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Off Topic => General Discussion => Topic started by: LunarOrbit on January 03, 2017, 02:03:43 AM

Title: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on January 03, 2017, 02:03:43 AM
I'm starting a new thread to chronicle the corruption and bad decisions made by Trump and the Republican controlled Congress.

For starters: remember when Trump (and the Republican party) ran on the promise to "drain the swamp"? Remember when I expressed concern about Trump's behaviour and was told that "he didn't really mean the things he was saying", and even if he did there are "checks and balances" in place to prevent it? Well, ha ha, funny story...

With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office - NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/us/politics/with-no-warning-house-republicans-vote-to-hobble-independent-ethics-office.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0)

Quote
"Republicans claim they want to 'drain the swamp,' but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House G.O.P. has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions. Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress."

- Nancy Pelosi

Trump's behaviour is not an act, and he has shown that those "checks and balances" are working for him, not for the American public.

An independent ethics body has been gutted by Republicans, without debate or warning. This is not something you would do if your goal was to "drain the swamp", it's something you would do if you wanted to do unethical things without consequences.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on January 03, 2017, 07:57:29 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/impeaching-trump_us_5869b806e4b0eb586489f3a4

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on January 03, 2017, 11:08:33 AM
How much support from Republicans would impeachment need?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 03, 2017, 12:00:24 PM
Enough for a majority in the House for impeachment and a supermajority in the Senate for conviction and removal from office.  So yeah, it's not going to happen, because the Republicans turn out to be perfectly content to roll over, regardless of the obvious corruption, treason, and general unfitness for office.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on January 03, 2017, 12:05:02 PM
That's what I was afraid of.

Maybe they will support impeachment if it means it will improve their own chances of re-election. Otherwise they might just get tossed out in two years.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 04, 2017, 12:21:54 PM
And there's considerable debate in certain circles about whether Pence would be better or worse.  I lean toward "marginally better," in that he doesn't seem as corrupt, he isn't in bed with the Russians and (to my knowledge) neo-Nazis, and he seems far less likely to start a nuclear war.  On the other hand, he is also competent, which means he has a better chance of getting dangerous legislation passed.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 04, 2017, 03:15:46 PM
The oddest thing I see about how Trump will conduct his presidency is that he appears to want to communicate directly by Tweet. Not just to the American people, but to foreign leaders. Not just by Tweets sat on and well-considered by his staff, but by Tweets fired off at random any time day or night. This is going to be a most, ahem, unusual style of presidential communication.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Ranb on January 04, 2017, 08:01:09 PM
I'm starting a new thread to chronicle the corruption and bad decisions made by Trump and the Republican controlled Congress.
I don't suppose if Trump makes a good decision it will be included in one of your posts?  :)  I didn't vote for this clown, but it is possible something good might slip by.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on January 04, 2017, 08:19:32 PM
If he does his job with the best interests of ALL Americans in mind then this thread will be empty. I'm not going to praise him for doing what he's supposed to do.

But sure, if he does actually do something that I feel is exceptionally good I will say so.

If he actually does a good job I will tweet an apology to him for doubting him. I'm sure he needs the ego boost.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 09, 2017, 09:46:48 AM
I'll give him credit for at least giving lip service to the idea that maybe the GOP should hold off on eviscerating the ethics committee. But I'll have to take away most of them because he seemed to indicate he wasn't against the idea itself, just the timing.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on January 09, 2017, 10:08:27 AM
Yeah, I think he just came out against it because people noticed the vote and were criticizing it. Trump basically threw the Republican party under the bus so that he wouldn't be blamed for their bone headed move.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 09, 2017, 01:25:21 PM
I don't even give him credit for knowing the ethics committee existed before people started getting mad at the GOP for trying to sneak it away.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on January 09, 2017, 05:42:32 PM
This is well worth a read:
https://thinkprogress.org/when-everything-is-a-lie-power-is-the-only-truth-1e641751d150#.3y6weaajv

Its interesting to see that Trump has also used Cambridge Analytica, the same company employed by the leave campaign in the recent Brexit vote. There are remarkable similarities in the way both campaigns were conducted and, unfortunately, in the devastating impacts that i expect to see from the outcome of both.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/the-british-data-crunchers-who-say-they-helped-donald-trump-to-win/
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 10, 2017, 09:51:06 AM
Trump, while rattling the nuclear sabres, has fired the heads of the National Nuclear Security Administration http://gizmodo.com/trump-just-dismissed-the-people-in-charge-of-maintainin-1790908093 . Not unexpected since they're political appointees. What is strange is that he did it with no proposed replacements. I don't know if that's a plan, or if he's still overwhelmed with the realization that he has to actually hire people to run programs, and get Congress to approve them.

When you're busy getting a Secretary of Education who never sent her children to public school, I suppose a little thing like managing the nuke program can slip your mind.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 10, 2017, 11:31:35 AM
Never sent her kids to public school hell, is opposed to the idea of public school.  She's part of the shell game that is charter schooling and was associated with a think tank that supported bringing back child labour.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on January 10, 2017, 11:59:52 AM
I should have titled this thread "Republican hypocrisy"

Quote
"It's curious and a little bit humorous that Democrats would talk about anything bipartisan ... given how they have vowed to obstruct everything we do." - Kellyanne Conway

Source: Conway dismisses need for independent hack probe, says Trump may reconsider sanctions on Russia (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/09/conway-trump-russia-probe-congress-hacking-obama/96338952/)

That's after 8 years of Republicans obstructing everything President Obama did, even going so far as to force a government shutdown. They didn't mind using obstructionism as a tactic when there was a democrat in the White House, but now it's wrong?

I also love how for decades Republicans were the ones stockpiling guns just in case the Russians invaded, or going on commie witch hunts, but now all of a sudden they act like Russia is their best friend and there's no need to investigate the hackings.

And the biggest hypocrite of them all? Mitch McConnell. He sent a letter to Dem. Senator Chuck Schumer in 2009 setting the standards for President Obama's cabinet nominees. It included FBI background checks, letters from the Office of Government Ethics, and financial disclosure statements. Now, the Republican nominees are failing to meet those same standards and McConnell wants to ignore them. Sen. Schumer sent the letter back to him as a reminder.

https://twitter.com/SenSchumer/status/818544880658108416
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 10, 2017, 03:55:17 PM
Yes, I never thought I'd live to see the day when the GOP was the party who thought the Russians were our official cuddle-buddies, and only nasty hawk-types could distrust their intentions.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on January 10, 2017, 08:47:29 PM
There's a report going around tonight that the Russians have been dealing with Trump for about five years, grooming him for a Presidential run, while also gathering information that they can use to blackmail him. I'm not going to share it because it hasn't been confirmed (and other reasons), but if it's true then Trump is headed for impeachment and a treason trial.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 11, 2017, 05:46:17 PM
This just gets more and more ridiculous. Trump will appoint Robert Kennedy Jr., noted antivaxxer kook to head a committee on "vaccine safety."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Luke Pemberton on January 11, 2017, 06:52:33 PM
This just gets more and more ridiculous. Trump will appoint Robert Kennedy Jr., noted antivaxxer kook to head a committee on "vaccine safety."

The anti-expert establishment is pervading Western politics. In the UK Michael Gove headed his tenure as SoS for Education by denouncing experts out of hand. He is even on record as saying 'he was tired of listening to experts.'

What is the possibility of Trump being impeached?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 11, 2017, 09:59:14 PM
Depends on how reliable the Russian blackmail situation turns out to actually be.  (Apparently, people on 4chan are claiming responsibility, but yeah.)  The fact is, he needs a majority in the House to be impeached and a supermajority in the Senate to be removed from office, and I don't think the odds of that are great right now.  No matter how blatant the evidence of treason is.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on January 12, 2017, 04:10:16 PM
Yes, I never thought I'd live to see the day when the GOP was the party who thought the Russians were our official cuddle-buddies, and only nasty hawk-types could distrust their intentions.

I have to say that, as unpleasant a man as Putin is, the US needs either Russia or China as a strategic ally, and given China's growing strength, Russia seems the more sensible choice.

Presumably the new Secretary of State will see the benefit in continuing to build a strategic network in Asia to stop China from getting too aggressive.

I don't remember where I read it, but I've heard the expression that nations have interests not alliances. Which is to say that sometimes it's in your strategic interest to have an ally whose internal politics aren't pleasant. A little over a century ago the two great beacons of republican and monarchical democracy, France and Britain, formed an alliance with the most repressive major state in Europe - Czarist Russia - because it was in the strategic interest of all three to contain Germany. Same again in World War Two with the USSR.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Luke Pemberton on January 14, 2017, 08:59:58 AM
While I cannot find the sources right now, there have been some interesting analyses that pertain to war between Russia and China, which then draws in NATO on Russia's side. The analyses is largely based on the need for a strong Russian-US alliance to counter Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 16, 2017, 09:47:47 AM
While I understand that a country that wishes to be part of the world, let alone have a leading role, must deal with the fact that few other countries are led by angels, the problem that I have with Trump versus Putin is this: Trump is an easily-manipulated narcissist, and Putin so far seems to be able to pull his strings without Trump knowing. It's one thing to have a leader who views the relationship with Putin as a useful geopolitical tool. It's another thing when the leader of the Western alliance seems to think that Putin is actually a friend of his, with the rights and claims on him a friend has, while he views the NATO alliance as basically a business arrangement that could be broken as easily as he stiffs contractors.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: alvarez on January 19, 2017, 07:58:22 PM
It's been a while since I've stopped by the Order of the Swastika, so I thought I'd see how everyone is doing.  Looks like not much has changed.

Must be a sad day for the people here.  For the Americans who for years had no problem with, or actively supported, assassination, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and the war on journalism, as long as you got health care - looks like you won't be getting health care anymore.  The families of your victims must be crying their eyes out at the thought that the people who have no problem killing then won't get their subsidised health care.  Is there no justice in the world?

For the obedient colonists in Canada and Europe, who look the other way at the terroristic activities of certain other presidential candidates, because she wasn't bombing you - we'll discover if Canada and Europe stay off limits to Americans "fighting for their freedom".  If so, we'll also discover if your attitudes towards assassination change when the victims are white instead of brown.

And don't forget, the person bringing you this message must be a Trump supporter, because according to Retard Logic, Trump supporters are the only people who wouldn't want to queue up to suck your glorious neo-Nazi ****s.

Congratulations, justice will soon be served to a group of truly evil people.  The problem is, your punishment will be inflicted on everyone else, too.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on January 19, 2017, 11:41:17 PM
It's been a while since I've stopped by the Order of the Swastika, so I thought I'd see how everyone is doing.  Looks like not much has changed.

Must be a sad day for the people here.  For the Americans who for years had no problem with, or actively supported, assassination, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and the war on journalism, as long as you got health care - looks like you won't be getting health care anymore.  The families of your victims must be crying their eyes out at the thought that the people who have no problem killing then won't get their subsidised health care.  Is there no justice in the world?

For the obedient colonists in Canada and Europe, who look the other way at the terroristic activities of certain other presidential candidates, because she wasn't bombing you - we'll discover if Canada and Europe stay off limits to Americans "fighting for their freedom".  If so, we'll also discover if your attitudes towards assassination change when the victims are white instead of brown.

And don't forget, the person bringing you this message must be a Trump supporter, because according to Retard Logic, Trump supporters are the only people who wouldn't want to queue up to suck your glorious neo-Nazi ****s.

Congratulations, justice will soon be served to a group of truly evil people.  The problem is, your punishment will be inflicted on everyone else, too.

If I am parsing your post correctly, you think this forum's membership is entirely made up of Trump supporters, and that makes us all neo-Nazis?

OK, I'll bite. I am a supporter of environmental organisations (financial contributor to both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd - some would argue that the latter makes ME a supporter of terrorism). I am a 20 year veteran of our armed forces and have served in combat zones in the Middle East. I am also a long time "Labour" (centre-left) candidate voter although my party vote has been going to the Green Party since the early 1990s.

I think the election of Trump to POTUS is greatest setback to the environmental movement this planet has ever seen. He will undo years of hard work and hard-won progress done by the environmental lobby world wide. Trump is a rampant misogynist, a racist, a pathological liar and an adherent to some of the world's most barmy conspiracy theories. He is a potential disaster for the Pale Blue dot... his election to office could well be the entry Earth's entry point to "The Great Filter".

All this makes me a neo-Nazi? OK, got it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: BazBear on January 19, 2017, 11:50:57 PM
It's been a while since I've stopped by the Order of the Swastika, so I thought I'd see how everyone is doing.  Looks like not much has changed.

Must be a sad day for the people here.  For the Americans who for years had no problem with, or actively supported, assassination, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and the war on journalism, as long as you got health care - looks like you won't be getting health care anymore.  The families of your victims must be crying their eyes out at the thought that the people who have no problem killing then won't get their subsidised health care.  Is there no justice in the world?

For the obedient colonists in Canada and Europe, who look the other way at the terroristic activities of certain other presidential candidates, because she wasn't bombing you - we'll discover if Canada and Europe stay off limits to Americans "fighting for their freedom".  If so, we'll also discover if your attitudes towards assassination change when the victims are white instead of brown.

And don't forget, the person bringing you this message must be a Trump supporter, because according to Retard Logic, Trump supporters are the only people who wouldn't want to queue up to suck your glorious neo-Nazi ****s.

Congratulations, justice will soon be served to a group of truly evil people.  The problem is, your punishment will be inflicted on everyone else, too.
What on Terra are you fuxxing talking about? Ranting is all well and good, but sometimes rants make people look less than rational (to be civil).
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: BazBear on January 20, 2017, 12:05:13 AM
It's been a while since I've stopped by the Order of the Swastika, so I thought I'd see how everyone is doing.  Looks like not much has changed.
Do you have any evidence of fascistic posting by the regulars here?

Quote
Must be a sad day for the people here.  For the Americans who for years had no problem with, or actively supported, assassination, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and the war on journalism, as long as you got health care - looks like you won't be getting health care anymore.  The families of your victims must be crying their eyes out at the thought that the people who have no problem killing then won't get their subsidised health care.  Is there no justice in the world?
WTF does this mean? Pure ranting as far as I can tell.

Quote
For the obedient colonists in Canada and Europe, who look the other way at the terroristic activities of certain other presidential candidates, because she wasn't bombing you - we'll discover if Canada and Europe stay off limits to Americans "fighting for their freedom".  If so, we'll also discover if your attitudes towards assassination change when the victims are white instead of brown.
Once again, WTF does this mean? Pure ranting as far as I can tell... again.

Quote
And don't forget, the person bringing you this message must be a Trump supporter, because according to Retard Logic, Trump supporters are the only people who wouldn't want to queue up to suck your glorious neo-Nazi ****s.
Read my last two replies.

Quote
Congratulations, justice will soon be served to a group of truly evil people.  The problem is, your punishment will be inflicted on everyone else, too.
1) I didn't vote for the Trumpster, 2) I suspect - but don't know - that most of the regulars here didn't either, and 3) stick your neo-Nazi accusations where the sun don't shine.

WTF are you on?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on January 20, 2017, 03:35:31 AM
It's been a while since I've stopped by the Order of the Swastika, so I thought I'd see how everyone is doing.  Looks like not much has changed.

Must be a sad day for the people here.  For the Americans who for years had no problem with, or actively supported, assassination, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and the war on journalism, as long as you got health care - looks like you won't be getting health care anymore.  The families of your victims must be crying their eyes out at the thought that the people who have no problem killing then won't get their subsidised health care.  Is there no justice in the world?

For the obedient colonists in Canada and Europe, who look the other way at the terroristic activities of certain other presidential candidates, because she wasn't bombing you - we'll discover if Canada and Europe stay off limits to Americans "fighting for their freedom".
  If so, we'll also discover if your attitudes towards assassination change when the victims are white instead of brown.

And don't forget, the person bringing you this message must be a Trump supporter, because according to Retard Logic, Trump supporters are the only people who wouldn't want to queue up to suck your glorious neo-Nazi ****s.

Congratulations, justice will soon be served to a group of truly evil people.  The problem is, your punishment will be inflicted on everyone else, too.

If I am parsing your post correctly, you think this forum's membership is entirely made up of Trump supporters, and that makes us all neo-Nazis?

[snip]

*sigh*

No, our friend Alvarez is an anti-Obama/Clinton person (see the bolded bit above).

I'm curious, Alvarez, where do you live?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on January 20, 2017, 03:52:57 AM
Blimey....it's been a while since this place had a proper, spittle-flecked, swivel-eyed ranger on here.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on January 20, 2017, 04:15:00 AM
I is confused. Who is the order of the swastika? Do we have many Buddhists or Hindus or Shinto here?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 20, 2017, 11:54:53 AM
Has anyone else been following the confirmation hearings?  Looks like my kids' education is about to be in the hands of a woman whose only qualification is that her family has donated some $200 million to the Republican Party over the years.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on January 20, 2017, 11:57:33 AM
Good wind in DC today. Makes the flag flutter just right.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 20, 2017, 12:28:56 PM
I would have thought Trump would have arranged for bright sun and 70 F temperatures. Staff has let him down. Sad.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Luke Pemberton on January 21, 2017, 01:24:05 PM
Has anyone else been following the confirmation hearings?  Looks like my kids' education is about to be in the hands of a woman whose only qualification is that her family has donated some $200 million to the Republican Party over the years.

Pretty much like education in the UK was handed over to an Oxford Historian, whose entire education policy was based on his own grammar school experience while simultaneously tarring the entire teaching profession as the 'left wing' blob. Every kid in the country must follow a rigorous set of exams as standards must be raised (that was the mantra).
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on January 21, 2017, 01:30:11 PM
24 hours have past. Not dead yet. Or groped.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Apollo 957 on January 26, 2017, 04:55:10 AM
Lifted from another forum today;

"The current situation where we have a country with the most advanced science and technology institutions and companies in the world dictated to by a mentally-impaired clown in the throes of a temper tantrum backed up by a load of religious idiots is just not a viable situation for anyone.

People who can land a vehicle on Mars and keep it running for 13 years do not deserve to be dictated to by a total f***ing idiot."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 26, 2017, 12:52:39 PM
Apparently, some dozen federal agencies have started unofficial Twitter accounts to get around the gag order.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on January 26, 2017, 01:46:37 PM
So he's advocating torture, suggested we should have plundered Iraq. It's like he's trying to be a cartoon villain.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 26, 2017, 01:53:01 PM
Apparently an unexpected number of top bureaucrats at the State Department have announced their resignation in advent of Tillerson's taking control.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 26, 2017, 02:20:05 PM
Sean Spicer, Press Secretary, has apparently sent out two tweets today:

"n8y25ah7"

and

"Aqenbpuu"

Some people think it's his Twitter password, and the one he reset it to after realizing he'd sent out the first one. Some think they're the nuclear codes. I think they're the most intelligible things to come out of his office for the week.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on January 26, 2017, 06:58:40 PM
I do wonder if Trump has a real chance of becoming the fifth.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Luke Pemberton on January 26, 2017, 11:11:34 PM
People who can land a vehicle on Mars and keep it running for 13 years do not deserve to be dictated to by a total f***ing idiot."

... but sadly Trump does not have the mental capacity to understand that he's wearing the Emperor's new clothes.

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 29, 2017, 09:48:14 AM
in the next segment, the Glorious Leader has reorganized the National Security Council. Steve Bannon, declared white nationalist, is in. Of course that means someone must be out, because you can't just stick another chair at the table.

Who's out? No one important. Just the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence.  Because why on earth would you need to have them involved?

I know there are at least a couple of people on this board, people I consider sane and of good character, who supported Trump. Can you say today, this is what I wanted when I voted for Trump? Because to my eyes, this has moved beyond madness.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: BazBear on January 29, 2017, 10:44:17 AM
I wouldn't have voted for this clown for dog catcher, but I thought his campaign rhetoric was probably a bunch of radical crazy populist B.S.; but once elected and in office, I thought cooler, saner heads would prevail. It looks like I was very, very, very self deluded.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Luke Pemberton on January 29, 2017, 12:12:06 PM
Not that it will make a difference, but it is rather entertaining watching the numbers tick over on this petition to Parliament.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 29, 2017, 12:53:39 PM
I wouldn't have voted for this clown for dog catcher, but I thought his campaign rhetoric was probably a bunch of radical crazy populist B.S.; but once elected and in office, I thought cooler, saner heads would prevail. It looks like I was very, very, very self deluded.

Whose saner heads, though?  Since basically no one was willing to stand up to him during the campaign, who was left to do it once he was in power?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Luke Pemberton on January 29, 2017, 01:12:59 PM
I wouldn't have voted for this clown for dog catcher, but I thought his campaign rhetoric was probably a bunch of radical crazy populist B.S.; but once elected and in office, I thought cooler, saner heads would prevail. It looks like I was very, very, very self deluded.

Whose saner heads, though?  Since basically no one was willing to stand up to him during the campaign, who was left to do it once he was in power?

Exactly, with the lurch to fundamentalist right-wing views in the higher echelons of the Republican camp, it was clear that many forces were at play, and this administration is the collective policy of disgruntled alt-right extremists that are grinding every axe they can find. They've had 8 years to concoct this agenda. There are no saner voices. This is the voice of collective policy, not the demagogue that sits in the Oval Office. The manner with which Trump assembled his cabinet shows a collection of secularist politicians and the self-interest of the rich, and this will shape US economic, foreign and domestic policy. LGBT rights will be next.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 29, 2017, 01:46:16 PM
I don't understand - courts issue a stay of the immigration ban, and DHS says, "Bleep you, we're keeping it in place anyway." What happened to rule of law?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on January 29, 2017, 02:34:07 PM
I was reading through your Imperious Leader's most recent Executive Order regarding travel restrictions on people from certain countries, and I thought some of it had a familiar feel to it. It took me a while to realise that the rhetoric and sentiment is very similar to that given by another right-wing Head of State on January 30, 1939. (http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/holoprelude/jewishquestion.html)
 
Currently, the world is in almost as deep a state of crisis as it was in the 1930s and 1940s when the political climate in the Weimar Republic gave us Hitler. The very existence of human civilization on this planet is under threat and, year upon year, things are getting worse. Globally, democratic political systems have become paralyzed in dealing with this threat almost as much they were in dealing with the Great Depression. Real wage levels are back to where they were 85 years ago while social peace is maintained by record setting levels of debt. Since 9/11, we have seen a continually growing campaign among democratic societies to reduce civil liberties, claiming that this is a necessary step in fighting terrorism. It is worth noting that as Trump attempts to shut the door on Muslims because they might be terrorists, his actions bear a disturbing similarity to what US Attorney General Francis Biddle said in 1942....“every precaution must be taken to prevent enemy agents slipping across our borders. We already have had experience with them and we know them to be well trained and clever.”. He was effectively closing the door on Jews because they might be Nazi spies.

The threat of a new totalitarianism remains and continues to grow.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: apollo16uvc on January 29, 2017, 05:58:08 PM
My google news feet requested the following news article some days ago:

"Trump's new head of science ministry believes Apollo was faked"

Or a title along those lines. I didn't even bother to click it. Surely its a stupid click bait title.
However, if the USA really has a science ministry which believes that... than the country truly has elected someone who can not separate facts from bullcrap.

Toodle-pip
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on January 29, 2017, 07:11:02 PM
Not sure if this is what you're referring to or not, but apparently one of Trump's advisors (Roger Stone) believes "the moon landing" (as in "the one moon landing") was filmed in New Jersey.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/10/19/top-trump-adviser-roger-stone-moon-landing-video-was-hoax-filmed-new-jersey/213921 (http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/10/19/top-trump-adviser-roger-stone-moon-landing-video-was-hoax-filmed-new-jersey/213921)

Trump is an idiot who surrounds himself with idiots.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: apollo16uvc on January 29, 2017, 07:34:45 PM
I wonder why he is so oddly specific about the location it was shot.

Also 'the moon landing video'? like only one video from a single camera was made... which is wrong. The Apollo 11 LEM and EVA had two video camera's, SSTV live feed camera and 16mm film camera.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on January 29, 2017, 09:58:33 PM
Well, this is what you get when you vote an imbecile into office. He will surround himself with an echo chamber full of imbeciles.

Sorry America, you can't say you weren't warned.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Allan F on January 29, 2017, 10:58:24 PM
I wonder why he is so oddly specific about the location it was shot.

Also 'the moon landing video'? like only one video from a single camera was made... which is wrong. The Apollo 11 LEM and EVA had two video camera's, SSTV live feed camera and 16mm film camera.

Probably because he sounds more convincing, when he provides some kind of detail, instead of waving his hands in an westernly direction.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on January 30, 2017, 07:00:11 AM
Not that it will make a difference, but it is rather entertaining watching the numbers tick over on this petition to Parliament.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928

Is that a genuine petition? That is, are they genuine people signing that petition, or just a bunch of bots?

I mean, each time I hit the Refresh button, another 50-100 people have signed it...
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gwiz on January 30, 2017, 07:08:47 AM
Well, I've signed it and I know several other people who have too.  They send you an e-mail link to click to prove that your address is genuine.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 30, 2017, 10:41:31 AM
Well, I've signed it and I know several other people who have too.  They send you an e-mail link to click to prove that your address is genuine.

It's apparently genuine. Theresa May so far says she'll ignore it because it's just "populist". I dunno, when 1 out of every 50 or so people in your country sign it, it seems like you might have an issue here.

Apparently Trump is a little edgy about having to meet the Royal Family anyway, since Charles is a known supporter of action on climate change, and Trump fears he will "lecture" him.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on January 30, 2017, 11:10:56 AM

It's apparently genuine. Theresa May so far says she'll ignore it because it's just "populist".

Damn shame that she's not doing the same with the Brexit referendum. After all, that was advisory and most definitely based on populism!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 30, 2017, 11:52:57 AM
I don't understand - courts issue a stay of the immigration ban, and DHS says, "Bleep you, we're keeping it in place anyway." What happened to rule of law?

I've been trying to explain to the friend of a friend why I think the ban is unconstitutional.  She insists it isn't because the Constitution doesn't apply to non-citizens.  I informed her that it literally doesn't matter, as this is a situation where the government is explicitly favouring adherents of one religion over adherents of another with Trump's statement that Christian refugees will be prioritized.  Of course, she also thinks we should agree to disagree that every intelligence expert who's spoken out about this has done so to point out that this is a policy that will make Americans less safe, so I'm not convinced this woman is really thinking.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on January 30, 2017, 01:33:44 PM
I've been trying to explain to the friend of a friend why I think the ban is unconstitutional.  She insists it isn't because the Constitution doesn't apply to non-citizens.

Point out to her that, if this were true, then resident non-citizens would be free to violate the Constitution with impunity because it doesn't apply to them.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 31, 2017, 12:17:00 AM
Acting AG Yates was just fired for refusing to defend the immigration ban. Bannon is talking about a "new political order" coming to power. Can we panic now?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 31, 2017, 03:16:50 AM
I've been trying to explain to the friend of a friend why I think the ban is unconstitutional.  She insists it isn't because the Constitution doesn't apply to non-citizens.

Point out to her that, if this were true, then resident non-citizens would be free to violate the Constitution with impunity because it doesn't apply to them.

I decided to just go ahead and block her.  I argued that having the government favour any religion in any context was a blatant violation of the First Amendment, and she countered with, "But it doesn't apply to non-citizens!"  When my whole point was that it violates my rights for the government to do that, which I made clear.  It is my right as a US citizen to expect that my government won't favour people of one religion over another.  Apparently, she didn't know what to say to that, so she just ignored it.  I figured it was better for my mental health not to put up with her anymore.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on January 31, 2017, 09:30:29 AM
A New Order?

They really do lack any sense of irony, don't they.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 31, 2017, 03:54:39 PM
Along with a sense of proportion, of honour, of decency.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on February 01, 2017, 08:02:43 AM
A New Order?

They really do lack any sense of irony, don't they.

Well, the term was first used by a Republican President, wasn't it? (Bush I) It was only later hijacked by the conspiracists.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 01, 2017, 09:30:29 AM
I say we make it quartic. I'm sure no world order has gotten past cubic before.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 01, 2017, 04:04:46 PM
Apparently in his "friendly" call with the President of Mexico, Trump threatened to invade Mexico to fight the drug cartels. See http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-enrique-pena-nieto-mexico-phone-call-humiliating-threatening-2017-2 (http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-enrique-pena-nieto-mexico-phone-call-humiliating-threatening-2017-2).

But nah, Hilary was the hawk.

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on February 02, 2017, 12:09:56 AM
What has distracted me most of late is the posters creeping out of the woodwork at various science blogs I follow. They are reaching for every available argument and form, from walls of text to "your side did it too" to questioning the meaning of Every Single Word like some sort of extreme gas-lighting sport, all to avoid even the slightest momentary admission that what is going on now is extraordinary. To deny, with plodding academicism spiced with point-blank rejection, that there is such a thing as a refulgent white supremacist movement or that it has any traction with the current administration.

And to not just deny -- this on science-based blogs -- that we are facing an onslaught of unreason that would send Carl Sagan screaming for the hills, a denial of reality I didn't expect to see represented outside of certain historic posters here; to in some sort of implausible ju-jitsu of the dialectic insist that the blog in question get back to doing serious science and leave phantom enemies given life only by partisan politics alone.

A denial of denialism, if that isn't too circular. All the more frightening as it is spoken by what appear to be educated people otherwise capable of putting a logical argument together.

(I am much heartened I haven't seen that kind of poster here.)



(On reflection, there is a kind of sense here. And it is exactly the thing Sagan warned about -- and Randi, and Feynman, and others. Which is that it is easy to use science as a source of blunt facts with which to bludgeon one's opponents. What is harder is to actually do science. To ever question, oneself more than anything.)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 02, 2017, 04:11:23 AM
Suddenly Britain not looking so bad, maybe?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 02, 2017, 09:19:00 AM

A denial of denialism, if that isn't too circular. All the more frightening as it is spoken by what appear to be educated people otherwise capable of putting a logical argument together.

(I am much heartened I haven't seen that kind of poster here.)


Apparently you missed the missive in another thread about how those awful immigrants are taking our jobs, and taxes are the work of the devil (even if certain agencies we support, like NASA, depend on them), and how Trump will prevent all that. Oh, and he won't actually do anything to hurt women's or LBGT civil rights, because he's not that kind of guy.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 02, 2017, 02:35:05 PM
Have a high-tech company? Hope you can find all your specialists in the U.S., because Trump's going to get rid of all those pesky immigrants. http://www.salon.com/2017/02/02/first-they-came-for-the-muslims-trumps-next-targets-may-include-poor-immigrants-and-highly-paid-ones/
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on February 02, 2017, 07:28:47 PM
Have a high-tech company? Hope you can find all your specialists in the U.S., because Trump's going to get rid of all those pesky immigrants. http://www.salon.com/2017/02/02/first-they-came-for-the-muslims-trumps-next-targets-may-include-poor-immigrants-and-highly-paid-ones/

Heh. That's among the reasons symphony orchestras have apparently, err, joined the chorus. Puts a real crimp on touring overseas as well (but mostly they object because they really like performing and sharing with people from other nations, other musical backgrounds).

Found that out totally by accident while I was looking for a resource on violin technique.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: BazBear on February 03, 2017, 12:10:12 AM
I wouldn't have voted for this clown for dog catcher, but I thought his campaign rhetoric was probably a bunch of radical crazy populist B.S.; but once elected and in office, I thought cooler, saner heads would prevail. It looks like I was very, very, very self deluded.

Whose saner heads, though?  Since basically no one was willing to stand up to him during the campaign, who was left to do it once he was in power?
As I said "It looks like I was very, very, very self deluded.".
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on February 03, 2017, 01:05:17 AM
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-03/donald-trump-blasts-arnold-schwarzenegger-for-apprentice-ratings/8237794

Quote
Mr Trump used an address to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington — normally a solemn occasion — to ask the audience to "pray for" new Apprentice host Schwarzenegger to improve the show's ratings.

Classy.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on February 03, 2017, 01:56:11 AM
Check out Schwarzenegger's response.

I didn't vote for him for governor here in California, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how moderate he was despite being a Republican. Maybe that's because he knew he can't actually have any higher aspirations (i.e., for Donald Trump's job).
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 03, 2017, 02:56:20 AM
Yep. Looking much better.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 03, 2017, 09:26:24 AM
Check out Schwarzenegger's response.

I didn't vote for him for governor here in California, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how moderate he was despite being a Republican. Maybe that's because he knew he can't actually have any higher aspirations (i.e., for Donald Trump's job).

That response made me laugh, then I thought "Oh crap, Trump's gonna get him deported."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 03, 2017, 11:21:49 AM
I mean, Austria's a terrorist country, right?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on February 03, 2017, 06:38:35 PM
Arnold was so President. Just ask anyone who knows how to use the three seashells.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: molesworth on February 04, 2017, 02:03:29 PM
I've stayed out of this discussion, mainly because I'm a brit and not directly involved, but one thing which bothers me intensely is the position of Steve Bannon as Trump's closest advisor, and now part of the National Security Council.  He's made no secret of his extreme right wing and white supremacist views, nor of his desire to "dismantle the state", and yet he's now an unelected individual in a position of considerable power, and he seems to have the President's ear.

Trump himself is, I think, is well out of his depth.  He may have been a (moderately) successful businessman, but he has no idea about running a government, or of the need for careful negotiation and diplomacy in international dealings.  He also, to my mind again, comes across in his vocabulary, phrasing and expressions, as fairly low in intelligence.  Bannon, and others like him, appear to have a considerable hold over Trump, and are using it to push through some very badly thought out policies, and I don't see it ending well.

Trump's rampant narcissism isn't helping either.  It appears he can't bear to be criticised or contradicted, and will use every opportunity, no matter how inappropriate, to promote himself.  He's not painting himself in a good light.

I had hoped that, once elected, he would be more moderate, or that the rest of the Republicans would rein him in, but that unfortunately hasn't happened.

(I'm planning on visiting in August for the eclipse, so hopefully things will have calmed down a bit by then...)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on February 04, 2017, 05:33:19 PM
I said initially that I'll pass judgement after 6 or 12 months, and I'll stick by that... however President Trump, in the first two weeks of the administration, has not been doing anything to make my initial fears abate. In fact, the opposite.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 04, 2017, 06:06:30 PM
He's scary.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on February 05, 2017, 01:14:14 AM
I've stayed out of this discussion, mainly because I'm a brit and not directly involved
There isn't a single human being anywhere on or near this planet that isn't directly affected by this.

That's simply a fact of the modern world, and I say that as a US citizen who did vote in the election.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 05, 2017, 04:04:48 AM
I'm visiting the US in March and am very nervous. I have Iraqi stamps in my passport because of work from a few years ago. I had to get a visa because of this. But now I'm worried about being detained for hours in the airport on the arrival. US immigration was bad enough at the best of times and these aren't the best of times.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on February 05, 2017, 05:44:58 AM

(I'm planning on visiting in August for the eclipse, so hopefully things will have calmed down a bit by then...)

I have my flights booked and hotels, I´m staying in Florida and doing a three day trip to South Carolina for the Eclipse.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on February 06, 2017, 04:44:25 PM
I'm visiting the US in March and am very nervous. I have Iraqi stamps in my passport because of work from a few years ago. I had to get a visa because of this. But now I'm worried about being detained for hours in the airport on the arrival. US immigration was bad enough at the best of times and these aren't the best of times.
How hard would it be to get a new/second passport?

I know that Americans can do this if they have Israeli visa stamps when they need to visit an Arab country. It only makes sense that other countries could do the same to get around US foolishness.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: molesworth on February 06, 2017, 05:46:32 PM

(I'm planning on visiting in August for the eclipse, so hopefully things will have calmed down a bit by then...)

I have my flights booked and hotels, I´m staying in Florida and doing a three day trip to South Carolina for the Eclipse.
We're heading to Wyoming - big clear (hopefully) skies, and a chance to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  It should be a good eclipse.

Anybody else watching and taking pictures or video might want to contribute to Hugh Hudson's "Mega Movie" - http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/photo/mega_movie.htm (http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/photo/mega_movie.htm). I'm also trying to figure out exposures for an "Eddington" type experiment, to image stars close to the sun during totality.  (Of course all off-topic, and probably worth starting a separate thread nearer the time.)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 07, 2017, 03:08:28 AM
I'm visiting the US in March and am very nervous. I have Iraqi stamps in my passport because of work from a few years ago. I had to get a visa because of this. But now I'm worried about being detained for hours in the airport on the arrival. US immigration was bad enough at the best of times and these aren't the best of times.
How hard would it be to get a new/second passport?

I know that Americans can do this if they have Israeli visa stamps when they need to visit an Arab country. It only makes sense that other countries could do the same to get around US foolishness.
Problem is my visa is in my current one. In retrospect, I probably should have done that once I'd finished with my work there.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 08, 2017, 10:06:16 AM
So here's Trump's first real impact on the war against terror - after the disastrous raid in Yemen, the Yemeni government has banned any further ground action from U.S. forces https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/world/middleeast/yemen-special-operations-missions.html?_r=0 .

In other words, the U.S. has lost an ally in the war against terror. Well done, old boy!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on February 09, 2017, 04:43:42 AM
...In other words, the U.S. has lost an ally in the war against terror. Well done, old boy!

Coming a few days after giving an earful to our Prime Minister, Mister Trumble...er...Turnbull.

I mean, the USA needs strategic allies. What do you gain by annoying your current allies?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 09, 2017, 04:52:06 AM
Does it though? With such size and resources, it is more feasible for the US to become a hermit republic than probably any other country.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 09, 2017, 04:39:44 PM
So, today Trump told Putin that the START treaty was "bad for America." At least, after his aides clarified what START was.

Scariest part of the report from Reuters was:

Quote
Typically, before a telephone call with a foreign leader, a president receives a written in-depth briefing paper drafted by National Security Council staff after consultations with the relevant agencies, including the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies, two former senior officials said.

Just before the call, the president also usually receives an oral "pre-briefing" from his national security adviser and top subject-matter aide, they said.

Trump did not receive a briefing from Russia experts with the NSC and intelligence agencies before the Putin call, two of the sources said. Reuters was unable to determine if Trump received a briefing from his national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Because the whole world enjoys seeing the President of the U.S. winging it when it comes to nuclear destruction.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Jason Thompson on February 10, 2017, 07:26:37 AM
So Trump's team lost their appeal to have the travel ban reinstated. Apparently the two sides had very different ideas as to what constituted a valid argument for their side.

Defending the block: There's no evidence that any terrorist attack has been perpetrated by anyone from those seven countries; it's removing people's right to travel without due process; it seems to favour one religion over others, and is therefore against the constitution.

Defending the ban: He's the President so he can do what he likes, so nerrr.

So one side argued the pros and cons of the ban itself, while the other argued about power and process. It's like conversations with HBs on this board where we will argue the actual details and they will crow on about being badly treated. It's terrifying to see this kind of thing from actual world leaders!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 10, 2017, 09:07:06 AM
Maybe they could classify foreigners as three fifths or a person. That's in the Constitution.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on February 10, 2017, 09:12:28 AM
Hillary Clinton made a very short and pointed tweet on this topic. She said simply

"3-0"

I am not a lawyer, but back in the 1990s I was the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the US State Department challenging their arbitrary export controls on public domain encryption software. So I became very familiar with claims by the executive branch that they can do whatever they want in this area. Around that time I began saying that "National security" seems to be the root password to the Constitution.

So it was especially satisfying yesterday to read the opinion in which the judges state emphatically that even if they usually give deference on national security issues to the "political branches" (Congress and the President) they still insist on having the final say on whether something violates the Constitution. Even in wartime.

Yesterday was definitely one of my better days since November 8. Maybe our system of checks and balances really is more robust than I feared. It's certainly getting tested like never before in modern times.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on February 10, 2017, 05:22:07 PM
It's like conversations with HBs on this board where we will argue the actual details and they will crow on about being badly treated. It's terrifying to see this kind of thing from actual world leaders!

Well, my understanding is that President Trump is a believer of several conspiracies claims; the shocking thing is that, like you say, he acts on the world stage pretty much like we would expect a rabid CT / HB to act if they were on a internet forum.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on February 11, 2017, 01:20:27 AM
It's like conversations with HBs on this board where we will argue the actual details and they will crow on about being badly treated. It's terrifying to see this kind of thing from actual world leaders!

Well, my understanding is that President Trump is a believer of several conspiracies claims; the shocking thing is that, like you say, he acts on the world stage pretty much like we would expect a rabid CT / HB to act if they were on a internet forum.

He's a pretty good rebuttal to all those people who look at conspiracy theory debunkers and ask why we bother.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on February 11, 2017, 01:27:02 AM
It's like conversations with HBs on this board where we will argue the actual details and they will crow on about being badly treated. It's terrifying to see this kind of thing from actual world leaders!

Well, my understanding is that President Trump is a believer of several conspiracies claims; the shocking thing is that, like you say, he acts on the world stage pretty much like we would expect a rabid CT / HB to act if they were on a internet forum.

He's a pretty good rebuttal to all those people who look at conspiracy theory debunkers and ask why we bother.

8-)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 11, 2017, 08:38:53 AM
It's like conversations with HBs on this board where we will argue the actual details and they will crow on about being badly treated. It's terrifying to see this kind of thing from actual world leaders!

Well, my understanding is that President Trump is a believer of several conspiracies claims; the shocking thing is that, like you say, he acts on the world stage pretty much like we would expect a rabid CT / HB to act if they were on a internet forum.

He's a pretty good rebuttal to all those people who look at conspiracy theory debunkers and ask why we bother.

Absolutely right.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on February 13, 2017, 11:50:04 PM
That's one down... who will be next?

Flynn resigns amid controversy over Russia contacts (http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/13/politics/michael-flynn-white-house-national-security-adviser/index.html?sr=fbCNN021417michael-flynn-white-house-national-security-adviser/index.html0423AMStoryLink&linkId=34467748)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 15, 2017, 10:30:06 AM
Is it worth taking with me on my journey a snap of me in my coveralls and hard hat smiling in front of a choke manifold with some black flares in the background as a demonstration of the business nature of travels to Iraq? I took that picture along to my visa interview at the US embassy. Can't remember if I showed it. It happened so quickly. But immigration staff are notoriously prickly and when the guy pulls a face after looking at my passport, me attempting to pull of that picture may just make things worse.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on February 15, 2017, 07:14:25 PM
That's one down... who will be next?

Flynn resigns amid controversy over Russia contacts (http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/13/politics/michael-flynn-white-house-national-security-adviser/index.html?sr=fbCNN021417michael-flynn-white-house-national-security-adviser/index.html0423AMStoryLink&linkId=34467748)
There goes another...

Andrew Puzder withdraws as a labor secretary nominee (http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/15/politics/top-senate-republicans-urge-white-house-to-withdraw-puzder-nomination/index.html?sr=fbCNN021517top-senate-republicans-urge-white-house-to-withdraw-puzder-nomination0901PMStoryLink&linkId=34547684)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on February 16, 2017, 10:10:16 PM
Did anyone watch Stephen Miller's rants a couple of days ago and have the thought occur to them that not only does he look like Joseph Goebbels, he sounds like him as well.

The attitude of this man is truly appalling and very scary.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on February 17, 2017, 03:35:47 AM
And another:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39000389

But, hey, the administration is running like a fine tuned machine*

I listened to his press conference (https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/us/politics/donald-trump-press-conference-transcript.html?_r=0&referer=) last night. He's got a massive persecution complex. Today he has been in the job 4 weeks...I can't see him lasting 4 years.

All the hoo-ha about Clinton's email server...the Trump administration are running their emails through the Republican party's servers, not the White House.

The nutter is going to start a war....listen to his threat against North Korea. His comments yesterday about a single state solution for Israel will have the Arabs up in arms. All it will take is ISIS to launch an attack on US soil and he'll impose martial law.

Meanwhile, the Russian have the intelligence gathering ship Viktor Leonov cruising 40 miles off the New London submarine Base. Last Friday the USS Porter was buzzed by three Russian warplanes and a surveillance plane whilst on international waters.  The warplanes passed less than 200 yards from the boat. The Russians are basically goading the Yanks and Trump to see how he reacts.




*Finely tuned machine in this case is a v-twin with one piston missing.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on February 17, 2017, 05:36:48 PM
When I was a kid, the Russians always seemed to have "fishing trawlers" in international waters off the US coast, especially near areas like central Florida. I hadn't heard about this for some time, but neither had I heard that they stopped.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on February 18, 2017, 05:00:37 AM
Hmmm AGIs.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on February 18, 2017, 06:46:37 AM
This week he signed Resolution 38 (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-16/trump-signs-measure-blocking-obama-era-rule-to-protect-streams) which overturns a law passed in December last year that stopped coal mining firms from dumping spill and pollution into streams. Whilst surrounded by a bunch of coal mining firm's lawyers and Republicans. And Pruitt was confirmed yesterday as head of the EPA in a rush to get him appointed before thousands of emails between him [Pruitt] and fossil fuel companies are published on Tuesday following a court order (http://www.salon.com/2017/02/17/republicans-rush-to-confirm-trumps-epa-nominee-scott-pruitt-after-federal-judge-orders-release-of-fossil-fuel-emails/). Pruitt has been fighting the release of these emails for two years. Pruitt, the same guy that has tried to sue the EPA 14 times to stop them imposing rules on fossil fuel companies (https://insideclimatenews.org/news/15012017/scott-pruitt-epa-chief-oklahoma-attorney-general-climate-denial).

The Republican party will not stop supporting Trump as long as he continues to dismantle the regulations on big business, especially the fossil fuel industry. And Trump's ranting at the press, the media, clouds etc. means that the headlines are filled with column inches that hide the real damage that's being done in plain sight.

This is the guy that was going to "drain the swamp" and cut corruption. America, you deserve a slap for electing this puppet. I'm gone beyond caring that he messes up your country, but this muppet, and his Republican controllers, will damage the rest of the world.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 18, 2017, 01:37:16 PM
And some friend of ToSeek's on Facebook is suggesting that we "give him a chance" until September before passing judgement.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 18, 2017, 07:03:39 PM
Maybe in September democracy will not have collapsed. He certainly sounds scary. Always atttacking courts and media.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 22, 2017, 04:47:34 AM
Not looking good. A UK citizen was refusrd entry despite having a valid visa. We don't know why but some suspect he may have had a stamp from one of the countries on the list.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 22, 2017, 10:17:25 AM
I wonder if Trump's supporters are happy with how U.S. Customs agents forced a NASA scientist to unlock his secured phone http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/nasa-scientists-detained-border-phone-unlock-trump-immigration-a7577906.html? Despite being, you know, the scientist in question being a citizen born in the U.S.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 22, 2017, 11:22:22 AM
The only weird thing is that the article says he was travelling on a valid US visa. They must have meant passport.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on February 22, 2017, 11:26:19 AM
When I was a kid, the Russians always seemed to have "fishing trawlers" in international waters off the US coast, especially near areas like central Florida. I hadn't heard about this for some time, but neither had I heard that they stopped.

Russian "trawlers" and "cargo ships" routinely shadowed U.S. Navy operations.  I lived overseas for a while during the Cold War in a NATO port city and saw a lot of Navy traffic there, always accompanied by the same few Russian "cargo ships."  We got to recognize them.  They would arrive in port the day after some warship and depart the day after.  There was always a lot of activity on the ship while in port, almost none of it seeming to have anything to do with loading or unloading cargo.  Also, do cargo ships need antennas that big?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on February 22, 2017, 11:40:13 AM
This week he signed Resolution 38 (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-16/trump-signs-measure-blocking-obama-era-rule-to-protect-streams) which overturns a law passed in December last year that stopped coal mining firms from dumping spill and pollution into streams.

Sort of.  Congress passes laws, which are general, and the executive -- usually a specific agency directed by statute -- implements them as rules, which are extremely specific.  A law that takes only a few paragraphs to spell out in the United States Code may expand to thousands of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations, which the executive agencies use to actually create an enforceable policy.  It is these detailed policies embodied in the CFR that are what need to be followed.  The so-called Streams rule you refer to was a monumental piece of environmental regulation, painstakingly worked out by more than just the Obama administration.  Because the process of executive rulemaking is surprisingly more time-consuming than the legislative process, the steps required to remove a regulation, once adopted, are similarly monumental.  However, there is a provision that allows Congress, within 90 days of a rule's adoption, to simply legislate it away.  And the President signs it as with any other piece of legislation, and an entire thousand-page book of regulation can be wiped away with the stroke of a pen -- a measure that would normally take careful deliberation.  That's what happened here.

Oh, but it gets better.  This particular provision is considered a nuclear option.  It's a vast intrusion by Congress on the power of the executive, so prior to Trump taking office it was used only once previously in its entire history to overturn a set of regulations regarding OSHA and ergonomics.  The reason it's a nuclear option is that if a regulation is done away with by this means, no similar rule can ever be written, ever again.  Not only does this do away with clean water restrictions on the mineral industry for the term of this administration, it does away with it for all time.

The escalation of partisan politics to include such nuclear options should frighten people.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on February 22, 2017, 12:12:04 PM
Maybe they will support impeachment if it means it will improve their own chances of re-election. Otherwise they might just get tossed out in two years.

We're doing our best here to toss out Jason Chaffetz.  There are credible GOP contenders, and he's losing support here even among Republicans.  (Why not elect a Democrat or an independent?  Because Utah.)  I tried to get into his now-infamous town hall meeting a while back, but like most people who wanted to attend I had to be satisfied with hovering outside.  Chaffetz' committee has oversight responsibility for the executive, but simply refuses to exercise it over Trump with respect to his conflicts of interest.  In response to the chants of "Do your job!" Chaffetz' answer was predictably evasive.  He simply said the President was "exempt" and that was supposed to be the end of it.  Well, yes, except from one conflict-of-interest law, but not from the general need to avoid emolument.

Further, Chaffetz' committee isn't ja law-enforcement agency.  The executive is limited to investigating violations of laws that already exist.  The legislature is not, and it can make laws as needed.  One of the reasons we allow Congress the power to investigate is to determine whether new laws are warranted.  In other words, maybe the President shouldn't be exempt from conflict-of-interest laws, and maybe it's Chaffetz' duty to collect facts that either support or refute that proposition.  Past presidents have voluntarily divested their conflicting interests, so there's an evident moral mandate for such a law.  Maybe the reason no one thought before to hold the President accountable for conflicts of interest was because other Presidents held themselves accountable without being asked, and demonstrated that accountability convincingly.  Gee, if everyone drove 100 km/h or slower on the freeway without being told to, it wouldn't matter if there were a speed limit law and if some drivers were exempt from it.  It's only when that one jerk drives recklessly fast and causes a wreck that we begin to consider the need for regulation and enforcement.

To paraphrase Rand Paul, "Republicans don't investigate other Republicans."  That seems to be the conventional partisan wisdom so far.  We'll get no meaningful oversight so long as partisan politics overshadow constitutional checks and balances.  As for re-election, the tap dancing required to separate races for different branches of government within a single party are well established.  Should the need arise -- and it probably will -- GOP candidates for Congress in 2018 and later will already have the rhetoric in place to separate themselves just enough from Trump to make a credible showing.  The only way a GOP Congress would impeach President Trump is if he were to do something so treasonous as to make it inevitable political suicide to continue to support him.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on February 22, 2017, 09:03:15 PM
Maybe they will support impeachment if it means it will improve their own chances of re-election. Otherwise they might just get tossed out in two years.

We're doing our best here to toss out Jason Chaffetz.

Keep it up! :)

I've been watching the news reports of the anger being expressed at GOP town halls, and it is reassuring to me that people are speaking up and resisting. But I do worry that it will lose steam before the next election.

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Chaffetz' committee has oversight responsibility for the executive, but simply refuses to exercise it over Trump with respect to his conflicts of interest.

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To paraphrase Rand Paul, "Republicans don't investigate other Republicans."  That seems to be the conventional partisan wisdom so far.  We'll get no meaningful oversight so long as partisan politics overshadow constitutional checks and balances.

The "party first, country second" attitude is so frustrating to me. It's not just limited to the Republicans, or even the United States, but Republicans do seem to take it to extremes. And when we're talking about issues that affect the entire planet (such as the destruction of the environment, or even situations that could lead to war) we have to put our political loyalties aside. Republicans have to take the concerns about Trump more seriously.

I was skeptical that the "checks and balances" were going to be effective when Republicans  basically control everything, so it was reassuring that the courts blocked the travel ban.

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The only way a GOP Congress would impeach President Trump is if he were to do something so treasonous as to make it inevitable political suicide to continue to support him.

It sure sounds like if the intelligence agencies keep digging they will find something treasonous. But it no longer surprises me when Republicans do mental gymnastics to justify their continued support of Trump despite his behaviour.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 23, 2017, 03:05:34 AM
So no law that prevents industry from polluting rivers can ever be implemented in the future? That's ridiculous.

We have the principle that no Parliament can bind future Parliaments.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 23, 2017, 11:35:32 AM
Side note, happy belated, Jay.  Are you not on Facebook anymore?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 23, 2017, 11:43:10 AM
Even the Constitution can be amended. This doesn't sound right. Do you mean those rules can't be introduced under the current law but Congress could pass a new law?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on February 23, 2017, 12:18:24 PM
So no law that prevents industry from polluting rivers can ever be implemented in the future? That's ridiculous.

We have the principle that no Parliament can bind future Parliaments.

And in like manner no Congress can bind a future Congress.  However the measure that was overruled this week was not a law, but an executive rule.  The law still stands, but at present relies on the enforceable detail that is provided in rules prior to Obama's term.  This is common in American lawmaking.  Laws are written in general language.  The Congress relies upon the agencies and offices of the executive to implement the law in terms of rules that can be practically enforced and argued before a court in terms of evidence.  These rules are themselves the product of extensive scientific study, deliberation, hearing, and debate.  To explain this in terms familiar to English style parliamentary practice, it is roughly analogous to delegated legislation as opposed to primary legislation.  Nearly every bill in Congress delegates power to an office of the executive, which has previously been given authority by statute, to make and enforce rules consistent with the language of the bill.  Thus every bill in Congress is, to a certain extent, a case of delegated legislation.  The body of rules made by means of this delegated power is the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and it is de facto law in the United States.

The normal oversight that Congress retains in this situation is generally deemed sufficient.  Each office of the Executive (cf. the Crown) that has been granted statutory authority to make and enforce rules is answerable to a committee of the Congress, and ultimately to Congress itself.  The relevant committee can, and frequently does, call before it the officers of the executive to hold them accountable for their rulemaking and enforcement (or lack thereof) and has the power, through legislation, to compel obedience on specific points.  But the entire system of delegated authority is, in the American system as in the English system, meant to relieve Congress or Parliament from legislating in fine, from wading through myriad technical details, and from consideration of informal or minor changes.  Hence it works best when the executive is staffed with competent conscientious people and left to its own devices.

The law 30 USC 1211 authorizes the creation of an office of the executive whose job is to make and enforce rules pursuant to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.  The Act itself contains such vague language as, "(c) assure that surface mining operations are not conducted where reclamation as required by this chapter is not feasible;  (d) assure that surface coal mining operations are so conducted as to protect the environment;  (e) assure that adequate procedures are undertaken to reclaim surface areas as contemporaneously as possible with the surface coal mining operations[.]"  Questions such as feasibility under (c), the specific details alluded to in (d), and what precisely constitutes "adequate procedures" and "contemporaneous[]" under (e) are what is delegated to the executive to determine, what forms the basis of the pertinent rules in CFR (in this case large portions of CFR Parts 700, 701, 773, 774, 777, and 827), and what delegated answers were wiped away this week.  Specifically, those parts of the CFR existed before Obama took office, but were substantially revised during his term to interpret 30 USC Subchapter 25 (the relevant law) for enforcement purposes.  Those revisions were eliminated by Congress, thus the relevant parts of CFR revert back to their unrevised form.

This Congress may not bind a future Congress.  But it may bind this and future Presidents, and because the Congressional Review Act specifically (CRA) affects powers ordinarily belonging to the Congress but delegated to the Executive for practical purposes, it may indeed place longstanding restrictions on how that delegated power may be wielded by any officer of the executive as long as the law remains in force.  In this case the Act prevents the executive from attempting to establish the rule overturned under the provisions of the CRA in "substantially the same form."  It also enjoins any court from reviewing the Act of Congress that overturned the rule.  (The judiciary in the United States receives its subject-matter jurisdiction from Congress.)  But because no Congress can bind a present or future Congress, a "substantially" similar rule could be allowed by act of Congress, as you suggest.  That is, in 2018 when a new Congress is seated, they can adopt a measure specifically to allow the clean-water rule enacted under President Obama and overturned by Congress and President Trump to be reinstated in the CFR in its pristine form.  But it must be a specific law, specifically aimed at the individual rules that were overturned.  And Trump will simply veto that act of Congress.  Or conversely, Congress could substantially revise the law itself -- 30 USC 1201 et seq.  This would compel the executive to revise its rules to be consistent with the changes in the law, and that would negate the specific restrictions prohibited by the Congressional Review Act.  But this is simply not likely to happen in any conceivable future.  Hence my hyperbolic "for all time."  As long as 30 USC subchapter 25 exists substantially in its present form and as long as the CRA was used to overturn Obama's rules, it may not be enforced in the form provided by the Obama administration.

And you're right; the CRA is ridiculous.  Which is to say, a routine application of it in this way is ridiculous precisely because it is so uncommonly draconian.  It was meant to corral, in the most invasive and strong terms, an egregiously misbehaving executive.  It is meant as a measure of last resort, when all other methods that control the rulemaking power delegated to the executive have failed.  This is why it has only succeeded once before in its entire history, and only been attempted a handful of times.  And yes, there are other measure to revise and eliminate federal rules.  It happens all the time, but it is a rather tedious and onerous process because the public accountability fo repealing or revising a rule is and ought to be as careful as the process that established the rule in the first place.  The Republican party was unlikely to succeed in any short order at overturning the relevant rules by the accepted procedure.  Hence it employed its nuclear option.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on February 23, 2017, 12:19:15 PM
Side note, happy belated [birthday], Jay.  Are you not on Facebook anymore?

No, I no longer use Facebook, but thanks for the good wishes.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on February 23, 2017, 12:50:19 PM
Even the Constitution can be amended. This doesn't sound right. Do you mean those rules can't be introduced under the current law but Congress could pass a new law?

In short, yes.  Congress can pass a new law.  That law can either revisit the issue of surface mining and water cleanliness de novo, substantially revise the existing law, or -- as I write above -- dictate specifically that a certain rule rescinded under the Congressional Review Act of 1996 may be reinstated.  It just is very unlikely to do so.  The United States has its own version of the primacy of the legislative.  Nearly every restriction imposed on the other branches may be excused by an act of Congress.  The much ballyhooed Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution says the President can receive gifts from foreign powers if Congress approves.  So if Vladimir Putin wants to buy Donald Trump a vacation dacha on the Black Sea, Congress merely has to pass a resolution approving it.  It just doesn't do such things very often.

The power of the Code of Federal Regulations cannot be overestimated.  As I write above, it's our de facto law for most regulated activities.  As a maker of technology I'm subject to, for example, the body of Federal Aviation Regulations, title 14 of the CFR, and export restrictions, 15 CFR.  The U.S. Departments of Transportation and of Commerce, respectively, contain the offices that make and enforce those rules.  They receive their authority to do so from Congress, which exercises general control over them and passes general legislation both empowering and funding the activities of these offices and also laying down the general laws these offices are to give enforceable teeth to by their activities. To make an airworthy aircraft, I have to turn to various parts of 14 CFR that govern in precise terms what constitutes the concept of airworthiness.  These criteria change from time to time.  Congress doesn't have to act on each change; it is concerned only with the mandate that aircraft produced and flown in the United States be suitably airworthy.

The act of Congress in 1977 that mandated surface mining be conducted with proper care toward reclamation of the mining sites and preservation of the cleanliness of water created an office of the executive to make and enforce specific rules.   Since 1977 those rules have been revised many times, but most recently not since 2001.  In 2016 we have the power to revise what can be enforced as "feasible" or "adequate," since those depend on advances in technology which have come about since 2001.  Coal mining in the U.S. is held only to the standards of "adequate" and "feasible" that presumed 2001 levels of technology.  As we become more adept, we raise the bar for what constitutes responsible mineral extraction, just as we revise what constitutes "airworthy" based on what we can reasonably attain in the industry.

Congress largely doesn't care about these things.  It writes laws generally so that only minimal revision are necessary and the day-to-day revisions are handled in the executive through hearings, petitions, and votes in executive commissions.  Congress, in delegating this power to the executive offices, mandates in each case what accountability each office must have to the public and what sorts of procedures it must follow when making rules.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on February 23, 2017, 01:13:46 PM
I've been watching the news reports of the anger being expressed at GOP town halls, and it is reassuring to me that people are speaking up and resisting. But I do worry that it will lose steam before the next election.

It didn't quell the Tea Party uprising that continued until the 2010 elections in which a number of well-seated Democrats lost.  The Tea Party movement began precisely as a grass-roots opposition to the situation after the 2008 election.  And we remember town-hall meetings held by Democratic incumbents that were every bit as raucous as these today, largely due to Tea Party involvement.  I think in the next two years we're going to see something in the Democratic party similar to the Tea Party -- some sort of grass-roots backlash against the party establishment that will affect the 2018 midterm elections and may affect both major parties.

I have to say it's disappointing that the widespread and vocal opposition to so many GOP officials in their constituencies is being dismissed as mercenary opposition rather than genuine feelings.  Leave it to that party to foment conspiracy theories to explain away opposition.

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The "party first, country second" attitude is so frustrating to me. It's not just limited to the Republicans, or even the United States...

Agreed.  While we can cite egregious examples in both parties, this is an increasingly frustrating problem all around.  And it results in ineffective government.  I can remember when partisanship was still a thing, but the overriding need was to progress with good government.  The Tea Party seems to have removed the aspect of government in which compromises were reached across party lines.  Today there is simply no effective bipartisanship.

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I was skeptical that the "checks and balances" were going to be effective when Republicans  basically control everything, so it was reassuring that the courts blocked the travel ban.

Indeed, and it's not as if the Republicans didn't take the Democrat executive to court in order to seek to have its executive orders overturned.  They were even successful a few times.  So complaining that the executive is reactionary or that the President's decrees are unreviewable is disingenuous.

As to checks and balances, they were formulated long before the two-party situation developed.  The Framers consider partisanship, but envisioned that no party would be able to gain ascendency and that the normal checks and balances would suffice.  Nor did they foresee a system in which two parties, together holding near unanimous constituency, would be able to so effectively wield government power against each other in a partisan way.  They envisioned a system more akin to the coalitions in some of the modern European democracies.  The checks and balances simply can't cope with a two-party stronghold unless the parties agree that government is more important.

But it looks like Chaffetz may be in real danger of losing his seat.  So we may see some movement.

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The only way a GOP Congress would impeach President Trump is if he were to do something so treasonous as to make it inevitable political suicide to continue to support him.

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It sure sounds like if the intelligence agencies keep digging they will find something treasonous.

That's one thing we hear from former administration officials of both parties:  don't cross the intelligence community.  Apparently everyone there is a little bit J. Edgar Hoover at heart.  That's given rise to Deep State conspiracy theories, of course.  Most other occupants of the White House seem to have enough political savvy to at least gently disagree with the intelligence-gatherers when they disagree.  But Trump seems to be a bull in a china shop, and he might be making the sort of enemy he's not accustomed to dealing with.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 24, 2017, 05:13:15 AM
Side note, happy belated [birthday], Jay.  Are you not on Facebook anymore?

No, I no longer use Facebook, but thanks for the good wishes.
Sensible. Facebook is the devil's plaything run by Lex Luthor.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 25, 2017, 09:08:23 AM
Not heard back from FCO yet. Really. If you can't rely on Boris Johnson, who can you rely on?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on March 01, 2017, 04:05:40 AM
As to checks and balances, they were formulated long before the two-party situation developed.
I wouldn't say "long before"; it was just a few years before the "factionalism" that Washington warned about in his farewell address was firmly established. It's the reason for the 12th Amendment, ratified in 1803, that revised the procedures for electing the President and Vice President.

If not for the 12th Amendment, Hillary Clinton would be Vice President today, as she got the second largest number of electoral votes in the 2016 election. The 12th Amendment established the "party slate" system we have today.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on March 01, 2017, 04:53:04 AM
This is a fascinating read. And terrifying  :(


https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 01, 2017, 07:26:32 AM
The media is out of control? Isn't that what the first amendment is supposed to achieve, keeping the media out of control?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 02, 2017, 04:10:02 PM
FCO is no help. Just say contact the Americans about it. But they're far too scary.  I'm only going on this trip because it was arranged back in September and wasn't even my idea.

There have been stories about how visitor numbers are down on the back of fears about ott immigration.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 02, 2017, 11:53:38 PM
I've read that tourism as an industry is taking a serious hit.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on March 03, 2017, 05:51:21 AM
So, Trump's administration still running like a finely tuned machine now that Sessions has been caught being, ahem, economical with the truth....
And Pence has now been caught using an AOL email address for years. From the mid 1990s right up to 2016, including use after the account had been hacked and compromised.
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/02/pence-used-personal-email-state-business----and-hacked/98604904/
https://arstechnica.co.uk/security/2017/03/mike-pence-used-an-aol-e-mail-account-for-state-business-and-it-got-hacked/?comments=1

No doubt we'll hear the Republicans demanding that pence undergoes a FBI investigation and cries of "Lock him up!".  :o ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 03, 2017, 07:54:12 AM
There's an old Vulcan proverb: Only Nixon can go to China.

But there's a reverse of that. Where some people can't say things or do things because their behaviour adds a sinister tone to such things.

Take the border wall. Stopping undocumented movement across the Mexican border is the policy of at least the last two administrations. So Trump pressing the issue is not in of itself something to be all horrified about. But it's the tone he adopts that puts it in a context that makes even those who do want to control immigration uneasy.

Or the media. In other times, many would agree you shouldn't trust much of what you read and hear in the press. But when a POTUS makes such persistent and vitriolic attacks on the media, it has unsettling connotations.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 03, 2017, 12:21:58 PM
I wouldn't say "long before"; it was just a few years before the "factionalism" that Washington warned about in his farewell address was firmly established. It's the reason for the 12th Amendment...

Yes, you make a good point.  I had it in my mind that the reforms for electing the executive came later than 1803, i.e., after the generation who weren't founding fathers came to power.  Clearly partisanship took an early foothold.  But I don't think it was sufficiently considered when the checks and balances were first formulated.  Even with the coherently elected executive, I reckon they thought partisanship in Congress wouldn't reach a point where they'd refuse to impeach an errant president of the same party.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 03, 2017, 12:24:33 PM
I got accused of being hypocritical for criticizing the fact that the Yemen raid got people killed and doesn't seem to have produced any useful intelligence, given that the intelligence the administration hyped as proving that the whole thing was "worth it" had been available online for years.  And that there was no investigation suggested by the Republican leadership to look into its failures.  Was that actually hypocritical?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 03, 2017, 01:29:06 PM
I wouldn't say "long before"; it was just a few years before the "factionalism" that Washington warned about in his farewell address was firmly established. It's the reason for the 12th Amendment...

Yes, you make a good point.  I had it in my mind that the reforms for electing the executive came later than 1803, i.e., after the generation who weren't founding fathers came to power.  Clearly partisanship took an early foothold.  But I don't think it was sufficiently considered when the checks and balances were first formulated.  Even with the coherently elected executive, I reckon they thought partisanship in Congress wouldn't reach a point where they'd refuse to impeach an errant president of the same party.
Sounds like they were maybe a wee bit naive.

I heard it say that America is a monarchy with an elected king while Britain is a republic with a hereditary president. Apparently that was said by an American journalist in the late 19th century.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 03, 2017, 03:59:58 PM
Sounds like they were maybe a wee bit naive.

Just a bit, yes.

James Madison believed (or is commonly interpreted to believe) that partisan politics were inevitable, and that the only solution was to mitigate the effects, not stem the causes.  He wrongly assumed a number of things.  First, he assumed that only the rabble would be partisans.  Second, and therefore following from his first assumption, he assumed that anyone qualified enough to be electable from a party would be smart enough to put the public interest before party.  Third, he assumed a multitude of factions, not a bifurcation toward two dominant parties.  And on and on.  Madison's arguments were not founded in the separation of powers directly, but in the careful analysis of the scale of the prospective government and the proportions of representation.  His analysis was reasonably cogent for the 18th century but not for the 21st, and not in light of how the American party system actually developed.  But inasmuch as Madison's argument was founded in quantitative electoral arguments, the whole thing exists in the framework of the separation of powers in which those elected to the offices of one power would not necessarily be subject to the same flavor of factious emotions as the other branches.

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I heard it say that America is a monarchy with an elected king while Britain is a republic with a hereditary president. Apparently that was said by an American journalist in the late 19th century.

I wouldn't dispute this.  I assume entire books have been written comparing the American republic to the British one from which it sprang.  But I wouldn't have the time to read them all.  I see vestiges in the American system that give homage to a "ruling class," which may or may not ever have existed in valid form anywhere.   Judges were appointed and senators given lengthier terms on the basic understanding that the people holding these offices were not the "rabble" of the House, but rather those who -- for lack of a better characterization -- had been groomed into the leadership class.  The Founding Fathers had not yet warmed fully to the idea that any of the unwashed rabble would ever be fit to lead.  This harks back to the notion of monarchs and peers who followed genealogical lines of succession and were thus bred from youth to assume offices of leadership.  (There is, however, a remarkable episode of Netflix's The Crown in which Elizabeth realizes she has been inadequately prepared intellectually.)  Whether some hereditary lord or monarch actually had leadership talents was mitigated in the idea that for better or for worse they would be prepared as well as possible for the role.

I gather the Founding Fathers were somewhat conflicted about the executive.  On the one hand it's obvious, having just escaped what they believed to be the tyranny of a monarch, they felt reticent about vesting in one person so much power.  But on the other hand, if the executive could be a person who was carefully and soberly chosen and vetted by a similarly conscientious college of electors -- and not so much just the person bearing the proper DNA or having electioneered most viciously -- then they could be less anxious about giving him so much direct power.  Thus I can see that the English system benefits from the primacy of Parliament in order to quench the power of whatever random monarch ascends the throne.  It makes sense.  Succession is what it is, and it points to the next bloke in line regardless of his actual qualifications.  That's a rational reaction to having lived for hundreds of years in a monarchy, and taking steps over the following hundreds of years (i.e., since Magna Carta) to move toward democracy.

In contrast, had the American electoral college worked the way it was in part envisioned, Trump would not have been elected.  That was one of the mechanisms envisioned to prevent despots and demagogues from acquiring the kinglike powers the Constitution granted to the executive.  Contrary to the feelings that evolved later, the President was, from the start, not to be elected directly or by a purely popular vote.  Even in the now-remote case where the House would elect the President it does so by state, contrary to the customary method of polling the House.  In the context of your quote, we seem to have elected ourselves into the mess England learned long ago to avoid.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on March 04, 2017, 05:40:33 AM
I wouldn't say "long before"; it was just a few years before the "factionalism" that Washington warned about in his farewell address was firmly established. It's the reason for the 12th Amendment...

Yes, you make a good point.  I had it in my mind that the reforms for electing the executive came later than 1803, i.e., after the generation who weren't founding fathers came to power.  Clearly partisanship took an early foothold.  But I don't think it was sufficiently considered when the checks and balances were first formulated.  Even with the coherently elected executive, I reckon they thought partisanship in Congress wouldn't reach a point where they'd refuse to impeach an errant president of the same party.

I read an article somewhere (no hope now of finding a link) in which the writer pointed out that in any parliament (or congress or whatever you want to call it) where members are each elected to represent a single electorate, you're always going to move towards a two-party system; whereas where members are elected by proportional representation you're always going to move towards endless multiple coalitions. The former occurs because being part of a party machine represents the better chance of being elected than standing as an independent, and the latter occurs because even a small party can be guaranteed getting enough votes across a country/representative region to gain at least one seat.

Here in Australia, the Federal Parliament started out in 1901 with three factional groupings - Free Traders, Protectionists and the Australian Labor Party. For the first few years they formed and broke a number of coalitions until eventually the Free Traders and Protectionists formed a permanent alliance (known initially as Fusion) of more conservatively aligned politicians against the more left wing workers party of the ALP. And that alignment has stayed pretty firm over the last century. The ALP has split a few times (for example, in World War One over conscription, and in the 1960s over Communism) but it has generally stayed the party of choice for working class people.

But that's changed since the 1990s and the (arguably neo-con) reforms of the Hawke and Keating ALP governments of 1983-1996. Since then the ALP has drifted to the political centre as union power has weakened, and its place on the left wing has been occupied by the Greens.

The return of One Nation in the last few years doesn't quite fit the same narrative on the right. For one thing the Liberals (who are actually the conservative party in the country) haven't drifted to the centre, despite comments by deposed PM Tony Abbott. As I understand it, One Nation supporters have generally come from working class and middle class families with a conservative outlook, many of whom in the past would have voted for the ALP; they're similar to Trump Republicans as people who feel they've lost out from globalism.

Now the difference between the USA and Australia is how our political systems cope with these protest votes. In Australia our House of Reps has individual seats, and as mentioned above this promotes a two-party outcome: out of 150 seats in the HoR, 147 are held by members of the two major parties. But the Senate, with 12 Senators elected in each state (and two in each territory), allows far wider political representation. As a result, the two major parties between them hold only 55 of the 76 seats; the crossbench of 21 represents a wide range of political views, and quite a headache for the government to get legislation passed. But at least it's possible to say that nearly everyone's political views have been represented in the Senate, at least to some extent.

But in the USA, where each state elects only two Senators, there isn't much chance for minor parties to be elected. So their best chance has been to be part of one of the two major parties of the System, hence the infiltration of the Republican Party by the Tea Party. If the US Senate had provided for more Senators per state then I'd suggest the Tea Party people may have preferred to guarantee representation in the Senate by running their own candidates outside the Republican Party, while the Democrats could easily fracture into a worker's party and a more liberal middle-class party.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 04, 2017, 07:55:10 AM
The thing is that news travelled slowly in the 18th century (cf the apocryphal story of George III writing in his diary on 4th July 1776 that nothing important happened that day), and it may well be that the colonial leaders were a little out of touch with how far British system had moved. The Glorious Revolution and the Act of Settlement established the precedent that the monarch can be changed if not suitable (just a few years ago, not one but a half dozen elected Parliaments changed the line of succession again). The succession of the House of Hanover, itself the result of Parliament choosing the line succession, brought in a King who didn't speak English and so started the practice that the monarch doesn't lead the Cabinet.  So it may be that the Founding Fathers diagnosed the problem based on an outdated perception.  They're called Intolerable Acts not Intolerable Royal Proclamations.

The House of Lords here is also a bastion if crossbenchers. However it is also a mess. It is one of only a small handful of upper houses larger than lower houses, because it gets packed with new wood after every change of government while the old wood remains. It's a truly British thing of just fudging and making do. Everyone agrees it needs to change, but no-one agrees to what. Change doesn't necessarily mean making it elected. There is value in it being appointed and therefore not just a clone of the Commons. But if appointed, how to keep the herd suitably thinned and how to avoid it just being a dumping ground for political apparatchiks who can't win Commons seats? Of course, anything radical is likely to be put on hold for the next few years to see if the UK lasts out the next decade.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 04, 2017, 02:18:13 PM
But in the USA, where each state elects only two Senators, there isn't much chance for minor parties to be elected.

Or for dark horse candidates to attract the attention of one of the major parties.  I was tangentially involved with one of my colleagues' unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, on a major party ticket.  He lost in the primaries, as we expected he would, because the winning candidate was carefully tailored to be just off-center enough to get nominated -- not because he had any great ideas for how to govern.  Or any prior experience in governing.  But yes, I think your discussion of Australian parties is very much in the same vein as Madison's in the 18th century, albeit with more hindsight.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 04, 2017, 02:44:25 PM
...and it may well be that the colonial leaders were a little out of touch with how far British system had moved.

Quite likely, although as a vital colony of the Crown it's not as if the inhabitants of the Americas were unaware of English politics.  It's more likely that my analysis lacks sophistication.  Hamilton (the statesman, not the musical) was reasonably correct about how the electoral college should have worked to deny Trump the presidency, but there is more to the crafting of the executive than I can recall off the top of my head.  My personal feeling is that the American Republicans are content to let Trump lead the media around by the nose and be generally the buffoon we knew he would be in order to distract attention from the efforts of the Republican establishment to dismantle and defuse the previous eight years of progressive policy.

Quote
It's a truly British thing of just fudging and making do. Everyone agrees it needs to change, but no-one agrees to what.

On the contrary, some of the UK's deepest and most respected thinkers have proposed a marvelous way of culling the herd.


Quote
...to see if the UK lasts out the next decade.

Yikes, don't say that.  Various forces in my life are making it somewhat likely I may sojourn in the London area for a few years.  Or that's one possibility.  I understand Dalston is a nice place to have a flat, but I'm also considering Hammersmith (having stayed there some years ago and recalling liking it).
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 04, 2017, 03:09:50 PM
Dalston? I guess it has been gentrified a bit lately, especially since the extension of London Overground. Hammersmith is fine. Of course, you don't get much for your money these days. London will of course always be there and chugging just fine. Still so much development. What it's the capital of is the question.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on March 05, 2017, 05:35:20 AM
Okay, so what's the go with Trump's Twitter allegation about Obama bugging his office during the election campaign?

According to the Australian ABC article, Trump provided no evidence, but it seems pretty clear he was basing his claim on the Breitbart article.

Over on Unexplained Mysteries, Trump supporters are just about going into meltdown, with the basis of the allegation being (if I understand it correctly) the likelihood that Obama authorised the phone tapping which demonstrated Trump's team had been talking to the Russians.

So is that so? Or is it completely wrong? Or is it plausible?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: grmcdorman on March 05, 2017, 10:06:20 AM
Standard Trump diversionary tactics: when under attack, attack back with bigger allegations.

It's extremely unlikely the Obama Whitehouse did what he alleges: it's illegal, it's not Obama's style; see http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/donald-trumps-early-morning-tweets for one.

Trump, though, gets much of his news from sites like Brietbart and Alex Jones' site, both of which are prone to breathless unsubstantiated conspiracy theories as I'm sure you know.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 05, 2017, 12:02:44 PM
If Obama had Trump's office bugged (amusing as Stephen King's flight of fancy about Obama doing it personally is, it seems unlikely!), it was likely with a legitimate warrant.  The only way one would be likely to be issued by a judge would be if there were sufficient evidence to prove that the Trump campaign had been involved in some nasty shenanigans.  So either Trump has evidence of a criminal activity and is releasing it by tweet instead of having it investigated, he's revealing evidence of an ongoing criminal investigation that doesn't make him look good, or he's making things up.  None of those say good things about him.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on March 05, 2017, 03:00:37 PM
There is no way this Administration will last four years.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on March 06, 2017, 06:30:35 AM
There is no way this Administration will last four years.

Possibly so. But how it ends and what comes after worries me more than what the Trump Administration is doing now.

I find it hard not to draw comparisons between events in the USA at the moment and the closing decades of the Roman Republic. To that end, I strongly recommend reading Tom Holland's "Rubicon".
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 06, 2017, 08:07:12 AM
How does the administration end early though? As Jay has said, the system has become so corrupted by partisanship, the accusation would need to be treason before Congress would impeach him. Little misdemeanours wouldn't get a look in.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 06, 2017, 11:15:08 AM
For one thing, I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled a Palin.  "No, I'm done.  I've made America great, and I don't have to do this anymore."  He's discovering that this is work, and he can't just do whatever he wants to and expect people to do what he tells them to.

I also have several scenarios considered where he just dies, not least because he's seventy and not in great health.  Or I could see someone pulling a Guiteau and assassinating him because he hadn't, say, actually had Hillary Clinton locked up or even investigated again.  Or an accident involving a gun at one of his rallies.

Or, possibly, everything is getting too big even for the Republicans in Congress to ignore.  Treason sounds like it's coming up, to me.  Failing that, the Democrats could take back Congress in two years and do what needs to be done.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on March 06, 2017, 11:22:51 AM
As long as he continues to sign executive orders that dismantle environmental protections, restrictions on big business and fossil fuels the Republicans will continue to back him. If he had an attack of morality or consciousness and refuses to continue to remove years of progress then he will be out of the White House post haste.
Sad, but true. He's just a puppet for dangerous people and his whole Twitter fiasco is nothing more than a puppet-show on stage whilst the truly nefarious deals are being done in the shadows of the wings.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 06, 2017, 11:45:17 AM
...his whole Twitter fiasco is nothing more than a puppet-show on stage whilst the truly nefarious deals are being done in the shadows of the wings.

Agreed.  It looks like the Republican strategy is to allow Trump to distract the media while the Republican establishment hands the country back to the corporations and banks.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 06, 2017, 01:52:16 PM
But really what we need to discuss with such learned company is was the Louisiana Purchase a case of executive overreach?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 06, 2017, 03:27:21 PM
But really what we need to discuss with such learned company is was the Louisiana Purchase a case of executive overreach?

Not according to Madison, who placed it squarely within the power of the Executive to negotiate treaties.  But ssssh! or else Trump will want to build another couple of walls and make France pay for them.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on March 07, 2017, 06:05:59 AM
I've read that tourism as an industry is taking a serious hit.
Me too. And it's really quite ironic, give that it's a major export industry. Many not in percent of our GNP, but certainly large in absolute dollars per year.

And not just tourism either. International business travelers are rightfully afraid to come to the US. If I were organizing one of the big international meetings of Internet engineers I used to attend, I would probably agree that the ones normally held in the US should be moved to Canada for the time being. They've often been held in Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal and I'm sure the Canadians would welcome the extra business.

I like to say that higher education is one of this country's most important exports, given how many foreign students you see at almost any university. The rest of the world has always looked to the United States as the world leader in advanced education, basic and applied research and market creation, and they try to send us their best students. That's something we have every right to be proud of. Yet Trump is happily dynamiting all that in the ironic name of "making America great again". Ugh. He has absolutely no idea what made this country great in the first place.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on March 07, 2017, 06:14:01 AM
Speaking of higher education, everybody knows there's a strong correlation between support for Trump and the lack of a college degree. I think I know why this is, and it's not the extra education per se.

It's that many young people meet foreigners -- lots of 'em -- for the very first time when they go to college. When I was a Cornell undergrad in the 1970s, I had fellow students from practically every country in the world, but especially (pre-revolutionary) Iran, China and India. You quickly accept them as fellow students who just happen to look a little different and speak English a little differently (although that part could be a problem).

Many people without the benefit of a college degree, especially those who grow up, go to public school and live their entire lives in rural areas, never get that opportunity. And so they (can be made to) fear those they do not know.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on March 07, 2017, 06:22:17 AM
Not according to Madison, who placed it squarely within the power of the Executive to negotiate treaties.  But ssssh! or else Trump will want to build another couple of walls and make France pay for them.
Hey, the German comedian Jan Böhmermann points out that Germany also built a big, beautiful wall and they even made the Russians pay for it!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on March 07, 2017, 08:08:59 AM
Speaking of higher education, everybody knows there's a strong correlation between support for Trump and the lack of a college degree. I think I know why this is, and it's not the extra education per se.

It's that many young people meet foreigners -- lots of 'em -- for the very first time when they go to college. When I was a Cornell undergrad in the 1970s, I had fellow students from practically every country in the world, but especially (pre-revolutionary) Iran, China and India. You quickly accept them as fellow students who just happen to look a little different and speak English a little differently (although that part could be a problem).

Many people without the benefit of a college degree, especially those who grow up, go to public school and live their entire lives in rural areas, never get that opportunity. And so they (can be made to) fear those they do not know.

That's certainly the impression I get from some of the more frothy-mouthed Trump supporters on Unexplained Mysteries - their fear of Muslims is so visceral and hysterical I find it easy to believe they've never actually knowingly met one. I'd suggest that they chill out and go have lunch at their local Turkish restaurant or Lebanese take-away, but then I wonder whether they actually have such treasures where they live...

And the irony is, you go to a Turkish restaurant here in Australia, and they're so strictly Islamic they serve wine and offer Christmas banquets...  ::)

And another thought - if you want to see a crowd of 100,000 fanatic Muslims: go to the cricket in Pakistan or Bangladesh, rather than the mosque. I'm not going to say I'd feel safe at a cricket match in Karachi in a crowd that big, but I don't think I'd be at risk from religious violence.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on March 07, 2017, 08:32:56 AM
Just to add to my previous point about Pakistani cricket crowds, it's worth looking at the player lists for the five teams in the Pakistani Super League (the local competition of the short-short version of cricket - Twenty20): http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan-super-league-2016-17/content/squad/index.html?object=1075974

Even those who know nothing about cricket will see that all five squads have a decent number of black (West Indian) and white (English, South African, Australian and New Zealander) players. What's not so obvious is that most teams also have one or two Sri Lankan players as well, and for one club their captain is a Sri Lankan. Sure, I don't think there's a single Indian player there, but the cosmopolitan nature of the teams should be pretty obvious: the fans and the organisers want good players, not just good Pakistani players.

And while most of the games in the comp were played in the UAE, the final was played in Lahore in front of a crowd of 22,000 very excited Pakistanis.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 07, 2017, 10:58:53 AM
It isn't even just meeting foreigners.  It's meeting anyone who is not just like you.  I would suspect that, in many places, college-educated people are the ones most likely to have met black or Hispanic people, to have met people from multiple socioeconomic strata, to have met essentially anyone who lives a different lifestyle.  It's why I get so deeply annoyed at the concept of a "liberal bubble" coming from people where 90% of the population is the same ethnicity, religion, and class whose families have all lived in the same place for five generations.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on March 07, 2017, 04:24:51 PM
There's an old Vulcan proverb: Only Nixon can go to China.
I thought it was an old Klingon proverb.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 08, 2017, 02:44:41 AM
There's an old Vulcan proverb: Only Nixon can go to China.
I thought it was an old Klingon proverb.
No it's Vulcan. You must be thinking of revenge is a dish best served cold.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gwiz on March 08, 2017, 06:34:41 AM
I like to say that higher education is one of this country's most important exports, given how many foreign students you see at almost any university. The rest of the world has always looked to the United States as the world leader in advanced education, basic and applied research and market creation, and they try to send us their best students. That's something we have every right to be proud of. Yet Trump is happily dynamiting all that in the ironic name of "making America great again". Ugh. He has absolutely no idea what made this country great in the first place.
We've got a similar situation in the UK, foreign student numbers down since the Brexit vote and also, apparently, fewer UK students going to European universities.  This cutting off of links puts all the rhetoric about the UK going to be a great global player into perspective.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Dalhousie on March 12, 2017, 11:28:41 PM
I've just cancelled a visit to the US, it was only a short stop over to present at a conference.  Must too much of a potential hassle for this Malaysian born research to cope with.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on March 14, 2017, 09:18:22 AM
I think that's a shame. However the Trump presidency is so determinedly anti-intellectual that they probably think fewer foreign academics entering the country is negligible at worst and an achievement in "purity" at best.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 14, 2017, 11:19:08 AM
Two weeks till I travel. If I survive, I will report on how I got on, most critically that I survived. That Iraq is no longer on the naughty step may make things easier.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 14, 2017, 12:26:40 PM
I've read that tourism is already down and likely to decrease further.  Which, of course, will hurt the economy and cost jobs, just like everything else from the administration.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on March 14, 2017, 03:03:54 PM
I'm seriously thinking about buying a Resistance T-shirt for my next trip to Washington. If they stop me at the border, WIN! No more getting sent on business travel to the U.S.

Hehehe (evil cackle)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 15, 2017, 11:45:50 AM
The most recent executive order appears intended to just outright destroy any number of agencies.  I really don't think it'll hold up in court.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 16, 2017, 10:24:40 AM
The most recent executive order appears intended to just outright destroy any number of agencies.  I really don't think it'll hold up in court.

Which is why so much effort was made to keep the seat open on the Supreme  Court until a conservative swing justice could be appointed.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 16, 2017, 11:16:58 AM
I'm not sure I see all the conservative justices there now as being willing to approve it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 16, 2017, 11:30:46 AM
It is being reported that he us cancelling Asteroid Redirect Mission. So preventing a future apocalypse is not considered important. Maybe he's expecting another apocalypse sooner?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 16, 2017, 12:47:52 PM
I'm not sure I see all the conservative justices there now as being willing to approve it.

No, they probably won't.  But still in the American system Congress holds the pursestrings.  The President can suggest a budget, but it's up to Congress to actually write it.  And from the early reports I've seen, many in Congress have no intention of cutting that deeply.  Some of the programs on the chopping block have historically had bipartisan support despite partisan fluctuations in spending for them.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Allan F on March 16, 2017, 04:10:58 PM
I've read that tourism is already down and likely to decrease further.  Which, of course, will hurt the economy and cost jobs, just like everything else from the administration.

I thought of going with my GF. I think we'll wait about 3y10mds.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 16, 2017, 04:48:44 PM
Count your blessings. At least your country will still exist in 2020.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Allan F on March 16, 2017, 07:43:02 PM
Don't worry - we have our own problems, with rising crime and politicians who want to be "politically correct" and not do anything about it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on March 17, 2017, 02:30:56 AM
The US will recover. I think they are beginning to wake up to exactly what they have elected but they will recover. That's the benefit of a democracy.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 17, 2017, 04:33:34 AM
Unfortunately the recent votes and votes to come shortly for us aren't the kind you can take back.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on March 17, 2017, 10:22:00 AM
I wish Bob B. hadn't stormed off. I wonder what his opinion is of Trump's cuts to NASA. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/16/trumps-nasa-budget-preserves-mars-mission-cuts-earth-science-asteroid-trip-education/99227378/
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 17, 2017, 10:32:10 AM
To be fair, he was a bit outnumbered.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 17, 2017, 11:23:35 AM
He was, but he was also being incredibly dismissive of real concerns.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on March 17, 2017, 12:35:50 PM
I think he deeply believed that Trump was the right choice for the nation. However, my personal opinion is that he glossed over Trump's anti-science stance, which has become more apparent (at least in my eyes). I wonder if Trump's supporters in the scientific fields have been able to reconcile themselves with this.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 17, 2017, 03:52:38 PM
It's okay, Germany. Wir werden dein Freund sein.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on March 17, 2017, 05:55:51 PM
http://occupydemocrats.com/2017/03/17/trump-just-refused-shake-hands-germanys-angela-merkel-video/
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on March 17, 2017, 09:27:42 PM
I don't understand what is going on.

Sure, big improvements are going to take time: dropping the unemployment rate, boosting the economy, etc... we won't see any improvement for a while.

The way President Trump is behaving, though.... what is going on? Sure, he's different and won't be the same as others, but the tweets, his comments regarding other nations, the claims he makes... they are completely detrimental to himself, his Administration and the US in general.

This is not just things a 'radical' would do when trying to 'clean up the swamp'. These are things I simply cannot explain.

It's as if he was deliberately trying to bring himself into disrepute.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on March 18, 2017, 12:01:27 AM
Sigh. And here I was hoping for a replay of the Thatcher/Palin meeting (that wasn't).
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 18, 2017, 11:27:42 AM
I think he deeply believed that Trump was the right choice for the nation. However, my personal opinion is that he glossed over Trump's anti-science stance, which has become more apparent (at least in my eyes). I wonder if Trump's supporters in the scientific fields have been able to reconcile themselves with this.

I just literally don't understand how an intelligent person could have missed not only Trump's anti-science stance but his genuine incompetence.  Or the fact that his proposed policies are nightmarish.  The claim that there's no evidence that feeding poor children "works"?  Even if you needed the excuse to make sure that poor children don't go hungry, that's flatly wrong.  Every study done shows that the most effective way to improve children's performance in school is to feed them.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on March 20, 2017, 11:23:12 AM
Many people so strongly object to paying taxes beyond the bare minimum that they may overlook the faults of candidates who promise to lower them.

However, this is an odd stance for a supporter of NASA and state-sponsored (that is, taxpayer supported) science. When government costs are cut, we see things without immediate tangible benefits being the first on the chopping block.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 20, 2017, 12:31:42 PM
Such as feeding poor children, yes.  Or, apparently, educating them--goodbye, Corporation for Public Broadcasting!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 20, 2017, 03:25:30 PM
Every study done shows that the most effective way to improve children's performance in school is to feed them.

Indeed, but I look at that program at a more basic level.  Trying to correlate children's performance in school with food programs certainly has value.  But for me the program shows results when kids don't go hungry.  You can feed hungry kids in the hopes of boosting their performance in school.  But you can also feed hungry kids because it's the right thing to do.  You succeed when there are fewer hungry kids.  That's how you measure the success of the program.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 21, 2017, 11:45:43 AM
Oh, definitely.  I don't disagree with the idea of just feeding all school kids, regardless of their income status.  But if you're not going to do it for compassionate reasons, there at least is a practical one.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on March 25, 2017, 08:25:40 AM
Every study done shows that the most effective way to improve children's performance in school is to feed them.

Indeed, but I look at that program at a more basic level.  Trying to correlate children's performance in school with food programs certainly has value.  But for me the program shows results when kids don't go hungry.  You can feed hungry kids in the hopes of boosting their performance in school.  But you can also feed hungry kids because it's the right thing to do.  You succeed when there are fewer hungry kids.  That's how you measure the success of the program.

And anyone cutting such a program no doubt agrees with you.

In the vernacular of the Australian Parliament, "The honourable member for Salt Lake City knows that no one recognises the value and importance of such a program more than me. But due to the fiscal black hole left to us by the previous government, the members on the opposite side of the chamber surely understand that we've had to make some tough decisions to help bring the budget back into surplus."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 25, 2017, 11:37:30 AM
Cutting these programs isn't helping the budget given the incredible increase the administration wants to give defense spending.  Or even just the cost of supporting the First Lady in her residence in New York.  I agree that it's best for their kid if he stays in his school at least through the end of the school year; continuity is good for a kid.  But if tough sacrifices are being made, maybe start there?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on March 25, 2017, 01:16:16 PM
Cutting these programs isn't helping the budget given the incredible increase the administration wants to give defense spending.

Indeed, the programs the President wants to eliminate have, in general, miniscule budgets compared even to the incidental costs of maintaining the opulent lifestyle of the First Family.  When transitioning from a liberal to a conservative government, it is common and expected to eliminate discretionary spending.  However, the programs in question have had bipartisan support in some cases for many decades.  While their budgets grow and shrink according to the preferences of the party in power, they have never been slated for wholesale elimination.  Thus the present budget recommendation is being viewed as more of a political statement than a plan for fiscal responsibility.

The proposed increase in defense spending is incongruous with the President's campaign promise to ask U.S. allies to shoulder more of the cost of coalition actions worldwide.  Among all the topics that could arise in this thread, military policy is likely to be the most contentious.  There are wide and deeply felt rifts in belief over what military action should be taken in what circumstances, by whom, and how paid for.  Whether it's true or not, Trump's campaign rhetoric was that America has been paying too much for the world's defense.  Then it gets harder to ask for more defense spending.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 25, 2017, 06:56:27 PM
Some 70% of Americans believe in government funding of PBS.  It's less than a percent of the federal government.  Barely a hundredth of a percent, in fact.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 28, 2017, 04:29:07 PM
I made it. Had some extra questions about past travels at the booth and they thought I might have to show my visa to secondary people but after checking said it wasn't necessary. And most significantly, the officer was really nice about it. Got through quickly enough to have to stand around waiting for baggage.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 29, 2017, 11:19:34 AM
Glad to hear that, and still angry for people who aren't that lucky.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on March 29, 2017, 11:37:48 AM
Glad to hear that, and still angry for people who aren't that lucky.

The Toronto School Board isn't going to send any more school trips to the U.S. until things are settled. They're worried what would happen if one student was stopped at the border, and wasn't allowed to go with the others.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 29, 2017, 05:40:44 PM
Which is a legitimate worry.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 29, 2017, 07:33:39 PM
I have an observation even more shocking than the shocks I saw over the wing if the 757 I was on between PHL and MCO.

I have narrowed the time period of Frontierland to between 1877 and 1890 due to a flag displayed over a refreshment stand which has 38 stars. But what is more shocking than shocks is that the pattern of stars is a rectangular grid of 5 rows and 8 columns where on the second and fourth row it is the left most stars which are missing, not the right, as most history pages seem to suggest.

I think Frontierland might be fake and Brer Rabbit was never kidnapped by Brer Fox. How did he escape anyway?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 30, 2017, 09:25:01 AM
Born and bred in a briar patch!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on March 31, 2017, 09:30:27 PM
Speaking of strange American things, is it a done thing to pay the principle of the bill on card and leave cash for the tip?

Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 01, 2017, 05:24:49 AM
Cutting these programs isn't helping the budget given the incredible increase the administration wants to give defense spending.  Or even just the cost of supporting the First Lady in her residence in New York.  I agree that it's best for their kid if he stays in his school at least through the end of the school year; continuity is good for a kid.  But if tough sacrifices are being made, maybe start there?

To which the likely response would be...

"If the honourable Senator from Washington is asking whether I'm a patriot for my country...if the honourable Senator is asking whether I care about the safety of the people of this country...then I'm proud to say, 'Guilty as charged'. The honourable Senator from Washington may not care about protecting this land of ours, but I and my colleagues do!"

In other words, as soon as you talk about trading off any social welfare program against a military program the response will be to challenge your patriotism regardless of how wasteful or pointless it is, and remain silent about the social welfare program regardless of how beneficial it is.

Seriously, these sorts of speeches and sound-bites just about write themselves (more's the pity).
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 01, 2017, 12:04:32 PM
Speaking of strange American things, is it a done thing to pay the principle of the bill on card and leave cash for the tip?

There's usually a tip line on credit card receipts.  However, if you pay cash for the tip, your server is guaranteed to get the tip that day; it's my understanding that this isn't always true with credit cards, depending on the restaurant.  (I've never worked somewhere you could accept tips--the rule at the Burger King where I did my food service was that you couldn't.)  If the management is really unpleasant, they might never get a credit card tip at all.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 01, 2017, 03:58:24 PM
So basically I did good.

Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Dalhousie on April 01, 2017, 06:57:31 PM
Cutting these programs isn't helping the budget given the incredible increase the administration wants to give defense spending.  Or even just the cost of supporting the First Lady in her residence in New York.  I agree that it's best for their kid if he stays in his school at least through the end of the school year; continuity is good for a kid.  But if tough sacrifices are being made, maybe start there?

To which the likely response would be...

"If the honourable Senator from Washington is asking whether I'm a patriot for my country...if the honourable Senator is asking whether I care about the safety of the people of this country...then I'm proud to say, 'Guilty as charged'. The honourable Senator from Washington may not care about protecting this land of ours, but I and my colleagues do!"

In other words, as soon as you talk about trading off any social welfare program against a military program the response will be to challenge your patriotism regardless of how wasteful or pointless it is, and remain silent about the social welfare program regardless of how beneficial it is.

Seriously, these sorts of speeches and sound-bites just about write themselves (more's the pity).

The responses to that sort of chest thumping idiocy also write themselves, but I will resist, as it is not my country (something I am very grateful for)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on April 01, 2017, 09:36:39 PM
So basically I did good.

Yes.  Cash tips are further appreciated because there's no paper trail to remind you to report it as income for tax purposes.  If you get what I mean.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 01, 2017, 11:18:24 PM
Cutting these programs isn't helping the budget given the incredible increase the administration wants to give defense spending.  Or even just the cost of supporting the First Lady in her residence in New York.  I agree that it's best for their kid if he stays in his school at least through the end of the school year; continuity is good for a kid.  But if tough sacrifices are being made, maybe start there?

To which the likely response would be...

"If the honourable Senator from Washington is asking whether I'm a patriot for my country...if the honourable Senator is asking whether I care about the safety of the people of this country...then I'm proud to say, 'Guilty as charged'. The honourable Senator from Washington may not care about protecting this land of ours, but I and my colleagues do!"

In other words, as soon as you talk about trading off any social welfare program against a military program the response will be to challenge your patriotism regardless of how wasteful or pointless it is, and remain silent about the social welfare program regardless of how beneficial it is.

Seriously, these sorts of speeches and sound-bites just about write themselves (more's the pity).

The responses to that sort of chest thumping idiocy also write themselves, but I will resist, as it is not my country (something I am very grateful for)

Oh, it's not my country either, but there aren't many Australians who can resist poking fun at Americans...sometimes in deadly seriousness.

In a way it's an indictment of Australian politics too, that I was doing only a small amount of paraphrasing of things I'm sure I've heard Australian politicians say.

And on that point, it has to be said that the popularity of Australian politicians with the Australian public has rarely been lower.

For example, we've recently had the Fair Work Commission (a government agency which oversees industrial relations) recommend cuts to pay rates for weekend work for people in the hospitality sector, a move applauded by the (politically conservative) government as boosting the economy. And then a couple of weeks later the government announced its intention to cut company tax rates to boost the economy. So apparently giving people more money is bad for the economy when it's given to low-paid people, but good when it's given to rich people.

Then there's the robo-debt welfare problem, in which an automated data-matching system is sending letters out to people claiming that they're inappropriately claiming benefits (often erroneously), while politicians are living high on the hog inappropriately claiming travel and accommodation benefits (often erroneously). The hypocrisy is frustrating.

Then there's been the business of power cuts. South Australia now generates about 30% of its electricity needs from renewables like solar and wind, but when a couple of tornadoes blew down transmission lines which led to a statewide blackout that was blamed on the renewables. Meanwhile, the current PM, who has previously endorsed the idea of a carbon emissions trading scheme is now sitting back while his ministers tout the benefits of building new coal-fired power station, and himself touting a multi-billion dollar expansion of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme having recently lectured us on the importance of cutting government spending to reduce the deficit. *

To add to the problem, several states have privatised their electricity networks, with a number of power stations now being owned by foreign companies. Over the last few years several of these foreign-owned coal-fired power stations have been closed down, noticeably reducing the amount of electricity generated in the country, and there are now serious warnings of electricity shortages and blackouts as early as next summer. Naturally, manufacturers who rely on electricity to make things aren't thrilled, and both energy operators and political parties of all stripes are preferring to spend their time blaming each other rather than do anything about it.

So in the context of possible blackouts next summer, I'm going to be accelerating my plans to have some solar PV panels, a battery system, and a solar hot water system installed.

* Meanwhile, the skepticism about global warming coming from engineers, geologists and certain lobby groups is disturbing, even as the Great Barrier Reef experiences more frequent and serious bleaching events.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Dalhousie on April 02, 2017, 04:27:17 AM
* Meanwhile, the skepticism about global warming coming from engineers, geologists and certain lobby groups is disturbing, even as the Great Barrier Reef experiences more frequent and serious bleaching events.

Don't entirely discount the scepticism of geologists.  They know more about climate change than most scientists and the limits of mathematical modeling of complex environmental systems..  Many of them provide important corrections to some of the more silly things said about climate change.  But that's another topic.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 02, 2017, 12:24:50 PM
Shocking pollution in Trumpistan. The Swiss Family Treehouse had a neat system for extracting water from a stream using a water wheel and delivering it to the kitchen, but the kitchen discharges its grey water back into the stream upstream of the extraction.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LionKing on April 07, 2017, 03:27:19 AM
I should say that although I am against Trump, I am happy with what he did , bombing the Syrian airport. This is not enough, however. This Syrian tragedy should be stopped once for all. The seen of the kids suffocating from the gas is so heartbreaking  :'(  the hits on the Assad regime should be more painful.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Allan F on April 07, 2017, 05:39:08 PM
So basically I did good.

Yes.  Cash tips are further appreciated because there's no paper trail to remind you to report it as income for tax purposes.  If you get what I mean.

It doesn't really matter if you tip on card on cash. The employees and the business are only interested in the total amount of cash in the till and on card and the sum of the days sale. Where I live, tips are tax exempt, they have been ruled to be gifts. Unless a tip is "substantial" - like a days wage or more. Then the receiver is obliged to self-report it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 08, 2017, 11:28:06 AM
Here, servers are supposed to report all their tips; there are plenty of places in the US (blessedly not here) where servers are quite legally paid less than minimum wage, because it's assumed that tips will make up for the rest of their earnings.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on April 08, 2017, 05:35:26 PM
Well, this is going to be interesting.

I know President Trump doesn't have any type of strategy but I can't say I disagree with his ordering a Syrian strike. Being ex-military, I tend to sometimes favour military options where they are quick and leave the message 'do not poke the tiger!'.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 09, 2017, 02:06:59 AM
Well, this is going to be interesting.

I know President Trump doesn't have any type of strategy but I can't say I disagree with his ordering a Syrian strike. Being ex-military, I tend to sometimes favour military options where they are quick and leave the message 'do not poke the tiger!'.

As with a lot of what happens in the Middle East, I'm unsure about whether it was a good thing.

For example, I note that North Korea has pointed out the value of its nuclear weapons in the context of the attack on Syria - I think it's pretty unlikely that the USA would attempt an attack of this sort on North Korea...

For another thing, it certainly hasn't helped the relationship between the USA and Russia.

But something else to consider is that the attack came a day after Steve Bannon was removed from the National Security Council. As I understand it, the alt-right was unhappy with Trump getting the US more deeply involved in Syria, so I wonder what the relationship is between the removal of the alt-right's poster boy from the NSC one day and the attack on Syria the next.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 09, 2017, 09:54:51 AM
And even if it flawlessly succeeded at what it was intended to do--it hasn't--with no further political consequences--not likely--I don't like that Russia knew about it before Congress, when Congress is supposed to authorize military intervention in the first place.  I didn't like it when Bill Clinton intervened without Congressional authorization; I didn't like it when Obama did.  I wouldn't have liked it if Hillary had.  We have checks and balances for a reason.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Allan F on April 09, 2017, 06:07:33 PM
Problem is, if the president asks congress for permission to do a single operation, the target of that operation will get advance knowledge of the operation, and can either hide the intended target, disperse it, or beef up the defenses.

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on April 10, 2017, 01:17:21 AM
Problem is, if the president asks congress for permission to do a single operation, the target of that operation will get advance knowledge of the operation, and can either hide the intended target, disperse it, or beef up the defenses.



Yep, there are basically two ways to get a message to the widest possible audience

1. Television.
2. Tell Congress.

Much as I detest Trump (IMO, he is a misogynistic nitwit and about the worst choice of US President in the 240 year history of the country), I do agree that the President should have the power to act without reference to Congress. He is, after all, the CinC of US forces.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 10, 2017, 11:59:08 AM
But not a dictator.  I don't care why he does it; the point is that he still has to follow the Constitution.  And after all, letting Johnson avoid going through Congress got us Vietnam.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on April 10, 2017, 03:53:57 PM
But not a dictator.  I don't care why he does it; the point is that he still has to follow the Constitution.  And after all, letting Johnson avoid going through Congress got us Vietnam.

You are probably right, but as a person with a military background, if I am a soldier, sailor or airman embarking on a dangerous mission, I sure as hell don't want the bunch of self-interested politicians in the leaking tank that is the US Congress knowing anything about it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on April 11, 2017, 02:00:03 AM
Meh. Just limit the size of what can be mobilized without consultation. Above a certain point, you aren't going to be able to get the troops moving without everyone knowing about it already.

It's been a while, but wasn't that one of the reasons the RDF was around?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 11, 2017, 05:55:44 AM
Should the President of the European Commission be allowed to deploy armed forces? He technically doesn't have any who are responsible to him so that does make it difficult.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Jason Thompson on April 11, 2017, 08:04:50 AM
Forgive my political naivety, but isn't allowing the President to act unilaterally when it comes to military action against any other country because there's too much risk of the plans being leaked if Congressional approval is sought solving the wrong problem? Might even be advantageous if military plans were leaked on all sides, since that would effectively create a military stalemate where no actual shooting or bombardment would happen because everyone knows and is prepared for it, thus rendering it pointless.

Or am I just being too liberal and wishy-washy in being amazed and disappointed that we can, collectively, put people on the Moon, eradicate some illnesses, treat others very well and improve life in many ways, yet we can't seem to find ways to solve many differences that don't involve blowing the crap out of large groups of people?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 11, 2017, 08:35:12 AM
Not only that, but letting Russia know first that we were bombing a Russian ally has its own set of problems.  Some people who ought to have known in advance read about it in the media, a recurring problem with this administration.

The reason the President is not, according to the Constitution, allowed to declare war despite being C-in-C is that the Founding Fathers were generally (there were exceptions) terrified of a tyranny and didn't want a single person to be able to make decisions of that magnitude.  They were afraid that a single person would be more likely to act for foolish or selfish reasons.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 11, 2017, 10:38:59 AM
Well we vest such a power in the Queen and yet in 65 years she has never done it. So there.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Trebor on April 11, 2017, 03:58:54 PM
Well we vest such a power in the Queen and yet in 65 years she has never done it. So there.
The best quality in a leader is the ability to do nothing ever.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on April 11, 2017, 10:56:48 PM
Or am I just being too liberal and wishy-washy in being amazed and disappointed that we can, collectively, put people on the Moon, eradicate some illnesses, treat others very well and improve life in many ways, yet we can't seem to find ways to solve many differences that don't involve blowing the crap out of large groups of people?

In an ideal world, I agree, but it only works if both sides are willing to solve their differences that way, if at all.

In the real world, there are people/groups of people who will take advantage of your liberal wishy-washyness; they see it as a weakness to be exploited for their own gain. These people only understand "blowing the crap out of" things/people. If you don't do it to them first, they will eventually do it to you.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on April 12, 2017, 12:23:25 AM
[The founding fathers] were afraid that a single person would be more likely to act for foolish or selfish reasons.

Foolish; selfish, hmm. That reminds me of someone, his name's on the tip of my tongue....
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Jason Thompson on April 12, 2017, 07:43:07 AM
If you don't do it to them first, they will eventually do it to you.

Seriously? Sorry, but that attitude just seems to set up the whole problem in the first place. I have less of a problem with the idea of retaliation to an actual attack, but boy do I have a big problem to anyone who answers the question: 'why did you attack that person/town/country' with: 'well, they'd attack me some day so I thought I'd better do it first'.

It was put humorously by Dave Allen decades ago when he told the story of his father telling him when he went to school that there will be someone there who'll want to hit him. That's a bully. All bullies are cowards, so if you hit him first he'll run away. Within a week he was expelled for being a bully, going around hitting everyone first before they could hit him!

I think it's ridiculous to try to justify actually killing a bunch of people on the grounds that one day they will kill you. Really? When the first world war began every combatant believed, adamantly, they were waging a defensive war. Some a defence against actual invasion, some a defence against perceived future threats, but all believed they were defending their homes and all believed that right and god was on their side. Someone has to be the first to say 'actually, there's no point in killing and blowing things up, or we'll just end up with thousands of people getting slaughtered for the sake of capturing a few miles of blasted mud with nothing useful left standing on it', or we end up... well, we know how that ended up.

Anyway, my point was not to suggest how things should be done, but to point out how sad it is that we have advanced so much but still resort to sabre rattling and destructive action to show off our might rather than finding other ways to settle differences that don't involve the collateral damage of innocent deaths. However either side feels about it, surely everyone can recognise that destructive conflict is not in anyone's interests? I don't have a solution, but that doesn't mean I can't be dismayed about it or feel that people in positions of power should be doing their damndest to find that solution rather than making sure we all have the capability to blow up entire countries, just in case, and every so often blasting a little chunk of one of them just to make sure they get the message.

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 12, 2017, 09:31:10 AM
God was on all their sides. But as the Professor said, perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 12, 2017, 09:37:37 AM
[The founding fathers] were afraid that a single person would be more likely to act for foolish or selfish reasons.

Foolish; selfish, hmm. That reminds me of someone, his name's on the tip of my tongue....

Yeah, can't imagine who.

I'm generally disdainful of people who say "the Founding Fathers thought," or similar.  The example I tend to give is that if Alexander Hamilton'd said the sky was blue, three guys at least would've gone to the window.  But I think it's quite clear from the remaining notes we have about the Constitutional Convention that preventing a Trump-like figure is exactly why the Constitution spells out the kinds of checks and balances it does.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on April 13, 2017, 03:33:27 AM
If you don't do it to them first, they will eventually do it to you.

Seriously? Sorry, but that attitude just seems to set up the whole problem in the first place.

Jason its not an "attitude" is reality

Do you really think there was any possibility of negotiating with Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930's? I mean, really?

On September 30, 1938, Neville Chamberlain returned to England from the Munich Conference. On the tarmac at Heston Aerodrome, West London, he waved a piece of paper about, and said "I have returned from Germany with peace for our time". He might as well have used it to wipe his arse for all it was worth....in less than 12 months Hitler's invaded Poland and soon after, the war began. Hitler never had any intention of honoring that agreement. He just used the delays yo build up his forces.

Do you think ISIS can be negotiated with... really?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on April 13, 2017, 07:03:09 AM
Do you think ISIS can be negotiated with... really?

It's a tricky one. We used to say that we couldn't negotiate with the IRA too. Or ETA.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 13, 2017, 07:23:27 AM
The question is could ISIS ever get war weary as the IRA did? And would we be able to offer anything? Putting an end to the Protestant Ascendency redux, which had been going on in Northern Ireland since partition, was something quite valuable that made the IRA able to think they had gotten something.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 13, 2017, 10:08:28 AM
As a general principle, though, not every first strategy should be "bomb them first."  We've managed to go quite a long time without bombing North Korea.  Stalin was awful, but bombing the Soviet Union would have been worse for more people than not, no matter what Churchill thought, especially once nuclear weapons became a possibility.  His people would have been better off without him, to be sure, but stalemate did happen between his regime and the US.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on April 13, 2017, 04:00:46 PM
Forgive my political naivety, but isn't allowing the President to act unilaterally when it comes to military action against any other country because there's too much risk of the plans being leaked if Congressional approval is sought solving the wrong problem? Might even be advantageous if military plans were leaked on all sides, since that would effectively create a military stalemate where no actual shooting or bombardment would happen because everyone knows and is prepared for it, thus rendering it pointless.

Or am I just being too liberal and wishy-washy in being amazed and disappointed that we can, collectively, put people on the Moon, eradicate some illnesses, treat others very well and improve life in many ways, yet we can't seem to find ways to solve many differences that don't involve blowing the crap out of large groups of people?

Well, yes, it might be advantageous if all sides leaked equally. But it's unlikely that we could get North Korea or even Russia to have the relatively tolerant approach to leakers that the Western countries have.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on April 13, 2017, 05:32:24 PM
Do you think ISIS can be negotiated with... really?

It's a tricky one. We used to say that we couldn't negotiate with the IRA too. Or ETA.

You can't really make that comparison.

The IRA was strictly a local group that attacked the British in Ireland and in England.
The ETA were similar but were based in the Basque Country and attacked the Spanish and the French.

Neither group...

► used brainwashed members with no fear of death as suicide bombers
► declared war on the rest of the world
► had tens of thousand of followers world-wide traveling to Ireland/Basque Country to join in the fight
► had followers world-wide carrying out terrorist acts.


The IRA were always willing to negotiate, its just that what they wanted (a unified Ireland and the British out of Ireland completely) was totally unacceptable to the British. It was the British Government who refused to negotiate.

Likewise, ETA wanted independence for the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa (in Spain) and Labourd, Basse-Navarre and Soule (in France). and were willing to negotiate for it. Neither France or Spain were willing to have talks.

ISIS, on the other hand, are totally uninterested negotiating. They have no a specific aim beyond controlling the rubble pile that is their patch of ground. They appear to be an angry horde of insane individuals who routinely murder people over what they wear, what they say and what they believe. They consider anyone who is not of their unique form of Islam has no right to be alive. Every single one of us non-believers; you, me, everyone on this forum, in all our respective countries, is Infidel, and is therefore marked for execution. We all have targets on our backs.

Negotiation with groups of this type of mentality and holding this kind of belief system, is impossible. There are only two things you can do;

1. Put yourself behind an impenetrable wall and hope that it really is impenetrable.

2. Wipe them out before they wipe you out.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: AstroBrant on April 14, 2017, 03:26:38 AM
I know I'm coming in late in this discussion, but I thought I should go on record.

I have never been a very "political" person -- at least not until Trump was nominated. I was shocked that there were enough Americans with so little regard for their government and so much contempt for facts, decency, integrity, intelligence, maturity, professionality, and competence as to actually put someone like that in a presidential race. Clinton was not a great candidate, but Trump was a nightmare. I was horrified when he was elected. I feel this marks the death of the American democratic ideal. I fear that the world will never view my country with respect again. What's worse, this could result in unprecedented international catastrophe. At the very least it validates all the worst kind of thinking that we find so commonly among conspiracy theorists, woo-woos, religious fundamentalists, and political extremists. For a long time, regarding such types, I've been saying, "These people serve on juries?? Vote?? Have children?? Drive cars??"

Well, now we see the results. Idiocracy is officially here. 

Since the election, my online time has been dominated by this frightening situation. It has caused me to neglect my video-making. In November, I was in the middle of a video response to a flat Earth video, and haven't touched it since. I really must get back to that.

Speaking of which, I've been asking several flat-Earthers if they were Trump fans. I'd really love to know how much of a correlation there is.

I know I will lose some friends over this. That's sad.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 14, 2017, 07:17:38 AM
If you don't do it to them first, they will eventually do it to you.

Seriously? Sorry, but that attitude just seems to set up the whole problem in the first place.

Jason its not an "attitude" is reality

Do you really think there was any possibility of negotiating with Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930's? I mean, really?

Yes, I think there was. Hitler was an opportunist - he kept pushing as long as he thought he'd face no opposition. Remember, when he gave orders for the army to reoccupy the Rhineland, they included the condition that if the French army made any move the German forces were to immediately abandon the reoccupation.

Had Hitler been faced by a united front of nations he would have been unwilling to risk war, because up to 1940 Germany simply didn't have the military strength to fight a two-front war. It wouldn't have removed Hitler from power but it would have kept peace in Europe (with the ongoing possibility of a military coup removing Hitler).

Quote
On September 30, 1938, Neville Chamberlain returned to England from the Munich Conference. On the tarmac at Heston Aerodrome, West London, he waved a piece of paper about, and said "I have returned from Germany with peace for our time". He might as well have used it to wipe his arse for all it was worth....in less than 12 months Hitler's invaded Poland and soon after, the war began. Hitler never had any intention of honoring that agreement. He just used the delays yo build up his forces.

But so did the British and French. It's worth considering the difference to the RAF an extra year of rearmament allowed.

The Polish invasion was only possible because someone else had managed to negotiate an agreement with Hitler. Had the British and French been serious about an agreement with Stalin (and forced the Poles to come along with them) Hitler wouldn't have had a hope of invading Poland. As it was German forces were being rushed over to the Western Front even before the conquest of Poland was complete.

Quote
Do you think ISIS can be negotiated with... really?

Yes. Everyone has their price.

Consider that for all their bluster about destroying old monuments they're actually making a fair amount of money from the sale of antiquities on the black market. So they're perfectly happy to compromise their principles if there's money involved. And once money is involved it's simply a matter of working out the most effective way to spend money in such a way as to ruin the organisation from the inside.

Let me give a couple of examples. Back in the 10th century, in that part of the world, the Byzantine Empire was fighting against a particularly skillful Muslim general named Sayf Ed-Dawla. But the Byzantines were also skilled in winning wars without having to do much fighting. So, for example, one year the local Byzantine general, John Curcuas, sent bags of gold with letters addressed to senior subordinate generals of Sayf. The letters thanked these men for their assistance. Curcuas then arranged for the letters and gold to fall into Sayf's hands. Sayf had his subordinates arrested and interrogated to find out what assistance they'd given to Curcuas. They'd done nothing wrong, of course, but the interrogations and loss of trust meant that Sayf's planned campaign for that year had to be abandoned.

Similarly, one of the methods used to defeat the Huk Rebellion in the Philippines in the early 1950s involved offering rewards for the capture of various leaders, but offering lower rewards for the highest-ranked leaders. This led to internal bickering between the various leaders over who thought themselves the most significant.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on April 14, 2017, 09:29:03 AM
^^All of the above.

If your favourite, or only, tool is a hammer then all problems look like nails.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 14, 2017, 10:30:56 PM
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-14/nothing-unpredictable-about-dangerous-north-korea/8444778

Here's an interesting assessment of North Korea, which pretty much tallies with comments I've made in the past over at UM about the current leadership of that delightful country.

Quote
...the Kim regime is dangerous, brutal and petulant but if anything, predictable.

= = = =

Incidentally, on the issue of whether you can negotiate with terrorists, another example I read about was a method used by the US military occupying forces in Iraq to defuse the threat of Al Qaeda: they set up a Sunni self-defence militia and invited any local Sunnis to join, no questions asked.

They were paid a small allowance - small in Western terms, but enough money that members of the militia didn't need to work. The result was that large numbers of Al Qaeda members deserted that organisation to join the militia, patrolling their communities alongside American troops they'd been shooting at only weeks before. The number of AQ attacks went down, the militia were respected by their community, and the cost in terms of salaries was far smaller than the cost of sending hundreds of resented American soldiers in to patrol the communities.

Of course, it raises a bunch of questions: What did the American soldiers think of walking the streets with men who'd probably been responsible for the deaths of their own comrades? Was it moral or ethical to take such a mercenary stand in relation to people who'd previously sworn their opposition to the USA?

But this is the problem you get when you treat a group or a country as some sort of eternal enemy and pre-emptively rule out any possibility of negotiation. For one thing, when circumstances dictate that you do have to negotiate with them then you look like a hypocrite (think of the various Western hostages in Lebanon back in the 1980s whose eventual liberation relied on American negotiations with their supposed arch-enemy Iran). For another thing becoming too doctrinaire or belligerent when speaking about a current enemy makes it that much harder to back down later if you need to ask for their assistance. Consider the way Admiral Bill Halsey spoke during World War Two about Japanese people in general, and consider that if his attitude had permeated the American occupation forces in the years after the end of the war, it would have been that much harder to use Japan as a staging post for American and allied forces in South Korea.

That's why, in terms of foreign relations, I think it's better to be a guarded pragmatist - you never know when today's enemy might be a useful ally.

So in that regard (with both North Korea and Syria) I'm fairly positive about Rex Tillerson as Trump's Secretary of State.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on April 14, 2017, 11:00:49 PM
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-14/nothing-unpredictable-about-dangerous-north-korea/8444778

Here's an interesting assessment of North Korea, which pretty much tallies with comments I've made in the past over at UM about the current leadership of that delightful country.

Quote
...the Kim regime is dangerous, brutal and petulant but if anything, predictable.

= = = =

Incidentally, on the issue of whether you can negotiate with terrorists, another example I read about was a method used by the US military occupying forces in Iraq to defuse the threat of Al Qaeda: they set up a Sunni self-defence militia and invited any local Sunnis to join, no questions asked.

They were paid a small allowance - small in Western terms, but enough money that members of the militia didn't need to work. The result was that large numbers of Al Qaeda members deserted that organisation to join the militia, patrolling their communities alongside American troops they'd been shooting at only weeks before. The number of AQ attacks went down, the militia were respected by their community, and the cost in terms of salaries was far smaller than the cost of sending hundreds of resented American soldiers in to patrol the communities.

Of course, it raises a bunch of questions: What did the American soldiers think of walking the streets with men who'd probably been responsible for the deaths of their own comrades? Was it moral or ethical to take such a mercenary stand in relation to people who'd previously sworn their opposition to the USA?

But this is the problem you get when you treat a group or a country as some sort of eternal enemy and pre-emptively rule out any possibility of negotiation. For one thing, when circumstances dictate that you do have to negotiate with them then you look like a hypocrite (think of the various Western hostages in Lebanon back in the 1980s whose eventual liberation relied on American negotiations with their supposed arch-enemy Iran). For another thing becoming too doctrinaire or belligerent when speaking about a current enemy makes it that much harder to back down later if you need to ask for their assistance. Consider the way Admiral Bill Halsey spoke during World War Two about Japanese people in general, and consider that if his attitude had permeated the American occupation forces in the years after the end of the war, it would have been that much harder to use Japan as a staging post for American and allied forces in South Korea.

That's why, in terms of foreign relations, I think it's better to be a guarded pragmatist - you never know when today's enemy might be a useful ally.

So in that regard (with both North Korea and Syria) I'm fairly positive about Rex Tillerson as Trump's Secretary of State.

Could these examples, and what has taken place recently, be Realpolitik?

(Realpolitik is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism. It is often simply referred to as pragmatism in politics, e.g. "pursuing pragmatic policies". The term Realpolitik is sometimes used pejoratively to imply politics that are coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian.)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realpolitik
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 15, 2017, 01:36:34 AM
Yes, that term would fit too.

And that circles back around to topics we covered a page or two ago, about the expenditure of money on various domestic programs...

In the years after World War Two the USA spent large amounts of money rebuilding Western European countries devastated by the war - the Marshall Plan.

Now obviously, there was a propaganda aspect to the plan, in presenting the USA as a generous donor country, compared with those nasty Communists in the Soviet Union.

But there was a pragmatic angle to it too. By rebuilding the economies of those countries they were able to start producing stuff to sell overseas, which gave them the money to buy stuff from the USA. In other words, the money the USA spent rebuilding the European economies was amply repaid to the USA. The Marshall Plan kickstarted something like 25 years of economic growth after World War Two.

So it frustrates me when people want to cut a program (any program) which costs money when those programs are easily demonstrated to save a lot more money down the track.

For example, a study pointed out the benefits of simply placing homeless people in a house - it would be cheaper in the long run for the relevant government to pay the rent than to have to pay the law enforcement and health costs of that homeless person staying on the street.

The problem is, of course, for many people (on both sides of politics) ideological purity is more important than results or costs.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on April 15, 2017, 05:13:06 AM
Incidentally, on the issue of whether you can negotiate with terrorists, another example I read about was a method used by the US military occupying forces in Iraq to defuse the threat of Al Qaeda: they set up a Sunni self-defence militia and invited any local Sunnis to join, no questions asked.

They were paid a small allowance - small in Western terms, but enough money that members of the militia didn't need to work. The result was that large numbers of Al Qaeda members deserted that organisation to join the militia, patrolling their communities alongside American troops they'd been shooting at only weeks before. The number of AQ attacks went down, the militia were respected by their community, and the cost in terms of salaries was far smaller than the cost of sending hundreds of resented American soldiers in to patrol the communities.

That reminds me of the book 'Once A Warrior King' by "David Donovan", about a soldier's experiences in Vietnam.

https://www.amazon.com/Once-Warrior-King-Memories-Paperbacks/dp/0753819562

 I don't have any experience in that area, but it sounds like a good plan.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 15, 2017, 06:52:35 AM
Another demonstration of Realpolitik comes from examining the claims of those who talk about a Muslim-Christian culture war. Such a culture war exists only to the extent that it serves the agenda of those who claim the culture war's existence.

Consider the Coalition from the First Gulf War - USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, etc etc. Plenty of Muslim countries which saw their interests better served by aligning themselves with the Crusaders than with their fellow Muslims.

During World War One, Germany and Austria-Hungary had no problems aligning themselves with Ottoman Turkey, and religious figures in Turkey had no problems calling down a fatwa on some Christians - that is, the UK, Russia and France.

And about 60 years earlier those same Brits and Frogs had been Ottoman allies in the fight against Russia - because once again geopolitics was far more important than religion.

In fact throughout history it's easy to find examples where Christians and Muslims found geopolitics trumped religion, such as in the 16th century when France was surrounded by the politically and religiously aligned Spanish and German Empires, so the King of France made an alliance with Suleiman the Magnificent of Turkey.

But the best examples come from the Crusades. Anyone who thinks the Crusades were solely about Christians fighting Muslims knows nothing about the Crusades.

= = = =

1. The origin of the Crusades lay in a religious dispute, but not one involving Christians. In the early 11th century the Seljuk Turks, then located in Central Asia, converted to Sunni Islam, and then vowed to unite the whole Islamic world for the (then powerless) Caliph in Baghdad. This meant conquering the Shia Fatimids of Egypt and their heretic Caliph in Cairo. On the way to Egypt some loosely allied Turkoman tribes decided on a bit of freelance raiding of the Byzantine Empire. The Emperor responded and his army was soundly defeated. The Turkish tribes occupied most of Asia Minor (that is, what's now Asian Turkey). Twenty years later another Byzantine Emperor, Alexius, asked for assistance from Western European leaders. He was looking for mercenaries. What he got was the First Crusade.

2. The Pope's model for organising the Crusade was the Norman invasion of England 30 years earlier, to the extent of formally blessing the standards of the commanders. Yes, back in 1066 the Pope at the time had formally endorsed Duke William's invasion because at the time the English church was considered to be heretical. Thus William's invasion had, among other objectives, the very religious objective of rescuing the English church from heresy. Much the same formulation was followed for the First Crusade.

3. The first target of the Crusaders was the city of Nicaea. However the Crusaders had little knowledge of siege warfare and Nicaea had high stone walls. Emperor Alexius soon turned up with a siege train, and the Byzantine siege engines knocked down a section of wall. The Crusaders informed Alexius they were going to attack the city the next morning, but the next morning they were astonished to discover Byzantine flags flying from the city's towers. Overnight Alexius had convinced the Turkish garrison to surrender and leave the city. The Crusaders were furious that Alexius had effectively stolen the city from under their noses, firstly because it now meant they wouldn't be able to sack the city, and secondly because the Turks were allowed to live and might fight them again in the future. But Nicaea's population was still overwhelmingly Greek and Christian and Alexius wanted the city back intact. He paid off the Crusaders with a large pile of gold - still cheaper than rebuilding a destroyed city.

4. During the march to Antioch, the Crusaders received an embassy from some Muslims who were seeking an alliance. Given that they saw their job as killing Muslims, the Crusaders dismissed the embassy. It turned out the embassy was from the Fatimids, who were just about holding the Seljuks at bay on the border of Egypt, and who saw the Crusaders as a useful ally in what they (the Fatimids) thought was a war against a common enemy.

5. After capturing Antioch (after a siege lasting more than a year), the Crusaders had to turn around and face a large Turkish army, consisting mostly of cavalry. But the Crusaders had lost so many horses to starvation that their army was now mostly infantry. Yet despite being hungry, outnumbered and mostly on foot, the Crusaders were victorious. No wonder the victory was seen as a miracle. But what the Crusaders didn't realise was that the Turkish tribal leaders saw their own commander as more of a threat to their independence than this Christian army and abandoned him, leaving him to fight the battle with only his own retinue. No surprise then that he was defeated.

6. The Crusaders, now full of religious fervour from their 'miraculous' victory, marched on to Jerusalem, which they captured. What they didn't realise was that the garrison was actually Fatimid, not Turkish. The Crusaders were so unaware of Muslim politics that in marching from Antioch to Jerusalem they didn't notice they'd crossed the front line of a completely separate religious war.

7. The First Crusade created a power vacuum in the Middle East. The Crusader princes immediately fell to arguing and fighting among themselves, and all sides soon realised the benefits to be gained by forming alliances with local Muslim tribal leaders, who were just as fractured among themselves as the Crusaders were. Within 10 years of the Crusader capture of Jerusalem we have records of battles in which both armies consisted of Crusaders and Muslims.

Now in the end the Crusaders lost their last cities to a united Muslim state (the Mamluk Sultanate), but this Muslim unity was the exception rather than the rule. The main reason the Crusader states lasted nearly two centuries was because for most of that time the Muslims of the region were divided among themselves, and saw the Crusaders as useful allies rather than a religious enemy.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 15, 2017, 10:48:52 AM
So it frustrates me when people want to cut a program (any program) which costs money when those programs are easily demonstrated to save a lot more money down the track.

For years, I got my birth control through a program from the state of Washington.  A friend got a vasectomy through the program!  I forget how much the program was estimated to save the state every year, but it was a lot.  And, yes, certain lawmakers were routinely trying to end the program.

Quote
For example, a study pointed out the benefits of simply placing homeless people in a house - it would be cheaper in the long run for the relevant government to pay the rent than to have to pay the law enforcement and health costs of that homeless person staying on the street.

A friend or possibly relative of a friend insists that can't be true, because how much can homeless people cost?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 15, 2017, 02:51:31 PM
If you need more shame, there's this.

The Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot has a number of lovely outdoor kitchens. The Bauernmarkt in the Germany pavilion in World Showcase offers currywurst.

However, when they say currywurst with chips, it came with crisps, not fries. I have photographic evidence of authentic Berliner currywurst that shows the research had a small gap in it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 15, 2017, 06:41:49 PM
Quote
For example, a study pointed out the benefits of simply placing homeless people in a house - it would be cheaper in the long run for the relevant government to pay the rent than to have to pay the law enforcement and health costs of that homeless person staying on the street.

A friend or possibly relative of a friend insists that can't be true, because how much can homeless people cost?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-16/cheaper-to-provide-homes-for-homeless-rather-sleep-rough/8354284

Here's the article. As it happens, it was talking about last-resort housing, not ordinary housing. So there's some difference there. But the article summarises the costs:

Quote
Getting people off the streets was calculated to have the following economic benefits per person:
Type of cost   Savings per year, per bed
Health cost:   $8,429
Reduced crime:    $6,182
Individual costs:   $6,500
Improved human capital:   $4,236
Other:   $268
Total:   $25,615
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 16, 2017, 09:30:34 AM
Yeah, we presented him with facts.  He couldn't seem to grasp them.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on April 16, 2017, 05:23:17 PM
Another demonstration of Realpolitik comes from examining the claims of those who talk about a Muslim-Christian culture war. Such a culture war exists only to the extent that it serves the agenda of those who claim the culture war's existence.

Consider the Coalition from the First Gulf War - USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, etc etc. Plenty of Muslim countries which saw their interests better served by aligning themselves with the Crusaders than with their fellow Muslims.

During World War One, Germany and Austria-Hungary had no problems aligning themselves with Ottoman Turkey, and religious figures in Turkey had no problems calling down a fatwa on some Christians - that is, the UK, Russia and France.

And about 60 years earlier those same Brits and Frogs had been Ottoman allies in the fight against Russia - because once again geopolitics was far more important than religion.

In fact throughout history it's easy to find examples where Christians and Muslims found geopolitics trumped religion, such as in the 16th century when France was surrounded by the politically and religiously aligned Spanish and German Empires, so the King of France made an alliance with Suleiman the Magnificent of Turkey.

This concept makes great comedy

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 17, 2017, 01:33:40 AM
Great comedy (I used to love watching Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister) but there's truth in it too.

Over that 500 year period that Sir Humphrey talks about, England's/Britain's strategic security has been based on keeping Europe divided. Only a united Europe has the strength to invade Britain, so British foreign policy involves opposing any state on the road to controlling/uniting Europe. Hence: backing the Dutch against Spain in the late 16th century; backing the alliance against Louis XIV in the late 17th century *; backing various coalitions against Napoleon in the early 19th century; backing the Entente against Germany in WW1; opposing Germany in WW2; and backing NATO against the USSR.

* One of the reasons for Parliament overthrowing James II in 1688 was his desire to ally with France, which was severely against England's strategic interests.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 17, 2017, 01:46:51 AM
Meanwhile, in South Korea...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-17/pence-north-korea/8447606

Quote
Pointing to the quarter-century since North Korea first obtained nuclear weapons, the Vice President said a period of patience followed.

"But the era of strategic patience is over," he warned.

I wonder what the South Korean government thinks about that. I suspect they'd be keen to try to stretch things out as long as they can, given the number of artillery pieces pointing at Seoul.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: JayUtah on April 17, 2017, 06:53:41 PM
For example, a study pointed out the benefits of simply placing homeless people in a house - it would be cheaper in the long run for the relevant government to pay the rent than to have to pay the law enforcement and health costs of that homeless person staying on the street.

That study took place (at least partly) in my city.  Your analysis is spot-on.  Not only did we save money by simply providing subsidized housing for the homeless, but (according to my friend who's a county prosecutor) so much of the crime associated with homelessness such as drug dealing was reduced.  That resulted in a safer city and lower costs of public law enforcement and court proceedings.  The situation is objectively improved across the board when homelessness isn't made a law-enforcement problem.  But alas you're correct:  the notion of "coddling" the homeless was ultimately politically unsustainable.

As it regards arts programs, I like to note that we observe cultures with subsistence economies still allocating their scarce resources to their "arts" programs such as traditional celebrations, dance, visual art, etc.  These forms of expression are deeply rooted in who we are as a species.  Of course there's the famous (and perhaps apocryphal) Churchill quote.  When it was suggested that Britain forego its arts in favor of the war effort, Churchill responded:  "Then what are we fighting for?"
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on April 18, 2017, 02:05:27 AM
Next......tactical patience.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on April 18, 2017, 03:35:32 AM
I wonder if this is what's been needed? Okay, try diplomacy and patience but at a certain point you have to take some type of action. Back about 10 or so years ago, the DPRK was thought to have only one or two "deliverable" nuclear weapons... and that was short range with their largest delivery vehicles. That's now up to 15 or so and their bombs are getting smaller... and their launch vehicles are getting a longer range with bigger payloads.

If left unchecked, at a certain point they are going to pose a serious threat to numerous nations.

Perhaps now is the time to put the brakes on, take away their dangerous toys. The solution would ideally involve China but how long do you wait? One moment you have a yappy puppy... the next, you have a fully grown savage dog.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 18, 2017, 04:28:13 AM
I wonder if this is what's been needed? Okay, try diplomacy and patience but at a certain point you have to take some type of action. Back about 10 or so years ago, the DPRK was thought to have only one or two "deliverable" nuclear weapons... and that was short range with their largest delivery vehicles. That's now up to 15 or so and their bombs are getting smaller... and their launch vehicles are getting a longer range with bigger payloads.

If left unchecked, at a certain point they are going to pose a serious threat to numerous nations.

Perhaps now is the time to put the brakes on, take away their dangerous toys. The solution would ideally involve China but how long do you wait? One moment you have a yappy puppy... the next, you have a fully grown savage dog.

Possibly...

The thing is, though, the ultimate objective of the Kim regime is survival. Both Kim and his generals would be well aware that going to war would result in at least the loss of their cushy lifestyle and at worst death. Why would they do anything to risk that?

My understanding of the strategic purpose of North Korea's nuclear weapons is to discourage anyone from attacking them for fear of getting a nuclear reprisal. At the moment that reprisal would be against South Korea or Japan, which might not be enough to discourage the USA. But consider, they've had the ability to rain nuclear destruction down on those two countries for several years and haven't done so - they don't because they know if they do it means the end of their cushy lifestyle...etc etc.

So I think we should see their nuclear arsenal as defensive or retaliatory rather than offensive. And that's what makes America's current threats so dangerous - it brings about exactly the circumstances in which the North Koreans would feel the need to use their weapons.

I think I'd prefer the USA just quietly pay a billion dollars a year into a Swiss bank account for Kim's personal use (that is, for distribution among the generals to keep them on-side *). In the long run it'd be cheaper than war.

* And if the Americans wanted to be vindictive, drop a hint to the generals that Kim was getting two billion a year and have them all wonder how Kim was spreading it around.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: molesworth on April 18, 2017, 05:10:41 PM
On another forum I frequent, the simple solution to the North Korean problem was suggested, possibly only half jokingly as :
Quote
"South Korea should surrender, and welcome in their brothers from the North with open arms.  The Kim regime would last about two weeks..."
:)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on April 18, 2017, 09:17:08 PM
If left unchecked, at a certain point they are going to pose a serious threat to numerous nations.

Exactly. We here in Canada have 'no interest' in this, but if they nail Seattle, the closest American city except for perhaps Anchorage, we'll have to abandon Vancouver, which would to say the least make me deeply unhappy.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on April 24, 2017, 04:59:30 PM
I wonder if this is what's been needed? Okay, try diplomacy and patience but at a certain point you have to take some type of action. Back about 10 or so years ago, the DPRK was thought to have only one or two "deliverable" nuclear weapons... and that was short range with their largest delivery vehicles. That's now up to 15 or so and their bombs are getting smaller... and their launch vehicles are getting a longer range with bigger payloads.

If left unchecked, at a certain point they are going to pose a serious threat to numerous nations.

Perhaps now is the time to put the brakes on, take away their dangerous toys. The solution would ideally involve China but how long do you wait? One moment you have a yappy puppy... the next, you have a fully grown savage dog.

Possibly...

The thing is, though, the ultimate objective of the Kim regime is survival. Both Kim and his generals would be well aware that going to war would result in at least the loss of their cushy lifestyle and at worst death. Why would they do anything to risk that?

That assumes that Kim and his regime have, in Adam Savage's famous phrase, accepted our reality and not substituted their own.

But Kim isn't even a garden-variety dictator who thrust his own way to power. He's the son of one, and has been given near-divine veneration all his life. How he sees the world must be incredibly different from how someone from the West would see it. He appears to truly see his position as some sort of divine right. How dangerous is it to play with nukes when you're the Chosen One? All his life has been a guaranteed win. I presume even as a toddler no one ever won at making sandcastles with him. The thought of losing probably is beyond his ken.

His mental state is probably something similar to Saddam Hussein, who could have ruled in comfort until he died a natural death if he'd understood the limits of his power, and that God wouldn't automatically make his the winning play every time the roulette wheel was spun.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on April 24, 2017, 07:36:47 PM
(https://s30.postimg.org/69tp92569/360344225_21ab62e2dd_o.jpg)
  "North Korea follows Songun, or "military-first" policy.[34] It is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, the United States and India.[35]"

  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea

  He may well think he can take on any and all comers.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 24, 2017, 09:50:16 PM
I wonder if this is what's been needed? Okay, try diplomacy and patience but at a certain point you have to take some type of action. Back about 10 or so years ago, the DPRK was thought to have only one or two "deliverable" nuclear weapons... and that was short range with their largest delivery vehicles. That's now up to 15 or so and their bombs are getting smaller... and their launch vehicles are getting a longer range with bigger payloads.

If left unchecked, at a certain point they are going to pose a serious threat to numerous nations.

Perhaps now is the time to put the brakes on, take away their dangerous toys. The solution would ideally involve China but how long do you wait? One moment you have a yappy puppy... the next, you have a fully grown savage dog.

Possibly...

The thing is, though, the ultimate objective of the Kim regime is survival. Both Kim and his generals would be well aware that going to war would result in at least the loss of their cushy lifestyle and at worst death. Why would they do anything to risk that?

That assumes that Kim and his regime have, in Adam Savage's famous phrase, accepted our reality and not substituted their own.

But Kim isn't even a garden-variety dictator who thrust his own way to power. He's the son of one, and has been given near-divine veneration all his life. How he sees the world must be incredibly different from how someone from the West would see it. He appears to truly see his position as some sort of divine right. How dangerous is it to play with nukes when you're the Chosen One? All his life has been a guaranteed win. I presume even as a toddler no one ever won at making sandcastles with him. The thought of losing probably is beyond his ken.

His mental state is probably something similar to Saddam Hussein, who could have ruled in comfort until he died a natural death if he'd understood the limits of his power, and that God wouldn't automatically make his the winning play every time the roulette wheel was spun.

Re: the bolded text. I don't think so. He wasn't Kim Jong-Il's oldest son, which means there must have been some sort of selection process at which he excelled. On top of that have been the occasional purges, sometimes of close relatives (including uncle and older half-brother).

This suggests to me he's someone with a ruthless survival streak, and in turn this makes me think he's more likely to be a pragmatist.

Sure, I could be wrong - I'm not an expert on North Korea - but that's how I read his behaviour.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 25, 2017, 03:09:09 AM
Let's say Kim gets ideas above his station and tries it on. The moment he does, he's dead and North Korea is dead. Given the provocation, the Allies swarm into North Korea, ending the division. China at this point cares far more about trade with the rest of the world than it does about their goofy pet project and they know that a united Korea is far more of a business opportunity.

But what happens after the fall of Pyongyang?  They can't just declare the Wall fallen and be done with it. North Korea is far more of an alien landscape than East Germany ever was. There would need to be a period where North Korea is an occupied zone, to be rehabilitated before proper unity can be achieved.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on April 25, 2017, 10:51:03 AM
Also, he's the grandson of the guy who seizes power--and his long-dead grandfather still officially runs the government.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on April 27, 2017, 09:36:10 PM
[...] threat to numerous nations.

Exactly. We here in Canada have 'no interest' in this [....]

  It's fun to be smug when you have "no interest" (like I really think the DPRK has the ability to deliver any kind of payload to North America.)

  How quickly things change. I'm interested now. We, and I mean BC, not Canada per se, are trying to get into a trade war with the US. Probably a bad idea. All you can do is laugh. Right in the middle of a provincial election even.

(https://s11.postimg.org/c40lxhy0j/clark-and-trump-composite_1.jpg)

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=/amp/s/sec.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/christy-clark-v-donald-trump-the-proverbial-knife-to-the-gun-fight/article34831213/%253Fservice%253Damp&ved=0ahUKEwi4soyK-sXTAhUT9GMKHU-SC6EQiJQBCBwwAA&usg=AFQjCNHiNndMvui07iNx47m4ZbbHCkBIwg&sig2=0XfL6FRKvqkPSh58a8qbaA

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-moves-to-ban-u-s-coal-transport-in-retaliation-for-softwood-duties-1.4086688
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on April 28, 2017, 08:25:15 AM
[...] threat to numerous nations.

Exactly. We here in Canada have 'no interest' in this [....]

  It's fun to be smug when you have "no interest" (like I really think the DPRK has the ability to deliver any kind of payload to North America.)

  How quickly things change. I'm interested now. We, and I mean BC, not Canada per se, are trying to get into a trade war with the US. Probably a bad idea. All you can do is laugh. Right in the middle of a provincial election even.

(https://s11.postimg.org/c40lxhy0j/clark-and-trump-composite_1.jpg)

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=/amp/s/sec.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/christy-clark-v-donald-trump-the-proverbial-knife-to-the-gun-fight/article34831213/%253Fservice%253Damp&ved=0ahUKEwi4soyK-sXTAhUT9GMKHU-SC6EQiJQBCBwwAA&usg=AFQjCNHiNndMvui07iNx47m4ZbbHCkBIwg&sig2=0XfL6FRKvqkPSh58a8qbaA

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-moves-to-ban-u-s-coal-transport-in-retaliation-for-softwood-duties-1.4086688
The last time British Columbia got into a dispute with America, Germany gave them a bunch of Canada's islands.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on April 28, 2017, 12:52:00 PM
There's an odd call-in show going on on public radio (I never seem to tune in early enough to catch the name). The interesting part is they are making a huge effort to get equal numbers of callers self-identified as from different ends of the current political divide.

In any case, most recent show they were asking for letter grades for Trump's first hundred days. The grades were not on a spectrum. A small variety of D's, plus and minus, maybe a C or two. And then, on the other end. A+. Across the board, every single caller. Not the slightest sign of "maybe he isn't quite what we hoped," much less, "Oops." Instead a firm "absolutely the greatest president ever, doing every single thing perfectly."

I'm sorry but I see disconnect here.


(And, no, it isn't helping that in the wider world of debate those opposing Trump oppose him on what HE is doing and saying. Trump supporters still reach for "but Obama....but Hillary....")
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: onebigmonkey on April 28, 2017, 03:38:27 PM
Apparently it's not the job he thought it would be..

(http://i.imgur.com/X1oKDKt.jpg)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on April 28, 2017, 05:02:28 PM
The last time British Columbia got into a dispute with America, Germany gave them a bunch of Canada's islands.

  Oh yeah - the Pig War. I'd forgotten all about that. I guess I learned about it in high school,  but I only learned this interesting detail today:

  "As a result of the negotiations, both sides agreed to retain joint military occupation of the island until a final settlement could be reached, reducing their presence to a token force of no more than 100 men.[6] The "English Camp" was established on the north end of San Juan Island along the shoreline, for ease of supply and access; and the "American Camp" was created on the south end on a high, windswept meadow, suitable for artillery barrages against shipping.[8] Today the Union Jack still flies above the "English Camp", being raised and lowered daily by park rangers, making it one of the few places without diplomatic status where U.S. government employees regularly hoist the flag of another country."

  I wonder where the other few places are, and which flags are involved.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on April 29, 2017, 01:28:16 AM
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/28/4660433.htm

Here's an analysis of Trump which makes a lot of sense to me. It assesses him as a guy who's addicted to winning, and to him the only purpose of other people is to help him win whatever his current objective is. But people shouldn't expect any loyalty from him - his interest in them ends as soon as he's reached his objective (or redefined it in such a way that they're no longer useful to him).

This assessment helps explain why, for example, he hasn't bothered to prosecute Hillary Clinton: he only said that during the election campaign because it helped win him votes. Now that he's won the election he'll only pursue a prosecution against Clinton if it will help him reach some new objective.

= = = =

In this regard Trump reminds me of the Australian businessman Kerry Packer. Packer was also the son of a successful businessman, and one who ruthlessly pursued desired objectives, using and discarding people depending on how useful or obstructive they were in reaching his objectives. A Packer story might help explain things...

Back in the 1970s the (government-owned) Australian Broadcasting Commission held the rights to broadcast international cricket on television. It was a threadbare operation, undertaken with a grand total of two cameras, but it still rated well. Packer saw that holding the broadcast rights for such a high-rating sport would allow him to earn heaps in advertising dollars, so he offered a huge amount of money (more than five times what the ABC paid) for the rights, but was turned down. So Packer set up a rebel cricket operation called World Series Cricket (WSC), and he recruited international cricketers from around the world by paying them enough that they could be full-time cricketers (at the time even international cricketers were paid a pittance and needed a full-time job outside cricket). He then screened his own games on his own TV network, in direct competition with the international cricket on the ABC.

It helped that Packer was a cricket fanatic in his own right. He encouraged all sorts of innovations which are now standard to either the game or the process of broadcasting the game (one-day cricket, coloured uniforms, stump microphones, anything up to a dozen cameras). And he also cared for the cricketers - when one cricketer was hit in the head by a cricket ball and needed to get to hospital quickly, Packer put the player in his own limousine and got him there faster than waiting for an ambulance. As a result of Packer's attention to detail WSC soon out-rated the official product, which was now looking distinctly old-fashioned.

After two years Packer finally obtained the rights to broadcast international cricket, and he proceeded to make every last dollar from advertising that he'd expected. He therefore wound up WSC and moved on to his next business venture.

But the thing that struck me about the story was the experience of the cricketers: they appreciated Packer's interest in them, they liked being paid enough that they could play cricket full-time, and they were affected by his concern for the injured cricketer. But once WSC ended, so did the careers of quite a few of the cricketers, as there was now only one game in town, not two. Packer tore up the players' contracts and left them to compete for the now-smaller number of positions available; his interest in the players' welfare simply evaporated, as they were no use to him achieving his next business objective.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on May 02, 2017, 04:44:41 AM
Suddenly Britain not looking so bad, maybe?
Ugh. I take it back. I'm a bit worried that the PM has gotten a bit drunk on the "je suis Napolean" koolaid. And the alternative is a nutjob who never met a terrorist he didn't like.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on May 02, 2017, 02:44:29 PM
I'm becoming more and more convinced I've been magically transplanted into a political satire novel. Because in no real universe would they elect a president who, in a rambling format, would indicate that Andrew Jackson, more than 15 years dead, would have "worked out" the Civil War, and claim that no one until said president had ever wondered why the Civil War occurred. And if he did, there's no way that his supporters wouldn't have started quiet negotiations of their own to gently but firmly remove him from power.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on May 02, 2017, 06:06:25 PM
I watched the '100 Days' speech President Trump gave to his supporters and frankly I was dumbfounded: couldn't those people recognise the same rhetoric? Had they been watching a different person for the last few months?

I just can't help but think of this:

(http://mste.illinois.edu/patel/chisquare/gifs/peanutsfair.gif)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on May 09, 2017, 08:58:43 PM
Today...

(http://i68.tinypic.com/vfio0z.jpg)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on May 10, 2017, 11:45:21 AM
I hope this is enough for some of the Republican Senators to recover their backbones and ethics.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on May 10, 2017, 12:47:06 PM
I hope this is enough for some of the Republican Senators to recover their backbones and ethics.

I hope so too, but Mitch McConnell has already dismissed the need for a special prosecutor, so it looks like he is going to continue to put party loyalty ahead of the best interests of your country.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on May 11, 2017, 12:30:27 PM
Shocked, shocked, winnings.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on May 15, 2017, 07:12:52 PM
Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-high_trumpintel-0504pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.3d6bf698894f)

 ::)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on May 16, 2017, 02:42:18 AM
Does this man have ANY redeeming qualities?
Read one of the linked transcripts in this article. Truly he is the singularity at the centre of a black hole of ignorance.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/opinion/donald-trump-degradation-of-the-language.html?_r=0
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Kiwi on May 16, 2017, 05:11:59 AM
Does this man have ANY redeeming qualities?... Truly he is the singularity at the centre of a black hole of ignorance.

Like the bumper sticker said:--

ELECT A CLOWN -
EXPECT A CIRCUS


:) :) :) :) :)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on May 16, 2017, 11:25:09 AM
Our nation's epitaph is going to be "but her e-mails."  I literally saw a screencap from Fox News (I think from their website) that asked yesterday if she was going to be investigated some more.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on May 17, 2017, 09:45:58 AM
Here's something worth pondering.

Penn Jillette talks, in his latest podcast, about his trip to London last week. He describes being astounded how the media is about seemingly entirely about American stories with the occasional reference to himself.

Erm, did he not notice we have a general election on?

Is this what they call confirmation bias?

He sees the stories of interest to him and ignores those that are not. So the reason he thinks it's wall to wall America is because that is the only time he's actually paying attention. The 90% of time it's about domestic news, most likely the election, he tunes out. And so when reviewing the balance of coverage, he incorrectly perceives it as being more American centred than it is.

I feel this is somehow relevant to this topic.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on May 17, 2017, 10:57:53 AM
Our nation's epitaph is going to be "but her e-mails."  I literally saw a screencap from Fox News (I think from their website) that asked yesterday if she was going to be investigated some more.

Seriously, if I were Hilary Clinton, I'd have my bags packed and a place to go with no extradition. Because I can see Trump reaching the conclusion that a good show trial is the best way to divert attention from his actions. I'm sure he remembers how popular the "lock her up" chants were at his rallies.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Kiwi on May 18, 2017, 01:18:40 AM
Here's an excellent opinion piece from Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post about Trump's problems.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/05/15/a-shake-up-may-make-things-worse/?utm_term=.702844c8e02f

Quote
The president has a congenital inability to take personal responsibility for his own mistakes.

...every error is someone else’s fault...

...when they are fired, aides have more incentive to rat out their former colleagues and boss.

Rather than a career-making move, going to work for Trump nearly guarantees one will appear dishonest and gullible. With each round of replacements the quality likely diminishes. Loyalty — toadyism, actually — is such an overarching requirement in this White House that new staff is unlikely to bring new ideas and/or help guide the president away from his own worst instincts.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on May 18, 2017, 12:22:38 PM
I would think most truly competent people would have looked at his record and refused to have anything to do with him.  Especially anywhere he, personally, would be paying their salaries.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on May 27, 2017, 06:54:57 PM
http://www.politicususa.com/2017/05/27/trump-tired-ride-golf-cart-foreign-leaders-walked.html

Says it all, really.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on May 28, 2017, 04:06:04 AM
To be fair, isn't he the oldest of the lot?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on May 28, 2017, 11:31:03 AM
He also believes that exercise is bad for you because you have a finite amount of energy.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on May 28, 2017, 01:35:34 PM
To be fair, isn't he the oldest of the lot?

He's also the fattest, the dumbest, the most obnoxious and the most incompetent.Heck, it was only 700 metres of a walk!

I did laugh at this though....Macron did absolutely the right thing here in going straight to his allies and friends.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on May 28, 2017, 06:29:31 PM
To be fair, isn't he the oldest of the lot?
Yeah, but he has been known to brag about how physically fit he is.

Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on May 28, 2017, 07:55:54 PM
To be fair, isn't he the oldest of the lot?

He's also the fattest, the dumbest, the most obnoxious and the most incompetent.Heck, it was only 700 metres of a walk!

I did laugh at this though....Macron did absolutely the right thing here in going straight to his allies and friends.
He went straight for Merkel.

France and Germany are united like never before. A thousand years of British foreign policy, to keep Europe from uniting against us, lies in ruins. Sir Humphrey would be apalled.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on May 29, 2017, 07:52:58 AM
So let's recap. The election was about a woman running on a campaign of vote me just coz, expecting to walk it against a buffoonish outsider who has said all sorts of reprehensible things and acted in all sorts of reprehensible ways but is able to overperform expectations by putting forward a bunch of outlandish populist policies that can strike a chord despite being hugely expensive, pointless and quite often counterproductive.

Why does this sound so familiar?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on May 29, 2017, 09:36:32 AM
To be fair, isn't he the oldest of the lot?

Yes, but he boasted about how he would be a powerhouse of a president. No golfing vacations or naps for him! No sirree. Not like that elderly woman who had to sit down just because she had pneumonia.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on May 29, 2017, 12:30:10 PM
So let's recap. The election was about a woman running on a campaign of vote me just coz, expecting to walk it against a buffoonish outsider who has said all sorts of reprehensible things and acted in all sorts of reprehensible ways but is able to overperform expectations by putting forward a bunch of outlandish populist policies that can strike a chord despite being hugely expensive, pointless and quite often counterproductive.

Why does this sound so familiar?

It doesn't sound like the election I voted in.  I voted in an election where an experienced woman presented a lot of intelligent campaign proposals that no one listened to because they'd been programmed not to trust her for decades.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on May 30, 2017, 04:06:31 AM
I would think most truly competent people would have looked at his record and refused to have anything to do with him.  Especially anywhere he, personally, would be paying their salaries.
Apparently not. I have a friend who works for a gaming machine company (slot machines, video poker, etc). Their company lost a few hundred $K by agreeing to sell some of their machines to Trump's casinos in Atlantic City before they went bankrupt.

Needless to say, my friend didn't vote for Trump.

I can easily imagine how it went for many of Trump's contractors and suppliers. They figured he was too big to fail, that if the investors were willing to support his projects then they would at least get paid. Trump milked this assumption to the hilt, then ridiculed the banks for being foolish enough to believe him. An incredibly dishonest man.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on June 01, 2017, 11:59:05 AM
Covfefe.  That is all.

Side note, whoever's doing the social media for Merriam-Webster is just killing it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Kiwi on June 02, 2017, 01:07:28 PM
Covfefe

Is there somebody here who PUH-lease has the courtesy and intelligence to explain to we non-Americans what the hell that gibberish is all about?

Is it just another in-joke about The Chump? That clown you voted in as a President?

We don't always "get" this stuff down here in the southwest Pacific. We can't figure it out and we don't always have time to.  Our country, our lives, sometimes matter a little more to us than yours. We are left wondering who is telling the truth about American politics and who is bullshitting us.

In the last hour I have wasted 20 minutes scouring past issues of my local newspaper, trying  to find a piece where somebody wrote something about some chump talking people into investing in his schemes, and when something went bust, one or two of his companies or something, he berated the banks for trusting him.

I didn't cut the article out at the time because I thought it HAD to be just another stupid, sick joke. I couldn't believe that it was the truth. Even the meanest, nastiest rich people I've heard of in my country never stooped as low as that, and in any case, there's thankfully very few of them. Surely, no-one with half a brain would vote in as their president (of a country that's a little more important to the world than Jersey), some chump, some untrustworthy, bullshitting bastard who has done that.

Is it a joke or is it not? Am I and others, on the right track or not? Is there still some honour left in the USA? Or not?

Having no luck finding the paper version of the article, but during the search, finding equally horrific articles about the Potus, I Googled the few words I remembered and didn't find it, but did find this:

Quote
...don't you get the impression that Donald Trump gets some positive pleasure out of taking people who make the mistake of trusting him for a ride?

That's from a Paul Krugman who apparently has something to do with the New York Times.  Never heard of him before. But even if he's pulling our legs three-quarters of the time, everything else he wrote in the same article about the new Chumpcare sounds to me, in my ignorance, pretty bad for many Americans. Unless it's just another joke that nobody's letting us know about.

So besides telling us what Covfefe is all about, can anyone recommend some commentator on American affairs who is worth believing?

Some interesting names from my local paper (Manawatu Standard) are:

Jennifer Rubin - "Shake-up may make things worse" - "It's Watergate on amphetamines"
David Brooks - "The talent vacuum that is the Trump administration"
Ana Palacio - "Lack of leadership creates troubles"
Karl Du Fresne - ??? (Nah!  He's a Kiwi. But two days ago wrote an excellent piece about Vaxxing, free speech, democracy, tolerance, dissent, and sexist rants.)

The only article I liked was headlined, "Trump calls for quicker Mars trip."

Edited to add: Apologies to those who don't understand my use of Potus. Apparently it stands for President of the United States. Some months ago I read POTUS over and over and over and nobody ever bothered explaining this widely-unknown term, and I never imagined the "O" might stand for "of" because that's just not done in British English.  Nor is the upper case if the abbreviation is pronouncable, like Nasa, Unesco and Anzus. We all have our strange, illogical quirks - it makes the world interesting.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on June 03, 2017, 11:14:41 AM
We'd have to understand "covfefe" first.  The other night, somewhat after midnight, he tweeted, ""Despite the constant negative press covfefe".  Now, you'll note I'm putting the period outside the quotation marks, even though I normally follow American style guidelines and put it inside.  That's because I want to emphasize that there wasn't one on the initial tweet.  Obviously, he seems to have meant "coverage."  But he didn't finish the tweet, and he posted it.  And then I guess went to bed, because there was no follow-up for hours, and the tweet remained up the whole time.  (There's actually speculation that deleting tweets may, for him, violate federal law about preserving the President's communications, but so far as I know there's no real certainty there, and it's hardly as though this one went unnoticed.)  I had been quietly reading a book that evening, went online, and discovered perhaps a dozen or more jokes before giving up and Googling the thing myself, since none of them included any context.

All of this is weird enough--we were actually discussing the possibility of a Stalin situation, where he'd died and no one dared check on him--but initially, his press secretary made the claim that "he and a small group of people" knew what "covfefe" meant.  Which is obviously ridiculous.  Because it's not a word.  I've read that someone claims it means something in Arabic; it does not.  Another of his supporters proudly tweeted that it was proof that he doesn't focus group everything, which I suppose is true enough but not really the point here.  And because we are in desperate need for a laugh, we latched onto "covfefe" and wouldn't let go.  I maintain we don't have to; it's emblematic.

As for "POTUS," we in the US don't usually include "of" in abbreviations.  We do in this instance because that makes it--and SCOTUS, FLOTUS, and a few others--pronounceable.  (Supreme Court, First Lady.)  I'm aware of the "if it's a word, lowercase for most of it" rule in British English, but you'll understand that it took some getting used to.

And, yes, everything about the "planned" replacement for the Affordable Care Act is terrible for Americans, unless they happen to be rich.  That is true of pretty much every plan the administration has.  This includes a suggested maternity leave law that would only apply to married women.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on June 03, 2017, 11:16:15 AM
Oh, and, yes, I'm pretty sure that he's duped plenty of people and then said it was their fault for trusting them.  He's gone bankrupt repeatedly, including bankrupting a casino, which ought to be impossible to do.  They may be professional and not personal bankruptcies, but for someone who ran in no small part on his success as a businessman, that's not better.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: BazBear on June 04, 2017, 05:34:47 PM
Oh, and, yes, I'm pretty sure that he's duped plenty of people and then said it was their fault for trusting them.  He's gone bankrupt repeatedly, including bankrupting a casino, which ought to be impossible to do.  They may be professional and not personal bankruptcies, but for someone who ran in no small part on his success as a businessman, that's not better.
I've heard it said (I can't recall where) that if he had invested his inheritance from daddy in moderately conservative index funds, he'd be worth far more than he is now. I can't and won't vouch for the accuracy of that statement, but it certainly rings true.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on June 05, 2017, 11:11:31 AM
I mean, we can't know without the release of his tax returns.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on June 06, 2017, 03:17:52 AM
Do you think that somewhere, rather than rolling in his grave, Richard Nixon is cheering? That he won't top the list of 'tainted' US presidents anymore?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on June 06, 2017, 11:33:23 AM
Honestly?  I think that Richard Nixon, for all his failings, still wanted what was best for the country, and Trump wants what's best for Trump.  Yes, Nixon saw "what's best for the country" through the eyes of it probably also being what was best for Richard Nixon, but he also legitimately thought hippies and so forth were bad for the country.  After all, Vietnam wasn't about power for Nixon.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on June 09, 2017, 02:29:23 PM
So let's recap. The election was about a woman running on a campaign of vote me just coz, expecting to walk it against a buffoonish outsider who has said all sorts of reprehensible things and acted in all sorts of reprehensible ways but is able to overperform expectations by putting forward a bunch of outlandish populist policies that can strike a chord despite being hugely expensive, pointless and quite often counterproductive.

Why does this sound so familiar?
It's like the world is stuck on repeat.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on July 09, 2017, 06:56:26 PM
Quote
Scathing, searing and brutal were just a few of the adjectives flying around social media on Sunday following an eloquent takedown of Donald Trump by ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) political editor Chris Uhlmann.

Speaking to Insiders from Hamburg, Uhlmann delivered a wrap on the G20 summit that has since gone viral, resonating with people from around the world and astonishing American political commentators.

https://twitter.com/InsidersABC/status/883829926993862656/video/1
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on July 22, 2017, 03:50:56 AM
Yup. Brutal and dead on target. Especially the bit about pushing fast forward on the decline of the United States.

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on July 31, 2017, 05:05:42 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/world/trump-removes-anthony-scaramucci-as-communications-director-just-days-after-hiring-him-20170731-gxmnb0.html

Seriously - impeach President Trump before he actually does something that will kill people.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on July 31, 2017, 05:15:09 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/world/trump-removes-anthony-scaramucci-as-communications-director-just-days-after-hiring-him-20170731-gxmnb0.html

Seriously - impeach President Trump before he actually does something that will kill people.

To be fair, that was Kelly showing everyone that a new gunslinger is in town. Scaramucci* did say that he was a front-stabber. I guess he didn't expect that he was the one to be stabbed though.


*will he do the fandango? ;D
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: sandopan on July 31, 2017, 08:27:58 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/world/trump-removes-anthony-scaramucci-as-communications-director-just-days-after-hiring-him-20170731-gxmnb0.html

Seriously - impeach President Trump before he actually does something that will kill people.

Trump has already killed quite a lot of people, if we take the radical, extremist view that Africans and Asians count as people.  His immediate predecessor killed many thousands, and the one before that had a truly impressive body count.  Had the November 2016 election gone the other way, the new US president would have come into office on day one with quite a long trail of dead bodies already behind her.  Whether Trump manages to send more people to their graves than his two predecessors or his election rival, time will tell, although I don't see a whole lot of reason to expect him to show any more restraint than they did.

None of them were impeached, before or after killing large numbers of Africans or Asians who are sometimes alleged to be people.  I’ll be surprised if that changes any time soon.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: sandopan on July 31, 2017, 08:32:15 PM
To be fair, isn't he the oldest of the lot?
Yeah, but he has been known to brag about how physically fit he is.

Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk

He's possibly more fit than William Howard Taft was.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 01, 2017, 10:35:16 AM
http://www.smh.com.au/world/trump-removes-anthony-scaramucci-as-communications-director-just-days-after-hiring-him-20170731-gxmnb0.html

Seriously - impeach President Trump before he actually does something that will kill people.

Trump has already killed quite a lot of people, if we take the radical, extremist view that Africans and Asians count as people.  His immediate predecessor killed many thousands, and the one before that had a truly impressive body count.  Had the November 2016 election gone the other way, the new US president would have come into office on day one with quite a long trail of dead bodies already behind her.  Whether Trump manages to send more people to their graves than his two predecessors or his election rival, time will tell, although I don't see a whole lot of reason to expect him to show any more restraint than they did.

None of them were impeached, before or after killing large numbers of Africans or Asians who are sometimes alleged to be people.  I’ll be surprised if that changes any time soon.

Do you think that the leaders of any powerful country with military presence have never contributed to the death of anyone?

There's no one out there with clean hands. No one.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on August 01, 2017, 11:36:51 AM
He's possibly more fit than William Howard Taft was.


Though Taft, to my knowledge, didn't claim that the human body had a finite amount of energy and that exercise was bad for you.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on August 01, 2017, 11:37:52 AM
Oh, and regarding Scaramucci, because of when his official start date at the White House is listed, served I believe -16 days, which has to be some kind of record.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on August 01, 2017, 12:36:10 PM
What a name. That'll play great in the movie.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: sandopan on August 01, 2017, 12:59:57 PM
Do you think that the leaders of any powerful country with military presence have never contributed to the death of anyone?

There's no one out there with clean hands. No one.

There are lots of countries out there which have not openly declared that they are at war with an ill-defined enemy and that the entire world is a battlefield, so that everyone is a combatant, and may be killed at will.  In fact, to the best of my knowledge, only one country has done that.

Quite a lot of countries have not engaged in aggressive military action for many years, in some cases, centuries.  One country seems to have trouble refraining from doing so for five minutes.

But, some of the people alluded to in my post don't seem to have gotten the "it's all business as usual" message, given the blistering denunciations they issue of foreign leaders who do a small fraction of what they do themselves.  The next time Putin invades someone else's territory, or Duterte conducts a bunch of extrajudicial killings, you can explain why it's all good.

On other fronts, much of the news in the US recently has been about allegations that some other country attempted to influence the election.  Those people don't seem to have gotten the message that it's all business as usual either.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: sandopan on August 01, 2017, 01:07:33 PM
Seriously, if I were Hilary Clinton, I'd have my bags packed and a place to go with no extradition. Because I can see Trump reaching the conclusion that a good show trial is the best way to divert attention from his actions. I'm sure he remembers how popular the "lock her up" chants were at his rallies.

That seems like it would have been a good to thing to think about before she repeatedly voted in the senate to strengthen the government's ability to detain suspects indefinitely, or just assassinate them.  But I suppose she always figured she would be on the other side of that transaction.  Rather odd, because she is not stupid.  She generally opposed US membership in the ICC, which seems like a good idea for someone with her policies, who was hoping to become president in the same year that "aggression" became a defined crime under the Rome statute.  A bit surprising that she could anticipate the danger to herself in the one context, but completely miss it in the other.

However, I would give her the opposite advice, and tell her to stay in the US - she'll be much safer there, than in some country that might actually try her or send her to the ICC.  She is a spent force, no danger to the Trump presidency; if he wants a show trial, it will be someone who is currently in power and blocking him from achieving his objectives.  And if he just needs a general popularity plug, he can always do what she would have done, and go kill a few hundred thousand Muslims.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on August 01, 2017, 05:03:43 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/world/trump-removes-anthony-scaramucci-as-communications-director-just-days-after-hiring-him-20170731-gxmnb0.html

Seriously - impeach President Trump before he actually does something that will kill people.

Here's the problem with that...

Congress (specifically the House) has to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President, and this particular Congress (or at the very least, Speaker Ryan) won't do that, even if Mueller discovers all kinds smoking guns regarding collusion, election fraud, etc.  The fact that Congress isn't batting an eye over President Trump wanting to fire Mueller speaks volumes (part of the reason President Nixon was impeached was for firing Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate break-in). 

Then again, this Congress is on pace for accomplishing absolutely dick-all in this entire session.  That will be a singular achievement on both Ryan's and McConnell's resumes. 

As someone else said, the scary thing isn't that President Trump's approval rating is so low, but that it's so high.  38% of Americans polled are perfectly happy with what he's doing, because what he's doing is pissing off liberals, intellectuals, the media, etc., and that's what they care about.  These are people who've been screwed, repeatedly, by both parties for the last few decades.  They've lost their voice, they've lost whatever power they had, their communities are dying, and their voting for Trump was basically primal scream therapy. 

President Trump didn't actually want to win - he didn't actually want the office.  He wanted to boost his brand, start a new TV network, something like that.  He's manifestly unqualified for the job, and he knows it, and he hates it - it shows

The only way President Trump is going to be removed from office is if he loses re-election in 2020 or if he kicks after one too many Trump Tower Taco Bowls.  Much as he hates the job, he won't resign.  He will not be impeached (there's no way we're turning over the House before 2020).  If he ran for re-election, I'm not sure he'd lose.  We have deep, systemic, intractable problems in the US that are not being addressed by either party, and the growing know-nothing movement is a response to that.  President Trump found a direct line into the lizard brain of a lot of voters and yanked on it as hard as he could. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on August 01, 2017, 09:48:26 PM
What a name. That'll play great in the movie.

"Scaramouche (from Italian scaramuccia, literally "little skirmisher"), also known as scaramouch, is a stock clown character of the comic theatrical arts of Italian literature. The role combined characteristics of the Zanni (servant) and the Capitano (masked henchman). Usually attired in black Spanish dress and burlesquing a don, he was often beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice."

I wonder if Anthony does the fandango!!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 02, 2017, 10:28:21 AM
Seriously, if I were Hilary Clinton, I'd have my bags packed and a place to go with no extradition. Because I can see Trump reaching the conclusion that a good show trial is the best way to divert attention from his actions. I'm sure he remembers how popular the "lock her up" chants were at his rallies.

That seems like it would have been a good to thing to think about before she repeatedly voted in the senate to strengthen the government's ability to detain suspects indefinitely, or just assassinate them.  But I suppose she always figured she would be on the other side of that transaction.  Rather odd, because she is not stupid.  She generally opposed US membership in the ICC, which seems like a good idea for someone with her policies, who was hoping to become president in the same year that "aggression" became a defined crime under the Rome statute.  A bit surprising that she could anticipate the danger to herself in the one context, but completely miss it in the other.

However, I would give her the opposite advice, and tell her to stay in the US - she'll be much safer there, than in some country that might actually try her or send her to the ICC.  She is a spent force, no danger to the Trump presidency; if he wants a show trial, it will be someone who is currently in power and blocking him from achieving his objectives.  And if he just needs a general popularity plug, he can always do what she would have done, and go kill a few hundred thousand Muslims.

Exactly what country do you think would attempt to try Mrs. Clinton? Please list them.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on August 02, 2017, 11:22:16 AM
He will not be impeached (there's no way we're turning over the House before 2020).

I think we've got a strong chance for 2018, honestly.  For one thing, the party of the President tends to lose seats at the midterm even when the President is popular.  Which this one isn't remotely; his numbers continue to fall.  One of the reasons Republicans tend to do better at midterms is that Democrats don't turn out, and I have a sneaking suspicion it'll be a lot easier to get Democratic turnout this time 'round.

I also still think it's possible he'll declare victory and resign, as Palin did.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 02, 2017, 04:54:03 PM
If things get really bad, I suspect he could announce illness (he's not a young man, after all) and resign "for reasons of health."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on August 02, 2017, 07:39:49 PM
Maybe this should go under 'Other Conspiracy Theories', but the US and Russia have been rattling sabres something fierce lately, and if Russia and Trump have connections, maybe the order to have 15,000 troops removed was an effort to decrease US combat readiness. OK, I don't really believe that, at least not 100%, but it certainly makes more sense than that bullshit. After all, the amount of money the US military spends on Viagra and related medication and treatment  (https://thinkprogress.org/transgender-military-viagra-5a4f3b38e445)is ten times, a whole order of magnitude, more than would be spent on trans folks medical needs. I'm a) Canadian and b) don't have any interest in serving in the military, but even if I wasn't transgender, I'd hope I'd be disgusted with this development. 
There might be LGBTQAI+ for Trump, but he sure ain't for them.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on August 04, 2017, 07:29:07 AM
Prime Minister Turnbull (PM, Australia): Good evening.

The President: Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?

Prime Minister Turnbull: I am doing very well.

The President: And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?

Prime Minister Turnbull: He is a great mutual friend yes.

The President: Well you say hello to him. He is a very good friend. By the way thank you very much for taking the call. I really appreciate it. It is really nice.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Thank you very much. Everything is going very well. I want to congratulate you and Mike Pence on being sworn in now. I have spoken to you both now as you know. I know we are both looking to make our relationship which is very strong and intimate, stronger than ever – which I believe we can do.

The President: Good.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I believe you and I have similar backgrounds, unusual for politicians, more businessman but I look forward to working together.

The President: That is exactly right. We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate – it is a crazy climate. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us. Instead, we have people in disguise. It is brutal. This ISIS thing – it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it. I think we are going to be very successful.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Absolutely. We have, as you know, taken a very strong line on national security and border protection here and when I was speaking with Jared Kushner just the other day and one of your immigration advisors in the White House we reflected on how our policies have helped to inform your approach. We are very much of the same mind. It is very interesting to know how you prioritize the minorities in your Executive Order. This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken – I have been very open about it – is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down - the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities. We have seen that in Iraq and so from our point of view, as a final destination for refugees, that is why we prioritize. It is not a sectarian thing. It is recognition of the practical political realities. We have a similar perspective in that respect.

The President: Do you know four years ago Malcom, I was with a man who does this for a living. He was telling me, before the migration, that if you were a Christian from Syria, you had no chance of coming to the United States. Zero. They were the ones being persecuted. When I say persecuted, I mean their heads were being chopped off. If you were a Muslim we have nothing against Muslims, but if you were a Muslim you were not persecuted at least to the extent – but if you were a Muslim from Syria that was the number one place to get into the United States from. That was the easiest thing. But if you were a Christian from Syria you have no chance of getting into the United States. I just thought it was an incredible statistic. Totally true – and you have seen the same thing. It is incredible.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration with respect to some people on Nauru and Manus Island. I have written to you about this and Mike Pence and General Flynn spoke with Julie Bishop and my National Security Advisor yesterday. This is a very big issue for us, particularly domestically, and I do understand you are inclined to a different point of view than the Vice President.

The President: Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else – and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom, anybody that has a problem - you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this – I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardino's, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Can you hear me out Mr. President?

The President: Yeah, go ahead.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

The President: Who made the deal? Obama?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people – none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

The President: Why haven't you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people –

The President: That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

Prime Minister Turnbull: This is our experience.

The President: Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

The President: Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, "yes, we can conform with that deal - we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vetting" and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.

The President: Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world's greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

Prime Minister Turnbull: With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

The President: Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

Prime Minister Turnbull: The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

The President: No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I would not be so sure about that. They are basically –

The President: Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

Prime Minister Turnbull: But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.

The President: Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed –

The President: Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

Prime Minister Turnbull: That is the point I have been trying to make.

The President: How does that help you?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.

The President: Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

The President: Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Correct, we have stopped the boats.

The President: Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino's or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

Prime Minister Turnbull: These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

The President: Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

Prime Minister Turnbull: They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

The President: They were from wherever they were.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.

The President: What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

Prime Minister Turnbull: No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people's representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us – that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.

The President: I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it - START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You will not.

The President: Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

The President: I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor's deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]. I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?

The President: [inaudible] this is crazy.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

The President: It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You can count on me. I will be there again and again.

The President: I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Okay, thank you.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 04, 2017, 09:52:12 AM
Egad, that's painful.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on August 04, 2017, 10:59:58 AM
Interesting opinion piece re. such leaks: http://www.macleans.ca/opinion/donald-trumps-phone-call-leaks-are-a-threat-to-america/

Donald Trump’s phone-call leaks are a threat to America

"If two leaders can’t approach these conversations bluntly, with the full expectation their words will be kept private, they will hesitate to speak unvarnished truths or to make direct demands. This opens the world up to misunderstandings on important subjects. Who will want to call the United States now to have a candid chat on a tough issue? How effective can diplomacy be without this essential tool in its toolkit? If these leaks keep happening, America will lose even more influence than Trump is already throwing away."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 04, 2017, 04:04:45 PM
Well, it does make things look odd for Trump. He still rants that Clinton was a "traitor" for not properly securing her e-mails. But he can't have a secure telephone conversation.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on August 06, 2017, 01:39:55 AM
What a name. That'll play great in the movie.
For some reason I kept thinking it was Scaramanga.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on August 06, 2017, 02:53:26 AM
What a name. That'll play great in the movie.
For some reason I kept thinking it was Scaramanga.
Did he have a golden gun?

Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 10, 2017, 10:05:05 AM
So, Trump has now got the U.S. involved in a nuclear standoff. This just gets better ... and ... better.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on August 10, 2017, 10:51:06 AM
To be fair, NK is saying they're going to do things which would be literally casus belli.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 10, 2017, 11:24:30 AM
After a series of moves similar to two thugs in a bar who keep deliberately provoking each other to draw their guns. Unfortunately, it may lead to massive loss of life among the other bar patrons who had nothing to do with it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on August 11, 2017, 03:23:34 PM
After a series of moves similar to two thugs in a bar who keep deliberately provoking each other to draw their guns. Unfortunately, it may lead to massive loss of life among the other bar patrons who had nothing to do with it.

Yeah, except one is holding a single shot Webley Air Pistol and the other is holding 50 calibre Desert Eagle with a 7 round clip and one in the chamber (and a couple of full spare clips in his pocket)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on August 12, 2017, 05:49:05 PM
After a series of moves similar to two thugs in a bar who keep deliberately provoking each other to draw their guns. Unfortunately, it may lead to massive loss of life among the other bar patrons who had nothing to do with it.

Yeah, except one is holding a single shot Webley Air Pistol and the other is holding 50 calibre Desert Eagle with a 7 round clip and one in the chamber (and a couple of full spare clips in his pocket)
This might be a case of the US bringing a gun to a knife fight. Any military conflict would be much different than, say, the Toyota war. A large or modern nuclear arsenal is not necessary to bring a world of hurt to South Korea. The DPRK has huge numbers of conventional artillery massed along the border. Huge, I say.

It's not just the .50 cal. Desert Eagle that makes the US hyperpowerful, but also the high level of professionalism displayed by the troops. How professional is the North Korean soldiery? We don't know, although it sure would be easy to find out. My guess is that they are "pretty professional."

We do know that since '94, Songun - a policy of "military first" - has been central to North Korea. The Korean People's Army wants for nothing, period. This is a nation-state, not some irregular force holed up in a desert or a jungle, improvising explosive devices and conducting raids on or even capturing and holding cities.

It might be useful to remember that North Korea exists because the last time we (Canada and whoever else) traded shots with them, we gave up, because they were too bad*ss.

But how bad can things get when they have aligned themselves with most of the world in one small but crucial detail: unlike regional isolationists Japan and Hong Kong, they drive on the right.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on August 12, 2017, 06:57:45 PM
Even if Trump wanted to do what Macarthur wanted to do and glass North Korea, how much  would the literal  fallout affect South Korea and/pr China? Not to mention the suffering of the North Korean people, who have done nothing to deserve the hellhole their government has created. It's not a big country. It's only a bit bigger than Pennsylvania. It wouldn't take much before there was nothing worthwhile left. Seriously, Trump needs to stop waving his nuclear dick around and . . . actually, I'd prefer if he just bloody stopped.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on August 12, 2017, 07:52:43 PM
After a series of moves similar to two thugs in a bar who keep deliberately provoking each other to draw their guns. Unfortunately, it may lead to massive loss of life among the other bar patrons who had nothing to do with it.

Yeah, except one is holding a single shot Webley Air Pistol and the other is holding 50 calibre Desert Eagle with a 7 round clip and one in the chamber (and a couple of full spare clips in his pocket)
This might be a case of the US bringing a gun to a knife fight. Any military conflict would be much different than, say, the Toyota war. A large or modern nuclear arsenal is not necessary to bring a world of hurt to South Korea. The DPRK has huge numbers of conventional artillery massed along the border. Huge, I say.

It's not just the .50 cal. Desert Eagle that makes the US hyperpowerful, but also the high level of professionalism displayed by the troops. How professional is the North Korean soldiery? We don't know, although it sure would be easy to find out. My guess is that they are "pretty professional."

We do know that since '94, Songun - a policy of "military first" - has been central to North Korea. The Korean People's Army wants for nothing, period. This is a nation-state, not some irregular force holed up in a desert or a jungle, improvising explosive devices and conducting raids on or even capturing and holding cities.

It might be useful to remember that North Korea exists because the last time we (Canada and whoever else) traded shots with them, we gave up, because they were too bad*ss.

But how bad can things get when they have aligned themselves with most of the world in one small but crucial detail: unlike regional isolationists Japan and Hong Kong, they drive on the right.
Hey. Civilised countries drive on the left. There's Ireland.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 14, 2017, 11:09:14 AM
It seems like Trump also can't bring himself to condemn literal Nazis. It might hurt Bannon and Miller's feelings, I guess.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 18, 2017, 09:38:19 AM
Another example of Trump's tendency to lie like a rug. Here's the Washington Post's summary of how violence broke out at Charlottesville. The "alt-left" charging into peaceful statue-lovers clutching their permits is noticeably missing:

Quote
Charlottesville Police Chief Al S. Thomas Jr. said the rallygoers went back on a plan that would have kept them separated from the counterprotesters. Instead of coming in at one entrance, he said, they came in from all sides. Headlong into the counterprotesters.

A few minutes before 11 a.m., a swelling group of white nationalists carrying large shields and long wooden clubs approached the park on Market Street. About two dozen counterprotesters formed a line across the street, blocking their path. With a roar, the marchers charged through the line, swinging sticks, punching and spraying chemicals.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on August 18, 2017, 10:43:38 AM
This is probably more a case of amorality rather than immorality. It's not that he is a KKK fan per se. He lacks the moral centre to care. It's that he hates being challenged and if putting down challenge means supporting the KKK then whatever.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 18, 2017, 11:21:33 AM
On the other hand, Trump has repeatedly claimed "good genes," and has since his early days been attacked for racist real estate practices.

I think he is a true racist, and can't understand why people are treating those "alt-left" protesters as better than those nice white men, many of whom were wearing MAGA insignia. He's starting to go off on neoConfederate talking points already.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on August 18, 2017, 11:57:30 AM
It might be useful to remember that North Korea exists because the last time we (Canada and whoever else) traded shots with them, we gave up, because they were too bad*ss.

It also had a bit to do with China.

It's disheartening to discover how racist some of my friends' friends are.  I need to stop arguing with them; it doesn't convince them, and it just makes me feel worse.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on August 18, 2017, 12:06:09 PM
Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un is standing over in the corner, waving his arms frantically, and yelling, "hey, imperialist pigs, remember me?  Still have nukes, still working on missiles."

Not that honest-to-God Nazis aren't a thing to get exercised about (especially when they kill a counter-protester and call it a good day), but...

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on August 18, 2017, 01:39:32 PM
Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un is standing over in the corner, waving his arms frantically, and yelling, "hey, imperialist pigs, remember me?  Still have nukes, still working on missiles."

Not that honest-to-God Nazis aren't a thing to get exercised about (especially when they kill a counter-protester and call it a good day), but...

Actually, he's sort of shut up. Almost as if when no one engages him (and China tells him that if he starts a shooting war, he's on his own), he crawls back into his shell.

If Steven Bannon is right about anything, it's that there's no military solution to the NK problem. Whatever the solution, threatening nuclear destruction (and then having your staff tell the public not to worry, we're just kidding) isn't it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on August 19, 2017, 01:34:05 AM
It might be useful to remember that North Korea exists because the last time we (Canada and whoever else) traded shots with them, we gave up, because they were too bad*ss.

It also had a bit to do with China.

It's disheartening to discover how racist some of my friends' friends are.  I need to stop arguing with them; it doesn't convince them, and it just makes me feel worse.

Yes, you're right, it certainly did. A lot of time has passed since then, time for them to drill endlessly, and build up a serious arsenal.

But yeah, without that bottomless supply line, they probably wouldn't last terribly long. The chinese would rather supply us with consumer goods, and get hard cash and goodwill in return.

I don't think the DPRK will fold like Saddam's forces in Desert Storm, though, and when they do go down, it will be in a spectacular fashion.

But as others have said, the regime is not suicidal. I don't think there is going to be any pitched Korean War-style battles in this current round of trumped-up crises.

As far as racists go, there is a naziesque rally planned for tomorrow, here in Vancouver. We shall see how that plays out. My prediction is it will be attended by a couple thousand antis, a couple hundred reporters, and a small basket of deplorables.

--
Haha - I'm helping a guy sitting next to me watch "Ancient Aliens" videos on his computer.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on August 19, 2017, 07:23:00 PM
It's disheartening to discover how racist some of my friends' friends are.  I need to stop arguing with them; it doesn't convince them, and it just makes me feel worse.
As far as racists go, there is a naziesque rally planned for tomorrow, here in Vancouver. We shall see how that plays out. My prediction is it will be attended by a couple thousand antis, a couple hundred reporters, and a small basket of deplorables.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/anti-racism-rally-vancouver-city-hall-1.4253117
"Around 4,000 people showed up at Vancouver City Hall to protest against a far-right rally on Saturday afternoon."
"By 3 p.m., a handful of far-right protesters appeared to have gathered."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/anti-racism-rally-boston-1.4254282
Boston's so-called 'Free Speech' rally had 40,000 people show up to protest hate speech. Good for them.

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on August 20, 2017, 12:06:20 AM
I like how Vancouver handled it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on October 26, 2017, 03:05:56 PM
Holy...

I'm watching this BBC Four series about the Vietnam War.

Just got to the bit about how Nixon sabotaged peace talks in the runup to the 1968 election to help his campaign. That is so low real numbers can't quantify it. At least Trump hasn't yet gone that low.

Though after seeing the bit about John McCain's captivity, it makes Trump's remarks about McCain all the more despicable. Still not as bad as extending a terrible war for personal political gain though.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on October 26, 2017, 05:47:16 PM
Holy...

I'm watching this BBC Four series about the Vietnam War.

Just got to the bit about how Nixon sabotaged peace talks in the runup to the 1968 election to help his campaign. That is so low real numbers can't quantify it. At least Trump hasn't yet gone that low.

That we know of.  Yet.  Mueller's investigation is still ongoing.

Quote
Though after seeing the bit about John McCain's captivity, it makes Trump's remarks about McCain all the more despicable. Still not as bad as extending a terrible war for personal political gain though.

The sad thing is that apart from that and Watergate (and the secret bombings, and...), Nixon was one of the more effective Presidents of the 20th century (along with Johnson, who was also a complete reprobate).  He normalized relations with China, signed off on establishing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, established programs to treat drug addiction as a public health issue as well as a law enforcement issue, etc., etc. 

Yes, he was a nasty, venal, bitter, paranoid sonofabitch, whose advanced his career through dirty tricks and character assassination, and honestly we'd be better off as a nation had he stayed a small-time lawyer in California, but Nixon was not going to be small-time.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on October 26, 2017, 06:12:05 PM
This program is not light watching. That was one screwed up chapter that was.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on October 27, 2017, 11:09:25 AM
Actually, one of the laws that personally benefits me is from the Nixon administration--that's when automatic cost of living adjustments to Social Security began.  If I'm reading this right, my payments will go from $685 a month to $700 a month next year.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on October 28, 2017, 05:05:24 PM
Well that was light watching.

Maybe Schindler's List next to round off a romantic evening?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on November 10, 2017, 10:05:17 AM
Top Trump environmental nominee won't - or can't - answer if heat causes things to expand. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/11/09/trumps-nominee-to-lead-his-environmental-council-isnt-sure-whether-water-expands-as-it-warms/?utm_term=.d6d349af246a
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on November 10, 2017, 10:15:10 AM
I'm reading What Happened, and man, I wish she were President right now.  Also, she's a lot funnier than people give her credit for.  I was horrified, too, to discover that Bill was the first husband at the hospital where Chelsea was born allowed to be in the operating room while his wife was having a C-section, and they only let him in because they didn't want to argue with the governor.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on November 11, 2017, 03:59:15 AM
According to DSNY Newscast, the opening of Hall of Presidents is still delayed. The new Trump animatronic used some new tech they still working on.

Maybe they're having trouble with that hand gesture.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on November 14, 2017, 09:32:33 AM
Trump has decided not to meet with American Nobel laureates before they leave for Sweden. Stupid science people! Who needs them anyway?

Actually, I suspect that he or his handlers were worried some of them would take the opportunity to lecture him on some basic science facts, and didn't want to face the embarrassment.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on November 14, 2017, 11:15:12 AM
Aren't some of them immigrants?  A lot of US Nobel laureates are.  They could lecture him on more than science.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on November 15, 2017, 05:09:53 PM
I'm reading What Happened, and man, I wish she were President right now.  Also, she's a lot funnier than people give her credit for.  I was horrified, too, to discover that Bill was the first husband at the hospital where Chelsea was born allowed to be in the operating room while his wife was having a C-section, and they only let him in because they didn't want to argue with the governor.

The deep, deep irony is that Trump was not supposed to win; his role was to lose ungraciously and continually call into question the legitimacy of her Presidency (remember he was saying that the election would be rigged all through the primaries and general).  The Russians had a huge pile of dirt (some legit, most made up) ready to spoon-feed Congressional Republicans so that they'd start hearings the day she was inaugurated.  And, while the federal government was distracted and paralyzed, Putin could get the band back together without much interference. 

Of course, a bunch of rednecks in "real America" wrecked that particular plan, and here we are.  The GOP's entire playbook going into 2017 was going to be "oppose Clinton on literally everything"; that's why they can't freaking shut up about her, even though she's now just a private citizen with no real power.  Trump doesn't want to be President, you can tell by his manner and attitude.  He's freaking miserable in the job.  I will legitimately be surprised if he makes it to 2020 without some major health issue. 

Personally, I wish the Democratic Party could have done better than a couple of white septuagenarians - it was kind of shocking to see that the GOP field was younger and more diverse than the Dem contenders.  Yes, Clinton was genuinely historic as the first woman with a better than even chance of winning the Presidency (Fiorina was not ever going to be a contender), but even so, the Republican slate was legitimately a more representative cross-section of America. 

The Democratic party has no bench.  We've let state organizations wither on the vine, and 31 or so states have majority Republican legislatures.  The old guard won't get out of the way, they won't mentor new blood, and generally suck up all the oxygen (and money).  It's maddening.  There's a group of Democrats who want to run Joe Biden in 2020, and I want to punch them in the neck.

How 'bout we pick someone under 70 this time around, guys?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on November 16, 2017, 04:19:03 AM
I'm reading What Happened, and man, I wish she were President right now.  Also, she's a lot funnier than people give her credit for.  I was horrified, too, to discover that Bill was the first husband at the hospital where Chelsea was born allowed to be in the operating room while his wife was having a C-section, and they only let him in because they didn't want to argue with the governor.

The deep, deep irony is that Trump was not supposed to win; his role was to lose ungraciously and continually call into question the legitimacy of her Presidency (remember he was saying that the election would be rigged all through the primaries and general).  The Russians had a huge pile of dirt (some legit, most made up) ready to spoon-feed Congressional Republicans so that they'd start hearings the day she was inaugurated.  And, while the federal government was distracted and paralyzed, Putin could get the band back together without much interference. 

The same thing happened here in the UK with Brexit. The look of deep, deep shock on the faces of toads like Farage and Boris Johnson was evident. They were like the dog that finally caught the car after years of chasing and then realised that they were dogs and had no idea what to do with the car.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-result-nigel-farage-nhs-pledge-disowns-350-million-pounds-a7099906.html
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on November 16, 2017, 11:23:19 AM
She does talk a bit in her book about the need for younger people to run.  Kamala Harris and Tammy Duckworth are right there, though, so I wouldn't say "no bench."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on November 16, 2017, 07:21:14 PM
... Putin could get the band back together ...
He's on a mission from God.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on November 17, 2017, 02:10:34 PM
Quote
Of course, a bunch of rednecks in "real America" wrecked that particular plan, and here we are.  The GOP's entire playbook going into 2017 was going to be "oppose Clinton on literally everything"; that's why they can't freaking shut up about her, even though she's now just a private citizen with no real power.  Trump doesn't want to be President, you can tell by his manner and attitude.  He's freaking miserable in the job.  I will legitimately be surprised if he makes it to 2020 without some major health issue. 


I've heard rumours, not sure how accurate they are, that he's gained about 100 pounds since taking office due to stress eating.

But you're correct that the Republican/Fox conglomerate is highly confused as to what they're supposed to be doing now. The best they're hoping for  is to convince Congress to start a special investigation into Uranium One, but even most Republican Congressmembers know there's nothing in that. And Hillary, to their despair, has kept a low profile. There's nothing new they can drag out.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on December 01, 2017, 11:02:04 AM
Here we go:
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trump-russia/ex-trump-adviser-flynn-charged-with-lying-to-fbi-in-russia-probe-idUKKBN1DV50U

This could be massive. According to that, Flynn is going to plead guilty and do a deal with Mueller. Also, Kushner was interviewed by the FBI earlier this week. Was Mueller sitting there with a load of information from Flynn?
I expect tomorrow's news to be full of another dose of late-night Trump tweets as he tries to create a smokescreen.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on December 01, 2017, 02:18:53 PM
It only matters if Congress decides to do something about it.

They won't.

They're too busy figuring out how best to completely destroy what's left of the middle class.  Hell, the tax "reform" bill that the Senate is debating hasn't even been written yet - they're literally making it all up as they go along.  And everyone with the slightest economic clue is telling them, from Forbes to The Economist to the WSJ to the CBO, that this is a stupendously bad idea, that this "reform" will explode the debt, create structural deficits, tank savings across the board, and generally make the 2008 recession look like a minor dip. 

And DPRK has demo'd an ICBM capable of reaching pretty much anywhere in the US mainland, and we've managed to piss off Great Britain, and...

Not trying to be a drama queen here, but I honestly question if anything's going to be left standing after the new year.

Y'all gotta remember, Trump isn't the disease, he's a symptom of the disease.  The question isn't why his approval rating is so low, but why it's so high.  Literally millions of Americans think he's doing a damned fine job
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on December 02, 2017, 11:41:37 AM
The one thing they do know is that childhood tax benefits now start during pregnancy, which is a back door personhood bill.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LionKing on December 06, 2017, 06:42:14 AM
crazy Trump wants to stir unnecessary problems

https://www.livescience.com/61110-us-embassy-move-jerusalem.html?utm_source=notification
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on December 06, 2017, 10:15:53 AM
crazy Trump wants to stir unnecessary problems

https://www.livescience.com/61110-us-embassy-move-jerusalem.html?utm_source=notification

That's an endlessly repeatable post, I think. Just change the link for each unnecessary problem he provokes.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on December 06, 2017, 12:25:04 PM
Indeed.  Though this particular one reinforces my belief that Jerusalem ought to be an international city, part of no country.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gwiz on December 07, 2017, 05:17:43 AM
Indeed.  Though this particular one reinforces my belief that Jerusalem ought to be an international city, part of no country.
Wasn't the late King Hussain of Jordan trying to get that done?  Pity his successor doesn't seem interested.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on December 07, 2017, 08:38:48 PM
... Putin could get the band back together ...
He's on a mission from God.
It's a hundred and eight miles to the White House. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Al Johnston on December 08, 2017, 06:50:08 AM
... Putin could get the band back together ...
He's on a mission from God.
It's a hundred and eight miles to the White House. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.

Hit it!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on December 20, 2017, 01:34:57 PM
I wonder if any scientists who voted for Trump can still say they'd do the same after the recent revelation that CDC scientists were warned not to include any budgetary documents that include such controversial words/phrases as "evidence-based" or "science-based" (not to mention "entitlement," "vulnerable," "transgender" or "fetus.") Then the CDC spokeswoman claimed the words weren't banned. No, the message was just given that if you use those terms, you'll not get any government money.

Along with the scrubbing of "climate change" this indicates a wholesale assault on objective science.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on December 21, 2017, 06:47:05 PM
Trump is a godsend. We got to side with France, Germany and Spain and a majority of other EU countries, which should hopefully go a wee bit towards diffusing some hostility.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 04, 2018, 10:34:43 AM
I'm reading What Happened, and man, I wish she were President right now.  Also, she's a lot funnier than people give her credit for.  I was horrified, too, to discover that Bill was the first husband at the hospital where Chelsea was born allowed to be in the operating room while his wife was having a C-section, and they only let him in because they didn't want to argue with the governor.

The deep, deep irony is that Trump was not supposed to win; his role was to lose ungraciously and continually call into question the legitimacy of her Presidency (remember he was saying that the election would be rigged all through the primaries and general).  The Russians had a huge pile of dirt (some legit, most made up) ready to spoon-feed Congressional Republicans so that they'd start hearings the day she was inaugurated.  And, while the federal government was distracted and paralyzed, Putin could get the band back together without much interference. 

Of course, a bunch of rednecks in "real America" wrecked that particular plan, and here we are.  The GOP's entire playbook going into 2017 was going to be "oppose Clinton on literally everything"; that's why they can't freaking shut up about her, even though she's now just a private citizen with no real power.  Trump doesn't want to be President, you can tell by his manner and attitude.  He's freaking miserable in the job.  I will legitimately be surprised if he makes it to 2020 without some major health issue. 


I'm just pulling this post from November back up because it fits so well with the story in the Wolff book that's blowing up Washington this week. That gives a sadly hilarious story of Trump's reaction when he realized he was going to win.

It does make me sorry for Melania, though. Yes, she agreed to sell herself to be pawed by an obnoxious old man. But she seems to be a shy, introverted person, and I don't think she realized she was signing up to be a public figure, in a country and language not her own. And inexcusably, the administration has failed to give her a strong support staff that could at least create a public persona comfortable with her role. I can truly believe she wept on realizing this was going to be her life now.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on January 04, 2018, 05:48:51 PM
I'm reading What Happened, and man, I wish she were President right now.  Also, she's a lot funnier than people give her credit for.  I was horrified, too, to discover that Bill was the first husband at the hospital where Chelsea was born allowed to be in the operating room while his wife was having a C-section, and they only let him in because they didn't want to argue with the governor.

The deep, deep irony is that Trump was not supposed to win; his role was to lose ungraciously and continually call into question the legitimacy of her Presidency (remember he was saying that the election would be rigged all through the primaries and general).  The Russians had a huge pile of dirt (some legit, most made up) ready to spoon-feed Congressional Republicans so that they'd start hearings the day she was inaugurated.  And, while the federal government was distracted and paralyzed, Putin could get the band back together without much interference. 

Of course, a bunch of rednecks in "real America" wrecked that particular plan, and here we are.  The GOP's entire playbook going into 2017 was going to be "oppose Clinton on literally everything"; that's why they can't freaking shut up about her, even though she's now just a private citizen with no real power.  Trump doesn't want to be President, you can tell by his manner and attitude.  He's freaking miserable in the job.  I will legitimately be surprised if he makes it to 2020 without some major health issue. 


I'm just pulling this post from November back up because it fits so well with the story in the Wolff book that's blowing up Washington this week. That gives a sadly hilarious story of Trump's reaction when he realized he was going to win.

It does make me sorry for Melania, though. Yes, she agreed to sell herself to be pawed by an obnoxious old man. But she seems to be a shy, introverted person, and I don't think she realized she was signing up to be a public figure, in a country and language not her own. And inexcusably, the administration has failed to give her a strong support staff that could at least create a public persona comfortable with her role. I can truly believe she wept on realizing this was going to be her life now.

Personally, I would not put too much stock into Wolff's book.  It's gossip from a highly suspect source (Bannon could claim that the sky was blue and water was wet and I'd still go to Snopes to verify it), and Wolff himself has a reputation as a somewhat sloppy reporter, favoring impact over accuracy. 

I'm sure there are nuggets of truth in there, but slathered under layers of bullshit. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on January 05, 2018, 04:59:35 AM

It does make me sorry for Melania, though. Yes, she agreed to sell herself to be pawed by an obnoxious old man. But she seems to be a shy, introverted person, and I don't think she realized she was signing up to be a public figure, in a country and language not her own. And inexcusably, the administration has failed to give her a strong support staff that could at least create a public persona comfortable with her role. I can truly believe she wept on realizing this was going to be her life now.

Yeah....this "shy introverted person" managed to get from a 2 bed apartment in a former Eastern Bloc country to the White House via the medium of modelling, soft-porn photoshoots some of which included simulated lesbian sex scenes. I cannot think of anyone that less likely fits the description of a "shy introverted person". I think that " single-minded focus", "scheming" and someone that is more than happy to use her sexual talents and attributes to sleep her way to the top is probably far more apt.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Kiwi on January 09, 2018, 05:53:30 AM
A rather good editorial from my local newspaper today:--

Manawatu Standard, Tuesday 9 January 2018, page 6
Backfire and fury

Editorial
https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/100394846/backfire-and-fury
   Such is the churning disgrace of the Trump presidency that it’s hard to know who to hold in greater contempt – his treacherous appointees or his loyal ones.
   The lickspittle loyalists seem capable of staring down any camera and not just disregarding, but denying, his monstrous failings as a man, let alone a leader.
   The traitors are just downstream versions of the same. In their vanity they thought they could cunningly manage the man-child, or at least personally prosper from their temporarily high status.
   Some were jettisoned after the forces of official accountability came knocking. Others fell from, well, we hesitate to say, grace. They fell from favour amid the internecine combat of the loose affiliation of warring tribes that the White House promptly became under Donald Trump.
   Among the dumped is chief strategist Steve Bannon. The Republicans rightly saw him as a scornful enemy from the extremities of the Right and Trump’s kids saw him as a Rasputin-like influence on their dad.
   He was a key source for Michael Wolff’s instantly notorious book Fire and Fury, dishing withering criticisms of those around Trump, and the man himself.
   It was almost jolly to hear the president’s top political adviser Stephen Miller call Bannon an "angry, vindictive person", as if this had suddenly become a bad thing in Trumpland.
   Angry and vindictive pretty much describes the greater part of Trump’s electoral catchment. Add boastful and you have a precis of his own campaign speeches.
   Bannon has denied the book’s account of him accusing Donald Trump Jr of treachery to the United States, but he hasn’t backed down on a bunch of other scornful descriptions, including those of "dumb as a brick" Ivanka Trump or her husband Jared Kushner.
   Then we have the who’s-crazy allegations. The book adds fuel to fears that Trump is not just emotionally unstable, but unravelling mentally. To which the president declares himself "a very stable genius". That’s not typically a title that’s self-bestowed.
   And now Bannon, amid the fallout pressure from, among others, funders of his Breitbart News, declares that he is "unwavering" in his support of Trump.
   Such is the state of US politics, where people are prepared, if needs be, to deny the wetness of water. And that includes the host of Republicans, even those who slip coded escape clauses out of their endorsements. Like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson now calling Trump "the most unique president we have ever seen in modern history".
   Quite so.
   Unique as a meat axe.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on January 09, 2018, 11:25:47 AM

It does make me sorry for Melania, though. Yes, she agreed to sell herself to be pawed by an obnoxious old man. But she seems to be a shy, introverted person, and I don't think she realized she was signing up to be a public figure, in a country and language not her own. And inexcusably, the administration has failed to give her a strong support staff that could at least create a public persona comfortable with her role. I can truly believe she wept on realizing this was going to be her life now.

Yeah....this "shy introverted person" managed to get from a 2 bed apartment in a former Eastern Bloc country to the White House via the medium of modelling, soft-porn photoshoots some of which included simulated lesbian sex scenes. I cannot think of anyone that less likely fits the description of a "shy introverted person". I think that " single-minded focus", "scheming" and someone that is more than happy to use her sexual talents and attributes to sleep her way to the top is probably far more apt.

There's a bit of a difference between posing in a photo studio and being mobbed by reporters over every stupid thing your husband says.  There are plenty of actors and performers who can bare it all on camera and yet be painfully shy or withdrawn around other people. 

AFAIK, she's not taking an active role in running the WH or participating in any policy discussions, so frankly her past and character are irrelevant and should not be part of the discussion.  Ivanka and Jared are fair game since they obviously have a hand in running the place. 

It's 2018.  Murkians, get thee registered to vote if you aren't already.  Find out who's running for what in your city, state, and congressional district, read up on any bonds and other ballot initiatives (and in Texas, find out what this year's spate of Constitutional amendments will be), and VOTE.  Harangue your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same.  Slap the first person who bitches about gerrymandering (which is a problem, but can be overcome with sufficient turnout). 

We get exactly the government we deserve.  If we think we deserve better, then we have to work for it. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 09, 2018, 12:24:54 PM
I mostly agree, but there are places where gerrymandering cannot be overcome with sufficient turnout; that's the whole point.  Not unless a certain proportion of voters in those districts realize they've been had.  Especially with current voter suppression tactics.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on January 09, 2018, 12:37:06 PM
I mostly agree, but there are places where gerrymandering cannot be overcome with sufficient turnout; that's the whole point.  Not unless a certain proportion of voters in those districts realize they've been had.  Especially with current voter suppression tactics.

Yeah, gerrymandering has to be fixed at the state level, which honestly is where we need to fix most of our attention in 2018 and 2020.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 09, 2018, 04:18:11 PM

It does make me sorry for Melania, though. Yes, she agreed to sell herself to be pawed by an obnoxious old man. But she seems to be a shy, introverted person, and I don't think she realized she was signing up to be a public figure, in a country and language not her own. And inexcusably, the administration has failed to give her a strong support staff that could at least create a public persona comfortable with her role. I can truly believe she wept on realizing this was going to be her life now.

Yeah....this "shy introverted person" managed to get from a 2 bed apartment in a former Eastern Bloc country to the White House via the medium of modelling, soft-porn photoshoots some of which included simulated lesbian sex scenes. I cannot think of anyone that less likely fits the description of a "shy introverted person". I think that " single-minded focus", "scheming" and someone that is more than happy to use her sexual talents and attributes to sleep her way to the top is probably far more apt.

You may be right about scheming or single-minded. But I've never seen a First Lady who looks so ill-at-ease in her position. Her body language consistently screams "Get me out of here!" rather than "Look at me! I'm on top of the world!"

As I said, I think she sold herself to an old man for money. But I'm pretty sure that she never figured being a public figure into it. She looks like imposter syndrome weighs heavily on her. She knows this isn't a role she was cut out for, and her attempts at smiling through it are pitiable. And I'm sure Trump gives her no praise for what success she has, and plenty of criticism if he feels she doesn't make him look good.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on January 09, 2018, 05:48:59 PM
You may be right about scheming or single-minded. But I've never seen a First Lady who looks so ill-at-ease in her position. Her body language consistently screams "Get me out of here!" rather than "Look at me! I'm on top of the world!"

As I said, I think she sold herself to an old man for money. But I'm pretty sure that she never figured being a public figure into it. She looks like imposter syndrome weighs heavily on her. She knows this isn't a role she was cut out for, and her attempts at smiling through it are pitiable. And I'm sure Trump gives her no praise for what success she has, and plenty of criticism if he feels she doesn't make him look good.


(http://78.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4h9d3MI4v1rwcc6bo1_500.gif)

i'm sure that she sobs herself to sleep every night on a pile of dollar bills.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 10, 2018, 02:53:19 PM
I doubt Trump lets her spend a dime without his OK. He doesn't act like an old fool who believes this beautiful younger woman's loins burn for him. He acts like a man who purchased, in his words "a hot piece of ***."

Sure, she's not suffering like immigrant women who are suddenly facing deportation, or women who need health insurance, or all those women who've been dealt body blows by the Trump administration. But I don't think she's happy where she is. Let's just say that the day she gets her widow's weeds out will be the day she'll wear the most genuine smile she's had since Trump started to run.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on January 11, 2018, 04:58:01 AM
But I don't think she's happy where she is. Let's just say that the day she gets her widow's weeds out will be the day she'll wear the most genuine smile she's had since Trump started to run.

Indeed.
I'm sure the substantial inheritance will help to wash away the memories of Trumps corpulent mass humping away on her.....  :)

As Nicholas Soame's first wife once said that sex with Soames was "like having a wardrobe fall on top of you with the key sticking out"
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 11, 2018, 11:41:18 AM
I also rather dislike the idea that rich people aren't allowed to be unhappy, even if the thing that makes them unhappy is of their own doing.  Yes, she made the choice to marry him, one she probably regrets.  But unless she herself is a terrible person--which I have no reason to assume she is--how do you think she likes bringing up her son in that environment, with that father?  It's not surprising to me that the only one of the adult offspring who seems at all normal is the one whose mother kept her from being influenced by her father as much as possible.  And I know someone who knows people who work at Barron's school, and he's apparently a pretty decent kid.  I'm sure his mother would like him to stay that way, and she's seen the older sons.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 13, 2018, 11:18:16 AM
So, it appears that Trump wants, someday, to go to Mars.

But for the time being, NASA gets severe cuts on studying climate change.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on February 13, 2018, 12:44:08 PM
So, it appears that Trump wants, someday, to go to Mars.

But for the time being, NASA gets severe cuts on studying climate change.

He also talked about going to the Moon, but funded next to nothing. The old adage applies "No bucks, no Buck Rogers"
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 13, 2018, 12:49:12 PM
He apparently wants to privatize the ISS, which I'm pretty sure he can't do.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on February 13, 2018, 03:32:55 PM
As someone on another forum pointed out, Presidential budgets are aspirational; the Congressional budget is what becomes law.  Trump already signed the two-year budget deal passed by Congress, so his budget is pretty much just a long read. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on February 13, 2018, 04:05:09 PM
Just when I think that there's surely no more ways for this bloviating sack of sh1te to disgust me, he manages to find one:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/op-ed-the-story-behind-the-satellite-that-trump-wants-dead/

"By trying to kill this program, people in the administration are sending two messages. One is that everything they've been saying when they try to explain why they're taking no actions on climate change is a sham—they don't actually believe any of it. And the second message is they'd rather waste millions of taxpayers' dollars than gather data that could possibly tell us we need to act."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 13, 2018, 04:55:52 PM
He specifically wants to defund the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, because he thinks that anyone or anything that mentions those nasty ole greenhouse gases is his personal enemy.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 22, 2018, 11:47:56 AM
Who has to write down "I'm listening" as a response to people in crisis?  Then again, I'd also thought he was functionally illiterate, so at least he can read it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 23, 2018, 06:12:25 PM
Oh boo hoo. You think you got problems? At least in three years you'll be done with this. In three years, our problems will only be just beginning.

What hope for us when a country that has an unelected head of government, an unelected head of state, an unelected upper chamber, an unelected civil service*, acts like somehow we're being oppressed because we don't get to directly vote for the President of the European Council, who doesn't even have legislative or executive power. Perhaps illusion might describe the mindset.

* not that I have a problem with most of that though I'm open minded about Lords reform

Sorry. Someone was wrong on the Internet and it got me worked up. I restrain myself from participating in the places I read, so I dumped here where noone will see it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on February 25, 2018, 03:56:33 AM
Saturdays UK Daily Telegraph.

(http://i68.tinypic.com/35jy1xx.jpg)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on February 25, 2018, 10:32:52 AM
Oh boo hoo. You think you got problems? At least in three years you'll be done with this. In three years, our problems will only be just beginning.

What hope for us when a country that has an unelected head of government, an unelected head of state, an unelected upper chamber, an unelected civil service*, acts like somehow we're being oppressed because we don't get to directly vote for the President of the European Council, who doesn't even have legislative or executive power. Perhaps illusion might describe the mindset.

* not that I have a problem with most of that though I'm open minded about Lords reform

Sorry. Someone was wrong on the Internet and it got me worked up. I restrain myself from participating in the places I read, so I dumped here where noone will see it.

I feel your pain. It seems like the UK has been taken over by idiots and nationalists (is there a difference??). Watching the current UK government imploding in slow motion is painful.
My new word of the month is kakistocracy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakistocracy)..."a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens". Sounds like that admirably describes the current incumbents on both sides of the Atlantic.


Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 25, 2018, 05:48:01 PM
If there was at least an opposition that wasn't terrifying, there would be a glimmer of hope. But that's too much to ask it seems.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on February 25, 2018, 08:09:01 PM
As a PM of ours said, the first Trudeau, "Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt." These messes are going to freaking reverberate.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on February 26, 2018, 03:14:21 AM
If there was at least an opposition that wasn't terrifying, there would be a glimmer of hope. But that's too much to ask it seems.

Shocking, isn't it? All Labour seem to be doing is enabling a shambolic Tory government.

Oh, and making a song and dance about a change in direction to go for something that the EU has explicitly ruled out from day one.  ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on February 26, 2018, 10:26:17 AM
Oh boo hoo. You think you got problems? At least in three years you'll be done with this.

Optimist. 

Democrats are going to run midterms on a platform of impeachment, which will just entrench support for Trump the way it did for Clinton in the '90s (even if Mueller finds multiple smoking guns).  Then they'll find the worst possible Presidential candidates in 2020 and he'll be re-elected handily.  Will Rogers had our number 80 years ago, and it's still true today. 

The only way he doesn't serve eight years in office is because of a stroke or an exploding ticker. 

Quote
In three years, our problems will only be just beginning.

What hope for us when a country that has an unelected head of government, an unelected head of state, an unelected upper chamber, an unelected civil service*, acts like somehow we're being oppressed because we don't get to directly vote for the President of the European Council, who doesn't even have legislative or executive power. Perhaps illusion might describe the mindset.

* not that I have a problem with most of that though I'm open minded about Lords reform

Sorry. Someone was wrong on the Internet and it got me worked up. I restrain myself from participating in the places I read, so I dumped here where noone will see it.

Heh.  Brings new meaning to "security through obscurity". 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on February 26, 2018, 11:38:28 AM
If the US can't get rid of Trump, who does absolutely nothing to hide his vice and his incompetence, well, you deserve your slide into fascism. I'd say at this point everyone knows who Trump is. No one's expecting him to start being "presidential" at any moment, except some reporters who apparently are in deep denial of just how much trouble the country is in.

Quite honestly, if I read a fictional POTUS like him in a book, I'd expect it to be crazy satire, because if it were intended to be realistic I'd have told the author "dial it back to believable levels of stupidity and corruption."

Unfortunately it seems the Bernie bros will be out in force to try to commandeer the Democratic party to accept a leader who's never been a Democrat, and they'll resume their sulking wait for the end of the world when it doesn't.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 26, 2018, 11:49:36 AM
I am cautiously optimistic based on how various elections have been going around the country.  Sure, okay, it feels like shooting fish in a barrel to beat the pedophile for Senate.  But in such a deeply red state, in which the pedophile still won the primary, it's definitely something.

Meanwhile, an idiot in my state has proposed a law to arm teachers, and I got an e-mail this morning telling me how my son's school district is preparing for live shooting incidents.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 26, 2018, 11:50:22 AM
Also, I frankly wouldn't put it past Trump to claim to have accomplished everything he wants to in a single term and just not run again.  I don't think he likes being President.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on February 26, 2018, 01:22:15 PM
Also, I frankly wouldn't put it past Trump to claim to have accomplished everything he wants to in a single term and just not run again.  I don't think he likes being President.

This is true - he didn't actually want to win, he wanted to boost his resale value.  And yeah, he can just say "nope, done" in 2020 and go back to hawking steaks. 

I don't expect that, personally - between the apparent narcissistic personality disorder, the continued fellating by certain wings of the GOP, and the ever-present threat of a polonium cocktail from the Russians once he stops being useful, I fully expect that he will run for re-election (assuming he's healthy enough). 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on February 26, 2018, 03:52:34 PM
Considering that the main thing he likes is money, are there any financial benefits he will get from being an ex-POTUS? Normally there would be 'celebrity' status, appearances, talking tours, etc but he already has that as being 'Trump'.

Is there anything he will actually get that would be of value to him?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on February 26, 2018, 09:55:55 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-florida-shooting-parkland-school-run-into-no-gun-stop-shooter-broward-deputy-a8229536.html
It's easy to be brave after the fact. ::)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Geordie on February 27, 2018, 12:54:06 PM
Quite honestly, if I read a fictional POTUS like him in a book, I'd expect it to be crazy satire, because if it were intended to be realistic I'd have told the author "dial it back to believable levels of stupidity and corruption."
Perhaps he's a comedian, playing the long game, like Andy Kaufman.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on February 27, 2018, 01:14:18 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-florida-shooting-parkland-school-run-into-no-gun-stop-shooter-broward-deputy-a8229536.html
It's easy to be brave after the fact. ::)

&feature=youtu.be&t=48s
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 27, 2018, 01:42:15 PM
"Sure, bone spurs in I-Don't-Remember-Which foot kept me out of Vietnam, but I'm sure Rambo now!"
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Apollo 957 on February 27, 2018, 04:43:20 PM
It's easy to be brave after the fact. ::)

He would have "run in" ..... ?

Has anyone, anywhere, seen Trump run AT ALL in living memory? I would ask how quick he could run a 100metres, if I thought he could complete but a fraction of that....
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 28, 2018, 12:00:36 PM
He believes exercise is bad for you.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on February 28, 2018, 01:48:56 PM
Quite honestly, if I read a fictional POTUS like him in a book, I'd expect it to be crazy satire, because if it were intended to be realistic I'd have told the author "dial it back to believable levels of stupidity and corruption."
Perhaps he's a comedian, playing the long game, like Andy Kaufman.

No lie, I used to fantasize about running as a candidate so unhinged, so obviously batshit head-trauma crazy, that it would scare everyone into voting for the other guy.

Trump's election has shown me that such a plan could never work.  People will happily, nay eagerly vote for batshit head-trauma crazy. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on May 05, 2018, 01:12:28 PM
So now Trumps great insight is, if the UK relaxes its gun laws perhaps it will be a solution to London’s knife problem?  :o  :o
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on May 05, 2018, 03:18:22 PM
You have to remember that guns are magic and solve everything, even the problems they cause.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on May 05, 2018, 06:13:51 PM
It's easy to be brave after the fact. ::)

He would have "run in" ..... ?

Has anyone, anywhere, seen Trump run AT ALL in living memory? I would ask how quick he could run a 100metres, if I thought he could complete but a fraction of that....

I remember a picture from a certain summit, with the world leaders walking across a green and, in the back, Trump sitting in a cart.

This is after all the man who has professed that you only get a certain number of heartbeats in your life, so why do anything to use them up faster.

Heck, I'm kinda surprised, given his record, the Candyman wasn't picked for Surgeon General.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on May 05, 2018, 11:21:38 PM


This is after all the man who has professed that you only get a certain number of heartbeats in your life, so why do anything to use them up faster.

I'm pretty sure Neil Armstrong said that too.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on May 06, 2018, 02:54:06 AM
You have to remember that guns are magic and solve everything, even the problems they cause.

Yes as per the NRA’s idea to stop school masacares, “let’s arm the teachers!” Why do these barmy ideas not sound idiotic to the people that propose them?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on May 06, 2018, 07:17:53 AM
You have to remember that guns are magic and solve everything, even the problems they cause.

Yes as per the NRA’s idea to stop school masacares, “let’s arm the teachers!” Why do these barmy ideas not sound idiotic to the people that propose them?

Selling a gun to the teachers to stop the man that you sold a gun to sounds awfully like the logic of a person who wants to sell two guns.
 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on May 06, 2018, 12:20:21 PM
Selling a gun to the teachers to stop the man that you sold a gun to sounds awfully like the logic of a person who wants to sell two guns.
 

You're not wrong; these days, the NRA supports gun manufacturers a lot more than they support gun owners.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on May 07, 2018, 10:04:59 AM
You have to remember that guns are magic and solve everything, even the problems they cause.

I thought that was beer.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on May 07, 2018, 10:34:53 AM
You have to remember that guns are magic and solve everything, even the problems they cause.

Yes as per the NRA’s idea to stop school masacares, “let’s arm the teachers!” Why do these barmy ideas not sound idiotic to the people that propose them?

Selling a gun to the teachers to stop the man that you sold a gun to sounds awfully like the logic of a person who wants to sell two guns.

Yup.  The modern NRA serves the interests of the gun manufacturers, period.  Anything that could possibly slow down gun sales (waiting periods, background checks, real licensing) is cast as an Assault On Freedom, while anything that could possibly drive up sales (arming teachers, students, cafeteria workers, janitors) is Standing Up For America.  And the goddamned rednecks buy it wholesale. 

FTR, I own a couple of weapons (a .38 Colt Police Positive revolver that belonged to one grandfather, and a .22 Remington rifle that belonged to the other).  Neither have been fired in years. I've been toying with the idea of getting a Concealed Carry license just in case the state of Texas decides that's the only allowable form of voter ID going forward (I wouldn't put it past this bunch of idiots).  I wouldn't want to use the .38 for the training, though - it's old, and modern .38 ammo is a little too powerful for it, so I'd need to find a new(er) weapon. 

I wouldn't actually carry concealed, mind you - I'm not that paranoid about my personal safety.  Again, I'd just want the license for ID purposes. 

Worked a short-term contract with a gold-plated gun nut with a CCL who brought his weapon to the office.  Let's just say I was happy to not get my contract renewed. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on May 07, 2018, 02:11:25 PM
Was just reading this thread and someone shared this with me.. There is a video attached as people outside the UK (and some inside the UK) will not understand the reference.




(http://i68.tinypic.com/2jax2cj.jpg)

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gwiz on May 08, 2018, 06:34:48 AM
Was just reading this thread and someone shared this with me.. There is a video attached as people outside the UK (and some inside the UK) will not understand the reference.
There's a small industry working this meme:
https://www.facebook.com/TrumptonMayor/
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on May 08, 2018, 09:01:39 AM

There's a small industry working this meme:
https://www.facebook.com/TrumptonMayor/

Just a quick glance and we find, "Briton's be prepared: - Show your rump to Trump." Had to chuckle at that one.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: molesworth on May 08, 2018, 04:01:37 PM
I try not to get too involved in political discussions, but I'm appalled at Trump pulling the US out of the Iran deal.  I had hoped some of his associates could talk sense into him, but the White House now seems to be full of hawks who'd no doubt prefer conflict to a peaceful solution.  (Not to mention it'll likely push oil prices up, much to the delight of many of their sponsors.)

Quote
As he left the podium, Trump took a question from a journalist asking how the deal will affect US security.

 "How does this make America safer?" asked the journalist.

"This will make America much safer," Trump responded.
Well, I'm really glad you cleared that up for us Mr President...

My only hope is that Europe, Russia, China etc. can persuade Iran that it's still worth continuing the deal.  That however would leave the US very isolated, potentially leading to other problems.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on May 08, 2018, 04:50:07 PM
It's starting to look like a good time to stop letting the US "lead" the way for the rest of the world, at least until they elect a leader with a functional brain.

The fact that he thinks he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize is ridiculous. For what? If he has had any beneficial effect on North Korea it is by pure luck. He could have just as easily started a nuclear war.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on May 08, 2018, 05:00:37 PM
Christiane Amanpour on CNN makes a good point.

Trump is making the same mistake as George W. Bush by taking advice from Benjamin Netanyahu. He was the one who said it would have a beneficial effect on the region to remove Saddam Hussein. And we are still cleaning up that mess 15 years later.

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Luke Pemberton on May 08, 2018, 07:04:53 PM
My only hope is that Europe, Russia, China etc. can persuade Iran that it's still worth continuing the deal.  That however would leave the US very isolated, potentially leading to other problems.

That was my thought tonight. The UK, France and Germany have already declared commitment to the deal. It could of course have the effect of increasing the rhetoric between Iran and Trump, and given his fragile ego and complete lack of diplomacy, increase the tensions further.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nweber on May 09, 2018, 12:25:40 AM
It's starting to look like a good time to stop letting the US "lead" the way for the rest of the world

It's been a good time for many years.

The fact that he thinks he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize is ridiculous.

That prize was completely discredited, if it hadn't been already, when it was given to Barack Obama, who had done nothing to earn it at the time (his own words), and subsequently became quite expert at extrajudicial assassination.

The espionage indictment from the United States Department of Justice is a more prestigious award for service to humanity, although the prize that comes with the Nobel is better.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on June 16, 2018, 11:50:57 AM
I expected corruption. I expected sanctions to be lifted from Russia. I expected the EPA to be dismantled.

I did not expect children to be separated from their parents and thrown into internment camps. Disgusting.(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180616/d740f3b2c1223b9fdb601d0a4c48138b.jpg)

Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: molesworth on June 16, 2018, 05:50:00 PM
I expected corruption. I expected sanctions to be lifted from Russia. I expected the EPA to be dismantled.

I did not expect children to be separated from their parents and thrown into internment camps. Disgusting.(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180616/d740f3b2c1223b9fdb601d0a4c48138b.jpg)

Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk
It's absolutely appalling, and hasn't escaped notice in the rest of the world.  I cannot understand how anyone can either sanction or carry out these "orders" with a clear conscience.  The conditions the children are being held in are terrible, and now they're planning on using tents to accommodate even more!

The fact that he's blaming the Democrats for the policy, and is refusing to sign a bill to stop it* makes the whole situation even worse.  (I'm not going to get into the "religious justification for it" issue, which is also appalling, at least not on a public forum.)


[ * or at least according to reports I've read - it's hard to tell truth from fiction in the media these days ]
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LionKing on June 22, 2018, 07:02:24 AM
https://www.facebook.com/100002127357968/posts/1725908540823374/

This is too much. .he is a crazed monster and should be made to resign
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on June 22, 2018, 11:48:11 AM
https://www.facebook.com/100002127357968/posts/1725908540823374/

This is too much. .he is a crazed monster and should be made to resign
Link does not work.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on June 22, 2018, 01:19:09 PM
The college roommate of a friend is asking why people are protesting children who've been separated from their parents when they arrive at LaGuardia instead of just taking those children in and feeding and sheltering them and so forth.  The article she commented on was talking about how protestors were there arguing about the policy, not least because the federal government was preventing the state government of New York from providing the children in question with medical care.  When I told her that the federal government literally wouldn't let people do anything for these children, she started going off about Oskar Schindler, because of course that's a directly comparable situation.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on June 22, 2018, 03:31:46 PM
https://www.facebook.com/100002127357968/posts/1725908540823374/

This is too much. .he is a crazed monster and should be made to resign

I've said it before, Trump isn't the problem, he's a symptom of the problem.

There is a significant fraction of American voters who like what he is doing and want him to do more of it, either because of like-minded cruelty, gob-smacking ignorance and stupidity, or just plain nihilism. Honest-to-God white nationalists and Nazis are gaining power in Congress and state houses for the same reason.  If the Democrats fail to flip either the House or the Senate this fall (which is likely, because Democrats don't vote in the midterms), hang on to your socks.  We may be seeing reruns of 1968-level domestic violence. 

Of course, this is all Newt Gingrich's fault.  He's the one who started the whole toxic partisanship shitball rolling.  In another 100 years his name will be in the history books as one of the chief architects of America's collapse. 

15 years ago I blasted anyone who thought of giving up their US citizenship and moving to another country - running away wasn't going to fix anything.  Now, I'm halfway seriously considering it myself, because I don't think things can be fixed anymore. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on June 22, 2018, 03:53:56 PM

15 years ago I blasted anyone who thought of giving up their US citizenship and moving to another country - running away wasn't going to fix anything.  Now, I'm halfway seriously considering it myself, because I don't think things can be fixed anymore.
Of course, that's become much more difficult for those of low income levels, because the State Department greatly increased the cost of renouncing US citizenship shortly after Trump's election. Funny that.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on June 22, 2018, 04:59:15 PM
Not that I can afford to pack up and leave the country anyway, not that any country would take a middle-aged disabled woman with two kids and no extraordinary skills.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on June 22, 2018, 05:53:09 PM
Yes yes. We're all planning on deserting our respective sinking ships. I've started French tuition for just that purpose.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: molesworth on June 22, 2018, 07:39:13 PM
Well, if any of you are thinking of moving to the UK, that may not be a great choice, as we're heading in pretty much the same direction (perhaps just not as rapidly).

In fact the rise of nationalism, attacks on immigration, and general dislike or distrust of anything "different" seems to be happening in just about every country at the moment.  I sometimes despair at humanity, having moved so far towards something approaching worldwide fairness, acceptance and inclusion, we're now turning back and throwing it all away  >:(
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on June 23, 2018, 11:57:47 AM
Heh, spare a thought for us in Australia...

I'm currently reading "Silent Invasion" by Clive Hamilton. It's about how China has been systematically infiltrating Australia's political and social structures for two decades, with the aim of splitting Australia from its American alliance (and who knows what else after that). In the meantime, the Australian government has been passing beefed up legislation relating to the espionage threat the Chinese pose, and splashing out some extra aid money among Pacific island nations in the hope of slowing the spread of Chinese influence in the region. *

And as I read the book, I'm coming to the conclusion that China is a bigger threat to the USA than the Soviet Union ever was: the Soviet era Russians were hamstrung by their ideology; by contrast the Chinese are ruthless, pragmatic and, above all, patient. David Wingrove's novels may turn out to be close to the mark.

Of course, on top of that, the USA is facing an increasing threat from a Russia whose leader looks to be out for revenge for defeat in the Cold War. I've just been watching parts of an Australian ABC report about Russian meddling in the USA: look for Trump/Russia at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/ and if you can't watch the videos for whatever reason, the web pages for each of the shows include transcripts.

Grim reading...

* Back in 2000 I attended an Australian Skeptics conference in Sydney, which doubled as an international Skeptics conference. One of the speakers (with an interpreter) was Chinese skeptic Sima Nan. He described his efforts in trying to stamp out superstitious beliefs in China and the dangers he'd faced from outraged charlatans and their hired thugs. He also spoke about the wacky beliefs of followers of Falun Gong (which at the time was gaining popularity in Australia), and the absurd claims of its leader, Li Hongzhi. After the talk I was able to get his autograph (which I still have somewhere among my Skeptics papers), for which I was able to thank him with about the only Chinese I know.

These days, however, I see that Sima Nan is now a loyal advocate for the Chinese government and noisy critic of everything Western or Liberal or American (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sima_Nan). I have to say it's a strange feeling to dislike a fellow atheist skeptic because he in turn dislikes the intellectual tradition which gave birth to Western liberalism and skepticism.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on June 23, 2018, 02:05:07 PM
I've said it before, Trump isn't the problem, he's a symptom of the problem.

I agree, and I think that cancer is spreading north.

Here in Ontario we just elected Doug Ford to be our next Premier (you might remember his late brother Rob, the former mayor of Toronto... think of Chris Farley with a Canadian accent). There are a lot of rumours surrounding Doug's past, like that he was a drug dealer back in the 1980s. He comes from a wealthy family and has publicly supported Donald Trump in the past. His diehard supporters ("Ford Nation") barely hide their racism. There is nothing at all likeable about him, but for some reason enough people voted for him. It's probably because he claimed to be fighting for "the little guy", despite the fact that he's going to cancel the planned minimum wage increase from the previous government. One of his few campaign promises was to bring back "$1 beer", and you just know that was enough to swing some votes his way.

He hasn't even been sworn in yet, but he has already promised to scrap a program that gives people a rebate when they make "green" home renovations and upgrades. He is going to also scrap the carbon cap & trade system. But hey... at least we'll have $1 dollar beer to drown our sorrows in while the environment turns to shit.  ::)

Quote
If the Democrats fail to flip either the House or the Senate this fall (which is likely, because Democrats don't vote in the midterms), hang on to your socks.  We may be seeing reruns of 1968-level domestic violence. 

I think you'll see that happen even if the Democrats do win in November because Trump supporters aren't going to just sit back and do nothing if they move to impeach him, or block any of his policies
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nweber on June 24, 2018, 04:38:11 AM
I'm coming to the conclusion that China is a bigger threat to the USA

I realise the US is a country that's been crapping its pants for close to twenty years because less than 0.1% of the murders there were committed by Muslims, but it's going to be a long long time before China poses anything like the threat to the US that the US currently poses to China.

How exactly is China a threat to the US?

by contrast the Chinese are ruthless, pragmatic and, above all, patient

Yes, the Americans only have the first one of those.

Of course, on top of that, the USA is facing an increasing threat from a Russia

Again, I recognise the extreme paranoia that exists in the US, but what is the threat from Russia?  Russia isn't even much of a threat to the rest of Europe, a region which has several times its population and about ten times its economy, and which could easily defend itself against any potential threat from Russia, if they didn't prefer to freeload off the Americans.

whose leader looks to be out for revenge for defeat in the Cold War

They tried an American puppet for a while, it didn't work very well.

I've just been watching parts of an Australian ABC report about Russian meddling in the USA

It would be interesting to see whether they have a report on US meddling in Russia, which kept Boris Yeltsin in power.  A few decades earlier, the US helped bring a puppet to power in Iran; that one bit them in the arses badly twenty six years later.  The lesson appears not to have been learned.

These days, however, I see that Sima Nan is now a loyal advocate for the Chinese government and noisy critic of everything Western or Liberal or American (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sima_Nan). I have to say it's a strange feeling to dislike a fellow atheist skeptic because he in turn dislikes the intellectual tradition which gave birth to Western liberalism and skepticism.

You probably won't like me very much either then.  I'm not an advocate for the Chinese government, and I'm not even Chinese, but there's no way I'm going to be an advocate for the American government.  The gravest threat to the US is the American people, who are militantly rejecting the western liberal tradition referenced above.  If the US becomes some ultra-****y authoritarian hellhole, my money is on it having nothing to do with Russia or China, except for their use as scapegoats.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on June 24, 2018, 05:18:22 PM
There are a couple of states that split their electoral college votes by congressional district with the remaining two being state wide. Why don't all states do this?

I know this is tangential but I am curious.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on June 25, 2018, 01:29:03 PM
There are a couple of states that split their electoral college votes by congressional district with the remaining two being state wide. Why don't all states do this?

I know this is tangential but I am curious.

In theory, keeping all your state's votes together gives your state more influence, instead of the people.  There are several states who have now passed laws saying that the winner of the popular vote will get their EC votes.  The original purpose of the Electoral College was to give smaller states more influence in the grand state of things; it benefited New Hampshire and Delaware at the expense of Pennsylvania and Virginia.  I actually used to have a defense for it, but after having two elections go against the popular vote in my voting lifetime (and I've only been voting about half my life at this point), I'm done with it.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on June 25, 2018, 05:08:09 PM
I'm with Peter B on this one: the PRC is the biggest regional threat Australia faces (but not necessarily the US). The PRC government DOES play the long game. They are a threat to the US as influence will spread throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the US will find itself shut out of ports, bases, access, etc.

PRC moves regarding various disputed islands in the South China Sea (e.g. Spratlys) are an example. They disregard international rulings and unilaterally decide to claim islands. They claim no military intent but meantime islands are being upgraded to support military operations: runways, ports, air defence systems. They are even now making moves to find reason why international freedom of navigation rules can be ignored and exclusion zones established.

This is a dangerous time. We have a corrupt clown as the US President; the PRC has a leader who is trying to establish himself as 'president for life' 9and by all accounts succeeding); the PRC heavily influences the DPRK - who itself is run by a ruling dynasty - and is quite adept at playing the bait & switch game regarding nuclear capability and intent; a Russian leader with frightening criminal connections who has also managed to become 'dictator for life' and wants to re-establish Russia as a superpower; the PRC is making massive loans to small nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region who will not be able to repay them and that come with strings attached; and the PRC itself faces a looming financial crisis with growth slowing markedly.

There are so many destabilising influences.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on July 01, 2018, 06:19:56 PM
The fact that he thinks he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize is ridiculous.

That prize was completely discredited, if it hadn't been already, when it was given to Barack Obama, who had done nothing to earn it at the time (his own words), and subsequently became quite expert at extrajudicial assassination.

Ahem.

HENRY.  FREAKING. KISSINGER.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on July 02, 2018, 10:05:48 AM
Having spent the past week with friends on a lake in Quebec with no signal, I am simultaneously happier and more depressed.  Just getting away from Twitter and Facebook and, oh yes, actual news helped a lot - letting yourself marinate in insanity is a good way to go insane yourself.  Spending a week on a lake with a cheese-addicted snapping turtle helps realign things.

But, some primary results in New York are not encouraging, and if the Democrats really are going to base their fall campaign around abolishing ICE, well...

Fortunately Obama told a bunch of Democrats at a fundraiser to basically get the eff over themselves and start doing things that will make a difference (vote, get other people registered and voting, support good candidates, etc.).  We should have stopped the damned navel-gazing on 1 Feb 2017 and started work right then on getting people elected. 

Yeah, gerrymandering and voter suppression are a thing.  Get people registered and voting anyway, as many as possible, in as many places as possible, and get them voting as early as possible.  Politics is a numbers game, and when you're playing from a negative position as Democrats are right now, you have to throw everything you have into it and then some.  Ending voter suppression means winning state houses, so don't skimp on that effort. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on July 02, 2018, 12:58:39 PM
Do you know what percentage of Americans support abolishing ICE?  It's a lot.  It turns out that they're ineffective and inefficient as well as cruel--they don't provide the services they're supposed to as well or as cost-effectively as the organizations from which they took over the job, and they only came to exist in the shadow of 9/11.  There are some places it's not going to play, but none of the friends I have who've been picketing or otherwise protesting were organized there by the party.  Many of them are deeply distrustful of the party, and one or two of them are even former Bernie delegates.  The Democrats as a party have to latch onto the handful of issues that are charging the base if they're going to win; it's what the Republicans have been doing for decades.  So women's rights, union rights, the Supreme Court, gay rights--and immigrants' rights.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nickrulercreator on July 10, 2018, 08:07:02 PM
How's everyone feeling about this SCOTUS nominee?

IMHO it could've been worse, but of course it's still awful. Dude doesn't believe a sitting president can be indicted, and we're not really sure what he'll due to R.v.W. yet. He's also a 2A enthusiast.

Luckily for R.v.W, he believes precedent holds, so maybe he won't overturn it.

Maybe.

Dems need to fight like hell to oppose this nominee.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on July 11, 2018, 12:12:23 PM
How's everyone feeling about this SCOTUS nominee?

IMHO it could've been worse, but of course it's still awful. Dude doesn't believe a sitting president can be indicted, and we're not really sure what he'll due to R.v.W. yet. He's also a 2A enthusiast.

Luckily for R.v.W, he believes precedent holds, so maybe he won't overturn it.

Maybe.

Dems need to fight like hell to oppose this nominee.

It could be worse - it could be Harriet Miers again. 

Being recommended by the Federalist Society means that he's not a total spaz as a jurist, but it also means I know that some of his positions will be deeply worrying. 

Honestly, though, Democrats need to focus on midterms and winning as many seats as possible.  Which means GOTV efforts need to be ramping up into high gear now.  Winning the majority means controlling the House and/or Senate judiciary committees.  Since we currently don't control either house, we can't pull a Mitch and just put off the vote until after the election. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on July 11, 2018, 12:17:29 PM
I've seen a lot of posts from my friends about being sure you're registered to vote in time for our primary next month.  Though my friends for the most part already were, I'm sure!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on July 11, 2018, 02:47:22 PM
I've seen a lot of posts from my friends about being sure you're registered to vote in time for our primary next month.  Though my friends for the most part already were, I'm sure!

Our primary (TX) came and went back in March, and turnout was, once again, disappointing.  Beto O'Rourke has it nailed - we're not a red state as much as we are a non-voting state.  Texas "has been on the verge of turning blue" for well over a decade, but we never do, because Texas Democrats can't be bothered to show up when it matters. 

Sure, after the election they're all over the place.  After the election they're out front whining and bitching.  But, you know, they couldn't actually be bothered to vote because their particular unicorn wasn't running.  Got forbid they vote for someone who's not perfect.  Better to just stay home. 

Although, my favorite excuse came from some Democrats who couldn't vote for Sanders in 2016 because they didn't know he was running until a week before the primary, and by then it was too late to register (which was unfair and suppressive). 

My somewhat intemperate response was how could you not know who was running for President?  How is this is a surprise for you?  What are you doing to actively avoid any news source, be it MSM or social media or the Weekly World News, so as to not know who was actually running for President?  It happens every four years like clockwork, it's all over the news...how can this be a surprise

This is what we're fighting - not just apathy, but willful ignorance.  And short of slapping these idiots with a tire iron, I'm not sure what the solution is. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on July 11, 2018, 05:26:19 PM
...Texas "has been on the verge of turning blue" for well over a decade, but we never do, because Texas Democrats can't be bothered to show up when it matters...

Pretty simple, isn't it? Decisions are made by people who show up.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nickrulercreator on July 11, 2018, 05:30:01 PM
I made a mistake. It’s pretty bad. Apparently things are looking worse for R.v.W.

I wish I was 18. I’m so mad.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on July 12, 2018, 11:42:55 AM
Both the Democrats and Republicans have food stands at Olympia's annual carnival.  I wish the fact that the Democrats usually have longer lines at theirs meant anything!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on July 12, 2018, 05:30:26 PM
Yes, I really do hope the Democrats realise what a disaster to the US he is, and actually do something about it!

More on the Australian perspective:

Quote
But Trump is unpicking America's position in Asia. And there's not much that Mattis or the remaining "adults in the room" can do about it. So far this year the President has imposed punitive tariffs on Asian allies and partners, legitimised Kim Jong-un's despotic regime without securing any denuclearisation goals, failed to consult allies before cancelling joint military exercises in north-east Asia, and started a trade war that will harm the entire region.

This assault on America's leadership role in the Indo-Pacific couldn't come at a worse time for Australia and its regional partners. As power is shifting from the US to China, Canberra's preferred mode for regional order – the maintenance of an American "security umbrella" – is no longer realistic.

Middle powers like Australia and Japan are thus struggling to advance an Indo-Pacific strategy in which like-minded nations take on greater responsibilities for helping the US maintain a "balance of power" vis-a-vis China. But while America's national security establishment is on board with this strategy, Trump's wrecking ball approach to the region is making an Indo-Pacific balance harder to achieve.

https://afr.com/news/policy/foreign-affairs/trumps-pacific-wrecking-ball-20180712-h12ktp


Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on July 18, 2018, 10:50:26 AM
OK. We now have the spectacle of the most powerful man in the world saying "Oops! In my official press conference, when I said I DIDN'T think there was a chance Russia meddled in the election, I meant to say I DID. Just a pesky typo. My bad."

Also EXTREMELY interesting that in the shot of his notes, he'd crossed out by hand the bit about bringing those responsible to justice.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on July 18, 2018, 05:18:45 PM
Is America really facing the nightmare scenario, a president beholden to a foreign power, and acting in the best interests of that foreign power?

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/maddow-time-for-americans-to-face-worst-case-scenario-on-trump-1278891587866 (http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/maddow-time-for-americans-to-face-worst-case-scenario-on-trump-1278891587866)

Could Putin really have some dirt on Trump, sufficient to to effectively make Trump his bitch!

Now, I am aware that Rachel Maddow is biased and very Liberal leaning news presenter. However, I am also aware that she was delivering EXACTLY what is in that indictment, quoted word for word. I know this because I have read the entire thing. You can read all 29 pages of the indictment here.

https://www.vox.com/2018/7/13/17568806/mueller-russia-intelligence-indictment-full-text (https://www.vox.com/2018/7/13/17568806/mueller-russia-intelligence-indictment-full-text)

or download it from here...

https://www.justice.gov/file/1080281/download (https://www.justice.gov/file/1080281/download)

There is no other word for it but staggering. In these circumstances, I doesn't matter what the presenter's bias is, the wording of the indictment doesn't change and is there for all to see. The degree of detail is astonishing.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on July 18, 2018, 06:07:03 PM
Is America really facing the nightmare scenario, a president who beholden to a foreign power, and is acting in the best interests of that foreign power?

Not just the President.  Based on their behavior, a good chunk of GOP Congressmen and Senators are on the take as well. 

Things are getting scary.  Apparently Putin has asked Trump to provide former diplomats Michael McFaul and Bill Browder for "questioning".  The right answer to that is "not NO but HELL NO and piss off for even asking the question", but apparently Trump's answer was, "we'll think about it and get back to you." 

At Helsinki, Trump, the big, strong, manly daddy figure of the big hands and large dingus to the white trash in America's heartland, rolled over like a puppy for Putin to scratch his belly.  I've been reluctant to use the "T" word before now out of fear of sounding hyperbolic.  No more.

This President and his inner circle personally benefited from a years-long psyop campaign waged by a long-time geopolitical adversary, and is now returning the favor by undoing decades of American leadership and foreign policy, at the expense of longtime allies and American citizens alike.  This President is apparently willing (or, not immediately discounting the request as ridiculous) to turn American citizens over to this same longtime adversary because they asked nicely

Honest-to-God spies (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44865626) have wormed their way in to the personal and professional lives of policy makers and lobbyists.  This is Joe McCarthy's nightmare scenario writ large, and the Republicans are up to their goddamned eyeballs in it.  The reason congressional Republicans have been reluctant to protect Mueller?  They know that if this investigation goes on long enough, they'll start appearing in the indictments themselves. 

GEORGE FREAKING WILL is telling everyone to vote Democrat in November.  Even if that Democrat is the most horrible person you can imagine.  The House and Senate must be turned over completely. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on July 19, 2018, 02:43:34 AM

There is no other word for it but staggering. In these circumstances, I doesn't matter what the presenter's bias is, the wording of the indictment doesn't change and is there for all to see. The degree of detail is astonishing.

Indeed. Mueller seems to be a worthy adversary with an eye for the detail. His investigation so far appears to be incredibly thorough.
At this stage I cannot see how there can be any confusion over Russian interference. Couple that to Trump publicly calling for them to hack the DNC and it being hacked within 24 hours, along with Guccifer2.0 being in active discussions with Trump's advisers then the case for collusion becomes stronger.

Roger Stone...You're next to be indicted.

This is worth a read. If even half of it is true then there's suspicion to believe that Trump may have been under Russian influence for decades. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-putin-russia-collusion.html
Regardless of where you stand on Putin, I think that it's fair to say that he is playing an absolute blinder. He has absolute control over his country. He can invade other countries with impunity. Through a many-years long campaign he has massively de-stabilised the Western world, driven a wedge into the EU by influencing Brexit and the far right in former USSR countries. All he's missing is a lair under a volcano and a white cat.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on July 19, 2018, 05:52:17 PM
All he's missing is a lair under a volcano and a white cat.

(https://www.dropbox.com/s/tzr52ub2xc9y6dj/Putin-Blofeld.jpg?raw=1)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on July 20, 2018, 11:29:24 AM
I personally don't think there's any question (and before Trump I would have considered myself the "don't ascribe to malice what can be accounted for by stupidity" type of non-conspiracist).

But Trump was apparently officially told about the Russian attacks two weeks before the inauguration. Since then, he has repeatedly attacked investigations into them as "witch hunts." I do not believe any person who loves their country would behave in this manner.

If I wanted to get into more speculative territory, it appears that after Trump was informed of incontrovertible evidence, including e-mails and texts from high government sources, Putin purged a number of high officials who might have been in a position to leak such things to the US. If connected, that could mean that Trump informed Putin of US assets, possibly leading to their arrest and/or execution. That, to my mind, would be undeniable treason.

Furthermore, his behaviour with regards to Helsinki seems to indicate that he has no regard for even the appearance of impropriety. His consideration of turning Browder and especially McFaul over for Russian interrogation should have been enough to have him impeached immediately in normal times.

As it is, his supporters have started to shift from "there's not evidence of collusion" to "well, if Russia affected the election, hey, they were just helping Make America Great Again, so yay Russia!"

I suspect that if one of the Trump children is indicted, things will explode. How, I'm not sure, but Trump is already showing signs of not coping with the stress.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on July 20, 2018, 01:11:36 PM
I genuinely don't believe he loves his country.  I don't believe he loves anything other than himself.  He thinks he can use his country, and if the Russians helped him with that, what's wrong with that?  They were helping him, which means they're less important than he is.  As is everyone.  He still thinks he's gotten the best of the deal, and he doesn't believe in a deal where both people win.  He certainly doesn't see how much he's lost in this one.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on July 20, 2018, 07:04:51 PM
On top of all those things, there are a great number of indicators that trump is quite simply, way out of his depth in this job. Among those are

- He was told by Attorney General Sally Yates that his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn was a security risk because he had been compromised by Russia and had been having secret talks with them. Instead of firing him immediately (or at least suspending him), Trump waited two and a half weeks (during which time Flynn still had access to top security information) before he did anything about him. For a man who had previously acted decisively with regard to executive orders and knee-jerk tweeting, he sure dropped the ball on this one, big time.

- He then fired said Attorney General, presumably because he didn't like the advice she gave him and didn't like being forced to fire his appointee. He actually has routinely fired anyone who doesn't tell him what he wants to hear.

- He makes policy on the hoof. Yesterday, he announced that his new buddy, Vlad, is going to visit The White House in the fall. The first that the US Chief of Intelligence, Dan Coats, knew about it was when he was told during a live interview at a security conference. I mean what the actual f**k!!? Coats should have been the FIRST person to know about that, not the last!

- He has called the news media "enemies of the people". This is a very bad mistake. Its the sort of thing that brutal dictators have done; Stalin, Khrushchev, Mao Zedong. Here's CNN's Chris Cuomo's take, which pretty much aligns with my own.

https://youtu.be/srV2IHAZg5I (http://)

- He has crapped all over his allies, while cuddling up to his new best buddy, a criminal & brutal dictator

Trump is a liability to the US, and IMO, a danger to everyone on the planet, both within and outwith the USA
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on July 20, 2018, 08:51:03 PM
Have a read of this list....

1. Superiority and entitlement. Tells everyone how good they are. Be the best, the most right, and the most competent; do everything their way; own everything; and control everyone.

2. Exaggerated need for attention and validation. Has to be at the centre of everything that is going one

3. Need to control. A sense of entitlement makes it seem logical to them that they should be in control....  of everything.

4. Lack of responsibility, blaming others and deflecting criticism. Never accept responsibility for the results of their action. Generalising blame; all police, all bosses, all teachers, all Democrats etc.

5. Lack of boundaries. Like 2-year-olds, believe that everything belongs to them and that no-one can refuse their demands.

6. Lack of empathy. Inability to empathise with the suffering of others. Selfish and self-involved and are usually unable to understand what other people are feeling.

7. Highly attuned to perceived threats and anger from others. Nearly blind to the feelings of the people around them. May even misperceive comments as an attack. Likely to misinterpret sarcasm as actual agreement, and misinterpret joking from others as personal criticism.

8. Emotional reasoning. Make most of their decisions based on how they feel about something. Always expecting everyone to go along with their “solutions,” and react with irritation and resentment if they don’t.

9. No shame
Feels no guilt because they think they are always right.

10. An inability to communicate effectively or work as part of a team.
Dismissive of the opinions of others who don't agree with him. If in a position to do so, will get rid of these people and draw in people who will.

Any of this look at all familiar. Well, they are good fit for Trump's behaviour.... they are also some of the key symptoms of NPD - Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

(PS: I'm sorry if these observations offends those who don't like us discussing mental health here, but I'm simply reporting what I have observed)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Jason Thompson on July 21, 2018, 12:01:08 PM
It's always all about him. Not America, not world relations, just him. Even if he has to bullshit everyone around to make himself look more important. His recent UK visit is just a great example. He claims the Queen inspected the honour guard just for him, for the first time in 70 years. So blatantly untrue it's hard to know where to begin, but lets just mention that a) she hasn't been Queen for 70 years (although she is our longest-reigning monarch ever), and b) she inspects the guard several times a year and it's often part of the deal when other heads of state visit. And let's not even go into the way he walked in front of her. Royal protocol aside (one does not walk ahead of the monarch when accompanying her, even her husband is always a few paces behind her), he's on a visit with a 92-year-old lady and he just strides in front and makes it all about him. And of course he whined about the baby balloon protest, thus reinforcing the reason it was put up in the first place.

He's elbowed other people out of the way to be in front (despite being taller than all of them so therefore easily visible wherever he stands), constantly overstated his importance, and generally just acted like a bully on the world stage. He's been criticised for failing to obtain any agreements from Kim Jong-Un during the summit meeting, but that assumes he was actually interested in doing anything but making history as the first US President to meet the head of the North Korean state.

The most frustrating part of this whole deal is that he is actually making good on a lot of his election promises. It's just a shame that a lot of what he promised to do is such a bad idea from so many perspectives.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nweber on July 22, 2018, 03:50:18 AM
Yesterday, he announced that his new buddy, Vlad, is going to visit The White House in the fall.

"Vlad" is short for "Vladislav".
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on July 22, 2018, 07:00:38 AM

He's elbowed other people out of the way to be in front (despite being taller than all of them so therefore easily visible wherever he stands),

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DiA9dzhX0AE7TYz.jpg:large)

Witness this picture. Trump, with his usual shit-eating grin, has been positioned in front of the Queen with his wife even further back. No doubt this was to make him appear physically larger.
His narcissistic ego is soooooo frail.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on July 22, 2018, 07:01:39 AM
I loved these little details, which are waaaay too subtle for Trumplethinskin to work out.
https://www.vox.com/2018/7/19/17586942/queen-elizabeth-brooch-warfare-trump-obama-code
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on July 22, 2018, 12:04:14 PM
I loved these little details, which are waaaay too subtle for Trumplethinskin to work out.
https://www.vox.com/2018/7/19/17586942/queen-elizabeth-brooch-warfare-trump-obama-code
Sometimes a broach is just a broach, to paraphrase, but, on the other hand, I would not put it past her.
She's a smart old biddy.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on July 22, 2018, 04:34:29 PM
Pretty damned hard hitting

http://www.msnbc.com/am-joy/watch/trump-biographer-tony-schwartz-trump-lies-1282979907553
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on July 31, 2018, 02:08:55 PM
Oh boo hoo.

Here's a real political problem and it involves maths.

What do you get when you take 52% of voters in an advisory referendum who voted to leave the European Union, then you take maybe about 80% of those voters who voted that way to control immigration, then you take maybe 60% of those who want to do so at any cost?

a) About a quarter of all voters.
b) The Will of the People.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on July 31, 2018, 02:59:40 PM
Things seem to be getting more <redacted> up as we go along.  . . :o
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on August 02, 2018, 12:12:11 PM
Mencken (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._L._Mencken) had our number 90 years ago:

Quote
Democracy gives [the beatification of mediocrity] a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth. The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world—that he is genuinely running things. Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters—which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy. Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy.

Quote
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on August 02, 2018, 05:23:12 PM
Mencken (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._L._Mencken) had our number 90 years ago:

Quote
Democracy gives [the beatification of mediocrity] a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth. The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world—that he is genuinely running things. Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters—which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy. Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy.

Quote
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

He had some abhorrent views in many areas, but by gosh he sure nailed it with those two statements!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on August 02, 2018, 06:04:58 PM
Mencken (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._L._Mencken) had our number 90 years ago:

Quote
Democracy gives [the beatification of mediocrity] a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth. The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world—that he is genuinely running things. Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters—which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy. Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy.

Quote
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

I've pinched that last quote to make it my temporary sig. at ISF.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LionKing on October 20, 2018, 12:36:44 PM
So Trump believes that Khashoggi was killed in a fight now while all the world stands laughing at the Saudi story  :D
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LionKing on October 21, 2018, 06:18:33 AM
And now he changes his mind after he saw the pressure from everyone
Apart from that,what a coward crime indeed.. and what a pathetic explanation from KSA. The Saudi regime should be punished, also the Syrian regime who has killed thousands like Khashoggi, but there is no one to pressure them as should
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on October 21, 2018, 07:46:37 AM
And now he changes his mind after he saw the pressure from everyone
Apart from that,what a coward crime indeed.. and what a pathetic explanation from KSA. The Saudi regime should be punished, also the Syrian regime who has killed thousands like Khashoggi, but there is no one to pressure them as should

Their not getting punished for killing hundreds of thousands in Yemen. Why should one more make a difference?
I paraphrase Stalin- A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LionKing on October 21, 2018, 07:53:08 AM
And now he changes his mind after he saw the pressure from everyone
Apart from that,what a coward crime indeed.. and what a pathetic explanation from KSA. The Saudi regime should be punished, also the Syrian regime who has killed thousands like Khashoggi, but there is no one to pressure them as should

Their not getting punished for killing hundreds of thousands in Yemen. Why should one more make a difference?
I paraphrase Stalin- A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

Well, if they get severely punished for this one it will do justice for the rest..of course considering that the premise for the punishment is that killing one is like killing millions.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on October 21, 2018, 12:08:15 PM
Trump believes what is convenient to Trump.  He'll pretend to believe what he thinks other people want him to if he thinks that'll get him what he wants from them.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on October 22, 2018, 06:31:26 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/21/us/politics/trump-transgender-health-care.html (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/21/us/politics/trump-transgender-health-care.html)
To paraphrase Pink Floyd, all in all its another kick in the balls. I would not be surprised if they start denying changes to ID for folks like me after this if this goes through.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on October 23, 2018, 02:28:51 AM
America takes another step into the Puritanical dark ages.
At this stage it appears that one of the most toxic things on Earth is the over-60 white Republican.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nweber on October 23, 2018, 09:17:43 AM
So Trump believes that Khashoggi was killed in a fight now while all the world stands laughing at the Saudi story  :D

Perhaps he accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach while shaving.

But, maybe he is still alive, he was videotaped walking out the back door, wearing different shoes, and with considerably more hair on his head than when he went it.  If you are looking at a hair transplant, and want quick results, the Saudi consulate seems like the place to go.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nweber on October 23, 2018, 09:21:57 AM
Their not getting punished for killing hundreds of thousands in Yemen. Why should one more make a difference?

Yes, but those victims are Yemenis.

Which was the greater tragedy, fewer than three thousand killed in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, or several hundred thousand killed in Iraq?  The answer is obvious, unless you take the absurd position that Iraqis are actually people.

This chap was a refugee, a resident of the US, who might have been applying for a green card, and with three children who were US citizens.  So he's got to be worth at least as much as a few million Yemenis.  Unless he did something the US doesn't like (looks like he won't have the opportunity now), in which case he might have been executed by the US instead.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on October 23, 2018, 11:00:45 AM
Yesterday, the kids and I walked ballots over to the courthouse (our state is vote-by-mail).  There are several initiatives on our ballot that are going to make the Republican leadership very unhappy if/when they pass.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Ranb on October 23, 2018, 09:53:02 PM
Talking about 1631, 1634 and 1639?

I like voting by mail.  Haven't stepped in a polling place since 1982.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on October 24, 2018, 12:41:49 AM
Talking about 1631, 1634 and 1639?

I like voting by mail.  Haven't stepped in a polling place since 1982.

Ooh, got to say I like voting at a polling place, you know.

Here in Australia most polling places are primary schools, and most schools take advantage of election day to have a fund-raising sausage sizzle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_sausage).

One interesting little tweak is that for Territory elections, party touts are banned from handing out How-To-Vote cards, while for Federal elections they're allowed. This means that you have to run the gauntlet of the touts in order to enter the polling place, and end up with half a dozen How-To-Vote cards. The funny thing at the last Federal election was that when I went to vote in the morning the touts were all stiffly polite with each other, but by the afternoon when I went to help with the sausage sizzle they were all chatting like old friends, presumably having been lubricated by rounds of coffee in the meantime.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on October 24, 2018, 11:20:26 AM
Talking about 1631, 1634 and 1639?

Oh, yes.  There are signs up all over telling us to vote no on 1639, saying it "criminalizes self-defense."  Because it includes a provision that you have to properly store your assault rifle, should you have one, and that you are liable for the commission of a crime with it.  Not at the same charge, but you are still guilty of not properly securing your weapon.  And clearly that means you can't Protect Your Family.

Apparently our cops also strongly oppose 940, which would do things like mandate deescalation and mental health training and change the standard for use of lethal force; our laws on that latter are the most police-friendly in the country and make it almost impossible to prosecute.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on October 25, 2018, 11:57:10 AM
And now he changes his mind after he saw the pressure from everyone
Apart from that,what a coward crime indeed.. and what a pathetic explanation from KSA. The Saudi regime should be punished, also the Syrian regime who has killed thousands like Khashoggi, but there is no one to pressure them as should

Their not getting punished for killing hundreds of thousands in Yemen. Why should one more make a difference?
I paraphrase Stalin- A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

That was the Saudi mistake, forgetting this psychological truth. People blip over the war in Yemen as "too big for us to contemplate." It's a statistic, as the saying goes. But one guy pulled into an embassy and cut up alive? People can put themselves into his shoes. They visualize the saw. They hear the screams. They say, "that could have been me."

If you're going to kill large groups of people, it's bad strategy to let the outside world focus on one. It turns personal.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on October 25, 2018, 02:44:23 PM
And some further acts by an administration with a severe hate-on for trans* and intersex folks. They want to erase folks like me, pretend we don't exist, pretend we don't matter.
https://thinkprogress.org/health-department-removes-gender-from-its-civil-rights-page-d60f33814b8e/
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Ranb on October 26, 2018, 12:47:26 PM
Oh, yes.  There are signs up all over telling us to vote no on 1639, saying it "criminalizes self-defense." 
Yeah, that's why it's a good thing to actually read about the initiative.  Not just reading the summary included in the voter guide which can be incomplete.  This year the initiative summaries are greatly improved.

Quote
Because it includes a provision that you have to properly store your assault rifle, should you have one, and that you are liable for the commission of a crime with it. 
I know that some gun owners were especially put off by the provision that all semi-auto rifles would be defined as assault rifles.  It was part of the slippery slope.  Later on "they" will say they only want to ban assault rifles.  That is when you find out grandpa's hunting rifle is actually a weapon of terror and not a family heirloom.  :)

I used to be able to speak with the WAGR, but they're rather xenophobic.  I was promised answers to my questions for a long time before I finally gave up.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on October 27, 2018, 11:22:58 AM
Someone local has been putting up hand-made signs claiming that it's a billionaires' ploy to make you provide a life-long medical privacy waiver, and I have no idea what that's all about.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Ranb on October 27, 2018, 05:53:21 PM
Several billionaires have donated money to support the initiative.  https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/see-whos-donating-to-washingtons-big-initiatives/281-608186618
Quote
Top Donors supporting I-139:
Paul Allen: $1,226,036
Nicolas Hanauer: $713,018
Leslie Hanauer: $713,018
Connie Ballmer: $600,000
Steven Ballmer: $500,000
The $5 billion donated by supporters is much greater than the $600K donated by the NRA and others who oppose I-1639

It will also amend RCW 9.41.094 which now reads;
Quote
Waiver of confidentiality.
A signed application to purchase a pistol shall constitute a waiver of confidentiality and written request that the health care authority, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release, to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency, information relevant to the applicant's eligibility to purchase a pistol to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.
Semiautomatic assault rifles will be included along with pistols where the waiver is concerned.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on October 28, 2018, 11:03:32 AM
So basically, your mental health history would be considered relevant in your permit request?  Meaning the NRA push poll I got on our last initiative for gun control, that it would be better to keep guns out of the hands of "dangerous mentally ill people," might actually happen?  And I say this as a mentally ill person who doesn't believe she should have a gun--because suicide is a thing.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Ranb on October 28, 2018, 12:39:05 PM
So basically, your mental health history would be considered relevant in your permit request?
Yes.

Quote
Meaning the NRA push poll I got on our last initiative for gun control, that it would be better to keep guns out of the hands of "dangerous mentally ill people," might actually happen?
It is supposed to be happening now with pistol purchases from FFL's.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on October 30, 2018, 07:29:44 AM
(http://i68.tinypic.com/3096geg.jpg)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on October 30, 2018, 11:01:47 AM
Ooof, yes.   Someone a friend was arguing with suggested that we couldn't know those were the bomber's stickers; he could've bought the car that way!  I suggested that of course everyone knows you can't take stickers off a used car, and one of my other friends made the joke that it was load-bearing racism.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on October 30, 2018, 03:28:13 PM
I don't care if the stickers come off easily, I wouldn't buy a car from someone that would put them on it in the first place.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on October 30, 2018, 11:37:27 PM
And now he's saying he can change the US Constitution with an Executive Order,  and is planning  to. If he pulls that off,  the US is effectively a dictatorship,  since it means the US Constitution  can be changed at the whims of one person.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on October 31, 2018, 08:11:17 AM
And now he's saying he can change the US Constitution with an Executive Order,  and is planning  to. If he pulls that off,  the US is effectively a dictatorship,  since it means the US Constitution  can be changed at the whims of one person.

Is this seriously an issue? I mean, in the article in which I read about Trump's thought bubble, it also mentioned that Paul Ryan had already dismissed it on the grounds that this wasn't how you lot change your Constitution.

But in reading it, and the reaction to this matter and the heap of others in the recent months and years, some thoughts began to crystalise in my thinking.

Even across the Pacific Ocean I worry about what Trump says and does as much as most of you on this forum. But I also worry that people are falling into a reflexive pattern of behaviour - Trump says something stupid, the progressive side of the Internet lights up, and Trump supporters point and laugh...wash, rinse, repeat.

There's another thread I think on this forum (golly, it may even be somewhere in this thread) where someone said that the 9/11 attacks on the USA produced a massive anaphylactic reaction from the American people. I wonder now that progressive Americans are reacting to Trump exactly the same way - he says his next stupid thing, and like clockwork comes the outraged response. Sure it's easy to Like a clever meme or even to create one yourself, but no amount of Likes counts for even one vote.

So perhaps it's time to tune out of listening to what he says and turn instead to the hard, unglamorous and slow work of building the Democratic Party from the grassroots up - getting people to volunteer, finding good candidates, encouraging people to register to vote and then actually vote - in other words, rebuild the people's direct involvement in democracy.

And when I say good candidates, I don't mean people who will as an equally predictable response crank up the outrage in Congress and do whatever they can to block the latest Republican or Trumpian agenda. Instead, I mean people who are willing to sigh and wave it through, and show to the American people that at least the Democratic Party is trying to get the Congress working again. At the moment, from what little I see of how things are going in Congress, Democratic leaders seem to think a series of minor tactical successes in blocking confirmations or legislation represents a coherent strategy, without considering how that makes them look to the American people.

The other thing to keep in mind is that tens of millions of people voted for Trump and Republican candidates. They're not traitors and they're not idiots; many have said they held their noses when they voted for Trump, many said they felt he had the better policies, and others said they thought long and hard about which candidate to vote for. But in general they're just as patriotic as you are.

Also consider there are still many millions of Americans who sit in the political centre; and unless you're rather more politically blinkered than I think most of you are, you don't actually oppose every policy move Trump makes, any more than those who voted for him support every policy move he makes, which makes most Americans centrists to at least some extent. There are also many millions of people who are currently turned off by the outrage (on both sides, sure) who could be engaged in politics if they were just given a good enough reason to vote. Why not give them every reason to vote Democratic?

But patriotism is the key thing here. People like Trump come and go, but (IMO) the USA is facing two external threats which are far more serious than him and which will continue as threats long after he's gone, and the current deep divisions in American society and insularity will only weaken any attempts to respond to them. Russia is led by a man who's never got over America's victory in the Cold War, and he's doing his best to bring the USA undone; the troll farms and their fake news are classic Russian maskirovka, and it's working a treat. And China is playing a very long game (described as a "hundred-year marathon") to displace the USA as the major power in the world, and they're pretty much committing their entire economy to the task; I recommend you read Clive Hamilton's "Silent Invasion", which, although it looks at the issue from an Australian point of view, has lessons relevant to the USA.

We Australians love to make fun of Americans, as do many people around the world. But, warts and all, I'd prefer living in the USA to just about any other country in the world (apart from Australia: we're pretty much perfect!); your democracy and the rights you have as citizens are a beacon of hope to people everywhere. Please don't get so caught up in the latest Trump dumbness that you forget that. It would be a tragedy if people around the world looked at the USA and decided they preferred the authoritarianism of China or Russia - I don't want to live in the world of David Wingrove's "Chung Kuo" novels.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on October 31, 2018, 12:12:21 PM
I honestly have yet to see a policy move Trump has made that I support.  I could be missing one, but I don't think so.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on October 31, 2018, 03:15:18 PM
Peter B,  I am not American. Like you,  I am an outsider looking at this from the outside. I also never said folks who voted for Trump were stupid. The man was and is a demagogue. He promised things folks could reasonably want while blaming those already hiring for why they don't have them. Since  been elected I have seen repeated and persistent efforts to roll back and remove human rights for minorities. I have seen him fanning the flames of hate. I have seen him lie through his teeth and have it called simply another kind of truth.And now he wants to make it so one man can change the rules for the rules. How can it be a democracy after that?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on November 01, 2018, 04:03:19 PM
The above hiring is meant to be hurting.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on November 01, 2018, 04:26:23 PM
People assume that there's some sort of iron gate that would stop Trump from doing things that up till now we've assumed can't be done. But all this stopping has to be done by people. And if all the people are in Trump's control, he could actually shoot someone in broad daylight, as he boasted, and get away with it, if no police will arrest him, and no judges will rule against him.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Ranb on November 07, 2018, 12:10:28 AM
I'm keeping the Republicans and blue-dog democrat in District 35 as well as the Democrats in Congress. 

I-1639 is passing 60/40 like I-594 did a few years ago.  This means I have to pay for a training class to buy any semi-auto rifle.  Being a range safety officer, trained military and a certified shooting coach does not count.  This initiative will probably cause a run on semi-auto rifles until July 2019.

I-1634 is passing to prohibit new local taxes on food/beverages.  Increasing those taxes was just going to be another way to make the WA tax scheme less progressive.   I'd like to see a state income tax replace some of the other taxes in WA.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on November 07, 2018, 09:40:20 AM
Oh, I've been stumping for a state income tax for years.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Ranb on November 08, 2018, 09:02:46 AM
I think WA will start taxing income someday.  Do you think it will replace other taxes or just get tacked on?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on November 08, 2018, 09:06:11 AM
I would like to hope it'll replace at least our sales tax, because sales tax is the single most regressive form of tax.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on November 08, 2018, 02:30:48 PM
And now he's saying he can change the US Constitution with an Executive Order,  and is planning  to. If he pulls that off,  the US is effectively a dictatorship,  since it means the US Constitution  can be changed at the whims of one person.

No.  He can't.  Amending the US Constitution is hard.  You need approval by two thirds of Congress (both houses) or two thirds of all state legislatures just to propose an amendment, and ratification requires 3/4 of all state legislatures.  Granted, given the political balance among the states right now, that's not outside the realm of possibility, but it's not something I'd lose sleep over. 

Trump is an idiot, he's surrounded himself with idiots, and that's the only reason he hasn't done any more harm than he has up until now.  Problem is the Senate will approve any goddamned appointment and stupid idea of his because the Republican leadership, while not composed exclusively of idiots, is stunningly corrupt, amoral, and likely compromised out the wazoo by the Russians.

At least with a Democratic House, there will be some pushback.  The problem is that Democrats are like cats, impossible to organize and get going in the same direction.  They'll start 20 different investigations, each geared more for publicity than actual oversight, and they'll all step on each other's and the Special Counsel's work.  It's gonna be a shitshow for the ages.

But, we have a divided government now, which will put the brakes on some of the worst nonsense. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on November 08, 2018, 06:45:18 PM
Seriously - the White House releases 'fake news'! They blatantly lie... and yet a considerable portion of US voters support this administration?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-09/sarah-sanders-accused-of-sharing-doctored-jim-acosta-video/10480486

They vote in a dead man?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-08/dead-pimp-dennis-hof-wins-seat-in-nevadas-state-parliament/10475946

And he's bankrupting the country, just like he has done with all his business ventures:

https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/trump-s-2-1-trillion-deal-with-the-devil-has-failed-20181108-p50eom.html

Seriously, what is going on with US voters?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on November 08, 2018, 11:15:21 PM
Seriously, what is going on with US voters?

The way I see it, there are two types of Republican voters: 1) the ones who just aren't smart enough to know better, 2) the ones who do know better, but think "winning" is more important than doing what is best for the country.

I can forgive people who voted for Trump in 2016 because they gave him the benefit of the doubt. But now they have no excuse for continuing to support him. He is obviously corrupt and I can't wait to see him removed from office. I just hope Mueller's investigation (and the evidence he has collected) can be protected long enough for that to happen.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on November 09, 2018, 09:55:17 AM
To be fair, the Democrats once voted in a dead man, back in 2000.  The person running against I believe it was Ashcroft died during the election.  However, everyone knew that they were actually voting for his widow, who would take the seat.  Also, they didn't want Ashcroft.  I don't know what the situation is here.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on November 09, 2018, 11:34:15 AM
Voting for dead people isn't common, but it isn't unheard of.  There's significant lead time between getting your name on the ballot and the election, and sometimes candidates die during that period.  Most of the time, people voting for the dead guy are just really voting against his opponent, understanding that the seat will either be filled by appointment or by a special election (depends on the office). 

Most of the time.

Sometimes, the voter may not be aware that the candidate is dead (not every voter is terribly well-informed).  Sometimes, the voter is ... well, crazy, and doesn't think that death is a barrier to serving in office. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on November 09, 2018, 01:49:10 PM
Seriously, what is going on with US voters?

The way I see it, there are two types of Republican voters: 1) the ones who just aren't smart enough to know better, 2) the ones who do know better, but think "winning" is more important than doing what is best for the country.

I can forgive people who voted for Trump in 2016 because they gave him the benefit of the doubt. But now they have no excuse for continuing to support him. He is obviously corrupt and I can't wait to see him removed from office. I just hope Mueller's investigation (and the evidence he has collected) can be protected long enough for that to happen.

Do not underestimate the strong undercurrents of fascism in the US.  It's always been there (Henry Ford thought Hitler was a swell guy), but it's been steadily growing over the decades as more and more people realize that being white, Christian, and male is no longer sufficient for being the guy in charge.  Mediocre white men have been losing positions of power and economic superiority to women and minorities, and that's Just Not Right

Then you have the crime-has-never-been-higher, brown-people-are-coming-to-murder-us-in-our-sleep bedwetters, who are the kind of people whom Ben Franklin was talking about when he said, "those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."  These are the people who are just fine with the kind of wanton brutality Joe Arpaio and David Clarke subjected their inmates to. 

Way too many Americans want a strong daddy figure to make all the scary monsters go away, and for some incomprehensible reason they have decided that's Trump.  He's a poor man's idea of a rich man, a stupid man's idea of a smart man, and a weak man's idea of a strong man. 

A divided government will slow him down, but he still has the Senate to approve his appointments and any further SCOTUS nominees (pray to whatever gods you believe in that RBG doesn't kick before 2020).  The last few months have shown us that there aren't that many built-in legal protections against a President going apeshit (yes, there's the 25th amendment, but that requires the VP and a majority of the Cabinet to sign off, and if they're all loyalists, they won't).  The only thing that stopped previous Presidents from wrecking the whole system was a sense of shame
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Halcyon Dayz, FCD on November 09, 2018, 04:18:48 PM
To be fair, the Democrats once voted in a dead man, back in 2000.
Dead Man Running was a plot in The West Wing.

He's a poor man's idea of a rich man, a stupid man's idea of a smart man, and a weak man's idea of a strong man. 
He's the anti-Bartlet.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on November 09, 2018, 04:32:19 PM
The fact that some people not just voted for this man but actually support him makes me want some type of entrance exam for voting.

"I'm sorry Sir but you are too stupid to vote".
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on November 10, 2018, 04:45:44 AM

Do not underestimate the strong undercurrents of fascism in the US.  It's always been there (Henry Ford thought Hitler was a swell guy), but it's been steadily growing over the decades as more and more people realize that being white, Christian, and male is no longer sufficient for being the guy in charge.  Mediocre white men have been losing positions of power and economic superiority to women and minorities, and that's Just Not Right

Then you have the crime-has-never-been-higher, brown-people-are-coming-to-murder-us-in-our-sleep bedwetters, who are the kind of people whom Ben Franklin was talking about when he said, "those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."  These are the people who are just fine with the kind of wanton brutality Joe Arpaio and David Clarke subjected their inmates to. 

Way too many Americans want a strong daddy figure to make all the scary monsters go away, and for some incomprehensible reason they have decided that's Trump.  He's a poor man's idea of a rich man, a stupid man's idea of a smart man, and a weak man's idea of a strong man. 

A divided government will slow him down, but he still has the Senate to approve his appointments and any further SCOTUS nominees (pray to whatever gods you believe in that RBG doesn't kick before 2020).  The last few months have shown us that there aren't that many built-in legal protections against a President going apeshit (yes, there's the 25th amendment, but that requires the VP and a majority of the Cabinet to sign off, and if they're all loyalists, they won't).  The only thing that stopped previous Presidents from wrecking the whole system was a sense of shame.

This is simultaneously the most comprehensively sensible and terrifying piece that I have read on the current state of affairs in a long time.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on November 10, 2018, 11:04:14 AM
The fact that some people not just voted for this man but actually support him makes me want some type of entrance exam for voting.

"I'm sorry Sir but you are too stupid to vote".

The problem with that is that it is all too often used as a way to prevent minorities from voting.  Now, a test for candidates, I can support!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on November 10, 2018, 05:12:10 PM
The fact that some people not just voted for this man but actually support him makes me want some type of entrance exam for voting.

"I'm sorry Sir but you are too stupid to vote".

The problem with that is that it is all too often used as a way to prevent minorities from voting.  Now, a test for candidates, I can support!

Yeah i know. Even the best of intentions will (not can) be corrupted and used to unfairly discriminate against some group or another.

It was just a small Utopia moment for me.....
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: molesworth on November 10, 2018, 06:10:12 PM
I was saddened, although not too surprised, to read that Trump decided not to go to the Armistice Remembrance at the main US War Grave site in France, because it was raining, and sent his deputies instead.  He seems totally disconnected from reality, and completely lacking in any understanding of the historical context or importance of the occasion.

He also tweeted that he was "...getting ready to celebrate the end of World War One.".  "Celebrate"?!?!  Words fail me...
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on November 13, 2018, 09:54:40 AM
I was saddened, although not too surprised, to read that Trump decided not to go to the Armistice Remembrance at the main US War Grave site in France, because it was raining, and sent his deputies instead.  He seems totally disconnected from reality, and completely lacking in any understanding of the historical context or importance of the occasion.

He also tweeted that he was "...getting ready to celebrate the end of World War One.".  "Celebrate"?!?!  Words fail me...

It's not that he's disconnected from anything - he just doesn't care.  Seriously.  Trump being disconnected from reality would be an improvement on the current state of affairs. 

Everybody needs to remember, he wasn't supposed to win.  He was supposed to lose ungraciously and continually question the legitimacy of a Clinton presidency. 

And everybody also needs to remember he's not the problem, he's merely a symptom of the problem.  The problem is that we Americans are a bunch of infantile whiny crybabies who expect things to always go our way because we say so, and when they don't we can pitch a blue-lipped fit to rival any two-year-old.  Trump is the American id made real. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on November 15, 2018, 08:02:34 AM
Not only do Americans sometimes elect dead candidates, they also elect ones already indicted for felonies:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_D._Hunter

All he had to do was to label his opponent (who had a conveniently foreign-sounding name) as a terrorist...
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on November 16, 2018, 06:03:08 AM
Wasn't Jack Swigert a case of dead man elected?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on November 16, 2018, 09:45:50 AM
He died after the election but before being sworn in. Whether or not the voters knew he was dying at the time of the election, I don't know.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on January 12, 2019, 02:13:44 PM
(http://i67.tinypic.com/66kqxu.jpg)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: jfb on January 18, 2019, 02:15:24 PM
We may be reaching an endgame here.

Between the Buzzfeed report (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/trump-russia-cohen-moscow-tower-mueller-investigation?ref=bfnsplash) that Trump personally directed Cohen to lie to Congress in his testimony about the Moscow Tower project and the news that that White House leaked travel plans (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/18/us/politics/pelosi-donald-trump-cancel-travel.html) for a Congressional delegation to Afghanistan, we're reaching a point where the House pretty much has to start impeachment proceedings.  Suborning perjury is part of what got Nixon, and leaking sensitive data (which can get people killed) as a spite move should instantly disqualify anyone from holding an office that has anything to do with security. 

I'm sure Pelosi et al. would prefer to wait until Mueller releases his report, but we've reached a point where they shouldn't need it to justify starting the process.  Granted, the Senate would never vote to remove him from office; too many Republicans are either similarly compromised (along with at least a couple of Democrats) or willing to put party unity ahead of literally everything else. But that shouldn't prevent the House from laying out the case. 

We've known he was unfit for office from day 1.  We've always suspected he was a security risk, and that case has been getting stronger with each new revelation.  The emoluments case is also bubbling in the background, so we may hit the trifecta of Treason, Bribery, and High Crimes and Misdemeanors. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on January 18, 2019, 05:03:56 PM
Not that Trump won't get impeached over this or something else.  But is one of those things that may not make the grade.  Trump says so many offhand comments that no serious person takes seriously, it is still a stretch to me that this rises to the level of suborning to perjury. We'll have to see what this really is beyond two anonymous "federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter," on a less that scrupulous new site.

However it plays into a mosaic of misconduct theory that might be enough for the Democrats to start impeachment process.  It's anyone's guess if it will be enough for the Senate to find him guilty. 

I used to think that we'd be better off let Trump run out his four years. I thought that the cult of personality surrounding him would be best left without a martyr or cause to rally around. But now I'm not sure it would be.  It would really be great if he would just do us all a favor and keel over.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on January 18, 2019, 07:58:24 PM
I used to think that we'd be better off let Trump run out his four years. I thought that the cult of personality surrounding him would be best left without a martyr or cause to rally around. But now I'm not sure it would be.  It would really be great if he would just do us all a favor and keel over.
Pence may not be quite as embarrassing in a very easily mockable way,  but his religious conservatism, in my opinion, is no doubt behind many of Trump's more outright bigoted moves. I'd rather not see him as President. VP is bad enough!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on January 19, 2019, 03:20:39 AM
Personally I think attempting to impeach Trump any time in the foreseeable future would be a bad idea, for at least three reasons:

1. He's still extremely popular with voters across large sections of the USA. The swing against Trump and the Republicans in the mid-term elections was modest, and there are still plenty who buy into his version of populism. Any attempt to remove him would mobilise supporters across the country as he goes on a Twitter bender.

2. There's no realistic prospect that two-thirds of the Senate would vote to get rid of him. Republican Senators would only need to see how much voter support Trump has to know that voting him out of office would see the end of their own careers, and the Tea Party pretty much take over the Republican Party.

3. Removing Trump would make Pence the President. On the grounds that it's better to be led by a scoundrel than a fanatic, I think a lot of Democrats might look back fondly on a Trump Presidency in comparison with Pence. Based on an article I've read in the "New Yorker" magazine, Pence is a dangerously ambitious Christian extremist who is pretty much in the pocket of the Koch brothers.

The article suggested that research funded by the Koch brothers confirmed that populist anger with the wealthy elite of the USA (of which the Koch brothers are notable examples) is a major force on both sides of American politics, but the intriguing part of the article was the suggestion that the Koch brothers were attempting to co-opt that populism for their own ends. Thus, the ironic situation that Republican populists voting for Trump are effectively supporting a shadowy political movement controlled by the very people they despise, and which is determined to act for the benefit of that elite, not the populists who voted for them.

In this regard I can see some similarities between Trump and, of all people, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela: Chavez gained power because of his ability to mobilise the masses with promises of improving their circumstances, but was maintained in power by a rich elite who had no intention of giving up their wealth to help the poor, and when the poor complained about Chavez's failure to deliver on his promises he simply blamed the middle class (and the USA). Likewise, sadly, I can see people continuing to vote for Trump even as his administration makes life tougher for them while the elite get richer, and Trump will get away with it by blaming Democrats and the Chinese.

What's the solution? I don't know. Maybe the Democrats need to embrace Bernie Sanders's style of Democrat populism.

But in the meantime, let Mueller get on with his work and concentrate on creating an optimistic alternative to Trump.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on January 19, 2019, 03:41:42 AM
I remember asking my American friends why they were voting for Trump; the general answer was:

"They are both shitty candidates but we'll recover from Trump quicker."

I can't help but look back at them and shake my head.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on January 19, 2019, 07:47:40 AM
I used to think that we'd be better off let Trump run out his four years. I thought that the cult of personality surrounding him would be best left without a martyr or cause to rally around. But now I'm not sure it would be.  It would really be great if he would just do us all a favor and keel over.
Pence may not be quite as embarrassing in a very easily mockable way,  but his religious conservatism, in my opinion, is no doubt behind many of Trump's more outright bigoted moves. I'd rather not see him as President. VP is bad enough!

I agree to some point. My main concern is that Trump is moving toward his own power mad extremism. His call for "emergency" confiscation of private property along the border is really over the top for me.  He will get a lot of resistance for that here in Texas.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on January 19, 2019, 08:05:20 AM
Based on an article I've read in the "New Yorker" magazine, Pence is a dangerously ambitious Christian extremist who is pretty much in the pocket of the Koch brothers.


When the New Yorker starts talking about the Koch Brothers, run for cover.  The magazine and the left in general use them as their version of an existential threat to some undefined "democracy." The Nancy MacLean Democracy in Chains conspiracy theory rant of a book is an example of where this all leads.

The Kochs were early and large opponents of Trump and have never cared for institutionalized big government/religion types like Pence.  They are not obviously religions. 


In this regard I can see some similarities between Trump and, of all people, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela:

No doubt. Populist demagogues all basically run on the same script of developing an existential threat out of problem and use it to maintain their own popularity. Well all politicians do this, some are more willing than others to take it to extremes and at carry campaign rhetoric into governance. Trump and Chavez are notable examples. 

I had a discussion with a long time friend of mine the other night who is a big supporter of the border wall.  The number of obvious factual errors he said were stunning. Including things like illegal immigrants don't pay taxes so their children shouldn't be in schools. Texas doesn't have an income tax, but collects sales and property taxes, which are paid by everyone that  buys anything or lives somewhere. So in fact, they support the Texas tax base just like citizens do.

Trump's border wall is just despicable.

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 19, 2019, 11:50:02 AM
I think Pence will be hamstrung by the whole thing--for one thing, he'll be battling a Democratic House the whole way.  I would also, to be honest, be quite surprised if there isn't enough evidence to get him, too.  I also think this shutdown is helping to fracture Trump's base in a way nothing else would.  The military isn't getting paid.  I'm deeply concerned about getting my Social Security check next month and was frankly shocked to get it this month.  (I don't make enough on my Patreon to cover more than about a single meal a month.)  Any economic growth that was happening is getting destroyed by the number of people affected by the shutdown.  The quote that I think sums up what's damaging his support is the guy who said it was "hurting the wrong people."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: nomuse on January 19, 2019, 01:53:27 PM
Apparently the Brits are seriously looking into rumors that some of the same skullduggery that aided the Hamberdler was also behind Brexit. Not that the Orangeman (as my Irish-leaning dad calls him) needed outside help. I'm unhappily willing to believe my countrymen are just that destructive.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on January 19, 2019, 07:47:33 PM
Based on an article I've read in the "New Yorker" magazine, Pence is a dangerously ambitious Christian extremist who is pretty much in the pocket of the Koch brothers.


When the New Yorker starts talking about the Koch Brothers, run for cover.  The magazine and the left in general use them as their version of an existential threat to some undefined "democracy." The Nancy MacLean Democracy in Chains conspiracy theory rant of a book is an example of where this all leads.

Point taken. Though the article had sources for every statement they made. And I still think my reasons for not wanting to impeach Trump still stand - for political and pragmatic reasons I think it's a bad idea, at least at the moment.

Quote
The Kochs were early and large opponents of Trump and have never cared for institutionalized big government/religion types like Pence.  They are not obviously religions. 

Again, I take your point. But isn't it practical to use the tools which are available? Compromise happens all the time in politics - in theory it lies at the heart of the American system. If Pence is ambitious and needs funds, and if the Kochs have money and need a candidate, then it makes sense that they bond over what they have in common and quietly ignore what they don't.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on January 19, 2019, 08:09:44 PM
I think Pence will be hamstrung by the whole thing--for one thing, he'll be battling a Democratic House the whole way.  I would also, to be honest, be quite surprised if there isn't enough evidence to get him, too.

In a way I think this might even be worse, depending on the order events take place. American democracy just about survived the departure of Agnew followed by Nixon, largely because Gerald Ford was widely respected. If Trump had to replace Pence I doubt his ability to make as good a selection.

Quote
I also think this shutdown is helping to fracture Trump's base in a way nothing else would.  The military isn't getting paid.  I'm deeply concerned about getting my Social Security check next month and was frankly shocked to get it this month.  (I don't make enough on my Patreon to cover more than about a single meal a month.)  Any economic growth that was happening is getting destroyed by the number of people affected by the shutdown.  The quote that I think sums up what's damaging his support is the guy who said it was "hurting the wrong people."

I hope you're right. Because Trump's ability to rouse his base with Twitter despite whatever pain they're experiencing seems pretty impressive from this side of the Pacific.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on January 19, 2019, 08:23:09 PM
And I still think my reasons for not wanting to impeach Trump still stand

Absolutely.  It has been also mine opinion until lately when Trump has made me more worried. It is a judgement with no right answer. 

Though the article had sources for every statement they made.

So did Nancy Maclean.  It is just that her sources didn't say what she said they did.  I haven't read the article in question so I can't address that in specific though.  It is just that there is so much propaganda about the Kochs from the left that it takes a lot to get me interesting in reading anything. Bashing the Kochs is a major fundraising tool for them.

if the Kochs have money and need a candidate

Need a candidate?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on January 19, 2019, 09:41:34 PM
I also think this shutdown is helping to fracture Trump's base in a way nothing else would.

It has started to in Texas, where it would have the greatest impact. Most of the Texas border is private property.  Ranchers rely on the Rio Grande for watering cattle.  There is one National Park and one National Recreation Area that make use of the Rio Grande.  Several State Parks and wildlife management areas are also on the border.  I'd certainly like to see the environmental impact report on this. Border city mayors are opposed, though they are largely Democrats.

We all have to live with this and it seems that as Trump gets more and more hell bent on this, some people, other than maybe my bigoted friend, are starting to take a closer look. I think if Trump tries his emergency power strategy, it will further fracture his coalition in Texas, I hope.   


Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Al Johnston on January 20, 2019, 11:12:50 AM
.. largely because Gerald Ford was widely respected.

As evidenced by "... played too much football with his helmet off" and "... can't walk and chew gum at the same time" :D
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 20, 2019, 12:20:25 PM
Hey, Gerald Ford had the best attendance record on the Warren Commission!

I've read that not one Representative from a district along the border supports the wall.  That includes Texas Republicans.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Jason Thompson on January 21, 2019, 07:14:53 AM
Seems that here and there a basic tenet of negotiation has been missed. 'I won't negotiate unless you give me this thing I want up front' rather undermines the point of negotiations in the first place. Here we have the opposition leader insisting he won't work on negotiating a deal until he has a guarantee that there will be a deal (yes, really!). Over there somehow things have gone from 'we will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it' to 'we won't pay our own people unless they agree to hand over the money to build that wall'.

Congratulations to all for doing more damage and potential damage to their countries than the thing the supposedly damaging thing they are trying to prevent ever would....
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on January 21, 2019, 11:28:13 AM
So, I'm spending today cancelling arrangements I'd made for an industry meeting in DC. Turns out they can't get regulators to speak due to the shutdown, and the organizing group was worried about air travel into the capital. That's a pretty sad state of affairs, when it's not safe to travel by air in the US.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 21, 2019, 11:56:30 AM
I have a friend whose husband is an air traffic controller.  He's missed two paychecks now, and they're worried about making their mortgage.  But, yes, he's expected to work every day anyway.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on January 21, 2019, 07:06:22 PM
I have a friend whose husband is an air traffic controller.  He's missed two paychecks now, and they're worried about making their mortgage.  But, yes, he's expected to work every day anyway.

Once the shutdown finishes would he get back-pay for the time he's been working without pay?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on January 21, 2019, 11:00:59 PM
I have a friend whose husband is an air traffic controller.  He's missed two paychecks now, and they're worried about making their mortgage.  But, yes, he's expected to work every day anyway.

Once the shutdown finishes would he get back-pay for the time he's been working without pay?



This has happened during past shutdowns. But is not guaranteed.

I was surprised the FAA is skipping paychecks.  It is my understanding that ATC is funded with user fees not appropriations.  It's becoming more of  a problem. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on January 21, 2019, 11:08:12 PM
Hey, Gerald Ford had the best attendance record on the Warren Commission!

I've read that not one Representative from a district along the border supports the wall.  That includes Texas Republicans.
There are four Congressional Districts along the Rio Grande in Texas. The three Democrats can naturally be expected to be in opposition.  The one Republican, whose huge and mostly rural district covers the longest stretch of the Rio Grande of all four districts, is adamantly opposed. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on January 22, 2019, 12:40:15 PM
I have a friend whose husband is an air traffic controller.  He's missed two paychecks now, and they're worried about making their mortgage.  But, yes, he's expected to work every day anyway.

Once the shutdown finishes would he get back-pay for the time he's been working without pay?

Some people probably will.  Some people probably won't.  Government employees are supposed to get their back pay.  Government contractors are not.  But if they stop going to work, they'll lose their jobs. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on January 22, 2019, 01:09:52 PM
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-22/supreme-court-lets-trump-s-transgender-military-ban-take-effect
"Imperative public importance" my fat tuckus.  I have no desire to serve in any military, but this is ridiculous on so many levels.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 09, 2019, 06:13:58 PM
Apparently the Brits are seriously looking into rumors that some of the same skullduggery that aided the Hamberdler was also behind Brexit. Not that the Orangeman (as my Irish-leaning dad calls him) needed outside help. I'm unhappily willing to believe my countrymen are just that destructive.
Is that intentionally an Irish sectarian reference?

I have a friend whose husband is an air traffic controller.  He's missed two paychecks now, and they're worried about making their mortgage.  But, yes, he's expected to work every day anyway.

Once the shutdown finishes would he get back-pay for the time he's been working without pay?



This has happened during past shutdowns. But is not guaranteed.

I was surprised the FAA is skipping paychecks.  It is my understanding that ATC is funded with user fees not appropriations.  It's becoming more of  a problem.
Good thing our air traffic control is privitised.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Ranb on February 10, 2019, 12:16:13 AM
Trump recently voiced an opinion on his lack of concern about due process regarding civil rights.
https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4716589/trump-take-guns-first-due-process-second

It's about protection orders; people can obtain a court order to have guns taken away from those who may be a threat to themselves or others.  Several states have them on the books already. 

Trump wants to rush things by taking the guns before any due process.  I'm not sure how the police would sort out the genuine threats from the mere disputes.  Since Trump was talking about curtailing the rights of gun owners, most people don't really have any opinion on the matter.

I did find out that calling Trump a gun grabber has shown me who my true "friends" are on facebook though.  :)
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on February 10, 2019, 02:13:23 PM
Good thing our air traffic control is privitised.

It seems painfully apparent to me that ATC should not be a government function.  But there is a large contingent in the USA which holds that things run better under government ownership. When it is transparency and accountability that typically make services run smoother.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 10, 2019, 03:46:19 PM
Funnily enough, transparency and accountability are higher under government control than corporate control.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on February 10, 2019, 10:37:26 PM
Funnily enough, transparency and accountability are higher under government control than corporate control.
There is certainly situation where a profit motive creates better results, but a matter of public safety like that? I don't see it. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 11, 2019, 12:30:29 PM
I mean, we just found out that Johnson & Johnson had been lying for years about the presence of asbestos in baby powder!
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on February 11, 2019, 01:02:29 PM
Funnily enough, transparency and accountability are higher under government control than corporate control.

Not necessarily so.

Quote
I mean, we just found out that Johnson & Johnson had been lying for years about the presence of asbestos in baby powder!

How much impropriety in government atomic energy research has been hidden?  Medical experiments? Drone wars?  Etc. Neither form of ownership by itself provides of a guarantee of transparency.  Private ownership has the advantage of having the regulated and the regulator not being controlled by the same entity. 
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Glom on February 12, 2019, 05:37:43 AM
Funnily enough, transparency and accountability are higher under government control than corporate control.

Not necessarily so.

Quote
I mean, we just found out that Johnson & Johnson had been lying for years about the presence of asbestos in baby powder!

How much impropriety in government atomic energy research has been hidden?  Medical experiments? Drone wars?  Etc. Neither form of ownership by itself provides of a guarantee of transparency.  Private ownership has the advantage of having the regulated and the regulator not being controlled by the same entity.
That's an important and often overlooked point.

One point from the Cullen Report into the Piper Alpha disaster was that the Department of Energy was responsible for both encouraging exploitation of the North Sea as well as regulation of safety of the industry. Clearly this was a conflict of interest that led to a lax attitude to safety.

An outcome was that these functions were split up with the HSE taking responsibility for regulating safety and a separate ministerial department, which changes its identity once a fortnight, responsible for exploitation.

The thing is that the main drivers that cause the private sector to he reckless with safety also applies to the public sector. The public sector may not have profits to worry about, but it does have budgets.

What's more the complacency of believing you'll be able to get away with it anyway can be even stronger in the public sector where there are no consequences to getting it wrong. I'm always befuddled when I hear NHS trusts have been fined for failures. What good is that going to do? Shareholders at least notice fines if they're strong enough.

But my original point was that NATS don't operate at Her Majesty's Pleasure so an impasse on supply won't affect them (well not as fundamentally anyway).
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on February 12, 2019, 10:52:08 AM
Do you know how many US companies have been hit with fines for improper behaviour that are so small they shrug them off and keep doing the wrong thing?  Because it's a lot.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on February 12, 2019, 09:24:58 PM

But my original point was that NATS don't operate at Her Majesty's Pleasure so an impasse on supply won't affect them (well not as fundamentally anyway).

ATC in the US should really be moved to a non-profit with directors appointed by industry and government with funding coming from user fees. It would make capital budgeting much easier. The financial reporting could then be published according to the same GAAP used for other businesses. And it wouldn't be subject to His Orange's pleasure.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on February 13, 2019, 05:11:20 AM
Good thing our air traffic control is privitised.

Ever listened to David Gunson's hilarious after dinner speech?

"Air Traffic Controllers work for the government, therefore we are Civil Servants. The government leases the controllers to the airfield and the oddity is that I work at West Midlands airport, which is owned by the taxpayers. I pay my rates to the West Midlands Authorities, and therefore I own the airfield... And therefore I am a self-employed Civil Servant. There aren't many of us around, but those who are have got their pensions stitched up a treat, I can assure you."
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Kiwi on March 01, 2019, 08:55:46 PM
Has anything changed for the better in the four months since the following opinion-piece was written?

Please limit your reply to fewer than 2,000 words.  ;)

Quote
Manawatu Standard,  Tuesday 30 October 2018, page 12
Reality always has last word

Leonard Pitts Jr, The Miami Herald
     "If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Just knock the hell – I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.’’ – Donald Trump, February 1, 2016
     ‘‘I’d like to punch him in the face.’’ – Donald Trump, February 22, 2016
     ‘‘You know, part of the problem... is nobody wants to hurt each other any more, right?’’ – Donald Trump, March 11, 2016
     ‘‘Any guy that can do a body slam... He’s my guy.’’ – Donald Trump, October 18, 2018, praising Republican representative Greg Gianforte, who was convicted of assaulting a reporter.
     ‘‘We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that threats or acts of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.’’ – Donald Trump, October 24, 2018

     Lord, this guy...
     He just can’t help himself, can he? Seems like every time he opens his mouth, out falls the bovine excreta, great lumps of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance.
     He was at it again last Wednesday. The mind reeled as Trump, arguably America’s most enthusiastic proponent of political violence, made a statement deploring political violence. This, as investigators sought the person who sent explosive devices to CNN as well as to Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters, Eric Holder and other prominent critics of Trump’s chaos presidency.
     No, Trump isn’t the first president to say something at sharp variance with what he said before. Obama once claimed he never said: ‘‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.’’ George W Bush once claimed his administration never advocated ‘‘stay the course’’ in Iraq.
     But this guy, Lord, this guy, with him, it’s not a sometime thing. Rather, it is every day, all the time, as if in his world, words have no fixed meaning and people, no memory.
     So that what he said with seeming sincerity on Tuesday can be demolished by what he says with seeming sincerity on Wednesday and he doesn’t care – indeed, he marvels that anyone does – because, hey, Tuesday’s gone. And Thursday’s coming.
     This ongoing insult of reality, this daily denigration of truth, is epidemic among Trump’s people. Unable to face what is, they live in a kingdom of lies, seek sanctuary down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. Indeed, Trump cultists – Lou Dobbs, James Woods, Rush Limbaugh, Candace Owens and more – suggested the bombs were part of a Democratic plot to sway the coming election.
     Meantime, this guy, this morally deformed 72-year-old brat, had a theory of his own. After bombs were sent to people he has spent years insulting – ‘‘low IQ’’, ‘‘crooked’’, ‘‘ignorant’’ – and to a network he has spent years condemning – ‘‘enemies of the people’’ – Trump tweeted that the ‘‘anger’’ in our society is a result of media’s ‘‘false and inaccurate reporting’’.
     So in other words, if reporters would just stop challenging him, stop questioning him, stop behaving as if words have meaning and people, memories, all will be well. He probably even believes that.
     But the issue here is not news media. Nor is it civility or Republicans being yelled at in restaurants. No, the issue is reality and the fact that it becomes no less real because you don’t acknowledge it.
     That’s what the Trump cult has never figured out. Reality will always have the last word.
     And you may run from it, but you can never escape.
     Not even down a rabbit hole, not even in a kingdom of lies.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on March 02, 2019, 02:22:41 AM
Well, one thing has changed for the better since then. The Democrats took the House and now they have majorities on all the relevant investigative committees.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on March 02, 2019, 02:47:58 AM
Well, one thing has changed for the better since then. The Democrats took the House and now they have majorities on all the relevant investigative committees.

That may be so, but understand the possibility that Trump has so much poisoned the well when it comes to his rusted-on supporters that they'll simply reject any findings the committees make. We only need to look at how Republicans behaved on that committee that Michael Cohen gave evidence to: apparently rather than point out inconsistencies * in his evidence they just called him a liar - barely a step above sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "La-la-la, I can't hear you!".

And this is the problem with the editorial: continue on down this path and reality may come back to bite the USA in revenge, but the price could be catastrophically high for the USA, for liberal democracy everywhere, and potentially the world.

Having said that, it's fun to point out that Trump can be called a supporter of socialism: Venezuelan Juan Guaido's party apparently holds centrist social-democratic views...

* Inconsistencies: at one point Cohen said that Trump didn't intend to win the Presidency, merely gain some free publicity in the process; at another point he said that Trump was willing to do anything to win the election.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on March 03, 2019, 03:27:16 AM
I didn't see that as an inconsistency. It was perfectly possible that Trump would do anything to win and still didn't expect to win, but would at least garner some free publicity.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on March 03, 2019, 11:18:25 AM
Frankly, given his personality, the idea of not going all-out to win even if you don't want to seems unlikely to have occurred to him.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Echnaton on March 05, 2019, 12:02:38 AM
* Inconsistencies: at one point Cohen said that Trump didn't intend to win the Presidency, merely gain some free publicity in the process; at another point he said that Trump was willing to do anything to win the election.

Trump wants attention more than anything else.  In some ways, he is like the hoax believers we get around here.  He and they are cranks the talk nonsense then complain about being mistreated.  It would be no surprise to me if he did it for a publicity stunt.  Kind of the counterpart to Robert Redford's  character in The Candidate.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: twik on March 05, 2019, 09:54:51 AM
Frankly, given his personality, the idea of not going all-out to win even if you don't want to seems unlikely to have occurred to him.

Here's my own take on Trump pre-election. It wasn't his plan to win. At the beginning he didn't expect to win. The idea of running was originally to get lots of publicity, play the victim of "deep state" forces when he lost, and set up a media empire as "the guy who *really* knows what's going on," and build that Trump Tower Moscow he'd been dreaming of.

But then, as the months went by, he realized he had a legitimate chance. Russians were giving him the wink and the nod, "Any help you need, comrade? We can make it happen, no?" He realized he could win, crush his enemies and remake America in his own image. He certainly wasn't going to throw the chance away.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Bryanpoprobson on May 07, 2019, 12:30:59 PM
Am I really reading this stupidity in US policy under Trump?

US objections to wording on climate change prevented Arctic nations signing a joint statement at a summit in Finland, delegates said.
It is the first time such a statement has been cancelled since the Arctic Council was set up in 1996.
A Finnish delegate, Timo Koivurova, said "the others felt they could not water down climate change sentences".
There is international concern that Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast as in the rest of the world.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the forum in Rovaniemi, northern Finland, with a speech welcoming the melting of Arctic sea ice, rather than expressing alarm about it.
"Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade," he said. "This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days."
"Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st-Century Suez and Panama Canals," Mr Pompeo said.
At short notice he cancelled talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday, in a surprise move.

“Opening new trade routes??” What an idiotic viewpoint.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Zakalwe on May 07, 2019, 01:53:47 PM
Who gives a damn about the future when there's a buck to be made today?


http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

The GOP really is toxic...
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: raven on August 23, 2019, 03:53:00 AM
Apparently, Trump is talking about removing birthright citizenship again. He backed off from it last time, but who knows if he will this time.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on August 23, 2019, 08:35:05 AM
I'm just wondering how many US allies he can piss off. God help the US if it faced something where it needed international support because right now, because most countries would dump the US.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on August 23, 2019, 07:39:50 PM
We can only hope that Western leaders will be mature enough to follow their strategic interests rather than react personally.

And, for me, this is problem with a lot of critics of Trump - the people who are so opposed to him that they oppose whatever he says, does or proposes, regardless of whether it's sensible or not. As they say in Australian Rules football, "Play the ball, not the man." In other words, respond to the statement or the policy, not to the fact that Trump said it, and give him credit when he says or does something good.

Hyper-partisanship isn't going to help the USA in the long term, which is why I think the best Democrat Party candidate for beating Trump is a moderate.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: ka9q on August 24, 2019, 02:08:03 AM
Or, to quote the old saying, even a stopped clock can be right twice per day (or once per day, depending on the clock).
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: gillianren on August 24, 2019, 11:19:44 AM
What do you think he's done right?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: LunarOrbit on August 24, 2019, 01:26:09 PM
What do you think he's done right?
I was wondering the same thing. The only thing Trump could claim as a success was the economy... and even if you ignore the signs that point to an impending recession, I think it is safe to say that the economy was doing well despite Trump not because of him.

Sent from my SM-G975W using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: smartcooky on August 24, 2019, 04:15:30 PM
We can only hope that Western leaders will be mature enough to follow their strategic interests rather than react personally.

And, for me, this is problem with a lot of critics of Trump - the people who are so opposed to him that they oppose whatever he says, does or proposes, regardless of whether it's sensible or not. As they say in Australian Rules football, "Play the ball, not the man." In other words, respond to the statement or the policy, not to the fact that Trump said it, and give him credit when he says or does something good.

Hyper-partisanship isn't going to help the USA in the long term, which is why I think the best Democrat Party candidate for beating Trump is a moderate.

Like what, for example?
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Obviousman on August 24, 2019, 06:08:19 PM
We can only hope that Western leaders will be mature enough to follow their strategic interests rather than react personally.

And, for me, this is problem with a lot of critics of Trump - the people who are so opposed to him that they oppose whatever he says, does or proposes, regardless of whether it's sensible or not. As they say in Australian Rules football, "Play the ball, not the man." In other words, respond to the statement or the policy, not to the fact that Trump said it, and give him credit when he says or does something good.

Hyper-partisanship isn't going to help the USA in the long term, which is why I think the best Democrat Party candidate for beating Trump is a moderate.

I know where you are coming from and normally it would make sense however we have some unique circumstances here.

In other times, you'd just ride out the rocky relationship, knowing it was only temporary. In this case though, not only does being passive reinforce President Trump's ego but it also presents a facade to his supporters (and possibly to the wider US voter community) that what he is doing is working; that his adversarial, volatile and juvenile behaviour is actually paying off.

The last thing in the world we want to do is validate his conduct, especially with voters!

Instead, the too-often parochial average voter must be made to question their President's actions, and see the harm it is doing to their country.

OH, and reference the economy: I am not sure about this but didn't the economy start to grow under the Obama administration? If I am right (and this is simply based on something I think I saw) President Trump is simply taking credit for the work done by previous administrations.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: grmcdorman on August 24, 2019, 09:41:28 PM
OH, and reference the economy: I am not sure about this but didn't the economy start to grow under the Obama administration? If I am right (and this is simply based on something I think I saw) President Trump is simply taking credit for the work done by previous administrations.
That is my understanding as well. He's also laying the groundwork for not taking the blame if/when things go sour with his attacks on the Federal Reserve.
Title: Re: The Trump Presidency
Post by: Peter B on August 24, 2019, 10:43:11 PM
What do you think he's done right?

Not many things, for sure, but some:

- Confronting China on trade, currency and intellectual property problems it's causing, and backing the Hong Kong protesters;

- Leaning on NATO partners to shoulder their burden of defence spending rather than having them sit back and rely on the USA;

- Making agreements with both parties in Congress over debt limits ('good' in the sense that it shows he's perfectly capable of making agreements with the Democrats and isn't always mindlessly criticising them);

- Confronting Russia and backing Russia's neighbours;

- Arguably, making a deal with Kim Jong-un (sure, the deal hasn't achieved much, but 'good' in the sense that it gave Kim Jong-un the publicity he wanted without giving too much away); and

- Arguably, pulling out of the Iran deal ('good' in the sense that I've heard credible commentators criticising the original deal as made).

Another thing to consider is that Trump has maintained his power-base even though it contains groups which theoretically have conflicting objectives (for example, the foreign policy hawks vs the isolationists, or the moral conservatives vs the libertarians). This isn't necessarily a good thing, but it's a thing to be aware of. People who've supported him or worked for him have later criticised him (Anthony Scaramucci, Ann Coulter and Chris Christie all come to mind) and yet it seems to have no major effect on his popularity. However, the more noise that's made about impeaching him, the more strongly his base supports him.