Author Topic: The Trump Presidency  (Read 87282 times)

Offline molesworth

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1260 on: September 17, 2020, 06:28:31 AM »
Not just America, sadly. Same thing happens here in the UK.

That's discouraging.  I can understand the U.S. descending into a pit of near-fascist conservatism, but I had hoped the U.K. would be more stable.
Unfortunately we have our own mini-Trump here, along with a cabinet of people who are mostly well out of their depth for whatever office they've been assigned.  Johnson may well be more eloquent and well-read than Trump, but it just makes him more adept at avoiding answers or taking responsibility.

The levels of corruption and self-interest are off the scale, and we have another 4 years before we can vote them out (if indeed we can, since we also have a similarly-minded part of the population who lap up the right wing rhetoric).  I'm seriously considering a move to somewhere saner...
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Offline gillianren

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1261 on: September 17, 2020, 10:37:55 AM »
Jaw-drop indeed.  The man simply cannot fathom the possibility that someone is smarter and more capable than he.  Previously his hubris and vast stupidity left only a string of failed businesses.  Now it leaves behind hundreds of thousands of dead Americans.

I think he literally cannot.  It's seemed to me for some time that he's a classic narcissist.  There is no one smarter or better than he is, because his brain won't let him accept that as a possibility.
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Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1262 on: September 17, 2020, 11:03:54 AM »
Jaw-drop indeed.  The man simply cannot fathom the possibility that someone is smarter and more capable than he.  Previously his hubris and vast stupidity left only a string of failed businesses.  Now it leaves behind hundreds of thousands of dead Americans.

I'm not sure if it is because Trump is stupid and incapable of believing someone knows more about this than him, or if it's because he is used to people doing things when he tells them to. He thinks he can set the timeline, as if giving them a tight deadline will motivate them to find a vaccine faster. It's probably both. He doesn't understand that finding a vaccine isn't a simple matter with a well understood process; it's not like a factory where you can (maybe) motivate the workers to assemble widgets faster by yelling at them.
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Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1263 on: September 17, 2020, 11:57:35 AM »
Johnson may well be more eloquent and well-read than Trump, but it just makes him more adept at avoiding answers or taking responsibility.

Unfortunately Johnson comes from that long line of privately educated individuals who think that a good basis in classics and Latin serves to make him an intellectual and an effective leader. He does at least have the common sense to realise that following science is a good idea during a pandemic. Unfortunately he doesn't know which science to follow and his cabinet demonstrate often they do not actually understand how science works. One minister complained recently that advice kept changing when it was supposed to be following the science, because how can the science keep changing. Scientist collectively across the nation facepalmed at that point...

One characteristic Johnson does share with Trump is the total abdication of responsibility and a propensity to lie about things that he said, saying he never said them when they are there on the record, and gaslighting the population. Witness his latest assertion that the EU Withdrawal Agreement was signed in haste and had some unsatisfactory bits in it. The current 'unsatisfactory bit' concerns Northern Ireland, which was the bit he said he had solved to get an 'oven ready' Withdrawal Agreement on the back of which he fought and won a General Election last year.

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The levels of corruption and self-interest are off the scale

I can't for the life of me figure out how we have a cabinet in which children of immigrants are championing a new immigration system they freely admit would have blocked their own parents from entering the country had it existed back then.

And this connects to what we were discussing earlier about systems designed to favour the rich over the poor. Under the new system you cannot come to live in the UK unless you have a job lined up over a certain salary threshold. That means that we have kept those foreign bastards coming in and stealing our low paid jobs like supermarket shelf stackers, bin men, cleaners, even nurses and teaching assistants, but they are quite free to come in and take the management levels above those jobs and have control over them, which somehow many people seem to believe is better.

(And relating to my point earlier about framing of questions, the government put out a questionnaire in which one question was: "do you support strengthening the immigration system in the UK, yes or no?" They will of course use a 'yes' response to support their position. As it happens I do support strengthening the immigration system. The trouble is I know that what I mean by that is not what they mean by that....)

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and we have another 4 years before we can vote them out

Indeed. After a period where we had General Elections in 2015, 2017 and 2019, an EU referendum in 2016, and a European Election in 2019 as well (you know, where we elect our representatives to that unelected bureaucratic mess that is the EU...), we now look set to have four years with no election but with one of the most corrupt and self-serving governments we have ever had in power. They are, in a very Trumpian manner, even using social media to attack the Opposition for... opposing them! Just yesterday Johnson crowed about how the Conservative government were getting things done while the Labour opposition carped from the sidelines. Um, Boris, that is literally how this parliamentary democracy that we have had for centuries is supposed to work!

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I'm seriously considering a move to somewhere saner...

Ditto.
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Online JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1264 on: September 17, 2020, 11:07:51 PM »
He thinks he can set the timeline, as if giving them a tight deadline will motivate them to find a vaccine faster. It's probably both.

You may be right.  But I think in that case, his messaging would be different.  He basically said the official was mistaken or had misunderstood the question.  Had he been imposing a timeline, I would think he'd say something to the effect that this is what he's doing.  It postures him as the leader, as the person pushing hard to get things done.  And if the vaccine doesn't materialize by then, he can say it's all someone else's fault for not being on the ball.

The dynamic you mention is indeed a thing.  And it would be right up Trump's alley.  But the messaging is part of it.
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Online JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1265 on: September 17, 2020, 11:46:35 PM »
Unfortunately Johnson comes from that long line of privately educated individuals who think that a good basis in classics and Latin serves to make him an intellectual and an effective leader.

Now that you mention it, I have heard of what I can only describe as the Eton cabal in U.K. government.  I had to look up where PM Johnson went to school.  But now that I know, I've heard of this phenomenon before.  Incidentally, it was this sort of elitism that the American system was rather meant to overcome: the "bred for leadership" estate.  Sadly it didn't actually happen until the populist surge in the 1820 and 1824 election.  Prior to that, elected individual offices were dominated by an inner circle comprising the Founding Fathers and the Framers of the Constitution, all generally considered upper-class.  Except it ultimately gave us President Andrew Jackson, who didn't exactly distinguish himself as a shining example of what to expect from a lay populist.

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One characteristic Johnson does share with Trump is the total abdication of responsibility and a propensity to lie about things that he said, saying he never said them when they are there on the record, and gaslighting the population.

Indeed.  I read the U.K. Supreme Court opinion on PM Johnson's failed attempt to persuade Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament in order to delay a key Brexit vote.  Even couched in formal legal language, it was pretty amusing to see the noble Justices dress down Mr Johnson for his transparent deception.

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Under the new system you cannot come to live in the UK unless you have a job lined up over a certain salary threshold.

This makes sense in a superficial, presumptive way.  The perception among the elite is that many people enter an affluent country in order to sponge off its social safety nets and assistance programs, without the intent to pay into the system.  This sounds like a hastily-conceived step to ensure that entrants contribute to the economy instead of draw from it.  But yes, legislating that lower-income jobs may be staffed only by true British subjects seems ill-conceived.  National origin ought not be a categorical proxy for aptitude.

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They will of course use a 'yes' response to support their position.

"Extensional pruning."  Also known as a motte-and-bailey feint.  Let's be intentionally vague and then snap back to a concrete meaning when it suits us.

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Just yesterday Johnson crowed about how the Conservative government were getting things done while the Labour opposition carped from the sidelines. Um, Boris, that is literally how this parliamentary democracy that we have had for centuries is supposed to work!

Maybe he can blame Joe Biden for failing to solve his problems.

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I'm seriously considering a move to somewhere saner...
Ditto.

So much for my plans to move the U.K. to escape the American Republicans.  Canada, anyone?  I hear Vancouver is a nice place.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1266 on: September 18, 2020, 04:35:00 AM »
Now that you mention it, I have heard of what I can only describe as the Eton cabal in U.K. government.

Indeed. The biggest irony of all came a few weeks ago when our Education Secretary said of the exam results fiasco there was a danger of an entire generation being promoted above their capabilities. That's the Secretary for Education, who was previously manager of a fireplace manufacturer, then a pottery firm. The man in charge of education in our country has no experience whatsoever working in the field of education. If that isn't being promoted above your capability I don't know what is.

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Incidentally, it was this sort of elitism that the American system was rather meant to overcome: the "bred for leadership" estate.  Sadly it didn't actually happen until the populist surge in the 1820 and 1824 election.  Prior to that, elected individual offices were dominated by an inner circle comprising the Founding Fathers and the Framers of the Constitution, all generally considered upper-class.  Except it ultimately gave us President Andrew Jackson, who didn't exactly distinguish himself as a shining example of what to expect from a lay populist.

I think I've learned more American history from this thread than anywhere else. I'll have to look up Andrew Jackson now...

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Indeed.  I read the U.K. Supreme Court opinion on PM Johnson's failed attempt to persuade Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament in order to delay a key Brexit vote.  Even couched in formal legal language, it was pretty amusing to see the noble Justices dress down Mr Johnson for his transparent deception.

The most jaw-dropping thing about that whole business was that Johnson seemed to genuinely think we would not all see through it. With the Brexit deadline coming up and a new deal needing to be scrutinised and voted on, shutting down parliament for a month or two was such an obvious ploy to avoid getting his deal properly scrutinised that nobody could possibly have seen it as anything else.

Showing even more parallels to Trump, after repeatedly criticising his Prime Minister and her efforts to get the deal sorted, when it came time for his deal to be voted on when he was PM, he made it clear that anyone in the Conservative Party who voted against him would have the whip removed, and since then has replaced key positions with a bunch of 'yes men' and made scapegoats of anyone who disagrees with his work. Most recently, and just as appallingly as Trump's withdrawal of the US from the WHO, Public Health England was disbanded for apparent failings in handling the coronavirus situation here. PHE has a much broader remit than responding to a pandemic, and ultimately they are directed by the government and the failings in PHE are all directly attributable to poor government direction and policy-making in response to the pandemic, but they have been 'thrown under the bus', as the saying goes.

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This sounds like a hastily-conceived step to ensure that entrants contribute to the economy instead of draw from it.

That's precisely what it is. The sting of it all is that the lockdown and the pandemic itself have shown that it is precisely these low-income workers we actually depend on to keep our hospitals running, our supermarkets stocked and our homes and streets free of huge mountains of rubbish. If these jobs are having a net drain on the economy then for god's sake increase their pay and let them do those jobs AND live without needing benefits. The whole idea of a living wage is that if you have it you can live without needing additional state support, but that clearly is not actually working.

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Maybe he can blame Joe Biden for failing to solve his problems.

Well, Biden is already in their sights after his comments on the recent Brexit Northern Ireland fiasco. A fiasco, incidentally, that literally everyone could see coming. How could it not when they want both seamless trade across the Ireland/Northern Ireland border AND an EU/UK customs border? Ireland was always going to be the biggest stumbling block in the whole Brexit mess.
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Offline Peter B

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1267 on: September 18, 2020, 05:29:28 AM »
So much for my plans to move the U.K. to escape the American Republicans.  Canada, anyone?  I hear Vancouver is a nice place.

There's always this sunny little island continent Down Under.

You could maybe get a job with Gilmour Space (https://www.gspacetech.com/) ?  :)

Online Britmax

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1268 on: September 18, 2020, 07:26:40 AM »
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This arrangement is what partly tied Pres. Obama's attempts to restructure the financial industry after the crash of 2008.  The collective power of the U.S. industrial oligarchy outstrips the power of its government.

My ├╝ber-conservative father-in-law texted, at the beginning of the BLM demonstrations, "Welcome to Biden's America."  People who would otherwise be smart are literally falling for the rhetoric that the state of the country under Trump -- now, today -- is what it's going to be in a Biden administration.  I frankly can't understand how people can be so uncritically susceptible to that sort of nonsense.
Yes, well. At the start of the crisis we had people here in the UK panic buying toilet rolls and clearing the shelves of dry goods. One of our beloved tabloids (I think it was the Daily Mail) printed a photo of these empty shelves, claiming that this was what life would be like under Corbyn.

Ignoring the somewhat unfair but factual point that this speculation on what life might be like under Corbyn was what life was, you know, actually like under Johnson.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2020, 08:59:30 AM by Britmax »

Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1269 on: September 18, 2020, 09:08:17 AM »
So much for my plans to move the U.K. to escape the American Republicans.  Canada, anyone?  I hear Vancouver is a nice place.

You're more than welcome to come to Canada, Jay. I haven't been to Vancouver yet, but it does look beautiful there.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
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Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1270 on: September 18, 2020, 09:10:32 AM »
There's always this sunny little island continent Down Under.

If I ever get kicked out of Canada, Australia or New Zealand would be where I'd want to go.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Online JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1271 on: September 18, 2020, 10:43:56 AM »
The man in charge of education in our country has no experience whatsoever working in the field of education. If that isn't being promoted above your capability I don't know what is.

Oooh, are we going to debate who has the worst cabinet?  Have you followed our Attorney General lately?

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I think I've learned more American history from this thread than anywhere else. I'll have to look up Andrew Jackson now...

You can start by correcting my dates:  Jackson was elected in 1828.  The 1824 election sticks out because it was notorious for the Corrupt Bargain that put John Adams' son in the White House.  Overall, Jackson is considered a reasonably  successful President.  In the interests of maintaining cordiality in this thread, we can omit discussing the Battle of New Orleans.

The point to which I specifically refer is the Indian Removal policy and the so-called Trail of Tears.  The Jackson administration was responsible for carrying out a policy of removing indigenous people from their ancestral land and forcibly resettling them westward.  It is not a proud moment in U.S. history.  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled this session that the foisted treaties by which this forced relocation occurred means that a large portion of Oklahoma, including its major city, still belong to indigenous tribes.

Jackson's cabinet was also notorious, but for completely unrelated and historically amusing reasons.

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The most jaw-dropping thing about that whole business was that Johnson seemed to genuinely think we would not all see through it.

I saw through it, for heaven's sake, and British governance is fairly opaque to me.  I've read Erskine May, and it reads to me like Ikea assembly instructions.  Someday I may unravel it all in my head, but if Johnson's ploy is obvious to me then it does beg an explanation for how he thought he was going to get away with it.

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That's precisely what it is.

The idle class suspects an influx of idle immigrants draining resources from coffers they do not generally contribute to.  Oh, the irony.  They do not realize that most immigrants seek a better life, which in the estimation of the newcomers means better employment opportunities.  And even lowly jobs in an affluent society are frequently a step up from corruption, universal unemployment, and squalor where they came from.

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The sting of it all is that the lockdown and the pandemic itself have shown that it is precisely these low-income workers we actually depend on to keep our hospitals running, our supermarkets stocked and our homes and streets free of huge mountains of rubbish. If these jobs are having a net drain on the economy then for god's sake increase their pay and let them do those jobs AND live without needing benefits. The whole idea of a living wage is that if you have it you can live without needing additional state support, but that clearly is not actually working.

At a certain point the marketing of the American capitalist paradise (and to whatever extent the U.K. shares it) simply doesn't remain convincing.  CEOs are not invariably essential and therefore should not grow rich as kings on the fat salaries they deserve.  Not everyone gets to be an astronaut, but a robust economy means that all roles have intrinsic worth.  The proletariat are not what's draining the system.

Again, Sanders is right:  the system is rigged.  Don't like your job?  Well, get a better one!  Hard to do, when the quality of jobs and the compensation is essentially controlled by executive fiat.  Get more education!  In the U.S. that means literally tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt that becomes payable the day you graduate.  The substantial pay rise you may have qualified for by higher education simply becomes interest on loans paid to the One Percent.  I got rich, and so can you!  Not when one's wealth is inherited, and maintained by gaming financial systems that few others can participate in.  We contribute the most to the economy through our wealth!  Our local newspaper examined local businesses that received state aid to maintain payroll and discovered a substantial number of the recipient companies had no employees; their sole proprietors received "payroll assistance" simply to maintain their standard of living.  Yet individual citizens received a mere one-time pittance to sustain them.

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How could it not when they want both seamless trade across the Ireland/Northern Ireland border AND an EU/UK customs border? Ireland was always going to be the biggest stumbling block in the whole Brexit mess.

Because having and eating one's cake has always been a winning strategy?
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Offline gillianren

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1272 on: September 18, 2020, 11:07:22 AM »
The man in charge of education in our country has no experience whatsoever working in the field of education. If that isn't being promoted above your capability I don't know what is.

Oooh, are we going to debate who has the worst cabinet?  Have you followed our Attorney General lately?

Or, come to that, our Secretary of Education, one of the only Cabinet officials who has stayed for the entire administration.  Also the person I despise most in the administration, which takes some doing.  She started by saying that she couldn't say that disabled children had the same right to an education, and it's actually managed to go downhill from there.

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I think I've learned more American history from this thread than anywhere else. I'll have to look up Andrew Jackson now...

You can start by correcting my dates:  Jackson was elected in 1828.  The 1824 election sticks out because it was notorious for the Corrupt Bargain that put John Adams' son in the White House.  Overall, Jackson is considered a reasonably  successful President.  In the interests of maintaining cordiality in this thread, we can omit discussing the Battle of New Orleans.

Well.  Speaking as an amateur historian, I'd say that Jackson's record is considerably checkered, and those who dub it successful do tend to ignore his total disregard for the Constitution when it displeased him.  When his Indian removal policy was ruled against by the Supreme Court, his response was to ask if the Supreme Court had an army.  He did, and his policy ruled.  Small wonder he's Fearless Leader's favourite.
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Online JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1273 on: September 18, 2020, 11:42:42 AM »
Or, come to that, our Secretary of Education...

Yeah...

[Shakes head in disgust]

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When his Indian removal policy was ruled against by the Supreme Court, his response was to ask if the Supreme Court had an army.  He did, and his policy ruled.  Small wonder he's Fearless Leader's favourite.

Spoken like an ex-general.  Except that unlike our Dear Leader, Mr Jackson managed to serve with distinction in the military.
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Offline Jeff Raven

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1274 on: September 18, 2020, 09:26:08 PM »
Or, come to that, our Secretary of Education...

Yeah...

[Shakes head in disgust]

If it were any other administration, the idea of having a Secretary of Education who had probably, quite literally, never set foot in a public school before her appointment to the cabinet would have been unfathomable.  With this one, it barely rates an eyebrow raise.