of climate change from its joint statement
  14. signed a major executive order repealing several Obama-era environmental regulations unfavorable to coal
  15. Signed an executive order repealing a ban on offshore drilling signed by President Obama
  16. Signed agreements as a member of the Arctic Council, and it was later revealed that it successfully weakened the language regarding climate change and environmental policy
  17. Announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and immediately stop its implementation
  18. Formally rejected a G7 pledge to adhere to the Paris climate agreement
  19. Rejected a proposed regulation to put a limit on the number of certain endangered marine animals allowed to be killed on injured in fishing nets
  20. Department of Energy closed its Office of International Climate and Technology
  21. Signed an order directing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, upon his confirmation, to plan changes to the Dodd-Frank bank regulatory law in order to cut much of it
  22. This “accomplishment” is listed in the Trump article, but I’m fairly sure Trump’s budget doesn’t go into effect until October. So, basically this article is praising President Obama. By June 2017, the economy was clearly improving and growing, and Americans’ confidence in the economy rose. The average credit scores of Americans reached an all-time high by July 2017. The economy rose faster than expected in July 2017, with 222,000 jobs being added. It was reported in early July that U.S. factory activity rose to its highest level since August 2014

 

This article correctly states that Trump has signed a lot of legislation. But look at the content. Nothing that he has made into law is significant. Naming building and making executive personnel decisions is not governance. For fun, ask your Trump supporting friends to describe the legislation that Trump has signed into law.

Laws signed by Trump (5):

2 name VA clinics in honor of people

2 adds National Vietnam War Veterans Day to the list of days people are encouraged to fly American flags

5 are related to personnel matters (including a waiver allowing James Mattis to become SecDef

1 extends an Obama-era policy allowing veterans in some circumstances to get healthcare outside of the VA system

13 laws passed under the Congressional Review Act – these laws roll back previously passed legislation and includes rules designed to protect streams from coal pollution and a rule that used to force financial advisors to put their clients interests before their own

3 modify existing programs

2 encourage agencies to try something new

1 law re-establishing the National Space Council, but changed its emphasis to a military/security outlook rather than a scientific one (Worth mentioning that although Trump has signed a bill that affects NASA, he has yet to appoint a NASA administrator or Office of Science and Technology Policy director)

A complete list can be found here (6).

And on and on.

This entire site is rife with lies, inaccuracies, and falsehoods. I almost feel bad for the millions of angry, low-information consumers that suckle from “news” outlets like this. They are the epitome of “my opinions are just as valid as your knowledge”.

Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS (AOM)

 

 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Times
  2. http://www.conservapedia.com/Donald_Trump_achievements
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/20/donald-trump-just-delivered-american-inauguration-speech-ever/
  4. http://www.newsweek.com/republicans-believe-college-education-bad-america-donald-trump-media-fake-news-634474
  5. http://www.npr.org/2017/04/27/525753448/white-house-touts-historic-28-laws-signed-by-trump-but-what-are-they
  6. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pggbpz/all-the-laws-and-executive-orders-trump-has-signed-so-far
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order_(United_States)
  8. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/01/us/politics/affordable-care-act-health-care-trump.html

9 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/26/us/politics/trump-health-care-conservatives-congress.html

  1. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-congress-ryan-trump-20161115-story.html
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