It seems the White House did not intentionally edit out a key couple of seconds of the Putin-Trump Helsinki news conference, as many understandably assumed (given that those seconds were, unquestionably, missing).

At least that’s the view of the Washington Post.  Rachel Maddow back-tracked a bit but emphasized that even once alerted, the White House did not correct the transcript.  Then, ten days after Helsinki, they did — but not the video.

So there’s almost surely no “there” there to the notion of an intentional effort to erase from history what we all saw live, in real time.  I, too, stand corrected.

And yet can objective observers much fault us for assuming the worst?

This is the man who said he had investigators in Hawaii who couldn’t believe what they were finding about Obama’s true country of birth . . . who promised he would “absolutely” release his tax returns if he ran for office . . . who claimed the largest Inaugural crowd on the Mall ever . . . who said his new tax law would cost him a fortune . . . who has made more than 3,000 false or misleading statements since being sworn in, or six-and-a-half a day.

Over the weekend, he touted last quarter’s 4.1% GDP growth rate as “amazing” — I mean, my God, only a superman president could produce results like that!  Who ever even heard of results like that?

Except that, as noted on Morning Joe yesterday (thanks, Steve Rattner), President Obama had two quarters during his first term and another two during his second term when growth was significantly better.  If 4.1% is amazing, how about 4.5%, 4.7%, 4.9%, and 5.1%?

Bill Clinton, meanwhile, beat Trump’s “amazing” quarter 13 separate times in his two terms.

And both Obama and Clinton did this while raising taxes on the best off to get the National Debt back to shrinking relative to GDP, as it had from 1946 all the way up until Ronald Reagan . . . and then the Bushes and now Trump, with full backing of the Republican Party . . . exploded it.

(Yes, the Debt grew under Clinton and Obama — it takes a while to turn battleships around.  But it shrank relative to GDP under Clinton almost from the get go; and under Obama once he averted the total financial collapse and imminent global depression that he was handed.)

As also noted, in these past 18 months under Trump, monthly job growth has averaged 193,000 — less good than the 206,000 average of the preceding 18 months under Obama.

Wage growth has also fallen when you compare those two 18 month periods.  Better under Obama than Trump.

And this 4.1%?  Most economists think it’s a blip largely caused by purchases to get ahead of Trump’s grossly ill-advised tariffs.

Granted, everybody now has “great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost.”  It’s hard not to love that.

And we can all sleep soundly now that North Korea is no longer a threat.

And sure enough, as promised ad nauseam, Mexico has paid for the wall.

So you can see why Trump’s popularity among Republicans is — as he noted this past weekend — is the highest in history.  (Except that Eisenhower’s and Reagan’s popularity was higher among Republicans at this point in their first terms.)

And why a state like Wisconsin — that he proudly notes hadn’t gone Republican since 1952 — chose him in 2016.  (The only slight correction to that presidential statement is that Wisconsin went Republican in 1956 and 1960 and 1968 and 1972 and 1980 and 1984.)

And on and on and on.

Putin is winning.  The autocrats are winning.  The kleptocrats are winning.  Democracy is losing.  Decency is losing.  Integrity is losing.

Everybody needs to volunteer to fix this nightmare.  And, if they can, fund the effort as well.

The election is in 98 days.



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