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Thread: 2019 American Political Scene

  1. #256
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    I don’t think Arlen Specter was missed at all.

  2. #257
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Donald Trump wants to be a dictator. It’s not enough just to laugh at him

    Maybe we’re too busy laughing to see it. Perhaps it’s the jokes and memes that Donald Trump generates in abundance, the gift that keeps on giving, that blinds us to a chilling fact that we’d rather not face. Put simply, the leader of the world’s most powerful nation is behaving like an authoritarian dictator, one who threatens democracy in his own country and far beyond.

    Here’s the latest example of how the comedy can distract. On Thursday Donald Trump marked the Fourth of July by praising the US military, invoking the heroism of an army that defeated the British in the 18th century in part because “it took over the airports”. Lol: behold, the ignoramus president. Cue more chuckles as Trump delivered that speech during a downpour, the Almighty himself apparently deciding to rain on Trump’s parade.

    But all those giggles served to obscure the more pressing fact: that in a departure from all precedent, Trump had used Independence Day to stage a military display, in which M1A2 tanks and Bradley armoured vehicles rolled into Washington, while fighter jets and helicopters filled the sky. The generals, mindful of the need to separate military and political power, had long opposed this extravaganza and, tellingly, most of the joint chiefs contrived to stay away. They understood that such a pageant is the stuff of despots, not democrats.

    Another image framed this split-screen 4 July: that of the children, separated from their parents, who are caged in detention camps on America’s southern border. Accounts by lawyers and doctors who were allowed brief visits to these hellish places are almost unbearable to read: children deprived of sleep, denied access to blankets or mattresses, not allowed to wash their hands or brush their teeth; toddlers left alone on cold, hard floors, so traumatised they sit in stunned, tearless silence. I’m especially haunted by the report of “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches”.

    This too is what dictators do: demonising a group – in this case, migrants – as an alien threat, an army of invaders, so intensely and for so long that eventually any fate, no matter how brutal or inhumane, seems deserved, even when it is inflicted on that group’s youngest and most vulnerable members. Breaking up families, caging children in hot, fetid, disease-ridden camps – this is what dictators do.

    But we hesitate to see it for what it is. Again, the laughter gets in the way. So we s****** at Ivanka Trump ludicrously barging her way into a powwow of world leaders, making a meme of #uninvitedIvanka, rather than confronting head-on the reality that Trump is doing what dictators always do: he’s building a hereditary dynasty, so that his power won’t end with his death. Those images at the G20 looked absurd to us, but they will take their place in the showreel, so that, come the 2024 or 2028 elections, they can be used as proof of Ivanka’s supposed experience on the global stage.

    It’s all there, if you can bear to look at it. From the kleptocratic impulse – Trump pushing to meet foreign leaders at his hotels, so that he can profit – to his undisguised admiration for his fellow strongmen. Trump can’t get enough of Kim Jong-un, handing him another propaganda gift last weekend by setting foot in, and thereby legitimising, the slave state Kim rules so bloodily – and, once again, getting nothing in return. But in Osaka, at the G20 summit, he was also palling around with Mohammed bin Salman, even though the UN and the CIA both agree the Saudi leader was directly responsible for the violent murder of US resident Jamal Khashoggi. As for the simpering deference Trump shows Vladimir Putin, it’s a wonder Trump’s supporters describe him as a strongman at all: next to the Russian president, he looked like a teenager with a crush.

    Draw up a checklist of the semiotics of dictatorship and Trump ticks every one. He muses out loud about being president for life, saying it would be “great”. He’s indicated often that he would not accept the outcome of an election he lost. He’s threatened to jail his political opponents. He has the despot’s attitude to the truth – lying routinely, even about trivial matters, partly to demonstrate power. So great is his sway over his devotees, he can make them believe even what is provably false.

    And he has the despot’s contempt for a free press, forever railing against the “fake news” media and all but abolishing the White House daily briefing, which at least aimed to hold successive administrations to account. Note his abuse of power to pursue vendettas against the companies that own media organisations that displease him: seeking to raise postal charges on Amazon, as retaliation against the Washington Post, owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; and moving to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger to hurt CNN.

    The most chilling moment of his encounter with Putin last weekend came when the two men bonded over their shared loathing of journalists: “Get rid of them,” Trump said to his Kremlin counterpart, perhaps envious of the toll of 26 murdered journalists notched up in Russia during the Putin years.

    His disregard for the rule of law is also that of the autocrat. His aides simply ignore subpoenas to appear before Congress, while in the name of his invented migrant “crisis” at the southern border, he became the first US president ever to declare a national emergency solely to circumvent the authority granted to Congress by the constitution. “That was a pretty straightforward authoritarian power-grab,” according to Kristy Parker, a former Department of Justice lawyer now with the Protect Democracy advocacy group.

    Why don’t we see all this as the behaviour of a would-be dictator? Part of it is a language problem. The archetypal despot lodged in the collective imagination does not speak English. Dub a Trump speech into, say, Italian, show it in black and white, and perhaps then we’d spot the similarity. Part of it is that Trump has not been able to do his worst. No elections have been overturned, no dissidents jailed, no journalists arrested. The restraints of the US system have, so far, kept Trump in check.

    Yet that can lull us into a false sense of security, what political scientist David Runciman calls “the confidence trap”: the belief that, because democracy has withstood past threats, it will withstand present and future ones too. That’s complacent, not least because those restraints are fraying fast. Note how Trump is appointing sympathetic judges in record numbers: you can’t rely on the courts to check an authoritarian president if the courts are increasingly in that president’s image.

    All this poses an urgent dilemma in the US, as Americans work out how best to hold back a president who is a menace to the constitution. Impeachment carries great political risk, even if it is the Democrats’ constitutional – and moral – duty. But Trump presents a challenge to America’s international allies too.

    Like it or not, the US is the mightiest player in the democratic world. When that country is led by a would-be dictator, it undermines global democratic standards. How can the west stand up to, say, Viktor Orbán, when it indulges Donald Trump? Citizens and governments around the world need to realise that acting as if nothing has changed will not do; that Trump should not be treated as if his presidency were normal when it is nothing of the sort. But first, we need to see clearly what’s happening – and, perhaps, stop laughing.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  3. #258
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    "If you hate our country you can leave" (Trump) translates as "If you disagree with my policies you hate the US". "L'etat c'est moi" of Louis X1V. Be warned. You will probably have to force this traitor out of the White House in some way.

  4. #259
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    "If you hate our country you can leave" (Trump) translates as "If you disagree with my policies you hate the US". "L'etat c'est moi" of Louis X1V. Be warned. You will probably have to force this traitor out of the White House in some way.
    How? Pelosi doesn't agree with you, or other dems. Trump is here to win the next term. I don't see any worthwhile challenger yet.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  5. #260
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    How? Pelosi doesn't agree with you, or other dems. Trump is here to win the next term. I don't see any worthwhile challenger yet.
    Yang Gang disagrees.

  6. #261
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    How? Pelosi doesn't agree with you, or other dems. Trump is here to win the next term. I don't see any worthwhile challenger yet.
    Yang Gang disagrees.

  7. #262
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    The New Normal ?

    Trump Hits a New Low … Again

    by Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-dr...new-low-again/.

    “Were tonight’s Trump-led chants of ‘send her back’ at a rally in North Carolina a new low for our president? Sure, probably. But Trump hits a ‘new low’ about once every month or so. As a public service and a walk down memory lane, here’s a very non-exhaustive list of things that have been called new lows for Trump over the past few years. Enjoy.”

    2015
    July 20: Attacks John McCain for being a POW.
    November 13: Compares Ben Carson to child molester.
    November 21: Proposes Muslim registry.
    November 23: Retweets claim that 81 percent of white people are killed by blacks.
    November 26: Mocks a reporter’s disability.
    December 8: Calls for ban on Muslim entry.

    2016
    March 23: Attacks Ted Cruz’s wife.
    March 30: Says that women who get abortions should be punished.
    May 3: Suggests that Ted Cruz’s father killed JFK.
    June 3: Attacks federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
    July 27: Asks Russia to please find and release Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails.
    August 1: After Khizr Khan accuses Trump of never sacrificing anything for his country, Trump attacks Khan and says that he has too made a lot of sacrifices, such as “building great structures.”
    August 10: Suggests his supporters might want to shoot Hillary Clinton.
    October 8: “Grab ’em by the pussy” tape.
    October 12: More women accuse Trump of sexual assault.

    2017
    February 22: Attacks transgender children.
    March 4: Accuses Obama of tapping his wires.
    June 29: Accuses Mika Brzezinski of “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a New Year’s party.
    July 2: Retweets video of CNN being attacked.
    August 15: Suggests that there were “very fine people on both sides” at Charlottesville.
    September 30: Attacks mayor of San Juan after Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico.
    October 13: Ends Obamacare cost-sharing program.
    November 29: Retweets three anti-Muslim videos from the leader of an extremist British group.

    2018
    January 12: Shithole countries.
    June 8: Begins separating children from their parents at the border.
    July 5: Insists on meeting with Vladimir Putin with no one else present.
    September 13: Says the 3,000 dead from Hurricane Maria is “fake news” invented by Democrats.
    October 18: After murder of Jamal Khashoggi, reminds everyone that Saudi Arabia is a good customer.
    October 19: Calls Stormy Daniels “horseface.”
    October 19: Applauds Rep. Greg Gianforte’s body slam of a reporter.
    November 1: Runs racist ad just before midterm elections.
    November 7: Suspends CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
    November 12: As wildfires are raging, threatens to cut off federal aid to California unless they change their “forest management” practices.
    December 29: Says any deaths of children along the border are strictly the fault of the Democrats.

    2019

    February 9: Mocks native American genocide.
    March 8: Accuses Democrats of being the “anti-Jewish party.”
    March 20: Attacks John McCain yet again.
    May 24: Retweets doctored video of Nancy Pelosi.
    July 11: Attacks British prime minister Theresa May.
    July 14: Tells Democratic congresswomen to go back where they came from...
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  8. #263
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Trump Hits a New Low … Again

    by Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-dr...new-low-again/.

    “Were tonight’s Trump-led chants of ‘send her back’ at a rally in North Carolina a new low for our president? Sure, probably. But Trump hits a ‘new low’ about once every month or so. As a public service and a walk down memory lane, here’s a very non-exhaustive list of things that have been called new lows for Trump over the past few years. Enjoy.”
    And then of course he just re-tweeted yet another far-right bigoted nutjob

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/22/opini...lah/index.html

    But at least he's against abortion!
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  9. #264
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    Any one of those "New Low" moments should be enough to kill someone's political career. All of them put together should make the man universally reviled. Yet Trump's support among the Republican base remains strong. Wonder what that says about America. Perhaps Trump is only a symptom not the problem. Pelosi probably understands that and hence isn't too excited about misguided attempts to impeach him. She knows it'll only backfire on the Dems.

  10. #265
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    Wonder what that says about America.
    Still trying to figure it out



    From one New Yorker to another
    Last edited by Double Edge; 25 Jul 19, at 13:05.

  11. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    Any one of those "New Low" moments should be enough to kill someone's political career. All of them put together should make the man universally reviled. Yet Trump's support among the Republican base remains strong. Wonder what that says about America. Perhaps Trump is only a symptom not the problem. Pelosi probably understands that and hence isn't too excited about misguided attempts to impeach him. She knows it'll only backfire on the Dems.
    You know someone else had a support base of 37% and managed to take over his nation's government when no one raised their voice to say wait a minute and with no checks and balances the end result was...

    Support base is similar between the two.

  12. #267
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Another DNC creature dies at the hand of the Federal Bench.
    https://thehill.com/regulation/court...gn-russia-over

  13. #268
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    Take a good look at this picture. This is the President of the United States grinning and giving the thumbs while posing with a baby whose parents were slain in Dayton. The baby also suffered 2 broken fingers in the massacre.
    The First Lady is also smiling and posted this picture on her twitter feed. The two other people in the picture are the baby's aunt and uncle, self-described Trump supporters, took the child from home and brought to the hospital to meet the President.

    Words fail me in describing Trump and his supporters at this point, but depraved certainly approaches adequacy.

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    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  14. #269
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    'He's losing his s---': Trump's advisers are increasingly worried about his mental state following days of erratic behavior.

    • "No one knows what to expect from him anymore," one former White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations about the president, told Insider. "His mood changes from one minute to the next based on some headline or tweet, and the next thing you know his entire schedule gets tossed out the window because he's losing his s---."
    • Trump has spent the past several days fixated on his false claim that Alabama was going to be hit by Hurricane Dorian. He has also taken time to lob attacks at his perceived enemies, like the actress Debra Messing, former FBI Director James Comey, and the "LameStream media."
    • "He's deteriorating in plain sight," one Republican strategist who is in frequent contact with the White House told Insider on Friday.
    • But one person who was close to Trump's legal team during the Russia investigation told Insider his public statements were "nothing compared to what he's like behind closed doors."
    • "He's like a bull seeing red," this person added. "There's just no getting through to him, and you can kiss your plans for the day goodbye because you're basically stuck looking after a 4-year-old now."


    President Donald Trump's aides and confidants are growing more and more concerned about his mental state after days of erratic behavior, wild outbursts, and bizarre fixations.

    "No one knows what to expect from him anymore," one former White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations about the president, told Insider. "His mood changes from one minute to the next based on some headline or tweet, and the next thing you know his entire schedule gets tossed out the window because he's losing his s---."

    The president's advisers are particularly worried about his stubborn refusal to acknowledge that a tweet he sent over the weekend claiming that Alabama was going to be hit by Hurricane Dorian was false. They believe that his frustration is compounded by stress about the 2020 election and the economy's recent downturn.

    "People are used to the president saying things that aren't true, but this Alabama stuff is another story," the former official said. "This was the president sending out patently false information about a national-emergency situation as it was unfolding."

    Trump's latest outbursts on the matter came Friday as he railed against the media for fact-checking him on the claim.

    "The Fake News Media was fixated on the fact that I properly said, at the beginnings of Hurricane Dorian, that in addition to Florida & other states, Alabama may also be grazed or hit," he tweeted. "They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn't). Check out maps."

    Trump went on to complain that "this nonsense has never happened to another President. Four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology. But there are many things that the Fake News Media has not apologized to me for, like the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate! The LameStream Media and their Democrat ... partner should start playing it straight. It would be so much better for our Country!"

    Later Friday, the president posted a misleading video that included a CNN clip from Wednesday, August 28, in which a reporter discussed how the hurricane was threatening several US states, including Alabama. The video then played the reporter saying "Alabama" on loop, cut to a clip of Trump nodding, and then to a doctored clip of CNN's logo superimposed onto a moving truck which careened off the road and caught fire.

    But Trump's first tweet about Alabama being in Hurricane Dorian's path came on Saturday, by which time weather forecasters had determined that it was not going to be hit.

    'He's deteriorating in plain sight'
    As of Friday evening, Trump had posted 13 tweets and five maps about Alabama and the storm to try to prove his original tweet was correct, despite the fact that he'd been publicly rebuked by the National Weather Service. He also showed reporters an altered map of the storm's path on Wednesday to defend his claims, a move that may even be illegal, according to federal law.

    "He's deteriorating in plain sight," one Republican strategist who's in frequent contact with the White House told Insider on Friday.

    Asked why the president was obsessed with Alabama instead of the states that would actually be affected by the storm, the strategist said, "you should ask a psychiatrist about that; I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment."

    Trump often airs his grievances publicly, either on Twitter or while speaking with reporters, which means the world has an unprecedented window into the president's stream of consciousness.

    For instance, on Labor Day weekend, as Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas and made its way to the US's mainland, Trump took breaks in between golfing to post more than 120 tweets.

    In addition to updates on Hurricane Dorian and quote tweets of fawning praise of his presidency from Fox News, the subjects of Trump's tweets included:

    • Former FBI Director James Comey.
    • Four freshman Democratic congresswomen of color known as "the squad."
    • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
    • "Failing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman."
    • "Amazon Washington Post."
    • The "LameStream Media."
    • The liberal actress and activist Debra Messing.


    'He's like a bull seeing red'
    Messing provoked ire from both sides of the aisle when she posted a tweet last week calling for a public list of Trump donors who will attend an upcoming fundraiser for him in Beverly Hills, California.

    The "Will & Grace" actress' tweet drew a harsh response from "The View" cohost Whoopi Goldberg, who likened it to the McCarthyism of the 1950s.

    Trump had Messing on his mind as recently as Thursday, when he referenced Goldberg's comments and tweeted, "Bad 'actress' Debra The Mess Messing is in hot water. She wants to create a 'Blacklist' of Trump supporters, & is being accused of McCarthyism."

    The president also latched onto another tweet Messing posted in which she praised a sign in front of an Alabama church implying that black voters who support Trump are mentally ill. Messing later apologized for "recklessly" sharing the sign and added that its use of the term "mentally ill" was "wrong & hurtful."

    Trump called Messing a "racist because of the terrible things she said about blacks and mental illness" and added that if the actress Roseanne Barr — an avid Trump supporter — had said the same thing, she would have been fired.

    Barr was fired from her sitcom last year after making racist comments about an aide to former President Barack Obama. "Will Fake News NBC allow a McCarthy style Racist to continue?" Trump wrote, referring to Messing.

    The actress responded by linking to a New Yorker piece this week that detailed Trump's wild behavior over the past month.

    She added that she hoped "his family gets him the help he needs. Sad."

    Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, also weighed in on Trump's state of mind on Friday.

    "I think the president is in severe mental decline, and I'm not saying that now because I'm a political adversary or I disavowed him. I'm saying that objectively just looking at what's going on," Scaramucci said at the Toronto Global Forum.

    This isn't the first time questions have been raised about Trump's mental state and his fitness for office. In fact, Trump's mental stability is a regular topic of discussion in the White House.

    This was confirmed by the anonymous author of a famous 2018 New York Times op-ed who said Trump's aides routinely ignore or dismiss his orders for the good of the country. Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" and Bob Woodward's "Fear: Trump in the White House" detailed similar instances.

    And the former special counsel Robert Mueller also found that Trump's myriad efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation were largely unsuccessful only because his underlings refused to carry out his directives.

    One person who was close to Trump's legal team during the Russia investigation told Insider his public statements were "nothing compared to what he's like behind closed doors."

    "He's like a bull seeing red," this person added. "There's just no getting through to him, and you can kiss your plans for the day goodbye because you're basically stuck looking after a 4-year-old now."

    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Link
    _______________
    There will be a reckoning one day for all the people that have supported, enabled and covered up for this man over his lifetime and especially in the past few years. I just hope the rest of us don't have to face the fallout.

    As much as I'd love to see Donald Trump defeated at the polls by millions of votes (again), I don't know if he's even going to make it to Election Day at this rate:

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    But, you know, at least he's against abortion.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  15. #270
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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