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Burning Issues: The Arms Trade As A Foreign Policy Tool

The next president should end the practice of recent presidents of using arms sales as an instrument of foreign policy, says William Hartung, director of the arms and security project at the Center for International Policy, in this Burning Issues video.

Trump Opaque

Trump campaign sends mixed message on Social Security cuts. WSJ: “‘After the administration has been in place, then we will start to take a look at all of the programs, including entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare,’ said chief Trump policy adviser Sam Clovis, during an event in Washington. ‘We’ll start taking a hard look at those to start seeing what we can do in a bipartisan way.’ … ‘Sam Clovis did not remotely suggest anything having to do with cuts,’ [campaign spox Hope] Hicks said.”

And tax returns. Politico: “‘You said you don’t intend to release your tax returns,’ [Fox’s Greta] Van Susteren began, referencing comments Trump made to the Associated Press. ‘I didn’t say that. I said I’m being audited,’ Trump quickly shot back. …. ‘Hopefully before the election I’ll release,’ he said. ‘And I’d like to release.’ … According to a February statement from the Internal Revenue Service, however, ‘Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information’ — not even an audit.”

Bloomberg’s Tim O’Brien once saw Trump’s tax returns: “…a court order prevents me from speaking or writing about the specifics of what I saw … [But] here are some general questions that a full release of at least several years of his tax returns might usefully answer…”

Trump meets Speaker Ryan today. The Hill: “GOP aides said there would not be a joint Trump-Ryan news conference after the meeting but that Ryan will hold his usual end-of-week news conference in the Capitol later Thursday.”

Protest planned for 11:15 AM Trump meeting with Sen. McConnell reports We Act Radio.

Spanish-language radio ads hit Sen. McCain in AZ. NYT: “…People for the American Way … takes Mr. McCain and Senator Jeff Flake … to task for refusing to act on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland … ‘Is it because they want to see Donald Trump — the man who called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers — get to name our next Supreme Court justice?’ the announcer asks in the ad…”

Bernie Angles

The Hill explores “What does Bernie want?”: “Bill Press, a liberal author and radio talk show host who knows Sanders well, said …’One, he still does want to win the nomination, recognizing that it is a narrow path. Two, he wants to shape the platform and what the Democratic Party stands for in 2016. Three, he wants to shake up the Democratic Party, its hierarchy, its direction and its priorities,’ … [Democracy for America’s Charles Chamberlain] said, ‘it is going to be very important that Hillary Clinton and the political class don’t close the door on this political revolution.'”

Sanders supporters plan anti-Trump initiative. Politico: “A group of Bernie Sanders staffers and volunteers is circulating a draft proposal calling on the senator to get out of the presidential race after the final burst of Democratic primaries on June 7, and concentrate on building a national progressive organization to stop Donald Trump … an independent political group far larger than any other recent post-campaign political operations…”

Biden touts VP Warren. Politico: “…he was sold on Elizabeth Warren as his running mate from the start, people familiar with the situation told POLITICO. And he still thinks the Massachusetts firebrand would be Hillary Clinton’s best choice to replace him … On Wednesday, the 66-year-old former Harvard Law professor refused to rule out accepting an offer…”

Breakfast Sides

Sen. Harry Reid tangles with FL Senate candidate Rep. Alan Grayson. NYT: “…Reid was on the House side of the Capitol to speak to the Congressional Progressive Caucus … Grayson then read aloud Mr. Reid’s statement from February calling on him to drop out … Reid, unruffled, replied curtly: ‘I want you to lose. It is true.’ … Grayson said after the encounter: ‘…Senator Reid made it clear that he’s too heavily invested in the Republican sock puppet he’s calling a Democratic Senate candidate to consider the truth…'”

New book from Stephen Hill says “Expand Social Security Now!.” American Prospect excerpts: “That is the only sensible solution to the retirement crisis. And we have a roadmap for how to get there: Tax fairness equals retirement security, which equals economic stability.”

New Pew analysis shows middle class is shrinking. W. Post: “…a clear majority of American adults no longer live in the middle class … The share of adults living in middle-income households has also dwindled in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Denver. It’s fallen in smaller Midwestern metros where the middle class has long made up an overwhelming majority of the population. It’s withering in coastal tech hubs, in military towns, in college communities, in Sun Belt cities.”

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