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January 09, 2017

Comments

Beyond that, what would be the legal authority for bombing Iran?

It's been decades since Congress bothered to worry about authorizing the use of force for attacks not involving putting (semi-)permanent, i.e. more than just a quick raid, boots on the ground. Why would an attack on Iran be any different? If Iran responded, that would be an attack on us, and that would be plenty of time for an AUMF.

Declaration of War? So ancient history.

A precedent in the other direction would be Syria, where Obama declined (for better or worse) to act without Congressional buy-in.

To the point of the OP, I think Mattis' skills are more as a war-fighter, and less as a policy deep thinker. Not that's he's not an intelligent guy, by reputation he's brilliant. But he has, I think, the classic military mission focus - fight and win wars.

Not sure how that will effect how things play out.

Between Trump and Mattis, Israel might finally get its wish for the US to bomb Iran on its behalf.

Where does the 2011 Libya fit in in this sort of thing, he asks before he googles...

Upon googling, it seems the Libya intervention might provide some cover for a non-congressionally approved Trump Administration Iran bombing. Of course, given the current makeup of Congress he probably wouldn't have a tough time getting something like that approved if he endeavored to ask.

Good times.

Libya intervention might provide some cover for a non-congressionally approved Trump Administration Iran bombing

The Libya intervention was approved by the UN Security Council.

I'll edit:

The Libya intervention was approved by the UN Security Council; therefore, it was legal under international law.

And domestic law?

It was a NATO treaty obligation.

A discussion of Libya and the War Powers Act.

I would argue that Putin's assault on the American electoral system was an act of war, and should be treated as such, including annulling the election.

I don't think there is any provision in US law to annul an election. No matter what the cause.

The Obama administration's argument under the war powers act would authorize all manner of bombing around the world, including in Iran, ISTM, solely on POTUS's say so.

The War Powers Act really needs a trip to SCOTUS. Either it means something, or it doesn't, but the Presidents sorta acting like it doesn't matter, and the Congress not really defending their prerogatives and decisions beyond grumbling if the other party is in the WH, is not a good situation. And frankly, if the strong-imperial-executive proponents prevail, WTH does Congress having the sole Constitutional authority to declare war even mean? Ah, originalists and their fair-weather originalism...

The Obama administration's argument under the war powers act would authorize all manner of bombing around the world, including in Iran, ISTM, solely on POTUS's say so.

But not bombing that would violate international law.

The Supreme Court hasn't interpreted the War Powers Act, but it's been litigated, and courts have held that where there are legislative remedies available (cutting off funding, impeachment, etc.), courts shouldn't weigh in.

In other words, when Congress is too cowardly to act, the courts aren't going to do it for Congress.

But not bombing that would violate international law.

Could be, but it would be nice to have a domestic constraint given that the GOP seems to think international law is inapplicable to the US.

And frankly, if the strong-imperial-executive proponents prevail, WTH does Congress having the sole Constitutional authority to declare war even mean?

IIRC John Yoo wrote an OLC memo (or maybe it was him blathering on elsewhere) arguing that the Constitutional authority to declare war was only applicable to trigger certain diplomatic niceties and maybe other administrative-type things, but not to authorize actual acts of war, which was given to the president via the CinC clause. Like his other arguments, this one seems too absurd to even engage.

In other words, when Congress is too cowardly to act, the courts aren't going to do it for Congress.

I want to agree - because seriously, Congress has abdicated its role as a co-equal branch - but the trends in the last decade or so really makes me reluctant to believe it'll matter. Bush didn't back down on most of his claims of unilateral authority until he received (or looked to be about to receive) judicial rebuke, and as far as the underlying assumptions of imperial executive theorizing goes, all our last few presidents have been on the same page. I am, however, cynical and pessimistic on this score.

it would be nice to have a domestic constraint given that the GOP seems to think international law is inapplicable to the US.

Yes, but it's unlikely that Donald Trump would just do whatever the courts said. I mean, c'mon.

" ... Constitutional authority to declare war was only applicable to trigger certain diplomatic niceties and maybe other administrative-type things"

Not familiar with Yoo's memo, but that is the reason why we don't go around declaring war even though we constantly seem to be at war. It does trigger a lot of obligations and automatic diplomatic relationships that we don't want triggered. That's worth reading about, which I have done, and I think we've discussed it here in the past, but I don't feel like finding links now. There's a ton of information about it, from the Korean "war" onward.

Upon googling it was Yoo's book and perhaps his 1996 law review article. I'm sure a declaration of war does trigger certain things, I guess what I was rebelling against was Yoo's strongly argued point that the declaration doesn't apply to the actual firing of weapons and killing of people, which is the sole province of POTUS.

It would be nice if SCOTUS weighed in on the WPA, I'm not sure the political question doctrine needs or should apply to the Act's constitutionality and its interpretation. It is a law, after all.

It's also worth considering that the military violation of another nation's sovereignty should be a significant event that triggers all the obligations and implications which have been previously laid out by law, treaty, and regulation, and avoiding doing so is doing an end-run around our legal obligations. It's also not a permanent solution to avoiding them, as certain laws and obligations have been written by those who are wise to this and use language like "war or overseas military contingency operation" or "undeclared war". Even so, should we want our government to repudiate its obligations under a declaration of war? They're not all international obligations; there's a fair number of points where a refusal to declare war when going to war makes life difficult (and/or legally ambiguous - and again, I'm talking about under domestic law, not international) for our own citizens, particularly the Servicemembers we're asking to go into harm's way.

We have laws and regulations written according to the assumption that if you go to war, war will be declared. Re-defining war to avoid those is an attack on Rule of Law. So yeah, it would be good for WPA's constitutionality be settled, and it would be better still for Congress to seek to exercise its Constitutionally-defined role in the Republic.

I'm not sure the political question doctrine needs or should apply to the Act's constitutionality and its interpretation.

The issue though is how it's enforced even if the Court weighs in. The sole enforcement mechanism exists in Congress, and they have all the tools to do whatever they're going to do with it now, just the same as if the court said that this or that was illegal. In other words, it wouldn't really make a difference how the court interpreted it since, ultimately, Congress can enforce it now in just the same way, and couldn't do any more about it if the Court said something was illegal.

Fear the worst.

I believe we will see simultaneous strikes on Iran and North Korea, perhaps using strategic nuclear weapons, which will escalate very quickly to nuclear confrontation with Russia and China, though I wouldn't be surprised if Trump/Flynn and Putin, like-minded mass murderers, reach an accommodation instead to go after some third target, maybe California.

There will no one in the executive branch to stop them:

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a52145/trump-nuclear-team-dismissed/

I only hope for as much time as possible once the missiles are airborne to kill as many right-wing Republicans as possible before they escape justice via nuclear annihilation.

Fear the worst.

Done.

Congress can enforce it now in just the same way, and couldn't do any more about it if the Court said something was illegal.

Sure, except they would have the SCOTUS decision as CYA.

Sure, except they would have the SCOTUS decision as CYA.

I'm fine with that, but I doubt that it will happen.

No nothing is going to happen until things reach crisis level, which I guess might be right soon.

The issue though is how it's enforced even if the Court weighs in. The sole enforcement mechanism exists in Congress, and they have all the tools to do whatever they're going to do with it now, just the same as if the court said that this or that was illegal. In other words, it wouldn't really make a difference how the court interpreted it since, ultimately, Congress can enforce it now in just the same way, and couldn't do any more about it if the Court said something was illegal.

...except the executive can (and does) state that those remedies are unconstitutional, but would not have that option if the courts weighed in, short of provoking a Constitutional crisis. So no, it would make a difference. The above argument suggests that the Courts have no place in intervening in conflicts between the Executive and Legislative, which runs counter to the fundamental principles underlying judicial review, and is frankly an innovative idea in the least favorable sense of the word.

Or what Ugh said in one line vs. my seven.

I don't know that the Executive has ever stated that the power of appropriations is unconstitutional, or the power of impeachment. Congress can cut off funding. Everything costs money. Congress can impeach. President is gone.

https://couldhappentoyou.tumblr.com/post/155592322248/the-15-warnings-signs-of-impending-tyranny

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2016/11/21/learning-history-can-save-america-tyranny

The latter is by Tim Snyder who, as Russell and others might know, is the author of "Bloodlands" and "Black Earth", about the meat grinder of Eastern Europe/Ukraine during World War II, and the Holocaust, respectively.

The conservative movement (as these vermin call themselves the world over, and believe me, ISIS is conservative too) in Poland with ties to Bannon, is already gearing up to dispatch it's remaining Jewry one way or another.

Snyder doesn't fuck around getting to the point.

Congress can cut off funding. Everything costs money.

And if the run-amok executive decides to ignore that, too? They are, after all, in charge of the Treasury. Just print more money and spend it. (Even easier, now that you can just move electrons, without it being necessary to run the physical printing presses.)

The thing is, if you have an administration that just doesn't give a damn about what the law is, who bells the cat?

I do recall the Bush Administration preparing arguments that it could continue operations in Iraq even if Congress cut off funds.

Honestly, given the current nature of warfare as compared to the 1780s variety, I would be open to some kind of distinction between a ground invasion and, e.g., bombing, but that's not what's written.

Bombing would seem to be pretty clearly analogous to having the navy bombard a country from off shore. Which was certainly an option in the 1780s.

That's a fair point, but did people do that if they weren't intending to also invade in those days, or if they hadn't raised an army prior to the shelling? I genuinely don't know so perhaps offshore shelling was common in those days.

It's probably worth considering the Barbary Wars as far as that goes. For the first, naval bombardment and blockade was pursued (in addition to more dramatic acts), but Jefferson was very explicit that he needed Congress to authorize that course of action.

Count:

Please do not use the word "vermin" to refer to human beings. This term is a red flag for eliminationism, and I won't be having with that. Especially on a day when bomb threats were called in to Jewish community centers up and down the east coast.

One should look on the bright side. Mathis might be able to satisfy his Iran hating needs by bombing some weak helpless group that is loosely tied to Iran and can't fight back effectively. As luck would have it ...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-united-states-bloody-alliance-with-saudi-arabia/2017/01/05/ec1b0a1e-cd1a-11e6-a87f-b917067331bb_story.html?utm_term=.0ffda2a3aa91

OK, Doc. No human beings should be called "vermin". Let's not needlessly insult mice, cockroaches and others of God's creatures by comparing them to Trump's voters and toadies.

--TP

Tony:

I know you're trying to be funny, but: stop.

Historically, calling people "vermin" has been a tried-and-true step toward thinking of them as elements we should do without. Pest control.

Don't go there. This is not a joke.

Getting back to Mattis, my impression is that he is a better choice for Sec Def than I could ever have imagined Trump making. Mattis does not appear to me to be a warmonger by nature, nor do I believe he would agree to the use of nuclear weapons lightly, which is relevant and important under the rules of National Command Authority(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Command_Authority).

It sounds to me like the problems, such as they were, between the White House and Mattis were management issues. It is the responsibility of the local commander to make recommendations based on the local situation and pass those up the line. Higher level commanders then assess things at their level and send commands back down. I doubt that Mattis didn't understand that higher level objectives might make his recommendations untenable.

It also seems that Mattis might be one of the people that Trump actually respects (e.g. Trump reconsidering torture after talking to Mattis).

Anyway, all I have is impressions and thoughts based on what little I have read about Mattis and his relationship to the White House. I'm still worried, but it sounds like Mattis might be the best that could be hoped for in the circumstances, and maybe even actually a good choice.

Doc, I respect you and I'll respect your demand until I disappear from OBWI on January 20, unless I show up thereafter if the subject is books, baseball, or Beatles.

Let me ask you something. Are the good people who belong to those Jewish Community Centers, many of them liberal American Jews, now under violent threat from conservative right wing elements succored, encouraged, and supported by filth who will now inhabit the White House in 12 days, going to get any help from this monster:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/trumps-israel-ambassador-likens-left-wing-jews-to-kapos.html

Kapo, indeed.

The situation is more dire than you imagine. In Poland especially, but across Europe, and of course in much of the right-wing Muslim world (yeah, the Mullahs are conservatives, just like the Shariah Republican Party), but also in Israel, the Jews who are under threat of elimination are moderate and liberal Jews.

The writer of this article should watch his back because his life in danger from Trump's typically bigoted anti-Semitic right wing supporters in league with his conservative Orthodox Jewish son-in-law and other conservative right-wing Jews now ascendant in America.

It's not that right-wingers are white bigots, or Jewish bigots, or gay bigots like Milo Yiannopoulus, or black bigots, or female bigots, its the common thread of their native right wing conservative bigotry against the Other, which includes any member of any of those groups, which includes you and me, who might be moderate or liberal, in nearly all formerly civilized western societies.

It's a pincher movement from all sides if you are a liberal of any race, religion, color, and gender.

The right wing movements in all societies must be stopped by all means necessary, because they are going to kill.

http://forward.com/opinion/359416/why-jews-must-fight-for-the-civil-rights-of-muslims/

In early 1930's Germany, if Jews had tried to preempt the brownshirt Nazi movement by openly labeling loud and clear those conservative right wing nationalist murderous Nazi vermin AS vermin and taken violent action against those white Nazi vermin, when the Jews were lined up in the streets and beaten and harassed, things early on might have taken a different course, I mean, I doubt it given the relative numbers, but maybe at least the first punch would have been a Jewish punch.

You're damned right it's not a joke.

But I know how strongly you feel about this, so this will the last of my comments in which that word will be used.

Thank you.

i'm with the good doctor.

i realize that many horses have left the barn, but let's try to round a few up.

please.

thanks count.

Tillerson might even be ok at state if he can divorce himself from Exxon and the oil &a gas industry and act in the US's interest.

72 bombs a day.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-s-bombed-iraq-syria-pakistan-afghanistan-libya-yemen-somalia-n704636

Yeah, but these are good bombs, because Obama!

ok, i'll bite - assuming the very obvious conflicts of interest could managed, why would tillerson be good at State?

to me the conflicts of interest are fairly glaring, and i'm not sure they can be waved away by divestiture. i'm also wary of his apparent history of trading with iran while they were under sanctions.

over to you. what's the case in favor?

I need to hire Kelly Ann Conway to tell people to ignore what I comes out of my big mouth and listen to what is in my heart.

Do we see the difference in how liberals police their own, and good on ya, but conservatives can say and do any old malign thing with impunity in their own ranks?

Just out of interest, Count, and I would be in no position to agree or disagree, but are you positing that there are no sites, fora etc in which moderate, civilised conservatives* also refrain from dehumanising liberals?

*You will see I am holding hard not only to wj and Sebastian, who clearly fit this description, but also to McKinney and Marty who had the excellent sense to be never-Trumpers

For example:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jim-inhofe-trump-cabinet-picks-should-be-treated-differently

What he said he didn't say, apparently. It's a magic trick available only to conservatives.

This:

http://www.india.com/buzz/video-donald-trump-mocks-disabled-reporter-serge-kovaleski-739666/

Oh, no, he didn't do and say what he did and said in front of people with two good eyes:

https://www.catholics4trump.com/the-true-story-donald-trump-did-not-mock-a-reporters-disability/

You have to scroll down to the mealy-mouthed paragraphs on the subject. Catholics for Trump, like Jews for Trump, and Gays for Trump, and Cripples and Spastics (what Trump calls them when he and Roger Stone and Jeff Sessions have drinks together) Without Ramps For Trump won't receive the punishment coming to them because they are Catholic, Jewish, Gay, and Cripples and Spastics Without Ramps, but because they are conservative apologists for Evil, or is that word off limits too?

What I really love is the media at large, that now extinct entity, who say Trump "appears" to be mocking the disabled reporter.

Kind of like Father Coughlin appears to be offering Jews in Germany and the United States ice cream cones with sprinkles in this typical conservative radio address:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_gYdbgMjXw

I would call Coughlin's behavior "deplorable" but I fear that word alone would throw the 2018 midterms to the conservatives as wall.

Russell, after HRC and her husband's activities with their foundation and her position as SecState, the bar for conflicts of interest is pretty low. I'd like to know why Tillerson is conflicted but HRC was not. Or why her husband's meeting the AG during an AG investigation of his wife wasn't a conflict.

A lot of rules got broken in the last 8 years. Don't expect someone like Trump to do a better job of rule following than the previous administration.

GFTNC:

No, I'm not positing that. For example, I've been reading The American Conservative in recent months, mainly for Larison and Dreher, but there's other good stuff there too.

However, Pat Buchanan, a racist, nationalist, Nixonian, lock and load Catholic conservative founded the joint and still occupies a lead editorial spot. In fact, not too long ago I commented there in a thread after a post by someone or other regarding the general topic of peaceful, non-violent political change and merely asked how Buchanan's Zulu-mongering, Lock and Load historical rhetoric fit into this model of conservative respect for order, and the comment was deleted.

No "f" words either.

Regarding Sebastian, wj, McKinney, and Marty, the conservative movement as personified by this Republican Party and Trump have stripped their credentials from them, though maybe they haven't received the memo yet. Each of the four, and Slarti, present their conservative views in decent, reasonable fashion, and though I disagree with much of what they write here, (gotta say, wj is so agreeable it's hardly any fun) if you review my commenting history over the many years, you will note that I am friendly and supportive of them when the OBWI onslaughts begin, except when I'm not.

I admit that Marty brings out the mean snark in me.

And that a couple of them might have views similar to cold-blooded mass murderers like Price, Ryan, Death Palin and trump regarding ACA healthcare policy is merely a fly in the ointment, given my politically correct ability to admit all manner of ruffians into my inner circle of friends.

There will be no redemption for the powerful four, but that's not going to stop me from having a drink with the powerless two.

And as I said maybe two weeks ago, Sebastian GETS what is going on with the Republican Party and Trump and is appropriately fearful, and I appreciate that.

The five of them should stop mistaking themselves for the "conservatives" I go after in my despicable blog manner, though when I disagree with their policy views, I can understand why the former might think I'm lumping them together with those other ilk, who after all, now occupy the highest reaches of power not available to our five friends here.

I've actually personally met more of my conservative friends at OBWI in the meat world, if you include Andy Olmsted, though I think some of that was their curiosity about whether I am actually funny, or just plain nuts in real life. Actually neither .. well funny once I get over my shyness.

That all said, I wish ilk like our old bugaboo with the various handles .. BlackHawk, for example ... and a few of the more malign Redstaters would still post here so I could be my blogging self and go after their mothers and widows without feeling guilty.

After all, they won the election. Our five conservative horsemen didn't.

Most of my friends and family are moderate conservatives to off-the-wall right-wingers. They adore me, except for the ones who won't talk to me any longer, and if I have chance today, I'll relate a story about the latest in that vein.

GFNTC:

I just posted a long response to your 10:37am but it might be stuck in that place comments get stuck in. If it doesn't show up, I'll try and reconstruct later.

Ahoy! There it be!

Fly free little comment!

In checking, there were a number trapped, like insects in amber, from Nov 2016. For a while, I had the typepad dsahboard open to the spam comment list, but it seemed to have stopped. Not sure if it was sunspot activity or what. If it happens again, do put a short note and I'll look in again.

A lot of rules got broken in the last 8 years. Don't expect someone like Trump to do a better job of rule following than the previous administration.

Rife with scandal was the Obama administration. Yeah, there's nothing at all unusual or different about Trump and his proposed people.

Yes, it would have been better had they stuck to their promises regarding the Clinton Foundation after Hillary took office, but there's still not much there. And it's a charity, not a business.

Bill Clinton's meeting with the AG at the airport was dumb as all hell, but he wasn't a member of the administration. He had no power of office at his disposal.

But let's all agree that potential conflicts of interest need to be looked into closely and that it appears there are many with Trump's team. I'm not sure there's any real controversy here.

Don't expect someone like Trump to do a better job of rule following than the previous administration.

Trust me, I don't.

Since the opinion of folks like yourself, and Marty, and maybe Seb, is that Clinton was profoundly corrupt and possibly the most evil person ever (and I'm not putting words in anyone's mouth here), why should we should accept a standard like "he's no worse than Clinton"?

Right?

I don't see CEO of ExxonMobil as an appropriate or relevant resume for SecState. Whether he's personally corrupt or not. No doubt he has had contacts with heads of state, but those contacts were not necessarily in the interests of the US. There are obvious conflicts of interest, which I don't think are necessarily erased by his stepping away from ExxonMobil. I also don't like what appears to be his history of involvement with trading with countries under sanction.

If folks think Tillerson is a good choice, I'm asking them to make the case. If you think he's a good choice and want to make the case, chime in. If your argument for why he would be a good SecState is "Clinton is a crook", it's not on topic.

The other comment I'll make here is that it's fine for "I didn't vote for that ass" conservatives to stand on the sidelines now and b*tch about Obama et al, but I'm disinclined to care much. I think disengagement is going to be something of a luxury for the next 4 years.

If you support Trump and the (R)'s, stand and deliver. If you oppose Trump and the (R)'s, likewise.

If your contribution is yeah, Trump et al suck, but so do the (D)'s, I don't think it counts for much. Not at the moment.

It seems to me that conflicts of interest is really not a totally binary question. That is, there are different levels of conflict. And how concerned we get should probably depend on what level the conflict is at.

For example, if I own shares in a company that I am regulating, that's a conflict. If I own shares in a mutual fund, and that fund buys shares in the same company, that's still a conflict, but it's a lower level one IMHO. (I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't much track exactly which specific companies my mutual funds have shares in.)

Owning a company that is doing deals with a foreign government is on a whole different level from running a non-profit which gets donations from a foreign government. (Always assuming, of course, that it really is a charitable operation, and not just a tax scam.)

And having a foreign government give money to a charity that you support (e.g. with appeals, or something) is on lower level still -- but on some level a possible conflict. That foreign government might believe that, since I support UNICEF (for example) them donating to UNICEF will make me well disposed to them in my role as a government official. And it well might, so some degree. But by that time, we are getting to a rather ridiculous level.

Note that I picked out a single tiny example, and there are lots of others that might be generated. If your family owns a farm, and you work at NASA where part of your job is deciding when we put up new weather satellites, is that a conflict? Hmmm....

Thanks Count, understood.

I forgot Slarti, because he so rarely posts these days, but how can I forget that when I first started posting here I made the mistake of sloppily agreeing with and joking about the stereotype that American gun fans probably have penis issues, and he took me up on it angrily and persistently, until I rather cravenly stopped (cravenly because actually I, like almost all Europeans and Brits, find the American attitude to their gun situation incomprehensible and appalling, and the penis connection at least makes a little bit of sense of some of it).

BTW, while mourning post-January 20th for many reasons, I am delighted you may make an exception for Books and Beatles, and I suppose Baseball too although I cannot summon up as much enthusiasm for that subject. (On the other hand, I have been to a few baseball games, and astounded Mr GftNC not long ago when he asked what crackerjack was, and in a posh restaurant I broke out, quietly, into a rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame).

In 2008, the Clinton Foundation voluntarily disclosed their donor list, along with an approximate amount that the various donors had contributed.

They were under no legal obligation to do this, they did it to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest or corruption.

When Trump or anyone in his cabinet meets that bar, I'll be happy to pin a rose on them.

But let's all agree that potential conflicts of interest need to be looked into closely and that it appears there are many with Trump's team. I'm not sure there's any real controversy here.

I'm fine with this in principle. The problem is, it looks like hypocrisy on a pretty grand scale to those out there who don't do nuance the way folks here do nuance.

why should we should accept a standard like "he's no worse than Clinton"?

Because no one your side complained until now.

In 2008, the Clinton Foundation voluntarily disclosed their donor list, along with an approximate amount that the various donors had contributed.

Yes, 8 years ago, they published a list. And kept right on taking money from people/countries with business before the State Department.

It's fine for folks who downplayed HRC's clear corruption to make a big deal about Trump, but don't think people don't remember who kept silent or minimized or defended HRC.

Without defending Trump, I'm seeing a lot of double standards these days. Let me roll out the possibility that a guy like Trump beats a woman like HRC because, even if he is an all world a-hole, he's pretty transparent about that while the HRC crowd does for her what feminists did for her husband way back when and a lot of people are sick of the hypocrisy.

Because no one your side complained until now.

But it's people on "your side" who think the Clinton bar is the lowest ever. That's the point. If you want to call all us lefties hypocrites, go ahead, but it doesn't change the fact that the incoming administration is of an entirely different character than any previous. Most of these people have never been vetted for any position. This isn't, for them, making sure nothing's changed since the last time they took office.

These are people who have accumulated vast personal wealth dealing with other nations, and to levels at which it has involved foreign governments. It's not the norm - not the Obama or Bush or Clinton or Reagan norm. These people take *apparent conflicts of interest* to an entirely new level. False equivalencies aren't going to cut it.

But, if your point is that some people won't be able to tell the difference, you're right. But I don't base my opinions on what a bunch of dumbasses are going to think about them.

And kept right on taking money from people/countries with business before the State Department.

The Clinton Foundation Charity Navigator information.

The Trump Foundation Charity Navigator information.

FYI.

Suggestion for McKinney: Putin isn't your friend, and his fake news isn't true.

I would say that leading a monstrous global Oil & Gas Co. like Exxon would provide a good opportunity to learn a lot of the skills necessary to be Secretary of State. Such as learning about the countries in which you do business, the governments and current/future political leadership there. What might be kosher and what might not. Connecting with "people on the ground" not so much, but potentially.

That he worked for Exxon when it did business - above board (i.e., legally) from what I've read to date - with Iran is actually a plus for me. There is way too much scaremongering about that country IMHO, so it is good to have someone who has a connection there, even if it's through a large MNC.

I'm not in any way convinced he would be a good SecState, and he's certainly not who I would have picked, but if he can put his life at Exxon behind him (a big if, yes), then I can see it working out decently (and Trump is always there to screw everything up even if Tillerson turns out to be the best SecState ever).

McTx: HRC's clear corruption

Double standard or not, and not granting this assertion, but for as big and horrible a "transactional"/self enrichment via personal corruption The Right™ made HRC out to be, there was remarkably little there there. To hear your side tell it there should have been secret political assassinations and stashing of gold dubloons in the Caymans among all those emails. Instead we got....what?

And honestly it could be me just thanking god that he didn't pick Giuliani or Bolton so Tillerson looks tame.

but it doesn't change the fact that the incoming administration is of an entirely different character than any previous.

So, the defense is, we might be corrupt, but not nearly as corrupt as these other bastards? Compelling. Also, highly subjective.

BTW, the Trumpsters will have the same hypocrisy issues to deal with when the shoe is, as it inevitably will be, on the other foot.

Instead we got....what?

Ugh, you're well read. How many millions were donated to the Clinton foundation by how few people/countries with business before the State Department? I've given that cite before. You know it as well as I do. This is one example. Destroying emails by the thousand, wiping her server clean, is another. Changing her story to fit the facts as new facts would arise. Go back to the beginning, to making 100K on cattle futures as a novice investor. Please. HRC's defenders may think they can say over and over again that "she's not that bad" or "everyone does it" or what have you and have everybody sign on, but outside that bubble, she's clearly corrupt and fewer and fewer buy it. I have plenty of lefty friends, colleagues and clients--none of them even try to defend her.

But that isn't the problem. The problem for the left is, having enabled Clinton corruption and lying for two decades or more, no one is going to listen to the same crowd call out others for their sins.

I've given that cite before.

Interestingly, you don't need to cite Breitbart or Alex Jones or whomever. Clinton Foundation records are publicly available, as linked above.

Thanks Ugh, all good points.

FWIW, Tillerson is not a hill I would die on, either pro or con. I'm sure Trump could have come up with a much worse candidate.

I'd like the Senate to grill him like a hot dog, and see where it lands.

It's fine for folks who downplayed HRC's clear corruption to make a big deal about Trump, but don't think people don't remember who kept silent or minimized or defended HRC.

What I know about Clinton is that her enemies have spent the last 25 years spending millions and millions of dollars and thousands and thousands of staff hours trying to come up with some kind of smoking gun of criminal activity.

And failed.

So either she's the all time super-criminal, or it ain't there.

As far as I can tell, by contemporary political standards, she is no more than middling corrupt, and not at all criminally so.

Granted, contemporary political standards for corruption are a low bar, but it ain't folks like me who made that so.

Basically, I think folks who go on about what a freaking world-historical criminal HRC is are nutty. Not quite barking, but not quite hitting on all 8 either.

Either that, or knee-jerk partisans, to the point where they can no longer tell truth from fiction.

Just my opinion.

There's been no end to plots to blame lefties (or progressives) for disruption (or worse) despite what people were saying to me a couple of days ago:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/counter-sting-catches-james-okeefe-network-attempting-to-sow-chaos-at-trumps-inauguration_us_5873e26fe4b043ad97e516f7

A left-wing political group released a new video Monday of a counter-sting that has uncovered evidence of right-wing activists trying to sow chaos at Donald Trump’s inaugural ceremony, an effort to portray critics of Trump who march against him as violent fringe figures.

So, the defense is, we might be corrupt, but not nearly as corrupt as these other bastards?

Who's "we" and who said anything about anyone being "corrupt"? We're talking about, again, *apparent conflicts of interest*. Yes, the Clinton Foundation was one of those. Opinions vary on how much of an actual conflict of interest there was or in what ways such may have manifested itself, particularly to the detriment of the interests of the United States. Feel free to demonstrate any of that. Or don't. Clinton doesn't have an incoming administration to vet.

What we're talking about isn't simply a comparison to a hypothetical Clinton administration or the actual Obama administration. It's a comparison to historical norms for administrations in general.

As far as I can tell, by contemporary political standards, she is no more than middling corrupt, and not at all criminally so.

At a minimum, I certainly wouldn't attempt to deny that the Clintons have parlayed their political influence, notoriety and connections into a nice bit of wealth, having started from more or less nothing. Most politicians at their level started off rich, so no one seems to care than they've continued to enrich themselves off their political names.

The Clintons have a strange blend of brazenness and paranoia about this stuff. They're willing to do things that it should be obvious won't look good (without getting into whether or not they're actually wrong) while also making those things look worse by resisting providing details when questioned (even if the questioning is unfair to begin with).

I'm not sure how much of a bubble I have to be in to hold those opinions. I guess it depends on what bubble you're viewing someone like me from.

And honestly it could be me just thanking god that he didn't pick Giuliani or Bolton so Tillerson looks tame.

Thanks, Ugh. I'd managed to forget Bolton existed for a bit, TYVM. Now I need to go drill a hole in my skull and bleach my brain.

There's been no end to plots to blame lefties (or progressives) for disruption (or worse) despite what people were saying to me a couple of days ago:

GftNC, the alt-right elements of Trump's backers have zero compunctions about enacting false flag operations. They're a morally neutral act to them, and at most business as usual. It's quite literally internet troll culture spilled out into three dimensions. Alas.

That's the perfect description of James O'Keefe. He's an internet troll, on the internet and IRL. There's no amount of discrediting that will get through to people, either because they just aren't paying attention or they don't care.

(And, no, it's nothing like HRC's situation. He's been caught red-handed a number of times, but he's still at it.)

Go back to the beginning, to making 100K on cattle futures as a novice investor. Please.

Someone recently told me that the cattle future thing was actually a tax shelter and thus there was no there there (i.e., they didn't actually make $100k on cattle futures (because likely there was an offsetting loss) but reported that much on their tax returns).

The Clintons have a strange blend of brazenness and paranoia about this stuff.

The Clintons are held to a standard that would eliminate at least half of all federal office holders, were they held to any similar standard.

As always, I refer you to former Speaker of the House John Boehner literally handing out checks for votes on the floor of the House *during a fucking vote*.

Speaker of the damned House.

People Like Me have been going on about the need to build a freaking wall between office holders and private money for years and years and years.

Campaign finance reform? Violation of freedom of speech, because in spite of the plain sense of the English language, money is actually speech.

Look at how the SCOTUS votes broke down on that stuff, look at how the Congressional votes broke down on any related legislation, and then come back and tell me all about the flagrant hypocrisy of People Like Me.

It has been determined to be an inalienable Constitutionally guaranteed right for people to contribute money to office holders past present and future in order to gain access to them.

Not my decision, not my preference.

But given that context, as far as I can see the Clintons are at worst middling in terms of corruption or venality, and not criminally so.

Want to get big buckets of pay-for-access private money out of politics? Fine with me.

Don't give me shit about my "hypocrisy" if I simply observe that the Clintons are working the game they have been presented with.

They are not alone. In fact, they're dead normal.

In any case, the Clintons are at this point private individuals, and their corruption or lack thereof has exactly zero bearing on who would or would not be good candidates for the executive cabinet under Trump.

Not sure I believe the tax shelter thing though.

I'm not sure if you were disagreeing with me or just expanding on what I wrote, russell, but I take no exception to anything in your 3:27 PM comment.

Trump appeared in soft core porn?

Send in the American Family Association!

Going back and re-reading my 2:39 PM comment, maybe my intent wasn't clear. I was using your words as a jumping-off point to respond to McKinney rather than taking issue with what you had written.

From Ugh's link:

In his questioning of Sessions, Hatch cited arguments that adult pornography “should be viewed as a public health problem” and referenced “some of the latest research into the harms of obscenity.”

As Daniel Engber reported in Slate last month, recent research has raised doubts about a past study that purported to show that watching pornography can be detrimental to relationships.

Oh, those Republicans and their social engineering!

I propose to condemn James O'Keefe to public entertainment, consisting of him being put into a large glass container together with a a significant number of army ants accompanied by "Florence Foster Jenkins' Greatest Hits" on perpetual loop at 100dB (inside) and Danse Macabre (Saint-Saens) outside (normal degree of loudness).

This is lovely. Some points.

maybe my intent wasn't clear.

No worries.

This thread is wandering around, so I thought I'd stick in this guest post at Dreher's blog. Rod is mostly bashing the left, but he takes time out to bash the right too or in this case, let's someone else do it. Anyway this is a Baptist preacher talking about how white Christians have without intending to helped crush the American dream for blacks who played by all the rules . It's interesting.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/capitalism-community-christianity/

I'm heartened that liberal groups are attempting to out O'Keefe by his own methods.

I wish he'd try to f*ck with me. I think I might try to find him first.

Now, if Democratic operatives could coordinate, and by God, why aren't they, with Chinese hackers with ties to the Chinese Government Security apparatus to reveal the porn habits of the entire Breitbart editorial (and I use the term advisedly) staff, we'd be half-way home to even steven with the Russian pawns in conservative Republican media, the entire Trump Administration, and the FBI.

The Geek Squad is now a gummint agency, eh? Now, that's conservative. I've often wondered about that. I wonder though how they have the time to wander through the porn downloads and internet histories and whatever else these malign devices store without us knowing it of every American who drops their computers off at Best Buy, given its universality.

And while they are trolling for the really bad stuff, yes, child porn is nasty stuff and should be prosecuted, do they take time out to view the more run-of-the-mill porn of their customers for their own jollies at work?

They have only two hands.

I'm actually surprised the executives of porn companies haven't been in the running for Trump Cabinet positions. I mean, if the fakery of the WWF is a proving ground for government service, why certainly the porn industry, which drives some huge percentage of internet traffic and is responsible for many of the technological advances powering the internet today deserves some high representation in government as well.

On the other hand, their product is a good way to pick up viruses two ways .. the computer variety and the more common person to person varieties among the performers.

Plus, I'll bet some of those millennial geeks who inhabit those jobs would be willing to give anyone who asks a lecture about their strongly-held libertarian sensitivities and the ravages of big government right up until the $500 is waved in front of their eyes because with libertarians it's cash on the barrel head all the way, though they would prefer gold and Bitcoin.

I don't think we need worry about the Geek Squad regarding porn too awfully much, considering that much of their time within the next two years of the largest expansion of the National Security State in history under Flynn Trump to ferret out his political, racial, and religious enemies will be devoted to checking Best Buy's customers' computers for the blog confessions of never-Trumpers and then move on to the likes of the political heresies of the liberals here.

Let the harassment begin.

Deep Geek

Debbie Does The Geek Squad

Republicans in Frocks

I've heard there is old black and white film in an archive of the dominatrix Ayn Rand treading on the young Alan Greenspan's hairy back in stiletto heels.

For the more hard core stuff, Rand used homeless stunt doubles to practice the Charleston on their heads and to get off on their humiliation.

Her legions of fans hold private viewings of the stuff.

Betty White admitted somewhere, I believe, that she appeared in some sort of porn art films very early in her career.

he's pretty transparent about that while the HRC crowd does for her what feminists did for her husband way

Trump, transparent? This is the first presidential candidate since Nixon who hasn't released his taxes. He lies about what his charitable donations are (if there are any legitimately charitable uses at all). He buys off prosecutors. His doctor's description of his health reads like it was written for Ferris Bueller. He hasn't taken questions from the press in what, 4 months? He makes his campaign volunteers sign NDAs.

Transparent is the very last adjective you can use for the Tangerine Demagogue. (Except may "altruistic". That's another adjective you can't use.)

I think what MCTX meant by "transparent" in that context was that Trump's Inauguration will feature Squads of Conservative Alt-Right Geeks prancing about in Cellophane lingerie while Melania provides oral foot massages to Jeff Sessions and Bill Bennett, while of course Trump will stiff the caterers, the lighting crew, and the supporting cast when it comes time to pay the bills.

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/a-soft-sensual-inaugural.html

This would compare with Clinton's now dead hopes of an Inaugural wherein everyone would be fully clothed to hide their soiled laundry, you know, like every other inaugural in our Nation's history.

Transparent is the very last adjective you can use for the Tangerine Demagogue.

I disagree. He's transparently a fascist. He's transparently alt-right[white] Putin's puppet. And he's transparently illegitimate.

And he's transparently illegitimate.

Hmmm. Does that make him an "illegal"? I think it does!

I asked folks to make case for Tillerson. Because there are some obvious issues there.

McK replies with "yeah, but Clinton!". And "you lefties are a bunch of hypocrites".

But he makes no case for Tillerson.

In general, that is known as misdirection. Also known as bullshit.

If you have a case to make for Trump or his people, feel free. If your case is "Clinton sucks", we've heard it all before, and it's off topic to begin with.

Or, if you like, we can talk about Nixon, Agnew, Reagan, Bush I, Ollie North, Poindexter, Bush II, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Yoo, Gonzalez, and Tom DeLay.

Sound like fun?

And just so you don't think I'm being a partisan ass, there's probably an equally long list of (D)'s.

Fair enough?

Trump is a sui generis catastrophe. It's fine for all of the nice broad-minded conservatives here to sit back and say "hey, we didn't vote for him", but crap like "Yeah but you guys nominated Clinton" doesn't even come close to addressing the situation we find ourselves in.

There is no comparison between the two. Fine with me if you hate Clinton and think she's a crook. Fine with me if you voted for Johnson, or McMullen, or just took a pass on the top of the ticket.

But there is freaking nothing you can say about Clinton that comes close to justifying or mitigating the unparalleled clusterfuck that is the POTUS Trump experience.

Let's start with this:

"The President can't have a conflict of interest".

That's our President for the next four years.

In context, I just don't give a crap if some foreign autocrat ponied up a million bucks for an invitation to a cocktail party, which may or may not have been granted.

We're kind of fucked. Cattle futures aren't on my radar. If they're on yours, you're in the wrong ball game.

I look forward to trump paying a quick visit to the ladies dressing quarters, dashing through as they gasp, of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir ahead of the show because I hear he has a jones on about what exactly Mormon underwear is all about.

Meanwhile, Ted Nugent will be grabbing his junk to humiliate a kneeling on-stage facsimile of Martin Luther King while shredding out "Cat Scratch Fever", as Mike Huckabee mimes Handel's Messiah on the skin flute.

Okay I'll do it, ahem, "Chappaquiddick"

Okay I'll do it, ahem, "Chappaquiddick"

Ugh, you're living up to your name again.

Count, can't wait to get your take on the latest.

McKinney, transparency, b&*^$es!!

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