At the Debate Last Night Trump Said GDP “Was Essentially Zero”

Last night at the CNN GOP debate there was plenty of the usual name calling and insults, but Trump showed a misunderstanding of the US GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and how the measurement of growth works.

“GDP (gross domestic product) was zero essentially for the last two quarters,” Trump said. “If that ever happened in China, you would have had a depression like nobody’s ever seen before. They go down to 7 percent, 8 percent, and it’s a national tragedy.”

Firstly, GDP was not zero, that would mean that there was absolutely no economic activity in the US in the last three quarters. We’ll give Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume that he misspoke. What he probably meant to say was that there was no growth in the GDP in the last three quarters.

This is not true either. In the last three quarters the US GDP has grown by 1 percent, 2 percent and 3.9 percent. In the year of 2015 the US GDP grew by 2.4. Perhaps not a boom economy, but 2.4 percent growth in a year is a sign of a healthy and sustainable economy. According to Investopedia, 2.5%-3.5% annual growth is considered ideal, allowing businesses to create jobs and run efficiently, but low enough to stave off inflation.

For the record, China’s GDP growth was 9.5% in 2011, 7.8% in 2012, 7.7% in 2013 and 7.3% in 2014. It is unclear if this qualifies as a national tragedy.

Sources:
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M77yZCl1BvM
http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-03-11/ap-fact-check-bruised-realities-in -gop-debate/
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/mar/11/donald-trump/no-gdp-growth-not-zero-trump-says/
http://www.investopedia.com/university/releases/gdp.asp
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG

General Tells Trump: The Military Are Not Your “Palace Guards”

Donald Trump showed a deep misunderstanding of the role of Commander in Chief at the debates this week, drawing the ire of many in the military. He declared that torture should and would be used on terrorists, and said that the US would commit war crimes by murdering innocent family members of suspected terrorists, in violation of domestic and international law. When questioned about forcing the military to break US law, and even the Geneva Convention, Trump said “They’re not going to refuse me, believe me. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.”

Hertling, a three star general and 37 year veteran of the military, said he had a visceral response to Trump’s proposed “toxic leadership”: “Somebody needs to remind Mr. Trump that the military is not his palace guards,” Hertling said. “They take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. They also abide by the rules.”

Trump has promised to enter into a war with ISIS. He has pledged to use torture and the killing of “family shields” in order to dissuade terrorists, all in violation of domestic and international law. He plans to use your tax dollars to do it, and to use the individuals in the US military to carry out these illegal acts. Hertling’s use of the term “palace guards” was well chosen, as these statements and positions echo the rhetoric of dictators past and present who believe that they are above the law.

Sources:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/03/07/the-military-is-not-his-palace-guards-retired-three-star-general-says-of-donald-trump/
https://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/three-star-lt-general-on-cnn-destroys-trump-over-torture-the-military-is-not-his-palace-guards/
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/08/world/does-torture-work-the-cias-claims-and-what-the-committee-found.html

Three Star General Describes Trump’s ISIS Plan as “Laughable and Dangerous”

While this exchange took place in 2015, Trump continues his hard line stance against ISIS. He has not backed off of his “bomb the shit out of them” mentality, and if anything has doubled down time and again. Trump won’t let the opinions of the world’s leading military men get in the way of his aggressive sound bite. A Commander In Chief that would completely disregard the advice of generals on the ground is chilling. Watch tomorrow for another post in which Hertling again questioned Trump’s military credentials this week.

Donald Trump has been a very strong hawk for war with ISIS. In the last week he has advocated torturing them, and earlier has planned to “take out their families.” In November of 2015 he suggests that the US “bomb the shit out of them.” In addition, Trump suggests that if we just “take the oil away” then ISIS will be hamstrung in the Middle East.

There is no room for nuance or diplomacy in these reckless statements of war lust, and at least one United States three star general has taken notice and taken Trump to task. General Mark Hertling has opined that Donald Trump’s plan for ISIS is “laughable and dangerous.”

Trump responded in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN stating that “I’m a better general than the general that you’re talking about.” Hertling is a three star retired general, a 37 year veteran and commanded the Seventh Army in Iraq. Hertling said, to Anderson Cooper in a separate interview: “I’m not sure he understands the art and science of soldiering, and the connection of military strategy with national security strategy. And he doesn’t, certainly, understand the complexity of what’s going on in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East…it’s delusional.”

Hertling goes on to say that Trump’s plan does not meet the criteria for a military action. “Well, as he has said, he is a better general than I. So, as a military man, he knows that all plans have to be feasible, credible and practical. The plan that he’s concocting right now doesn’t meet any one of those categories.” Hertling continues: “And, in fact, I would say, it is — it does meet a category of laughable and dangerous. There are people around the world are listening to this and not quite understanding what is going on in America with a guy that’s suggesting we just bomb and send troops in to steal the oil. It’s just not a good suggestion politically.”

Sources:
http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/07/24/donald-trump-general-hertling-live-ac.cnn

Army 3-Star: Mass Resignations If Trump ‘Bombs The S***’ Out Of ISIS [VIDEO]

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/06/politics/donald-trump-torture/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Hertling
http://www.econotimes.com/Trumps-campaign-rhetoric-ISIS-and-the-law-of-war-175424
http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/08/13/gen-hertling-trumps-plan-to-beat-isis-is-laughable-and-dangerous/

Repealing the Individual Mandate of Obamacare Would Increase Uncompensated Hospital Visits

In an interview on the Sean Hannity Show last night Donald Trump again raged against Obamacare and the American health care system, as he has done many times in the past. He stated at the 5:00 mark in the above video that “We want to repeal and replace Obamacare, we’re going to repeal, Obamacare is a total disaster for this country, a total and complete disaster. We’re going to come up with plans, and there are lots of alternatives, we’re going to come up with plans that are far less expensive, better for the people and better for the country.” Trump has been espousing his hatred of Obamacare with similarly vague rhetoric for months. He finally released the outline of a healthcare plan. The question is, will it actually be less expensive?

On the Trump website one of the first things mentioned for health care reform is the repeal of the individual mandate: “Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.” The problem is that this would skew the patient pool towards older people and people with expensive and chronic diseases, without younger, healthier people in the pool to offset the cost.

The obvious answer to this from the insurance companies would be to deny insurance to those with preexisting conditions, as was common prior to the AHA. There is a dichotomy here. You cannot continue to require insurance companies to accept patients with preexisting conditions without requiring a group of healthier people to participate in that pool. Premiums would skyrocket for the remainder in the pool, while younger people roll the dice without expensive insurance. Should America be the type of country that refuses to give healthcare to those that need it most because it will be too expensive?

This would also increase the number of cases and emergency room visits that hospitals and paying patients would have to incur, raising costs across the board. When a person has insurance they are more likely to come to a physician early, rather than the emergency room when their illness has become, well, an emergency. According to Motley Fool, since Obamacare’s implementation 12.7 million Americans are newly enrolled in ACA insurance, and a further 14.5 million have enrolled in Medicare. Those are people that are now able to pay for their healthcare, instead of the rest of the paying population when many of these would become charity cases for the hospitals. You can be sure that the costs would be passed along to the consumer.

Would that be “better for people”? Would that be “better for the country”? The Affordable Healthcare Act has not been perfect, and the roll out has been clumsy, but the evidence is staring us in the face that you must have a good population of healthy people in the insurance pool, or prices will continue to spiral out of control.

Sources:
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPnojBNIV-E
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/03/05/3-reasons-donald-trumps-healthcare-plan-may-not-wo.aspx
https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/healthcare-reform

Trump Says US Education Worst in World and Most Expensive

In a speech to caucusing Kansans on Saturday, Trump claimed “We’re getting rid of Common Core, we’re bringing education locally. We’re one of the worst in the world in education and we spend the most per pupil. So we’re getting rid of Common Core.” He didn’t elaborate on how he was going to get rid of Common Core, or more importantly, what he was going to replace it with. It is ironic that Trump would use a phrase as clumsy as “we’re bringing education locally” while talking about the sorry state of the US education system. Check minute 11:30 in the above speech.

As I breifly discussed in an earier post, there is certainly a problem in the US education system, and many problems that need to be addressed, but to say we are one of the worst in the world is an utter falsehood. According to the Learning Curve, in 2014 the US ranked 14th in the world in education, up three spots from 17th in 2012. There are approximately 196 countries in the world, so saying that the US is “one of the worst” can’t possibly be true.

rank

It is true that the spending per pupil in the US is high compared to the rest of the world, but it is most certainly not the highest. In a study by the OECD the US ranks fifth in education spending.

Capture

High perhaps but definitely not the “most.”

Sources:
http://thelearningcurve.pearson.com/index/index-comparison/2014-highest
http://www.worldatlas.com/nations.htm
http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2015/apr/21/jeb-bush/does-united-states-spend-more-student-most-countri/
http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/education-at-a-glance-2014_eag-2014-en#page4

 

Trump Promises To Both End and Expand Acceptable Torture

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Donald Trump is not shy about his advocacy for the torture of America’s enemies. In the past he has recommended killing the families of terrorists, decapitating members of ISIS, waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse.” He doubled down in a USA Today Op-Ed piece a few weeks ago stating “Though the effectiveness of many of these methods may be in dispute, nothing should be taken off the table when American lives are at stake. The enemy is cutting off the heads of Christians and drowning them in cages, and yet we are too politically correct to respond in kind.”

After coming under fire from a variety of Washington officials and military personnel, Trump reversed his stance on torture for almost 24 hours. On Friday he stated “I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities.”

Torture is defined under US law as an “act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” For example waterboarding, killing a captive’s family or decapitating a prisoner.

Yesterday at a rally in Michigan, 24 hours after making the above statement about not asking anyone to break any laws, Trump said “we’re going to stay within the laws. But you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to have those laws broadened because we’re playing with two sets of rules: their rules and our rules.” So when Donald Trump doesn’t like a rule he’ll just change it.

He went on to say “We have to obey the laws, but do you think ISIS is obeying the laws?”

ISIS doesn’t have to obey the laws because they are the bad guys. They cut people’s heads off. They destroy priceless artifacts. They torture people. That’s what makes them bad guys. The US is supposed to be the good guys and if we throw out the rule of law what are we fighting for? At that point, Mr. Trump, what is the difference between the US and ISIS?

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/16/politics/donald-trump-waterboarding-op-ed-usa-today-enhanced-interrogation-techniques-torture/
http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/politics/donald-trump-reverses-on-torture/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/05/politics/donald-trump-florida-pledge-torture/
Photo: http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/1024/media/images/60090000/jpg/_60090202_82355182.jpg

Trump Plans To Save Billions More Than US Spends On Medicaid Drugs

At the GOP debate on Thursday night, Trump repeated his promise to save $300 billion on Medicaid drug prices through negotiation. When it was pointed out to him that Medicaid only spends $78 billion total on drugs he immediately backtracks and says “I’m saying saving through negotiation throughout the whole economy you’ll save $300 billion…if you properly negotiate.”

In 2014, in the entirety of the US economy, $297.7 billion was spent on prescription drugs. Donald Trump actually looked America in the eye and said that not only would prescription drugs be free, but he would somehow make the drug companies pay $2.3 billion for the privilege to give their products away. This is a lie so easily disproved that it is surprising that Donald Trump would continue to promote it, inveterate liar that he is.

Advocacy group Public Citizen performed a study concluding that Medicaid could save up to $16 billion dollars a year if they received the discounts that state programs get. $16 billion is a savings worth fighting for but a long way away from $300 billion.

Sources:
http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/trackers/2016-03-04/trump-pressed-on-medicare-savings-claims
http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-03-03/ap-fact-check-claims-from-the-gop-debate
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/03/03/fox-uses-graphics-to-fact-check-trump-at-gop-debate-in-real-time-the-numbers-dont-add-up/

Trump Claims the Wives of Unmarried Hijackers Left Before 9/11

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In a year of crazy debates, last night’s Fox News debates was a doozy. Trump trumpeted about his penis size, and current GOP sad sack Ted Cruz ate something gross. I was unable to find definitive photographic evidence on Trump’s “inheritance,” so we’ll have to trust him on that one.

A relatively new lie that Donald Trump has been spouting is that relatives of the 9/11 hijackers left the US two days before that attacks. “They knew what was happening. The wife knew exactly what was happening.” Trump stated last night at the debate.”They left two days early … and they watched their husband on television flying into the World Trade Center, flying into the Pentagon.” He made similar claim on CBS’ Face The Nation in December when he said the hijackers “put their families on airplanes a couple of days before, sent them back to Saudi Arabia, for the most part.”

Overlooking the confusing language Trump used about the number of wives involved, according the 9/11 Commission Report virtually all of the 9/11 hijackers were unmarried and none of them brought wives or girlfriends to the US. Ziad Jarrah, a Lebanese hijacker, apparently had a girlfriend that lived in Germany and visited him in the US in early 2001, but left in July.

To give Trump some benefit of the doubt, he may be confusing the facts about family members of terrorists leaving the US in the wake of 9/11. To say that he confused the facts one would also have to assume that Donald Trump has any shred of respect for facts. In any case, relatives of Osama Bin Laden that were living the is US at the time of the attacks were released from the country nine days after 9/11. The Saudi government petitioned for their release, fearing reprisals once Bin Laden became the prime suspect. The Bush administration granted these requests and later came under fire for the decision.

Sources:
Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKO3nVGZcrs

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/911-commission-proved-trump-wrong-on-hijackers-wives/article/2584917

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/03/04/fact-check-detroit-republican-debate/81298894/

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/fact-checking-the-11th-republican-debate/

 

 

Trump Promises GOP He Will Not Go Independent, Discusses Going Independent

media-23e355271cb949b78531cd23c79707b7GOP2016TrumpSince Donald Trump has become a real force to be reckoned with in the Republican party late last year, he has emphatically stated that he will not run as an independent. In the last Presidential debate of 2015 he seemed to make a definitive statement. When asked if he was ready to reassure the Grand Old Party that he would not run as an independent he said “I really am. I’ll be honest, I really am.”

It would seem that this would be the final word on the matter, making a definitive and undeniable promise in an arena as highly publicized as an official debate. In the previous months in the lead up to the primaries he had threatened a third party bid, which would be a crippling blow to the floundering Republican party. He also signed an official GOP pledge promising to support the eventual Republican nominee.

He renewed Party fears last week and reversed his unequivocal reponse at that debate. On the MSNBC show Morning Joe on Thursday Trump said “But if I leave, if I go, regardless of independent, which I may do — I mean, may or may not. But if I go, I will tell you, these millions of people that joined, they’re all coming with me.”

Trump goes on to whine about his treatment, that “I signed a letter with the RNC and I said, you know, I wanna do this as a Republican. The pledges, they call it. But I’m not being treated the right way. I am not being treated properly.”

These statements nullify any promise that Trump could make. If he could “flip flop” on an issue on which he made a public and unambiguous statement, then signed his name to an official and public pledge, how are the American people to believe any of his promises? He’ll build a wall in Mexico, unless the Mexican government is mean to him. He will cut the national debt, unless someone calls his judgement into question. He will keep his promises, unless not keeping his promises serves him better.

This complete disregard for truth and any semblance of honesty is appalling and frightening. How can America expect Trump to enter into treaties and negotiations when his track record says that he will do the opposite when it is advantageous for him?

Sources:
http://www.wnd.com/2015/12/republicans-debate-in-vegas-trump-cruz-and-the-rest/
http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/donald-trump-independent-bid-220170#ixzz41r4mjElF

Photo: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/12/08/top-scholars-say-trumps-muslim-immigrant-ban-could-be-constitutional

Trump Promises to Keep Jobs in America, Holds Press Conference In Hotel That Hired Hundreds of Foreign Guest Workers

mar

Trump talks a big game about keeping jobs in America, and has consistently discussed specific American companies that have moved jobs overseas. In the past week he has mentioned Carrier and Ford several times, and in his press conference yesterday he added Pfizer to that list. His argument is that companies once used to move from expensive parts of the countries, New Jersey say, to less expensive parts of the country like Florida. Now these same companies are moving those jobs overseas. “Now they’re leaving from places they used to move to into other parts of the world. And we can’t let that happen….Millions and millions of jobs,” as stated at the 7:30 mark of the clip below:

This speech last night was given at the posh Mar-A-Lago club in Palm Beach, FL. It seems a strange choice, as Donald Trump has been receiving a lot of criticism lately about the hiring of foreign guest workers at this very club.

According to the New York Times last week, almost 300 Americans applied for jobs there, but only 17 received positions. Most of the positions were filled by “foreign guest workers” from Romania and elsewhere. Trump has applied for 500 foreign visas for employees of this club, according to the US Department of Labor, while the 300 Americans applying for those jobs had to continue looking for work.

The guest worker visas are legal, for the most part. The Department of Labor however reserves this type of visa for when an employer can not fill those positions with American workers. Trump’s company attested to this when they filled out the applications for the visas.

Trump has stated that “part of the reason you can’t get, you know, American people, they want full-time jobs. This is a four-month, five-month job. They want long-term jobs.” Of course the 300 applicants mentioned above would disagree. The real reason Trump is hiring foreign workers is that they will work for less money than Americans.

As quoted in the NYT article above, Tom Veenstra, at CareerSource, a job placement company in Palm Beach stated “We have hundreds of qualified applicants for jobs like those.”

The hubris needed is mind numbing. To have a press conference where American jobs are the first issue talked about in a club where American workers were passed over for cheaper foreign labor is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

 

Sources:
Photo: http://www.maralagoclub.com/Default.aspx?p=DynamicModule&pageid=296076&ssid=177998&vnf=1
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/26/us/politics/donald-trump-taps-foreign-work-force-for-his-florida-club.html?_r=0
http://www.richmond.com/opinion/our-opinion/article_f30becd1-95f4-5d6c-a39d-0531c32573f0.html