Trump’s Lies About China Paying Tariffs Gets Fact-Checked Live – On Fox News!

America is currently suffering through a historically unique period wherein it is being misled on a daily basis by both it’s president and the State TV network (aka Fox News) that is propping him up. Donald Trump has been documented to have told more than 10,000 lies since his inauguration. And the pace of those falsehoods is increasing as he gets ever more desperate due to the unfolding web of criminality that he is frantically trying to cover up.

Donald Trump

The risk this poses for the country is significant. Trump doesn’t care how dishonest his impotent rants are, so long as they provide a distraction from his impending legal jeopardy. And he doesn’t even care if they introduce threats of war or other serious harm to the nation – and the world. Representative of that reckless disregard for the welfare millions is an entirely manufactured economic crisis that Trump has latched onto with fanatical fury. His shameless ignorance of economic and fiscal affairs is the real crisis that America faces.

Last week Trump threatened China with increased tariffs if they didn’t capitulate to demands that Trump seems obsessed with but refuses to specify. He tweeted repeatedly that China would suffer if they didn’t comply, throwing the stock market into a tizzy that produced a 600 point drop. Trump believes (or pretends to) that the tariffs he seeks to impose would be paid by China. Probably around the same time that Mexico pays for his idiotic border/vanity wall. He even said that the tariffs would be more financially advantageous than actual trade with China.

Every economist with a pulse knows that tariffs are not paid by countries. They are paid by the importing businesses (i.e. U.S. companies), and those costs are generally passed on to U.S. consumers. It’s a de facto tax that would burden every American family. Nevertheless, Trump tweeted or retweeted his ignorant assertions twenty-six times just in the past week. He is apparently impervious to the facts and logic associated with this (or any) issue.

On Sunday morning Trump’s stubbornness was brought into the spotlight by his favorite “news” network Fox News. His Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, was interviewed by Chris Wallace, when the subject of tariffs came up. Kudlow tried to obediently tow the Trump line, but his embarrassing failure to do so resulted in this exchange (video below):

Wallace: It’s not China that pays tariffs. It’s the American importers, the American companies that pay what is, in effect, a tax increase, and oftentimes passes it on to U.S. consumers.
Kudlow: Fair enough. In fact, both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these things.
Wallace: But the tariffs on goods coming into the country, the Chinese aren’t paying.
Kudlow: No but the Chinese will suffer GDP losses and so forth, with respect to a diminishing export market and goods that they may need…
Wallace: I understand that. But the President says that China pays the tariffs. They may suffer consequences, but it’s U.S. businesses and U.S. consumers who pay, correct?
Kudlow: Yes, to some extent. I don’t disagree with that. Again, both sides will suffer on this.

First of all, as Wallace pointed out, whether or not China suffers GDP losses is a completely different question than who pays the tariffs. And Trump said explicitly that China’s “massive payments go directly to the Treasury of the U.S.” That’s a lie that even Kudlow couldn’t support. Trump also said that “Tariffs will make our Country MUCH STRONGER, not weaker.” Which Kudlow unequivocally contradicted by saying that “both sides will suffer on this.”

That last comment should ring in the ears of all Americans. Trump’s chief economic advisor admitted on national television that Trump is causing the U.S. to suffer. Many Americans already know that. Particularly the farmers who have already been hurt so badly by Trump’s tariffs that he had to promise them a bailout paid for by every other American.

And you can add to the list of sufferers all of those impacted by Trump’s sabotage of ObamaCare; those dealing with the effects of natural disasters, especially in Puerto Rico; those whose wages have been stagnant for years as Trump’s Republican Nationalist Party opposed increasing the minimum wage; and those residing on a planet that is rapidly deteriorating due to deliberate abuse in pursuit of profit. When it comes to making other people suffer, Donald Trump can finally take credit for really being the best at something.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s Pitiful Ignorance of Fiscal Policy is Driving His Dangerous Assault on America’s Economy

The risks posed by the unprecedented incompetence of Donald Trump are more apparent with each passing day. He has damaged our nation’s relationships with decades-long allies, while cozying up to hostile enemies. He has maligned Americans in politics and the press as corrupt, dishonest, and even treasonous. His agenda is one of tearing down the accomplishments of his predecessors and replacing them with empty rhetoric or worse, policies that significantly harm the American people.

Donald Trump, Stock Market

Trump was frighteningly unprepared for the presidency and he hasn’t bothered to study up for the job since assuming it. One of the areas where Trump has the least amount of knowledge is the economy. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he would not allow his stupidity to get in the way of his boneheaded initiatives. His notion that we should ignore the numbers and “feel” the market is just as dumb as it sounds. And the tendency on his part to plow right ahead despite having no clue what he’s doing was evident in his tweets Tuesday morning:

For starters, Trump should not be using China as a model for U.S. fiscal policy. China is a holy mess right now. And with regard to his claim that the Fed has “incessantly lifted interest rates,” he is either lying or comatose. Rates currently stand at a historical low of 2.5 percent, and they have been there since last December. Nevertheless, Trump believes that Interest rates should be cut, something that isn’t done if the economy is expected to be strong. That’s when interests rates usually are hiked as a hedge against inflation, and a cushion in the event of a downturn or recession.

The Fed is currently in a holding pattern. That is generally an indication that they anticipate weakness going forward. To the extent that cutting rates would provide a boost to the economy, Trump is way off base. They might temporarily boost the stock market, but the stock market and the economy are two different things. Besides, the last thing we want is a market that “goes up like a rocket.” That sort of volatility, more often than not, results in a crash landing.

Let’s face it, the only thing Trump cares about is appearances. He wants a facade of economic strength going into the next election cycle. He admitted as much in his tweet with his ludicrous suggestion that lower rates would “make our National Debt start to look small.” Setting aside the fact that that doesn’t make any sense at all, it is also very different than having a national debt that actually is small.

It was Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party that shoved through a tax bill that added trillions to the debt while shifting the tax burden from corporations and the wealthy to working families and the poor. And Trump is still committed to addressing the new debt that he created by cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security. That’s an agenda that is overwhelming opposed by broad majorities of the American people. Let’s be sure that they find out about that before it’s too late.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

To Sarah Sanders: If Congress is Too Dumb to Understand Trump’s Taxes, Releasing Them Can’t Hurt

Donald Trump’s media relations have been a case study in both a totalitarian hostility toward the free press and a narcissist’s obsession for attention and adulation. He has repeatedly referred to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” while lashing out personally at journalists and networks that he doesn’t think are sufficiently adoring.

Donald Trump

Trump’s White House has all but abandoned the daily press briefings that every other president in modern times has held. But he continues to send his press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, out to the same TV news networks that he maligns. While there she does nothing but disseminate flagrant lies, packaged propaganda, and irrational defenses of her bosses many offensive utterances. Case in point: Sanders went on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to try to shore another bad week for Trump. When the subject turned to the President’s stubborn refusal to release his tax returns, Sanders let this bull fly (video below):

“Frankly, Chris, I don’t think Congress – particularly not this group of congressmen and women – are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump’s taxes will be.”

Seriously? Trump’s first responses to this question were promises that he would release his taxes and would be happy and proud to do so. That later shifted to a lie about being audited, which he said prevented him from releasing his returns. It doesn’t. Most recently he has just declared that he isn’t going to do it under any circumstances. Which should cause any thoughtful citizen to wonder why he’s lied for so long and what terrible things he is trying to hide?

But for Sanders to make such a vicious ad hominem attack on the entire institution of Congress only escalates the suspicions that Americans should have. After all, it is the job of Congress to conduct oversight on matters like this, and many members have professional experience and training in economics. The insult by Sanders is just a lame attempt to avoid the real issues that concern Trump’s corruption and nefarious business relations that may include Russians.

If Sanders thinks Congress is too dumb to comprehend Trump’s taxes, why does the White House she represents think they are capable of developing a new healthcare plan; or ratifying international treaties; or passing Trump’s Tax Scam; or regulating everything from energy to banks to defense policy? Her scattershot slander only reinforces this administration’s aversion to the American ideal of democratic self-rule. According to Trump World, we’re all too stupid to be allowed any such privilege.

However, if Sanders really believes what she’s saying, then why would she have any objection to Trump’s taxes being released right now? After all, Congress won’t be able to understand them, so what’s the harm? In reality, this is just another example of projection by Trump and company. This is a man so inept that he bankrupted four casinos. He is the one who is so painfully idiotic that he can’t comprehend even simple matters, particularly about the economy. Take for instance his Sunday morning tweet about the Federal Reserve Board:

None of that is true. It’s pure fantasy to suggest that the Dow would be 10,000 points higher, even if the Fed did what Trump wants. But they can’t do it because lowering interests rates when the economy is already overheated would result in inflation and a massive stock selloff as investors sell equities and shift into bonds. What’s more, if a recession should result (a real probability), there would be no way to mitigate its harm by lowering interest rates further. It’s a recipe for a depression. But that’s where this administration is determined to take us. They just hope it occurs after a Democrat is elected next year so they have someone else to blame.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Just Like Trump: Fed Board Nominee Herman Cain is a Sexual Harasser Made Famous By Fox News

Apparently Donald Trump hasn’t been ridiculed enough yet for being an ignorant, propaganda mongering, reality TV sloganeer, who is mindlessly attached to his State TV brain trust at Fox News. Fox is a network whose mission is to advance the interests of corporations and the wealthy, along with an agenda of hatred and division. In other words, the social and political platform of Trump’s Republican Nationalist Party.

Donald Trump, Herman Cain

To that end, Trump is reported to be moving forward with his expected nomination of former pizza chain executive, Herman Cain, to the Federal Reserve Board. In many ways he’s the perfect nominee for Trump. He has no relevant experience in the work performed by the Fed. But he shares an embrace of incoherent right-wing myths that have been roundly repudiated by knowledgeable economists. And the two biggest reasons that Trump is tagging him for this post are his ignorance of macroeconomics and his prominent exposure on Fox News.

However, there’s another factor that may be boosting Cain’s profile with Trump. He was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment during his failed bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2012. And if you think that isn’t part of Trump’s recruiting criteria, just remember his support for the GOP Alabama senate candidate, Roy Moore. And his fervent advocacy of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And his close friendship with Bill O’Reilly. And his partnership with former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. And his hiring of former Fox News president Bill Shine. Does there seem to be a pattern developing here?

When the sexual harassment controversies began to engulf Cain, Trump was right there to provide immoral support. He defended Cain by maligning the women accusing him of being fame seekers:

“They probably do love their names splashed across the front pages. And frankly, that’s not a good situation and I don’t think it’s a fair situation. And I think Herman should take very, very strong action, even if he has to bring a major lawsuit against the women.”

Of course. Because what do women love more than exposing themselves and their families to media circuses obsessed with their private sexual lives? Trump seems to think that this sort of intrusive scrutiny is every little girl’s dream. He also thinks that Cain was the victim of a now familiar conspiracy that he called “a very ugly witch hunt.”

Trump, of course, is himself the subject of accusations from at least sixteen women who assert that he harassed, and even assaulted them. And he has similarly defended himself by making spurious charges against his victims. But he has never taken the advice he gave to Cain by suing his accusers. Although he swore that “All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.” Perhaps he doesn’t have enough lawyers to handle that as well as the problems emerging from his conspiracy with Russia and the subsequent obstruction of justice.

It’s curious that Trump would choose now to wade into these waters that are so perilous to his own reputation (or lack thereof). He has taken to mocking Joe Biden over allegations of inappropriate touching. On that subject Trump posted a disgusting video meme on Twitter intending to hurt Biden. But as these things often go, it was far more hurtful to Trump because it reminds people of his own bad behavior as well as affirms his grossly infantile approach to serious subjects.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Still, he does have Fox News trying to shield him from criticism and attacking his critics. Which they are doing with devotion, but they’re getting worse at it every day. And now they need to figure out how they will put a happy face on Trump’s nomination of a sexually harassing, failed politician, with zero credentials for the job he’s being tapped to perform. That won’t be easy, but they have lots of experience doing it.

Trump Uses the Shutdown He Created to Evade Legal Liability and Possible Impeachment

The United States federal government has now been shut down for five days during the holiday season. While Donald Trump initially said that he would proudly take responsibility for the shutdown, he has lately been frantically trying to shift blame to the Democrats, even though he explicitly promised not to do that. It’s an act of such brazen duplicity that it should serve as a warning to anyone considering putting any trust in anything that Trump says.

Donald Trump Impeach

However, Trump’s exploitative nature had not yet begun to peak. It is now being reported that he has his government lawyers citing the shutdown that he is wholly responsible for as an excuse to delay a civil trial into his financial corruption. According to Politico:

“Justice Department attorneys representing Trump asked a federal appeals court on Wednesday to postpone indefinitely all further filings in an appeal related to a suit that the governments of Maryland and Washington, D.C., filed over Trump’s alleged violation of the Constitution’s ban on foreign emoluments.

“The government’s brief is not due until Jan. 22, but DOJ lawyers asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Va., to put the appeal on ice until the shutdown ends.”

Trump’s lawyers are arguing that the shutdown could result in the furlough of some federal employees whose services might be required for the lawsuit. Of course, anyone whose work is deemed critical would still be required to report for work. And a case involving unlawful activity by the President that could lead to impeachment would surely meet that criteria.

The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution prohibits gifts to the President from foreign and state governments. The lawsuit filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia alleges that Trump is profiting from such expenditures at his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Many representatives of foreign governments have admitted that they are booking rooms at the hotel in order to curry favor from Trump. And the self-dealing also extends to other Trump properties and other organizations patronizing them, including the Republican National Committee.

For Trump be exploiting the shutdown this way is further evidence of his arrogance, entitlement, and disrespect for the law. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will be out of work – or working for no pay – during the holidays. They will be struggling to buy groceries and pay mortgages while Trump exploits their hardship to avoid accountability for his criminal behavior. On Thursday morning he even tweeted a veiled threat to hold Democrats hostage if he doesn’t get his way:

First of all, how did he determine that “most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?” And what if they are? Is he implying that it’s his intention to bring hardship to federal employees based on their political party? Perhaps what’s more important is that most of the people harmed by the shutdown are likely Trump supporters in red states who are reliant on government services. Not that he actually cares about any of them.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s transparent prejudices and political vengefulness is not only improper, it’s callous and sickening. But his attempt to profit from the suffering of others by asking the court to delay judgment on his malfeasance is cynical and self-serving. He must not be permitted to tarnish justice by turning his shutdown policy into a legal excuse to evade the punishment he so richly deserves.

Trump’s Ludicrous Demand to ‘Feel’ the Stock Market Proves He’s an Economic Imbecile

One of Donald Trump’s favorite subjects to brag about is the performance of the stock market since he became president. He has proclaimed himself to be a brilliant economist who knows more than anyone else, despite his six (at least) bankruptcies. And he promised that he would achieve historic gains through the sheer strength of his will. But given the recent turn of events in the markets, Trump is resorting to his customary back-up raving: Blaming anyone and everyone other than himself for the bad news.

Donald Trump, Stock Market

What’s happening in the markets was perfectly predictable. In fact, it was predicted here on News Corpse at the beginning of this year in a warning to Trump not to rest his laurels on the market’s performance:

“It’s always dangerous to rely on stock market performance to validate the economy. There are too many factors that can shift investor sentiment. It is a fluid indicator that could reverse course tomorrow. Indeed, many stock analysts regard the market’s current position as overvalued. These analysts are predicting a “correction” that could send the markets down significantly. Furthermore, the market does not reflect the economic realities of most Americans. Other economic indicators (i.e. wages) are showing only small advances. The beneficiaries of stock gains are predominantly the usual suspects of the GOP (Greedy One Percent).”

Trump chose to ignore these warnings. Instead he ventured off on a campaign of idiotic initiatives intended to make cosmetic improvements in the state of the economy. That failed bigly. Trump’s agenda was centered on three actions that informed economists knew wouldn’t work.

First there was his Tax Scam, a reform bill that provided most of its benefits to corporations and the wealthy.But it was also an unnecessary stimulus to an economy that was already overheated and it produced new debt in excess of $1.5 trillion, which makes investors nervous about rising inflation and interest rates.

When an economic stimulus is used at a time when it isn’t needed, that means that it won’t be available in the future when it might actually be useful. That led to investors looking forward to a future market correction, or even a bear market, and the government would have no tools to respond or mitigate the damage.

Second, Trump declared a trade war on pretty much the rest of the civilized world. His attacks extended to old foes/competitors like China, but also to friends and trading partners like Mexico and Canada. The result was a weakening of economic alliances and cooperative trade relations. Trump’s revamped NAFTA is a perfect example of a trade agreement that did nothing but alienate our allies. It also harmed the economies of those nations, which made them less able to consume American goods and services.

Finally, Trump’s tariffs accomplished only the price inflation of imported products into the U.S. It means that Americans would have to pay more for the same goods because the tariff penalties would be added to the cost for consumers. That is not the way to boost economic activity domestically, or exports to foreign markets who are responding with retaliatory tariffs of their own.

All of this has resulted in a stock market that is suffering its worst December since the Great Depression. It’s down 2,000 points this week, and 5,000 this quarter. As noted above, this was predictable. But Trump chose to lie to the American people about his divine ability to push the market ever upward. That is already causing some serious harm to the people who were foolish enough to believe him.

In the meantime, Trump is tweeting incoherently about “feeling” the market. In one tweet he literally said to “Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers,” and in another he said “The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market.” Really? The market is one of the most data-driven institutions in the public sphere. And while it can sometimes react emotionally, it always settles into what the numbers tell us.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s childishly simplistic understanding of the market (and everything else) is reminiscent of Stephen Colbert’s admonition to “go by the gut” rather than the brain. Which Trump agreed with saying that “My gut tells me more than anybody’s brain.” No, really, that’s exactly what he said:

A Brutal AP Fact Check Exposes Trump’s Intellectual Laziness and Hostility Toward the Truth

If there is anything that we’ve learned from Donald Trump’s first two years in the White House it’s that he is utterly uninterested in educating himself about the issues a president is required to know. Even worse, he has a stifling aversion to the truth and will callously lie to advance whatever message he’s pushing at the moment.

Donald Trump

The Associated Press took inventory of some of the President’s recent public remarks and compared them to reality. The result is a pathetic and troubling expose of a man completely unfit to lead a remedial scout troop, much less the most powerful nation on the planet.

The AP described Trump’s failings as a “slippery grasp of science as well as trade policy.” But their observations go way beyond that, covering most of the subjects that will eventually touch every American’s life. What follows are a few choice selections from the article that illustrate just how dangerous Trump’s willful ignorance is:

TRUMP: “Billions of Dollars are pouring into the coffers of the U.S.A. because of the Tariffs being charged to China, and there is a long way to go. If companies don’t want to pay Tariffs, build in the U.S.A. Otherwise, lets just make our Country richer than ever before.”
THE FACTS: That’s not how it works. Yes, money from tariffs is going into the federal treasury, but it’s coming from U.S. businesses, not from overseas. Tariffs are paid by the importer, not the exporter or government in another country. Beyond that, tariffs paid by U.S. companies tend to result in higher prices for consumers. So a tariff is a transfer of wealth from business to government, and sometimes from consumers to government as well. It is not a foreign payment to the U.S.

TRUMP: (On the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement): “The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history. All of our countries will benefit greatly. It is probably the largest trade deal ever made, also. ”
THE FACTS: It’s not the largest trade deal ever made. It covers the same three countries as its predecessor, NAFTA.

TRUMP: “Our steel industry a year ago was dead, and now it’s one of the most vibrant anywhere in the world. Big Steel is opening and renovating plants all over the country.”
THE FACTS: Construction spending on factories has yet to take off significantly after having been in decline between 2016 and much of 2018. […] A year ago, the steel industry employed 141,200 people, says the Labor Department. Now, 145,100. That’s a gain of 3,900 jobs during a period when the overall economy added 2.5 million jobs.

TRUMP: “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.”
THE FACTS: Last year had the most unhealthy soot days since 2011. The number of days with unhealthy smog levels was down from 2016, but higher than 2015, 2014 and 2013.

TRUMP: (On the confrontation between migrants trying to rush into the U.S. and authorities who used tear gas to drive them back): “Three Border Patrol people yesterday were very badly hurt, getting hit with rocks and stones.”
THE FACTS: This didn’t happen, according to the account by the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan. He said there were no “reported serious injuries on either side of the border.”

TRUMP: (Retweet): “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month.”
THE FACTS: Wrong country, wrong numbers, wrong description of legal status of the recipients. The $3,874 refers to a payment made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted family of refugees.

TRUMP: “Obama had a separation policy; we all had the same policy. I tried to do it differently, but Obama had a separation policy. But people don’t like to talk about that.”
THE FACTS: Obama did not have a separation policy. The Trump administration didn’t, explicitly, either, but that was the effect of his zero tolerance policy, which meant that anyone caught crossing the border illegally was to be criminally prosecuted, even if they had few or no previous offences. The policy meant adults were taken to court for criminal proceedings and their children were separated.

The AP article (posted on the Fox Business website) goes into greater detail and has some additional examples of Trump’s lies. However, this is a representative sampling of how little regard Trump has for conveying facts to his dimwitted cult followers. It’s this sort of dishonesty that makes it difficult for average Americans to engage in rational discourse with Trump supporters. His glassy-eyed disciples live in a world of make believe that turns them into regurgitation machines for his deliberate falsehoods. And that blind devotion to Trump’s manufactured unreality poses serious risks for the future of the country – and the world. Which makes it incumbent on the rest of us to redouble our efforts to correct the record and spread knowledge.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

WHOA: Former Reagan Budget Chief Tells Fox News that Trump is a ‘Madman’ Who is ‘Out to Lunch’

It isn’t often that Fox News broadcasts anything that is remotely critical of Donald Trump. That would be contrary to the mission of the State TV cable network. And it is even less common that the criticism would come from a devout conservative whose credentials reach back to the hallowed administration of Ronald Reagan.

Donald Trump, Fox News

However, that’s precisely what happened on Black Friday morning as former Reagan budget chief, David Stockman, sat down for an interview with confirmed Trump-fluffing Fox Business host, Charles Payne. The interview began innocently enough with Payne acknowledging the recent stock market decline which continued on Friday. But Payne was not prepared for Stockman’s response (video below):

Payne: How far down do we go from here?
Stockman: I have no idea but I know the foundation is not stable. We’ve got a perfect storm of a madman in the White House, who’s pursuing trade wars, border wars, a fiscal policy that is totally out to lunch, and attacking the fed.”

Whereupon, Payne interrupted Stockman and diverted him from a discussion about how badly Trump is managing the economy to some absurd speculations about an imaginary war between the U.S. and China. Clearly Payne wasn’t going to allow Stockman to educate the willfully ignorant Fox News audience about Trump’s foolish economic agenda. Payne thought it would be better to fear monger about a war that no sane analyst is predicting. And it went downhill from there:

Payne: It’s kinda harsh for you to call President Trump a madman.
Stockman: Oh, absolutely he is.
Payne: Because he’s fighting back against unfair trade, intellectual property theft, a country that’s building man-made militarized islands […] You don’t think that we should be pushing back against China?
Stockman: No. China is not a threat to us whatsoever. If they want to waste their money on sandcastles in the South China Sea, be our guest. […] China’s economy is a house of cards. They’ve got forty trillion of debt. It is the biggest speculative building spree in history. Without our export markets, without 4,000 Walmarts and everything else in America, their economy would collapse. They don’t dare threaten us.

So Payne successfully sidetracked the conversation from Stockman’s initial commentary that Trump is a “madman” who is “out to lunch” with regard to the economy. But only to get walloped by Stockman’s astute insight into the weakness of China’s position in relation to the U.S. Which exposes another of Trump’s painfully misguided assessments of the world order.

For a bona fide acolyte of St. Reagan to rip apart a Trump/Fox News narrative like that, it can only bode ill for Fox’s efforts to keep the Deplorables in line ideologically. They must be having hemorrhages trying to reconcile these notions and decide whether to believe the Reagan guy or the stuttering Fox News host. Now that’s entertainment.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Fox News Gushes Over Trump, then Mocks Obama for Saving the Economy from GOP Recession

The defenders of Fox News like to pretend that there is a difference between their hard news programming and the Trump-fluffing suck ups who host their primetime shows. That has never been true. The ultra-rightist dogma that spews from the likes of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson overflows into their daily “news” casts without any editorial barrier.

Obama Fox News

Another good example of that occurred on Tuesday morning when the news reader on Fox and Friends First, Carly Shimkus, sought to report on the public appearances by both Donald Trump and Barack Obama on Monday. There was a decidedly unfair and unbalanced overtone to the segment that began with a glowing description of the boundless, adoring crowds that greeted Trump in Texas for his cult rally with Ted Cruz. Shimkus was effusive in her praise for the turnout and even displayed a couple of random, pro-Trump tweets to support her “reporting.”

Then came the Obama portion of the segment. She introduced a brief video clip of Obama’s speech by belittling his role in rescuing the U.S. economy from the recession caused by George W. Bush and the Republican Party:

Shimkus: Former President Obama also hit the campaign trail to rally support for Democrats in Nevada yesterday and he, once again, took credit – some partial credit at least – for the booming economy. Watch.
Obama (video): When you hear all this talk about economic miracles right now, remember who started it.
Shimkus: I believe he was referring to himself there.

Oh really? And why shouldn’t Obama refer to himself when talking about the nation rising from the worst recession since 1929 due to his stewardship of the economy? The same recovery that Trump is constantly trying to take credit for, despite the fact that almost every economic indicator has slowed since he took office two years ago.

Shimkus went on to display a response by the Republican Party that baselessly called Obama’s presidency “some of its darkest days.” And then she read a few more random tweets, this time about Obama’s economic achievements in office. The first one falsely maligned Obama as “the guy that said 2% growth was the new normal.” That was followed by one that must have been written by a man in a coma for Obama’s presidency, that said “Obama’s economic success only kicked in after nine years, and was nowhere to found in the fist eight, when he was actually the president.” And lastly, a tweet that pretty much repeated the nonsense from the one that preceded it, saying “Looks like it took him 10 years to get it started.” So Fox News offered up three tweets that were all anti-Obama, all the opposite of reality, and left it at that.

For the record, Obama’s speech, that Fox played only a few seconds of, provided a concise summary of how the recovery actually played out. But there was no way that Fox News would allow any of these facts to get on their air (video below):

“We got the economy growing again. We started the longest streak of job creation on record. We covered another 20 million people on health insurance. We brought housing back. We cut our deficits by more than half. Partly by making sure the wealthiest Americans – folks like me – paid their fair share of taxes.

“So by the time I left office wages were rising, uninsurance rate was falling, poverty was falling. And that’s what I handed off to the next guy. So when you hear all of this talk about economic miracles right now, remember who started it.”

There is no problem with Fox’s memory. They surely remember who started it. But they are going out of their way to insure that their willfully ignorant viewers forget, or that they mis-attribute the recovery to the Ignoramus-in-Chief who is currently occupying the White House and making everything worse. That is the mission of Fox News, and they are going to pursue no matter how far-fetched or dishonest.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump Threatens to ‘Take Away Credentials’ of Media that Doesn’t Slobber Him with Praise

Reporters Without Borders publishes an annual World Press Freedom Index. The most recent study reported that the United States fell to 45th place, a new low. Much of that decline was attributed explicitly to Donald Trump, whose open hostility to the media has been a core component of his presidency.

Donald Trump

Continuing to push forward with his aggressively anti-First Amendment agenda, Trump took to his official presidential policy platform – Twitter – and posted a comment that is a further demonstration of just how extreme his hatred of the free press is. This tweet should frighten all Americans who value constitutional principles and the indispensable role the press plays in democracy:

There is so much wrong with that tweet that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, the economy has been expanding for nearly ten years, and that expansion began near the beginning of President Obama’s first term. Contrary to Trump’s claim, for which he provides no factual support, the economy has largely stalled as of late. The Dow Jones is down year-to-date. And Trump has been undeservedly taking credit for an economy whose performance has trailed that of Obama’s.

Secondly, Trump is actually admitting that, in his view, any media that is negative is therefore fake. It isn’t surprising to learn that he feels that way, but it’s a little surprising that he says so publicly.

Third, Trump’s reference to network news being ninety-one percent negative about him was likely taken from Sean Hannity’s program last night. Hannity reported that statistic based on a dubious study by the ultra-rightist media watchdogs at NewsBusters. And he wrapped the biased data in the same package as Trump, fretting about his negative coverage despite the utopia he’s supposedly presiding over. This is another example of Hannity serving as a close advisor to this fumbling president (video below):

Hannity: “President Trump’s poll numbers, they’re rising. This despite a Newsbusters study showed that newtwork news broadcasts in this country featured negative stories about the President 90% of the time. Wow. And I told you journalism is dead.”

Notice the similarities between Hannity’s commentary and Trump’s tweet. But the most troubling part of Trump’s tweet is his threat to revoke press credentials for any media that fails to exalt the Dear Leader. Trump has long pined for a submissive press corps that only celebrates his every word and deed. This isn’t the first (or twentieth) time that Trump has attempted to punish the press by banishing them from the White House or worse, challenge their licenses. Last October he explicitly tweeted that threat saying:

The fact that Trump repeatedly takes this censorious position is evidence that it isn’t just an offhand remark that he doesn’t mean literally. He is deadly serious about his intention to gag any media that dares to criticize him. And in advance of that he has been avoiding any independent media for most of the last year. He’s only held one solo news conference (February 2017, just after the inauguration) during his entire presidency. And he hasn’t given an interview to a non-friendly (i.e. Fox News) outlet in the past year. What’s he afraid of?

The World Press Freedom study noticed these disturbing trends for American journalism. They addressed them specifically in their report as reasons for downgrading the U.S. position:

“In 2017, the 45th President of the United States helped sink the country to 45th place by labeling the press an ‘enemy of the American people’ in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempts to block White House access to multiple media outlets, routine use of the term ‘fake news’ in retaliation for critical reporting, and calling for media outlets’ broadcasting licenses to be revoked.”

The American people need to be alert with regard to the threat that Trump represents to the freedom of the press and the sustainability of democracy. These are not idle threats made as political rhetoric. They are dangerous challenges made by a wannabe dictator who truly believes he has the right to muzzle the media and mislead the people. We the people cannot let that happen.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.