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May 28, 2017

Comments

Well, I apparently just missed being able to respond to Marty's post in the thread where it originated, so I'll just add my thanks to everyone else's. Good luck to all of us in living up to those words!

Welcome to lurkers who choose to post.

I'm obviously not one of you, but will comment here to open the thread.

It's Memorial Day, and Marty commented on the previous thread in such a way that it brought people to come together. For people in the US and in NATO countries, we have since WWII enjoyed the benefits of liberal democracy. Peace and prosperity have been a part of this legacy. Yes, there have been some problems - we can argue about the wisdom of various foreign intervention, growing wealth inequality, wage stagnation, etc. But, at the same time, liberal democracy has allowed broader civil rights, technological innovation for civilian comfort and prosperity, and unprecedented (for US citizens, especially) global travel and cultural exchange.

I feel that the Trump administration is rejecting these values. What are we actually getting in exchange?

What are we actually getting in exchange?

A sense of our own superiority. Because "those people" (in this case Europeans) believe in them, not doing so makes us different. And therefore better, obviously.

Note: care is required to avoid noticing what awful places around the world also reject those values. But we can ignore that, and just praise their "strong leaders", aka despots.

Note: care is required to avoid noticing what awful places around the world also reject those values. But we can ignore that, and just praise their "strong leaders", aka despots.

Yep.

I just wish that the Martys and McKinneys of the world would join to reject the Putin puppet, and go back to the bipartisan embrace of things like NATO. Crazytalk?

Actually, from what they've said here, they do reject Trump for all practical purposes. Which isn't unexpected, given that they are basically sane (whether you agree with their political philosophy or not), whereas his grip on reality is, to be kind, underwhelming.

I am a 100% supporter of NATO, I am also a 100% supporter of everyone paying their share.

Bush pushed for it, Obama pushed for it, from a policy perspective asking for it is pretty standard.

Too bad Romney didn't win, he seemed to recognize the looming Russian threat before anyone else.

Too bad Romney didn't win, he seemed to recognize the looming Russian threat before anyone else.

Well, going back in time isn't an option, so how do you propose dealing with the Russian threat now?

Sapient, did I miss the announcement identifying you as the identifier and arbiter of acceptable viewpoints? The person authorized to hold others and their views to account? Hint: if you're going to call me to account, try to pay more attention to what I say. Or, just leave my name out of your Pepsi challenges.

This is a de-lurking thread. I'd like to hear from these folks.

This is a de-lurking thread. I'd like to hear from these folks.

Me too.

I, for one, will TOTS lurk for this thread, then.

Oh, wait.

I haven't lurked long enough to delurk.

Is there an algorithim available?

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

I suppose I can't call myself a lurker, but I read much more than I post. Hmm, this brings to mind an aphorism (my mother was very fond of such), "you have two ears and one mouth." [You can fill in the rest.]

"Hi" to all my ObWi friends. I hope you think of me as a friend.


Hello, friend. You are grandfathered.

I'd like to hear from lurker Moe Lane.

Come and get it, Moe.

*Delurk*. Been following for quite some time. Erratic schedule ensures I'm always too late to be on topic, but enjoy the catching up.

long-time-lurker...I come here for a (mostly) sane counter to conversations around me...my self-sustaining project post-election was to recast a personalized paraphrase of the Tao Te Ching. For Memorial Day I offer the following:
#31
Guns, swords, armor are all items to be feared;
therefore those who follow the Way
avoid them.
The wise one prefers repose;
the warrior prefers aggression.
the wise one uses weapons
only at greatest need;
rather, peace and quiet are preferred.
There is no reason to celebrate victory:
to gain it, many have died
and celebrating killing rots the soul.
Therefore, if war is unavoidable,
it should be conducted as a funeral
and victory should be a time for mourning.

ral, I certainly think of you in a very friendly light, as one who has brought me much pleasure in recent months via Goons reminders etc.

William Nickles, it is many years since I read the Tao Te Ching, and remembered nothing, but this is very beautiful, profound and true. Thank you.

wj,

There are rather large points of difference between Trump and Bush the Younger, let alone Obama, with regard to NATO. We Finns are not a member (instead, we have a rather tight partnership), but the feeling around here on the Continent has been a shock.

Trump's behaviour in the NATO summit on Thursday was so rude and undiplomatic that it could not be explaimed away. When he was revealing a monument to the Article V response of the NATO after 911, he refrained from even mentioning the Article, and talked instead immigration politics, which is not in the purview of the organization. This was done immediately after Merkel had given a speech emphasizing tolerance and non-racism.

Today, Merkel gave a speech where she remarked that certain allies are no longer unquestionably trustworthy. Europe must take care of herself. This is a clear deviation from the traditional line of Merkel's party, the CDU, which has focussed on transatlantic defence cooperation instead of European one. With this change, it looks quitepossible that France and Germany will find each other in cooperation for a common EU defence policy, which is quite welcome development for my country's government. We have been calling for common European defence for years.

Memorial day thoughts:

"It is said that the future is always born in pain. The history of war is the
history of pain. If we are wise, what is born of that pain matures into the
promise of a better world, because we learn that we can no longer afford the mistakes of the past." -- G'Kar (Babylon 5)

Lurker, I'd say it is a large difference between Trump and every single US President since WW II.

But then, there are pretty large differences between President Trump and any and all of his predecessors on a vast array of issues, not just on policy towards Europe.** Whether one thinks this is a good thing or a bad thing is a matter of opinion (or philosophy). But it's hard to argue that it isn't real.

** Also on interest in understanding the rest of the world. Bush II had a reputation (deserved IMHO) for intellectual laziness. But he was incredibly hard working when it comes to digging in to learn about the issues confronting the nation . . . at least compared to Trump.

This is what a President looks like (the guy in the foreground, on the left, that is).

Hi gang. I'm a regular reader; I probably chip in a comment twice a year or so. I can never remember which online Nym I use here, so while I don't mean to Sock Puppet it's possible I've also posted as "bob_is_boring".

I've been reading for...years. At least 10+. Feel like I know most of the regulars.

Thanks for the explicit invitation to de-lurk.

*waves*. Still reading regularly. And agreeing with lurker on the Trump issue.

Oddly, the nationalism expressed in Merkels comments are not really different from Trumps. In fact, the concept of Europe spending the kind of money the US spends on the common defense is laughable. But why would we object? Is that meant to be a threat? I'm insulted that she would openly question her loyalty to her longest standing allies, who have done nothing except ask Europe to pay its fair share. That fair share is significantly less than if she decides they should provide for their own defense.

Good for them. Then our next President can cut the us defense of the world budget substantially snd we might have enpugh to pay for healthcare.

Sator Arepo skrev :

bob_is_boring

That is the nym I remember.

I'm insulted that she would openly question her loyalty to her longest standing allies,

orly?

because Trump insults our allies constantly, and you haven't made any noise about that,

That's not quite how the Germans see it, Marty.
https://mobile.twitter.com/newschambers/status/869136084390866946

I'm insulted that she would openly question her loyalty to her longest standing allies, who have done nothing except ask Europe to pay its fair share.

I think you should look again, Marty. It is Trump's loyalty to his long-standing allies which is truly in question, and which started this, as well as the UK voting to leave the EU, if not NATO. As I understand it, he would not even affirm his understanding of and agreement to Article 5 (one for all and all for one), despite the fact that the only time it has been invoked was by the rest of NATO in solidarity with the US in the wake of 9/11. And surely you haven't bought Trump's idiotic repetition of the fact that Europe "owes money to the US" because they haven't all, or even most, yet reached 2%? Are you under the impression that the US spends what it does on Defence in order to help the other countries in NATO? Do you think the Arms industry and what Ike called the Military-Industrial Complex will be satisfied and just sit by if any US president, let alone a Republican (yeah right) suggests cutting the defense budget?

Marty,

Germany is currently openly denouncing the fact that the US has, during last week, left the Western political consensus. Your political stances on climate change, religious freedom and arming crisis zones are in clear conflict with the previous commitments of your country. The German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Gabriel stated today that this stance "is endangering the peace in Europe", and in "direct conflict with the interests of European Union".

This stance is not "nationalism". Indeed, Gabriel is a social democrat and belongs to one of the most dovish parties imaginable. He is standing up for the values we thought we shared with you. However, such talk is something no one has heard a German statesman to utter since WWII. Please remember that Germany is a staunch ally of yours. They have always been quite happy to allow you the precedence in all international policy issues, and essentially, the Germans have made sure that European and American interests are well aligned in diplomacy.

The fact that European countries are not financing their militaries as heavily as you might wish is essentially due to the fact that we acquiesce in American leadership. If Europe starts to build up military capabilities of its own, those capabilities are no longer essentially under US control. The US pre-eminence is possible only because until now, the next largest economies in the world, EU and Japan are so staunch allies that you do not need contingency plans for them. F you need to start wondering whose side Japan and EU are on if there is a war on South China Sea, 11 carrier groups are nearly not enough.

Trump is throwing away the goodwill and alliances that the US has been building for 70 years. Such remarkable stupidity can only have disastrous consequences.

Trump is throwing away the goodwill and alliances that the US has been building for 70 years. Such remarkable stupidity can only have disastrous consequences.

Thank you for saying it so clearly. I don't understand Republican reluctance to remove this President in the face of this. It isn't just a matter of a "tax cut" anymore.

Trump is not throwing anything away. Merkel and Macron are using his stance, to ensure that the mutual defense is indeed mutual, to stoke nationalistic resentment for political gain.

And, he got elected on that very promise. So "removing him" is in essence supporting a coup. I dont.

Since (as someone noted in another thread, it may even have been you) many recent US presidents have pushed the other NATO members about the 2%, what do you think has suddenly made Merkel and Macron want to "use his stance ....to stoke nationalistic resentment for political gain" (again, quite a funny accusation to make when Donald Trump is involved - serious projection there I would say).

Marty,

if you had even a slightest inkling of the European political map, you would understand how weird your point "stroking nationalistic resentment" sounds when you are talking about Angela Merkel. She has, throughout her chancellorship, been a voice for international cooperation, transatlanticism, and under her leadership, German foreign policy has maintained its semi-pacifist course. Similarly, Macron ran on an internationalist, anti-racist platform.

So, claiming that Merkel would be driving nationalistic politics sounds to me simply insane. Compared to Merkel, Obama was ultra-right-wing.

Indeed, Marty, your reflex to claim that any foreign policy by a foreign country is "nationalistic" is really Russian-style. Calling opponents fascists or nationalists is their standard fare. It is surprising, yes, extremely surprising, to see an American right-winger adopt such usage so readily, as it is not typical American discourse. You seem to have a very good, and varied political education.

And, he got elected* on that very promise

* on a technicality. By actual votes of actual Americans, he lost handily.

When following the German debate, by reading Der Spiegel, I get an impression that something really solid has been broken.

You know, the Germans focus really heavily, in their internal political debate and in their school education, on the Nazism and its opposition. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Bekennende Kirche are real role models for them. They are quite practical until to a point, but their education really presses on the point that there is a limit, a badly-defined limit but limit still, that you shan't cross. At that limit, you stop and won't go along, because it is your humanity that is at stake. And looking at the German political debate, it seems that there is a forming domestic consensus is that the US has crossed that limit.

I really don't know what the German society does in this kind of situation. I am pretty sure that they don't know either. It will be quite fascinating to see.

here goes the left and their violent rhetoric again.

A Texas Republican reportedly threatened to “put a bullet in one of his colleague’s heads” during a scuffle on the House floor over the state’s new anti-‘sanctuary cities’ law on Monday, Democrats said.

those filthy liberals keep wrecking our discourse.

/bullying

Tangential to this:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/29/james-mattis-a-warrior-in-washington

Fascinating article. Key takeaway regarding priorities from General Mattis, the widely read warrior monk. He's a professional killer but would prefer the softer arts of diplomacy, which trump and company are gutting:

'In congressional testimony from 2013, Mattis said as much, when asked about the role of diplomacy in foreign affairs. “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately,” he said. “The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget.” Trump’s proposed budget would cut State Department funding by more than a quarter. At present, forty-six U.S. Embassies remain without an Ambassador.'

Now we face a major rift with our NATO allies over trump's lying dumbaassity regarding the what and when of NATO defense spending, among other issues, not to mention his loutish Russian-like behavior this past week as he smeared his feces across the globe.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-fact-check-nato-claims

The trump/putin axis tried to steal the french election (who was stoking nationalistic resentment for political gain in that election for fuck sakes?) in the same manner as ours was stolen (and shall be avenged).

The trump/putin axis will attempt the same in the German elections.

Countries like Latvia and Lithuania are terrified of their eastern flank.

NATO and the EU should invite Putin's Russia to become members as counterweight. Scotland should nationalize trump's Aberdeenshire golf course and have the russians in for a looksee as to its viability as a site for land-based nuclear missiles pointed west.

I'll spare the details, but I have an unbalanced sociopath in my family and he behaves in the small picture just as trump behaves in the big one. They both like to fuck with EVERYONE, even those who might be loyal to them.

In both cases, it is time to fuck back.

Now my reaction is "Russian style" hah, you mean calling your longest term ally not reliable? If what happened in the last 100 days destroyed "70 years of goodwill and alliances" then they were pretty weak to begin with.

More bullying, murderous threats from the right in high places:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/05/today-american-fascism

If your longest-term ally is being flaky on Article 5, what else would you call it? You weren't a Trump voter, and you're not really much of a Trump supporter (although seemingly increasingly unable to look at what he does with a cool eye), so why are you recently so unwilling to see what a terrible mess he is making of things, in this case his foreign trip?

“The Germans are bad, very bad” -- Donald J Trump, mere days ago

In the same vein, I condemn this bullying too, from the ostensible Left, though they are too callow to be so defined:

http://www.mediaite.com/online/professor-at-evergreen-state-college-chased-off-campus-by-students-protesting-his-racism/

This behavior and its rewards are ridiculous too:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/yale-rewards-student-thugs-bullies/

There are so many guilty legitimate targets and these dummies eat their own.

Both campuses need to invite Coulter/Ingraham and Sessions/Cruz to speak so the focus can be placed back where it belongs.

Like I said, he fucks with everyone and always has:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-golf-coat-arms-davies-family

Maybe he ought to appropriate the William Wallace family coat of arms and we can see some real bullying in action.

GftNC, I am not a Trump supporter, this has little to do with Trump. He has affirmed his support for NATO, drawing some verbal line in the sand was meant to make him back off the point. The same point Bush and Obama made.

Merkel meeting with Obama in the midst of Trumps European visit is about as in your face as can be. They, Merkel and Macron, are the opposition party and are trying to influence our elections by making outrageous statements about Trump.

They, Merkel and Macron, are the opposition party and are trying to influence our elections by making outrageous statements about Trump.

Here we go.

I best not reply further.

Marty, this is everything to do with Trump. He has zero idea (and you may not either) of the effect that his extraordinary statements are having in contexts where the most careful, judicious diplomatic language is the norm. These countries and their leaders have no preference for Dem over Republican, they want American leaders who understand NATO, and the general world order which has been painstakingly maintained for 70 years. They are not making outrageous statements about Trump, he is making non-stop outrageous and ignorant statements about everything of any importance whatsoever, and people's disbelief is giving way to a determination not let the disintegration of the American project lead to the disintegration of the entire liberal democratic world.

this is everything to do with Trump.

It definitely has to do with Trump, GftNC, but it also has to do with cynicism of Americans who support him (whether with their vote or their arguments). It's Memorial Day, and we remember (in Ivanka Trump's case, with champagne popsicles) the sacrifices of the dead who gave us our long peace. These cynical people are bored with that.

Marty, did you look at the brief video I posted ?
You do realise that Martin Schulz is running against Merkel ?

Mattis: “The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget.”

And there you have it. If your definition of success is winning military victories, you've got to have a huge military. And if a robust State Department is the road to needing less in the military budget, then it follows that you need to gut their budget. QED

Suddenly much becomes clear.

Not on thread, but since you asked people to "de-lurk," here goes. I have "lurked" for a number of years, on and off, basically because the conversation here seems better than the vast majority of what is elsewhere on the internet. Thank you for that. Politically I line up with the large majority of the regular contributors, so have not felt like I have much to add. Of late, I have been reading more religion than politics, trying to somehow deal with the contempt and anger I feel at the people who have put us in this insane position -- like just about everyone, that includes friends and family members, thank god not many. I am not ignoring the problem, just trying not to be eaten alive by it. Trump has already been a disaster for the country, and I think that our best case scenario is that he remains a largely ineffectual disaster. I fear that the real catastrophe is yet to come, maybe not far off, and maybe in response to the investigative walls closing in on him. The profound ignorance and sociopathic lack of empathy the man demonstrates makes things possible now which would have been close to unthinkable. I very much hope to be proven wrong. Thanks again.

Thank you, Geof.

Oh man it's been ages since I posted a comment!

Um... ummm (panics) uhhhhhh... think, Paul... think...

Oh, I know!

There is no pit of hell deep enough for Mitch McConnell.

Hard to see how the USA climbs out of the pit of the Trump presidency. It's not just the politicians that need to get their heads realigned, it's the voters.

...after Trump cartoon

Change the caption to "...but her emails", and here we are.

Absolutely this has to do with Trump.

It's not that we disagree with him about stuff, though we do. Nor that we're affronted by his relentless boorishness, though we are. It's that he's incapable of contributing to an intelligent and informed discussion. He can't be trusted with a secret. He can't even be asked to pay attention for four minutes in a row to the presentation of a complex issue. He's simply not within a million miles of being up to the job.

Which wouldn't really be our business, except that the President of the United States is the leader of the western world.

i have long kept trying to remind myself not to assume malice when stupidity will cover the known facts but we seem to have reached a point at which the ugly intersection of malice and stupidity has been elected to the world stage and has just finished taking the show on the road with truly predictable results. at the end of the day 45 has shown our democratic allies that he is a loose cannon who cannot be trusted with information, nor can he be trusted to hold our alliances together. at the same time he has shown our authoritarian allies that he is happy to work with them because they are bigly strong, just as he sees himself. these developments are both frightening and sad but they are not unexpected. did he not promise disorder and change as he campaigned? did he not encourage violence against reporters and protesters as he campaigned? was he not malice and stupidity personified on the campaign trail? and he has delivered all of that and more in office.

Which wouldn't really be our business, except that the President of the United States is used to be the leader of the western world.

And the day may come when the President of the United States is that leader again.** Just . . . not this President.


** Of what isn't just the "western" world. "Free world" seems closer, if not perfectly accurate. At least it recognizes that Japan and Korean, among others, are (or at least were) a part of it.

So far, the delurkers are winning the thread.

Which is, to be politically incorrect, a win-win.

Sapient, did I miss the announcement identifying you as the identifier and arbiter of acceptable viewpoints? The person authorized to hold others and their views to account? Hint: if you're going to call me to account, try to pay more attention to what I say. Or, just leave my name out of your Pepsi challenges.

We both must have missed that, McKinney!

By the way, when are your Republican friends going to invoke the 25th? Have you checked with them about that? Or advocated for it? Or held up a sign?

Where are you on the subject of Trump and NATO? What did you think of his foreign travels? Maybe I missed (in addition to whatever you were going on about) your take? What do you think about the unfortunate hate crimes in Maryland and in Oregon? White supremacists - when will we start profiling them, and asking "their communities" to condemn them?

I'm genuinely curious.

Oddly, the nationalism expressed in Merkels comments are not really different from Trumps

sometimes I tango when I drink whiskey, sometimes I foxtrot.

glad to hear from some familiar names and some not so familiar. please jump in anytime!

also, FWIW, a coup is the illegal overthrow of a government, typically by violent means.

investigating potentially criminal activities by an officeholder, including possible collusion with an unfriendly foreign power to interfere with the electoral process, is not a coup.

rather the opposite, I would think.

should trump find himself out on his ass, it will be because he has earned it.

William Nickles,
lovely stuff. Are you doing it from the Chinese or assembling different English translations? Nothing wrong with the latter, I was pulled into reading Homer by Christopher Logue's translation.

@Marty

"If what happened in the last 100 days destroyed "70 years of goodwill and alliances" then they were pretty weak to begin with."

Or possibly a dangerous and deluded extremist made it clear that he was not willing to live up to the basic provisions of that alliance. It's time that supposedly reasonable conservatives stopped deluding themselves about Trump - and about how reasonable they actually are. Europe has no obligation to pretend that Trump is anything but a vicious, bigoted serial fraudster whose word is as worthless as his character and that of the fascist rabble he leads.

Europe has no obligation to pretend that Trump is anything but a vicious, bigoted serial fraudster whose word is as worthless as his character and that of the fascist rabble he leads.

Americans should quit giving him any more credit than that as well.

William Nickles, Are you doing it from the Chinese or assembling different English translations

the latter

Yes there have been some problems ... but

I'm sure the victims of our numerous disastrous foreign interventions since WW2 will be assuaged by the fact that technological innovation has made life more comfortable and we live in an era of unprecedented global travel (especially for US citizens!). Hey, I'm sure they think that, all in all, that makes their suffering worth it.

Seriously, you couldn't make this sh@t up.

8 minutes on the topics of the day from a pretty rational actor:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politicsvideo/white-house-identifies-three-leakers-of-classified-information/vi-BBBDYmj

Marty, even in incognito mode: "Sorry, this video cannot be played in your present location" (very frequent message from US, by the way). Would you be able to summarise?

Sure, the basic message in the interview was there was a lot of political theater going on while on the ground relationships between countries are more or less unchanged. The actual risk to NATO is realistically infinitesmal and establishing back channel contact is pretty normal business for a new administration, And there is certainly a coordinated resistance to Trump that will be manifested in someway, if not the Kushner story of the day it will be something else.

"And in a new development, CBS News has confirmed that three leakers of classified information at the White House have been identified and are expected to be fired.

According to CBS, "officials within the Trump White House believe leaks of Mr. Trump's conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are a "deliberate attempt" by officials who are holdovers from President Obama's administration and are trying to damage the Trump presidency.""

I contribute wherever I feel I have expertise to add. So, not very often then!

We're in the middle of the UK general election campaign over here, and I'm in the middle of moving house. It turns out that "moving all the boxes from one house to another" is not, in fact, the endpoint of moving house. We've been to Ikea to get the extra furniture but we still have weeks of furniture-building and unpacking to do.

At least the MiL is not coming to stay until next week, now (it was going to be today). We might have a chance of building the daybed in the 2nd bedroom and having a clear path to it by then.

Of course we're going to a wedding at the other end of the country this weekend, so that wipes out most of our usable time between now and then.

Back on the election campaign, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour party, has narrowed the gap between them and the Tories from circa 20 points when Theresa May called the snap election to somewhere between 5 and 10 points depending on what polling you believe. It's not enough to win, but it might be enough to return May with a parliamentary majority not much different to what she already has (which is 12 seats).

That would be a massive embarrassment for her and the Tory party, and probably enough to keep Corbyn in-post until the next election if he wants to be.

Aha, thank you for that.

on the ground relationships between countries are more or less unchanged.

This is possibly true for the moment, while European powers desperately hope that Congress comes to its senses and replaces the conman/criminal/cognitively impaired ignorant child in the White House with a grown-up.

The actual risk to NATO is realistically infinitesmal

I hope this is true, and it might be (see above).

and establishing back channel contact is pretty normal business for a new administration

If this refers to the Trump campaign and Russia, it's the current attempt to muddy the waters and describe what is possibly treason or espionage, and definitely highly suspicious (or why try and evade your own intelligence services by offering to, of all incredible things, use Russian telecommunications equipment).

And there is certainly a coordinated resistance to Trump that will be manifested in someway, if not the Kushner story of the day it will be something else

This is true enough, and thank God for it since it shows that there are people in the US, on both sides of the political divide, who see what a disaster Trump is and what a much worse disaster he will be if he remains in office. Of course in many ways Pence will be worse, because probably more capable of actually passing damaging legislation, but the challenges to the relative stability of the world order will at least recede somewhat.

who are holdovers from President Obama's administration and are trying to damage the Trump presidency

yeah, that's right. the leakers are the problem.

pay no attention to the bumbling idiot toddler; the problem is that his baby sitters keep telling people what he's broken.

the conman/criminal/cognitively impaired ignorant child in the White House

Actually, I take back "criminal". If I object to Marty calling HRC a criminal (and I do), it behoves me to be careful about how I use the word. If I understand correctly (and do please tell me if I am wrong), Trump has never been convicted of a criminal offence.

Trump has never been convicted of a criminal offence.

true.

that's because he always settles suits against him. he's paid many tens of millions of dollars to settle dozens of cases - despite him saying that he never settles cases.

cleek, were those criminal cases or civil? I didn't think you could settle criminal cases by payment? But maybe I'm wrong.

I didn't think you could settle criminal cases by payment? But maybe I'm wrong.

Technically, you can't. But it is sometimes possible that, for sufficient consideration, a critical witness may suddenly develop a memory loss.

And no, I have no idea if this might have occurred with regards to Trump. Just saying that it's possible . . . albeit constituting an illegal obstruction of justice.

if you can get the plaintiffs to stop cooperating with law enforcement they might drop the case.

here's a nice one involving, of course, real-estate fraud, Russian investors, the Russian mafia and his business partners receiving "unexplained infusions of cash from accounts in Kazakhstan and Russia"

The backdrop to that unusual denouement was a gathering legal storm that threatened to cast a harsh light on how he did business. Besides the fraud accusations, a separate lawsuit claimed that Trump SoHo was developed with the undisclosed involvement of convicted felons and financing from questionable sources in Russia and Kazakhstan.

And hovering over it all was a criminal investigation, previously unreported, by the Manhattan district attorney into whether the fraud alleged by the condo buyers broke any laws, according to documents and interviews with five people familiar with it. The buyers initially helped in the investigation, but as part of their lawsuit settlement, they had to notify prosecutors that they no longer wished to do so.

The criminal case was eventually closed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/us/politics/donald-trump-soho-settlement.html?_r=0

Excellent, many thanks wj and cleek.

I have been lurking since around 2006 (!). I browse a few blogs but I don't comment much. The browsing alone takes up too much of my time!

I like ObWi b/c there is not as much vitriol in the comments. Or maybe I should say it has about the right amount of vitriol.

The actual risk to NATO is realistically infinitesmal

I'd ask folks who live there and see what their point of view is.

and establishing back channel contact is pretty normal business for a new administration

"Establishing back channel" doesn't usually involve using secured comms operated by the counterparty. In order to evade the involvement of your own legal and intelligence organizations.

Right?

It's hardly worth even discussing this stuff, and I have a really hard time understanding your motivation in pursuing the lines of argument that you present here.

These people are crooks and grifters and have always been crooks and grifters. It's something of a fluke that he's in the office, and if he doesn't do significant damage before he's done it will be truly remarkable.

People aren't "out to get him", people are trying to figure out WTF is going on. There's a lot of negative press about Trump because he's a crap POTUS, and possible a criminal, and possibly involved directly or indirectly in actions that undermine our political process and institutions.

That stuff attracts negative attention.

If you want to cut him slack until all of the investigation is complete, that's fine. But the "there's nothing of substance here" and "it's all just a political vendetta" stuff is nonsense. It's worse than nonsense, it's folly. It's asking for disaster.

You're welcome to it, but I have a hard time even responding to it in any kind of substantial way.

It's true, it's possible that all of the noise is just holdovers from the Obama administration taking it out on Trump because they're still miffed about Clinton losing.

It's also possible that Jimmy Hoffa is alive and well. They never found the body, right? He'd be 100-something years old, but it's not out of the question.

At a certain point countering the points you make ends up making the rest of us look foolish, too. If you didn't have the history you have here, I'd swear you were just trolling us all for the lulz.

The man is a crook. His kids are crooks. His son-in-law is a crook. They have no respect for anything except their own wealth and self-regard.

I respect the process that put him in office, but I have no regard for him or his entourage, and damned little for the folks who voted for him.

I expect, in fact demand and require, that the various investigations into him and his crew will continue until all of the extraordinary events surrounding his campaign and election are explained. And then, wherever that takes us, we will have to go. Like it or not.

It all sucks, but I'll put up with it, because the alternative is chaos. I guess there are situations where just letting chaos play out is the better choice, but thankfully we aren't there yet.

See here is why I post infrequently, "what russell said."

seems to me that Marty has taken it upon himself to defend whatever Trump does, as long as it's technically not illegal. and if there's a benefit of the doubt to be given when it comes to Trump, Marty gives it. if there are unanswered questions, Marty assumes Trump's innocence.

he's not a Trump supporter. just a staunch Trump defender.

i get it: Trump's troubles hurt the GOP, and Marty's a loyal Republican. so he's fighting for his team.

looks like a losing cause, to me.

Pretty much what russell said, and also what cleek said, with this caveat: I think Marty is not so much a staunch Trump defender (although he does seem to do some of that) as a staunch Democrat/lefty attacker, in a variant of my enemy's enemy is my friend (loosely speaking - I know that Marty does not regard us here at ObWi as enemies). He's in a bind when it comes to sane Republicans of course.

The time comes when, for the good of the team, you have to excise the rot so you can rebuild.

"[Marty's] not a Trump supporter. just a staunch Trump defender."

cleek, cleek, cleek...isn't clear?1??

Marty is 100% following cleek's law.

It's not that Marty luvvs him some Trump, it's his reaction to 'those lefties' attacking Trump.

Marty himself admitted to middle finger politics.

cleek, cleek, cleek...isn't clear?

oh i see it, i was just trying to tapdance around saying it. ♫ !

Imagine you knew somebody who:
1) Sided with the Republican Thug in Montana who beat up a reporter;
2) Sided with UAL's glorified mall cops when they beat up a passenger;
3) Believed (or at least, wrote) of Obama that he "killed a Supreme";
4) Favors single payer health insurance and blames the Democrats for it not being law;
5) Expresses contempt for He, Trump in general, but defends Him against every particular criticism.
Would you go out of your way to "understand" such a person?

--TP

Would you go out of your way to "understand" such a person?

Maybe for the diversion of it, like solving riddles and puzzles that serve no practical purpose.

Believed (or at least, wrote) of Obama that he "killed a Supreme"

Wait, what?

I guess I missed that one.

Yes, Tony P, did he say that?

killed a Supreme:

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2016/02/he-is-an-ex-scalia.html?cid=6a00d834515c2369e201b8d19f9351970c#comment-6a00d834515c2369e201b8d19f9351970c

don't know why that link doesn't work. but this should work: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aobsidianwings.blogs.com+%22killed+a+Supreme%22

Links, schminks. Here it is, unedited; emphasis added:

Doc, the executive order discussion isn't a question of how many, it is a question of what. He has purposefully and with astounding hubris rewritten laws. Maybe you should put a few brain cells into the longer term implications of a President simply telling the executive branch to stop enforcing any law he doesn't like. He is trying to get a legacy he couldn't achieve. And now he killed a Supreme.

A man who would be king.

Posted by: Marty | February 14, 2016 at 11:46 AM


" if there are unanswered questions, Marty assumes Trump's innocence."

I have not defended his choice of Sessions or pretty much anything Sessions has done. I haven't defended Flynn, for a second. I have been circumspect about Kushner because I had hoped he might provide a counter weight to whatever Bannon is up to, which seems to have been somewhat muted.

I watched Brennan and Mattis say that establishing back channels in and of itself isn't really unusual. I watched Brennan say that he gave Russians intelligence all the time. I also watched him say that it was at least as troubling that what was said to the Russians was leaked, and more damaging.

I watched Trump hold his own on several campaign promises with the Germans while leaving himself wiggle room to cut a deal later.

I read the write ups, the other NATO leaders were upset because they felt like he was there to make a deal. He was, why does that upset them? He didn't agree on climate change, so what? He doesn't agree, he campaigned on not agreeing. Did they think he was going to have an epiphany?

The problem isn't that I take up for him, when he is wrong I am happy to agree. But it is unproductive for our country to pound him for everything that can be spun into a problem.

And yes, I assume, with all the facts that have been presented that he is innocent of a crime.

Why do I argue? Because the constant barrage of unnecessary handwringing and accusations is designed for the purpose of preventing any of the Republican agenda being enacted. Much of which I support. Which is primarily why most of you think its ok. So yes, Trumps troubles hurt Republicans, and I am happy for that to happen when its called for. and not otherwise.

"Those people" don't care about Trump or him talking to a Russian ambassador or Kushner having meetings or how Trump interacted with the G-7 leaders. "Those people" just want to create enough noise to prevent the Congress from doing its job.

And its working. So at the end of every to weeks or so there is another story about how Trumps agenda isn't getting passed and how that is due to his incompetence, which is partially true.

He is not competent at the political gamesmanship being played by members of his own and the opposition party, and now opposition world leaders.


But pending Tony P's reply, I would just say this. I've been very aware, in the last thread and this, while debating Marty's views, that he seems to have an automatic reflex in the first instance to believe whatever version of events is put out by "the authorities", whoever they may be in any situation, and before evidence or more details emerge. Regarding the examples Tony P. gives, of the doctor on the United flight, and the Montana assault, I would ask the following. Marty, you assumed, before the doctor's injuries made it clear how disproportionate the force used was on the United flight, and before the Fox crew's evidence on the Montana assault was widely enough disseminated, that in both cases in your opinion "the authorities" were in the right of it. How do you account for this? Would you say that you are in some sense an authoritarian, or at least sympathetic to the authoritarian mindset?

He is not competent at the political gamesmanship

Unfortunately for him, and for us, "political gamesmanship" - i.e., persuasion, building consensus, constructive negotiation, and when necessary outflanking the folks who oppose you - is the gig.

It's what political leadership is.

He's no longer the CEO of the family real estate / TV reality show / brand marketing business. He's the POTUS.

The people he has to deal with now aren't impressed by the gold-plated toilet. They expect competence, and he's not bringing it.

He's failing. And he's not failing because people are "picking on him", persevering and succeeding in the face of criticism is also part of the gig. It's what every single POTUS - every single leader - is expected to do.

He's failing because he's not qualified to do the job. Manifestly.

And if that's as far as it goes, we'll be very, very, very lucky.

OMG, Tony P was right. Marty actually said that Obama killed a Supreme. WTF were you thinking, Marty, and do you still think it?

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