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Thread: 2017 American Political Scene

  1. #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    Is it my imagination or are Abe's eyes a bit wider than usual?
    In one clip I saw Trump seems a bit dismayed at not being the greatest one in the room.
    Hah! :-)
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  2. #272
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    American Conservative kicks in

    We’re all familiar with “slippery slope” arguments. Allow Casual Fridays, and soon enough everyone will be coming to work in shorts and T-shirts. Ban assault weapons, and you’re on the road to repealing the Second Amendment.

    In a way, the response of Western elites to the recent election reflects that kind of logic: as Donald Trump prepares to occupy the White House, we are about to see the collapse of the Western alliance and the breakdown of the post-World War II liberal international order. It’s the end of the West. We are closing the last chapter of the Age of Enlightenment.

    But then, does anyone really believe that after four or eight years of a Trump presidency, the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan will turn into a new Trump Hotel (as recently proposed, tongue-in-cheek, by conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer)? Or that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will shut down their offices in downtown Washington, DC?

    In reality, Trump has pledged to do little that’s earth-shattering. He won’t pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership—the same commitment made by the liberal-internationalist Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. He’ll take another look at the North American Free Trade Agreement—a proposition supported by another liberal-internationalist Western leader, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He’ll embrace a tougher posture in trade negotiations with China—the same kind of approach President Clinton took when pursuing his trade dealings with Japan. He’s suggested that the ideas of “regime change” and “nation building” in the Middle East have created strategic disasters and humanitarian catastrophes—as almost everyone seems to believe these days.

    And, yes, isn’t it time for Americans, the majority of whom weren’t even around when NATO was established in 1949 with the aim of containing the Soviet Bloc, to reassess the organization’s structure and goals? Or to consider that nationalist Russia isn’t the old Soviet Union and that improving relations with it makes sense on many levels—as both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have argued?

    Are we on the slippery slope to smashing the international order, or are we debating pragmatic ideas that could lead to sensible changes?

    ♦♦♦

    In fact, contrary to the frenzied comments by policymakers and pundits in Washington and elsewhere, President-elect Trump has never challenged the proposition that the United States should continue to maintain its global primacy or the notion of liberalizing the international trade system. His nominee for the secretary-of-state job, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, asserted during his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that “American leadership must be asserted.”

    Trump hasn’t called for overturning the post-1945 liberal international order or for bringing U.S. global leadership to an end. His main criticisms have been directed at the policymakers in Washington, their allies in think tanks and the media, and the trade strategy that Washington has been following since China’s entry into the international economic system.

    That is to say, President-elect Trump hasn’t been concentrating his fire on the legacies of Harry Truman and George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, or Ronald Reagan and George Shultz—those responsible for the Cold War policies that ended in an American victory and years of economic growth and prosperity. Rather, he has criticized Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright, George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

    He’s hit them for mishandling the relationships with Russia and other great powers. For engaging in costly wars in the Middle East. For launching disastrous regime changes and nation-building operations. For failing to protect American interests in the context of an international system characterized by a changing global military and economic balance of power.

    What Trump seems to want to do is to make Pax Americana more cost-effective in terms of U.S. interests.

    Those interests seemed compatible with the role of the U.S. as the Primus inter pares of the Western alliance for much of the Cold War and its immediate aftermath; hence the willingness of U.S. policymakers to pay the costs of protecting its allies in the Atlantic and the Pacific and ensuring their economic prosperity. This entailed costly wars in the Middle East in order to safeguard European, Japanese, and Korean access to the energy resources in the region on which their economies—not the U.S economy—were dependent. Similarly, Washington could tolerate the industrial policies and the protectionist strategies pursued by, say, Japan and Germany while keeping its markets open to their exports. Those costs were acceptable for an American economy that kept growing and growing, expanding its industrial base as its prosperous middle class became more prosperous.

    It would be interesting to sketch an alternative history of Washington in the 1990s and early 2000s, one where policymakers tried to readjust America’s post-Cold War policies to the changing international balance of power. This would have meant reassessing America’s strategic goals in light of the rising costs of continuing to single-handedly support a stable liberal international order.

    Such a reassessment could have led to the restructuring of NATO, and to the shifting of more security responsibilities from the U.S. to its allies, especially when it came to protecting access to energy resources in the Middle East. Washington could have made it clear that, at a time when Japan and other industrial powers were becoming global economic competitors, the U.S. needed to rebalance its trade relationship with them. No more free riding.

    That didn’t happen. Instead, what proved most powerful was inertia. If anything, Washington policymakers took advantage of the so-called Unipolar Moment to expand the global responsibilities of the U.S. by enlarging NATO to the borders of Russia, transforming the U.S. into the hegemonic power in the Middle East, and allowing allies to continue free-riding on American global military and economic power. They even embraced new diplomatic and military missions, like spreading democracy worldwide, in the name of lofty universal principles that seem to override basic concerns rooted in the national interest.

    ♦♦♦

    Ironically, when Washington’s policymakers and pundits decry the rise of isolationist and protectionist trends among Americans, they don’t point out the obvious: the policies they devised, implemented, and sold to the American people—in particular the costly wars in the Middle East coupled with a growing lists of trade deals—explain why the public is in a more inward-looking mood these days. These policies are why voters turned to two unlikely presidents—a former community organizer from Chicago whose middle name was “Hussein” and a reality-show host with no political experience—who questioned America’s interventionist approach in the Middle East as well as its trade policies. They hoped to deliver a blow to the political establishment and to reverse these policies.

    To his credit, President Obama did resist pressure to interject American ground troops into the Syrian civil war—pressure from liberal internationalists and neoconservatives alike. Yet President Obama failed to translate these public sentiments into a new foreign-policy agenda that would maintain U.S. global leadership while serving U.S. interests. Instead, he seemed to be muddling through on issues of war and peace and trade, responding in an ad hoc and opportunistic manner to crises abroad: a half-pregnant foreign policy.

    President-elect Trump has an opportunity to press for a meaningful, transformational global agenda. In other words, it’s not a concern over the future of the liberal international order that prompted a smear campaign against him, but a worry that he will undermine the interests of our reigning elites. He needs to demonstrate to them that their fears were justified.
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility

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  3. #273
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    The last line of the article, "He needs to demonstrate to them that their fears were justified," made me chuckle. Good article, or I should say"intersting". Grab your popcorn and wait for Asty to weigh in. -


    Edit: Pari, take a look at this article from last year by the same guy. A different tune, but perceptive. http://www.theamericanconservative.c...he-technocrat/
    Last edited by JAD_333; Today at 08:07.
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  4. #274
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GVChamp View Post
    I agree we shouldn't NOT help unemployed people, so we should hose down those DAPL protestors and rout them from the site so we can get them working on some infrastructure projects. If FDR had to deal with these whack-job environmental nuts today the CCC would've never happened, the TVA would've never happened, the Hoover Dam would've never happened, the Interstate project would've never happened, the....etc.

    None of the conservatives think it's ethical to burden future generations with even more inefficient entitlement programs and bullcrap government programs when the alternative is a slow-recovery recession (which has unemployment benefits anyways).

    We can also drop money from helicopters! Let's do that before giving the Chosen One a trillion dollars to give out to his preferred interest groups.

    Economics also isn't zero-sum, and even if it were, that doesn't justify taking other people's money to fix your problems. You can't have 50+% MTRs unless it's war-time.
    GVChamp,

    The subject was fiscal stimulus to alleviate excessive and prolonged unemployment during the Bush Depression.
    Not environmental / native rights pipelines.
    Different subject.

    But, for clarity, FDR’s Works Progress Administration built 75,000 acres of parkland. The Civilian Conservation Corps planted 3 billion trees. Other projects focused on soil erosion, state park facility construction, fire lookout towers, flood control and a long list of other environmentally constructive projects.

    - - - - -

    Government is all about taking some money from lots of people to do things that benefit lots of people.
    Under the philosophical concept of modern civilization, it is wholly justified.

  5. #275
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    dude, basic reading comprehension.

    Obama is letting Dems know that there's a -difference- between the "normal back and forth, ebb and flow of policy" and "certain issues or certain moments where our core values are at stake.”

    he's saying he -won't- speak out if Trump/Republicans do what would be seen as normal but conservative policies. he WOULD speak out if extremes such as deportation of dreamers happen.

    i fail to see where Obama is implying that Trump -will- do something, because then Obama would assuredly not "take some time for quiet reflection" and try to differentiate things for progressives.
    seriously? that your retort?

    that statement is easily flipped.

  6. #276
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    not sure if this belongs in this thread or not.

    also curious, as I had read similar pieces from other sources, is this just a right wing hit piece with clear bias? or is this pretty legit?

    http://www.investors.com/politics/ed...-hillary-isnt/

    'While everyone's been gearing up for President Trump's inauguration, the Clinton Foundation made a major announcement this week that went by with almost no notice: For all intents and purposes, it's closing its doors.

    In a tax filing, the Clinton Global Initiative said it's firing 22 staffers and closing its offices, a result of the gusher of foreign money that kept the foundation afloat suddenly drying up after Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.

    It proves what we've said all along: The Clinton Foundation was little more than an influence-peddling scheme to enrich the Clintons, and had little if anything to do with "charity," either overseas or in the U.S. That sound you heard starting in November was checkbooks being snapped shut in offices around the world by people who had hoped their donations would buy access to the next president of the United States.

    And why not? There was a strong precedent for it in Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. While serving as the nation's top diplomat, the Clinton Foundation took money from at least seven foreign governments — a clear breach of Clinton's pledge on taking office that there would be total separation between her duties and the foundation.

    Is there a smoking gun? Well, of the 154 private interests who either officially met or had scheduled phone talks with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, at least 85 were donors to the Clinton Foundation or one of its programs.

    In November, we asked the question: "Is The Clinton Foundation Doomed?" The answer is yes.

    All the way back in May, we outlined how the Clinton Foundation had taken in $100 million from a collection of Gulf sheikhs and billionaires, along with millions from private businesses, who expected — and received — special access to the State Department's top official, Hillary.

    In his 2015 book "Clinton Cash," author Peter Schweizer showed how during Hillary's years in government "the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transactions (either as private citizens or government officials) with foreign governments, corporations and private financiers." He called the sums going to the Clintons "staggering."

    Using the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch in August obtained emails (that had been hidden from investigators) showing that Clinton's top State Department aide, Huma Abedin, had given "special expedited access to the secretary of state" for those who gave $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Many of those were facilitated by a former executive of the foundation, Doug Band, who headed Teneo, a shell company that managed the Clintons' affairs.

    As part of this elaborate arrangement, Abedin was given special permission to work for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo — another very clear conflict of interest.

    As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time, "These new emails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favors to Clinton Foundation donors."

    The seedy saga doesn't end there. Indeed, there are so many facets to it, some may never be known. But there is still at least one and possibly four active federal investigations into the Clintons' supposed charity.

    Americans aren't willing to forgive and forget. Earlier this month, the IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans whether they would like President Obama to pardon Hillary for any crimes she may have committed as secretary of state, including the illegal use of an unsecured homebrew email server. Of those queried, 57% said no. So if public sentiment is any guide, the Clintons' problems may just be beginning.

    Writing in the Washington Post in August of 2016, Charles Krauthammer pretty much summed up the whole tawdry tale: "The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc.," he wrote. "Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons' lifestyle (offices, travel accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration."

    Except, now there is no Clinton Restoration. So there's no reason for any donors to give money to the foundation. It lays bare the fiction of a massive "charitable organization," and shows it for what it was: a scam to sell for cash the waning influence of the Democrats' pre-eminent power couple. As far as the charity landscape goes, the Clinton Global Initiative won't be missed
    '

  7. #277
    Senior Contributor GVChamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Then I sure hope you have a plan for when Uber's self-driving trucks come along and displace 1.7 million truck drivers. It will happen in less than 10 years and I'm sure trucking firms can't wait. Just the first is a long line of job losses due to future automation and robots. Everyone can be replaced one day.
    Those are largely white men getting their just rewards for centuries of oppressing minorities, obviously.

    Government is all about taking some money from lots of people to do things that benefit lots of people.
    Under the philosophical concept of modern civilization, it is wholly justified.
    Conservatives are not anarchists and would largely agree with this. That doesn't mean we think the government has a blank check, or the responsibility of every social task, or that the federal government should be going beyond its Constitutionally mandated or traditional roles.

    "People are needy" definitely isn't convincing to me, particularly when we (conservatives) are all in agreement that we don't need any more fiascos like Social Security or Medicare.

    The subject was fiscal stimulus to alleviate excessive and prolonged unemployment during the Bush Depression.
    Not environmental / native rights pipelines.
    Obama's high-speed rail, funded by the stimulus bill, supposed to be part of the fiscal policy to mitigate the recession, still isn't done, and will not be finished until I finish my first Presidential term in 2029. You can't talk fiscal policy without talking infrastructure, and you can't talk infrastructure without talking environmental reviews.
    Last edited by GVChamp; Today at 16:02.
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  8. #278
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    JAD,

    The last line of the article, "He needs to demonstrate to them that their fears were justified," made me chuckle. Good article, or I should say"intersting". Grab your popcorn and wait for Asty to weigh in.
    one simple answer:

    http://trib.al/XBv6RFi
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."ť- Isaac Asimov

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