Friday, March 31, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He's Not the Only Republi-CON

Paul "Ryan's reputation as a policy expert is under renewed assault.

“It’s hard to make a case that his efforts have been all that serious,” said Jared Bernstein, who was chief economist to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “His numbers never add up.”

The New York Times editorial board this week wrote an even harsher assessment of the House speaker: 'If he is the policy wonk of the Republican Party, then the Republican Party has no policy.'

To critics, Ryan's health-care failure is proof of what they've said all along: Ryan always presented himself as a serious thinker, but his ideas are half-baked at best. To his defenders, Ryan's failure on health care has more to do with a fractious Republican caucus that wasn't ready to unite behind any measure, let alone a bill that President Trump wanted to move through Congress in a matter of weeks.

A look at Ryan's record reveals that although he demonstrated far more expertise than the typical lawmaker, he has yet to confront fully the difficult compromises involved in making federal policy with a comprehensive plan that can achieve conservative goals on a major issue. . .

Paul Krugman, a liberal economist and Nobel laureate who is perhaps the most prominent of Ryan's skeptics, disparaged Ryan's work, saying it relied on a set of unfounded assumptions about a booming economy and inexplicably falling health-care costs.

'Swooning' commentators 'lavished praise on Mr. Ryan, asserting that his plan set a new standard of fiscal seriousness,' Krugman wrote in 2011. 'In short, this plan isn’t remotely serious; on the contrary, it’s ludicrous.'"

Read the Washington Post, Is Paul Ryan a policy guy, or does he just play one on TV?

Trump's Big CON: When Does Trump Tell the Truth?

UPDATE:  Reality sometimes sucks, but it is reality.

Read the Washington Post, Trump has nothing but contempt for facts and reality-based policy. Now it’s backfiring.

"Is there anything in President Trump’s insurance plan that covers congenital lying by federal employees?

The Congressional Budget Office ought to look into that, because if the coverage exists, the White House alone is going to sink the program deep into the red. Premiums will shoot sky-high, and ordinary liars, Hollywood producers, nutritionists, everyone at Fox News (with the exception of Chris Wallace) and all but two lawyers will be unable to afford coverage.

Already it seems that vast numbers of people in the Trump administration are in need of treatment. Trump himself has reversed the natural order of things — he lies more often than he tells the truth. In fact, several experts I consulted, whose names I cannot use because they do not exist, speculate that Trump tells the truth only when he cannot think of a lie." [Emphasis added.]

Read the Washington Post, Will Trump’s health-care plan cover congenital lying?

Read also:

Trump's Big CON: Is He Lying or Delusional?

Trump's Big CON: He Clings to Lies "Like a Drunk to an Empty Gin Bottle"

Easier yet, read all the Trump's Big CON posts.

Trump's Big CON: What's He Hiding: Is Trump a Russian Agent?

UPDATE VIII:  It wasn't long ago that Trump and his surrogates said that if the FBI was investigating you, or you sought immunity, it was a sign of guilt and were "a very bad thing".

Read the Washington Post, The Trump White House is in deep legal trouble, according to Trump’s own standards.

UPDATE VII: Oooh, you might say, Trump just did business with rich Russians.

"To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics — several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a USA TODAY review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor.

The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering. . .

[But] '[a]nybody who is an oligarch or is in any position of power in Russia got it because (President) Vladimir Putin or somebody in power saw some reason to give that person that job,'  Steven Hall, a former CIA chief of Russian operations,] said in an interview. 'All the organized crime figures I’ve ever heard of (in Russia) all have deep connections and are tied in with people in government.'"

Read the USA Today, Trump's business network reached alleged Russian mobsters.

UPDATE VI:  Here is how media and civil society work in Russia:

If you criticize the kleptocracy, they try to pay you off or bully you.

Read the Washington Post, Russian billionaire attempts to stifle AP scoop.

And if that doesn't work, you are killed.

Read the Washington Post, Here are 10 critics of Vladimir Putin who died violently or in suspicious ways.

And Trump admires Putin and likes the way thing are done in Russia.

UPDATE V:  "Manafort is only one piece of the Trump-Russia puzzle. Why is it that so many Trump advisers have connections to Russia, often financial ones? Why has Trump gotten so much money from Russian oligarchs and mob-connected individuals? What’s the full extent of the measures the Russian government took to help Trump get elected, and was there any coordination with any Americans, including those connected to Trump?"

Read the Washington Post, Here’s why the latest Trump-Russia revelations are so important, which asks "why is it that this scandal hasn’t yet risen to the level occupied by Watergate, Iran-contra and Monica Lewinsky?"

UPDATE IV: Of course, Russia has the help of it's useful idiots.

Read the Washington Post, Andrew Napolitano reportedly pulled from Fox News over debunked wiretapping claims.

UPDATE III:  "In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. said publicly that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of our assets” and that “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” The president now denies significant business involvement with Russians. Which is true?"

Read the Washington Post, Does the FBI’s trail lead to Russia?, which also noted that "Trump’s rhetoric about Putin and Russia has been anomalously gentle. He does not hesitate to blast German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a staunch ally, for not spending enough on defense; he goes out of his way to bash our neighbor Mexico; and he even managed to get into a needless row with the prime minister of Australia. Yet he has consistently conveyed his admiration for Putin’s leadership and expressed a desire for a warmer U.S.-Russia relationship."

UPDATE II:  "Trump was the candidate the Kremlin wanted. Trump was the candidate the Kremlin helped. And to everyone’s, including the Kremlin’s, surprise, Trump was the president they/we got. . .

For someone with nothing to hide and no reason for worry, his behavior strikes us as inexplicable. It was, of course, impulsive tweeting about nonexistent wiretapping that put Trump in this situation. We’ll see whether he has the self-control to stop making his situation worse, tweet by tweet.

Read the Washington Post, Five questions after Comey’s testimony

UPDATE:  Additional evidence:  "[h]ere's what we know about Trump's campaign and Russia:

The intelligence community has concluded that Russia meddled in the U.S. election to undermine faith in the democratic process and harm Hillary Clinton's candidacy, in part because Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed then-Secretary of State Clinton for domestic protests against his authority in 2011-2012.

Two members of Trump's inner circle — former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — have publicly acknowledged that they failed to disclose private conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Flynn lost his job; Sessions agreed to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election as a result.

But meeting with the Russian ambassador to Washington isn't illegal — in fact, you could argue it's part of diplomacy. It's the lack of disclosure that got both men in trouble.

Democrats are suggesting that Russia's involvement in the election and Trump officials' lack of disclosure about their ties to Russia point to something more. In a 15-minute opening statement, Schiff laid out a series of ties between Trump's campaign and Russia, citing former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled an unverified dossier on Trump and Russia. They included accusations that:

One of Trump's national security advisers during the campaign, Carter Page, has ties to Russia and has praised its president, Vladimir Putin.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had been on the payroll for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. [Note: read the Washington Post, New documents show Trump aide laundered payments from party with Moscow ties, lawmaker alleges.]

Trump officials met with the Russian ambassador to Washington during the Republican National Convention. At that convention, Republicans changed their platform to remove a section that supported giving weapons to Ukraine as it battles Russia for territory.

Former Trump adviser Roger Stone boasted in a speech that he knew of impending WikiLeaks documents related to Hillary Clinton's campaign before they were published.

And Flynn and Sessions would go on to avoid disclosing their conversations with the Russian ambassador during or shortly after the campaign."

Read the Washington Post, Six big takeaways from Congress’s extraordinary hearing on Russia, President Trump and wiretapping

 Trump is trying desperately to hide something. What is it?

With the House Intelligence Committee on Monday prepared to hold hearings on Russian influence in the 2016 election, the president issued tweets that did not hold up well as the testimony unfolded. . .

FBI Director James Comey announced that a criminal investigation into possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign was indeed active and ongoing . . .

The president’s tweets throughout the day were misleading, inaccurate or simply false."

Read the Washington Post, President Trump’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Twitter day.

As noted before, The Donald is Putin's Puppet.

Now it appears that Trump was evaluated, groomed and developed for many years.

"A Reuters review found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida. . .

The buyers include politically connected businessmen, such as a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities, the founder of a St. Petersburg investment bank and the co-founder of a conglomerate with interests in banking, property and electronics.

People from the second and third tiers of Russian power have invested in the Trump buildings as well. One recently posted a photo of himself with the leader of a Russian motorcycle gang that was sanctioned by the United States for its alleged role in Moscow’s seizure of Crimea."

Read Reuters, Russian elite invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Trump was spotted as a potential resource and groomed and developed for years by the Russians, originally as a way to move dirty money out of the Russian kleptocracy. ("Russian president Vladimir Putin is alleged to be the 'head of the clan', whose assets are estimated at $200 billion.")

Trump, who had financial problems, is know to reward those who help him, thus the quid pro quo.

Putin likely never thought it possible to get Trump elected, but when the opportunity presented itself, Russia went to work to influence the election.

And he may be an unwitting agent, but Putin has the kompromat to control Trump, and Trump knows it since he knows his own compromising financial and personal information.

Read National Review, The Trump ‘Kompromat’ Story Is Disturbing — Every Bit of It.

So again, what is he hiding: Is Trump a Russian agent?