The Trump Presidency

Discussion in 'Politics' started by joepistole, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    All over social media:

    Trump has been advised not to agree to be interviewed by Mueller because he has a tendency to lie and may perjure himself...
    Typical Social media comment:
    His lawyers are concerned that Trump, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators.​

    Next thing they will be claiming that Trump is not mentally competent enough to be interviewed yet still allowed to be POTUS...

    Subpoena the most likely course...
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  3. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Boy, that's gotta be a dilemma.

    Agree to be interviewed, or don't agree and get subpoenaed, in front of a grand jury! Plead the 5th or "executive privilege", and you look like you've got something to hide.
    An interview, with or without your counsel present, will be long enough (an hour?) that, if you're easily bored, is going to be trying (pun intended). They won't let you watch your favourite news channel either!
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    There is a bit in comedy, usually television or cinema, though it's not impossible to do in theatre, that has to do with the absurdist playing straight man and everyone else reacting accordingly. Think of that once famous saying about God that no religious person anywhere has ever uttered, that God knows what is in a person's heart. There's an ongoing theme, here. To wit, I know a man, a Christian, who will contrive circumstances to achieve deception without lying. To wit, there was one time he wanted me to call him back, and the reason was that he wanted to wake someone, and he didn't want to be lying when he walked in and woke her up because I had "called". So I said to him, "You do realize I was calling you back, right?" I mean, sure, there's a lot that goes into the moment, but the guy tried conspiring with me to deceive because he is a Christian and Christians are not supposed to lie. And all I can think is that for all the pretense he's putting on, God must be pretty stupid. The idea that God knows what is in his heart and can see the deception does not occur to him.

    There is a political example I use, as well. A Dubya-era appointee to some UN-related advocacy board, Pam Stenzel, whose day job was manufacturing abstinence advocacy scare videos trying to convince teenagers to not have sex. In 2003, I believe it was, she got up in front of a church in Florida and proudly declared that it doesn't matter whether her abstinence program works because the point is to cozy up to God.

    That is to say, the abstinence advocate explained to a friendly room that it "doesn't matter" if her program works, "'Cause guess what? My job is not to keep teenagers from having sex!" Her explanation is simple: "At the end of the day, I'm not answering to you. I'm answering to God. So the problem, in her view, is not that her child might become pregnant, or contract a disease; she literally says unplanned pregnancy, life-threatening disease, or hysterectomy are "not the enemy" because the real enemy is to be seen, by God, failing to satisfy God: "My child believing that they can shake their fist in the face of a holy God and sin without consequence, and my child spending eternity separated from God, is the enemy!" (see #1586886↗ for detail)

    Behaviorally, this is exactly what it looks like, and we might note to major influences: Being derived from Christianity, such behavior can inspire sympathetic support according to identity politic. The other influence is a bit more subtle, and the thing is that there is only so much other people should have to guard against anyone. Consider, though, that this basic disconnection, Stenzel's plot to deceive God compared to what the faithful say about God, is inherently dysfunctional; it is contradictory unto itself. Now consider how often discourse ever actually considers such circumstances.

    Here is another version: It was 2000, if not earlier, when a Christian preacher wrote and posted an article arguing a Biblical purview regarding marital traditionalism including the basic, defiant hypocrisy many churches showed in consecrating unions 'twixt divorced persons. The article was eventually pulled, in 2012, and presently can only be found in archive; there isn't much of the original domain left.

    At any rate, it took the rest of us until Kim Davis to get around to the question.

    The discourse doesn't consider such circumtances when the discourse is not capable of doing so. It's one thing to expect the marketplace to adjust, and recognize the swindle, but people just don't, in part because faithful and critical alike just don't seem to care. No, really, the people whose faith it is need it to be that way; the people who complain about religion can't be bothered to pay close enough attention to what they're complaining about. There is a reason people think they can get away with behaving like this. Indeed, some measure of that is among the reasons Trump is president in the first place.

    Which sort of brings us back to the point.

    The example is not the idea of deceiving God, because that is not how the Christian in these cases looks at it. Yet the contradiction is visible: God is omniscient and thus knows what is in a person's heart, therefore I will deceive Him in order to win His favor. Obviously, they don't say the second part; its context is invisible for ego defense; after they have conditioned themselves to the behavior, the contradiction becomes invisible to them.

    This is like Donald Trump literally confessing to obstruction; or Don, Jr., releasing incriminating evidence. They are literally unable to see the problem.

    The Trump administration keeps telling us how guilty they are, just like conservatives have done ... eh, probably nearly forever; neurotic dysfunction very frequently shows through, in history, as a fundamental component of the conservative political argument. (Yes, sure, "both sides", for those that need such concessions, but they're not the same behavioral phenomena.)

    I don't know who all recalls the conservative argument, during the Obama years, about "sincerely held beliefs", but this was essentially the underlying point. The moral relativism feared by proverbial grumpy old men in my youth, when it showed, did not come from secular humanism as the complaint would have it, but traditionalism and religous faith the grumpy old men thought they were protecting.

    Neither American Christians in general nor their atheistic critics could wrap their damn heads around what preacher said about when Christ was gay and what Jesus said about adultery. So we got around to it fifteen years later. Yet, still, it's not like the churches consecrating adulterous marriage are rushing to correct themselves, and it's not quite correct to characterize their outlook as, "What does that have to do with anything?" because that would imply the point even occurs to them.

    I use the phrase ego defense because I am postfreudian; the buzzphrase a few years ago was cognitive dissonance. The effect is the same, in these occasions:

    Proposition: Next thing they will be claiming that Trump is not mentally competent enough to be interviewed yet still allowed to be POTUS.

    Response: Sure, why not give it a try?​

    It's not the fact of being brazen. Rather, if it is so brazen as to require blind apathy, then they will not perceive their own self-contradiction. Furthermore, a general note about "sincerely held beliefs" goes here, and remains so general because the particulars get long and intricate owing to the humanity of human beings. The point being that it is well within the realm of possibility that the official, operating defense of Donald Trump will eventually attempt to split a competency hair.
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Neither W or Cheney ever faced that choice. Cheney made it clear he would not respond, and that quashed the possibility.

    The question in front of us is what to do if Trump either never does get subpoenaed, or refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the subpoena.
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  8. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Reminds me of a conversation I had with my extremely devout Catholic Brazilian ex-wife who spent many hours in studious prayer daily.
    I said "Why do you doubt your God so much that you have to constantly plead your case?"

    Equating prayer with doubt in God's compassion and Omni-ness.... ( the less evidence of God's compassion, - the more she would pray - and as "evil" in the world is so abundant....a self justifying compulsion is formed)

    Of course she had no answer nor did I expect one, (fear being the main reason I guessed) but the point being is that religious duty tends to defeat itself once deliberate will (culpability) is involved and the human ego derived limitations placed on God are sustained.
  9. douwd20 Registered Senior Member

  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    It's not necessarily that we missed it; I mean, come on, I'd rather have missed it.
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  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I missed it (the thought alone was nauseating), but apparently Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast was rehab for those suffering outrage fatigue.
    My favorite so far:
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    #taint | #WhatTheyVotedFor

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    The ¡ouch! via Huffington Post↱:

    In an extraordinary ruling on Thursday, the majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found that "the words of the President" provided "undisputed evidence" of anti-Muslim bias ....

    .... The 4th Circuit's majority opinion, written by Chief Judge Roger Gregory, represents yet another instance in which the president's own words―and tweets―have hurt his arguments in court. This has happened to Trump again and again and again.

    The 4th Circuit found that Trump had expressed "what any reasonable observer could view as general anti-Muslim bias." In addition to statements from the campaign trail, the opinion cited Trump's retweets of anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British political party in November as well as this tweet from August:

    Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!

    "The President's own words―publicly stating a constitutionally impermissible reason for the Proclamation―distinguish this case," the majority found.

    While Trump could have "removed the taint of his prior troubling statements," he hasn't, the court said. "In fact, instead of taking any actions to cure the 'taint' that we found infected [the second executive order laying out a travel ban], President Trump continued to disparage Muslims and the Islamic faith," it said.

    It's a 285-page humdinger consolidation with seven pages of litigants and amici, known generally as International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump. (The amici rosters are astonishing, and the argument on brief list runs over five pages.)

    This is how it is going to go. Try to imagine explaining this ruling to President Trump. To the other, I haven't had much occasion to use #DonnySmalls; while it is certainly petty enough a hit to suit the tackiest of American presidents, there just isn't much occasion to use it, like I'm forcibly inserting it into any given discussion. To the other, though, #DonnyTaint? That's pretty much #WhatTheyVotedFor.


    Gregory, C. J. Roger. "Opinion of the Court". International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump. United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 15 February 2018. 15 February 2018.

    Reilly, Ryan J. "A Federal Appeals Court Just Said Trump’s Tweets Show He’s An Anti-Muslim Bigot". The Huffington Post. 15 February 2018. 15 February 2018.
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The Trump presidency being properly understood as a Republican Administration, in harness with the Republican Congress and an increasingly Republican Supreme Court, this is relevant to it:
  15. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    Well, some people would like to repeal other amendments, even within the Bill of Rights. This one would at least only be a compromise with an original Article of the Constitution.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The writers of the original would regard the explicit role of Party in this travesty to be a betrayal of the country. That its motive is gerrymandering of State-wide elections by Republicans just drives George Washington's warning against "faction" home, that its methods involve de facto Constitutional amendment by an ideologically bankrupt faction of the local politics of one State, without the check of the long and serious national process otherwise explicitly required, reveals the nature of the effort.
  17. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    Do you even know what the original Article said? Not only were all Senators nominated by state legislatures, they were elected by them too ("described as an uncontroversial decision; at the time, James Wilson was the sole advocate of popularly electing the Senate and his proposal was defeated 10–1" ). That means, however the parties were situated in the state legislatures, by vote of the people, wholly determined the Senate. The 17th Amendment had nothing to do with gerrymandering (fun word). Courts have ruled that the 17th Amendment doesn't require primaries, which is all the Arizona Legislature is getting rid of. Some might argue that the 17th Amendment is exactly the sort of hasty amendment Washington warned against. And the rest of the founding fathers seemed pretty confident the system could handle man's inevitable tendency toward factions.

    "National process"? For a state decision the courts have already ruled okay?
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Of course. Do you know what its authors said about Parties? They didn't exist, at the time, but their possibility was recognized - "factions", as they were called, were badly thought of and strongly warned against - by none other than Washington himself, in his farewell address, as well as authors of the Articles and the Constitution. x
    The current Arizona proposal has no other motive.
    Nonsense. They are getting rid of Independents, and Party outsiders, as well.
    Where by "handle", they did not mean succumb to - de facto subverting the Constitution for Partisan gain.
    They found a loophole in the Constitution, and exploited it for Partisan advantage. And the high Court has not ruled.

    Now the only way to stop them would be to pass new Federal law, or amend the Constitution.

    One of the old Greek city-states - iirc Sparta - had a law covering this situation: if somebody did something overlooked by the law, technically legal but so bad a law had to be passed in consequence, they were thrown off a cliff.
  19. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    Yes, I do know about the Federalist papers and Washington's farewell address. In the latter, Washington also warned about people amending the Constitution to weaken the government, which some see the 17th Amendment doing to state government.
    How Senators are nominated has nothing to do with gerrymandering.
    If you don't know that, you're in la la land. It could actually end up making it so there's no such thing as an uncontested race.
    Control of the Iowa Senate is up for grabs this fall. Democrats currently have a 26-24 majority, a meager margin Republicans are eager to erase. Given the circumstances, you’d expect both parties to press hard to win every available seat. But that’s not the case. Half the Senate seats are up in November, but in nine of the 25 contests, one of the major parties hasn’t bothered fielding a candidate.

    That’s more common than you might think. When filing deadlines had passed in the first 27 states this year, one party or the other had failed to run candidates in nearly half the legislative seats -- 45 percent, according to Ballotpedia, an online politics site that tracks races and ballot initiatives.
    No, that is how the courts have ruled on the 17th Amendment. Look it up for yourself, since I know how you treat info from the wrong source.
    Maybe you should read the proposal, instead of believing what some partisan tells you.
    For candidates for United States senator, after a public hearing to meet with and consider potential candidates, the members of each political party caucus of the Arizona house of representatives shall separately meet with the members of the political party caucus of that same political party from the Arizona senate and designate by a majority vote of the assembled members of each political party caucus two nominees from each political party.� Those two nominees for each political party caucus shall appear on the general election ballot as candidates for united States senator.
    As soon as people vote enough Independents to their state legislatures, and create an Independent caucus (seems Arizona already has a Green party caucus), they seem to qualify to nominate candidates. And these two candidates from each party are still subject to a popular primary.
    Only in your fevered imagination. When all established parties nominate two candidates each for popular primary and election, I'm having trouble seeing the subversion.
    No, they are working within court rulings on the 17th Amendment. Go look it up.
    True. You would have to try to remove even more power from the states to counter it.
    Sounds like you prefer violence, that Washington advised against in that farewell address.
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Until now, in Arizona, if this proposal passes.

    But: I stand corrected on my foolish and too-quick reaction that such is the only motive, or even the most important one - I was wrong, probably.

    A little reflection turned up another and even more obvious motive: preventing damaging primary runs by embarrassing Republican candidates who appeal to the Trump voter. The voting base of the Rep Party presents a difficult problem for its handlers - this is one way to head off some of the worst possibilities.

    btw: if it passes, there are going to be some restrictions on what constitutes a "Party caucus" in Arizona, or there are going to be some genuinely entertaining maneuverings among suddenly emergent one-member Parties and their straw candidates. (For an intro to the possibilities, the account of "Mr Luna's Lazarus Act" in this solid little book: ) (Mind: that was before computerized statistical analysis)
    That law says they are entered into the general election ballot. No popular primary.
    Exactly. Gerrymandering's influence would extend to the Statewide race for US Senate.
    There aren't any uncontested races for US Senate now.
    Why are you posting links about screwed up State level races, which are already vulnerable to gerrymandering, as evidence of benefit from this law?
    No Court has ruled on this unusual proposal, which has yet to become law.
    Why do you think it came out of committee on a Party-line vote?
    Meanwhile: inclusion of Party membership requirements subverts the Constitution, as does pre- empting the popular vote for Senator
    it mandates.
  21. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    You'd need to explain how state legislature nominations has anything to do with gerrymandering.
    The motive is probably exactly what they say it is:
    Claiming they’re being ignored by John McCain and Jeff Flake, Republican state legislators took the first steps Tuesday to allowing them — and not the voters — to choose who gets to run for the U.S. Senate.
    “The purpose of the Senate and the way it was originally constructed was to exempt it from the passions and the emotions of the people,” he said.

    “What we have now is 100 panderers,” Finchem said. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve got trillions of debt.”
    According to that same article, it only "limits nominations to political parties that have representation in the Legislature."
    Not interested in your book suggestions. Thanks anyway.
    You're right. I misread the part B.
    Gerrymandering already influences Senate races.
    In 2001, with Democrats in control of Illinois redistricting, then-state Senator Barack Obama was apparently able to reshape his district to his own specifications. As Ryan Lizza detailed in The New Yorker, that included drawing in wealthy supporters from Chicago’s Gold Coast. The new redistricting maintained Obama’s Hyde Park base, then lunged northward along the lakefront and toward downtown. As in Obama’s previous district, African-Americans retained a majority, and the map contained some of the poorest sections of Chicago, but the new district was whiter, more prosperous, more Jewish, less blue-collar, and better educated. (Associated Press)
    In Trinsey v. Pennsylvania (1991), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was faced with a situation where, following the death of Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania, Governor Bob Casey had provided for a replacement and for a special election that did not include a primary. A voter and prospective candidate, John S. Trinsey, Jr., argued that the lack of a primary violated the Seventeenth Amendment and his right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Third Circuit rejected these arguments, ruling that the Seventeenth Amendment does not require primaries.
    There is no Party "membership" requirements to be nominated, just the natural tendency of the Parties represented in the state legislature to nominate their own. Where is that against the Constitution? Is Governor appointment from his own party, until special election, against the Constitution? No, because courts have held that once authority is granted, it is theirs to exercise as they see fit.
    It doesn't preempt popular vote. Only popular primaries, which the Third Circuit court has already ruled on.

    Now some other court could rule differently, sending it to the Supreme Court, but the 17th Amendment makes no mention of primaries.
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    It's actually a portmanteaux after Elbridge Gerry. The famous quote is, "Salamander! Call it a gerrymander!"

    Looking forward to future history, there is a question today of whether certain complex voting districts are actually gerrymanders, or else contortions attempting to fulfill civil rights laws developed in a gerrymandering context. At some point in the future, conservatives will attempt to blame gerrymandering on the civil rights laws, themselves. The quote reaches back to 1812, which absolutely does predate civil rights laws.

    But, yes, it might be a handful of years, or maybe a couple decades, but there will come a point when conservatives will attempt to argue that a problem predating suffrage of African-Americans, or even the end of slavery, is the result of civil rights laws devised in the mid-twentieth century. There's actually a fun case out of Virginia, though, from 2013↗—by which an effort to unseat a black man from Congress saw commonwealth Republicans manufacture a black-majority district next door by carving black voters out of the original district—that will wreck the effort to blame civil rights laws. They will try, though: Vague and ahistorical narratives seeking illusory validity by asking ahistorical questions that refuse their own answers are a cultivated specialty of psychologically crippled empowerment privilege. When the words themselves undermine the argument they should pretend to be, empowerment majorities are flailing in currents they are not capable of navigating.

    The history of the gerrymander is a fascinating illumination of the American tale. If you look at our earliest political divisions, you will find that the Revolution was not so much about the inherent injustice of the King's behavior as much as covetousness. That is to say, there were empowered factions that did not reject the nature of such authority, but merely wished it for themselves. This is, these years later, the conservative argument: There is an authority that, functionally, decides who suffers most or least; this is what they fight for.

    When Iceaura and I fight about the Democratic Party, for instance, it's part of what we're fighting about. Democrats aren't a liberal party, by nature or ever in their history. They have a lot of liberal support because, well, you would need to understand some of the history between President Johnson and the end of the Cold War under Reagan and Poppy Bush, and then it's hard to explain what happens after that because the DLC drove the point about Democrats not being liberal while conservatives spun out into Straussian dualist neoconservatism leading to the construction of a new dualistic myth, and the rest is arguing market theses. Watch where and how he and I maneuver our support for Party institutions and institutional outcomes; we have different priorities but are essentially playing a similar game of compromise 'twixt market influences aiming for the lowest of human qualities, to the one, and the thresholds of how we understand and are willing to concede about the difference 'twixt right and wrong.

    There can be a different sort of authority, but how to keep a hand in the contest while changing the actual game?

    Nature will require human suffering as it does, but fighting over who should bear disproportionate burdens is only part of the problem.

    But that's also why we have gerrymandering: So we can fight over who suffers.

    It probably would have been better to be done with the authority of kings instead of ... oh ... right ... American Christendom.

    But you're right. Gerrymander is a fun word. It's also an incredible glimpse inside the meaning of Americans needing to reconcile any number of fundamental presuppositions obscuring, disrupting, or precluding the sort of Liberty and Justice, shining city on the hill idealism we pretend to represent, or intend, or whatever.

    Meanwhile, do recognize, please, that you are pulling an example from a background story to a chapter of history describing the dysfunctional results of factionalization. And that's the thing: Once upon a time, a Revolution seized Authority. But what Authority did it seize? At no point in our history has any challenge to that definition of Authority been able to afford full allocation and delegation to the challenge itself. That is, viable players need to find a way to the table. Somewhere out on the Left, for instance, is an American hardline faction; I don't disdain the pretense of nonparticipation, but the Workers aren't going to rise up and then simply hand them power; the next Authority will be defined by whoever seizes it. The players closest to any redefinition would be those chaperoning and pandering to the bloc that wins out, and they will be working the sorts of grand compromises that increase the likelihood that a new Revolution would simply reassert traditionalistic Authority. And so on.

    (The current conservative attempt is not a redefinition but, rather intended reconsolidation and reaffirmation of traditional Authority.)​

    No, really, the actual history behind your blithe polymerizations is fascinating and insightful. Even more than the bits you're making up as you go. Like your post at #2398↑. The first sentence is hilarious, and nothing about the post suggests you have any clue what you're talking about. I mean, really: "According to that same article, it only 'limits nominations to political parties that have representation in the Legislature.'" ¿And? That is to say: ¿Your point being? Ooh: "Gerrymandering already influences Senate races." ¿And? No, really: ¿Your point being? Trinsey? The Seventeenth does not require primaries? ¿And? That is to say: ¿So, what?

    You're trying to make a technical argument for a different discussion; that's why you read like you don't know what you're on about.
  23. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    Good. We agree on a lot.
    I would be confused too, if I took all replies out of context.

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