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April 08, 2019


hes a crook just like Hillarys a crook.

Marty :

This is a gross falsehood, whether you admit it or not. Trump's foundation was egregiously fraudulent; the Clinton foundation was not. Trump is firing Cabinet members because they tell him that his proposed actions are violations of black-letter law.

Frankly, I had thought better of you.

Like, for instance, what is the point of this?

Saving MLB roster positions for natural born Americans? For sure, nothing is gonna make America great like 35 - count 'em - fewer Cubans in the bigs.

My question for Trump and his supporters is always the same. Why be a dick? What the hell do you get out of it?

Fnck that hippie "good will" crap. American First!!

If Trump, or Rubio for that matter, had any sense, they'd be out in front of this, talking about how they paved the way for 35 Gifted But Put-Upon Young Athletes to come to the US, where their talents could have full expression and they could live the American dream and become gazillionaires.

I'm sure it makes sense to somebody, but that somebody is not me.


Yep, those Mayflower parents bypassed the port of entry, snuck past the border patrol and almost got deported. Luckily the immigration court ruled in their favor. What bs.

But I can assure you the natives did not want to be "invaded".

And the nice ones that welcomed the foreigners eventually got shit on as well.

You're not making sense. Just saying.

Yes I am.

I do agree the Cuban player thing is stupid. But, there are a bunch of Cubans in Miami that dont want anything good to happen in Cuba until they are free.

Rubio is part of that world. Only to say it makes more sense he would object.

OK, so it's cool for Rubio. Because all of the old Cubans, who were about five years old when the Revolution happened, hate hate hate hate hate the Cuban regime.

Why do the rest of us have to play along? It's just fncking stupid.

And you know what? If Rubio was actually something like a leader, he'd figure that out and find a way to play it as a win for los viejos.

Drink horsey, drink.

Yeah, I think I said I agreed it was stupid.

So then what was this about?

What bs.

I have no idea, you get mad even when I agree with you on a point.

I agreed that killing the Cuban player deal was stupid but pointed out it wasnt surprising Rubio would be against it.

Why is that bs?

Dude, I'm asking you what your statement "what bs" in your comment was about.

I'm not saying your comment was bs, I'm trying to understand what point you were making upthread, in your comment at 6:57. The one about the Pilgrims.

If you want to just let it be, no worries, I'm sure it's been a long day for most of us. If you would like to explain, however, I'll appreciate it.

I'm not trying to stick it to you, I'm trying to understand what you're on about.

But I can assure you the natives did not want to be "invaded".

The White Man came to conquer. Not the same. To insinuate that the current so-called 'invasion' is similar in any meaningful respect is simply and deeply wrong-any way you look at it.

My bad. Responding tho thullens Mayflower comparison.

The white man did not come to conquer, it just became necessary.

Yes I am.

So basically you are claiming that racist xenophobia just happens to be good politics and it sucks to be you, libs?

My. How refreshing.

And before you get your panties in a knot about "playing the race card" let it be stated that thousands of good white Europeans overstay their via every year and are criminals in exactly the same sense that you unjustifiably use the term for some poor Guatemalan mother and her kids at the southern border.

And Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and Rushbo never say a word about it. Not a fucking one.

Why is that?

The white man did not come to conquer, it just became necessary.

On this, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

I actually do object to the thousands of "good" white Europeans overstaying their visas. I'm not sure ICE should care where the Visa overstayer is from, except countries that sponsor terrorism. They might get more attention. I couldnt tell you who Dobbs, Hsnnity and, I suppose Rushbo is Limbaugh, talk about.

On the other hand, I also object to the crackdown on H1-b's which is entirely counterproductive.

I'm ok with a crackdown on L-1s because large corps just use them for cheap labor they can import and take advantage of. They do take American jobs in the tech world.

I dont think people should be bringing poor Guatemalan mothers to the border with promises of getting into the US. And that's how they get here, and they pay for it. Those people are assholes.

losing kids.


It should be punished by public crucifixion.

No, not a metaphor, either.

This maybe needs a thread of its own, but it's kind of related to this one so I'm tacking it on here. Because it's getting late-ish, and I'm tired and lazy.

Climate change and immigration.

Here it is, and it's gonna get worse. Across national boundaries, within national boundaries.

People have to eat. People have to drink water. If there's no food, they move. If there's no water, they move. Because they don't want to die.

There is bugger-all that you can present as an obstacle that trumps "but on the other hand, you die".

We - not just ObWi "we", America "we", and probably the world "we" - need to discuss this. If stuff like this lands in your lap without any understanding of it or plan for dealing with it, things break, and they break at scale.

When things break at scale, all bets are off.

Time to get a plan. Not a wall, because walls do not trump "but on the other hand, you die". A plan.

Or, things break. At scale.

Those people are assholes.

We have found a point of total agreement.

I'm calling it a night. Peace out.

Losing kids. Should be impeachable.

Besides all else, this is either willful cruelty or almost unfathomable stupidity or an absolute do-not-give-a-shit attitude.

Best guess: all of the above.

What is this “it became necessary” ?

England legally claimed the territory, which was already inhabited. America was taken by conquest; to deny that is ridiculous.

The reality of the immigrant ‘invasion’:

Marty - you want a positive message for the Dems? Sticking to immigration for the moment, here it is in one sentence: "The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a re-creation of the Berlin Wall." That's a paraphrase from Pelosi and Schumer's response to Trump's shutdown speech, so it's already part of the Democratic messaging.

The thing is, expanded immigration of working-age adults and their children is part of the likeliest solution to demographic problems that have been highlighted on both the right and left in past years, both related to the aging of the Boomer generation. From the right, concerns about the decreasing ratio of workers to retirees have led to calls to cut Social Security. From the left, the concern about secular stagnation in the economy from economists such as Paul Krugman and Larry Summers is based on the aging of the population and the experience of Japan with such a population. Immigrant families are part of the solution to these problems, and Trump is pursuing exactly the wrong policies if we want to solve them.

It's especially stupid for him to be going after long-time residents who are already well-integrated into our society - the Dreamers, the various populations who have been here for decades on long-term deferral, the long-term undocumented people who are living in mixed families of undocumented people and US Citizens. To the degree that he succeeds, he will make us both whiter and poorer as a society, which may satisfy his white nationalist base, but won't help the rest of us.

The asylum seekers on our southern border can be an opportunity rather than a crisis. Those asylum seekers who have legal representation are overwhelmingly likely to show up on time for all their hearings, even when released on their own recognizance (I believe the percentage is over 98% showing up to all their hearings). So if we worked to hire more immigration judges to reduce the backlogs, and supply applicants with lawyers (and there are already many private charities and lawyers working to do just that), we could release most families into the community and sort out their claims in a timely manner, with no need to separate families or put children in cages.

The choice in 2020 is between embracing a future as a vibrant multi-ethnic society or choosing a dying white nationalism that will turn inwards and eat its own tail. That seems like a pretty damn clear choice.

If that were the choice it would be true. But like every country in the western world we apply criteria to being an acceptable immigrant. Less stringent criteria than Canada, for example.

We arent talking about immigration, though that would be nice. We are talking about illegal immigration.

The wall on pur southern border that exists, and that is proposed, bears no moral resemblance to the Berlin wall, so no , Pelosi raising that false comparison is not a positive message. Its typical red meat to her base.

I'll ignore Schumer, he is imminently useless.

The number that show up were between 60% and 75% by year when released on there own recognizance. (In 2016 it was 61%). At this point that would be tens of thousands added to the illegal immigration population a month.

So I disagree that just opening the border is the solution to our demographic problem.

No, Schumer is already useless, and eminently so.

I endorse Dave W.'s sensible nostrums. Nowhere did he use the terms "just opening the border". No one wants unlimited immigration, nor completely open borders, which we have never had anyway.

There is plenty of room for political compromise on this issue. There has been for 25 years.

America has lost its touch in governing itself. Willfully so.

Gotta fly into a winter maelstrom in Denver today. Got stranded by the bomb cyclone a few weeks ago too. Yippee.

Thank you, Dave W.

Marty, I'm sure, since you've been here a long time, you realize that immigration laws were created to address Americans' fear of certain ethnic groups. The Chinese were the first targets in the late 19th century, and then the Eastern Europeans in the 20th. Before those laws, we had open borders. It's become fashionable to believe that we need to control immigration, and I'm fine with an attempt to do so in a humane and egalitarian manner, respecting the need for asylum seekers to find refuge here.

As to our "demographic problem," we don't have one. Right-wingers, such as Paul Ryan, have been concerned about the birth rate declining. I guess he means that there aren't enough Irish-American babies being born to fill up Wisconsin. Economic studies have indicated that immigrants more than pay their way for social services, and do a lot of the work that native born people don't want to do.

In any group of people, there will be a percentage of exceptionally good and bad people, and that's true of immigrants. But crime rates and other statistics indicate that immigrants commit crime at a lower rate than native born people, and that immigration (legal and illegal) is a net positive.

I've posted a lot of links to articles here in the past describing the situation of many people coming here from Central America whose lives and children's lives depend on their escape. Americans who respond to this with Trump-style cruelty are no better than Germans who supported the Nazis. Are they monsters? I can't think of behavior that better fits the monster brand.

A quick history of immigration laws from Wikipedia.

sapient, I didnt bring up a demographic problem, Dave did. I think in reference to the slowing population growth in general.

Thanks, Marty. I see that I misread the term "demographic problem" which was used by Dave W. to refer to the "problem" Paul Ryan was talking about.

Old people can take care of each other, or languish in diapers and bed sores. Or, they [we] can be grateful for the assistance of younger and stronger people who come to this country for a better life. Or we can force white women to have white children who will then be glad to care for their elders! Hmmmm. Actually explains a lot about Republican policies.

On the other hand, I also object to the crackdown on H1-b's which is entirely counterproductive.

This is revealing. It shows that the whole fluff about "illegals" is simply that, fluff to divert the rubes. Honest hard working programmers are welcome. Honest hard working dishwashers are not.

The next time some wingnut admonishes you about "picking winners and losers" tell them to take a hike.

And what Dave said.

Remember when the refugees from Syria were all going to come here and try to kill us through acts of terror? Remember how it was a liberal lie that there were many women and children and elderly people among them? I guess it's a theme. This time there's more emphasis on drugs and rape and plain-old murder, but terrorism still gets thrown in for good measure on occasion when it comes to Central Americans and Mexicans (or Mexican Central Americans, since they're all Mexican countries down there, anyway). The playbook doesn't change. Just the players.

Though the players always seem to be on the browner side. Coincidence, I guess.

I guess my main thought about all of this is that, given all of the possible ways this administration could present our current immigration issues, and all of the policy changes they could seek, and all of the actual policy implementations they could roll out, they consistently choose the most divisive, hateful, and damaging.

They haven't gotten to simply shooting people as they cross yet, but that and land mines are about the only options they haven't tried yet.

Over here Mayflower jokes should be avoided at all costs because it has become a Neo Nazi meme with the punchline that (North American) Indians would not live in reservations, if they had stopped the illegal immigrants* (starting with Mayflower) in time.
Btw, the Caribbean Indians at least tried (burning down the fort Columbus had left behind and killing everyone in it)

*of a different race than themselves that is

We are talking about illegal immigration.

It appears that, since the focus of the current hysteria is asylum seekers, we are NOT talking about illegal immigration.

They (since it's generally not those here) are getting their knickers in a twist about people who arrive at the border, walk up to a US official, and exercise their right, under US law. At which point, the administration tries various actions, which are repeatedly found to be illegal under US law, to avoid following the law. And that's not counting the stuff that got Neilson fired because it was so obviously illegal that even she declined to do it.

It's instructive to check out Guns, Germs, and Steel, for how the outcomes differed for Native Americans, Australian Aboriginals, Maori, and Native Hawai'ians.

Yes, they all had bad outcomes, but some were much worse than others.

OTOH, the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island seems to have figured it out. The Neo-Nazis should go there and have a look first hand.

I just want to return to this for a moment:

Do you want something to worry about, really? Worry about the whole management structure of DHS plus the head of the secret service being replaced overnight. That is Trump creating his own personal defense force.

I think it remains to be seen what Trump is actually trying to do here, and/or how far he'll get with any of it. But for the moment, let's stipulate that this description is accurate.

What can we expect from this "personal defense force"? Rounding up of people critical of Trump? Threats of violence? Actual violence?

And, what response are we supposed to make to it? Strongly worded letters? Masses of people in the street? Pitchforks and torches and Molotov cocktails?

Absent impeachment or a consensus within the cabinet that the POTUS is absolutely incapable of carrying out the responsibilities of office, the Constitution offers no remedy for a bad President during a given term of office.

I'm kind of at a loss as to where to go with this stuff.

What I do want to point out is that this is *exactly* the kind of thing that folks opposed to Trump saw as a possibility, and *exactly* the kind of thing that their counterparties found overly shrill and paranoid.

And, here we are.

Russell, overly shrill and counterproductive in absence of this activity. If this does continue that direction then Pelosi and McConnell will do what's necessary. We wont need a civil war to solve that problem. Of course, that's always been my view, not widely shared.

So you're considering the possibility that the legislature will have to take serious action to restrain the sitting president, Marty. Did you ever find it necessary to contemplate such a thing as concerned Obama? Just curious, and sincerely so without snark.

Russell, overly shrill and counterproductive in absence of this activity.

And yet, here we are.

If this does continue that direction then Pelosi and McConnell will do what's necessary.

FWIW, I have less than zero confidence in McConnell on that count.

Yes, I considered the possibilty. Most of his last two years he pushed the boundaries of his authority, although he never crossed a line where I thought they should.

Trump, by temperament, has always been much more likely to go too far, so I dont consider he and Obama at all equivalent in that sense. I see him taking the liberties Obama took and going well beyond those boundaries

But you might recall I used the term imperial presidency for Obama, as an extension of decades of executive overreach. So I see Trump as a the furthest swing of the pendulum where the dangers are crystallized, hopefully for both sides.

BTW, I am certain Hillary would have pushed those boundaries also.

BTW, I am certain Hillary would have pushed those boundaries also.

You mean to the lengths that Trump has? You think that she would have been equivalent in that sense?

The difference between Trump and either Clinton or Obama is that either of the latter would recognize the legitimacy of the boundaries. They are people who affirm the legitimacy of our institutions and process.

Trump is essentially lawless. If he can find a way to burn down anything that stands between himself and whatever the hell it is he is trying to achieve, he will gladly light the fire.

And that is why Trump is not the same as Obama or any Clinton you care to name. It's why he's not the same as either Bush.

He respects nothing and values nothing outside of outside of his own personal, selfish interests. That is who he is, has been, and will be.

Thanks, wj, for your 12:28.

sapient, I just find it hard to have a constructive conversation when the subject shifts back and forth all the time. And multiple issues (some valid and some not) get conflated in to a chaotic mish-mash. Just limited intellect on my part, I suppose....

And multiple issues (some valid and some not) get conflated in to a chaotic mish-mash

Well, thanks for keeping a mantra of truth in focus: seeking asylum is not illegal.

wj, they arent doing that. They are trying to enter illegally and have been told if they are caught to ask for asylum. But, even if they just enter the country at some random point west of Douglas and stand there waiting for someone to show up, they have still entered illegally. Asking for asylum at that point does not suddenly make it legal.

Hillary Clinton blatantly broke the law multiple ways as Secretary of State. She has no more respect for those boundaries than Trump.

Someone tell me shes not a crook because she wasn't charged, I dare you.

Hillary Clinton blatantly broke the law multiple ways as Secretary of State.

How and when? Seriously, I don't know what you're referring to. I'm curious to get specifics, because I'd want to put whatever transgressions you say occurred in perspective for myself.

They are trying to enter illegally and have been told if they are caught to ask for asylum.

Who is "they," and how do you know this?

For someone who disapproves of Trump, Marty seems strangely attached to his talking points.

hsh, her email server was a breach of federal rules on handling mail(at a minimum), deleting emails on it to prevent them from being found was destroying evidence, a crime. Just one, but certainly demonstrative of her lack of respect for the rule of law.

I dont even care what emails were there, they were the property of the federal government sent and received outside the specific rules laid out to ensure they were captured and backed up to make them availabe.

Somehow I was expecting something other than the email thing. Okay.

wj, they arent doing that. They are trying to enter illegally and have been told if they are caught to ask for asylum.

Some few may well be doing this. But the ones that Trump keeps ranting about are walking up to border posts and instantly asking for asylum. No attempt to enter illegally. No attempt to avoid the US authorities.

You can try to argue that their applications for asylum should be rejected. For whatever reasons. But not that they try to sneak in. Those doing that arrive on valid visas, and then overstay.

The email thing is not trivial. It has just been treated that way. If i deleted electronic records that had been subpoenaed I would go to jail.

Trivial or not, I thought you were referring to something else, which I might not have heard about. And it's been thoroughly investigated and reviewed, not necessarily by people friendly to Clinton. It's also kind of a technical thing. I don't infer the Trump-like attitude of lawlessness from it that you do. There's probably not much more to say about it.


And yet Jared and Ivanka have used private emails for government business, and Trump has used an unsecured cell phone.

Should they be jailed, do you think?

And Trump's crookedness extends far beyond his time as President. His business career was an exercise in dishonesty.

There is a difference in occasionally sending off an email through your gmail account and purposefully setting up your own server to control all access to it.

The emailing isn't the issue. Preventing your emails from being available to your employer, me, and having the ability to delete them and then actually deleting them is both unethical and criminal.

His career prior to being President is not relevant at this point. It probably will be in January 2021.

That said, if any of those people regularly do government business on their personal email that's an issue.

That said, if any of those people regularly do government business on their personal email that's an issue.


He can steal whatever he likes:

Personally, I hope p's criminal putsch prosecutes and jails Hillary. If not execute her.

We need a Fort Sumter event, a Pearl Harbor-like catastrophe to deal savagely with America's millions of internal enemies.

"He asserted that because Mr. Kushner took screenshots of the communications and sent them to his official White House account or the National Security Council, his client was not in violation of federal records laws."

I'm not sure how I feel about WhatsApp itself, it's more texting than email, but they do clearly know they are supposed to preserve the record.

Somehow I was expecting something other than the email thing.

LOL....that's just about all they got, and it is a nothingburger. Beyond that, what? Benghazi? Clinton Foundation?

All BS.

..but they do clearly know they are supposed to preserve the record.

LOL. So he, just like Clinton gets to pick which ones he "forwards" and which ones we mysteriously don't get to see. Just on his say so?

You are too credulous for words.

No , that was an indictment not approval.

Foreign governments are openly currying favour with Trump by using his hotels. How can this be happening in a once civilised country?

But six years ago Hillary Clinton had an email server she shouldn't have. So let's concentrate on that.

Let's not, but I don't really give a crap what hotel a foreign dignitary sleeps in. Do you really care about that?

It's called self-dealing, Marty.

Yes, I really do care that the president of the world's most powerful country should not make foreign policy on the basis of how much money each foreign government spends in his hotels. Do you not?

Clinton was using an email server that she owned and operated, where for "operated" read hired somebody to run for her. At some point the feds wanted the official stuff off of it, so she had staffers weed through it all and segregate out the official business vs the personal stuff. The official business stuff went to the feds, and she asked the folks who ran her server to put the personal stuff on a delete-after-60-days policy.

They neglected to do that.

When the "Clinton's email" stuff heated up, they said uh oh, we forgot to delete the personal stuff, and deleted it.

The physical systems that were used to back that stuff up were provided to the feds by Datto, the company she used as her backup service.

That's the email controversy.

John Kerry was apparently the first Sec State to exclusively use a .gov server for state business. His tenure followed Clinton's.

It was bloody stupid for Clinton to run State business from a server physically located in her home. She doesn't have the technical chops to know whether the system was secure or not, let alone know how to make it so. It was stupid to co-mingle personal documents and official work product.

Her attitude through the whole business could fairly be characterized as dismissive, which was and is highly inappropriate.

She deserved to be called out on it, and she was.

The fact that you obsess about this bullshit while finding lame-ass excuses for worse behavior on the part of Trump and his family is simply ridiculous.

"Yeah, but that's different!". Yes, it's different. It's worse, as was the Bush administrations use of private email servers to run official WH business during W's tenure. When something like 2 million emails of interest were "lost".


This is why I generally refuse to engage with Trumpies. And I know you consider yourself Not A Trumpie, but you are indistinguishable from one on any topic touching on Trump, his family, and any recent (D) administration.

You're a party line guy, Marty. Completely. Just saying.

C'mon, Pro Bono. You know that Javanka has to go to Saudi Arabia to get their cash.

The corruption, malfeasance, cruelty and criminal behavior is overwhelming. Sadly, Marty is only one sad example of their defenders. Trump seems to have no shortage of lackeys who are going to do everything possible to keep the grift going for as long as possible. And it looks like that may be quite a long time.

His stuff is nearly indistinguishable from the Eastern European and Russian hack bots that help steal the election for p and the republican party.

Almost word for word on Clinton.

I believe the Kremlin and the Republican Party targeted every left of center blog with dedicated trolls.

Always attack when Hillary is called out.

That's CDS. You left out all the regs and laws she broke. Just an oopsie by her IT guys.

I'm no party line guy, that's just a knee jerk insult.

So now I'll go away for a little while more, just look in.

This synopsis seems pretty fair, to me.

I'm no party line guy, that's just a knee jerk insult.

Yes, knee jerk insults are my metier.

I believe the Kremlin and the Republican Party targeted every left of center blog with dedicated trolls.

I find this persuasive.

You left out all the regs and laws she broke.

An analysis of the relevant laws and whether Clinton broke them.

When the feds searched the contents of Clinton's personal server, they found about 100 classified emails. My understanding is that it was in fact illegal for, specifically, classified material to be stored there.

Charges weren't brought because actually making that case would have required demonstrating some level of intent on Clinton's part to deliberately mishandle the material. That was not in evidence.

If you look through this thread, you will see Marty bringing assertion and innuendo. That, and you will see him wave away concerns that folks raise about Trump with comments like 'do you really care about that?" And you will see myself and others citing specific facts - things that anyone can research and discover and evaluate for their truthfulness.

It's easy to repeat rumor and innuendo, and to dismiss other's questions or comments. It takes a certain level of effort to actually do your homework and test your point of view.

I don't have time to waste on lazy people. And that's why I don't talk to Trumpies. They have a ready-made point of view, it makes them feel good, they aren't interested in examining what they think or why they think it. Why waste your breath?

That's kind of where I started on this thread, and everyone wanted to know why I felt that way. How will we persuade them, unless we engage?

Well, QED.

Asked and answered.

Just to be clear, the summary you posted confirmed every assertion I made. The facts are well documented. I will add. it also confirms she lied under oath to Congress.

The hotel thing has no factual basis at all, it's just your pet peeve.

You left out all the regs and laws she broke.

Please forgive me if I missed something. But I have the distinct impression that, when asked for specifics on her lawlessness, the email server was the one (and only) specific that you offered. From this latest comment, it appears that you have others as well. Care to share?

The hotel thing has no factual basis at all, it's just your pet peeve.

Here's some "no factual basis" for you.

The issue is being litigated, I'm happy to let the courts decide. I dont believe the occupancy rate at one hotel is driving the foreign policy decisions of the administration.

If the court finds the emoluments clause applies I'm fine with whatever remedy they impose. We have a whole system that decides things like this.

But those two questions are separate. Whether the clause applies is separate from whether there is actual benefit being gained. The first is being litigated, there is no factual support for the second.

I dont believe the occupancy rate at one hotel is driving the foreign policy decisions of the administration.

I do believe it. It's why self-dealing has not allowed for people in a position of trust. I hope the emoluments litigation is effective to stop this aspect of Trump's corruption, but unfortunately, as indicated in the article Marty cites: "All three judges on the panel were nominated to the 4th Circuit by Republican presidents: Niemeyer, by George H.W. Bush; Shedd, by George W. Bush, and Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum, by Trump." This is why McConnell has been so relentless. I'm trying to keep the faith, but it's getting harder every day.

Look, here is your claim:

deleting emails on it to prevent them from being found was destroying evidence, a crime. Just one, but certainly demonstrative of her lack of respect for the rule of law.

I dont even care what emails were there, they were the property of the federal government sent and received outside the specific rules laid out to ensure they were captured and backed up to make them availabe.

The one and only thing in anything I've cited that actually falls foul of the law is the presence of classified material on her email server. The feds found that it was not an offense worth prosecuting.

She made her Dept of State work product available. The backups of her server were made available. All of that has 'been captured'.

So, I don't fncking get what you're talking about.

The hotel, FWIW, doesn't even scratch the surface of the self-dealing of the Trump administration. He shouldn't even be holding the lease on the property at this point, it's a federally owned building and one of the conditions of the lease is that no public official can hold it.

But who gives a shit. Certainly not you.

I started hanging out on political blogs probably in '01, when the Patriot Act stuff started up. I have spent, easily, many thousands of hours, engaging in conversation with people, looking through the text of legislation and the US Code, reading as much as I can find on a pretty wide variety of issues. Whatever the issues of importance seemed to be, at various times.

What I take away from all of that is this: people think what they want to think, and it rarely has much to do with the plain facts of the matter.

The process of persuading people about anything has almost nothing to do with facts. It has to do with slowly, gradually, inch by inch, developing some kind of relationship of trust with them, so that they will actually be open to considering what you say, instead of dismissing it out of hand because you're "not on their side".

I have at various points developed that kind of relationship with people whose point of view is dramatically different from mine. Dramatically.
What I achieved, full stop, by doing that was getting a recognition that I wasn't the freaking cartoon liberal of their imagination.

I made zero - absolutely zero - dent in the substance of their beliefs. None. After, in many cases, years of almost daily conversation.

Nobody is going to persuade anybody of anything on a blog, or a FB post, or any form of social media whatsoever.

Donald Trump is, plainly, a corrupt self-dealing criminal bigot. Members of his administration, plainly, engaged in contacts with Russian nationals, repeatedly, about the 2016 election. We have the email record of the conversation between Jr and Goldstone which led to the Trump Tower meeting. We know Manafort delivered (R) polling data to Kilimnik. We know Stone had contact with Assange, the source of the email disclosures.

Nothing to see here, folks.

So basically at this point, I conclude that the government of the United States is profoundly, deeply, thoroughly broken. I don't know if it can be repaired. It sure as hell is not going to be repaired when 40% of country thinks the situation at hand is perfectly fine and requires no remedy, in fact give us more of this winning!

So basically, I got nothing. Not a fucking thing.

I'm not interested in talking with Trumpies because it has exactly the same value as beating your head against a brick wall. I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick.

I appreciate Marty hanging out here because I think he's basically an OK guy, but I just don't see a lot of daylight between him and your average Trumpie. At least as far as the substance of what he says, his general demeanor is much less fanatical. But as regards substance, i don't see any difference.

If that offends you, Marty, I'm not sure what to say about it. All I know about you is what you write here. My opinion is based on what you write here.

It's fun to hang out and shoot the breeze, but this country is fncking broken, and it's gonna take more than a candid but polite exchange of viewpoints to turn it around.

I'm out of bright ideas.

whether there is actual benefit being gained

The membership fee for Mar e Lago went from $100K to $200K. On January 1, 2019.

: shruggie :

Fuck it, I'm done.

See Russell, after all the years you've been doing this I find it incredible that I need to spend this timeline to your summary. So we just take her word that the emails deleted and professionally scrubbed after the subpoena was issued was an issue by the IT guy.

Spend = append, an oopsie by the IT guy.

to bed.

No, I don't just take her word. I assume that if the feds spent years looking at and the army of flying monkeys who have been sniffing her freaking panties for the last 25 years didn't find it, it's probably not there.

I'm not a fan of Clinton, particularly, and I'm not invested in defending her about this. If you want to claim she broke the law, fine with me. Show your work.

"Yeah, I know the record says x y and z, but that's all lies" is not showing your work.

Clinton is now a private citizen. This is no longer even relevant, to anything. It's just crap people trot out when anyone criticizes Trump.

In other Trump family corruption news, Trump's sister has resigned so that her role in the family fraud machine can't be scrutinized. (However, she retains her 6 figure retirement income.)

Not a problem for Trumpies. What a country.

I was hoping to find a bit of daylight between Marty’s views of Trump and Obama, at least ethically speaking. Then between Marty’s views of Trump and Clinton after Marty brought her up - policy aside, of course.

Whatever. F**k it. Different realities.

Clinton didn't commit a crime. I try to convince myself that Republicans are not irredeemably awful people in so far as their participation in politics0. but really what excuse is there for those who insist against all reason that she is the big time criminal and Trump isn't? Name any dictator or authoritarian regime that abused people and you will find supporters with exactly that mentality: The Dear Leader is above the law and all rivals and critics are guilty. OF what doesn't matter, because the real crime is challenging the Dear Leader. People who think that way--and it is very typical of the R base--do not like the rule of law or like representative government. They want rule by their Dear Leader and they want everyone elses to be marginalized.

This story serves as a perfect expression of Trump's debased character:

Tax cuts, or the continued functioning of US democracy ?
The choice is yours next year.

The Trumps are certainly gaining financial benefit. I believe, FWIW, but I may be wrong, that Marty meant whether any benefit is being gained in return by those paying. Clearly, that is besides the point: accepting bribes, whether you deliver on them with specific actions or not, can not be tolerated in a head of state.

hsh, I think I specifically expressed a difference in my view of Trump and Obama above. I find the Trumpies view of him and the Clintonites view of her pretty close to the same level of unreality, and I see very little difference in their ethics.

I find the story in Nigel's 4:27 illustrative and accurate. Although self promotion is a skill all Presidential candidates share these days. Not to mention we seem to have decided generals arent good Presidential material. So men of Washingtons temperament could not get elected today.

I'm pretty sure the US democracy continues to function though.


Yes, accepting bribes is completely unacceptable. But it's not a bribe if they pay for a hotel room and stay in it. It may be sucking up to the President but there is nothing new about that.

Not a Clintonite, which sounds like an explosive, but if Bill and Hillary had been renting out a luxury cot next to the domestic server to diplomats from China, Saudi Arabia, you name it, I expect we'd be hearing more than a gigantic sucking sound from the usual suspects.


The foreign nationals, many from cultures in which bribery is merely a cost of doing business, paying for the p hotel rooms believe they are engaging in bribery and influence peddling, just as the big money donors, many anonymous believe Citizens United is the promised land of political bribery.

And, by the way, p's business history is rife with his receipt of questionable money from questionable sources via questionable channels, and paying out the same, and then reneging on whatever quid pro quo was, choke, promised.

Yes, the money is on the bedside table untouched when the transaction commences but after the girl swallows, the payment mysteriously disappears and she is hustled out the back door on to the loading dock.

To believe otherwise is an exercise in cheap American rube sentimentality regarding motive and methods.

Yes, I have to agree with John Thullen here, Marty. That is why there is an emoluments clause, and why most respectable organisations have rules against "presents" being given to the people in authority, or ways being found to funnel money to them by use of their facilities. A bribe is not just a payment for a specific outcome, it is also (in the payer's mind, for good reason) a way of greasing the wheels so that they and their interests will be given favourable consideration and treatment in any future situations. We know from many previous discussions that there are those among us who object to ex-Presidents earning vast sums of money as a result of their status, presumably partly because of the suspicion that they gave favourable treatment in advance when in power, and unfortunately there are established ways people can pay for access to politicians, but that sitting presidents should benefit financially from their status while in office immediately puts the country in a category it has never approached before, call that category what you will: banana republic? kleptocracy? In any case, no club you would ever want to join.....

But it's not a bribe if they pay for a hotel room and stay in it.

Correct. It's not a bribe. It's payment. It is compensation for services rendered.

Another word for that is "emolument". Go look it up.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the US Constitution:

No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

: shruggie :

After taking office, Trump received about 3 dozen IP grants for the use of his name as a brand.

: shruggie :

There is no point in spending time debating this stuff. With Marty, or anyone else. People see, think, believe, what they want to.

We rely on our legal and political institutions to investigate this kind of stuff, discover the truth, and take appropriate action. As far as I can tell, that mechanism has been co-opted at this point, and is no longer reliable. Because events and actions that are plainly and obviously in the public record, appear like magic to have simply never happened.

So yeah, fnck it. Different realities.

I will spend my vote, my time, my money, and if necessary my physical person on resisting and defeating the likes of Trump et al. Because they are a cancer on the nation and on the world.

I won't spend any more time debating shit like this with Marty or anyone else. There is no upside.

Defeat them. Win elections and in the meantime do what you can to minimize the damage of their harmful policies on yourselves, people you care about, people you don't care about for that matter. Defeat them and make them irrelevant.

Persuasion takes generations. We don't have enough time to rely on that.

Trump received about 3 dozen IP grants for the use of his name as a brand from the government of China.

Apologies for the omission.

The IP I object to. Even though the applications were pending before the election, they should not have been granted to a sitting President.

As well you should. It's a violation of the Constitution and of his oath of office.

Hotel payments, same/same. It's payment for services rendered. Which is one of the definitions of emolument, and not an obscure one.

Meanwhile, Assange is being extradited to the UK. He will no doubt find his way to US custody shortly.

Never a dull moment.

Marty is a lost cause. But he's got nuthin on Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), whose demented performance in yesterday's House Oversight Committee hearing caused John Kerry (the witness before him) to ask "Congressman, are you serious?" You can watch this specimen dishonor his Brass Rat here.

"What's a Brass Rat?" I hear you cry. Hold on, I'm coming to that.

I caught a replay of the spectacle on the news last night, and heard the reporter mention that Massie has a BSEE and an MSME from MIT, and got rich with a "haptic" invention he made while still an undergrad. That combination of facts rang a bell with me, so I looked it up and sure enough: I knew the guy. In a sense, I taught the guy.

Fall term, 1992. I was working at the old Digital Equipment Corporation at the time. DEC was still a big, self-important company back then, and one of the manifestations of its self-importance was this: every year, they would offer two of their engineers a "fellowship" (I think it was called that) to spend half their time as Teaching Assistants at MIT. Specifically, for MIT's famous course 2.70-Introduction to Design. That's the one where the students, a couple of hundred of them, are each given an identical bag of junk from which to build a machine to compete against each other in a single-elimination tournament at the end of the term. The contest is different every year.

Whereas 2.70 had been my favorite course, and whereas I was getting bored designing disk drives, I applied for one of the fellowship slots, and got it. I became the TA for one of the 10 "sections" of the class; I had about 20 students.

Young Tom Massie was not one of them. He was in a different section, so I exaggerate even when I say I taught him "in a sense". But the student shop where the kids built their machines was a common resource, and always active, and I can't swear I never showed Massie how to use the lathe. Still, my first definite memory of him is seeing him and his machine in action in the 1st round.

"That", I said to myself, "is one brilliant kid! His design is the absolute optimal one, and his machine is admirably crafted, and if he doesn't win the whole enchilada I'll eat my hat!" However many rounds later, after his machine stomped all over the other finalist, I handed him the tournament trophy, which by tradition one of the TAs (me, that year) builds out of the same kit of junk as the students get. He hardly noticed; he was too busy hugging and kissing his girlfriend who had been his assistant throughout the tournament, and who I believe is his wife now.

A couple of years later, I heard in passing from Woodie Flowers (my old prof, and the architect if not the founder of 2.70) that Massie had started a company building "haptic devices". Good for him, I thought, although I had to look up "haptic" when I got home. He made it big, it turns out. Made a bundle eventually; retired back to his Kentucky home town where he built himself a completely solar-powered house; and got himself elected to Congress.

And made a complete asshole of himself in the above hearing. Really, you have to watch it. The stupidest, smarmiest, most-Trump-besotted ignoramus you ever met could not hope to match this genius's performance.

Oh, yeah: in case you don't know, the Brass Rat is the MIT ring -- so called because it features a beaver. You're supposed to wear it with the beaver shitting toward you before you graduate, and turn it around so he shits on the rest of the world afterward. So I'm told; I was never much of a one for jewelry.

I do believe Rep. Massie's Brass Rat is visible in the video. Can't make out which way around he's wearing it. But I can guess.


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