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“A One-Man Lloyd’s Of London”: If Only Trump Came With A Money-Back Guarantee

Donald Trump makes more guarantees than a used-car salesman. I guarantee you.

He guarantees Mexico will pay for the border wall. “I’ll get Mexico to pay for it one way or the other. I guarantee you that.”

He guarantees that his still-secret tax returns are the hugest ever. “They’re very big tax returns,” he said after the New Hampshire primary. “I guarantee you this, the biggest ever in the history of what we’re doing. . . . But we’ll be releasing them.”

He guarantees that Karl Rove and David Axelrod were more violent with crowds than Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. “I guarantee you they probably did stuff that was more physical than this.”

And, memorably, he guarantees us that his penis isn’t small. “I guarantee you, there’s no problem. I guarantee you.”

The guy is a one-man Lloyd’s of London. But how will he make good on all his assurance policies? Are they money-back guarantees? Full faith and credit guarantees?

Some Trump promises are 100 percent guaranteed. When he tells the president of Ford Motor Co. that the company will be taxed if it builds a factory overseas, “I guarantee you 100 percent he will say, ‘Mr. President, we have decided to build our plant in the United States.’ ” (Trump at another point guaranteed the time by which Ford would capitulate: “I would say by 4 o’clock in the afternoon . . . But I guarantee you, by 5 o’clock the next day.”)

Other guarantees are clearly not 100 percent. “Another plane was blown up, and I can practically guarantee who blew it up,” he said of the EgyptAir crash, even though the cause still hasn’t been officially determined, and no terrorist group has claimed responsibility.

But here’s something you can really take to the bank. Trump’s “guarantees” are like pretty much everything else that comes out of his mouth: The truth is not high on his list of considerations, and he seldom suffers any consequences for the nonsense.

A notable exception came in recent days when The Post’s David Fahrenthold — dubbed “a nasty guy” by Trump for his efforts — reported that Trump hadn’t made good on his promise to donate $6 million to veterans’ charities after a January fundraiser. Trump, asked about the $6 million, said, “I didn’t say six.” Good thing he didn’t guarantee that he didn’t say six. Fahrenthold found video of Trump using the $6 million figure twice at the fundraiser itself and for several days after — including one TV appearance in which he repeated the figure four times in six sentences.

On Monday, the day before he came clean on the donations to veterans, Trump spoke at the Rolling Thunder gathering on the Mall. He claimed there were “600,000 people here trying to get in,” but organizers put attendance at 5,000 — and there weren’t long lines security lines.

I can practically guarantee you Trump knew that line would be in this column. At a candidates’ forum in November, Trump noted the full house and said that “the people in the media will not report that, I guarantee, because I know how their minds work.” If you think that was clairvoyant, consider that Trump, introduced to a 48-year-old mother and told nothing about her health insurance, decreed: “I guarantee you that she probably doesn’t have health care and if she does it’s terrible.”

Trump guarantees are sometimes technical (“I guarantee you they have substandard parts in nuclear and in airplanes because they get them from China”), sometimes audacious (“I know a way that would absolutely give us guaranteed victory” over the Islamic State) and occasionally quantitative: “I guarantee you” that if he negotiated with Iran, “a deal would be made that’s 100 times better.”

One hundred times better — or your money back!

Many of Trump’s guarantees will never be tested because they occur in alternate realities. After Ted Cruz and John Kasich tried to team up against Trump, the candidate said, “I guarantee you if they had it to do again [they] would have never done it.”

As for Trump’s uncouth antics, he says: “If I acted presidential, I guarantee you that this morning I wouldn’t be here” on top.

Diplomacy: “I guarantee you our relationships will be far better than they are right now.”

The tariff on Japanese cars entering the United States: “I guarantee you it’s probably zero.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: “Our guys have never even read it. I’ll guarantee you that.”

China and the TPP: “I guarantee you. . . . They’re going to come in through the back door in a later date.”

Hillary Clinton’s email server: “I guarantee you one thing: We’re going to be talking about those emails every moment of every day.”

Trump was guaranteed not to honor that last promise. It would have left him no time to make other guarantees.

 

By: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, May 31, 2016

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Domestic Policy, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Donald Trump’s Shocking Ignorance, Laid Bare”: He Knows Next To Nothing About The Issues That Would Confront Him

Donald Trump’s ignorance of government policy, both foreign and domestic, is breathtaking. The Republican Party is likely to nominate for president a man who appears to know next to nothing about the issues that would confront him in the job.

Such a sweeping condemnation may sound unfair. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump were already busy tweeting that I’m a “dummy” or something. But if you read the transcript of Trump’s hour-long meeting with the editorial board of The Post, which took place Monday, I don’t see how you can come to any other conclusion.

I should note that I’m not a member of the board and therefore did not attend. But The Post published a full transcript , and it is one of the most chilling documents I’ve read in a long time.

I have argued for many months that Trump should be taken seriously, that he has tapped into a legitimate anger and that he understands the Republican base far better than the party establishment does. I’ve had cordial conversations with him, on the telephone and in television studios, and I agree with those who say he should never be underestimated. So I’m not a reflexive Trump hater. I am, however, appalled at how little he knows — and truly frightened.

The editors and writers at The Post were not playing “gotcha,” as the transcript clearly shows. They asked straightforward questions such as, “Do you see any racial disparities in law enforcement?”

Trump’s response was to give an empty soliloquy, ending with the declaration that “I’m a very strong believer in law enforcement, but I’m also a very strong believer that the inner cities can come back.” Asked twice more whether blacks and whites receive disparate treatment, Trump offered this:

“I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t. I mean, I’ve read both. And, you know, I have no opinion on that. Because frankly, what I’m saying is you know we have to create incentives for people to go back and to reinvigorate the areas and to put people to work. And you know we have lost millions and millions of jobs to China and other countries. And they’ve been taken out of this country, and when I say millions, you know it’s, it’s tremendous. I’ve seen 5 million jobs, I’ve seen numbers that range from 6 million to, to smaller numbers. But it’s many millions of jobs, and it’s to countries all over. Mexico is really becoming the new China. And I have great issue with that.”

No opinion? China? Mexico?

He continued in that vein at length, bemoaning that “you’re losing Pfizer to Ireland,” until yet another attempt was made to get him back to the original question. He finally allowed that disparate treatment of African Americans “would concern me” but said it could be solved, if it existed, by creating “incentives for companies to move in and create jobs.”

He was reminded that tax incentives and enterprise zones have been tried many times. What would be different about his approach?

“I.think what’s different is we have a very divided country,” Trump began. “And whether we like it or not, it’s divided as bad as I’ve ever seen it.” The rambling speech that followed ended with a pledge to be “a great cheerleader for the country.”

On foreign affairs, Trump was even more vague and vapid. Asked about the future of NATO, he was skeptical of the Cold War’s most vital alliance. He complained that we devote “hundreds of billions of dollars to supporting other countries that are, in theory, wealthier than we are.”

Called on that figure, he dialed it back to mere “billions.” His proposed solution was to “structure a much different deal . . . a much better deal.” I can’t help but imagine German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande being treated like minor partners in building some luxury condos or a new golf course.

Asked about Russian aggression in Ukraine, Trump said that “other people” should be doing more. Asked about China’s bullying actions in the South China Sea, he seemed to indicate he would be prepared to punish the Chinese with a trade war — but later took it back and said he wanted to be unpredictable.

I won’t even get into Trump’s lengthy defense of the size of his hands. Please read the transcript. Then decide whether it’s conceivable to put a man who knows so little in charge of so much.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, March 24, 2016

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Domestic Policy, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“How A President Paul Would Remake Society”: Rand Paul Is Building A Bridge — To The Early 1800s

The official launch of Rand Paul’s presidential campaign this week showcased an interesting blend of proposals, with the junior senator from Kentucky agitating against the forthcoming Iran deal, racially unjust incarceration, and NSA surveillance. The bulk of it, however, was dedicated to a libertarian vision of government — one drastically at odds with the last century of American governance and more.

This vision isn’t just contained to his speeches. Paul’s budget proposals provide a blueprint for how a President Paul would remake society, and the result is eyewateringly radical. When it comes to domestic policy, his views are far to the right even of Paul Ryan, whose budgets would decimate the legacy of the New Deal. It’s a vision of government from the age of Thomas Jefferson, and ludicrously unsuited to the 21st century.

And yet Paul, despite fashioning himself as an outsider, will likely be a contender in the Republican primary, which means his ideas deserve close scrutiny.

Dylan Matthews has done a deep dive into the various Paul budgets of the last three years, and the findings are jarring. “The gap between Paul’s budget and Ryan’s,” he writes, “is nearly as big as the gap between Ryan’s and Democrats.”

On one occasion or another, Paul has proposed completely abolishing the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy; the Bureaus of Reclamation and Indian Affairs; all foreign aid; and the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. On the tax side, he proposes a flat income tax and scrapping the tax on estates, capital gains, dividends, large gifts, as well as the Alternative Minimum Tax.

As Matt Bruenig concludes, this would amount to a stupendous redistribution of income from poor to rich, likely unprecedented in American history. The poor would see their taxes massively increased, while the rich would enjoy a corresponding decrease.

In Paul’s dream world, other government departments get merely eviscerated. The Interior Department is cut by 78 percent, State by 71 percent, the General Services Administration by 85 percent, and the Transportation and Agriculture departments by a comparatively modest 49 percent cut each. The military was cut by 30 percent in early budgets, though Paul has since reversed himself on that.

But wait, there’s more! Science gets gored by Paul, with 20 percent of funding taken from the National Institutes of Health, 25 percent from NASA, 20 percent from the U.S. Geological Survey, 62 percent from the National Science Foundation, and even 20 percent from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which, you may recall, recently prevented an outbreak of Ebola in the U.S.).

These aggressive cuts to discretionary spending are the simple result of huge tax reductions combined with a balanced budget. But Paul also appears to be groping as far towards the libertarian “night watchman state” — limited to the police, military, and courts — as he dares. Though Paul’s views, tainted by roots in his father’s very long history of bigoted conspiracy nutbaggery, are far from the austere purity of Robert Nozick, it’s clear Paul thinks most of what the government has done since the 1930s is illegitimate.

He’s a supporter of the Lochner doctrine, named after a 1905 Supreme Court case that conveniently discovered an unwritten “liberty of contract” in the 14th Amendment and thus abolished most laws regulating working conditions. He’s a fan of the Supreme Court decisions against the New Deal. His latest budget argues that anything but a flat tax is likely unconstitutional. It seems clear that if he had his druthers, he really would abolish everything but the police, the military, and the courts.

This extreme suspicion of federal government is only matched by his reverence for rich people and businesses; Paul does not touch property law, special legal protections for corporations, or even the wretched mortgage interest deduction. His position would fit reasonably well in the Gilded Age or the pre-World War I era, when “due process” for workers was often non-existent.

But it was Thomas Jefferson who made the most sustained effort to bring the libertarian utopia into being. Fighting against Alexander Hamilton and his allies, Jefferson did about all he could, especially early in his first term, to implement the night watchman state. It didn’t work very well, and he began abandoning the effort by the end of his term — and he was living in an agrarian slave society. Trying it in 2016 is patently preposterous.

 

By: Ryan Cooper, The Week, April 8, 2015

April 10, 2015 Posted by | Domestic Policy, Libertarians, Rand Paul | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Pre-Racial Society”: 5 Policies That Republicans Loved (Until Obama Did, Too)

On Friday, Texas senator and likely 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) took some heat when Mother Jones reported that the right-wing Republican once offered a resolute defense of the 2009 stimulus law that he now derides as an archetypal government overreach. As a private-practice lawyer representing the Texas Retired Teachers Association, Cruz declared that stimulus money “will directly impact the [Texas] economy…and will directly further the greater purpose of economic recovery for America.” But today, he considers the law to be a failure.

Cruz is far from the first Republican to change his mind on an issue championed by the White House. Here are five policies that high-profile Republicans loved — until President Obama came along.

Obamacare

Since before it even became law, Republicans have decried the Affordable Care Act as a job-killing, freedom-crushing abomination. But the right wasn’t always so vehemently opposed to the law’s underlying ideas, like the health care exchanges, the individual mandate, and Medicaid expansion. In fact, they were developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, and favored by many Republican politicians.

As recently as 2008, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney considered his health care law — which was largely the inspiration for Obama’s — to be “the ultimate conservative plan,” and a “model” for the rest of the nation. But with Obama in the White House, that didn’t last.

Common Core

Today, Republicans widely agree that the Common Core education standards are a hostile, oppressive government takeover of the education system. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has compared Common Core to “centralized planning” in the Soviet Union. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) derides it as “the Obamacare of education.” Senator Cruz has vowed to repeal it (even though it’s not a law passed by Congress). State Representative Charles Van Zant (R-FL) warns that it will “attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can.”

But before Republicans began associating the new educational guidelines with the Obama administration (and, by extension, gay communism), they were quite fond of them. After all, Common Core takes after George W. Bush’s education policy, was introduced by the bipartisan National Governors Association, and at one point was adopted by 46 states. Even the aforementioned Jindal, now a leader of the anti-Common Core push, once defended it by promising that his state would not “move one inch off more rigorous and higher standards for our kids.”

Cap And Trade

Before Barack Obama became president, public officials broadly agreed that climate change was a real problem that required a serious policy response. Newt Gingrich even sat on a couch with Nancy Pelosi to talk about it( http://youtu.be/qi6n_-wB154).

Many Republicans agreed that cap and trade, which was developed by a “strange alliance of free-market Republicans and renegade environmentalists,” was the solution that combined the most economic and environmental benefits. In fact, almost every Republican candidate in 2012 backed the plan — until they decided to run against Obama, at which point they reflexively turned against it.

Today, carbon limits remain unpopular on the right, where they are falsely considered to be a job-killing abomination.

Deficit Spending

When President Obama released his 2016 budget plan, congressional Republicans reacted as they often do to his proposals: by attacking it for failing to close the budget deficit.

“While Washington is still racking up debt, this budget doesn’t even try to balance the books,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy complained. “In fact, despite the best efforts of Republicans over the past four years to rein in spending and cut the deficit, this budget would erase all those gains over the 10-year budget horizon by increasing the deficit and adding even more to the debt. Our children and grandchildren can’t afford such recklessness.”

But back during the Bush administration, McCarthy and his fellow Republicans didn’t seem to mind budgets that never balanced; that’s why they voted for deficit-busting plans like the Bush tax cuts or the Iraq War, among many others.

Indeed, the Republican Party’s pre-Obama attitude towards balancing the budget can be best summed up by former vice president Dick Cheney: “Deficits don’t matter.” There’s a pretty good case that he was right — but don’t expect any Republican to make the argument while Obama is in the White House.

Immigration Reform

For years, many Republicans have agreed that the United States desperately needs to reform its immigration laws. In 2013, the Senate even passed a rare bipartisan bill which would strengthen border security and establish a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already in the country. In other words, it closely mirrored President Obama’s goals. And that became a major problem for many Republicans. For example, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted against the 2013 bill despite having supported similar measures in 1986 and 2006.

But no Republican illustrates President Obama’s effect on the GOP better than Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Rubio helped craft the 2013 bill in the first place, arguing that the issue is a question of human rights. But a year later, he had abandoned his plans — because “the Obama administration has ‘undermined’ negotiations by not defunding his signature health care law.”

 

By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, February 13, 2015

 

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Domestic Policy, GOP, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Backing Up President Obama”: It’s Foolhardy To Forsake What The President Has Accomplished

It is long overdue for someone, anyone, to back up President Barack Obama.

Yes, it is easy to kvetch about the shortcomings he’s faced on both domestic and international fronts, and who can argue with the most recent Gallup poll that equated his approval rating to that of President George W. Bush, but as an early supporter of the president, I must admit, I am prouder than ever to call Barack Obama my president.

He’s smart, he’s pragmatic, and he’s black. Yeah, I said it. I’m a white Jew from the San Fernando Valley who grew up in an all-white and Asian neighborhood. Never in my life did I have an opportunity to demonstrate my unflagging support for a black man who clearly deserved the nation’s top spot, not because he is black, but because voting for President Obama demonstrated to the world that America values competence over race.

I am grateful that I have an opportunity to tell my son that I am responsible for helping elect the country’s first black president. And I know what the pundits will say: There goes another self-righteous white liberal who thinks he’s saving the world by backing up a black president. And all I have to say to you is this: It’s foolhardy to forsake what the president has accomplished.

It’s foolhardy to forsake the man who brought the country’s most maligned terrorist to justice. It’s foolhardy to forsake the man who inherited a suck-wind economy that is a lot healthier now than it’s been in years. And it’s foolhardy to forsake the man who had the courage to fix a health care system that no other recent president dared to fix because they didn’t have the guts to do so.

And I know what the pundits will say: There goes another self-righteous white liberal whose naiveté about how the world works is what gets the country into trouble in the first place. And all I have to say to you is this: It’s foolhardy to forsake what the president has accomplished.

It’s foolhardy to forsake the man who is dealing with ISIS, Ukraine and Russia, fallout from Ferguson, and every other red-hot world crisis that is happening at the same time. It’s foolhardy to forsake the man who believes gay people should be treated like everyone else. And it’s foolhardy to forsake the man who cares about the environment.

And I know what the pundits will say: There goes another self-righteous white liberal who is making excuses for the president and lacks any sort of moral fortitude. And all I have to say to you is this: It’s foolhardy to forsake what the president has accomplished.

It’s foolhardy to forsake the man who improved the image of Americans when traveling in foreign countries, it’s foolhardy to forsake the man who decided to tackle the inequities of student lending programs, and it’s foolhardy to forsake the man whose family values serve as an important role model.

Measuring the president’s approval rating is riddled with pitfalls. The Gallup poll feels more like a barometer for people’s take on how messed up the world is at the moment, and boy, does the world feel messed up at the moment.

And I know what the pundits will say: It’s the president’s fault. And all I have to say to you is this: The scale of what Barack Obama has accomplished as president has done more for this country in the long run than any pollster can measure, and if you realize this, hardly a fool that you can be called.

 

By: Evan Pondel, The Huffington Post Blog, September 24, 2014

 

 

September 25, 2014 Posted by | Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, President Obama | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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