Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

There is no surprise in the news that FTC Chair Edith Ramirez is leaving the agency. And not just because a Republican will take the chair. It is because the FTC will basically cease to exist.

The regulatory agencies still have not entirely regained the momentum lost in the Reagan administration, when GOP foxes were appointed to guard the henhouses of government and feasted on chicken dinner for the next 12 years.

Of course, Donald Trump has trumped even The Great Deregulator, offering the Department of Education to Betsy DeVos, who wishes to dismantle public education via white-flight vouchers; the Environmental Protection Agency to Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier; the Department of Labor to fast-food tycoon Andy Puzder, who has agitated against a higher minimum wage; and the Department of Energy to Rick Perry, who campaigned on disbanding it.  



It's a conservative wet dream and a societal nightmare. But even among those ongoing catastrophes, the Federal Trade Commission will stand out. Because Trump personally violates the most fundamental rules for consumer protection almost every day.

For starters, of course, he is a pathological liar. If he were Procter & Gamble selling soap instead of a demagogue selling fear, he would be tied up in enforcement actions for all eternity.  

Let me tell you: the miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, which was so great to me last week and Ohio and all over, they're going to start to work again, believe me.”

No, I don't believe you, because it isn't true. Even if there were a growing market for coal (which there is not and never will be again because of uncompetitive financial and environmental costs), the jobs disappeared decades ago, when strip mining replaced subterranean mining. It was the emptiest of promises and a naked lie, but Appalachia bought his goods.

Voters equally bought his angry-sounding tirades about China's trade cheating and U.S. corporate offshore manufacturing when he used Chinese steel in his own developments and manufactured his Trump apparel in China. What the FTC calls this sort of behavior is “consumer deception.”

Then there is his sordid history of actual consumer fraud. Trump University was a scheme built on a foundation of fabrication, not least of which the guaranty that Trump “handpicked” the instructors who would teach enrollees the secrets of real estate. In a 2012 deposition in the fraud case against him, Trump could not identify a single instructor. That's but one reason the man who “never settles” paid $25 million to get the lawsuit behind him.

Sad! And illegal.

One area in which the FTC has been active in the past 8 years is the regulation of commercial endorsement on social media. It has cracked down on celebrity tweets that are undisclosed or insufficiently disclosed as paid endorsements. Now, there is more than one way to be paid. Quid pro quo is not measured only in cash money. (Although, you know, sometimes unlawful cash contributions from foundations do work wonders to make Florida criminal fraud allegations -- like Trump U. tuition money -- just disappear into nothingness.) This can express itself in many ways, from sudden reversals in foreign policy regarding Russian tyrants to a sudden love of the outdoors for a man who never stepped on earthly soil unless between tee and green.

Donald J. Trump  Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean@LBPerfectMaine

It is, of course, highly irregular and probably unprecedented for a president to explicitly endorse a business. But it's not as though Bean were a vocal Trump booster who had donated a fortune to his campaign.

Oh, wait. Yes, she was. Yet somehow Trump did not label his bizarre tweet as a paid endorsement. Warner Bros. and Lord & Taylor did the same thing, and got their ears boxed for their omission.

So, no, there is no earthly reason for Edith Ramirez to remain in the FTC henhouse. To paraphrase Shakespeare very slightly: “When good manners shall lie in one or two men's hands and they unwashed too, ‘tis a fowl thing.”

9 comments about "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, January 17, 2017 at 11:20 a.m.

    Should have let Biden run.

  2. Mike Kight from Kight Enterprises, January 17, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.

    It's funny how the %1 scream so loudly about the changes happening. Sad how Trump talks about reinvigorating the inner cities, bringing jobs back to America, stopping the wage lowering influx of cheap labor from the south of the border all are causes that used to be central tenets of the Democratic party. Of course that was the Democratic party before they were ruled by the Wall Street bankers, the Hollywood elite, the Tech Lords of Silicon Valley, the media elite, the Fortune 100 CEO's and the vast majority of billionaires. What happens if Trump does fulfill 50% of his promises? Will you apologize? Of course you won't because you will be to busy compaling about how much money you lost.

  3. Tom Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, January 17, 2017 at 1:59 p.m.

    Is somewhere between $30K and $60K, and seemingly closer to the former, "a fortune"?

    What about journalists who contribute to political campaigns? Should they be called out? Should their ability to be "fair and balanced" be challenged? 

  4. Dean Fox from ScreenTwo LLC, January 17, 2017 at 2:11 p.m.

    I heard that the reason that the Trumps want to move the White House press corps out of the White House is that they need the room for their new DJT merchandise displays.  I wouldn't be surprised.

  5. Chuck Lantz from, network replied, January 17, 2017 at 6:24 p.m.

    Since you put "fair and balanced" in quotes, may I assume you were specifically targetting those who work for Fox News?  If that's accurate, no worries.  None of them are actually journalists. 

  6. Jim Meskauskas from Media Darwin, Inc. replied, January 17, 2017 at 6:40 p.m.

    One is only worried about labor from south of the border if the job one once had was selling avacados out of a bag on the freeway.

  7. Ken Kurtz from creative license replied, January 18, 2017 at 11:17 a.m.

    Well, I would submit that Trump has made it clear that where there is fat, there will be cuts. The "press corps in the White House" has become superfluous. Trump is not going to waste taxpayer dollars on things that have, over time, become enirely unnecessary, and wasteful. He's not cut from the unaccountable cloth of the typical career politician that, because he/she is not spending his/her own money, allows unnecessary things that serve little purpose to continue to exist simply because they have previously. That is not going to fly with a guy that has always had to be accountable for the money HE INVESTED in his projects. Things are going to be turned on their ears, and feathers will be ruffled... but if it all amounts to even a tiny baby-step being taken toward making our government less ineffective, less inefficient, and less FEEBLE, well, it will be worth it.

    And if Trump decided to fill the space previously taken up by the money drainers (press corps) with something that will actually create revenue (DJT merchandise)... what would be the harm in that?

  8. Ken Kurtz from creative license, January 18, 2017 at 11:26 a.m.

    And as for Trump being a "pathological liar" Garfield... I don't know. I heard him tell many truths that were very unpopular with the majority in this country throughout the campaign (costing him many votes), and he seems to be doubling down on them now, with full intent to make them happen. That's actually refreshing when you consider that "W" lied about what he was going to do in office, as did Obama after him. Already, Trump is proving himself more honest than those two...

    I mean, what career politican isn't a liar? I gave Trump credit for telling more truth than most... even when he knew it would hurt him with many voters.

  9. Chuck Lantz from, network, January 18, 2017 at 5:27 p.m.

    "And if Trump decided to fill the space previously taken up by the money drainers (press corps) with something that will actually create revenue (DJT merchandise)... what would be the harm in that?" - Kenny Kurtz

    Great stuff!   Until I got to that sentence, I wasn't sure if you were just kidding. 

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