Crime, Punishment, and Fairness

Let’s sort out whether it is a good idea for society to punish people for crimes despite the fact that their environments, not their innate selves, caused them to be criminals. This is an important and topical question because the idea that crimes should be punished has come under withering attacks by leftists. Whether those attacks are propitious is relevant to important issues surrounding the recent Florida school shooting.

Note: For a felony to be committed, the perpetrator must have mens rea (a “guilty mind”), “the mental element of a person’s intention to commit a crime or knowledge that one’s action or lack of action would cause a crime to be committed.”[i] Because of this, an act that would otherwise be a crime (e.g., shooting someone) is not a crime if the act was done without mens rea (e.g., it was done in self-defense or by accident).

A core concept of criminal justice systems is that punishing people who intentionally do serious harm to others is advantageous to society. Punishment can be justified by combinations of the following goals: (1) to deter would-be perpetrators from committing future crimes by increasing the costs to them of committing crimes, (2) to reduce the probability that future crimes will be inflicted on innocent members of society by putting bars between the criminal and society, (3) to rehabilitate the criminal into an upright citizen, (4) to establish and preserve the “rule of law” or other propitious norms, (5) to achieve justice, and (6) to obtain warranted vengeance.

An exception to the general rule is that it should not apply to children and the insane. A widely accepted rationale for this exception is described in the McNaughton rule, “that every man is to be presumed to be sane, and . . . that to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.”

First note that if a person does not have the mental capacity to know the difference between right and wrong, she is not capable of having the mens rea to commit a crime. Also important, it would serve no more purpose to punish a lion for killing an antelope than it would to punish an insane person for committing a crime. Neither can comprehend either the crime or the punishment, and punishing either would have no effect on other lions or insane people, i.e., it would accomplish nothing.

For multiple reasons, the insanity defense against criminal punishment is long established, venerated, and wise.

Leftists have been inventing and advancing many other new defenses to criminality that have not been time tested, are of dubious validity, and need to be sorted out. As is usual for leftist ideas, they myopically focus on something they (often correctly) identify as a problem, with apparent obliviousness to the serious and unavoidable negative consequences of the proposed “fix” for the problem. The problem with this approach to problem solving was perhaps best described by the great Thomas Sowell, who said:

The ideal of impartiality in the law, exemplified by the statues of Justice blindfolded, implies that particular results for particular individuals and groups are to be disregarded when dispensing justice. It is precisely this conception of justice—at the heart of the American revolution—that is being disregarded. As was aptly said:

The blindfolded Goddess of Justice has been encouraged to peek and she now says, with the jurists of the ancient regime, “First tell me who you are and then I’ll tell you what your rights are.” [Citation omitted.]

In politics, the great non-sequitur of our time is that 1) things are not right and that 2) the government should make them right.[ii]

Just because something is not right, it does not mean that there is an action the government could take to ameliorate the problem without creating even greater problems elsewhere. The constant demands by leftists for politicians to “DO SOMETHING!” cause politicians constantly to do things that cause more harm than good.

Out of valid and genuine concern for the harm “the system” does to people who get caught up in the criminal justice system, many leftists now demand that politicians ignore criminality if the perpetrator’s intent is not attributable to her innate evil, but rather to the bad environment in which the otherwise good person found herself through no fault of her own. It is as if it were the environment that caused the mens rea of the crime, not the person. That could well be true in some instances (at least to the extent that a person might never have considered committing a crime had they been born with more advantages). The disadvantages of being born into a bad situation are certainly unfair in some cosmic sense. By the same token, it is certainly unfair in some cosmic sense that some people are born good-looking, intelligent, physically fit, and coordinated; with leadership ability, creativity, and insight; and with good communication and people skills. While some people have a good measure of all those things, others have little of any of them. There is clearly something wrong with this picture, but it is a true picture of reality. But, again, the fact that there is a real problem does not mean there are solutions to it that will not also make matters worse for everyone, with the possible exception of the criminal.

In particular, there is no reason to believe that any governmental effort to “fix” those kinds of cosmic injustices would not do more harm to the vast majority of people in the world than if the U.S. government did nothing about them.[iii]


SidebarYet leftists quixotically forged ahead with supposed fixes to these cosmic injustices. The basic rationale appears to be a jumbled combination of (1) It is unfair to punish someone who did something evil only because she a victim of an environment that “made her do it,” and (2) To punish someone upon whom the cosmos has bestowed great disadvantages is adding insult to injury, and is unfair.

The arguments advanced to “fix” the problems did not win the day in the court of popular opinion. In no small part that was because the people who would suffer the negative consequences of the supposed fixes felt no responsibility for the environment disadvantaged people found themselves in. So leftists resorted to dreaming up theories and accumulating plausible “facts” to support propositions that recharacterize cosmic injustice into something inflicted on “the oppressed” not by the cosmos, but rather by current-day “oppressors,” such as “the patriarchy,” the “white privilege” of privileged white people, the “systemic racism” of a system of the privileged, by the privileged, and for the privileged (which is everyone other than the oppressed), and many similar figments of their imagination.

Rather than contest all that here, let’s accept the premise that much crime is not the fault of the criminal (it is the fault of the environment in which the criminal happens to reside or the fault of oppressors) and sort out its policy implications. The policy implications leftists typically draw from that premise are:

  1. Add more obstacles, tripwires, and safeguards to judicial processes that make prosecutions more difficult and reduce the odds that a criminal will be convicted for her crimes (e.g., Miranda warnings, or expansion of the exclusionary rule that prevent juries from hearing all the relevant facts of a case);
  2. Decriminalize more and more erstwhile criminal behaviors;
  3. Protect criminals from being caught (sanctuary cities); and
  4. Do not report crimes (except for the ones “non-oppressed” people are more apt to commit) so as to make it appear that the leftist policies are reducing crime by and on “oppressed” people.

In addition to ignoring their unintended negative consequences on society at large, these policies ignore the harm they do to the people they are ostensibly trying to help. The irony is that the whole policy agenda is predicated on the idea that it is the environment that is the root of the problem. One might think that leftists would want to improve the environment of disadvantaged communities in ways that would cause people in those communities to be less disadvantaged (“oppressed”). Anyone who thinks that needs to think again. Improving the environments of disadvantaged communities is not what social (cosmic) justice warrior policies do; they make the environment in disadvantaged communities worse.

Peer pressure has a huge influence on most school students. The more bad attitudes and behaviors are tolerated in schools, the larger the number and higher percentages of peers who are criminals there will be in schools. That means more people exerting pressure to adopt self-defeating ideas and attitudes on all the students. Worse, if the positive consequences of committing crimes are greater than the negative consequences, the incentives to commit crimes are strong. Even worse, in such an environment it can appear to impressionable youths that they are suckers if they do not cash in on the benefits of crime, given the slight negative consequences of committing crimes. General disrespect for authority and lawlessness makes more difficult the education of student on the benefits of good morals. In the presence of excess tolerance of bad behavior in a school environment, students will likely view the lessons about good behavior as preposterous. If there is easy gain with crime, but only hard work, harassment, and a slim hope of payoff if one is good and applies oneself to studying, easy gain will win most of the time.

Such lawlessness spills out into the streets and results in far more people being killed in disadvantaged neighborhoods than in school shooting anywhere. The percentage of lives that do not thrive as a result of the environment that leftist policies create is also staggering.

It is truly sad that when the criminal laws are enforced that so many already disadvantaged students find themselves in the “school-to-prison pipeline.” It is even sadder that the percentage of those students who are black and Hispanic is disproportionately high. Sadder still is the fact that leaving those kids in school will make the proportion of black and Hispanic children entering that pipeline, or adopting ideas and attitudes that will prevent them from flourishing, or wounded or killed at school, much higher than it otherwise would be.

This post and my earlier post, “Prelude To A  Post About The  Florida Shooting – A Growing Leftist Trend,” have laid the groundwork for a case in point that will be explored in my next post about the Florida school shooting.

[i] See “Mens rea.”

[ii] See “The Quest for Cosmic Justice,” page 186.

[iii] See “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut; the movie, Harrison Bergeron; or a condensed version, “2081 HARRISON BERGERON,” a video by an organization I helped make possible.

A Follow Up to “Trump’s Tariffs”

This gem showed up in my inbox this morning: “President Trump’s Predecessors Learned about Steel Tariffs the Hard Way” by Mark Perry.

“the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that tariffs on specialty steel in the 1980s resulted in annual consumers losses of $1 million for every US steel job saved ($2.26 million in today’s dollars). Not.A.Good.Trade-Off.”

Had Bush caused taxpayers to give $500,000 a year to each steel worker whose job was was jeopardized by cheap foreign specialty steel being “dumped” on America, those workers, and all Americans who buy things made of steel (read, “everyone”), would be wealthier today.

Especially hard it by those tariffs were all those workers in these industries:

  1. Manufacturers and retailers of goods that contained steel whose prices had to be higher than necessary because the tariffs increase the cost of its materials;
  2. Manufacturers and retailers of non-steel goods or services that would have had higher sales because their customers would have had extra money because the stuff they purchased that contained steel was cheaper due to foreign steel;
  3. Importers, shippers, and loading dock operators;
  4. Bankers that specialized in international credit; and
  5. Farmers and other exporters whose exports will be lessened by retaliatory import tariffs by foreign governments.

The number of workers that were negatively affected by the higher than necessary steel prices was far greater than the the number of workers employed in the steel industry. And, of course, Americans paid more than necessary for the goods they purchased. As reflected in the study quoted above, the sum of these negatives were 2.6 times as large as the benefits to steel workers.

As mentioned in the prior post, perhaps more significant is the number of people who would have filled jobs that were not created in America because of the tariffs. For example, consider the people who would have been employed at manufacturing plants that would have been built in America had the steel tariffs not made it economically advantageous to build those plants in countries that did not impose tariffs on steel.

Trump’s tariffs may be good for Trump (politically or otherwise) and U.S. steel and aluminum manufacturers, but they are really bad for everyone else, especially American workers.*

* For a discussion of why fewer American jobs causes wages to be lower see: “Tax Cuts and Employee Compensation.”

Trump’s Tariffs—A Sad Realization

“Make America Great Again.” Americans’ visions as to what a “great America” would be vary “bigly.” In the interest of sorting out the variations in those visions, please forgive the following overstatement of the differences:

Some Americans envision a safe and caring place where everyone who happens to be here has equal access to all the goods and services the country produces; everyone has equal societal status and everyone is flourishing in becoming the person they dreamed of being; no one has to work too hard (or not at all if they did not want to work); and omniscient, benevolent, efficient, and effective government officials have unlimited authority to do good.

Other Americans envision a nation in a rough and tumble, dog eat dog world in which citizens have equal legal rights regardless of their race, religion, color, creed, or national origin, and equal opportunities to pursue happiness; and the nation is run by flawed, but constitutionally checked government officeholders who live up to their oaths to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution as it was originally conceived—except for duly adopted amendments.[i]

Most Americans, however, envision an America with various combinations of milder versions of ideas from both extremes.

In rough approximation, many people projected onto Bernie Sanders the ideals of the first set of Americans described above, and other people projected onto Trump the ideals expressed in the second set. Because he had a long history as a senator, one could make some reasonable predictions as to what Bernie’s true political and economic beliefs and policy goals would be. What Trump’s true political and economic beliefs and policy prescriptions would be were (in possible contrast to what he said on the campaign trail because he thought his voting base wanted to hear those things) were a matter of speculation and credulity.

During the presidential campaign I would often ask Trump supporters a version of this question: How, given that 1) running a business is astoundingly different than running a government; and 2) Trump had no track record in public office to reveal what he believed, could anyone have any confidence that Trump has the beliefs he says he has or that he will know what economic policies would make America great again (or what his vision of a “great America” is). The answers I got were variations of the following theme:

Trump’s success in business shows that he is smart, a great leader, and good at identifying and recruiting talented people. With those characteristics he will surround himself with great people to advise him on issues outside his expertise and America will be great again before you know it.

When I followed up noting that there is little reason to believe that someone who has a nose for distinguishing between good and bad business people will also have a nose for distinguishing between good and bad government advisers with respect to issues about which he knows little (e.g., how would he discern the difference between a good economist and an economist who is willing to say whatever she must say in order to get a high level government job), I got either gibberish or crickets.

We now know much about Trump’s ability to pick advisers. The turnover rate for White House staff in the first year was 34%.[ii] That rate is both bad in absolute terms and is higher by far than the previous five presidents. Trump’s record at identifying the right people for government posts is spotty at best—though I would concede that he has picked some excellent policy advisers and judges.

All that would not be particularly important if, despite his hiring flubs, he was consistently getting great policy advice. March 1, 2018 was a sad day in American history on that count. On that day Trump revealed that he is either a consummate crony capitalist (read, “corrupt”), or he has a populist’s (read “clueless”) understanding of foreign trade and tariffs. [iii] That might not be so bad if trade policy was not so critical to a prosperous economy—and a prosperous economy was not so essential to middle and lower income wage growth, but it is—on both counts.[iv]

While scientific consensus is an oxymoron,[v] essentially every economist believes[vi] that free trade (as opposed to unfree trade, including “fair trade”) is the best policy. In other words, tariffs are bad for a country’s economy, jobs, and wage increases, regardless of the tariffs imposed by other countries on their imports.[vii] In short, tariffs do help the protected companies and their employees and investors, and the extra profit generated by those companies adds to the wealth of the nation. Typically politicians benefit politically when they impose tariffs. The sum of negative effects of tariffs on everyone in the country, however, is far greater than the sum of the positives that are created by tariffs.

The reasons why people, sadly those people include a few economists, were explained by Frederic Bastiat over 150 years ago:

“In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.

There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”

When it comes to free trade most people only notice (“see”) the initial effect of jobs being saved in the protected industry. It appears that only economists are able to foresee the many more jobs that will never be created because of a tariff.

While I have already blogged about one of the most pernicious negative consequences of tariffs,[viii] the reasons why tariffs are net harmful to the country are too numerous and varied to survey here. To give you a glimpse, however, consider the following realities:

  1. A little under half of U.S. imports are raw materials or component parts of items manufactured in America. Higher costs attributable to more expensive materials and parts makes those manufacturers less competitive in the world market, and increases costs of goods to its customers.
  2. When U.S. consumers must pay more than is necessary for what they buy, they can afford to buy fewer things (i.e., their standard of living is less than it needs to be).
  3. Consumers buying less means U.S. retailers will make fewer sales, which means fewer jobs, which means slower wage growth.
  4. Foreign countries will retaliate by raising their tariffs or increasing their subsidies,[ix] which results in non-protected U.S. companies becoming even less competitive than they were before the tariffs were imposed due to higher costs and poorer customers.
  5. Once an administration reveals that it will grant companies that are sufficiently supplicant (read, “willing to help the president”), thereby making it harder for every other company in the country to profit and grow, it sends a signal to investors and business people that the future business environments is subject to sudden, unpredictable, and significant negative changes based on the unpredictable feelings of the president from day to day. This increase in the risk of the government doing things slows investment and business growth due to “Regime Uncertainty.”[x] The economy was booming as Trump took step after step that led people to believe that Trump was intent on making investing in America safer and more profitable. The imposition of tariffs signals to business people, “don’t be so sure of what the administration will do next.” That fact alone will cause investment and growth to be less than it otherwise would be.

We now have a clearer picture of Trump’s administration with respect to trade, and it is not a pretty picture. We can hope that with these new tariffs Trump has satisfied his urge to “do something about trade deficits” (which is another populist banality) and that all the other pro-business things he has done and will do (which are many and important) will offset a noticeable amount of the harm he has done by the imposition of tariffs. What we now know for sure, however, is that the economic engine will not be running on all cylinders so long as these tariffs remain.

[i] See, “Two Paths for America.”

[ii] See, “Trump Staff Turnover Hits 34%—a First Year Presidential Record.”

[iii] While I see no reason to believe that nothing given or promised to Trump by the aluminum and steel industries to get this deal, I do see a reason to believe that Trump thought it was in his personal best interest to get the publicity for having protected those industries from competition (it was a follow through on a campaign promise). That benefit alone put Trump in a conflict of interest that he exploited using other people’s money for his personal gain. On the other hand, there is little reason to believe that he is any less clueless than the average American about the net harm those tariffs will inflict on all Americans. He probably (mistakenly) believes the deal’s benefits to him personally were minuscule compared to the benefits he bestowed on America. If he were good at picking economic advisers, he could have avoided all of the negatives consequences of his tariffs.

Also see, “The Swamp Is Alive! It Is Alive!

[iv] See, “Tax Cuts and Employee Compensation.”

[v] See, “For Earth Day: Michael Crichton explains why there is “no such thing as consensus science””

[vi] See, “Economists Actually Agree on This: The Wisdom of Free Trade,” and “China threatens to retaliate against US metals tariffs.”

[vii] See, “2018 Economic Report of the President offers both insight and obfuscation on trade.”

[viii] See, “Tariffs Transfer Wealth From the Poor To The Rich.”

[ix] See, “The Latest: EU promises retaliation to Trump tariff plan.”

[x] See, In “Regime Uncertainty — Why the Great Depression Lasted So Long and Why Prosperity Resumed after the War,” Robert Higgs noted: “the willingness of businesspeople to invest requires a sufficiently healthy state of “business confidence….”

Prelude To A Post About The Florida Shooting – A Growing Leftist Trend

BSO-sheriff-israel-car_656923_ver1.0_1280_720I was writing a post about the possible nexus between the leftist school policies implemented in Broward County Florida prior to February 14, 2018 and the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that occurred on that day. In the process, I realized that I was addressing an item that is part of a much larger set of issues having to do with leftist thinking and policies. I decided that providing a context was in order. This post provides that context for many future, non-sequential posts that will present a case for my hypothesis that the supreme aspiration of a growing swath of leftists is to be considered virtuous by fellow leftist, particularly the glitterati, and that this trend is harmful to society. In short, for these people, virtue signaling, not virtue or good policy, is the goal.

In an odd way it is an incarnation of something Adam Smith, the father of economics, wrote, “Man actually desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely…He naturally dreads, not only to be hated, but to be hateful.”  Imprecise, but handy, substitutes for “lovely” and “hated” in Smith’s claim would be “a virtuous and good person” and “a vile and bad person,” respectively.

That people want to be loved is probably universal among humans—at least until they decide that being loved is an impossibility, at which point they often snap. Smith’s observation that people also want to be lovely is very insightful and generally true. There are, however, people who are not guided by the better angles of our nature. Those people can fairly be considered to be evil whether they are responsible for their state of mind or not. Evil, however, can take many forms. An insidious form of evil is people who desire to be both loved and lovely, but are blind to what is not lovely about what they believe, advocate, and do. (An example of this form of evil will be the subject of the first post in this series having to do with the Broward County School Shooting.)

A vast majority of people in a society desiring to be lovely leads to a good society only in cultures that ascribe to a rational and constructive set of morals, and the culture has a reasonably humane, fair and effective means of maintaining those morals. Cultures that adopt irrational or unconstructive morals are doomed to poor outcomes, if not demise. Cultures that value virtue signaling over virtue are surely doomed to demise.

Despite the serious blows on America’s rational and constructive morals that were inflicted by the early 20th century progressives and mid-20th century communists, the core principles of the America culture remained reasonably intact (held by a large enough majority) until the 1960s. Since the early 1960s, what the American culture considers to be virtuous and good has been changing dramatically and rapidly—for the most part for the worse. (This is not to say “things were better” in the 50s and early 60s, they weren’t. The most of the morals of most Americans in the 50s, however, were better than the morals of today in many respects—despite the fact that some morals are better now than then.)

People of all political persuasions are susceptible to the virtue signaling bug. In my estimation, however, a smaller fraction of other groups are susceptible. Why that is the case may not be identifiable, and the why may be unimportant. For what it is worth, my hunch is that it is driven by a desire to be a member of the “in-crowd,” whatever the in-crowd happens to think and believe from time to time, i.e., they want to be part of the in-crowd regardless of what the cool people think or believe. Clear traces of this phenomenon can be found in all those people who idolized both JFK and Obama, despite the fact that their economic and social policies were radically different.

This phenomenon would not be a problem if the in-crowd always had the best ideas and solutions, but, as it turns out, the phenomenon leads to a disastrous blindness to tradeoffs. If one is blind to the costs of the benefits they seek (a particular bug of leftists generally), the next thing you know, the country is $20 trillion in debt, and has runaway unfunded future liabilities. It is a reason so many leftist policies do more harm than good. Worse, as we saw in the cultures that ushered in Margaret Sanger, Hitler,* Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Il-sung, Castro, Chaves, and many other like-minded (leftist[i]) activists and tyrants, lots of people get killed under leftist regimes.

With this prelude as a backdrop, I will soon post an article on the Parkland, Florida shooting that will be the first of many.


* AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Many leftist will take umbrage at the inclusion of Hitler in the list of leftists above. Many of those will base their feelings on the kind of “analysis” used by Snopes in its article, “Were the Nazis Socialists?” This Snopes article is like so many others that attempt to obscure the issues in order to obscure the facts of the matter. (In a surprising display of scruples, Snopes did not declare whether the answer to the title’s question is yes or no? Those scruples did not, however, prevent them from trying to mislead with respect to the answer.) In this attempt to disassociate leftists from Hitler, Snopes takes the following tact:

Although the terms “left” and “right” as used in American politics can be somewhat less than perspicuous, they are helpful in delineating the basic ideological divide between liberalism/progressivism (as embodied mainly by the Democratic Party) on one side (“the left”), and conservatism/traditionalism (as embodied mainly by the Republican Party) on the other (“the right”). Seen as a spectrum or continuum of ideologies, socialism/communism traditionally falls on the far left end of this scale, nationalism/fascism on the far right.

The sleight of hand lies in this sentence, “Seen as a spectrum or continuum of ideologies, socialism/communism traditionally falls on the far left end of this scale, nationalism/fascism on the far right.” Consider these definitions extracted from Google’s dictionary:

A socialist state is one in which “…the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated [by the state/community].” [Emphasis Added.]

A communist state is one in which is “a society in which all property is publicly owned [by the state/community] and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.” [Emphasis Added.]

An extreme form of a nationalistic state is “…marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries.”

A fascist state is a “…regime… that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”
As you can see, communism is a form of socialism, i.e., the economies of both are collectivist, which is the essence of socialism. To be a communist, a state must own the means of production, while a state is socialist if it controls the means of production, even if done only with regulations.

By contrast neither nationalist nor fascistic states are defined by their economic systems. A fascistic state can be either collectivist/socialist or capitalist. There are varying degrees to which a state is socialist. Modestly socialistic states need not be nationalistic or fascistic, but being either would not affect their status as a socialist state. Theoretically, very socialist states need not be nationalistic or fascistic either, but rarely, if ever, are they not. In other words, Snopes based its argument on a false and inept comparison of two unlike criteria.

Snopes cited many supposed authorities as to whether Hitler was a socialist. All of the quotes were designed to leave the reader with the impression that Hitler was not a socialist. None of the quotes Snopes used to prop up the proposition that Hitler was not a socialists, however, denied the pivotal fact that Hitler’s government exercised very extensive command and control over business through regulations, i.e., whether or not Hitler was, in his heart, a socialist (i.e., he was lying when he said, “We want to see no more class divisions.”) or a racist nationalist, under Hitler government “…the means of production, distribution, and exchange were regulated [by the state].” As such, the Natzi regime was socialist.

[i] See, “Fascism” by Sheldon Richman “Obama, Hitler, And Exploding The Biggest Lie In History,” which is worth reading for this quote alone, “The label “fascist” has subsequently meant anyone liberals seek to ostracize or discredit.” Or this video, “MYTH BUSTED: Actually, Yes, Hitler Was a Socialist Liberal.”

Who’s the Wiser?

Adam Schiff

Trump’s tweet has at least two problems, but Adam Schiff’s “response” is even worse.

Trump’s Tweet

  1. Trump’s tweet appears to suggest that the money spent by Russians on Facebook was the only money spent by Russians to affect the U.S. election—which was surely not the case, and
  2. That the Russians spent anything, anywhere to affect our election is bad whether or not billions of dollars’ worth of fake news were used in an effort to defeat Trump/elect Hillary, i.e., Trump compared two things that were almost totally unrelated.

Neither of these fumbles, however, undermined the fundamental reasons for Trump’s tweet. On the other hand, it is difficult to identify any substantive or fundemental reason (other than pandering to his followers) for Schiff’s tweet.

Schiff’s Tweet

Schiff’s tweet is even more ridiculous than Trump’s.

  1. The point of Trump’s tweet is to suggest that the effects the Russians had on the election were minuscule compared to effects of billions of billions of dollars of free assistance to Hillary’s campaign supplied by the Main Stream Media news. A relevant or rational response to Trump’s tweet would have pointed out how it is that the effects of Russia’s efforts were not minuscule compared to the efforts of the MSM, or make try to make a case that the MSM news was not fake. Schiff did neither of those things. So his comment missed the point.
  2. Schiff’s tweet is premised on the idea that Trump said what he did because he does not know the difference between fake news and foreign interference. Because nothing in Trump’s tweet supports Schiff’s premise, or abridges anyone’s right to freedom of press, Schiff’s bringing up free press in this context is irrational.
  3. Because calling out the MSM press for its biased, fake news (but I stutter.[i]) reporting in no way abridges anyone’s freedom of the press, Trump was merely exercising his freedom of speech, which is every bit, if not more important, than the freedom of the press. Schiff’s tweet shows that Schiff is probably clueless with respect to this point.

As such, Schiff’s tweet was more irrational than Trump’s.

Obviously both tweets are intended to pander to, and they hope grow, their bases. Note, however, that even if the two tweets were equally irrational, Trump’s tweet has the strategic advantage of driving leftists nuts. The more leftists show the public how nuts they are, the better Trump’s chances of winning a second term. Schiff’s irrationally on the primary point of Trump’s tweet (with its problems only as to details) is more likely to help Trump win his next election in the long run.

Trump’s tweet also showed that whereas the support Hillary got from the MSM press was free to her campaign, it was very costly to Trump’s (he would have won much more biggly had he gotten an equal amount of helpful coverage). Schiff offered nothing to defend the press’s misuse of it special privileges.

Moreover, for people in the press to deserve the special protections (“freedoms”) afforded to the press, the press should at least attempt to present the whole story about a new item (opinion pieces excepted).[ii] Trump’s tweet reiterates that the MSM news is not earning its freedoms.

One of the reasons Schiff vehemently opposes Trump is that he feels Trump is dumb. Yet Schiff’s responses to Trump’s tweets help Trump more than it helps Democrats. Which of the two comes off as the wiser in this skirmish?

[i] See “What is Fake News?

[ii] See, “The Truth Is Hard For The New York Times.”

“Trickle Down”

This morning Facebook prompted me to share a “memory” (one of my posts I had forgotten) from February 9, 2014. Because it gives a timeless lesson about how “trickle down” works, I thought it appropriate to post a slightly edited version of the post here.

“In 1991, the equipment and services to do what an iPhone today can do (not counting it camera, motion detectors, ease of use, brilliant display, or the endless array of available apps) would have cost over $3.5 million and it would have been bigger than a refrigerator.[i] Only the top 1% could afford such equipment in 1991. Today (2014), half of Americans own smartphones. [That percentage was 77% in 2017.][ii]

A consequence (unintended by some, intended by others, and opposed by too few) of many of today’s most popular economic policies is that they impede the pace of innovation.

“Innovation blindness . . . is a key obstacle to sound economic and policy thinking. And this is a perfect example. When we make policy based on today’s technology, we don’t just operate mildly sub-optimally. No, we often close off entire pathways to amazing innovation.” Brett Swanson[iii]

All things that impede innovation, entrepreneurship, free trade, and the profitability of doing business slow the speed with which more and better things become affordable by the vast majority of people.

Innovation creates new valuable things. Entrepreneurship produces and delivers the new things. Free trade ensures that the raw materials and component parts needed for the new things come from the lowest price source, and profitability is not the only reason, but is usually the sine qua non of why humans go to the trouble of doing all of the above. (Eliminate any of the parts of this process and process slows or comes to a halt.)

Even the poorest among us benefit from the cornucopia of benefits that are made possible by innovations, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation. A simple example is that the poorest Americans today can walk into an emergency room (or be hauled there in an ambulance) and receive world class medical treatment. The faster those processes proceed, the faster the rise in standards living of essentially everyone occurs. Note also that lower prices and higher quality also provides more bang for every welfare dollar.

The fostering or pursuit of innovations, entrepreneurship, free trade, and wealth creation should be limited when the sum of the “externalities” (negative consequences) of a business that would produce cheaper and better things exceed the sum of its benefits. It is impossible, however, to attempt such an analysis if the benefits are ignored or overstated or the negative consequences are ignored or overstated.

All too often in the U.S. today the benefits of innovations, entrepreneurship, free trade, and wealth creation are largely ignored, and their negative consequences are overblown. That sadly ubiquitous approach to policy proposals unnecessarily slows the rise in standards of living of all Americans, especially the poor who need such rise the most. It also slows the rise in standards of living of everyone else in the world (whose progress largely depends on American innovations, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation, whose defense is largely provided by the U.S., and who rely on U.S. foreign aid—which is possible only because of the vast wealth created in the U.S.).[iv]

[i] See “How much would an iPhone have cost in 1991?

[ii] See “10 facts about smartphones as the iPhone turns 10

[iii] See endnote i.

[iv] See “Wealth.”

Prosecution of Steele – Small Potatoes?

What follows is will, at least initially, likely appear to many to be small potatoes compared to the impropriety of the FBI and Justice Dept. with respect to the FISA application (which was ostensibly to surveil for evidence of possible Russian tampering with US election, but more likely to surveil Carter Page to get dirt on Trump). What is done about these potatoes, however, will reveal much about whether 1) Washington elites are circling the wagons to defend their positions, their perks, and the perception that they are working for the public good and in the interest of the people, and 2) the FBI can be trusted to investigate matters that could reveal the FBI’s own misconduct.

Senators have called for that investigation, but little has been said about it since.

The House Intelligence Committee Memo on FISA Abuse says, “…Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.”

Lying to the FBI is a crime. Steele’s alleged crimes are vastly more consequential than the process crime for which Scooter Libby was convicted, and any process crime Mueller is likely to come up with. Steele’s crimes, described in the report, led (if we are to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt that FBI would not have used the report even if the FBI knew the report’s allegations were fabricated) directly to the FBI using an unverified set of assertions in Steele’s dossier to support a FISA application, the violation of an American citizen’s Constitutional rights, the disrepute of the FBI and Justice, and the fiasco known as the Mueller Russian investigation.

With allegations against top level FBI and Justice Dept. people (that they used their awesome powers to tamper with the presidential election for partisan political advantage) are serious. (I’ve heard that the “seriousness of the charge” is a sufficient basis on which to investigate.) Specifically the allegations are that top FBI and Justice personnel conspired with the Hillary campaign and the DNC to protect the country from Trump being elected. If such is true, failing to prosecute the criminality of a central player in this melodrama (Steele) cannot be justified.

The likes of this horrible abuse of authority are becoming standard procedure. The stated reason for not prosecuting Hillary for her failure to protect top secret information as required by law was that she did not intend to do anything wrong. That, however, is not exculpatory because intent was not an element of the crime she committed. (The fact that the FBI relied on this bogus excuse supports the allegation that the top FBI people were protecting Hillary.) That similar abuse of power occurred in the IRS scandal is undeniable, yet no one was prosecuted. (There are many more instances of partisan abuse of authority, but these are sufficient to establish the point.)

That government officials can abuse their powers to achieve their political objectives, attempt to conceal their wrongdoing (drag their feet and stonewall), and not prosecute governmental wrongdoing when it comes to light is ruinous to good governance and essential to a well-functioning country. That the press provides cover for such misconduct (if a Democrat commits the acts) shows why Benjamin Franklin was correct to doubt that America could keep the republic the founders bestowed on the country.



In FDR – PART I: Is FDR Still a Big Deal?  claimed that (1) leftist[i] believe that the success of what FDR did in the 1930s validates leftists’ modern policy prescriptions, and (2) that myths have been created about FDR and his deeds to gin up support for and allegiance to those policies.[ii] For the leftist story to be valid, what they believe FDR did needs to be true and those deeds need to have been successful.

To put FDR’s deeds in context let’s first sort out the leftists’ beliefs that they believe (or that they say they believe)[iii] FDR’s deeds validate. Those beliefs include: 1) If something is not good about society, government can and should ameliorate it, 2) Government spending is good, 3) Government deficits and debt are unimportant (except as a means of bashing (as hypocritical) supposedly fiscally conservative non-leftists who support spending on things leftists oppose)[iv], 4) The scope of government authority to do good, as they define “good,” should not be limited (e.g., by a constitution), 5) Citizens have a right to economic “security and independence,” an “adequate”[v] standard of living[vi] (which operationally is nearly the opposite of a “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”), 6) achieving “social justice” for all citizens is both possible and a proper goal and role of government, [vii] and 7) another proper role of government is to take from the rich and give to the poor. [viii] An important aspect of the seventh belief is that if someone is poor, government should help that person regardless of her culpability in being poor or unwillingness to work to become less poor (as distinguished from “the deserving poor,” a concept leftists have all but banished in the U.S.).

It is illustrative to contrast those beliefs with the beliefs Ronald Reagan enunciated in his first inaugural address[ix] (e.g., “…government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” “We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth,” and “For decades we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.”)

FDR believed in most, but as we shall see in a future post, not all of those seven things. Things that today’s leftist believe that FDR opposed are typically left out of the leftist FDR mythologies.

The gist of the FDR myth is that Hoover fiddled while America was going up in smoke on account of the recession following the 1928 stock market crash that was caused by Harding’s, Coolidge’s and Hoover’s belief in laisse faire economics. The myth continues with a story that America was on the eve of destruction when FDR took office, and FDR saved America with his 1) command and control of the economy, 2) spending with abandon on welfare, infrastructure and jobs, and growth of government, 3) support of labor unions,[x] 4) indifference to debt,[xi] 5) quickly abandoning “austerity” when it did not “work,”[xii] and 6) advancement of a change of America’s culture from one that revered equality of opportunity for all to a culture that revered equality of outcomes.[xiii] In short, FDR began the Era of Big Government[xiv] (the thing Bill Clinton falsely claimed was over in his The 1996 State of Union address).

The following is a partial list of FDR’s mythologized deeds that are actually true:

  1. FDR’s administration exercised “Unprecedented Power” over the country’s business and economic affairs.” [xv]
  2. FDR spent more than any other president before or after. In the words of Henry Morgenthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before….”[xvi]
  3. “The tremendous gains labor unions experienced in the 1930s resulted, in part, from the pro-union stance of the Roosevelt administration and from legislation enacted by Congress during the early New Deal.”[xvii]
  4. “[Of all the presidents ever] President Roosevelt increased the debt the most percentage-wise.”[xviii]
  5. “In early 1937, Roosevelt still sought to submit a balanced budget (defined the old-fashioned way) for the next fiscal year. The objective seemed reachable without undue strain. After all, 1936 had been a good year, the best since 1929, and the momentum of recovery appeared solidly established. That upbeat mood was rudely punctured in August 1937, when the economy went into an unanticipated tailspin.”[xix] FDR then saw the “wisdom” of eschewing balanced budgets.
  6. FDR founded America’s welfare system. “By 1935, a national welfare system had been established for the first time in American history.[xx]
  7. The US became a superpower soon after FDR’s administration. “[T]he Roosevelt years had witnessed the most profound social revolution in the country since the Civil War – nothing less than the creation of modern America.”[xxi]

While these factoids about FDR are true, they neither tell the whole story about whether FDR’s beliefs support modern day leftist’s policies nor mean that what FDR did caused more good than harm overall or vice versa. Nevertheless, because leftists believe FDR’s actions 1) improved America’s economy (e.g., those policies were what enabled America to become both more collectivist and a superpower),[xxii] 2) changed for the better the relationships between the people and their government, and 3) changed for the better the country’s societal norms and mores, they assume that FDR was a net force for good. Because of that, they believe FDR’s “success” validate doing more of what he did. On the strength of that belief, they find it useful to constantly repeat the positives and ignore or reject the negatives of what he did, and to glorify FDR as the great savior and leader all good people should follow. In other words, they mythologize FDR and his deeds so the credulous do not dig too deep into the story.

If only these myths and beliefs were on balance true….

[i] Of course there are leftists who do not subscribe to every belief I attribute to “leftists.” I am here identifying the salient beliefs of the group as opposed to every individual whose beliefs generally align with the group as a whole. That there are exceptions does not invalidate the generalization.

[ii] Research for this post lead me to an additional confirmation by Doris Kearns Goodwin of my earlier claim that FDR is still a big deal: “ECHOES OF FDR.” An excerpt: “Gone for half a century now, Franklin Roosevelt has yet to relinquish his hold on American politics. When Bill Clinton-who was born a year after Roosevelt died tries to enlist the support of a doubting public, he echoes FDR, calling for ‘bold, persistent experimentation.’”

[iii] Some extreme leftists and anarchists will mouth anything (including that they believe something they do not believe) that might accelerate the decimation or destruction of America and “The American Experiment.”

[iv] Some leftists surely have a conception of an amount of national debt that would be “too much,” but the sum of the costs of all the programs they advocate and the increases in spending on most of the current social programs reveal that debt is of little concern. On the other hand, high debt is seen by many leftists to be advantageous because it creates more pressure to increase taxes (only on the rich, of course). Raising taxes without a general fear that the debt is too high is harder to do than when there is such fear.

[v] A discussion of the absurd elasticity of this concept is explored in “’You will always have the poor among you. . . .’

[vi] See “Roosevelt’s argument was that the “political rights” guaranteed by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” FDR called for a “Second Bill of Rights.” id.

[vii] Some aspects of the futility of this belief were discussed in “You will always have the poor among you. . . .

[viii] See FDR’s “Message to Congress on Tax Revision.” “Our revenue laws have operated in many ways to the unfair advantage of the few, and they have done little to prevent an unjust concentration of wealth and economic power…. The individual does not create the product of his industry with his own hands; he utilizes the many processes and forces of mass production to meet the demands of a national and international market…. Therefore, the duty rests upon the Government to restrict [vast personal] incomes by very high taxes.”

[ix] Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address

[x] See “Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945

[xi] See “[Of all the presidents ever] President Roosevelt increased the debt the most percentage-wise.”

[xii] See “Repeating Our Mistakes: The “Roosevelt Recession” and the Danger of Austerity

[xiii] See FDR’s “The Second Bill of Rights.”

[xiv] See “FDR’s Big Government Legacy.”

[xv] See “Unprecedented Power” and “FDR’s Big Government Legacy.”

[xvi]Guess Who?” BTW: Morgenthau went on to say, “…and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong . . . somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. . . . I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot.”

[xvii] See “Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945

[xviii] See “U.S. Debt by President: By Dollar and Percent.”

[xix] See “FDR’s Big Government Legacy.”

[xx] See “How Welfare Began in the United States.”

[xxi] See “FDR: The President Who Made America Into a Superpower

[xxii] A recent example was discussed in “Non Sequiturs on Parade – PART VIII.

An Example of Fake Fact Checking

On January 12 POLITIFACT weighed in on the controversy discussed in my last post, “A Prime Example of Fake News.” (That post has been cussed and discussed on Facebook HERE and HERE.) This supposedly unbiased fact checker totally botched the job. As it so often does, it let its biases prevent it from telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Trump had tweeted: “Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars, Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”

Ultimately POLITIFACT concluded “Trump’s tweet blows past those [key details mentioned by POLITIFACT]. We rate this claim Mostly False.”

Let’s check out POLITIFACT’s “fact check.”

Trump made three basic claims as to why he was not going to London: 1) Obama sold the old embassy property, 2) the terms on which the old embassy property was sold was a “bad deal,” it was sold for less than fair market value, and 3) the combination of the location and the construction cost of the new embassy caused that deal to new embassy deal to be a bad one.

Let’s sort out what POLITIFACT said about those three claims.

1. Obama sold the embassy.

On this subject POLITIFACT said only this, “…Trump was off the mark in putting this deal on the shoulders of the Obama administration. The wheels started turning early in the second term of President George W. Bush, and the deal on a new location was announced Oct. 2, 2008, before Bush left office.
As was discussed in “A Prime Example of Fake News,” the fact that the “wheels started rolling earlier” does not come close to proving that when the wheels stopped at closing, the deal had not become an Obama deal. If the “agreement” was materially changed between Oct. 2, 2008 (when Bush signed onto the “agreement”) and the closing, then it would be accurate to say Obama sold the property. POLITIFACT does not even mention this possibility, much less provide proof that Obama did not materially change the deal before closing it.

Had there been facts to support POLITIFACT’s conclusions that Trump “was off the mark,” they surely would have provided them. The fact that they didn’t suggests that the information to check Trump’s claim are not publically available. We should not countenance a “fact checkers” drawing conclusions without having checked the relevant facts.

POLITIFACT then spent several paragraphs talking about the prudence of selling the old embassy. The presented facts with respect to prudence would have been true whether the old embassy was sold for $1 or $1 billion. In other words, all these facts are irrelevant to Trump’s claim and do not controvert Trump’s claim.

More important, Trump did not say that selling the old building was a bad idea. He didn’t even hint at that. All he said was that it was “finest embassy in London.” POLITIFACT did not contest that claim, and provided no information as to whether there were any finer embassies in London. Just because America’s old embassy could be the finest embassy in London but still be inadequate to meet America’s embassy needs in today’s world.

2. The Old Embassy Was Sold For Peanuts.

POLITIFACT said nothing definitive about this key Trump claim, i.e., POLITIFACT “blows by” perhaps the most claim of the tweet, despite the fact that POLITIFACT based its ruling on the fact that Trump’s tweet “blows by” details POLITIFACT claims are key.
The sole issue teed up by the tweet about the sales price of the old embassy is whether its sales price was a bad deal, i.e., was it sold for less than it was worth. The relevant question to test Trump’s claim is whether the following equation is true:

Embassy’s Sales Price Fair Market Value > or = Sales Price

If YES, then it was not a bad deal. If NO, it was a bad deal.
POLITIFACT said absolutely nothing about this key issue. It only (irrationally) discussed the sales price and a few qualities of the building. Not a word about the FMV of the building. Even if what POLITIFACT said about the sales price and building were true, those two factors constitute only one half of the necessary calculation to prove Trump’s tweet was false. POLITIFACT made its judgement without addressing the whole equation.
What POLITIFACT said about the sales price, however, makes no sense: “The final terms were not public, but a BBC report estimated the value at somewhere between £300 million and £500 million, or about $400 million to $680 million.”

POLITIFACT says there is no information available to the public (which, of course, includes the BBC) about the sales price, yet it quotes a BBC estimate (it would not have been an estimate had BBC had the facts) as support for its ruling. POLITIFACT, by its own admission, based its ruling on unverified “facts” that it was implicitly representing to a credulous public it had verified.

3. The Location and/or Cost of the New Building Rendered Them to Be Bad Deals.

a. As to the location, POLITIFACT said, “Whether the new embassy is in a good or bad location is matter of opinion.” This effectively says there are no facts to be checked with respect to the claim about Trumps location of the embassy.

Stated otherwise, “Move on, there’s nothing to see here.” Because POLITIFACT used that approach to dodge this issue, it is reasonable to assume that they chose to avoid taking about the location because it would confirm that Trump was right about this point.

b. As to cost of the new building, one should first note that Trump said nothing about either budgets or how the new embassy was funded. He said the cost of the embassy compared to what we got (not compared to a budget) was too high.

Yet the cost compared to a budget and the fact that the sales of other things funded the building are the only thing discussed by POLITICFACT with respect to Trump’s claim. Spinning the Trump’s claim into something that it isn’t and then beat up on the thing you falsely claim is the issue is a standard means by which the MSM generates fake news.
In short, POLITIFACT had nothing relevant to say about Trump’s claim about the cost of the new building.


POLITIFACTs “fact check” did not confirm or deny any of the the facts underlying Trump’s claims, yet it somehow reached the conclusion it was looking for about Trump’s tweets, “Mostly False.”

THE VERDICT: POLITIFACT’s ruling was Fake Fact Checking.

A Prime Example of Fake News

A Facebook Friend put up this poster on his timeline last evening.

London Embassy Tweet

This poster is cruder than much of the press’s publishing, but is concise and close enough to what is being reported for government work. As was discussed in “The Truth Is Hard For The New York Times,” fake news is comprised of inaccurate reporting, not reporting important facts about a news item, and spinning the discussion away from what is important to obscure what is important. This post is firing on all cylinders.

The poster accurately reported the news about what Trump actually tweeted. The rest of what was said in the poster is fake news. The real news of the tweet (besides the fact that Trump is not going to the dedication of the new embassy) is being overshadowed in the press by fake news.

The real news from the tweet is that Trump claimed Obama sold America’s interest in the old embassy property at a deep discount to what it was worth,[i] that the US overpaid for the construction of the new embassy, and he is not going to its dedication. The point of Trump’s tweet was that he wasn’t going because he wanted to distance himself from such terrible real estate transactions. He also wanted to get into the news (raise the suspicion) that the below market sale (it has been estimated the price was $275 million below market) to Dubai was/could have been corrupt.

But look at what the poster made of this real news:

1. The property was not sold by the Obama administration.

An agreement to sell to Dubai was announced on the day Obama got elected (obviously a Bush initiative). “Agreements” are typically announced when an “agreement in principal” (“AIP”) is reached. Hammering out details or even significant changes to deals between an AIP and the closing of a deal are commonplace. Hence the phrase, “No deal, however, is done until it is done.” Moreover, Dubai would not automatically reject an offer had Obama offered to lower the AIP price

Neither the AIP price nor the final price was disclosed at the time. If the deal was corrupt, we cannot know from the available information whether it was Bush or Obama that benefited from the corruption. It is reasonable to assume, however, that the last guy at the negotiating table had the upper hand as to where the benefit went.) Obama had plenty of motive, time, power, and opportunity to lower Dubai’s purchase price in return for “favors” for Obama. Did that happen? I don’t know. Does the news media know whether that happened? No, unless they are withholding the truth of the fact that he did. Whatever, the final deal was not done by Bush’s administration. Consequently, item 1 is fake news.

2. The money generated by the sale was enough to pay for the new embassy.

One would have to work really hard to come up with a more irrelevant comment. This comment is obviously misleading/misdirecting the reader from the real news.

The old embassy should have been sold on the best terms America could get, and the new embassy should have been built on the best terms America could get. If that was a $1 Billion sales price for the old property and a cost of $500 million for the new embassy cost, or vice versa, so what? The relationship between those two numbers is completely irrelevant as to whether either good or bad. If the new embassy could have been built for $300 million, then paying $500 million to build it was a bad deal (that Trump, the real estate mogul would not want to be associated with), regardless of the sales price of the old embassy.

When the real news is that Obama sold American property for too little and spent too much on the new property, then the hogwash of Item 2 is fake news.

3. The old embassy needed to be replaced.

This has nothing to do with Trump’s tweet. Trump did not even hint that the old embassy should not have been sold or that a new embassy should not have been built. He just said that both were done on terms disadvantageous to Americans. Item 3 is fake news.

4. Trump is an idiot and chicken shit.

If so, you couldn’t tell if from the idiocy of this poster.

The press’ bias that induces it to so consistently produce fake news is also revealed by the fact that reporters neither dug into the undisclosed details of these big transactions nor offered up news or speculations about the potential impropriety of the two projects—no such lack of scrutiny has been present in during the Trump administration. On the contrary, the press constantly offers up inaccuracies, irrelevancies, and speculations, such as the ones included in this poster, all of which are designed to put Trump in a bad light. Not only was similar fake news rarely generated against Obama, much of the knowable real news about Obama was obscured or covered up by spinning similar irrelevancies and inaccuracies in order to mislead the reader away from the real news.


Of course Trump has access to the details of the London embassy deals. What if he knows the two deals were full of corruption? It would be brilliant of Trump to set this trap for the biased media, watch them gleefully jump into it, and then discloses information of the corruption, thereby certifying how fake the “news” from the mainstream media is.

[i] See, “REVEALED: American embassy in London really WAS sold for ‘peanuts’. Building at centre of Trump row was bought by Qatari royals for hundreds of millions less than value experts gave it