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Trump proclaims he will use Mafia tactics to force key US allies to pay off the national debt

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Donald Trump’s plan to pay off the national debt has been mocked as inconceivable by economists — and one key aspect basically amounts to Mafia-style extortion of the nation’s key allies.

The Republican presidential candidate says he will pay off the entire $19 trillion national debt in eight years while also cutting taxes by $12 trillion and calling for increased spending in immigration enforcement and medical care for veterans.

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That barely passes the eyeball test, but economists say the scant details Trump has provided — which rely heavily on sustaining a fantastically high rate of economic growth for nearly a decade straight — are even more ridiculously impossible.

Trump offered a few more details about his plan during a radio interview over the weekend with conservative host Joe Pags, where he vowed to use threats to force allies like Japan to pay tribute to the U.S., reported Right Wing Watch.

“It’s possible that if Japan doesn’t want to pay up, we’ll say, ‘Good luck and defend yourself,’” Trump said. “If that means they’re going to have to arm in some way, they’re going to have to arm in some way. We can’t afford to — we’re paying for the military of Japan.”

The real estate investor and former reality TV star has said Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia should be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons to defend themselves, which he said would save the U.S. money.

“I am doing so good on nuclear by people that are fair,” Trump said. “What’s happening now is we’re paying for the world’s — we’re like the world’s policeman but they don’t pay us for it. We lose a fortune on the military. You know, our military budget is phenomenally higher than any other budget but it’s not for us, we’re protecting everybody else and we lose a fortune.”

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It’s not clear how much Trump intends to cut from the U.S. defense budget, but he said his cuts would help preserve entitlement programs as the national debt was paid off.

“We lose a fortune on everything we do, and we have to make our country strong financially again and if we don’t do that we’re never going to have a strong country again,” Trump said. “And I’ll save Social Security. I’ll save things that everyone else says can’t be saved because I’ll bring back all of this money that we’re wasting on other countries.”

“We’re going to have a country like you wouldn’t believe,” he added.

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Trump described the U.S. as a “debtor nation,” but he said income from new tribute payments by allies and slashing foreign aid should pay off the national debt and fund his massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

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“Every time this maniac in North Korea — and it’s a bigger problem for them than it is for us, frankly — every time this maniac in North Korea raises his head, we start doubling up,” Trump said. “At one point do people take care of us? We’re a debtor nation. Our country is falling apart. Our infrastructure is dying. We owe all of those trillions of dollars — $19 (trillion), it’s going to be $21 (trillion) very soon with that stupid budget that was just passed three months ago, the omnibus budget. At what point do we say, ‘Enough, enough’?”

Trump predicted Japan would cave to his demands, and he said even Saudi Arabia would agree to pay tribute for U.S. support.

“They don’t like us so much and, you know what, with me, they’re going to like us and they’re going to pay more and they’re going to be very happy, okay?” Trump said.

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Catholic peaders promised transparency about child abuse — but they haven’t delivered

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It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

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Mike Pompeo’s behavior is straight out of Nixon VP’s playbook: historians

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expletive-laden dust-up with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is on message for the Trump-led Republican Party. Complaining that Kelly’s question about Ukraine was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” Pompeo has rallied the Republican base by slamming a journalist doing her job.

Whether he knows it or not, Pompeo is drawing from a playbook written a half century ago and perfected by a politician once voted the worst vice president in American history. Secretary Mike Pompeo, meet Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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‘Our chances of ever exiting the nightmare are shrinking’: Paul Krugman explains how the GOP is getting worse

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It is a great detriment to civil discourse that the divide between left and right in the United States is often depicted as being purely cultural — as if one’s politics were solely mediated by aesthetics, such as whether one prefers shooting guns or drinking lattes. This fabulist understanding of politics is harmful inasmuch as it masks the real social effects of the policy agendas pushed by left versus right. Seeing politics as aesthetic transforms what should be a quantitative debate — with statistics and numbers about taxation and public policy, questions of who benefits more or less from policy changes — and devolves it into a rhetorical debate over values.

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