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2020 American Political Scene

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  • astralis
    It is entirely possible that electing Trump was short-sighted thinking, but...that's not clear cut, it involves hindsight, and you're still trading away your shot at the highest office in the land for a gamble. You probably will retain the Senate and have a more favorable Senate map in 2018 (as evidenced by the GOP pickups despite a wave election otherwise), but you're surrendering the opportunity to appoint a LOT of Conservative Justices (basically guaranteed) to appoint a lot of moderate justices instead...and, plus, you already lose the one seat for Scalia, you lose any chance of Ginsburg/probably Breyer, and you run the chance of losing a Thomas as well, plus, god forbid Roberts gets by a car or something. You just don't gamble with that sort of thing.
    I'd rather have legislative dominance compared to judicial dominance, because at fifth and last, the judicial branch is the weakest of the three branches. plus, you're talking about the difference between centrist judges and conservative ones here.

    There would absolutely be talk of abolishing the legislative filibuster because the legislative filibuster is on its last legs anyways. The filibuster has been eroding for quite some time and both parties are more concerned with naked power: that thing is not long for this world regardless.
    Democrats wouldn't be the ones doing it, though: under the likely scenario, they'd be so badly cut down that they'd be screeching about minority privileges. the -only- reason why getting rid of the legislative filibuster and packing the court is even a thing -- and it's not even a very high-probability thing, because as I've mentioned before most elected Dems are remarkably reticent about actually playing realpolitik, unlike the Republicans -- is because there's now the prospect of unified, but not overwhelming, Dem control, and the prospect of Mitch McConnell being Mitch McConnell.

    the GOP wouldn't work the same way because McConnell instinctively knows that these veto points by definition assist the conservative party.

    The only obvious move in hindsight is to not let Donald Trump have the nomination, but that's on GOP primary voters. I'll gladly take my share of the blame, by the time of the IL primary it was down between Cruz and Trump, and Trump seemed less like a comic book supervillain than Cruz. Jeb! and Rubio and Kasich never stood a chance.
    yeah, the GOP as a party has let the inmates overrun the asylum. the same party which could dutifully trot out McCain and Romney couldn't do it again in 2016, and now they're going to pay the price for this inability, as Trump will now likely be beaten to the ground worse than either, and take the GOP Senate with him.


    because if the GOP was able to nominate people like Larry Hogan or Charlie Baker on the national level in 2016, we'd probably be headed for a generation worth of conservative dominance at this point.
    Last edited by astralis; 14 Oct 20,, 03:23.

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  • GVChamp
    Originally posted by astralis View Post

    see, I think this is simply short-term thinking, even if you're taking a center-right perspective.

    IE, if we look back to 2016, a Clinton Presidency would have almost certainly led to continued bleeding of Congressional Dems, not to mention state governors; the highest probability chance would have been absolute legislative gridlock, with the GOP holding the House and Senate for the entire Presidency.

    on the state level, same thing.

    with vacancies on the Supreme Court, Clinton by inclination and by political reality would have been forced to choose moderates like Garland.

    there would certainly be no talk of blowing up the legislative filibuster, or packing the Supreme Court, etc.

    Clinton would likely have been either a one-term President, or win a second term by the skin of her teeth, which would mean continued bleeding at the legislative levels...just in time for the 2020 census, which would have slaughtered Dems for another 10 years-- probably worse, because the GOP would control the levers of apportionment even more than previously. that would have probably offset Dem demographic gains. my God, the Dems would probably be at 160-170 House seats right now, and 40 Senate seats in this scenario.

    instead, with Trump, -South Carolina- is in play at the Senate level; there's a Dem Senator from -Alabama-.

    the way things are going, we're likely going to end up with Dems have 240-250 seats in the House, maybe even 260 if we get lucky; LIKELY 51 or 52 seats in the Senate, and 53-54 if we get lucky. at the Presidential level, Trump will likely be defeated as bad as Dole was in '96; with a bit of luck, as bad as Mike Dukakis in '88.

    and, by God, I hope shortly thereafter we'll see the destruction of the legislative filibuster and at a minimum, DC and Puerto Rico as states.

    plus, with the Trump family still kicking around, Dems will certainly not go back to sleep.

    I don't think tax cuts and the judges are a good trade off.
    I am having an extremely hard time figuring out how to use the multi-quote functions with the new format, so I am not sure I can easily link in TBM or TH. At the moment I only have time for a single post, so, meh, I'll respond later.

    It is entirely possible that electing Trump was short-sighted thinking, but...that's not clear cut, it involves hindsight, and you're still trading away your shot at the highest office in the land for a gamble. You probably will retain the Senate and have a more favorable Senate map in 2018 (as evidenced by the GOP pickups despite a wave election otherwise), but you're surrendering the opportunity to appoint a LOT of Conservative Justices (basically guaranteed) to appoint a lot of moderate justices instead...and, plus, you already lose the one seat for Scalia, you lose any chance of Ginsburg/probably Breyer, and you run the chance of losing a Thomas as well, plus, god forbid Roberts gets by a car or something. You just don't gamble with that sort of thing.

    There would absolutely be talk of abolishing the legislative filibuster because the legislative filibuster is on its last legs anyways. The filibuster has been eroding for quite some time and both parties are more concerned with naked power: that thing is not long for this world regardless.

    You're also surrendering incumbency advantage, which means you are not only forfeiting 2016, you're likely forfeiting 2020 as well, which means you have set yourself up for 4 consecutive Democratic administrations, which is not something any GOP leadership would consider good. You are ASSUMING that 2020 will be a nail-biter, when incumbency and economic advantages are such that the GOP will be fighting from a 5+ point deficit, plus having to fight whatever coattails she might have.

    You are also assuming a worst case scenario for the GOP where the Court gets packed, legislative filibuster gets eliminated AND a whole bunch of liberal legislation gets passed AND PR gets admitted as a state despite not having a referendum actually supporting that status. There's a favorable Senate Map in 2022, but 2024 is a different story. Biden is rapidly decaying, Kamala is no Biden, you might very well be running against Romney again, and then what?

    The only obvious move in hindsight is to not let Donald Trump have the nomination, but that's on GOP primary voters. I'll gladly take my share of the blame, by the time of the IL primary it was down between Cruz and Trump, and Trump seemed less like a comic book supervillain than Cruz. Jeb! and Rubio and Kasich never stood a chance.

    This is all besides the initial point, which is that Trump hasn't done anything. That's not true. Trump has been "meh" from a policy perspective. My biggest beef is a poor COVID response (with equal blame on governors and the people who think they are doing science), and pointless trade wars. I don't particularly like his tax evasion, but ultimately I trust the IRS on that.

    And I absolutely 100% don't trust the Democrats. If ACB gets confirmed, the Dems commit to NOT packing the Court, and the ticket was Klobuchar/Pete, I could vote Dem, but not outside that scenario.
    Last edited by GVChamp; 14 Oct 20,, 01:09.

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  • TopHatter
    commented on 's reply
    We’re watching Trump’s 7th bankruptcy unfold

    As a businessman, Donald Trump ran 6 businesses that declared bankruptcy because they couldn’t pay their bills. As the president running for a second term, Trump is repeating some of the mistakes he made as a businessman and risking the downfall of yet another venture: his own political operation.

    In the 1980s, Trump was a swashbuckling real-estate investor who bet big on the rise of Atlantic City after New Jersey legalized gambling there. He acquired three casinos that by 1991 couldn’t pay their debts. The Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy in 1991, the Trump Plaza and the Trump Castle in 1992. Lenders restructured the debt rather than liquidate and Trump put his casino holdings into a new company that went bankrupt in 2004. The company that emerged from that restructuring declared bankruptcy in 2009. Trump’s 6th bankruptcy was the Plaza Hotel, which he bought in 1988. It went bankrupt by 1992.

    Trump’s surprise victory in 2016 paralleled the arrival of the brash upstart in Atlantic City more than 30 years earlier. But in the fourth year of his presidency, the Trump operation is once again reeling. Voters give him poor marks for handling the coronavirus crisis, underscored by an outbreak at the White House that infected Trump himself. Democrat Joe Biden is beating Trump is most swing states and an Election Day blowout is possible. Trump has suggested he won’t leave office if he loses, threatening a constitutional crisis and his own political legacy.

    The lessons of Trump’s bankruptcies explain much of the Trump campaign’s current tumult. Here are 5 similarities:

    Trump loses focus. As a real-estate developer, Trump had a reputation as somebody who relished the dealmaking but not the everyday work of running the companies he bought. “In business, he would focus for about two or three days before the closing, and after that he would lose interest,” one former associate told the New York Times for a 2016 analysis of the Plaza Hotel bankruptcy. Trump himself has admitted this. “The fact is, you do feel invulnerable,” he told author Timothy O’Brien, author of the 2005 biography “Trump Nation.” “And then you have a tendency to take your eye off the ball.”

    Winning the 2016 election was the biggest deal of Trump’s life, and he pursued it vigorously, with his “Make America Great Again” campaign that effectively targeted disaffected working-class voters who felt ripped off by corporate greed and offshoring. Trump’s 2020 campaign is vapid by comparison. There’s no unifying campaign slogan, no clear agenda for a second term, no tangible pitch to voters. Mostly, Trump just tries to bash Biden and scare voters into thinking Democrats will let criminals roam freely and tax everybody into poverty. It’s like Trump closed a megadeal in 2016 but can’t get excited about negotiating an extension in 2020.

    He ignores warnings and overshoots. Trump got into trouble in Atlantic City because he didn’t know when to stop. Casinos were profitable where he bought his first two, the Plaza and the Castle. But as casinos proliferated in Atlantic City, the market got saturated and profit margins plunged. Some experts warned Trump was vastly overspending when he took on $820 million in debt to develop the Taj Mahal in the late 1980s. But Trump brushed them off and relied on his own rosy assumptions. The casino had cash-flow problems from the beginning and declared bankruptcy in July 1991, just 16 months after its lavish opening. Had Trump satisfied himself with the first two casinos, he might have had no casino bankruptcies in his career, instead of 5.

    Trump’s most unregulated excess as president has been his fear-mongering and vilification. Trump could have built on the coalition of working-class voters and libertarian businesspeople who elected him in 2016 by pursuing pragmatic policies that made him seem like a problem-solver. Instead, he has relentlessly bullied his critics and blamed immigrants, liberals, civil-rights activists and other groups for getting in his way. Most critically, Trump ignored public-health experts who urged aggressive action to halt the coronavirus spread, instead trying to persuade the public everything would be fine. Trump’s coalition now seems to be shrinking rather than expanding, as his support among women, seniors and other key voting blocs crumbles.

    Unkept promises. While seeking a license for the Taj Mahal in 1988, Trump told gaming officials he could lock in financing at the lowest possible “prime” rate, which was around 9% at the time. That helped him get the license, even though some officials had doubts about Trump. But Trump ended up paying a 14% rate, which contributed to the casino’s cash flow problems and its bankruptcy. Trump left hundreds of contractors unpaid as the casinos cratered, and some workers ultimately lost pensions.

    As a candidate and then president, Trump promised to drain the swamp, release his tax returns, make Mexico pay for a border wall, revive the coal industry and vanquish the coronavirus by summer. Nope, nope, nope, nope and nope. As for a second term, Trump is promising 10 million new jobs, more tax cuts, a quick return to normal, and a redo on unfulfilled 2016 promises, such as a terrific new health care plan. Most politicians overpromise, but Trump does it on an almost outlandish scale.

    He holds his partners hostage. Trump’s lenders lost hundreds of millions of dollars on his bankruptcies and other underperforming businesses, but they’ve often written off the losses and extended Trump even more credit, because it’s better than liquidation. One former chairman of New Jersey’s casino commission described Trump as “too big to fail” in Atlantic City: Had his casinos stopped operating, it would have devastated the local economy. So lenders and gaming officials found ways to keep Trump in business, while reducing the control he had over those businesses so he couldn’t single-handedly get in over his head again.

    Dozens of Republican senators and members of Congress are now tied to Trump in the political equivalent of a banking relationship. As Trump won control of the Republican party, fellow Republicans lent him their support in an all-or-nothing bid for political dominance. When Trump was winning, so were they. But if Trump goes down, some of those will sink with him. That could cost Republicans Senate elections in states such as Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina and give Democrats control of the Senate. If Biden wins the White House as well, Democrats would control the legislative and executive branches in a withering wipeout for Trump and his GOP allies.

    Trump always gets another chance. For his many stumbles, Trump has always recovered and found new ways to advance his interests. After struggling in the 1990s, Trump pivoted his business away from development projects toward licensing and management deals. His star rose higher than ever when he became a reality TV star on “The Apprentice,” even as his casino company went bust two more times. And of course he capitalized on that fame to run for president in 2016, vanquishing two political dynasties—the Bush and Clinton families—on his way to the White House.

    So if Trump loses in 2020, and suffers the type of embarrassing setback he did with his casino or hotel failures, it certainly won’t be the end of Donald Trump. He has a remarkable gift for salesmanship that always seems to lead to another deal—sometimes with former partners who soured on him and then warmed again. In 2008, when Trump was struggling to sell condominiums in his new Chicago tower, he sued the lender, Deutsche Bank, to get out of some of the loan payments. The two parties settled after two years of legal wrangling, and in 2011 Deutsche Bank started lending Trump money again. Trump probably hopes 2020 voters are equally forgiving.

    I wonder about the author's conclusion though. If Trump loses the election, he's going to be a completely different place than he's ever been before. And his lenders probably know it too.

    You can only roll the dice so many times before the odds finally catch up with you.

  • TopHatter
    Trump's properties made $238,000 on Secret Service bills from Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr.'s visits

    President Trump's travel has diverted a lot of money to his properties — and his children are partly responsible.

    As of The Washington Post's most recent count, the U.S. government has spent $1.2 million at Trump's properties around the world throughout his presidency. At least $238,000 of that stemmed from Trump's adult children's visits as they requested Secret Service protection, the Post reports via Secret Service records.

    When Eric Trump headed to Trump golf courses in Scotland; or when Donald Trump Jr. went on a hiking tip to Canada; or when Ivanka Trump stayed at their Bedminister, New Jersey, resort even when it was closed for the coronavirus pandemic; the Secret Service was billed. The Trump administration hasn't revealed just how much it pays to house Secret Service agents at Trump hotels, but Eric Trump, who runs the Trump Organization, has insisted they charge a minimal rate. On bills that do list a room rate, $175 a night was the cheapest price found, the Post reports.

    "Government ethics experts say that nothing is wrong with Trump's children seeking protection from the Secret Service," the Post writes. But it's more dubious given that their family owns the businesses charging the Secret Service for rooms, "creat[ing] the appearance that Trump family members were exploiting their publicly funded protection for private financial gain," the Post continues.

    The Secret Service, the White House, and Ivanka Trump all declined to comment to the Post. Eric, Donald Jr., and Tiffany Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

    Trump donates his presidential salary to charity!!

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  • TopHatter
    The Trumpist Death Cult
    The president is an egotistical, narcissistic shaman who promises his adoring worshipers that he will right all wrongs.

    In 1993, during the Branch Davidian standoff at the Mount Carmel compound outside Waco, Texas, in between doing live-shots for Fox News and Sky News, I met a curiosity-seeker.

    He stood among the members of the press, general public, and even t-shirt vendors—I still have a hat that says “Waco: We Ain’t Coming Out”—who arrived daily to try and get a closer look at the madness inside the compound.

    “What makes someone want to join a cult like this?” the man asked me.

    That question has stuck with me—years after the ATF raid and two-month FBI siege that culminated in gunfire and flames and scores of dead.

    The study of Koresh’s death cult was intense. The Waco Tribune-Herald ran a series of investigative reports on the Branch Davidians and David Koresh called “The Sinful Messiah,” exposing allegations of Koresh abusing children and committing statutory rape, as well as fathering several children from a variety of women and girls, some as young as 13, among the Branch Davidians who lived with him.

    “I don’t think he was a madman,” Bob Ricks, the FBI’s main media spokesman throughout the standoff, said of Koresh 25 years later. “I think probably the best description of him is a master manipulator.”

    H.L. Mencken, unflinchingly clear-eyed, said that every great religion was susceptible to cults. Mystics, he wrote, drive many cults and the “essence of mysticism is that it breaks down all barriers between the devotee and his god, and thereby makes the act of worship a direct and personal matter.”

    David Koresh did that.

    Jim Jones did that.

    So does Donald Trump.

    Trump is, in his own perverse way, one of the greatest mystics of the 21st century. He is a masterful manipulator who told everyone from the beginning of his political career how he could shoot someone in front of witnesses and not lose a voter. He also explained that he calls the news media liars so people won’t believe us and will believe him.

    Like every mystic, Trump adheres to magic over science. When pressed about climate change, he said the scientists don’t know. When pressed about the pandemic he said it would magically disappear. He often refuses to wear a mask and may be responsible for as many as 40 people in and around the White House becoming infected by the coronavirus. Like the huckster selling snake oil or the phony shaman dancing around a fire, Trump proclaimed himself feeling “great” in a video he tweeted to his millions of adoring fans. His magic is that of the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, and few who love him would dare pull back the curtain.

    He is the political messiah who will right all wrongs, drain the swamp, build a wall, make the economy better, and turn life into heaven on earth. Only he can solve the problems—never mind that he caused most of them. He lies to convince his worshipers, who in turn believe him because he addresses their concerns. Something isn’t right if the common man is getting screwed so much and life is so tough. Trump must be right. He’s a common man to the common man. Millions of his evangelical Christian admirers act as though he is a Christian; they are unwilling or unable to see he clearly is not . In truth, he’s merely a rich, pampered insecure man who only worships himself. It’s hard to see as he gives those who feel so disaffected an enemy to hate. It’s not our fault, he says, it’s the swamp. It’s the deep state. It’s anyone but us.

    Like every cult leader, his outsized ego and narcissism fuel the rage he has against those who think or act differently than he. His closest disciples and believers have gone all in—because they see a path to glory and power they would otherwise not have. Stephen Miller, a man perpetually picked last for kickball, would never reach such heights without Trump, the mystic, as his mentor. Trump is a sedulous fly-catcher and he is among the best. He’s never worked for a living, but has convinced hard-working Americans that he alone knows what is best for the working man. He’s never served either in the military or in politics, prior to his run for president, but those who believe in him see a dedicated and selfless public servant who would charge into a tense standoff with guns blazing, like a cinematic Rambo.

    He will continue to preach as he does because he knows nothing else. His minions will take up arms on his behalf—triggered by the president whom the marginalized and the dangerous have found a friend. He is indirectly responsible for those who plotted to kidnap a governor. He told the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by. The KKK endorses him. Every violent paramilitary group in the United States flocks to him as Branch Davidians flocked to hear their messiah in Waco.

    The language is nearly the same. David Koresh spoke of an apocalypse at the hands of the federal government. So does Trump. Koresh said they were out to get him. So does Trump. Koresh violated the most basic forms of civility to maintain control. So does Trump.

    Though he may still be contagious from the coronavirus, he plans once again this week to hit the streets and attend a rally where his supporters will deny science, refuse to wear masks, and blow off social-distancing. Meanwhile, the White House remains a biohazard petri dish with staffers terrified of catching the virus from Typhoid Donny, a president who wants to serve and promote his cult.

    In the end, the Branch Davidians, assuring themselves that the apocalypse was upon them, died in a fire inside their own compound. Trump too says without his re-election, apocalypse could be upon us.

    Here’s hoping Trump and his cult go a different route than the Branch Davidians should the president lose his bid for re-election.

    I have to wonder how people like surfgun still blindly defend this man and refuse to believe (or care about) anything negative about Trump....but surfgun will never tell, and so we're left with simply shaking our heads at the pathetic absurdity of it all.

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  • TopHatter
    RESOLVED, That the Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention because committing mass suicide at the command of a deranged lunatic is something that nobody could've ever seen coming, trust us on this one.

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  • DOR
    When just about everything else in life seems turned completely upside down – shortened baseball seasons, postponed NFL games, social distancing, masks, and just about everyone facing financial difficulties, it's interesting to note two things that haven't changed one single bit.

    The Republican National Party platform, and the White House's rosy scenarios.

    First, the platform. On the GOPer website, it says this was passed at the 2020 national convention:

    “RESOLVED, That the Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention.”

    “RESOLVE, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order.”


    Now, granted this should be held up as the only example of the GOPers actually deciding that COVID-19 might be a good reason for people not to gather in groups and yell in each other's faces, as happens in political conventions. Or, campaign rallies. Or, fund raisers…

    For the record, the Democratic National Convention met virtually, and had no trouble producing and proclaiming a party platform.

    For the record, as the New York Times reported, party platforms are actually important. In the 1856 GOPer platform, the party called for ending polygamy and slavery, and building a transcontinental railroad. This year, this party non-platform says, quite literally, what ever The Trumpet wants, that's what we support. No questions asked.

    And, just for the record, the 2016 GOPer platform that is carried over unamended, is very adamant that any reference to “the President” refers to one Barack Hussein Obama II.

    Moving right along, the surrealism continues.

    If you wander into the Office of the Management of the Budget and have a look at the most prominent budget document on display, the first paragraph is standard “this is a budget, with lots of input from others, thanks.” The second paragraph starts off like this:
    “The American economy continues the longest expansion in its recorded history. The unemployment rate reached its deepest level in half a century ...”

    So, nothing's changed there, either.

    The economy will grow by 2.84%, prices will rise 1.9%, corporate profits by 9.3%, wages by 5.2%, and unemployment will average 3.7%.


    Last edited by DOR; 12 Oct 20,, 22:14.

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  • TopHatter
    commented on 's reply
    Trump will be slammed with a pile of personal lawsuits once he leaves office. Here are 9 major ones he'll have to face.

    Before and during his presidency, Donald Trump has been sued dozens of times. The lawsuits have alleged everything from business deals gone wrong to sexual assault.

    Some cases have been resolved or dismissed. But a number of them remain active, suspended or slowed until he leaves office. He he will have to face the onslaught of lawsuits if he loses reelection and becomes a private citizen once again.

    As Business Insider's Dave Levinthal previously reported, Trump will likely face a litany of federal investigations if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden next month. He may also be indicted for his role in covering up hush-money payments to Karen McDougal — a plot that sent his former lawyer Michael Cohen to prison.

    Norm Eisen, a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, told Business Insider there were several reasons Trump has been successful in avoiding court appearances.

    "Part of it is the power of the presidency," he said. "Part of it is the slowness of the system. He is the target of a number of litigation matters and investigations, but he's been able to take advantage, for example in the Vance [tax record] case, of the extreme slowness of the system."

    Some legal actions taken against Trump and his web of organizations have been successful. He, along with his children, agreed to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation after a New York state investigation found they repeatedly lied about charity work.

    Some have been settled in arbitration, like the 2018 lawsuit from Noel Cintron, Trump's longtime driver, who alleged he was owed $200,000 in unpaid overtime. Other plaintiffs, like Alva Johnson, who alleged Trump kissed her without consent at a 2016 Florida rally, have dropped their lawsuits. "I'm fighting against a person with unlimited resources," she told the Daily Beast after dropping the case in 2019.

    "There's going to be an accumulating number of these legal actions that are going to squeeze him more and more," Eisen said. "It will be more intense if he's not in the office and does not have the excuses of the presidency to block things. But in any event, he's facing accountability."

    Here are nine of the ongoing lawsuits Trump still has to deal with.

    Trump faces a defamation lawsuit from "The Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos.
    Summer Zervos, a contestant during the 2005 season of Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" sued President Trump in 2017, claiming that the president defamed her when denying her allegations that he sexually assaulted her in 2007.

    In 2019, Zervos claimed she had evidence, including calendar entries and emails, to back up her claims.

    Trump was at one point given a deadline to provide a deposition before the end of January 2020, but the case has since been paused.

    The Washington, DC, attorney general sued Trump Organization, claiming it was knowingly overcharged for services at the president's DC hotel.
    In September, a federal judge in Washington, DC, denied Trump's request to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleges that the Trump Organization improperly used nonprofit funds to enrich Trump's businesses, as NBC News reported.

    The suit was brought in January by Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl Racine over claims that Trump's inaugural committee spent more than $1 million at the president's DC hotel despite the fact it knew it was being overcharged for services, according to the report.

    Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll has also sued Trump, alleging he defamed her in denying that he raped her in the 90s.
    In June 2019, the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll accused President Donald Trump of raping her in a New York department store in the mid-90s.

    Following the president's denial of the allegations, Caroll in November 2019 sued the president for defamation.

    In a largely atypical move in September 2020, the White House asked the Department of Justice to intervene in defending the president in the defamation suit.

    The president still faces a lawsuit stemming from a 2015 altercation between his security and a group of protesters.
    The lawsuit was brought by a group of Mexican-Americans who protested at a 2015 rally outside of Trump Tower in New York.

    The plaintiffs claim security guards shoved them, destroyed their signs, and that Trump's head of security punched one of them in the head while another attempted to choke a protester, The Washington Post previously reported.

    In September 2019, a federal judge ordered Trump to testify in the case, although another judge issued a temporary stay against the order, according to the Post.

    The New York attorney general is also suing the Trump Organization to compel it to comply with her investigation.
    In August, New York Attorney General Letitia James brought a lawsuit against the Trump Organization in a state court in Manhattan, as part of an attempt to enforce an investigatory subpoena against the president's son, Eric, and his personal attorney, according to Bloomberg.

    In an August 21 letter, the attorney generals office said it "has not concluded its investigation and has not reached any determination regarding whether the facts identified to date establish violations of any applicable laws."

    As CNBC noted, James is investigating whether the Trump Organization inaccurately valued real estate on financial statements in order to obtain loans and economic and tax benefits.

    The president's former personal lawyer has sued the Trump Organization for nearly $2 million in unpaid fees.
    Michael Cohen, the president's former and since-disbarred personal lawyer, filed a lawsuit against in a New York court against Trump Organization from in 2019, claiming that it failed to pay him nearly $2 million in owed legal fees.

    A group of plaintiffs is suing Trump and his adult children, claiming they misled victims into selling products for ACN, a multi-level marketing company.
    In October 2019, a group of plaintiffs brought a class-action lawsuit alleging that Trump's adult children and an affiliate of the Trump Organization misled victims into selling products for American Communications Network.

    The group claims the Trump family misled them in order to enrich themselves from the multi-level marketing company, which charged people $499 to sell the goods, according to Reuters.

    The president's niece is suing Trump and his siblings.
    Mary Trump, the president's niece who in July published a book criticizing him, has sued the president, his sister, Mary, and his late brother Robert for cheating her out of an inheritance.

    In the lawsuit, filed in a New York state court in September, she accused the family of fraud and of a scheme "to siphon funds away from her interests, conceal their grift, and deceive her about the true value of what she had inherited."

    Trump Hotels is being sued for its actions relating to a property it formerly managed in Panama.
    In the initial suit, Orestes Fintiklis and his fund Ithaca Capital Investments, which took control of the property from Trump International Hotels Management in 2018, claimed that Trump mismanaged the Panama hotel. They requested $15 million in damages, as Bloomberg reported.

    Fintiklis also claimed he and his fund faced millions of dollars in liabilities because Trump underpaid taxes on the project. In March 2020, a federal judge allowed Trump's former business partners to amend their suit to add claims of fraud and breach of contract, according to the report.

    Looks like the federal government will have to stand in line if they do go after Trump.

    You can count on him to get even more batshit unhinged as time goes by....especially if he loses the election.

  • TopHatter
    Time to Rewrite the History Books

    High school history books generally portray Warren Harding as the most corrupt president ever. That's probably unfair to Harding, since he was probably a more-or-less honest man (by politician standards) but he was in charge when his secretary of the interior, Albert Bacon Fall, pulled off the Teapot Dome caper, leasing some oil reserves to his cronies at bargain-basement prices after taking bribes from them. But a new story in The New York Times makes it clear that even Fall was a very small time operator compared to Donald Trump. The article documents dozens among the hundreds of times businessmen got big "favors" from the government after either making big donations to Donald Trump's campaign or spending mucho moola at one of his properties. No president in history has even come close to approaching this level of direct corruption. If Trump loses and the new attorney general hires to a special prosecutor to dig through the muck, it will take many years to uncover even a fraction of it.

    Earlier stories in the Times show that most of Trump's properties are losing money big time and that he has a personal debt of $400 million coming due in the next 4 years, with almost no liquid assets to pay his creditors. If the debts are to Deutsche Bank, he can probably stiff the bank and get away with it. If the debts are to the Moscow-based Alfa Bank which is run by Vladimir Putin's cronies, that would not be a smart idea unless Trump likes tea that glows in the dark. In 2016, there were mysterious communications between Trump and the Alfa Bank, so that is a real possibility.

    Although Trump promised to drain the swamp, he has done the opposite. He has monetized the presidency. If you want something from the government, you have to pay up, one way or another. The scale of the corruption is shocking. Over 200 companies, special-interest groups, and foreign governments decided they were willing to join the pay-to-play game, did so, and reaped government benefits.

    Just 60 people with issues before the administration brought the Trump family business $12 million in the first two years of Trump's presidency. Almost all got what they wanted. The ones who didn't were likely victims of Trump's forgetfulness rather than his ire. The list of patrons at Trump's properties include foreign politicians, Florida sugar barons, a Chinese billionaire, a Serbian prince, clean-energy advocates and their adversaries in the oil industry, contractors seeking billions in government money, and much more. More than 70 groups threw lavish events at Trump's properties. Morgan Stanley spent over $156,000 at Trump's D.C. hotel for one event and Deloitte spent almost $350,000 there for another one. A lobbying group, the Food Marketing Institute, paid $1.2 million to Trump's Doral resort for some conferences there. Trump even had 34 fundraisers at his properties, which brought in $3 million to Trump himself as hotelier, in addition to what the campaign raised.

    Anthony Pratt, known as the cardboard king, is the face of Australia's richest family, which makes packaging materials. He donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration and built a plant in Ohio. A provision in the 2017 tax cut increased his personal wealth by $2 billion. The GEO Group runs private prisons and wanted a bigger slice of the federal prison pie. It gave $250,000 to Trump's inauguration and held events at some of Trump's properties. It suddenly had its federal contracts go up from $500 million a year to $900 million a year, a pretty good return on investment. Franklin Haney needed some permits from the Dept. of Energy and a $5 billion loan. He contributed $1 million to the inauguration and hired Trump's fixer, Michael Cohen, for $150,000/month to help with Haney's projects. Cohen didn't deliver, so Haney found a new fixer. In the end, he got what he wanted. Evangelical leaders generally weren't after government contracts, but they all got VIP treatment at Trump's hotels. Is it surprising that they tell their flocks to vote for him?

    The article is extremely long and very detailed. It goes on and on with details that might be of great interest to a special prosecutor working for a Biden Justice Dept. Will the disclosure of all this garden-variety corruption have any effect on the election? Probably not, because most of Trump's supporters will probably think it natural that if someone does you a favor (like donating $1 million to your inauguration), then it is only natural that you do him a favor (like awarding his company a billion-dollar government contract). People who don't like pay-to-play probably were not planning on voting for Trump anyway.

    It's been said that, should Biden win the presidency, he shouldn't go after Trump for such obvious corruption, as it would look like victor's justice or some such.

    At one point I actually agreed with that. (The State of New York on the other hand....)

    Now? Fuck it. Go after Trump with the full force and weight of the federal government. You know, that same force and weight that Trump used to both blatantly enrich himself and his Family, and also to shield himself from the legal consequences. Bury that fucker in the same grave that he tried buried things like the rule of law.

    Of course, if Trump wins....we can pretty much bury the very idea of America in that grave. He'll have 4 years to run completely wild, unchecked, unhindered. The Trump kleptocracy will be encased in stone and burnished by so-called conservatives that couldn't stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

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  • tantalus
    Originally posted by InExile View Post

    I still find it disappointing that most of the centre right in the United States chose to cast its lot with Donald Trump rather than align with centre to centre left forces like in countries like France or Germany to keep out the far right. Granted, this is partly due to the hyper partisanship of the two party system that makes co-operation with members from the opposite party more difficult.

    The policy wins mentioned in the post above while not insignificant, would have probably been accomplished by any Republican President. On the other Trump's erratic behavior, his disdain for rules, deliberate inciting of racial and religious tensions, weakening of the Western Alliance has caused lasting damage, even from a centre right perspective.

    And as said by Astralis, it is likely going to lead to a backlash against Trump and the Republicans that might lead to unified control of the US Government by Democrats, with an agitated and emboldened far left exerting increasing influence over the party.

    I still find it hard to believe that many on the 'centre-right' consider all this a better outcome than enduring most likely four or at the most eight years of a weakened Hillary Presidency.
    "Part" perhaps try all. America has been designed to change very slowly and not be particurly democratic. Advantages and disadvantages to that no doubt. But the demographics underneath have been changing far more quickly than washington. There should always be a disparity, but this gap is too great and as society continues to shift socially and technologically at an accelerated pace expect the problems and frustrations to increase.

    The incentives are all wrong. There is nothing to draw the republicans back to the centre as there is no short term pathway to political victory for them there, even if its the only long term redemption available for them.

    In europe its seems to be centre right vs centre left means some totally different. Not as divided on ethnic and cultural issues, more economic. The same groups are present but the majority in the centre parties are pulled towards the middle and those who go further right or left just form a new parties and then attract those who have less moderate views. This makes it easier for the moderates to stay moderate and to avoid governements that shift too far away from the middle. Even when problems arise there are more and easier pathways back than the american system faciliatates. Its also bemusing to imagine there are only "2 ways" to advance society.

    Iam curious what are the prospects of adding new states to the federation, the candidates and obstacles in the coming years?

    And likewise how would american change the way senators are distributed?

    And how would america go about installing preference voting/ranked voting?

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  • Bigfella
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    And more people who need arresting....
    I'm sure there are some 'very fine people' in that group.

    ....what state does Surfy live in?

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  • Albany Rifles
    And more people who need arresting....

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  • DOR
    Bryan Caplan, an economics professor at George Mason University with ties to the all-regulation-is-bad Cato Institute, started a blog post with this:

    “Simplistic summary of a long debate on paternalism:
    Hard Paternalist:Government should force weak human beings to do what's in their own best interest.
    Knee-Jerk Libertarian: No, that's totalitarian.
    Soft Paternalist: Government should nudge weak human beings to do what's in their own best interests.
    (Nowhere is there any mention of who should decide what's right and wrong, so don't even go there.)

    He then goes on to suggest that there is no difference between forcing and nudging.
    End of Prof Caplan's responsibility for anything posted here.

    Later parts of the post weren't visible when I first saw this, so my mind filled in the blanks:
    • Hard Paternalist:Government should force weak human beings to do what's in their own best interest.
    • Knee-Jerk Libertarian: No, that's totalitarian.
    • Soft Paternalist: Government should nudge weak human beings to do what's in their own best interests.
    • Behaviorist Economist: No, that's much too inefficient.
    • Democratic Policy Wonk: What if we simultaneously make it attractive to do what people should do, and unattractive to do what they shouldn't do?
    • GOPer Spin Doctor: That proves it! Those Godless Commies are coming for your guns and bibles! Quick, enact a massive tax cut for the richest and most powerful people on earth! It's our only hope!

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  • Albany Rifles
    By all means let's start arresting people....

    Changing official documents, whether intentionally or inadvertently, is a federal crime.

    How do I know? Because of my annual records management training I've been taking for over 20 years.

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  • DOR
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

    I was today years old before I knew....looks at notes....that I am a commie.
    Welcome to the club, but the first rule is don't talk about the club.

    = = =

    On a more fiscal note, sudden surges in federal deficits are almost always the result of a shock loss of revenue. Spending simply takes too long to kick in.

    Reagan's first, unprecedented round of deficits began to slow in 1986-87, when revenues finally caught up with spending. When the income ran out of steam in 1990-91, the deficits came roaring back, at unprecedented levels once again.

    Big surge in 1990s revenues and a very temporary (1993) and small ($26 bn) reduction in spending contributed to Clinton's surpluses, but again, it was the revenues that did all the heavy lifting.

    Bush Jr destroyed revenues – from annual $110-185 bn increases to a three-year combined fall of nearly $250 bn – while spending like a drunken sailor. By the time his economy crashed in 2008-09 it took six years to rebuild revenues to where they were in 2007.

    Gosh, those tax crazy Obama years sure were something, weren't they?

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