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April 11, 2018

Comments

Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t just bait, for amusement.

Marty, seriously, what on earth makes you say so? You conceded in another thread that Comey and Mueller were Republicans. Do you really think they were the only ones in "the justice system"? And do you really believe that, whatever the party affiliation of individuals, the US system is so corrupt that a corrupt and criminal president was protected, but that suddenly another one is being thrown to the wolves? None of that makes any sense, even on its own terms.

Obama is a product of the Vhicago machine. Supported and groomed, history prewritten. The New Yorker did a great spread on him and his history. There is nothing slimy about recognizing that to accomplish the meteoric rise through Illinois politics to the White House a price is extracted.

Any other view is incredibly naive.

When the Maker Who Made Us All unexpectedly gathered unto Himself the late lamentable Justice Scalia, Marty asserted that it was Obama who done it. If Marty is a troll who says things he "has no reason to think [are] true", he's been a pretty accomplished one for some years.

Alternatively, Marty actually believes the crap he spews. But it would be unchristian to think so.

--TP

The New Yorker did a great spread on him and his history.

I'd like to read that, if you can find a link.

There is nothing slimy about recognizing that to accomplish the meteoric rise through Illinois politics to the White House a price is extracted.

I'm sure that's true. "A price is extracted" covers a lot of ground. It applies to any challenging path.

A price is extracted to be a saint, to be a murderer, to be a cop, to run the Boston Marathon, to play the piano, to decide to have kids.

A price is extracted to do anything whatsoever at a high level of performance. Or even just something challenging at an average level of performance.

You need to be a little more specific if you want to be credible. On the basic merits, Obama's time in office was the cleanest in modern history.

Show your work, please.

Any other view is incredibly naive.

I'll keep my own counsel on that until I see what you're holding.

russell, this is circular and useless. Start with the things they did the ladt 90 days go undermine Trump, work backwards through Loretta Lynch to the IRS scandal to the gun running ATF, and its laughable to talk about a scandal free Presidency. I admit to being stunned the first time I heard how scandal free his Presidency supposedly was.

I cant find the New Yorker article, circa 2008.

This is of course based on what co sider a reasonable view that his administration was conzrantly protected by a complete failure of the DOJ to pursue any of these investigations with any vigor.

So no, I dont say any of this stuff just to get a rise out of yall, nor do I think its a stretch. Trump is an idiot who pissed off the CIA, FBI,DOJ, the judiciary and most of the media and hes paying the price.

But to pretend his cronies are somehow less honest than Obama's, in general, is questionable. Remembering that ultimately Obama's key cronies were Democratic fund raisers that were convicted of illegal bundling and a social media team that buried any GOP candudate with beung Bush.

In fact, Trumps biggest mistake was bringing in people he didnt know at all, Manafort, Flynn, etc. Most of the scandals that have been prosecuted were by people he barely knew.

And now we are just bypassing every legal protection and announcing lawyers confidential client information in open court. Even if he is the biggest ass on tv, he deserves lawyer/client confidentiality protection.

Coup in slow motion.

Marty is the guy who said that those of us who campaigning for same-sex marriage were saying "I got mine fnck you" to the world. The evidence was that Marty's son and his son's girlfriend also didn't have the rights accorded to married people, and we weren't campaigning for them as well.

What we were supposed to be asking for on their behalf I never found out, because when I pointed out that Marty's son and his son's girlfriend already had the right that gay people were asking for -- to go down to the town hall and get a marriage license -- Marty either disappeared or ignored the question (I don't recall which).

That train of "logic" made no sense, this doesn't either. Whether it's Tony P's box of rocks or deliberate trolling I have given up trying to decide, but the resentment, it burns.

Making It: How Chicago shaped Obama.

I'm trying to figure out how a Justice Department staffed, primarily, with career folks who are lifelong Republicans and basically on the conservative side of the spectrum would have decided to "go easy" on Obama. Who, last I looked, was a Democrat and relatively liberal -- albeit nowhere near as liberal as he is accused of being. Where is the Deep State when it counts???

And that's before we get to the apparent inability of a Republican-controlled Congress, in 6 years of vigorous effort, to find all these scandals which are now being alleged. Were they just massively incompetent? Or was there nothing (outside conspiracy fantasies) to find? Because it's impossible to argue plausibly that they weren't trying.

OK Marty, if Charles's link is the New Yorker piece you were referring to, and if you have re-read it, do you still think it shows that Obama is "likely as corrupt" as Trump? As TRUMP? I know it's hard to step back from a position, but seriously?

I should make clear that in my opinion the New Yorker piece shows that Obama was/is a politician, with all the ducking and diving, compromising, questionable alliances, personal betraying and inevitable besmirching that that involves. No angel, for sure. But hardly corrupt, even when not compared to Trump, the very definition of the word.

GftNC,

It is certainly likely he us as corrupt as Trump. I keep looking for the proof, or even some evidence beyond "the campaign bought things from Trump businesses", that Trump is actually corrupt. While Trump is a businessman of questionable ethics, that is something Obama certainly wasnt. Obama is a politician of incredibly questionable ethics.

So the CD here may have as much to do with your assessment of how "corrupt" Trump is as mine of how clearly corrupt Obama is. Obama clearly used jis government service for his financial gain at every turn while using the machinery og government to further his personal and political agendas.

If you consider my opinion trolling it is because of the confusing, to me, belief that Obama is somehow above the grift required to be a successful politician.

JankeM, you should get over it. I was making a point about my belief that benefits and legal protections shouldnt be designated based on the concept of marriage. That people, even my son to whom it was available, shouldnt be forced into that arramgement to accrue thise benefits. The downside of marriage is that it is reasonably hard to undo, sometimes unnecessarily so. So many people are forced to choose between an arcane legal concept of a century ago or not getting to be at their loved ones side in the hospital. There is nothing confusing about the logkc or particularly devastating about my reaction to your flat statement that you were worried about gay marriage and someone else could worry about the broader issue. It is not the most difficult disagreement that has ever been had, just the one you took most perdonally, long apologized for.

hey Marty,
still waiting for the list of times the FBI has abused its power.

cleek, then youre not paying attention.

yes, i'm sure that's it.

It is certainly likely he us as corrupt as Trump.

Sorry, but this is fucking nuts. You are correct, there is no point in pursuing the conversation further.

I found, and read, the "Making It" NY'er piece. Yes, Obama is an ambitious, competitive politician. I have no doubt he is capable of being kind of a dick in some situations.

Welcome to the big show.

That's the evidence of his deep corruption?

JankeM, you should get over it.

And this is where I lose interest in engaging you in conversation about pretty much anything.

What a profoundly rude and callous thing to say.

Did Obama just have to pay $25M for bilking people out of their money through the establishment of a fake “university”? Has anything remotely like that happened to him in his entire life?

Also, too, you’re using the word “scandal” a bit more loosely than the context calls for. The IRS, ATF, and Lynch episodes are not on the scale of, say, Monica Lewinsky or Iran-Contra (not that I think those two are comparable to each other, at least in nature if not magnitude).

Obama was/is imperfect to be sure. Trump is a total sh1t show.

Marty, I don't think (and have never thought) that you are a troll.

I think you are a good guy who is more informed by the rightwing disinformation bubble than you are aware of, and I completely see how patronising and condescending you may consider this view, and I am sorry for that. I also see how you might turn it back on me about some putative liberal bubble, but as I have often said, that's the problem with having no commonly accepted source of facts.

I also think that when you're in a several-sided fight about some of it, here on ObWi, you find it hard to step back and admit when you're wrong (although you did on the Comey and Mueller being Republicans issue). But that probably applies to more than one commenter here.

The long history of corrupt Trump behaviour is pretty well documented, with a lot more substantive detail than that New Yorker piece for example, but I imagine in the next few months/years more will come out. Whether the rightwing bubble will cover it is another matter.

rhssell, no its not. She brings up a conversation from years ago on a regular basis as an insult to me. And as some strawman to call me a troll. I have a right to more vigorously denounce that as time goes on.

It was a really long time ago now. Nothing i said was even that insulting, far worse things are bandied about daily here.

All kinds of crap has come out, and will continue to come out, about Trump and his family and circle of associates. It has included, and will continue to include, activities ranging from the merely sleazy, to the profoundly unethical, to outright criminal behavior.

This is not a partisan thing. There have been, are now, and likely will continue to be no shortage of (D) politicians who are also on the spectrum from sleazy to unethical to plainly criminal.

Responding to the investigation of Trump's corruption by pointing fingers at people like the Clintons or Obama is not persuasive. The Clintons have, in fact, leveraged their public careers into great personal wealth. So has Obama. So has virtually every prominent national political figure in modern memory. So did Ulysses S Grant, for that matter. It's not necessarily the most attractive practice, but it has become the norm.

None of that is what we're talking about in the case of Trump.

Trump is, really and truly, a crook. This is not news to anyone who has a more than passing familiarity with his very public career over the last 35 or 40 years. He's a dishonest sleazebag, no bank in the US will lend him a dime, he makes his money by marketing high-end real estate to anonymous offshore cash buyers, and by licensing his personal notoriety to crappy consumer goods, education scams, and real estate deals in countries with lax criminal enforcement. His business associates are gangsters, thugs, and offshore kleptocrats.

It's a really, really, really long list, and no, by god the Clintons and Obama are not the (D) equivalents, and people only make themselves look foolish when they try to insist otherwise.

People need to get their partisan blinders off and receive the fact that the POTUS is a freaking criminal, so that we can all deal with the reality and move the hell on. I'm sick of the "yeah, but what about..." discussion, it's stupid and a waste of time.

Trump's a crook, his presidency is unraveling BECAUSE HE IS A CROOK, not because the "deep state" has it in for him. Let's deal with it and move on.

The long history of corrupt Trump behaviour is pretty well documented, with a lot more substantive detail than that New Yorker piece for example, but I imagine in the next few months/years more will come out....

Agreed - though that should probably read weeks/months rather than months/years...

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/michael-cohen-and-the-end-stage-of-the-trump-presidency
…However, I am unaware of anybody who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality. In Azerbaijan, he did business with a likely money launderer for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the Republic of Georgia, he partnered with a group that was being investigated for a possible role in the largest known bank-fraud and money-laundering case in history. In Indonesia, his development partner is “knee-deep in dirty politics”; there are criminal investigations of his deals in Brazil; the F.B.I. is reportedly looking into his daughter Ivanka’s role in the Trump hotel in Vancouver, for which she worked with a Malaysian family that has admitted to financial fraud. Back home, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka were investigated for financial crimes associated with the Trump hotel in SoHo—an investigation that was halted suspiciously. His Taj Mahal casino received what was then the largest fine in history for money-laundering violations.

Listing all the financial misconduct can be overwhelming and tedious. I have limited myself to some of the deals over the past decade, thus ignoring Trump’s long history of links to New York Mafia figures and other financial irregularities….

Whether the rightwing bubble will cover it is another matter.

They will not.

It will be the "deep state" mounting a "slow motion coup" to overthrow a democratically elected guy that all of the liberal coastal elites just could not abide.

That's the story, and they will be sticking to it. Don't expect anything else.

Some of his supporters will have a re-think and make better choices going forward. Some never will.

Welcome to America.

She brings up a conversation from years ago on a regular basis as an insult to me.

I won't speak for Janie, but I doubt she's bringing it up as an "insult to you".

Perhaps consider why she might find that particular comment of yours to be something she might be disinclined to let go of.

Obama was/is imperfect to be sure

Not perfect, huh? Way to go out on a limb. One percent less than perfection in human beings? Maybe 2%? Nah that's too flawed.

Since the Obamabots claim they don't lie and argue in good faith, I will believe that you, and your fellow trolls, since I hear that formulation a lot, believe Obama is close enough to perfect that we should use the expression.

That makes you liars, craysick, and pretty damn authoritarian. And which from the far left, makes you much closer to Marty than to me. I worship no one, and barely believe any individual is worth a damn, let alone using the word "perfect" in the vicinity of their descriptions.

Anybody else you would describe as almost perfect? You can now try to hide by avoiding the expression, but your idolatry and cultishness will out.

Not helping the damn Republican.

cor·rupt
kəˈrəpt/Submit
adjective
1.
having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.
"unscrupulous logging companies assisted by corrupt officials"
synonyms: dishonest, unscrupulous, dishonorable, unprincipled, unethical, amoral, untrustworthy, venal, underhanded, double-dealing, fraudulent, bribable, criminal, illegal, unlawful, nefarious; More

Insofar as words have meaning, Trump is the embodiment of corrupt.

now we are just bypassing every legal protection and announcing lawyers confidential client information in open court

sorry, this one needs a response.

Sean Hannity has spent no small amount of air time railing against the investigation into, among other people, Michael Cohen.

No mention of the fact that MICHAEL COHEN WAS HIS OWN ATTORNEY.

So, WTF.

These guys are creeps, criminals, and boneheads. If you're a (R), get up offa your butt and get some reasonable people to run. And tell them that anyone who shows up on Fox loses your vote.

Your party sucks. Fix it, please. Or at least quit whining when the rest of us point it out.

The rest of us will thank you for it.

wj, "you" should run. you're a sensible guy, if I lived in your area I'd probably vote for you.

c'mon you guys, there have to be some reasonable (R)'s out there. fix your party, please.

This stuff is getting old.

remember when Obama paid all those porn stars to keep quiet? what a sleazy guy.

the "it's a deep state conspiracy" is the official GOP party line now.

it has to be. it's the only way they can explain the fact that their cult leader is being investigated and that his associates keep ending up being indicted.

And now we are just bypassing every legal protection and announcing lawyers confidential client information in open court. Even if he is the biggest ass on tv, he deserves lawyer/client confidentiality protection...

It was Cohen's own lawyers who announced the information - after a Reagan appointed justice ordered them to do so.
IOW, the information wasn't confidential client information at all.

As for 'deserving' lawyer/client confidentiality, it's hardly apparent that he even meets the test of being a client.
In his own words:
"Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective...."

It does, however, explain the apparent innumeracy of this report...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cohen-seeks-to-withhold-identity-of-mystery-client/2018/04/16/be7e5fce-4182-11e8-8569-26fda6b404c7_story.html
In the course of those arguments, Cohen’s lawyers acknowledged that he has had only about three legal clients in the past year and a half …

Though 'about two and a bit legal clients' might be closer to the mark.
Amusingly Cohen appears to have significantly more attorneys than he does clients.

Stating that Obama is just as corrupt as Trump, if not more so, is so completely divorced from objective fact as to render any other utterance irrelevant.

The FoxNews universe is a good 3 degrees off plumb, on the quantum meter. It might as well be airing from Star Trek's Mirror Mirror universe - as the Voice of the Imperium.

Marty shows how it can be difficult for someone firmly in the grips of cleek's Law; gotta hold tight that resentment, when your political world is falling apart all around you, amirite?

And let me quote to Cohen & clients:

"if they've done nothing wrong, they have nothing to hide".

Pretty sure I heard that coming from the rightwing-o-verse, many times. Why, it's as if they're a bunch of self-serving DISHONEST LIARS or something. Unpossible!

And now we are just bypassing every legal protection and announcing lawyers confidential client information in open court. Even if he is the biggest ass on tv, he deserves lawyer/client confidentiality protection...

And don't you think, Marty, that as a journalist* weighing in pretty heavily on this case on a daily basis, that he ought to have declared an interest ?

*Giving him the benefit of the doubt here.

long apologized for

Oh, really? Must have been at some random time years later when I wasn't reading the blog so much. Ditto for the time you called me breathtakingly hypocritical, and also for the time you said you couldn't tell me apart from Jesurgislac (!!!!! talk about being a figment of someone's imagination). There may be more; those are just the ones I "took personally" enough to remember.

I won't hold my breath for a cite for the "long apologized for" apologies.

As for marriage, I don't think it's such a harmless disagreement (which you never did a thing to explain *or* apologize for) when your characterization of me is to put the words "I got mine, fnck you" in my mouth, apparently because I was working for the changes I wanted to see in the world and not the changes you wanted to see. You want changes to the rights of couples who aren't married, go do your own dirty work. But I doubt you'll find that people who want a bundle of rights much like the rights conferred by marriage will be able to undo their contracts any more easily than marriages are undone.

As for me, I'm going down to cleek's bakery.

P.S. I have called Marty the equivalent of "dumb" and haven't apologized. Without the explanation he gave above, the notion that "I got mine fnck you" aptly characterized the marriage campaign because Marty's son and his girlfriend didn't have the rights of married people did seem mind-bogglingly dumb, in addition to its nastiness. The explanation may make it seem less dumb; it doesn't make it any less nasty.

"Must have been at some random time years later when I wasn't reading the blog so much. Ditto for the time you called me breathtakingly hypocritical, and also for the time you said you couldn't tell me apart from Jesurgislac (!!!!! talk about being a figment of someone's imagination"

I don't recall the Jes comment, cant imagine the context, the other two were in the same thread. I did say you were hypocritical as you pointed out that maybe people in the Northeast were better able to judge the immigration issue than the people in Arizona because they weren't so close to the issue. After arguing that people who weren't gay shouldn't have an opinion on gay marriage and people who couldn't get an abortion (men) shouldn't have a say in it.

The very concept that someone less impacted by the problem was better equipped to evaluate it seemed completely the opposite of almost all discussion here.

If you are truly interested in relitigating it, I guess I am ready. I abandoned the discussion at the time because it was all wrapped in the discussion of gay marriage that I had no objection to, and was very real and important to you. So my point wasn't important enough to spend emotion continuing to defend at the cost of upsetting you.

I wasn't, however, going to take back my point either because it was reasonable and not meant to be as personal as you took it. So I literally just quit having the discussion. For years. Only to have it occasionally dredged up in circumstances for reasons I am never sure of.


And russell, I've had lots of pretty bad things said about me over the years and your standard response is if you are going to comment on the internet you should be able to take those things. Some discussions get more heated than others. I can assure you I can go back and find some things where I took offense, as can you, and was told I should live with and move on.

I can assure you I can go back and find some things where I took offense, as can you, and was told I should live with and move on.

Fair enough.

In general, I'd say that folks should suck it up and move on. I'd also say that most folks have a line that, if crossed, they will find hard to let go of.

When people articulate that, if you want to continue having a conversation with them, it's probably best to respect that.

I used to characterize Tea Party style conservatives here by framing their statements using southern or rural American diction. "Gummint", etc.

You found that offensive. I stopped doing that, because I accepted you at your word when you said you found it offensive, I had an interest in continuing to speak with you, and therefore was not interested in giving you personal offense.

I'm not offering this as an example of what a great guy I am, because in many ways I'm an irascible ass. This can be confirmed via a brief conversation with my wife, if need be.

I'm offering it as an observation that, yes, people need to have thick skins to engage in online debate, but also yes, if folks make it clear that something crosses a line with them, if you're interested in maintaining any kind of relationship with them, that needs to be respected at some basic level.

Not just directing that at you, Marty, just putting it out there.

Thanks Russell, nothing in that statement I disagree with, or don't try very hard to do. Not always successfully.

"Your party is broken"

Yep, they are broken all right, to the point where: not my circus; not my monkeys.

I am not a Republican donor. I am not a Republican supporter. I hang up as quickly on fundraising calls from various Republican organizations as I do on their counterparts.

But: no, I am not going to vote for people whose POVs are almost completely disjoint from mine. I declined to vote for Trump for President, but I also declined to give Hillary Clinton a vote. Sometimes I just don't cast a vote if I think both people are assholes.

State and local elections I voted for who looked like the best candidate for the job, irrespective of party. Sometimes the wrong people get in. At least a couple of our local city government people have recently been arrested and convicted of mishandling of funds. One of them actually paid a guy to bid on a piece of equipment, jack up the price, and then turn around and sell it to the city. I think that was somewhere upwards of $20k in profit for the city officer involved.

This is in a city whose population may have broken 2300 after we moved here.

For me, one huge problem in government is that it's used as a stepping-stone to bigger things, like lobbying. Take away their opportunities for taking, and you will get fewer people whose motivation is getting what they can take.

But I don't see a way to fix that, because those same people are the ones that make the laws that govern themselves.

And, hey, wouldn't it be swell if the DoJ was part of the Judiciary, rather than the Executive? Just spitballing, here.

For me, it's fundamentally broken, and beyond fixing. So, I just do what it's possible for one person to do, alone: cast my vote for sanity, and try to hold sane points of view. They may not be YOUR points of view, but they're not actively evil ones, either.

As for the latest & eternally ongoing Trump scandal(s): I think they'll all pan out to nothing, just as the various Clinton and Obama scandals did. If there was even a bit of evidence to convict, conviction will happen with or without my having been sure in advance that it would. So there's really not much of a point in me getting attached to a POV that may turn out to be wrong, or worse: we may just wind up still not knowing for sure.

The above paragraph is much of why I don't spend so much time, anymore, commenting politically. It'll pan out how it does, with or without my help in the home or away cheering section.

Of course, I expect disagreement on any or all of the above. It's a notionally free country, after all.

you're free to disengage, of course. that won't stop the effects of an incompetent, unqualified, morally-bankrupt administration from reaching you, however.

wj, "you" should run. you're a sensible guy, if I lived in your area I'd probably vote for you.

c'mon you guys, there have to be some reasonable (R)'s out there. fix your party, please.

Thanks, Russell. But unfortunately I'm massively introverted. (I've gotten better since high school, when I could get up in front of a maximum of 3 people I knew well, or one person I didn't know, and get words out at all. But it's still no fun.) Which is a serious handicap in a politician.

But even if personally running for office seems like a non-starter, I do what I can and am willing to do more. If anyone would care to offer concrete suggestions, I'd be happy to add to my repertoire.

Slarti:"For me, one huge problem in government is that it's used as a stepping-stone to bigger things"

Interesting point. I think it's been made significantly worse in CA and other places that have instituted term-limits for things like legislative offices.

One (possible? speculative!) counterpoint is that it seems like people that run HOAs (Home Owner's Associations) seem to have an outsized probability of turning into petty tyrants. Whereas a small-town mayor, with similar responsibilities, could well do the same, but if they're keeping one eye on future advancement would be more likely to not be such an a-hole.

It's those damned meatbags that cause all the problems.

Today in "But Gorsuch!":
In Sessions v Dimaya, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 against the administration. With Mr Justice Gorsuch concurring with the 4 "liberal justices" that the piece of immigration law that the deportation was being based on was "unconstitutionally vague."

One of the recurring truths of Supreme Court appointments is that the new Justices cannot be relied upon to behave exactly as the President making the appointment prefers. Even before the evolution in views which sometimes happens.

"One of the recurring truths of Supreme Court appointments is that the new Justices cannot be relied upon to behave exactly as the President making the appointment prefers."

Trump won't make that mistake again.

Next time he'll make sure his BFF Vladimir has some Kompromat on the nominee.

Next time he'll make sure his BFF Vladimir has some Kompromat on the nominee.

Ah, but is Vlad his BFF. Or just an ally of (Vlad's) convenience? I'd bet on the latter -- which means that he might not be willing to bother with doing something like that for Trump.

Well, Vlad did do an olé when we cruise-missiled Damascus, so there may be something to the BFF thing.

Marty: Coup in slow motion.

I will be charitable and assume that this is not trolling but sincerely held opinion.

Now: while persons are entitled to respect, opinions are not. So: that's a stupid opinion.

BTW: like russell, I have used "gummint" (or my personal variant, "guvmint") many times; unlike russell, I have not sworn off it. But let me be perfectly clear: it's not "southerners" I mean to mock, it's Saint Ronald Reagan, who I think (but I may just be trolling) used to pronounce it that way on purpose. One of my standard gags since last millennium has been that Reagan did so "reduce the size of government" -- he took a whole syllable out of it.

--TP

Thanks, Russell. But unfortunately I'm massively introverted.

You can be the guy behind the curtain!

:)

For me, one huge problem in government is that it's used as a stepping-stone to bigger things, like lobbying.

Yes.

Money makes people do funny things. Not "funny ha-ha", the other kind of funny.

We know the way to stop it, we don't have the discipline.

Tony P, I'm pretty sure it is sincerely held opinion. And by the way, FWIW, I think Marty explained sometime later that his comment about Obama killing Scalia was a joke. Thank God.

I was reading this and immediately thought of Nigel and Donald.

Have a nice day.

For me, one huge problem in government is that it's used as a stepping-stone to bigger things, like lobbying.

It could be worse. It could be the other way around. cf Trump administration.

My name is bobbyp, and I endorse this message.

GftNC,

Sincerely held opinions can be sincerely stupid. Sincerely held beliefs can be sincerely wrong. Sincerity says something about the opiner/believer, not about the universe. And BTW, joking and trolling are not mutually exclusive. It's sincerity and trollery that are.

I'm not suggesting you disagree with any of that, incidentally. I'm just stating my own beliefs and opinions here.

--TP

You're right, Tony P, I don't disagree with any of that.

Open Thread? A shorter baseball season!

Is having games cancelled due to bad weather in April something new (new in magnitude, I mean)? Or a result of climate change?

Or is it just that people's patience with interruptions in their finely crafted schedules has diminished?

Baseball managed with a 154 game season until the 1960s, so it's clear that 162 games isn't set in stone.

The season is starting a week to 10 days earlier than was once the case, largely because of the expanded playoffs. Teams also stopped scheduling doubleheaders some years ago to have 81 home dates; doubleheaders that are scheduled as make up games are usually scheduled as day/night splits with separate tickets needed for each game. The flow of revenue is paramount.

i was getting close to certain that Putin had given Trump the assist just to be mischievous and to defeat Clinton, not for any expectation of favors in return.

but this latest sanctions thing?

blew that out the water.

I'd say that's probably a good read on what Putin wanted -- weakening a President Clinton was the goal, since he had no more expectation of a Trump victory than anyone else.

But once he rolled boxcars, he had leverage already in hand to let him milk the situation for all it's worth. And no hesitation about using it.

But once he rolled boxcars...

Heh. More like rolling 100 times in a row and never a 7 while pressing his bets all the way.

TonyP,

For you.

Thanks.

Abougt Trump choosing to go to DC and get under a microscope--it doesn't take a microsope to see his sleaze. He has been sleazy and frequently criminal all of his life. Absolutely nothing he is being investigated for is a surprise; it's all in character and predictable based on past behavior.

Is anyone paying attention to Mitch McConnell?

What a disgrace. He is about as disgusting a traitor as there can possibly be. I wonder what he's been paid, or what he fears.

And the people of Kentucky, how stupid (yes, sorry, posting rules) they must be. Really, really misguided. And wrong. Or maybe just horrifying.

I was reading this and immediately thought of Nigel and Donald.

There's not much in there I disagree with.

Not perfect, huh? Way to go out on a limb.

I wasn’t trying to go out on a limb, and the context was a comparison of Trump’s and Obama’s levels of corruption. How do you think they compare, using “corruption” in its commonly-understood sense?

But I don't see a way to fix that, because those same people are the ones that make the laws that govern themselves.

I find this profoundly depressing, and I'm also nodding my head.

Has the general climate of grift gotten so pervasive at the national level that there is no longer a way back?

"corruption" used to mean fast-tracking a contract, or greasing a palm here or there. That's penny-ante stuff now. The big money is in cashing in after your time in office for 7 and 8 figure paydays as a lobbyist or consultant, or getting on some corporate boards, or even just working the book-and-lecture circuit for millions.

"Public service" has become the stepping stone to being filthy stinking rich. And not just for elected positions.

We don't even consider it to be corruption anymore. It's a standard career path.

If he claims not to know about the payment to Ms Daniels, how can Trump know that her account of intimidation is a lie ?
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/18/donald-trump-stormy-daniels-sketch-total-con-job

The big money is in cashing in after your time in office for 7 and 8 figure paydays as a lobbyist or consultant, or getting on some corporate boards, or even just working the book-and-lecture circuit for millions.

"Public service" has become the stepping stone to being filthy stinking rich. And not just for elected positions....

I seem to recall complaining about this prior to the last Presidential election, and getting jumped on.

It's not the "7 and 8 figure paydays as a lobbyist or consultant" part that is reprehensible, so much as what the companies hiring said lobbyist/consultants get that makes it worth paying those "7 and 8 figure paydays".

Follow the money. Take no prisoners.

you can put me in the "don't much care about what jobs people get" bucket.

the entire reason we have elections is to vote out people who fail to do the jobs of representing and governing correctly. corruption and influence was well-known in the late 1700s when the people who started America created a government where representatives would be periodically held to account.

if the people we elected aren't doing the job properly, we should vote them out.

yes, this means we have to watch and pay attention and dig around and put in effort. but if you don't pull up the weeds, the weeds take over the garden.

I quote russell: And not just for elected positions.

What to do about that side of it, I don't know, but we can't vote people out who didn't get voted in. Even if you can theoretically vote out the people who put them there, that's a knot I don't see the American electorate untying. You don't have to be terribly low-information not to be up on things at the level of "what did this person's appointees/hires do?" (unless they did something really newsworthy, of course).

Well, I can't see a way to do anything (assuming that we should) about people who leave non-elected positions and write books for big bucks. But if they did things while working for the government which merited them getting huge salaries after leaving office, there ought to be a way to deal with that under the bribery laws. Maybe we need to remove the statute of limitations** in order to do so. But still it should be possible, although it could be challenging establishing the link.

** IANAL, so I don't know if the statute of limitations deals with the act or with the payment of the bribe. Specifically when the bribe is a big job years afterwards.

Preface to the rest of my comment: What cleek said.

but we can't vote people out who didn't get voted in.

People who work in the bureaucracy are legally subject to high ethical standards. If the country cared at all about ethics and their enforcement, they wouldn't have elected Donald Trump to lead the executive branch of government. The concern [trolling] about Hillary Clinton's speeches were part of the Clinton Rules.

It's not, and it shouldn't be, illegal to become wealthy. Many of the people who comment here are probably not living a sack cloth and ashes existence, and would be hard pressed to state exactly what "too wealthy" means - maybe more wealthy than they happen to be?

It is, and should be, illegal to accept bribes. If we want higher standards than the ones on the books, we should pass laws. But maybe we should start by being realistic about what our current choices are. Hillary and her "questionable speeches" versus Donald Trump and his extensive and well publicized trail of money laundering, fraud, defamation, sexual assault, housing discrimination, bribery - I'm sure there's more. The country elected him knowing all of this, so pearl clutching about people being "too rich" from books and speeches seems really off the mark to me.

funny how speaking fees were never mentioned as a reason to not vote for Trump.

Just ask Bill Zanker, founder and president of the Learning Annex. Zanker hired Trump in 2005 to speak at three real estate investing seminars for $1 million a pop. Those went so well that the company proceeded to hire The Donald for another 17 seminars in 2006 and 2007 for $1.5 million each.

that article was written in March 2008.

funny how speaking fees were never mentioned as a reason to not vote for Trump.

Clinton speeches - criticism leveled by "the Left" as the fees evidenced her ties to Wall Street and the rich and powerful in general, and possible insight into the public policies she might pursue once in office.

Trump Speeches - Demonstrate willingness to take big money to participate in, and thus endorse, standard real estate marketing scams. Simply another of all too many facts demonstrating the overwhelming evidence regarding his ethical standards (heh), and greed.

One criticism was used in political and ideological in-fighting, and to some effect--whether you agree or not. The other was just a fart in the whirlwind of Trump's overall level of sleaze....lost in the noise.

Sometimes life is just not fair.

It's not, and it shouldn't be, illegal to become wealthy.

(bobbyp raises hand....)

Speaking fees, really?

Can you point me to the political office he leveraged to get big speaking fee engagements in 2005?

Or even what public policies he espoused in 2005 that would have been compromised by speaking at real estate investing seminars?

(bobbyp raises hand....)

Those golfing fees aren't going to pay for themselves.

criticism leveled by "the Left" as the fees evidenced her ties to Wall Street and the rich and powerful in general,

of course neglecting the inconvenient fact that many (most?) of her evil speeches were to organizations that had no connection to Wall Street.

FFS she was the WRONG candidate, she lost against Trump! - an imbecilic narcissist with no government experience or knowledge of anything.

Get that into your heads, stop blaming "the left" and try harder next time.

FFS she was the WRONG candidate, she lost against Trump! - an imbecilic narcissist with no government experience or knowledge of anything.

By that logic, Trump was the right candidate, because he won?

The election of 2016 will not happen again, and Hillary Clinton won't be running, so deciding whether or not she was "the right candidate" or "the WRONG candidate" is fruitless. What "the left" (whatever that means) and anyone else should do going forward is vote for the candidate who is the best of the two on offer, rather than holding out for an imaginary perfect person.

Thanks.

Those golfing fees aren't going to pay for themselves.

in the communist utopia where the robots have "taken all the jobs", whatcha' gonna' do? Also, at my getting to be advanced age, i wouldn't yelp about having a caddie every now and then.

Hillary Clinton won't be running, so deciding whether or not she was "the right candidate" or "the WRONG candidate" is fruitless.

Not entirely. Deciding why she was the wrong candidate is the only way to avoid making the same mistake again.

she was the wrong candidate to go up against a shiny clown the media couldn't stop giggling over, and who got a bad draw on an FBI director who couldn't help but grandstand about investigations into Clinton (but never peeped about the investigation into Trump).

she still got several millions more votes than the piece of shit The Left did it's motherfucking best to put in office. fuck The Left. it got what it wanted. i hope it chokes on it and spends all eternity gasping for breath in a ditch while decent people spit on it.

Deciding why she was the wrong candidate is the only way to avoid making the same mistake again.

It's an angels on pin discussion IMHO.

First does "wrong" mean losing? That means Trump was the "right" candidate. Do we want to emulate Trump?

Should she have been better friends with Putin?

Should she have lived in a time when the FBI director didn't weigh in on the election?

Should she have lived in a time when journalists were more concerned about honest coverage rather than "both sides" are guilty of something?

Should she have not been First Lady in a Democratic administration during the 'nineties?

Should she have not been a Senator from New York?

Should she have renounced her wealth and taken naked refuge in the arms of the Bishop of Assisi?

Should she have foregone a private (but more secure) email server while Secretary of State?

Should she have taken laughing lessons so that she wouldn't cackle?

Should she have been more negative about Bernie Sanders?

Should she have dropped out of the race when Bernie entered?

Should she have divorced Bill Clinton?

Should she have baked more cookies?

...

....while decent people spit on it.

Would those be the same "decent people" who hung McGovern out to dry in '72 and proudly called themselves 'Reagan Democrats'? As they say, the world turns. Let's get on with it.

Would those be the same "decent people" who hung McGovern out to dry in '72 and proudly called themselves 'Reagan Democrats'?

beats beat. i was 2.

the people who devoted themselves to convincing other people that Clinton should lose while denying they were helping Trump know who they are.

"beats beat" is a new phrase i just made up. it roughly means "i don't know", but it's cooler.

Deciding why she was the wrong candidate is the only way to avoid making the same mistake again.

Right. Before the general and any consideration thereof, we will have what 18 months of a primary battle with as I count at least six viable candidates one of which has to be supported as the true champion of rainbow working people and at least two who have be be destroyed as from Gotham on the Hudson of forever loosers and enthusiastic tentacles of the Vampire Squid.

I look forward to it.

So, open thread, Randy Scruggs passed away. An incredible musician, producer, songwriter. A legacy with incredible impact.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/music/news/randy-scruggs-award-winning-musician-and-songwriter-dead-at-64/ar-AAw1XaW?ocid=spartanntp

re: ethical standards for politicians

It would help greatly if the USSC didn't keep watering down prosecutable ethical violations.

If Trump gets hauled into court, I'm sure that John "lawless" Roberts will discover some emanations and penumbra from the Confederate Constitution that says that his conviction can't stand.

"at least two who have be be destroyed as from Gotham on the Hudson of forever loosers and enthusiastic tentacles of the Vampire Squid."

I forgot. This is why Hillary Clinton must be constantly paraded as an object lesson, so we don't end up with another abject and irresponsible grifter using the campaign apparatus in order to fail America very very profitably.

In other words, to be perfectly clear, I am not going after Clinton I am using Clinton as a weapon to destroy destroy destroy Gillibrand Booker Biden and Deval Patrick.

Who does that leave, bob? Angela Davis? Well, now that I think about it, I wouldn't mind voting for her. :)

Marty - yes, very sad news.

i was 2

So that's your excuse? Funny how the innocent always get off the hook :)

I was not 2.

Who does that leave, bob?

Sanders and Harris, so far. I personally think Franken is viable and the necessary groveling would serve him well. Still looking.

In any case even without specific candidates, reminding the world of that avaricious failure Clinton also serves to foreground two of my important issues for 2018 and 2020: moving the center of the party away from Wall Street and the East Coast. And the DLC Obama/Clinton hegemony.

What to do about that side of it, I don't know

You can't go to work for an employer for which you were in a position of responsibility or oversight, for 5 years after leaving your job.

If 5 years is just too freaking long, make it 3. If 5 years doesn't clean things up all that much, make it 7.

Elected, not elected, whatever. You are on the public dime, you don't leave public service and go directly to work for somebody who, two days ago, you had some regulatory responsibility over.

Will that suck for some folks? Yes. Life's a bitch. People in the private sector live with these kinds of restrictions all the time.

Seriously, this is not really all that much of a puzzler.

In any case, don't lose any sleep over it, because it ain't gonna happen. See Slarti's comment upthread.

Randy Scruggs passed away

That straight up sucks. One of the true greats.

Thanks for passing this along Marty.

sapient: Should she have...

IMHO, none of those are particularly useful. But the general question of What makes a successful candidate (while still being someone we would like to vote for)? remains worth asking. Maybe even getting a serious answer.

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