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101  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump doesn't want to visit the UK, because they don't like him very much on: June 11, 2017, 11:36:55 am
Isn't it remarkable that the more democratic the country overseas is, the more the people loathe Donald Trump?
102  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Activists protest against Islamic Sharia law in US-wide rallies on: June 11, 2017, 10:22:23 am
It's possible to rile people up about anything. It's the Orwellian Two Minute Hate. Now that Communism is no longer a threat, people of the type worried about the fluoridation of water as a Commie plot now have the Islamic plot.

Even if it is impossible to convince Muslims to abandon Islam (as if such were even desirable) we are wiser to convince Muslims who do not already accept liberal democracy that rule of law, human rights, and competitive politics are good things.   
103  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: President Pence approval ratings on: June 10, 2017, 07:14:54 pm
Tbh this all would have been worth it if Paul Ryan ends up president and somehow keeps his majorities in 2018. Whoever ends up as president definitely shouldn't pardon Trump and possibly Pence.

This. If Pence is guilty, move down to Ryan. If I can get Ryan, I will be more than fine. Romney-Ryan 2012 should've won over Obama-Biden.

The amazing thing is that Mitt Romney did so well against an incumbent President who has some charisma, had no scandals, showed effectiveness in foreign policy, and was an effective campaigner.  Ryan was a mistake as a VP nominee.

In the event that President Trump should resign, I can easily imagine Mitt Romney as VP. I find it hard to believe that after his speech excoriating Donald Trump that Trump could win the nomination. I don't know why he did not run in 2016 -- his wife's health?

To have some credibility as President he will need some Democratic votes for him in Congress. Democrats will not get a chance to nominate one of their own, but they can certainly ensure some quality control in the process of nominating a VP.

Did so well? Obama is an amazing campaigner and he was always favored, but a decent Republican candidate (not that there were any running in 2012, maybe Huntsman but he would have angered the base) should've made it a lot closer given the economic circumstances. 51%-47% isn't a close presidential race imo. Romney would be an amazing president but he's an horrible candidate and his campaign was a trainwreck. Remember all the gaffes.

The Obama strategy is to make the opponent make desperate gambles in an effort to win.
104  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: House Passes Dodd-Frank Repeal on: June 09, 2017, 04:49:00 pm
Yeah, sure, make America great again by bringing back the speculative boom that led to the 2007-2009 meltdown that lasted a year and a half. Maybe this time it will be like that of 2007-2009, only lasting three years instead.

That's the three-year meltdown that lasted from 1929 to 1932.
105  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Does he even realize how this sounds? on: June 09, 2017, 03:26:29 pm
He either does not recognize the invalidity of a contradiction or does not care that the rest of Humanity recognizes its significance in showing someone a fool or a liar. 
106  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Dems - Gigantic margins & turnout among 18-24 for Corbyn stops Conservatives ! on: June 09, 2017, 02:05:59 pm
Great turnout. As for the last bit, yes this generation is more liberal but will moderate with age.


But it could also get stronger ties to liberal and liberal-leaning institutions. The only trend that could make the Millennial generation more conservative is in culture, should there be a Boomer-like generation that challenges Millennial culture. 

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The social issues will die down and in terms of economics, I can't see the US going full on democratic-socialism or Corbyn style socialism.

But what if you are a civil servant who administers the new welfare state? Government employees are more interested in their paychecks than in keeping taxes low.
 
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I can see more liberal trends but in steps, going faster in the next few decades when more millennials run and win office but anything of the far-left won't pass or last long in the US, esp up against the budget constraints we are facing.

The Far Left, the sorts of people who shouted "Bring the victory home!" as the Commies took over Saigon and Phnom Penh, are basically gone. The Millennial Generation does not want nationalization of industry. It is not hostile to Big Business itself, especially if it works for it and gets solid pay. Soviet-style economics have lost all appeal. It is telling that most of the former-Communist states of central and Balkan Europe sold off the 'socialist' ownership of the economy to be able to afford a social-welfare state.
107  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump supporters agree neither Trump nor Comey lied they blame the media on: June 09, 2017, 01:58:14 pm
     The testimony indicated to me that they don't have enough evidence to take Trump down, which was a point I was unsure on before. I don't know if that counts as feeling better, but regardless I don't think we can draw conclusions from asking a sample of nine people.

It's obstruction of justice, a very serious violation of the separation of powers and the checks and balances. Much of the Constitution delineates the rights and non-rights of the President so that the President cannot be a dictator. The FBI, with all the resources that it has, is not and  must not become an enforcer of the whims of the President as if a secret police. 

There was a closed session involving classified data. To be sure, we must act as if nothing happened in that session because we are not privy to classified information -- but Senator Kamala Harris asked questions that suggest that damning testimony could be made in the closed session.

There is no cabal capable of taking down an embattled President. Thank God -- for such would involve a military coup, something far too risky for the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" for too many of us. We do not have the parliamentary vote of no confidence because our Founding Fathers found the British parliament of the time a bad model for the new America. (Never mind that Canada, Australia, and New Zealand became independent after the British Parliament had greatly reformed itself to be  worthy of imitation.

Impeachment? The process is messy and scary -- and it is just as well that it be messy and scary. Democrats have much cause to not press for impeachment because the line of succession is mostly yes-men and fanatics.

We may have a Constitutional crisis on our hands. If the Russian spy services succeeded in shaping the 2016 election in the direction that it wanted, then we Americans did not have a valid election. Electoral fraud is grounds for invalidating an election even if the winner was in no way culpable in the fraud.

There are circumstances in which a re-do of the 2016 election as part of the 2018 election would be appropriate. If the Presidency is shaky because of foreign interference in the election, then so is the Senate majority. Any cheats that won President Trump the presidency in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin probably also won the elections of Senators Toomey and Johnson, too. (Maybe Burr, Blunt, and who knows who else?) If Hillary Clinton were president, then those two Senate seats would be enough to allow an effective majority by the Democrats if they went instead to Democrats. All that would be missing would be the mystery of conduct of the politicians who would be up for re-election.

An electoral re-do would have no precedent in American history. But rigging of the overall election (and this goes beyond the shady act of gerrymandering) is also without precedent.

Trump cultists, cry me a river about the Big Bad Media not giving us Americans a personality cult centered around your President. We fans of Obama didn't want such a personality cult, and we did not get it.       
108  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump approval ratings thread 1.1 on: June 09, 2017, 01:33:40 pm
I still think it's too early to use approval ratings to predict 2018. A year and a half is an eternity in politics. History tells us that the party out of power makes inroads and low approval ratings cost seats, but the magnitude is still up in the air.

There are plenty of precedents for 2018, but conditions now are with little precedent. Democrats lost huge numbers of House and Senate seats in the two midterm years under Obama and Republicans lost huge numbers of House and Senate seats in 2006 under Dubya. But Republicans gained a little in 2002 in the wave of patriotism following 9/11.  

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We have examples of presidents down in the dumps coming back. In 1982, nobody thought Reagan would be re-elected, and even Obama in 2011 was looking vulnerable.

People who recognized that Obama and Reagan had similar skill sets as politicians could have gotten 1984 wrong in 1982 -- but not 2012 wrong in 2010.  Incumbents win big against weak challengers like Goldwater, McGovern, and Mondale... Romney, almost everyone must now admit, did surprisingly well against Obama. Romney was a really-strong challenger. But remember that the incumbent of 2012 was an expert campaigner, a man gifted with language to a strong degree, with an improving economy, and no hint of scandal. He had one big success in foreign policy -- whacking the worst terrorist in history with the rest of the world applauding.

I look at Mitt Romney's strengths, and I see someone who would have defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016. Maybe by a smaller margin of the electoral vote, but we would have far fewer problems with him as President.

As I see it, Donald Trump is good at only one thing as President, and that is at throwing aspersions about others and telling people "My way or the Highway!" Of course, Reagan quit talking about Carter soon after the inauguration, and Obama had bigger concerns than blaming Dubya. It's just as well.

Donald Trump has a dream Congress with a unified Party willing to vote a Party line on taxes and replacing Obamacare with "run out of money and die". So far President Trump has been one of the lower achievers as President in getting legislation passed. Heck, Dubya did better.

I see Trump as a one-term President. He made promises to people and then betrayed those to whom he made those promises. He used the executive order in efforts to shortcut Congress and evade the Constitution. He is going to spend more time shaking off allegations that he won a tainted election and of obstruction of justice. President Trump has rushed into the second term of Richard Nixon without Nixon's legitimate achievements in the first term.  

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Trump, of course, has unique issues. But there is a lot going on in this world. If something happens in Korea, it could be a big factor.

If he handles it well. But that is one gigantic qualification. But if he handles it badly, then he could have a world situation that would make the Iranian Revolution and the hostage situation in Iran look trivial by contrast. I see no reason to expect him to handle it well.

I certainly hope that Democrats don't have images of smouldering ruins of Seoul to show in campaign messages of either 2018 or 2020. That's one political asset that Democrats do not want.

A reasonably competent challenger defeats Trump in 2020. Trump has been unpopular almost from the moment of his inauguration, and he's doing nothing to make himself more popular. The base is not enough; McGovern and Mondale at least won their Party's bases.  They won almost nothing else.
109  General Politics / Economics / Re: S&L Crisis vs The Great Depression on: June 09, 2017, 11:14:45 am
The first year-and-a-half of the economic meltdown beginning in the autumn of 1929 was similar in severity to the year-and-a-half of economic decline beginning in the autumn of 2007
110  General Politics / Economics / Re: Will someone teach me the basics of economics? on: June 09, 2017, 11:10:15 am
The most basic three lessons:

1. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Everything has a cost. Nobody gives one anything except in return for something else. Even something offered for free is done for the good of the giver. (Thus if Microsoft gives you a security patch for your computer it is to keep you as a consumer).

2. The only good deal is quality-for-quality.

Trash for trash is futile. My non-working Chevrolet Vega for your non-working Yugo isn't worth the effort.   

Fleece deals leave the person fleeced with no further objects of exchange.

Quality for quality -- that's good for repeat business in the form of more exchanges.

3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to economic reality.

You can't get something for nothing; everything takes energy just to keep it as it is. Rot and decay are the norms in life.
111  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Where would President Hillary Clinton's approval rating be right now? on: June 09, 2017, 10:47:08 am
Low fifties. Still the Obama economy and foreign policy. Donald Trump is just another joke as a political loser.
112  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Where would President Hillary Clinton's approval rating be right now? on: June 09, 2017, 09:36:00 am
People would have largely forgotten the election. A Hillary Clinton win also means that Democrats have likely have a Senate majority. We would still have political gridlock, but we would not be lurching from scandal to scandal and affront to affront. Politics might be as boring as they were with Obama as President.

But know well the ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in  interesting times".
113  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Comey Senate Intelligence Committee Testimony Thread on: June 09, 2017, 09:32:29 am
This is devastating testimony. Whatever positive image the President may have had among those who like his agenda, he has left too many questions of his fitness as President.  

Yeah, their best defense is quickly becoming "Well...Trump was too stupid to realize what he was doing!"

Which is just pathetic.

What kind of "experience" or "intelligence" does one need to to not make a barely-veiled threat to a subordinate to drop a criminal investigation of a close ally out of "loyalty" rather than truth, and thereafter fire the subordinate when he doesn't comply? This is basic right and wrong that most 10th graders with a conscience would know is an abuse of power.

One of the best-known (if flawed) guides to personal behavior, the Ten Commandments, is written at a level that a child can understand, except perhaps on 'adultery', and for that one one would have to have reached puberty to find the violation a temptation. What could be unduly complex about "Thou shalt not steal"?

I am reminded of the level of intellectual achievement of the typical mobster -- and it is not very high. One needs little formal education to succeed in the Mob world, one in which life is all stealing, scheming, and protecting the organization -- and living as if in the Leisure Class, except without the cultural constraints that come with a solid education. Most of us have seen Goodfellas, right?   Great movie despite the loathsome characters. The mobsters get the best mass entertainment -- being entertained by the likes of Henny Youngmann and Bobby Vinton. Art or opera, both of which are endemic to the more educated and sophisticated Italian-Americans? That's for Moonstruck, a much more flattering view of Italian-Americans, which
has no Mob types. (Were I an Italian-American, that would be the image of my group  that I would seek to promote. to persons not Italian-American).

Goodfellas depicts mostly Sicilian and to a lesser extent Jewish and Irish mobsters, people from cultures  that have some clear virtues. Henry Hill (Sicilian mother) gets fascinated by "the Life", but family members are troubled by the poor report cards coming from school by mail. His mob buddies get to the letter carrier and convince him very forcefully to make sure that his parents never get the young Henry Hill's  parents.

Yes, Henry Hill is a sociopath (and he's gone to that great haven for them in the Underworld -- the one with demons, overpowering stench, and other affronts to normal sensibilities)... but so are all mobsters. They play on the basest drives in human nature, and when that does not work, they turn to fear. But stealing, dealing drugs, operating gambling scams, loan-sharking, and ripping off contractors or unions is far easier than starting an honest business or doing honest-to-Horatio Alger work.

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How does this differ from Trump's modus operandi since birth of covering the asses of he and his own, and demanding absolute "loyalty" (i.e. blind obedience, right or wrong) to him by everyone around him?

Born to privilege, Donald Trump manages things much like a Mob boss. One can't blame his ethnicity. There has been only one big German crime syndicate, the Nazi Party; so far as I know, the Scots have been clean of organized crime syndicates. Maybe he has schmoozed with mobsters to a great extent and learned a few tricks of the trade. "Mob boss" is one of the simplest ways of managing possible. It's "Theory X" at its purest -- appeal to human greed but control people with abject fear.  

This method of exercising power is perfectly good -- until one runs into people like the military, the FBI, the CIA, and federal prosecutors (or any other people with civil courage) who can resist that method by at the least refusing to participate in it.

  
114  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump supporters agree neither Trump nor Comey lied they blame the media on: June 09, 2017, 06:21:48 am
How much can one disapprove of the President? For me the Comey testimony and implications of even greater possible damage in closed session in which more classified data can be revealed simply loads onto my contempt for the President.

I'm thinking that even Vladimir Putin should be questioning whether this poltroon can be of any use to him.
115  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Opinion of TDB article: Are the Feds Treating the White House Like a Mob House? on: June 08, 2017, 06:29:01 pm
The FBI does not beat confessions out of people.  It doesn't need to tell some wretch "Vee haff vays to make you talk" as might a Gestapo or GPU interrogator.

If there is no conspiracy, then the names mean little. The FBI can tickle the wire on anyone, but if one is innocent one does nothing to self-incriminate. So suppose that a small clique of people are involved in a pump-and-dump scheme. Some people look for a lightly-traded stock and make some purchases that drive the value up. Someone else with a little talent for creative writing tout the stock and induce people to buy it. There might be a crooked stockbroker who goes along with the scheme. Then those who have bought it sell it to the suckers and make the profit to be shared among those on the inside. The last people holding the stock see its value plummet.

Such a crude fraud involves people with different talents -- researching, dealing, and touting. Few people have the talent to do all three.  So if the profiteers cheat the researchers or the touters... the FBI might play upon the hurt feelings.

Maybe there isn't quite enough of a paper trail -- but someone might be living a bit well for his talents.  Conspiracies are vulnerable to resentments and fear of someone willing to cut a deal to spare himself a long term in a federal pen. Someone might have no idea that his actions are either mail fraud or wire fraud -- but even collecting the proceeds by mail or a personal check (because 'Fells Wargo' and 'Shace' might wire-transfer a check involving proceeds  between each other) might put one at risk of federal time for violation of a wire or mail fraud statute. Many swindlers do time on mail fraud or wire fraud. Twenty years in the federal pen while your erstwhile buddies get to sip mai-tais in Honolulu? That can ruin a nice friendship. 
116  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Comey Senate Intelligence Committee Testimony Thread on: June 08, 2017, 05:58:02 pm
EnglishPete, you're not even American lmao.
The movement is bigger than Trump. We'll just come back with someone else in 2020 if Pence goes globalist. EnglishPete is missing that point.

(((globalist)))
You can smear us all you want, but what fueled Trump isn't going to go away and the more you piss on them, the angrier they'll get.

The forest fire has burned itself out.  What was tinder that remains is now charred wood that has little potential for further burning. The remaining moonscape of American politics will be open for new plants to germinate.  

Many politicians are going down for this -- those who rode the Republican waves of 2010 and  2014.

117  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Poll: Who is more trustworthy ? Comey (memos) or Trump ? on: June 08, 2017, 05:06:24 pm
James Comey. Like him or not, he at least recognizes the necessity of and the means of ensuring the preservation of the rule of law.  I question whether President Trump really understands what the Presidency really means.

No, that is not the Presidency in the sense that someone like Nicolae Ceausescu understood what "Presidency" meant in Romania.
118  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump approval ratings thread 1.1 on: June 08, 2017, 04:37:15 pm
Any predictions at how low Trump's approval will fall post-Comey testimony?

5% at most. His approval ratings are at the level at which he couldn't lose much support. At this point, it's a matter of reducing what little support he has. The people who love his agenda might not be concerned about obstruction of justice, possible coordination between the GOP or the Trump campaign with Russian intelligence services, or other challenges to his competence. Really it is best that approval levels do not fall to the level at which the Armed Forces intervene.

The real issue is whether the disapproval goes to the level of insisting that the President resign. We have seen no polls on resignation yet. For many conservatives the issue might not be illegality of his conduct but instead his ineffectiveness as President.

For those who are already in the "strong disapproval" category  as I have been in since he called for the Muslim ban (do not mess with freedom of religion!), how much more cause do they have to strongly disapprove of him?  In a perfect universe, the 2016  election would have  given us  a Democratic President and a majority-Democratic Senate.



119  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: President Pence approval ratings on: June 08, 2017, 02:40:25 pm
Tbh this all would have been worth it if Paul Ryan ends up president and somehow keeps his majorities in 2018. Whoever ends up as president definitely shouldn't pardon Trump and possibly Pence.

This. If Pence is guilty, move down to Ryan. If I can get Ryan, I will be more than fine. Romney-Ryan 2012 should've won over Obama-Biden.

The amazing thing is that Mitt Romney did so well against an incumbent President who has some charisma, had no scandals, showed effectiveness in foreign policy, and was an effective campaigner.  Ryan was a mistake as a VP nominee.

In the event that President Trump should resign, I can easily imagine Mitt Romney as VP. I find it hard to believe that after his speech excoriating Donald Trump that Trump could win the nomination. I don't know why he did not run in 2016 -- his wife's health?

To have some credibility as President he will need some Democratic votes for him in Congress. Democrats will not get a chance to nominate one of their own, but they can certainly ensure some quality control in the process of nominating a VP.
120  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Care to answer Marco Rubio on this very pointed question? on: June 08, 2017, 02:31:44 pm
...Marco Rubio is an empty suit, as is shown by him becoming a toady of the man who called him "Little Marco".

Plenty of things have yet to be leaked. There is classified information. I am not ready to speculate on how devastating the classified material might be, but Senator Harris has asked some questions that former FBI Director Comey had to brush off as having answers that must be given only in a closed session.

I expect Jim Comey to sing like a canary about collusion between the Trump campaign and you-know-which foreign power.   
121  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: President Pence approval ratings on: June 08, 2017, 02:25:30 pm
This might not be a joke for long. I would not be surprised if someone in a military uniform with three or four stars attached tells the president some very bad news for his precious self-esteem.
122  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Comey Senate Intelligence Committee Testimony Thread on: June 08, 2017, 02:21:46 pm
This is devastating testimony. Whatever positive image the President may have had among those who like his agenda, he has left too many questions of his fitness as President.  
123  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump approval ratings thread 1.1 on: June 08, 2017, 11:43:02 am
I don't usually make predictions of the likely direction of a poll unless it involves an event likely to change basic reality or perceptions of such. On the positive side, think of the whacking of Osama bin Laden.

If the Comey testimony does not shred any remaining opinion that Americans have of the Trump Administration, nothing can. It may be ironic that Barack Obama proved a firm enforcer of American military and diplomatic interests overseas and that Donald Trump has already proved a disaster on issues of national security. 
124  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: SurveyUSA: 1% in Portland consider Jeremy Joseph Christian a patriot on: June 08, 2017, 11:34:54 am
You can get 1% support for anything.

Probably even the Soviet invasion of Finland, both for moral justification and for overall competence.   

Confidence? That was one of the greatest military blunders of all time from the Soviets end

Irony was intended.

Dictatorships are often offered as models of efficiency and competence... they are efficient in disposing of enemies and rivals, much like syndicates of organized crime. But that said, weren't Hitler's Nazi Party, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union under Stalin, and Ba'athist Parties in Iraq and Syria basically crime syndicates?
125  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: ABC: Comey will stop short of saying Trump obstructed justice on: June 08, 2017, 10:19:00 am
This article seems to miss the point:

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In the memo, according to sources close to Comey who reviewed it, Trump said: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," during a February meeting.

The request made Comey uncomfortable, but the source tells ABC News that Comey has told associates he will not accuse the President of obstructing justice.

Why does it matter if Comey himself thinks that rises to the level of obstructing justice?  Comey's not in a position of authority anymore.  If Comey testifies that Trump did in fact say that to him, then it's up to the legal system (or Congress, if they want to impeach Trump) to decide if they believe him or not, and if they do, if they consider that to be "obstructing justice" or not.  It's not up to Comey.


The quote is not obstruction of justice. It's inappropriate, but not obstruction. A hope is not an order.

Coming from one's boss in this context, it's hard to construe it as anything but. It's not like he followed up with saying "Consider X, Y, and Z indicating Flynn did nothing wrong". This is very difficult to interpret as anything other than a heavy-handed lean on Comey by Trump to stop the investigation into his administration's/campaigns behind the scenes dealing with the Russian government.

After Trump thereafter fired Comey for refusing to back down, it's damn near impossible for anyone other than cultists to interpret this otherwise.


I understand what you are saying, in connecting the dots, and the more dots there are, the more serious it gets. Asking the intelligence officer to "intervene" to me is a very big dot. In the end though, it will come down to whether Trump did something terribly wrong which is revealed by the investigation. Then we have obstruction of justice. If there isn't that much there but inappropriate conduct that really isn't illegal, then while we have a horrible POTUS, I don't see it ending in his removal. This story is moving rather rapidly. I may change my mind tomorrow.

Bona fide convicted criminal activity is not a prerequisite for impeachment. Full-scale abusive office can suffice, and this at bare minimum qualifies.

Comey seems to have exposed abuse of power in the effort to make the FBI director loyal to the Person as President at the expense of the Constitution. Attempting to take powers denied the President implies that the president is acting as a dictator.
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