Author Topic: The Trump Presidency  (Read 121794 times)

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1905 on: January 09, 2021, 02:16:58 PM »
In the video I described earlier, the Capitol police who initially guarded the door moved aside and gave the attackers access to the barricaded doors.  The woman was shot from the inside the Speaker's Lobby by someone appearing to be a Secret Service agent.  Given that House Members were seen in the lobby only about two minutes before the shooting occurred, it isn't exactly clear that the House chamber and surrounding offices had been entirely evacuated.  There was clearly little if any coordination among the armed federal protective services.  There was evidently some confusion among Capitol Police, some of whom fought physically with the insurgents and others of whom clearly ushered them in.  Since we have evidence that this security infrastructure is capable of an effective and coordinated response, we definitely deserve answers to the questions regarding why it was so very ineffective in this case, leading to five fatalities.

Since this event was planned well in advance, in public, it would have been trivially easy for other groups such as avowed terrorists to infiltrate their own operatives into this mob and wreak systematic havoc.  None of the excuses given for why an effective response did occur has yet convinced me that this is was a well-considered response.  Operational security at the nation's Capitol simply did not exist, while Congress was actually meeting in joint session.

There are photos of several people carrying plastic temporary handcuffs, not just the one person now identified.  This is very disturbing.  Clearly some of the assailants had planned ahead with the intent of restraining people, possibly taking them hostage, possibly Members of Congress.  Gallows and makeshift nooses were displayed, although it's not clear whether these were intended as illustrations or were expected to function.  You have to look at what compels people to think a certain way where this is acceptable.

How does America recover from this?  I'm not sure it deserves to.  The differences that have led to armed rebellion in the United States over its history are still there, still going strong, and sill egged on by people who know how to weaponize such things for their own selfish ends.  You can talk about its leadership and wring your hands over political gamesmanship, but that's just a proxy for who Americans are as people.  In terms of identity, there just isn't one and never has been.  In terms of expectations, we've created and lived for too long in a society that apportions accountability in overtly preferential ways.  The problem with America is Americans.  Sure, we can suggest institutional and governmental reforms.  But if we can't agree on basic human dignity, and the notion that facts matter, none of it will come to anything.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1906 on: January 09, 2021, 02:28:58 PM »
Reportedly there were people calling for Pence, and openly discussing "executing" him.

Which, as I mentioned, will probably foreclose any possibility of a pardon from him should some sequence of events result in Mike Pence holding the office of President.  Worse, Pence's family was attending the session.  I don't care for Pence's politics.  And I question the wisdom of bringing his wife and children to an event that was expected to attract protest.  But all that aside, I imagine the visceral reaction from a husband and father to one's boss deliberately putting one's family in harm's way just for the lulz would outstrip even the staunchest political loyalty.

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The more I read and hear about this the more I get a lynch mob vibe, the most American of gatherings.

Yes.  Very much so.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline molesworth

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1907 on: January 09, 2021, 05:17:35 PM »
... But if we can't agree on basic human dignity, and the notion that facts matter, none of it will come to anything.
This event has been quite disturbing, seeing and hearing large numbers of people ready and willing to attack, and potentially kill, elected officials, staff, police, and anyone who got in their way, because they believed their votes had been overturned.  And they believed this because they'd been fed a non-stop torrent of lies by the President, by sycophantic elected officials and by various hangers on and media sources.

These "alternative facts" have been blasted out from the start of the Trump administration, and those who choose only right-wing news sources will have seen nothing else.  Biden has been criticised for talking about "the big lie", invoking Goebbels and the rise of the Nazis, but it's hard to avoid comparisons when looking at the extent of the misinformation and spin over the last four years.  And it hasn't stopped, even in the wake of Wednesday's events.

I'm still baffled by the cult-like adoration for Trump, especially from those he wouldn't cross the street to help.  I was amazed how close the election was, and that (in rough terms) 20% of the voting age population thought he should be re-elected.  A recent poll found that half of Republicans polled thought the attack on the Capitol was a good thing, and still believe that the election was rigged, and other nonsensical claims about Biden and Democrats in general.

Finding common ground going forward is going to be difficult, and it's going to be a long time before the threat of further violent protests goes away.  The fundamental question is, how do you "de-programme" something like 40 million people?
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Offline gillianren

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1908 on: January 10, 2021, 12:41:25 PM »
They really don't know that he doesn't care about any of them, and I don't know how they came to this place.  Why him?  What about that man in particular, given everything we know about his history, led to this.
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Offline raven

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1909 on: January 10, 2021, 01:55:08 PM »
He said what they wanted to hear, promising what they wanted, while blaming those they were already primed to blame. Why him? History will be asking that decades from now. A former reality star managing such destruction is almost as absurd as an amateur painter, yet here we are.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1910 on: January 10, 2021, 02:32:41 PM »
I'm sure many people still believe the story that Donald J. Trump is a self-made billionaire, a shrewd but honest businessman, and a natural dealmaker.  A lot of people outside the metropolitan centers grew up with this myth, perpetuated largely and loudly by Trump himself.  And I'm sure a lot of people still have faith in the image of a political outsider, a staunch campaigner against "corruption" in both political parties, and are happy to rewrite what's happening this week as the political establishment struggling to retain its "corrupt" power against Trump's crusade to reform it.  They still think he's draining the swamp because that's what they want to hear is happening.

People steep themselves in the media outlets of their choice.  And those outlets have been hotly vilifying the left for many, many years.  Once you create such a villain, any hero will do.  But why Trump?  Because he speaks their language.  Sen. McConnell is just as much about "owning the libs."  But he doesn't speak the language of the people.  Or behave in the manner of the people.  Donald Trump is vulgar, rude, and indecorous when talking about the political left, or its various characters.  Not to say that every American behaves this way, or that those who do, do so all the time.  But for a certain segment of the U.S. population, this is their "Friends, Romans, countrymen" moment.  The only thing Donald Trump appears even remotely capable of doing is playing the character of Donald J. Trump.  It simply takes too long for people to see through it, and most simply don't want to.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Peter B

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1911 on: January 10, 2021, 05:16:29 PM »
This article comes closer to explaining Trump than anything else I've read:

https://theweek.com/articles/951933/how-camp-explains-trump

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Like the denizens of Versailles, Trump can only encounter the natural world third or fourth-hand, in a tweet about the imminent signing of the 2018 farm bill embedded with a clip of him singing the Green Acres theme song at the Emmys...

The essential Trumpian conceit: playing a poor person's idea of what being rich is (having real linen!), a woke person's idea of racism (liking déclassé foods), a worker's idea of what a boss is (someone who fires people)...

Trump as president is always at his best in events like the annual White House Turkey Pardon, which are themselves a kind of meta-performance of the powers and function of the presidency belonging to a vanished and now impossibly corny-sounding era of good feelings between the quality liberal press and the inhabitant of the Oval Office...

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1912 on: January 10, 2021, 09:43:50 PM »
This article comes closer to explaining Trump than anything else I've read:

https://theweek.com/articles/951933/how-camp-explains-trump

Have you posted that before?  It seems familiar.  And I can't really disagree.

As the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection continues to deliver surprises, I'm amused to see how many of the participants are aghast and upset at actually being held accountable for their actions.  They live-streamed a crime spree that included the gruesome murder of a police officer!  What did they think would happen?
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Peter B

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1913 on: January 10, 2021, 10:40:23 PM »
This article comes closer to explaining Trump than anything else I've read:

https://theweek.com/articles/951933/how-camp-explains-trump

Have you posted that before?  It seems familiar.  And I can't really disagree.

Oopsie. I may have, yes.

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As the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection continues to deliver surprises, I'm amused to see how many of the participants are aghast and upset at actually being held accountable for their actions.  They live-streamed a crime spree that included the gruesome murder of a police officer!  What did they think would happen?

I'm interested at the backpedalling that's happening - oh, it wasn't that bad, there wasn't much theft (while ignoring the way they trashed the rooms they got into). Then there are the people who seem to be able to simultaneously cheer what happened and then dismiss it as being caused by Antifa provocateurs.

On the matter of provocation, I read a transcript of Trump's speech from beforehand. It's a masterpiece of talking around the subject but never overtly saying it. IANAL so I don't know what the rules are for proving incitement in a court case, but I don't think he said anything encouraging violence.

As I said to my 13YOS this morning, Trump is a master at talking around a subject and winking at the people he's talking to, so they know the real meaning.

It's like that Georgia phonecall a few days ago. Several times he came mighty close to uttering an overt threat, but each time he talked around it in such a way that the people he spoke to knew what he really meant without him having to actually say it.

Of course, having said that, the other frustrating thing is the way Trump can convince people to do things for him with no intention of rewarding them for having done it - "Let's walk up to the Capitol and convince those Republican congress people to <*wink*> do the right thing," followed by "The people who were violent should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

It's as though everyone needs to have their own personal Road-To-Damascus experience - they can only turn on Trump if they - personally - have been betrayed by him. Every time they see him throw someone else under the bus the default assumption is that the victim deserved what they got, and they basically can't be shifted from it until the same thing happens to them. For some of them the only logical explanation for Republican politicians or Republican-appointed judges not doing Trump's bidding is that they were part of the Deep State all along.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2021, 10:41:58 PM by Peter B »

Offline raven

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1914 on: January 10, 2021, 11:38:02 PM »
While it gave some interesting insights into the appeal of Trump, I think the above article underestimates, sharply, how much lasting damage he's done to American democracy.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1915 on: January 10, 2021, 11:42:26 PM »
Oopsie. I may have, yes.

And good for you.  It's a good answer to the question.

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I'm interested at the backpedalling that's happening - oh, it wasn't that bad, there wasn't much theft (while ignoring the way they trashed the rooms they got into).

In July there was a large-scale protest in our city following the decision by the attorney general not to charge police officers in the fatal shooting of a fleeing suspect.  As part of the protest, red paint was applied to the street outside the (brand new) attorney general's office building, and to some parts of the building exterior.  The protest was organized by our usual BLM organizers.  The woman who did nothing more than buy the paint at the local Home Depot was charged with a first-degree felony.  That's a 25-to-life prison sentence.  (Under pressure, the attorney general turned prosecution over to an independent prosecutor who dismissed and reduced the charges to something more appropriate.). This is the same attorney general who recently signed Utah up for the ill-conceived Texas lawsuit, without permission from the governor or legislature.

The point is the one I made before:  a big part of the problem I see in the United States is the preferential assignment of accountability according to privilege -- and that this is expected.

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IANAL so I don't know what the rules are for proving incitement in a court case, but I don't think he said anything encouraging violence.

Inciting a riot is a federal crime, regardless of how violent it gets.  As to other forms of incitement, there are legal doctrines that address talking around the subject without actually saying the thing.  IANAL either, but in speaking with lawyers I gather you don't actually have to say, "Go commit a crime."  If the speaker knows, or should have known, that acting on his words would be likely entail an illegal act, it can still be incitement.  Since these people were helpful enough to record every nuance of their activities, there's plenty of evidence to suggest they thoroughly believed they were there on the President's orders, doing what he asked them to do.  Here, as in the Georgia phone-call test, the President's best defense would be that he was too stupid to realize that the armed mob he was addressing might actually contemplate using force.

More importantly, incitement under U.S. law is governed by the so-called Brandenburg test, and has more to do with the timing of the action.  Because the President said that they were going to set out immediately and march to the Capitol, it goes worse for him according to Brandenburg.

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Of course, having said that, the other frustrating thing is the way Trump can convince people to do things for him with no intention of rewarding them for having done it - "Let's walk up to the Capitol and convince those Republican congress people to <*wink*> do the right thing," followed by "The people who were violent should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

This is why people quit doing business with him in New York and why he went packing to Florida.  But also yes, how he can keep convincing a new crop of rubes to fling themselves off cliffs for him is a mystery.

The sudden urging for unity and clemency is being interpreted by some as Republican actors running scared:  if they don't appear to support the action of these violent insurrectionists, they will become targets themselves.  This to me is just desserts.  They played with fire.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1916 on: January 11, 2021, 12:13:28 AM »
While it gave some interesting insights into the appeal of Trump, I think the above article underestimates, sharply, how much lasting damage he's done to American democracy.

Yes.  And we have to keep reminding ourselves that this not just Donald J. Trump.  Trump is the latest product, and most egregious symptom, of a social and political system that has drifted collectively off into the weeds.  The deplorable elements of American society that have been on display this week didn't spontaneously come into existence when Trump was elected.  They've always been there, since before our Civil War.  Trump and his enablers simply legitimized them and continue to use them for their own political ends.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline raven

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1917 on: January 11, 2021, 12:19:04 AM »
While it gave some interesting insights into the appeal of Trump, I think the above article underestimates, sharply, how much lasting damage he's done to American democracy.

Yes.  And we have to keep reminding ourselves that this not just Donald J. Trump.  Trump is the latest product, and most egregious symptom, of a social and political system that has drifted collectively off into the weeds.  The deplorable elements of American society that have been on display this week didn't spontaneously come into existence when Trump was elected.  They've always been there, since before our Civil War.  Trump and his enablers simply legitimized them and continue to use them for their own political ends.
Aye. As I said when he was elected, he fanned the flames, he manned the bellows to ride the updraft all the way to the Oval Office, but the fire was there before. Just like virulent antisemitism was part of European life long before the Nazis came along.

Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1918 on: January 11, 2021, 12:25:00 AM »
What did they think would happen?

They thought they would be celebrated as heroes and patriots, that there would be parades, and statues would be erected in their honor.

They never once thought that they would be arrested, or added to the no-fly list.
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Offline Obviousman

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1919 on: January 11, 2021, 12:44:31 AM »
This is why people quit doing business with him in New York and why he went packing to Florida.  But also yes, how he can keep convincing a new crop of rubes to fling themselves off cliffs for him is a mystery.

This is why I call him an American Hitler. His motives are just as - if not more - evil than Hitler, and he also has a way of gathering people. When I posted how I now understand how an intelligent and cultured people like the Germans could let Hitler reign supreme, this is what I was referring to. It came damned close to happening in the USA.