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Thread: 2017 American Political Scene

  1. #16
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GVChamp View Post
    Definitely agree that the long-term goal is to undermine Western democracy, but don't see evidence Russia's doing a killer job here. Just seems like they are bumbling along, and if we found crumbs, it's because they aren't doing such a hot job.

    The National Front sure isn't winning any elections in France and Trump pulled this one from the jaws of defeat.
    No need to do a killer job the way your press & intelligence agencies shouted about it was good enough. So what was the response. 35 diplomats got sent back, two compounds shut down. This incident is over and done with regardless of what some people think.

    Putin's reaction. Nothing. Trump thanks him.

    The stage is set for a meet and Putin has the initiative. Chosen secstate is a recipient of the kremlin's order of friendship. WHAT!

    Now lets see what comes out of it.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 03 Jan 17, at 20:11.

  2. #17
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YellowFever View Post
    *

    Come to think of it, I was drunk. :D

    I think it was a residual effect fron exchanging posts with tankie.
    Cheap date, cheap high...what more can you ask for? :-)



    JAD, I think you're giving Obama way more credit than he deserves.
    Maybe I should have quantifed it. C+ up from an F last summer.

    The media didn't turn this issue red hot until AFTER Obama went public with his order for a "review".
    It's was hot enough all the while the emails were dribbling out.


    Also I, and many Trump supporters found the level of politics played by this Director of the CIA and all his negative remarks twoards Trump pretty alarming.

    When was the last time a sitting director of one of our intelligence agencies spoke up so vehemently against a candidate before an election?

    So maybe many people had a reason to suspect a report from the CIA saying the Russians "hacked" an election to help Trump pretty unbelievable.
    Brennan did comment a few times before the election. Last April, I believe, he said the CIA would refuse an order to return to waterboarding and/or other rendition techniques that Trump said he favored. In August (?) he pushed back when Trump claimed he could tell by their body language that CIA agents who gave him security briefings were unhappy with Obama for not taking their advice. Brennan said agents were too professional to take sides. That was soon after the GOP convention. Insofar as I can recall, these were the only times Brennan spoke up before the election.

    Not until AFTER the election did the CIA assess that Russian hacking was done to help Trump win. Brennan obviously approves of the assessment, although the FBI demurred, citing a lack of evidence. That earned Brennan criticism for playing politics. More recently, Brennan sat for a BBC interview that some GOP legislators characterized as a hit job on Trump. After listening to the interview, I felt it was much ado about nothing: an outgoing senior official defending current policies. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38152706



    . . .most intelliegence agencies are far from "impartial people with one goal of keeping America safe" is far from reality. Like other departments they are full of political hacks and whoever kisses the brass ass most usually rises to the top.

    WMD anyone?
    Well, having been one of those "political hacks" at DoD and having worked with CIA briefers and other intel guys, I naturally have a different view. It was often the case that journalists, commentators, and assorted other critics of what we did didn't know what they were talking about. As for ass kissing, it doesn't go far with the brass. Yes, there are exceptions. As for disagreeing with your boss, as happened to me a few times, you better have your ducks lined up, and if you do, you'll be appreciated. The biggest mistake outsiders make is to judge the whole by idiocy and abuses of a few.

    Yes, it's true that politics influences the direction of some intel work, and that's to be expected. The world turns on political and geopolitical considerations. For example, the Reagan military build-up in the early 1980s, which was deemed necessary after gains by the old USSR during the 1970s began to close the arms gap, depended on getting Congress to agree to a massive increase in military spending. It fell to the intelligence agencies to make the case, which they did admirably. But the CIA has also been misused. For example, when the WMD in Iraq issue came around 20 years later, the agency felt its case wasn't ready for prime time. But Dick Chaney and company demanded it be used anyway. Again it was a political imperative, both domestically, with Congress set to vote on whether to support an invasion of Iraq, and geopolitical, with the administration driving to create a coalition force for the invasion. Once put on the sacrificial altar to help build political support for a weak case, it was inevitable that the agency's reputation would suffer for years to come.



    Frankly, I wouldn't have been so upset if the term "hacking the election" didn't come up. That term leads me to believe this was a political act more than anything else.
    Yeah, it a media invention--headline writers. Obama's statements have a more labored name for them: "...aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election."
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press...cyber-activity



    Look, Putin is a thug.
    Just the kind of guy Trump has been dealing with all his life. You know the saying: You can't bullshit a bullshitter.



    (Oh god, please don't tell me this 13 page report by the FBI & DHS was the culmination of the review)

    And if not, why the hell were the sanctions imposed without waiting for completed review?

    Pure politics.
    Ya think there ought to be a detailed report of methods and sources made public before the administration acts on what it knows in secret? I respectfully disagree. A pragmatist would argue that the right to know doesn't trump national security. Pure politics? It doesn't follow that Obama's retaliation was meant to make a subtle case that the hack caused Clinton to lose, although some could see it that way If it had just been a foreign illegal entry into a privately-owned server and the theft of documents, the Justice Department would have asked for indictments, if they could finger the culprits. The State dept would have its ambassador lodge a formal complaint to the head of the country involved. But this particular hack endangered our constitutional process for electing presidents. Had it worked beyond any doubt, we'd all be up in arms no matter which party was the target. But because it didn't, we are floundering around, bickering over stupid stuff. We should all be damned worried about the potential for this to happen again, possibly in more covert ways, and we should back the president, who incidentally is living up to his oath here, in imposing sanctions on the country that was to blame for the interference. IMO, the sanctions were pretty mild. Putin gets an attaboy from Trump for not retaliating. Well maybe Putin is like the cat who swallowed the canary...he knows he did it, so why prolong the agony. You can bet the farm that he would be jumping up and down like a wounded ape if he was innocent.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  3. #18
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    probably time to start that new thread. Congress is getting an early start on draining that swamp...lol.

    ====

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ethics-office/

    House Republicans vote to rein in independent ethics office
    By Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian January 2 at 8:13 PM
    Although it's been reversed, looks bad for the GOP. Agree with Trump; poor beginning for the new Congress.

    Start that new thread... ;-)
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  4. #19
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Although it's been reversed, looks bad for the GOP. Agree with Trump; poor beginning for the new Congress.

    Start that new thread... ;-)
    Since we quote "comedians" lately...

    Andy Borowitz
    Bravo to the House Republicans, for using their first vote of the year to strip power from a congressional ethics board. That's exactly what's been wrong with Congress: TOO MUCH FUCKING ETHICS.
    I liked Andy, but he is becoming boring with his Anti-Trump rants. OK, we got it, like 2 months ago. Get over it and move on.
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  5. #20
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    2017 American Political Scene

    As requested, we're starting a new thread for what will undoubtedly be an "entertaining" political circus here in the U.S., with consequences that could reverberate around the globe.

    May God have mercy on our souls...
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  6. #21
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Trump's Nominees

    Robert Lighthizer, USTR nominee, is a protectionist lobbyist. If he manages to influence the administration’s trade policy, American standards of living are going to deteriorate because of higher import duties.

    He reportedly will report to Commerce Secretary (nominee) Wilber Ross, rather than directly to the President as US Trade Representatives have done for 55 years. That might be dicey, as Lighthizer lobbyed for industry while Ross was being a vulture capitalist.

  7. #22
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    JAD_333,

    Plucked from the now-closed 2016 US General Election thread …

    But the CIA has also been misused. For example, when the WMD in Iraq issue came around 20 years later, the agency felt its case wasn't ready for prime time. But Dick Chaney and company demanded it be used anyway. Again it was a political imperative, both domestically, with Congress set to vote on whether to support an invasion of Iraq, and geopolitical, with the administration driving to create a coalition force for the invasion. Once put on the sacrificial altar to help build political support for a weak case, it was inevitable that the agency's reputation would suffer for years to come.
    Thanks for confirming what I’ve been saying for many years, and several people here have been denying: The decision to invade Iraq was made on the basis of unsound information packaged for purely partisan political purposes.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    JAD_333,

    Plucked from the now-closed 2016 US General Election thread …



    Thanks for confirming what I’ve been saying for many years, and several people here have been denying: The decision to invade Iraq was made on the basis of unsound information packaged for purely partisan political purposes.
    "arab springs" and the subsequent regime changes were made on the basis of unsound information packaged for purely partisan political purposes.

  9. #24
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    lol, are there any more of Assad's talking points you would like to spout?
    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."- Isaac Asimov

  10. #25
    Idiot Mode [ON] OFF Senior Contributor YellowFever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    probably time to start that new thread. Congress is getting an early start on draining that swamp...lol.

    ====

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ethics-office/

    House Republicans vote to rein in independent ethics office
    By Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian January 2 at 8:13 PM

    Defying the wishes of their top leaders, House Republicans voted behind closed doors Monday night to rein in the independent ethics office created eight years ago in the wake of a series of embarrassing congressional scandals.

    The 119-to-74 vote during a GOP conference meeting means that the House rules package expected to be adopted Tuesday, the first day of the 115th Congress, would rename the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) as the Office of Congressional Complaint Review and place it under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee.

    Under the proposed new rules, the office could not employ a spokesperson, investigate anonymous tips or refer criminal wrongdoing to prosecutors without the express consent of the Ethics Committee, which would gain the power to summarily end any OCE probe.

    The OCE was created in 2008 to address concerns that the Ethics Committee had been too timid in pursuing allegations of wrongdoing by House members. Under the current House ethics regime, the OCE is empowered to release a public report of its findings even if the Ethics Committee chooses not to take further action against a member.

    The move to place the OCE under the Ethics Committee’s aegis stands to please many lawmakers who have been wary of having their dirty laundry aired by the independent entity, but some Republicans feared that rolling back a high-profile ethical reform would send a negative message as the GOP assumes unified control in Washington. President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to “drain the swamp” and has proposed a series of his own ethics reforms.

    House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) opposed the amendment to the House rules package, speaking out against it in the Monday evening conference meeting, according to two people in the room.

    But the measure’s sponsor, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), said in a statement that it “builds upon and strengthens” the current arrangement and that it improves the due process rights for the House members under investigation and witnesses interviewed in the course of OCE probes.

    “The OCE has a serious and important role in the House, and this amendment does nothing to impede their work,” Goodlatte said.

    Goodlatte’s amendment to the House rules “provides protections against any disclosures to the public or other government entities,” according to a summary provided by his office, and also mandates that the Ethics Committee — not the OCE itself — make any referral of a potential criminal violation to law enforcement.

    “Feedback from Members and staff having gone through review by the OCE has been that those under investigation need increased protection of their due process rights, greater access to basic evidentiary standards, and a process that does not discriminate against them for invoking those rights,” the summary said. “The amendment seeks to strengthen each of these needs while maintaining the basic core of OCE’s functions.”

    The measure also prohibits limits the OCE’s jurisdiction to the previous three Congresses, aligning its statute of limitations to the Ethics Committee’s.

    An OCE spokeswoman declined to comment Monday. Because Monday’s vote was taken in a private party meeting, there is no public tally of how members voted on the proposal.

    Ethics watchdog groups warned that the amendment could undermine public confidence in Congress.

    “Threatening its independence is a disservice to the American people who need a nonpartisan body to investigate the ethical failures of their representatives,” said Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, a watchdog organization. “The fact that they do not want an Office with ‘Congressional Ethics’ in the name is a pretty good metaphor for how ethics scandals will be dealt with if this rule passes.”

    Democrats, then in the House majority, established the OCE in 2008 in the aftermath of the lobbying scandal surrounding Jack Abramoff to conduct ethics investigations free from political influence. But in recent years, some members of Congress have sought to limit the office and its work.

    At the start of the last Congress, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) pushed for a rule change to stress that people being investigated by the OCE could not be denied their constitutional rights and had a right to counsel. According to media reports, Pearce raised the objection because he felt a staffer in his office had been treated unfairly.

    The OCE’s rules permit people under investigation to work through a lawyer.

    Last summer, Pearce repeated such complaints during comments on the House floor, when he proposed an amendment to limit the OCE’s funding, arguing that it was justified by government-wide budget restrictions and the need “to give notice to the OCE that we’re watching what you’re doing.”

    The pushback hasn’t come only from Republicans. In 2011, Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) — who had been subject to an OCE investigation — drafted an amendment to slash funding from the OCE by 40 percent, calling the office “redundant and duplicative” of the House Ethics Committee. That amendment was rejected.

    Democrats pounced Monday on the Republicans’ move. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the GOP “has acted to weaken ethics and silence would-be whistleblowers” and that the proposed arrangement “would functionally destroy” the OCE.

    “Republicans claim they want to drain the swamp, but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions,” Pelosi said. “Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.”

    The House Ethics Committee is composed of sitting members of Congress, five Republicans and five Democrats, while the Office of Congressional Ethics is run by a six-member board with two alternates. One alternate position is vacant.

    It does not have subpoena power, but its reports and investigations are often a first vetting in situations where members are alleged to have violated the rules of congressional conduct. Several of the cases reviewed by the OCE have been referred to the House Ethics Committee for further proceedings.

    Unlike most congressional committees, the Ethics Committee is evenly divided between the majority and minority parties. A senior GOP aide not authorized to comment publicly on the matter noted Friday that because of that, Republicans could not act unilaterally to protect members of their own party.

    But in the decades before the OCE was created, the Ethics Committee was routinely criticized for protecting lawmakers of both parties by sanctioning members in only the most egregious and well-publicized cases.

    In the Senate, there is no equivalent of the Office of Congressional Ethics.
    Morons.

    First day out and they step on their cranks.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhuy View Post
    "arab springs" and the subsequent regime changes were made on the basis of unsound information packaged for purely partisan political purposes.
    On what do you base this? Just another wannabe partisan statement from you. How many Arab countries you ever visited? There are people there who have agency of their own quite independent of your partisan sunglasses.

  12. #27
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    JAD_333,

    Plucked from the now-closed 2016 US General Election thread …

    Thanks for confirming what I’ve been saying for many years, and several people here have been denying: The decision to invade Iraq was made on the basis of unsound information packaged for purely partisan political purposes.
    Not entirely. But we'll leave it at that. Don't want to get into an Iraq debate here.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    On what do you base this? Just another wannabe partisan statement from you. How many Arab countries you ever visited? There are people there who have agency of their own quite independent of your partisan sunglasses.
    You've lost me here. Might be my English.
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  14. #29
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    Doktor,

    IE people can do things independently, they don't need to be told by the CIA/West to do it, which is what drhuy was not so subtly hinting at.

    in any case, here's an interesting set of charts. we'll see where we are in four years' time.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/03/op...r-in-2017.html
    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."- Isaac Asimov

  15. #30
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    As a sort of related, why is the Obama administration continuing to pour arms and munitions into Syria when any possible chance for a victory for anyone but Assad dried up two years ago? Isn't it simply prolonging everyones misery and dramatically increasing the casualty rate?
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility

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