Author Topic: The Trump Presidency  (Read 68094 times)

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1035 on: May 18, 2020, 11:16:41 AM »
Well worth a read: https://www.ft.com/content/97dc7de6-940b-11ea-abcd-371e24b679ed

A Croatian once said (of civil war and mass graves due to genocide) "don't think that it can never happen in your country. I used to think like that".

Its also worth spending an hour listening to this interview:
Yes, i know that the interviewer, Griffin is a nutjob, but some of the stuff talked about is remarkably prescient (and chilling).
"As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures; even if I take him by force to the Soviet Union and show
him [a] concentration camp, he will refuse to believe it, until he [receives] a kick in his fan-bottom. When a military boot crashes his... then he will understand. But not before that. That’s the [tragedy] of the situation of demoralization.

So basically America is stuck with demoralization and unless... even if you start right now, here, this minute, you start educating [a] new generation of Americans, it will still take you fifteen to twenty years to turn the tide of ideological perception of reality back to normalcy and patriotism.As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures; even if I take him by force to the Soviet Union and show
him [a] concentration camp, he will refuse to believe it, until he [receives] a kick in his fan-bottom. When a military boot crashes his... then he will understand. But not before that. That’s the [tragedy] of the situation of demoralization.

So basically America is stuck with demoralization and unless... even if you start right now, here, this minute, you start educating [a] new generation of Americans, it will still take you fifteen to twenty years to turn the tide of ideological perception of reality back to normalcy and patriotism.


The more i look at Trump in the US, Johnson in the UK, Brexit and the rise of populism, the more I am convinced that Putin is a stone-cold genius at this stuff.

Apologies...I don't know why some of the original post was in strikethrough.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' " - Isaac Asimov

Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1036 on: May 19, 2020, 06:39:04 AM »
The lawful ways to remove a President are painfully few.  There's no Thundering Cockwomble provision in the Constitution

Well I think that motion should be table immediately. The Thundering Cockwomble Amendment is clearly desperately needed.

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Even Sen. McConnell tried to jump on the bandwagon of blaming the previous administration.

Indeed, but at least he had the sense to say he was obviously wrong when so many people pointed out that the previous administration left them a playbook, a team of experts and showed it to the current administration during the transition, before the current adminstatration forgot the book existed, disbanded the experts and defunded the research.

It's terrifying that someone like Trump can display their total unhinged detachment from reality so blatantly and people will still think he's doing great.
"There's this idea that everyone's opinion is equally valid. My arse! Bloke who was a professor of dentistry for forty years does NOT have a debate with some eejit who removes his teeth with string and a door!"  - Dara O'Briain

Offline gillianren

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1037 on: May 19, 2020, 10:06:04 AM »
It's because we're obviously conspiracists moving the goal posts all the time.
"This sounds like a job for Bipolar Bear . . . but I just can't seem to get out of bed!"

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Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1038 on: May 19, 2020, 01:39:33 PM »
Well I think that motion should be table immediately. The Thundering Cockwomble Amendment is clearly desperately needed.

That function was supposed to be carried out by the Electoral College.  One of the duties the Framers envisioned was to prevent obvious cockwombles -- nevertheless elected by popular vote -- from attaining the Presidency.  Alexander Hamilton said it best in Federalist no. 68.
Quote from: Alexander Hamilton
The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.
But over time, the various States undermined this function with the so-called faithless elector laws.  The States are free to determine how their electors are chosen, but more murk surrounds whether the States may direct how those electors should vote.  Requiring them to vote the directive of the plebiscite removes their ability to deflect the occasional thundering cockwomble.  The point was to make it so difficult to become President that the system would not need to allow casual means of removal that could be for political purposes.  Once sworn, the President is reasonably free from challenges to his authority.

There are calls to elect the President and Vice President directly.  That runs up against the statistical feature of the Electoral College.  Sparsely populated States have disproportionately more sway in the election.  In the modern popular mind, this violates the "One person, one vote" maxim.  And accidentally, the sparsely populated inner states tend to have more conservative politics than the heavily-populated coastal areas.  This means the Electoral College can presently be said to have a conservative bias.  The vote from it does not match the nationwide vote on the left-right spectrum.

Now throw in gerrymandering.  The Senate is elected by the States at large, usually by direct popular vote.  The House is elected by district, with each State being free to draw the districts as it sees fit, according to the apportioning of the seats to the State following the decennial census.  The only requirement in the Constitution is that the districts be equal in population, to a practical degree.  Subsequently, laws and court rulings have provided other criteria (e.g., race) along which House district boundaries may not be drawn.  But the Supreme Court has specifically declined to rule on whether political party is a disallowed criterion.

The Framers evidently felt that even if district boundaries were drawn by the political arms of the State governments, there would be enough checks and balances to prevent chaos or corruption.  They envisioned a more utopian process where different interests would be represented sufficiently in the various branches of local governments that district boundaries would be a well-considered compromise.  And they likely did not foresee a time when the evolution of information science and demographics would allow drawing boundaries with an almost certain knowledge of how it would vote until the next redistricting.  The redistricting that will occur in 2021 faces no legal obstacle in entrenching districts for whatever political party currently holds power in each State.

So the electoral features that were supposed to protect us from thundering cockwombles has now paradoxically enabled it.  Election was, of course, the first and foremost means envisioned to remove an errant President.  Yes, we have impeachment to deal with a President who acts blatantly contrary to law.  But it was supposed to prove difficult to wield, and it has so proven.  This is because the Framers were conscious of the abuses of the legislative powers of impeachment as exercised in Europe.  The relatively short term of the Presidency was supposed to limit the amount of damage a wantonly incompetent or undesirable President could do.  Because the Executive branch has grown into such a monster, U.S. government can effectively wreak a lot of havoc in four years.

Some people mention the 25th Amendment.  But this would be misapplied, unless President Trump manages to self-medicate himself into a hydroxychloroquine-induced heart attack.  The 25th Amendment cannot practically be used to sideline a President who is merely incompetent.  "Unable to discharge" is interpreted as being prevented by physical circumstances outside his control from fulfilling the office.  And since it can only be executed by the President himself or by his cabinet, it is presumed it won't be used politically.

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Indeed, but at least [Sen. McConnell] had the sense to say he was obviously wrong...

To his credit.  He was probably legitimately unaware of the transition efforts and had simply assumed the President was telling the truth.  This time he chose to stick with the facts instead of merely parroting White House rhetoric.

Of course it didn't really amount to a reversal.  Despite Sen. McConnell's unqualified retraction, the White House has simply slipped down to the next rung on the ladder.  Yes, there was a playbook and yes, the incoming White House team was briefed and trained on it.  But now, supposedly, the White House rejected that plan early on as allegedly unworkable.  The White House now claims that they supplanted it with a better plan -- Trump's plan, referring to the published one as the "Obama-Biden" plan in an attempt to taint the Democratic candidate-presumptive in the process.

But of course that rhetoric doesn't fly.  First, the Trump plan was apparently to do nothing and hope it all blew over.  That's obviously less interactive than the Obama-era plan, which outlines quite a lot of things that should be done early and assertively.  So you can't blame the results of inaction on a plan that calls for action.  Second, if there was a Trump plan, why is it necessary to blame failure on the plan you rejected?  If we're following the Trump plan, then it's clearly the Trump plan that's failing.  If we're following the Obama plan, such that failure can be blamed on him, then why do we need mention of an (unused) Trump plan at all?  Finally, the Obama plan underscored that, at the time, the national PPE stockpiles were probably insufficient to respond to a large pandemic.  The Trump administration has made a big deal about this, saying that Pres. Obama "left the cupboards bare."  This is probably true, although an exaggeration.  But the outgoing Obama administration warned the incoming Trump administration of this three years ago.  It's now Pres. Trump's problem, and he did nothing to fix it.  In fact, he went so far as to dismantle even what Pres. Obama had managed to build in the time since dealing with the Ebola virus.  Even worse, it's something he could have addressed as a win-win, saying for example that he's putting Americans to work building up the national supply of medical equipment that his predecessor had let fall short.

Whoever said this administration sounds like children fumbling for excuses when caught misbehaving is spot-on.  There is no attempt to recount the facts of history.  There is simply an attempt to insulate the President from criticism -- and to enable his criticism of others -- at all costs.  This is the Trumpian pattern since the 1980s.  It's how he has failed at business time and again and earned the reputation among New York businessmen as a con-man and fraud.  It's why no American banks will lend him money.  He simply cannot deliver, and insists -- according to silly, toe-shuffling stories -- that his failure is someone else's fault.

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It's terrifying that someone like Trump can display their total unhinged detachment from reality so blatantly and people will still think he's doing great.

Reality isn't what it used to be.  Fox News and others are ready with conspiracy theories to explain it all, with important-looking headines and talking heads to give it the illusion of legitimacy.  This is what I'm told the President had a Twitter meltdown over on U.S. Mothers Day.

That's how you get Attorney-General William Barr dismissing charges against a Trump ally, but it's okay because Gen. Flynn was just an innocent, naive guy railroaded by a Justice Department that Pres. Obama had weaponized against the GOP.  (Ironic, isn't it, that the Trump administration is doing exactly the things they accuse "Obamagate" of doing.)  And now this supposedly straightforward dropping of charges is being held up treasonously by an "Obama judge" who insists on letting legal scholars weigh in on the propriety and accuracy of A-G Barr's argument.  (Yes, there's an argument in the motion, and no, the judge doesn't have to accept it.)  Judges routinely grant a prosecutor's motion to dismiss, but the judge's higher calling is to ensure that justice is served.  Gen. Flynn is entitled to a fair process, not a favorable process.  That doesn't stop Fox News and others from blaming it all on the Deep State -- the "real" swamp that Pres. Trump vowed to drain.

Consider also the recent dismissal of an Inspector-General in the State Department.  Of course it was an Obama appointee, so that's just Trump draining out more of the Deep State that's "politically" harassing his dedicated public servants who are just trying to do their jobs.  One of the accusations the I-G was investigating was the approval of an arm's deal against the wishes of Congress.  That's mired in separation-of-powers questions.  But the other accusation was using official staff as personal assistants.  Pres. Trump's supporters are saying that's a bogus, inconsequential charge, made only to give the I-G a pretext to go after a Trump appointee.

No, it isn't.  The primary purpose of the Inspector-General system in the United States is to combat fraud, waste, and abuse.  As a Department of Defense contractor, I'm required to conspicuously post the I-G contact information and encourage workers to report any amount of fraud, waste, or abuse of taxpayer-provided resources, even if it's me committing the abuse.  Even small infractions count.  And while business executives often enjoy having their paid staff run errands and things for them, that's with essentially private money.  It's often acceptable in the business world to slush some money to keep executives happy.  You cannot do that with taxpayer money.  Anyone who is providing personal assistanceship services to a public employee has to be budgeted to do that as part of their job.  Slushing public resources for personal enjoyment is a major no-no at any level of government service, in any amount.  But of course for Trump's supporters, this is the first time they've heard of it.  So they see it through the lens of a Deep State Inspector-General using a flimsy excuse to go after a Cabinet Secretary.  It's all about the facts you leave out.

"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams