Thursday, December 06, 2018

The Last Kingdom's Aethelwold: Trump Of The Dark Ages


The Last Kingdom is historical fiction from the BBC that takes place during the reign of Alfred the Great (871-899), during which time Wessex is the last holdout in Britain against the Viking invaders. Netflix has been running Season 3 and last night I watched Episode 8. At one point, Alfred's malcontent cousin-- and claimant to the throne-- Aethelwold, tells his crony Sigebriht to just keep repeating a lie-- about a plot against the king and crown price-- over and over until everyone in Wintancaester (Winchester) accepts it as truth.

The brief scene, including the phraseology Aethelwold uses, immediately reminded me of the series of drawings (above) that Nancy Ohanian did a couple of months ago tying Joseph Goebbels and Fox News together as purveyors of this type of "Big Lie" propaganda, which also happens to be the essence of Trump's communication strategy. In fact, that Last Kingdom scene is like a Dark Ages version of Trump's twitter feed.

The Associated Press ran a fact check on just one tweet he put out yesterday: Entire Trump tweet on immigrant aid is wrong. "Wrong" is such a polite way to describe what it is. "Trump," wrote Calvin Woodward, "is spreading a false claim from supporters that people who are in the United States illegally receive more in federal assistance than the average American gets in Social Security benefits. Everything about the tweet he passed on to his 56 million listed Twitter followers Tuesday is wrong. In a tweet of his own, Trump sketched an overly simplistic portrait of the auto industry in suggesting that General Motors plants slated for closure would be chugging along if foreign cars were heavily taxed in the U.S. market." Trump's retweet was removed once the Associated Press called out the lies.
TRUMP’s retweet: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT (retweet) if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.”

THE FACTS: Wrong country, wrong numbers, wrong description of legal status of the recipients. Besides that, immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally do not qualify for most federal benefits, even when they’re paying taxes, and those with legal status make up a small portion of those who use public benefits.

The $3,874 refers to a payment made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted family of refugees. It was largely a one-time resettlement payment under Canada’s refugee program, not monthly assistance in perpetuity, the fact-checking site Snopes found a year ago in debunking a Facebook post that misrepresented Canada’s policy. A document cited in the Facebook post, showing aid for food, transportation and other basics needs, applied to a family of five.

Apart from confusing Canada with the United States, the tweet distributed by the president misstated how much Americans get from Social Security on average-- $1,419 a month for retired workers, not $1,200.

Overall, low-income immigrants who are not yet U.S. citizens use Medicaid, food aid, cash assistance and Supplemental Security Income aid at a lower rate than comparable U.S.-born adults, according to an Associated Press analysis of census data. Noncitizen immigrants make up only 6.5 percent of all those participating in Medicaid, for example.

Despite that, the administration wants to redefine the rules for immigrants to further restrict who can receive benefits and for how long.

A retweet is not necessarily an endorsement of the opinion it contains, but Trump does not populate his Twitter feed with views that are contrary to his own.


TRUMP: “The reason that the small truck business in the U.S. is such a go to favorite is that, for many years, Tariffs of 25% have been put on small trucks coming into our country. It is called the ‘chicken tax.’ If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here ... and G.M. would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland. Get smart Congress. Also, the countries that send us cars have taken advantage of the U.S. for decades. The President has great power on this issue-- Because of the G.M. event, it is being studied now!”

THE FACTS: It’s a stretch to conclude that the plants General Motors plans to close would be spared if foreign-made cars were subject to hefty duties. Tariffs could indeed be an incentive to build cars in the U.S., but the overarching problem for GM is that people aren’t buying cars like they used to. More want SUVs or trucks now.

The 25 percent tariff on pickup trucks imported into the U.S. was put in place years ago to protect the Detroit Three’s major profit centers from imported pickups. It does not apply to trucks imported from Canada or Mexico at present. So GM, for instance, builds pickups in Mexico and exports them to the U.S. without such a tariff. Fiat Chrysler also builds heavy-duty Ram pickups in Mexico, although it plans to move that production to the U.S. next year.

Japanese automakers, mainly Toyota and Nissan, use U.S. plants to build nearly all of the pickups that they sell in the country. Honda switched production from Canada to Alabama. Toyota does sell a small number of Mexican-built Tacoma pickups in the U.S., but most are built in Texas.

So there are grounds to believe car duties could make a difference, but it’s not that straightforward.

Six years ago cars were 49 percent of new-vehicle sales in the U.S., while trucks and SUVs were 51 percent. Through October of this year, it’s 68 percent trucks and 32 percent cars. All the factories GM wants to close make cars that aren’t selling well. The Commerce Department has been studying whether it can use national security reasons to justify putting tariffs on imported cars but has yet to make a decision.

Most automakers, including those based in Detroit, import vehicles from abroad that would be affected by any tariffs. And U.S. car exports would probably be subject to new or higher tariffs overseas.

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At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RepubliKKKans lie. That is a given. They also cheat and steal. The real issue requiring discussion is what is to be done about this.

We the People just expressed our desires for change in the only action we are allowed to take. Yet in at least four states, the RepubliKKKans are employing their own political version of the Nero Decree issued by their idol Adolph as it was clear that the Thousand Year Reich had timed out after just 12. So much for German political engineering.

That said, the current-day efforts by the RepubliKKKans to destroy what remains of the tradition of post-election peaceful transfer of power will likely succeed, and will go unavenged, because the democraps are corrupt, useless and clueless.


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