President Trump Plans To Violate 1949’s NATO Treaty, Setting Stage For WWIII

Republican National Convention: Day One

For the purview of this blog, I understand that promising to do something if elected President is not really a lie. Breaking a treaty is a type of lie however, and the gravity of the implications of Trump doing so persuaded me to included his statements here.

In an interview with The New York Times yesterday, Donald Trump explicitly stated that he would place conditions on defending an attack upon a member of the NATO alliance.

TRUMP: You can’t forget the bills. They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that.

SANGER: My point here is, can the members of NATO, including the new members in the Baltics, count on the United States to come to their military aid if they were attacked by Russia? And count on us fulfilling our obligations ——

TRUMP: Have they fulfilled their obligations to us? If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.

This is a direct violation of NATO’s Charter. The very heart of the charter and our alliances in NATO is Article 5:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

That charter doesn’t place a stipulation that the country is paid up, or deferential to the US or didn’t say anything mean about Donald Trump. That charter says “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” This is the document that kept the world safe throughout the Cold War, and possibly the most important document of the 20th century. Donald Trump wants to throw out the US’s most important alliance in our history because he thinks perhaps world peace is too expensive. Additionally, the only time that Article 5 has been invoked since 1949 is when our allies in NATO came to our aid in the aftermath of 9/11.

If Trump is elected, these statements essentially give Russia carte blanche to invade countries in Europe, as Hitler Putin did in Czechoslovakia Ukraine. Without the explicit promise that the US would intervene in a conflict in Europe, it greatly devalues the protection of NATO. Despite the shrill call of “America First,” Trump has been very pro-Russia in the past and praised Putin’s leadership style, and the consequences of his dismantling our most important network of allies is chilling. It is not hyperbolic to say that this could set the stage for World War III or a new Cold War. At the very least it could give Russia the opportunity to invade former East Bloc countries, as it already has in Ukraine and Chechnya.



Trump Jr. Accuses Clinton of “Destroying Medicare” as She Proposes to Expand It

trump jr

Latest in the Donald Trump parade of offspring at the Republican National Convention is his namesake Donald Trump Jr. Most of the night was spent on Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump however, and Trump Jr.’s speech was no exception. One claim raised my eyebrows immediately and set me to furious Googling.

“We’re going to elect a President … who will repeal and replace Obamacare without leaving our most vulnerable citizens without health care,” Trump Jr. said, “and who will do it without destroying Medicare for seniors as Hillary Clinton has proposed.”

If that doesn’t sound like something that Hillary Clinton has proposed it is because she hasn’t. In fact she has proposed to expand Medicare, in some cases allowing people aged 50 to 55 to join Medicare.

Opponents of Hillary Clinton and a single payer health care expansion could see this proposal as a adding millions of potential patients in an entitlement program that is already stretched to the limit. In Medicare’s current form it is expected to become insolvent by 2028. Adding all of those younger people to the group could cause Medicare to crash and burn.

But Medicare is extremely popular. Its budget and bounds have been expanded by nearly every President since its inception, including Republicans Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush. Including younger people in the program, for which they would have to pay a premium, is unlikely to jeopardize the 65+ crowd that is already covered. Sherry Glied, health policy advisor at NYU told Polifact that “there have been lots of proposals of this type in past and not much concern about the effects on traditional Medicare, assuming premiums are set correctly,” Glied said, adding it “raised no concerns about effects on the program as a whole.”

Donald Trump Jr. said that Hillary Clinton wants to destroy Medicare while she is actually proposing to expand a popular health care program to millions of more Americans. Clearly Donald Trump Jr. has learned a lot about honesty from his father.


Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michelle Obama At RNC, Gets Rick Rolled.

Speeches from presumptive First Ladies will seem similar. A lot of talk about family, what a good husband and father the candidate is, working hard and of course the children. But Melania Trump’s speech last night bore a bit too much similarity to Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, with entire passages lifted almost word for word from the the current First Lady’s speech. The transcripts below are from The New York Times.

Melania Trump last night:

“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

Michelle Obama, in her 2008 DNC speech:

“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

Note the very similar formats to the beginning of the following paragraph without lifting precise words. Melania Trump just plugged in her own information to the exact same sentiment used by Michelle Obama. The last sentence is particularly telling with the somewhat unusual words of “integrity,” “compassion,” “intelligence” and “reflects” all appearing in the exact same order.

Melania Trump, last night:

“I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then-Communist country in Central Europe. My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hard-working mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father, Viktor, instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflects to this day on me and for my love of family and America.”

Michelle Obama, from the same speech in 2008:

“And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.”

While many similar sentiments will be espoused in any First Lady speech, some of the exact wording is very suspect, and there is no doubt in my mind that Melania cribbed these passages from the current First Lady’s speech. She almost certainly watched the speeches of presumptive First Ladies for the last few conventions, and it seems very unlikely that she would not have seen Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech in preparing for her speech last night.

Melania Trump said to Matt Lauer before the Convention that “I wrote it with as little help as possible,” leaving out the possibility that some poor intern or assistant can be thrown under the bus.

The Trump campaign is trying to blow these allegations off, with Paul Manafort saying “We’re comfortable that the words that she used at personal to her.”

Chris Christie went further saying “I just don’t see it. If we’re talking about 7% of a speech, that was really, universally considered to be a good performance by Melania. I know her. There’s no way that Melania Trump was plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech.”

“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” was the statement released by Trump senior advisor Jason Miller. That statement does allow that Melania “included fragments” of another person’s work without attributing them. That is the definition of plagiarism.

Plagiarism is one thing, but plagiarizing an OBAMA at the Republican National Convention? She’s lucky she made it out of there alive.

In other weird news about this speech, it appears that Melania Trump was Rick Rolled by someone that may have helped her write the speech, according to the NY Post.
“He will never give up, and most importantly, he will never, ever let you down,” she told the gathered Repubs. She did not address whether Donald Trump was likely to run around or desert you, however.


Trump Says It’s OK for Pence To Have Voted for Iraq, But Not Clinton

Donald Trump and Mike Pence sat down last night on 60 Minutes with Lesley Stahl in their first interview together. They differed on many subjects, but one contradiction from Trump stands out. Trump claims he was against the Iraq War “from the beginning” (he wasn’t) and has often and consistently attacked Hillary Clinton and her support for the Iraq War.

When asked at the 0:45 mark of the above video (sorry about the quality, CBS’s video embed was not working), Trump and Stahl have this exchange:

TRUMP: Yeah, you went to Iraq, but that was handled so badly. And that was a war– by the way, that was a war that we shouldn’t have entered because Iraq did not knock down–excuse me

STAHL: Your running mate–

TRUMP: Iraq did not–

STAHL: –voted for it.

TRUMP: I don’t care.

STAHL: What do you mean you don’t care that he voted for?

TRUMP: It’s a long time ago. And he voted that way and they were also misled. A lot of information was given to people.

STAHL: But you’ve harped on this.

TRUMP: But I was against the war in Iraq from the beginning.

STAHL: Yeah, but you’ve used that vote of Hillary’s that was the same as Governor Pence as the example of her bad judgment.

TRUMP: Many people have, and frankly, I’m one of the few that was right on Iraq.

STAHL: Yeah, but what about he–

TRUMP: He’s entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.

STAHL: But she’s not? OK, come on–

TRUMP: But she’s not–

STAHL: She’s not?

TRUMP: No. She’s not.

STAHL: Got it.

Trump’s disconnect from the truth is so ingrained, so central to his way of thinking, that a respected journalist tells him that he is contradicting himself in a fundamental way, and he says he “doesn’t care.” He doesn’t care that what he is saying can’t possibly be true. He said that Pence is “entitled to make a mistake once in a while” but admits in the same breath that Hillary Clinton is not to be excused for making the exact same mistake.

60 min


Donald Trump Drastically Overstates Mike Pence’s Job Record in Indiana


Donald Trump announced to the world that he has officially settled and named Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. One thing that Trump has touted the most about Pence is his handling of unemployment and creation of jobs while governor of Indiana.

“Indiana, their unemployment rate has fallen, when he was there, when he started, 8.4 percent when he was governor, when he took over, to less than 5 percent in May of 2016,” Trump told the crowd yesterday. “Since January 2013, Indiana’s labor force has increased by more than 186,000 jobs. You have to understand, I’ve gone around to all these states. I’ve gone to all of them. And every time, I have statisticians. I say give me the stats on a state. And it’s always bad, down, down, down. Down 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent in some cases. Here’s somebody where it’s gone up. Private sector job growth is up by more than 147,000 jobs since 2013. That’s like very unusual.”

Far from being “like very unusual,” Indiana’s unemployment decline and job growth mirror the national numbers very closely. Indiana was fending off unemployment at a slightly higher rate than the rest of the nation until the last few months, when the unemployment rate in Indiana rose from 4.5% to 5.0%. To visualize, here are graphs from The Washington Post:

un graph

Job creation in Indiana has actually done slightly worse than the national average during Pence’s tenure.

trump change

The other claim that Trump rattles off at the end that job growth is “down 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent in some cases,” is ludicrous. Unemployment is only up in six states nationally, the worst of which North Dakota, where unemployment is up 3%. A completely false claim inserted into this speech to help bolster the mediocre performance of Trump’s mediocre choice for Vice President.


Eric Trump Can’t Back Up Claims That Donald Gave To Eric Trump Foundation


Eric Trump has been trying to defend his father’s claims of charitable giving in recent weeks, as Donald Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns. “My father has given me and my foundation hundreds of thousands of dollars. And he’s given other charities millions and millions and millions of dollars,” Eric Trump said last week. His charity, the Eric Trump Foundation, largely raises money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

The Washington Post has been scrutinizing Donald Trump’s claims of charitable donations of late, and contacted Eric Trump to confirm those donations to his charity. He could not recall a single specific instance of his father personally giving money to his foundation.

“I’m sure there have been but without going back through 10 years, I wouldn’t remember check for check off the top of my head,” he told The Washington Post. Eric Trump said that these “hundreds of thousands” were from Donald’s own pocket, but when pressed for evidence all he could come up with were two donations of $150,000.

These donations were not made from Donald’s own pocket, but came from the Donald Trump Foundation, a charity that Donald Trump has not personally given to since 2008. The checks went to buy sponsorship at charity golf tournaments for the Eric Trump Foundation, and occurred in 2008 and 2010. Trump did donate many rounds of free golf to be used as prizes for Eric’s foundation.

The Eric Trump Foundation sounds like a great cause, but unfortunately Eric Trump himself could not come up with any evidence that his own father had personally donated any money to it, much less “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” The Donald Trump Foundation may have given him $150,000, but again, Donald Trump has not donated any money to his own charity since 2008.


Donald Trump Claims “Substantial” Rise in Officers Killed. He’s Wrong.

“The attack on our Dallas police is an attack on our country. Our whole nation is in mourning. Yet we have also seen increasing threats against our police and a substantial rise in the number of officers killed in the line of duty,” Trump said this week in Virginia Beach.

He’s wrong. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 2013-2015 have the fewest officer deaths in the line of duty since 2000.


The long term trend is a steep decline in officers killed in the line of duty. Total law enforcement fatalities for 2013 was only 109 killed, the lowest since 1956. Here is a graph from the good people at


So in the immediate aftermath of the worst loss of law enforcement life since 9/11, there is a slight spike in officer deaths by firearms. Loss of life of officers by all means is static in 2016 year to date as compared to 2015. As of July 13, 2016 there have been 60 law enforcement death versus 59 in the same time in 2015.

The Trump campaign released an annotated speech and they reference a USA Today article citing a 44% rise in officers that were killed by firearms in 2016 to date, compared to this time in 2015. Trump only referenced officers killed in the line of duty, and did not mention firearms. Those numbers include the officers killed in Dallas.


Trump Claims To Have Personally Seen Black Lives Matter Activists Call For “Moment of Silence” for Micah Johnson

Repeatedly yesterday, both on The O’Reilly Factor and at the Westfield, IN rally featured in the above video, Donald Trump claimed to have personally witnessed Black Lives Matter activists call for a moment of silence for Micah Johnson, the sniper that killed five officers in Dallas last week.

“I saw what they’ve said about police at various marches and rallies,” Trump said in Westfield. “I’ve seen moments of silence called for for this horrible human being who shot the policemen.” He went on to say that “the other night you had 11 cities potentially in a blow-up stage. Marches all over the United States—and tough marches. Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac! And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer!”

On The O’Reilly Factor he had a similar quote, saying “When somebody called for a moment of silence for this maniac that shot the five police, and you know, you just see what’s going on. And it’s a very, very sad situation.”

There seems to be absolutely no evidence of a Black Lives Matter activist, or any other activist,  publicly calling for a moment of silence. Gawker claims to have found two social media posts by individuals with such a sentiment, but the “they” that Trump was referring to was Black Lives Matter activists at their marches. Trump seems to have made this up out of whole cloth. There seems to be no video that has surfaced, and news outlets are coming up empty.

Trump’s co-chairman and advisor Sam Clovis has come up empty as well. He was interviewed on by Chris Cuomo on CNN’s New Day and asked directly where Donald Trump saw the calls for a moment of silence.

CUOMO: But calling for a moment of silence?
CLOVIS: Well, it depends on the context, I guess, Chris. And frankly, I’ve had my nose buried in other issues. I’m not dodging your question.
CUOMO: Sam, you’re dodging it. You’re dodging it. You’re doing it artfully, but you’re dodging it. Context, my eye. Either you’ve seen they were calling for a moment of silence or you haven’t.
CLOVIS: I personally have not. I’ve seen moments where I’ve seen in some of these demonstrations, I’ve seen there’s a reverence paid to the shooter that is really startling. I think that is — when you have a person who purposefully and with intent murders five police officers, that’s terrible, and I don’t think you should celebrate that in any way shape or form.


Trump Claims to Support Veterans. Here Are Some Awful Things He’s Said About Them.

In the third installment from Donald Trump’s Veterans speech of July 10th, we compare the things he’s saying to veterans now versus things he’s said in the past.

“We made a promise, and we have to honor the promise we made to these heroes: You will defend America, and America will defend you,” Trump said on Sunday to the gathering of military veterans. “But that promise has been broken by our politicians like so many others. … We have to get on the ball, we have to get it right.” He went on to outline many planned reforms to the Veteran’s Administration, including faster wait times, wider options of care and eliminating waste. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that Trump’s planned changes could cost up to $500 billion dollars over the next ten years.

Trump has had a somewhat lower opinion of our nation’s military personnel in the past.

In 1991 Trump wrote a letter trying to get a 100 year old exception for veteran peddlers on Fifth Avenue revoked. “While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses? Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?”

Not quite one year ago he made these comments about Sen. John McCain, decorated war hero and former POW: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

He told Bill O’Reilly that he disagreed with the current generals dealing with ISIS, and had a better idea. “I would hit them so hard. I would find you a proper general, I would find the Patton or MacArthur I would hit them so hard your head would spin. There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.”

Speaking of Trump’s self proclaimed military acumen, he felt like he got the real military experience at his ritzy prep school. “I always felt like I was in the military. I got more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

He was drafted for Vietnam, but admitted to a medical deferment for heel spurs, and then bragged about it to The New York Times. “My number was so incredible, and it was a very high draft number. Anyway, so I never had to do that, but I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people.”

There are more, but we’ll end with the most disgusting. After Trump begged off from serving his country due to heel spurs, he compared the Vietnam war, where more than 50000 American soldiers died, to his sexual conquests in the 80s.

DONALD TRUMP: “I’ve been so lucky … In terms of that whole world.”
HOWARD STERN: “You’ve never gotten a social disease.”
TRUMP: “It is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of like, you know, Vietnam.”
STERN: “It is. It is your personal Vietnam, isn’t it?”
TRUMP: “It is my personal Vietnam.”
STERN: “It is, you’ve said that many times.”
TRUMP: “I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”
STERN: “A lot of guys who went through Vietnam came out unscathed; a lot of guys who’ve gone through the eighties having sex with different women came out with AIDS and all kinds of things.”
TRUMP: “This is better than Vietnam. It’s more fun.”
STERN: “Every vagina is a landmine, haven’t we both said that in private?”


Donald Trump’s History of Dishonoring Veterans

Trump Slams Jeb, Praises Putin in Extensive Interview with Bill O’Reilly

Donald Trump Says Violent Crime and Murder Are Increasing. They Aren’t, Really..

Earlier today at a rally for veterans in Virginia Beach, Donald Trump predictably spent a lot of time on policing and safety issues. Most of his speech focused on lowering crime and protecting police, while making the impossible promise “to make sure that every single citizen of this country has a safe home, a safe school and a safe community” (17:25 of the above video).

“Violent crime has increased in cities across America. The New York Times described the startling rise in murders in our major cities,” Trump told the Virginia crowd at about the 17:00 point of the video. But both of those statements are very misleading, and take into account only the first three months of 2016, where a spike in murder and violent crime occurred.

Trump sited what seems to be an often quoted New York Times article with the scary headline “Homicide Rates Jump in Many Major U.S. Cities, New Data Shows” from May of 2016. But if he had actually read the article, instead of just the headline, he would have read that while homicides in some major cities has increased significantly, the same number of cities reported decreases or similar numbers from last year. New York’s murder rate is down 25% from the same period last year, though Las Vegas’s rate nearly doubled. The murder rate overall in 2016 year to date is up slightly over the same period in 2016, but not exactly startling. The violent crime rate is also slightly up in 2016 from the same period of 2015. The Congressional Research Service stated that “overall, reported homicides were up 16% in 2015, but a majority of cities (44 of 60) have not seen a statistically significant increase in homicides.”

What Trump is ignoring in his attempt to garner your fear, is that the murder and violent crime rates are vastly lower than they were in the 1990s, and have been declining since. These new increasing numbers may actually be a victim of the police’s success as the murder and violent crime rates cannot go to zero, and being so low they are bound to sometimes go up. Look at this graph from The Brennan Center:


That’s right, violent crime is at it’s lowest levels since the 1960s. Almost as startling is that the murder rate is well below half of it’s peak in 1991. This graph is from Death Penalty Info:


With all of the horrific violence that has taken place in our country in the last few weeks it is easy to think that our society is descending into “total chaos,” as Trump said in his speech today. But low unemployment and better policing have lead to drastic decreases in the overall crime rate in the last decade. There is a disquieting increase in the rates for the first quarter of 2016, but don’t let a demagogue incite you to hide in your home, or worse, vote for Donald Trump.


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