Trump enters the stage

Elevate form over function to get at less easily articulable truths.

Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Mowk » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:33 am

Safe travels.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:00 am

Certain common aphorisms were never meant to be taken literally. "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" is a particularly risky principle by which to live. A watched pot will indeed boil. Time does not heal all wounds. "Slow and steady" does not always win the race. President Trump added a new - and, for him, potentially dangerous - aphorism on Friday, when asked about impeachment. He said he was not at all concerned because "you can't impeach somebody that's doing a great job."

The president was hopefully making an aspirational, not a literal, point - because a president can be entirely successful in office yet rightfully be impeached for committing "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Indeed, no matter how successful a president may be in various policies, the commission of any impeachable offense means, by definition, that he or she is not doing a "great job."

Trump's statement was unnerving not only because he has said it before but because he is entering the most dangerous period of his term so far. With Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives - and some already stating their intentions, intemperately or even profanely like Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) - the White House is about to be hit with a torrent of document demands and subpoenas from a half-dozen committees.

Committee chairmen have promised to demand answers on Trump's taxes, foreign business dealings, family charity and other areas beyond the still-ongoing Russia investigation. These moves reflect a strategy that not only targets Trump but is counting on Trump to be successful. They are relying on Trump's self-description as a "counterpuncher" to supply the grounds of his removal. Yes, a president can counterpunch himself into impeachment.



Despite the filing of articles of impeachment on the first day of House Democratic control, there is not a strong basis for a single article at this time. Thus far, the strongest basis is the money paid to two women to silence them about alleged affairs with Trump before the election. Yet, while highly damaging, these allegations can be difficult to prosecute and occurred before Trump took office. An in-kind campaign contribution simply is not a strong stand-alone issue for impeachment.

Likewise, there still is no compelling basis to allege a crime based on obstruction or theories of collusion. That leaves Democrats with a House majority secured, at least in part, on promises of impeachment but without a clear, impeachable act.

Special counsel Robert Mueller could well supply the missing "high crime and misdemeanor," of course, but the only other possible source is Trump himself. And, as he demonstrated during the James Comey debacle, Trump has the ability to do himself great harm by acting impulsively or angrily.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:04 am

Mowk wrote:Safe travels.


Thank You , Mowk
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:28 am

President Xi Jinping told a meeting of top brass China’s armed forces must strengthen their sense of urgency and do everything they can to prepare for battle. The news comes amidst escalating tensions between China and the US as well as American-backed Taiwan, with disputes between the two superpowers ranging from trade to the status of the island. Mr Jinping told a meeting of the top military authority that China faced increasing risks and challenges, and the armed forces must work to secure its security and development needs, reports the official Xinhua news agency.


Huh?
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:54 am

POLITICO

Supreme Court turns down mysterious Mueller subpoena fight
By JOSH GERSTEIN 01/08/2019 03:31 PM EST Updated 01/08/2019 06:08 PM EST
The U.S. Supreme Court
An unknown firm had asked the high court to block a federal judge’s contempt order and financial penalties for refusing to comply with a subpoena. | Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

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The Supreme Court has declined to intervene in a mysterious subpoena fight that apparently involved an unidentified foreign-government-owned company and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Last month, the unknown firm asked the high court to block a federal judge’s contempt order and $50,000-a-day penalty for refusing to comply with the subpoena, arguing that the company is immune from U.S. grand jury subpoenas. The company also insisted that complying with the subpoena would violate the law in the firm’s home country.

Story Continued Below


But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court turned down the company’s request to step into the dispute, at least for now. The order in the case came a little more than two weeks after Chief Justice John Roberts put a temporary freeze on the contempt order and the sanctions.

The court’s order Tuesday offered no explanation for its decision and no justice publicly signaled any dissent. The high court did indicate that Roberts referred the issue to the full court and that the short-term stay he ordered last month was now dissolved.

Many details about the case have been shrouded in secrecy.

POLITICO first reported in October that the dispute appears to have links to Mueller after a POLITICO reporter at an appeals court observed a visitor request a copy of a sealed filing from the special counsel just hours after a deadline for such a submission in the ongoing legal fight.

In addition, an appeals court judge who indicated he was likely to recuse himself from any cases involving Mueller’s office stepped back from the dispute.

Although the case has traveled through three different levels of the federal court system, the publicly available court dockets do not specifically identify which prosecutors are handling the dispute or disclose whether they are attached to Mueller’s office.

An unusual degree of confidentiality continued to prevail when other appeals court judges held closed-door arguments in the grand jury fight last month. Reporters who gathered to try to spot lawyers entering or departing from the courtroom were banished from the floor where arguments were taking place.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals later released an order turning down the company’s appeal and revealing some more information about the legal dispute. The judges said the witness rebuffing the subpoena was actually a corporation owned by a foreign government, although they did not name the company, specify the country involved or say what information was being sought. It’s also unclear what records Mueller’s team might be seeking.

Story Continued Below

The three-judge panel then dismissed the company’s legal arguments for avoiding compliance with the subpoena.

The D.C. Circuit panel released an expanded but partially sealed ruling Tuesday explaining the court’s legal rationale. Most of the decision involves arcane issues related to the extent of immunity enjoyed by foreign governments and their offshoots.

However, the new opinion reveals the sanction that Chief Judge Beryl Howell imposed against the firm fighting the subpoena: $50,000 per day.

The high court’s action on Tuesday means the monetary sanctions against the firm are likely to kick in unless it complies with the demand for records. While the appeals court insisted the firm was liable for the penalty, the judges acknowledged some uncertainty about whether it could be collected.

“Whether and how that order can be enforced by execution is a question for a later day,” the D.C. Circuit opinion says.

On Monday, an unknown party that appears to be the firm filed another motion with the Supreme Court asking the justices to allow the filing of a sealed petition to grant review in the case, the high court’s docket shows.

However, it seems unlikely that the Supreme Court will accept the case for argument since no justices publicly indicated they would have granted the stay that the company requested to block the contempt order and penalties imposed by the lower court rulings.

The order the Supreme Court issued Tuesday did not indicate how or whether the court had resolved the motions the company and prosecutors filed to put their various filings in the dispute under seal.

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U.S. Supreme Court Robert Mueller Supreme Court Justices Mueller Investigation

© 2019 POLITICO LLC
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:04 am

The New York Times

|

Trump Appeals for Wall, Citing Misleading Statistics of Crisis and Crime Along Border
video
As the government shutdown grinds on, President Trump laid out his case for the border wall. Top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were not convinced.
IMAGE BY DOUG MILLS/THE NEW YORK TIMES
By Peter Baker
Jan. 8, 2019
WASHINGTON — President Trump doubled down on one of the biggest gambles of his presidency on Tuesday night with a televised appeal to pressure Congress into paying for his long-promised border wall, even at the cost of leaving the government partly closed until lawmakers give in.

Embarking on a strategy that he himself privately disparaged as unlikely to work, Mr. Trump devoted the first prime-time Oval Office address of his presidency to his proposed barrier in hopes of enlisting public support in an ideological and political conflict that has shut the doors of many federal agencies for 18 days.

In a nine-minute speech that made no new arguments but included multiple misleading assertions, the president sought to recast the situation at the Mexican border as a “humanitarian crisis” and opted against declaring a national emergency to bypass Congress, which he had threatened to do, at least for now. But he excoriated Democrats for blocking the wall, accusing them of hypocrisy and exposing the country to criminal immigrants.

“How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?” Mr. Trump asked, citing a litany of grisly crimes said to be committed by illegal immigrants. Asking Americans to call their lawmakers, he added: “This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve.”



Democrats dismissed his talk of crisis as overstated cynicism and, with polls showing Mr. Trump bearing more of the blame since the partial shutdown began last month, betrayed no signs of giving in. The White House earlier in the day dispatched Vice President Mike Pence and others to Capitol Hill to try to shore up Senate Republicans, who are growing increasingly anxious as the standoff drags on.

In their own televised response on Tuesday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, accused the president of stoking fear and mocked him for asking taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall he had long said Mexico would pay for.

“President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government,” Ms. Pelosi said.

In taking his argument to a national television audience and on a trip to the Texas border he plans to take on Thursday, Mr. Trump hoped to reframe the debate. After spending much of the first two weeks of the shutdown cloistered in the White House, he has now opted to use the powers of the presidency to focus public attention on his ominous warnings about the border.


Yet privately, Mr. Trump dismissed his own new strategy as pointless. In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms that he was not inclined to give the speech or go to Texas, but was talked into it by advisers, according to two people briefed on the discussion who asked not to be identified sharing details.

“It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it,” Mr. Trump said of the border visit, according to one of the people, who was in the room. The trip was merely a photo opportunity, he said. “But,” he added, gesturing at his communications aides Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, “these people behind you say it’s worth it.”

Mr. Trump plans to head to the Capitol on Wednesday to attend a Senate Republican lunch and later will host congressional leaders from both parties to resume negotiations that so far have made little progress. Mr. Trump has insisted on $5.7 billion for the wall, while Ms. Pelosi said she would not give him a dollar for a wall she has called “immoral.”

In a nod to Democrats, Mr. Trump spent the first half of his talk on the humanitarian situation at the border before even mentioning the wall, expressing sympathy for those victimized by human smugglers. “This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” he said.

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Even so, he directly took on Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer. “The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized,” he said.

Mr. Trump has made the wall the singular focus of his presidency as he enters his third year in office. His promise to erect a “big, beautiful wall” along the border became perhaps the most memorable promise on the campaign trail this fall, eliciting chants from supporters of “build the wall,” and he has been frustrated by his inability to deliver on it.

But his alarming description of a “crisis” at the border has raised credibility questions. While experts agree there are serious problems to address, migrant border crossings have actually been declining for nearly two decades. The majority of heroin enters the United States through legal ports of entry, not through open areas of the border. And the State Department said in a recent report that there was “no credible evidence” that terrorist groups had sent operatives to enter the United States through Mexico.

At one point in his speech, he even suggested that Democrats had signaled that they would accept his wall if redesigned. “At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall,” he said, even though Democratic leaders have made clear they oppose the barrier regardless of the material.


Even so, Democrats, many of whom like Mr. Schumer voted in 2006 for 700 miles of fencing along the border, did not want to conduct the debate on Mr. Trump’s terms. Instead, they focused attention on the damaging effects of the shutdown, already the second longest in American history. About 800,000 government employees are either furloughed or working without pay, in addition to hundreds of thousands of contractors.

House Democrats planned to approve individual spending bills this week that were intended to reopen closed departments one at a time in hopes of putting Republicans on the defensive, but Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has said he would not put any bill on the floor without Mr. Trump’s explicit support.

Senate Democrats took to the floor on Tuesday to pressure Mr. McConnell and vowed to block consideration of other legislation until the government is reopened.

Mr. McConnell fired back, noting the 2006 legislation. “Maybe the Democratic Party was for secure borders before they were against them,” he said. “Or maybe they’re just making it up as they go along. Or maybe they are that dead-set on opposing this particular president on any issue, for any reason, just for the sake of opposing him.”



But two more Republicans, Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, spoke out on Tuesday in favor of reopening the government while negotiations over border security continue. “I think we can walk and chew gum,” Ms. Murkowski told reporters.

Ms. Capito expressed frustration with the shutdown and “how useless it is,” indicating that she might support reopening the government while wall talks continue. “I mean, I think I could live with that, but let’s see what he says tonight,” she said before the speech.

That makes five Republican senators who have expressed such a position, which if combined with a unanimous Democratic caucus would make a majority to reopen the government if Mr. McConnell were to allow a vote.

Allies of the president warned fellow Republicans to stand with Mr. Trump. “If we undercut the president, that’s the end of his presidency and the end of our party,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on Fox News after the speech.



The political nature of the fight was hard to miss. Just hours before he went on air, Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign sent out a fund-raising email asking supporters to raise $500,000 by the time his speech began. On the other side, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a possible candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination next year, offered his own response after Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer.

For all of the pyrotechnics of competing national speeches, it seemed like a political Kabuki dance that by the end of the evening had changed no minds in Washington.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the No. 5 House Democrat, who perhaps most succinctly summed up his party’s response: “We are not paying a $5 billion ransom note for your medieval border wall,” he wrote on Twitter, with a castle emoji. “And nothing you just said will change that cold, hard reality.”

If Democrats do not approve money for the wall, Mr. Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency and proceed with construction without Congress, a move that could provoke a constitutional clash with the legislative branch over the power of the federal purse. While some legal experts said the president has a plausible case given current law, it would almost surely generate a court challenge.



Even some Republicans warned against it. Senator Susan Collins of Maine said that although the law provides the president with emergency powers, “the administration should not act on a claim of dubious constitutional authority.” She added, “It should get authorization from Congress before repurposing such a significant sum of money for a border wall.”

The wall is popular with Mr. Trump’s base, but the public at large holds the president responsible for the shutdown, according to polls. In a Reuters-Ipsos poll, 51 percent of respondents said that Mr. Trump “deserves most of the blame,” up four percentage points from earlier in the crisis, while 32 percent pointed the finger at congressional Democrats.

Moreover, the public seems to have grown weary of the impasse. Seventy percent of registered voters in the latest The Hill-HarrisX poll favored a compromise, while just 30 percent said sticking to principles was more important than reopening the government.

The president’s use of the Oval Office for the speech stirred some debate, with critics asserting that a setting more typically used for occasions of war or other national security crises was being turned into a partisan platform. The subsequent joint statement by Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer was the first time opposition leaders were given national airtime to respond to a president in the Oval Office.



Not counting speeches to Congress, Mr. Trump had made only five formal addresses to the nation before Tuesday night, three of them in prime time and none from the Oval Office, according to Mark Knoller, a longtime CBS News journalist who tracks recent presidential history. Mr. Trump’s previous prime-time speeches were to introduce his two Supreme Court nominations and to announce his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

By contrast, President Bill Clinton gave 16 addresses to the nation over eight years, 14 of them from the Oval Office. President George W. Bush gave 23 such addresses, six from the Oval Office, and President Barack Obama gave 12, with three from his office.

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Haberman, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Michael Tackett, Emily Cochrane and Catie Edmondson from Washington, and Michael M. Grynbaum from New York.



RELATED COVERAGE
Trump Suggests Government Shutdown Could Last for ‘Months or Even Years’JAN. 4, 2019






© 2018 The New York Times Company
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:01 pm

Donald Trump may have claimed that “I have never had so much support, as I have in the last week, over my stance for border security, for border control and for, frankly, the wall or the barrier,” but let’s put it this way: There’s a reason Trump himself keeps coming out to make the argument for his wall. That reason is that other people aren’t rushing out to defend him on the air.

A “former senior administration official” told Politico that “He’s sitting there going, ‘Why the f*#k isn’t there anybody saying good stuff about me? Why is there nobody on TV that’s defending me?” Simple answers to stupid questions: Because you and your shutdown are super unpopular, and even most anti-immigrant fanatics aren’t all that excited about a wall.

The White House pushback on the idea that Trump is frustrated by the lack of support was singularly unconvincing. “We’re doing our very best to communicate with our surrogates and get the message out. The White House and the president always enjoy looking at the screen and seeing our surrogates and our friends on camera,” an unnamed official told Politico. “We’re doing our very best” does not mean “We’re doing well,” and “The president always enjoy[s] looking at the screen and seeing our surrogates” does not mean “The president is currently looking at the screen and seeing a lot of surrogates.”

So, lacking enough surrogates to argue and bluster and bully for his wall, Trump is making the case himself. Which means he now has two things to be unhappy about: the lack of surrogates tongue-bathing him on television, and the fact that he’s having to do some work.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:00 am

Trump's team had over 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, report shows
CHRISTAL HAYES | USA TODAY | 6 hours ago


A majority of Americans say they believe President Donald Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (Dec. 21)
AP
WASHINGTON – Members of President Donald Trump's campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to a new report.


The milestone illustrates the deep ties between members of Trump's circle and the Kremlin. The findings, tracked by the Center for American Progress and its Moscow Project, come amid reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is nearing the conclusion of the two-year investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by the president.

"This wasn't just one email or call, or one this or that," said Talia Dessel, a research analyst for the left-leaning organization. "Over 100 contacts is really significant because you don't just have 100 contacts with a foreign power if there's nothing going on there."

The number of contacts was raised to 101 this week after it was reported that Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, a former campaign aide, shared polling data with Manafort's former Russian business partner Konstantin Kilimnik.

Dessel noted the group's list of contacts is on the "conservative" end and the "very minimum amount of contacts" between Russian-linked officials and those within the Trump campaign and transition.

Those within Trump's team who had contacts with Russian-linked officials include Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen, former Trump adviser Roger Stone, the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump.

Trump has consistently denied all allegations of colluding with Russia and has repeatedly called the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt".


A look at former FBI director Robert Mueller
Dessel said the group omitted many contacts that were seen as "intermediaries" between the members of Trump's team and Russian-linked officials, which would include the messages between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks, which is noted as being described by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a "hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia."

Russia's role in the 2016 election and ties between the president and the Kremlin are all but certain to remain constant themes of 2019 with a new Democratic-led House that now has subpoena and investigative powers.

Morgan Finkelstein, a spokeswoman for the Center for American Progress and the Moscow Project, said the organization has hosted discussions with lawmakers about the Russia investigation and what areas they can focus on in the next two years.

"The fact is there is so much low-hanging fruit that Republicans simply ignored or didn't flesh out when they had power," Finkelstein said, noting a major area that could provide new insights is the money and financial aspect between Russia and Trump's team. "There's so much to explore but we've identified a pretty clear roadmap."

Special counsel Robert Mueller made court filings in cases against President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday. (Dec. 7)
AP




© Copyright Gannett 2019
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:51 am

POLITICS
FBI Agents Say the Shutdown Is a Threat to National Security
Nearly 5,000 FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, attorneys, and professional staff have been furloughed.

NATASHA BERTRAND
4:05 PM ET

FBI agents near YouTube headquarters following an active-shooter situation in San Bruno, California, in April 2018ELIJAH NOUVELAGE / REUTERS
They’ve weathered blistering attacks from the president, the exposure of sensitive sources, and the politicization of classified information. And now they’re not getting paid. “I’m not going to try to candy-coat it,” Tom O’Connor, a special agent and president of the FBI Agents Association, told me this week. “We really feel that the financial insecurities we are facing right now equate to a national-security issue.”

On Saturday, the current government shutdown will be the longest in U.S. history—and it could remain shuttered for “months or even years,” President Donald Trump warned Democrats last week. While much of the drama has centered around Trump’s demand for a wall on the southern border, thousands of FBI agents and other federal employees whose unfettered work is crucial to national security have either been furloughed or forced to work with no pay and steep budget cuts.

Morale at the FBI had already been steadily declining for months before the government shut down on December 22, according to current and recently departed agents who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity to discuss their feelings candidly. President Trump’s open warfare on the bureau has made agents’ jobs more difficult, they say, as trust in the FBI wanes among people who identify as Republicans and right-leaning independents. “Part of it is Trump’s constant attacks,” said one agent who left late last year. “Bigger than that, though, is that it seems like a portion of the population believes him. Which makes their jobs harder to do.”

Read: The Republican Party turns against the FBI

Another agent who left the bureau last year told me that certain leads that might be politically controversial were sometimes tabled indefinitely because they were not seen as worth incurring the wrath of the Trump White House. In the two and a half years since the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into potential coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and Russia, the president has chided the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Russia “witch hunt,” and the “deep state” in dozens of tweets, rallies, and interviews. Last April, he called the FBI and Justice Department’s desire to withhold sensitive information related to the ongoing investigation “an embarrassment to our country.” The withering morale and possibility of having to work without pay has made it increasingly difficult to recruit new agents, the agents said.

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The government shutdown, now heading into its 20th day, is the cherry on top of a galling two years. “You know the old adage that crime doesn’t pay? Well right now, agents are starting to feel like neither does the federal government,” O’Connor said. In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, O’Connor said that nearly 5,000 special agents, intelligence analysts, attorneys, and professional staff are currently furloughed, resulting in reduced staffing for “critical functions that support field operations.” None of them are being paid, he said. He wouldn’t elaborate on which investigations were being impacted, but emphasized that a lack of funding has hurt agents’ ability to do their job “completely and to the fullest ability we have.”

MORE STORIES
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Trump’s Wall Could Cost Him in 2020
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The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Bye-Bye (Bye)
ELAINE GODFREY OLIVIA PASCHAL MADELEINE CARLISLE
O’Connor also described a mounting backlog at Quantico labs, which provide forensic-analysis support services to the FBI, and said that funds supporting drug trafficking and undercover operations have been dangerously limited. Some, particularly those who work at Quantico labs, are not even allowed to come to work because of the shutdown. “FBI headquarters is trying to make sure that the most important topics are covered,” O’Connor said. “But that will get more and more difficult as the pot of money gets smaller and is not refilled.” According to an FBIAA spokesman, FBI field offices are responsible for allocating their resources and determining which activities are most central to specific missions or operations. Which areas are prioritized—whether it’s drug trafficking, counterterrorism, etc.—is also at the discretion of field-office leadership. “However, as the pool of resources dwindles, the scope of what can be adequately funded will also shrink,” the spokesman, Paul Nathanson, said.

Read: The peril of taking on the FBI

If the issue does not get resolved within the next few weeks, however, agents in various field offices may stage a callout—a coordinated sick day to protest the shutdown. (Transportation Security Administration agents have already begun doing so, according to CNN.) O’Connor said he had not heard of any plans to strike or begin calling in sick en masse, but he emphasized that he would not support it if they did. “Whether we’re paid or not, we’re going to show up and do our jobs to protect the United States,” he said. A coordinated “sick-out” would be one way of protesting the current conditions, since the Taft-Hartley Act, enacted in 1947, prohibits public employees from overtly striking. Federal-employee unions may also find recourse in the courts—some have already filed lawsuits arguing that requiring employees to work without pay violates the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

For now, the FBI Agents Association is simply pressuring elected officials. In a petition sent to the White House, the vice president’s office, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other House and Senate leaders on Thursday, the agents association warned of the effects of the ongoing shutdown on the bureau’s work. “The operations of the FBI require funding,” the petition reads. “As the shutdown continues, Special Agents remain at work for the American people without being paid, and FBI leadership is doing all it can to fund FBI operations with increasingly limited resources—this situation is not sustainable.” Asked what the agents’ next steps will be if the funding is not restored, O’Connor said that they’ll continue to do “the best with what we have.”

“But I think it’s the public that will have an outcry when they see things not being done because we don’t have the funding for it,” he added.

Read: The evolution of the TSA

The FBI is not the only agency whose limited budget and resources could compromise national security. More than half of the staff of the newly established Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a division of Homeland Security tasked with protecting the country’s critical infrastructure, have been furloughed, according to DHS. Nearly every employee of the Secret Service—which protects current and former government officials as well as the president—is going without pay, too, according to The New York Times, as are TSA agents and air-traffic controllers. “The growing financial insecurity may lead some agents to consider career options that provide more stability,” O’Connor said on Thursday. “The field is trying to be fully funded and staffed. But as we go forward, that’s going to change.”

NATASHA BERTRAND is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers national security and the intelligence community.



Copyright © 2019 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.


President Donald Trump has rejected a plan proposed by a bloc of GOP senators.
Last edited by Meno_ on Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:28 am

Mowk wrote:Safe travels.


Thanks Mowk. Right now I'm a hotel room planning seeing sights of Hanoi and flying back to Manila tonight then party for 10 days . hope you are well .
Trying to break dependence on alcohol and flip back to days when I started at no sooner then 12 pm afternoon.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Mowk » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:56 am

Well, An invitation. I am feeling rather punk. In this state, I shouldn't comment
Stupid things I weep over. Was distracted by an episode of a tv show while cooking; a cute little girl uttered "it's a metaphor doofus." to why a whale was in a dream. It just took me over emotionally. Makes one pause and go HMMM?

I think I'm loosing my socks cause it felt good, like watching "it's a wonderful life". Emotional strings. Who can you trust, when even yourself is the cause of question?

Don't wear a watch while on vacation. (ribbing)
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Mowk » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:14 am

An other thought was to drink all night and sleep past noon. That works too, but don't take me too seriously.

I try to squeeze in a nap between the two.

I'm sort of oddly autistic, and this medium is rather cold, did the idea of "all in good time" come off at all? It was what I was aiming for.

I've never been comfortable as a traveler. It is an industry that applies a great deal of leverage on time.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:48 am

The New York Times



F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia
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Following President Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, the bureau grew increasingly concerned about whether the president’s actions constituted anti-American activity.CreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times
By Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos
Jan. 11, 2019
WASHINGTON — In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.

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The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.

The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern. The F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division handles national security matters.

If the president had fired Mr. Comey to stop the Russia investigation, the action would have been a national security issue because it naturally would have hurt the bureau’s effort to learn how Moscow interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Americans were involved, according to James A. Baker, who served as F.B.I. general counsel until late 2017. He privately testified in October before House investigators who were examining the F.B.I.’s handling of the full Russia inquiry.

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The F.B.I. investigated whether the firing of Mr. Comey was a national security threat.CreditErik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock
“Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Mr. Baker said in his testimony, portions of which were read to The New York Times. Mr. Baker did not explicitly acknowledge the existence of the investigation of Mr. Trump to congressional investigators.

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No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. An F.B.I. spokeswoman and a spokesman for the special counsel’s office both declined to comment.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, sought to play down the significance of the investigation. “The fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came of it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing,” Mr. Giuliani said on Friday, though he acknowledged that he had no insight into the inquiry.

The cloud of the Russia investigation has hung over Mr. Trump since even before he took office, though he has long vigorously denied any illicit connection to Moscow. The obstruction inquiry, revealed by The Washington Post a few weeks after Mr. Mueller was appointed, represented a direct threat that he was unable to simply brush off as an overzealous examination of a handful of advisers. But few details have been made public about the counterintelligence aspect of the investigation.

The decision to investigate Mr. Trump himself was an aggressive move by F.B.I. officials who were confronting the chaotic aftermath of the firing of Mr. Comey and enduring the president’s verbal assaults on the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt.”

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A vigorous debate has taken shape among some former law enforcement officials outside the case over whether F.B.I. investigators overreacted in opening the counterintelligence inquiry during a tumultuous period at the Justice Department. Other former officials noted that those critics were not privy to all of the evidence and argued that sitting on it would have been an abdication of duty.

The F.B.I. conducts two types of inquiries, criminal and counterintelligence investigations. Unlike criminal investigations, which are typically aimed at solving a crime and can result in arrests and convictions, counterintelligence inquiries are generally fact-finding missions to understand what a foreign power is doing and to stop any anti-American activity, like thefts of United States government secrets or covert efforts to influence policy. In most cases, the investigations are carried out quietly, sometimes for years. Often, they result in no arrests.

Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.

How the Mueller Investigation Could Play Out for Trump If Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, finds evidence that Mr. Trump broke the law, he will have decisions to make about how to proceed. We explain them.
Other factors fueled the F.B.I.’s concerns, according to the people familiar with the inquiry. Christopher Steele, a former British spy who worked as an F.B.I. informant, had compiled memos in mid-2016 containing unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.

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In the months before the 2016 election, the F.B.I. was also already investigating four of Mr. Trump’s associates over their ties to Russia. The constellation of events disquieted F.B.I. officials who were simultaneously watching as Russia’s campaign unfolded to undermine the presidential election by exploiting existing divisions among Americans.

“In the Russian Federation and in President Putin himself, you have an individual whose aim is to disrupt the Western alliance and whose aim is to make Western democracy more fractious in order to weaken our ability, America’s ability and the West’s ability to spread our democratic ideals,” Lisa Page, a former bureau lawyer, told House investigators in private testimony reviewed by The Times.

“That’s the goal, to make us less of a moral authority to spread democratic values,” she added. Parts of her testimony were first reported by The Epoch Times.

And when a newly inaugurated Mr. Trump sought a loyalty pledge from Mr. Comey and later asked that he end an investigation into the president’s national security adviser, the requests set off discussions among F.B.I. officials about opening an inquiry into whether Mr. Trump had tried to obstruct that case.

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But law enforcement officials put off the decision to open the investigation until they had learned more, according to people familiar with their thinking. As for a counterintelligence inquiry, they concluded that they would need strong evidence to take the sensitive step of investigating the president, and they were also concerned that the existence of such an inquiry could be leaked to the news media, undermining the entire investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election.

After Mr. Comey was fired on May 9, 2017, two more of Mr. Trump’s actions prompted them to quickly abandon those reservations.

The first was a letter Mr. Trump wanted to send to Mr. Comey about his firing, but never did, in which he mentioned the Russia investigation. In the letter, Mr. Trump thanked Mr. Comey for previously telling him he was not a subject of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.

Everyone Who’s Been Charged in Investigations Related to the 2016 Election Thirty-seven people have been charged in investigations related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Even after the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, wrote a more restrained draft of the letter and told Mr. Trump that he did not have to mention the Russia investigation — Mr. Comey’s poor handling of the Clinton email investigation would suffice as a fireable offense, he explained — Mr. Trump directed Mr. Rosenstein to mention the Russia investigation anyway.

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He disregarded the president’s order, irritating Mr. Trump. The president ultimately added a reference to the Russia investigation to the note he had delivered, thanking Mr. Comey for telling him three times that he was not under investigation.

The second event that troubled investigators was an NBC News interview two days after Mr. Comey’s firing in which Mr. Trump appeared to say he had dismissed Mr. Comey because of the Russia inquiry.

“I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it,” he said. “And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

Mr. Trump’s aides have said that a fuller examination of his comments demonstrates that he did not fire Mr. Comey to end the Russia inquiry. “I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people,” Mr. Trump added. “He’s the wrong man for that position.”

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As F.B.I. officials debated whether to open the investigation, some of them pushed to move quickly before Mr. Trump appointed a director who might slow down or even end their investigation into Russia’s interference. Many involved in the case viewed Russia as the chief threat to American democratic values.

“With respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Russia poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life,” Ms. Page told investigators for a joint House Judiciary and Oversight Committee investigation into Moscow’s election interference.

F.B.I. officials viewed their decision to move quickly as validated when a comment the president made to visiting Russian officials in the Oval Office shortly after he fired Mr. Comey was revealed days later.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to a document summarizing the meeting. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”







© 2018 The New York Times Company
Meno_
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:46 am

...

20,679 views|Jan 7, 2018,5:00 pm
Donald Trump, Democrat?
Ralph BenkoContributor

FILE – In this Dec. 7, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, listens as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks before a meeting with congressional leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

My headline employs “democrat” in its generic, rather than proper noun (partisan), definition. President Trump shifted his party registration back and forth (five times, according to the Washington Times’s report of a report by The Smoking Gun). Trump, Politico reports, also was a substantial donor to Senator Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and many other Democrats.


This history does not make Donald Trump a Democrat. But I submit that Donald Trump is democracy’s smoking gun.

Trump won the presidency as the nominee of the Republican Party. Despite his occasional public flirtations with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi he works with the Congressional majority, Republicans, largely eschewing the Democrats’ progressive policy agenda.

That said, I submit that the election of Donald Trump as president is largely an outcome of “creeping democracy.” Democracy is routinely extolled by the left. It, along with “equality,” is frequently used by leftists as a vague synonym for anything good.


The left, however, is wrong about this. Democracy is a bad thing. Bad for the left too.

This remains unclear to the left. This is understandable. The word “democracy” sounds vaguely good. It has proved useful in advancing the progressive agenda. Thus, celebrations of democracy persist but the outcomes, even from their point of view, just are not looking so hot.

O Democracy!

The Washington Post earlier this year adopted the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” According to the Post’s own credible backstory, this was not aimed at President Trump but was derived from a line in a speech by its owner Jeff Bezos, adopted from Bob Woodward (who had used it for many years), itself appropriated from a coinage by appellate Judge Damon J. Keith.

Currently, the poster child book on this topic is How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (whose names are curiously omitted from the front cover of the book jacket). The New York Times’s David Leonhardt extols it in his recent column The Meaning of Bannon vs. Trump:

Democracy. Later this month, an alarmingly titled book, “How Democracies Die,” written by two political scientists, will be published. It is, as the book’s promotional material states, “a bracing, revelatory look at the demise of liberal democracies around the world — and a road map for rescuing our own.”

Let’s help the left out. America was unequivocally designed as a republic, not a democracy. There are reasons for this.

My friend Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings Institution, has wryly painted how wrongheaded have been the progressives in undermining the republican order. His assessment may be found, among other places, in a cover story at The Atlantic archly headlined The Case For Corruption. Progressives have, over more than a century, conscientiously eroded America’s republican structure, including the very political norms — the guardrails — they take Trump to task for violating.

Let them consider whether Trump’s presidency is the effect, not the cause, of their own century-long project of undermining republican safeguards.

Progressives? Meet the Law of Unintended Consequences.

A more democratic America has delivered unto you President Trump.

Happy?

Let’s take a deeper dive into democracy vs. republicanism to help understand where the left went so Wrong.

I have many dear progressive friends. I heart them for their commitment to justice among other things. I myself am neither a progressive nor a democrat. As Alcuin famously wrote to Charlemagne in 798 AD, “Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.”

And do not listen to those who keep saying, ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God.’ because the tumult of the crowd is always close to madness.

Trump certainly plays to the tumult of the crowd. As I have pointed out here the remnants of the republican system – the electoral college (which progressives are now targeting for demolition) — worked as designed. The electorate — which is subtly but materially different from the “crowd” — chose the presidential aspirant who best, relative to the other 19 significant contenders in 2016, articulated its yearning for peace and prosperity.

The left would do better to seek to extract the log in its own eye than to condemn the mote in the eye of the right. “’You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,— mon frère!‘”

Notwithstanding their ongoing confrontation with the Law of Unintended Consequences the left continues to extol democracy. That’s a system of government America’s founders deplored. The Founders’ deploring it, one supposes, would have made them a basket of deplorables to the Hillary Clintons of their day. Such figures, then, were blessedly few.

Let’s go to the record.

The founders of America detested democracy, putting many guardrails against it into the Constitution. They made no bones about it.

Here are some representative quotes by some of the premier architects of our charter document:

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787: A lady [one Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia] asked Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy[?] — A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it[.]

James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10:

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

Edmund Randolph, in the Constitutional Convention, said in speaking on the constitution of a Senate:

If he was to give an opinion as to the number of the [U.S. Senate], he should say that it ought to be much smaller than that of the first; so small as to be exempt from the passionate proceedings to which numerous assemblies are liable. He observed that the general object was to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy; that some check, therefore, was to be sought for against this tendency of our governments, and that a good Senate seemed most likely to answer the purpose.

As John Adams wrote to John Taylor in 1814:

You Say “Mr. Adams calls our Attention to hundreds of wise and virtuous Patricians, mangled and bleeding Victims of popular Fury.” and gravely counts up several Victims of democratic Rage as proofs that Democracy is more pernicious than Monarchy or Aristocracy.” Is this fair, sir? Do you deny any one of my Facts? I do not say that Democracy has been more pernicious, on the whole, and in the long run, than Monarchy or Aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as Aristocracy or Monarchy. But while it lasts it is more bloody than either.



Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to Say that Democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious or less avaricious than Aristocracy or Monarchy. It is not true in Fact and no where appears in history. Those Passions are the same in all Men under all forms of Simple Government, and when unchecked, produce the same Effects of Fraud Violence and Cruelty.

America was very much designed to avoid democracy, The Constitution itself, at Article 4, Section 4 states:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government….

“A Republican Form of Government.” Nowhere in the Constitution does the word democracy occur. This is not an oversight.

Fraud, Violence and Cruelty? John Adams, a member of the Committee that wrote the Declaration of Independence and our second president, thereby demonstrated prophetic qualities. The left, hoist with its own petard, would do well to take heed.

Comes now How Democracies Die. Its lead jacket blurb is from E.J. Dionne, Jr., who I respect greatly as one of the leading classical liberal public intellectuals working today notwithstanding that he bats (cleanup) for the Other Team.

How Democracies Die turns out to be an interesting work by two scholars who have deep knowledge of how authoritarians have taken power. They give special attention to the role of the establishment parties in facilitating that process, by connivance or negligence, thus paving the way for monsters such as Hitler, Mussolini, or Hugo Chavez to take power. They offer many interesting cautionary vignettes from world, and American, history.

They offer a soft, almost exculpatory, critique of some of FDR’s violations of political norms – prominently, threatening to pack the Supreme Court and violating the precedent of limiting himself to two terms. They gently chide, while exonerating, some of Barack Obama’s violations.

At base however, the authors blame the Republicans. They attribute the key erosion in what they call the political “guardrails” to the hardball tactics of Speaker Newt Gingrich and Majority Leader Tom Delay. There is some merit to this claim. However, they weirdly present a case that good Republicans are domesticated to the progressive agenda and protest, if at all, impotently. They seem oddly insensitive to the manifold examples of the violations by prominent Democrats such as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi among many others. The sins of progressives are venial while comparable sins by conservatives are presented as mortal.

The left has a propensity to extol hardball tactics when used by Democrats and excoriate them when used by Republicans. Chris Matthews’s finest and most delightful book, Hardball: How Politics Is played, Told by One Who Knows the Game, for which his MSNBC show is named, provides a very nice Bill of Particulars.

In the eyes of progressives “democracy” is a great thing … so long as Democrats get elected and move the policies of America leftward. When the political system works to elect Republicans who move policy rightward it is ipso facto deemed demagoguery.

How Democracies Die displays many of the internal contradictions inherent within the left’s narrative. For example, the authors critique state defiance of President Obama’s (questionable) regulatory order limiting greenhouse gas emissions. They term it “a stunning undermining of federal authority.” Then the authors attack Trump for signing an executive order authorizing federal agencies to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” that refused to cooperate with the administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

State resistance to federal authority is inherently either legitimate or illegitimate. They can’t have it both ways. The plenitude of these kinds of opportunistic arguments is one of the book’s greatest flaws. While I — on conservative philosophical grounds — oppose the withholding of federal aid to self-designated sanctuary cities one cannot logically reconcile how state resistance to the federal government is “a stunning undermining” while municipal resistance is legitimate.

The authors, blind to their own contradictions, paint themselves into many such logical corners. There are arguments to be made for their preferred policies here. This argument, however, is self-contradictory and thus contributes to the polarization which the authors, purportedly, deplore.

Senator Warren is right. The game is rigged.

Just, not necessarily in the way she propounds.


The Founders were not alone in their condemnation of democracy. H.L. Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore, a somewhat libertarian curmudgeon beloved by progressives for his ridicule of William Jennings Bryan for his attack on the teaching of evolution, was an intense and consistent critic of democracy.

Mencken devoted his Last Words to a rather definitive deconstruction of the pretense of democracy (and, let it be noted, of the Democrats of his day):

Democracy always seems bent upon killing the thing it theoretically loves. I have rehearsed some of its operations against liberty, the very cornerstone of its political metaphysic. It not only wars upon the thing itself; it even wars upon mere academic advocacy of it. I offer the spectacle of Americans jailed for reading the Bill of Rights as perhaps the most gaudily humorous ever witnessed in the modern world. Try to imagine monarchy jailing subjects for maintaining the divine right of Kings! Or Christianity damning a believer for arguing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God! This last, perhaps, has been done: anything is possible in that direction. But under democracy the remotest and most fantastic possibility is a common-place of every day. All the axioms resolve themselves into thundering paradoxes, many amounting to downright contradictions in terms. The mob is competent to rule the rest of us—but it must be rigorously policed itself. There is a government, not of men, but of laws – but men are set upon benches to decide finally what the law is and may be. The highest function of the citizen is to serve the state – but the first assumption that meets him, when he essays to discharge it, is an assumption of his disingenuousness and dishonour. Is that assumption commonly sound? Then the farce only grows the more glorious.

I confess, for my part, that it greatly delights me. I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself – that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating.

The many political and policy maladies and madnesses of which the left complains derive from democracy itself, not its death. For the sake of making tactical gains the left has (and continues) to kill the goose that lays the golden egg: republicanism. To fall doubly afoul of the metaphor: the chickens are coming home to roost. Down with democracy!



© 2019 Forbes Media LLC.
Meno_
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3977
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:47 am

...

20,679 views|Jan 7, 2018,5:00 pm
Donald Trump, Democrat?
Ralph BenkoContributor

FILE – In this Dec. 7, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, listens as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks before a meeting with congressional leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

My headline employs “democrat” in its generic, rather than proper noun (partisan), definition. President Trump shifted his party registration back and forth (five times, according to the Washington Times’s report of a report by The Smoking Gun). Trump, Politico reports, also was a substantial donor to Senator Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and many other Democrats.


This history does not make Donald Trump a Democrat. But I submit that Donald Trump is democracy’s smoking gun.

Trump won the presidency as the nominee of the Republican Party. Despite his occasional public flirtations with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi he works with the Congressional majority, Republicans, largely eschewing the Democrats’ progressive policy agenda.

That said, I submit that the election of Donald Trump as president is largely an outcome of “creeping democracy.” Democracy is routinely extolled by the left. It, along with “equality,” is frequently used by leftists as a vague synonym for anything good.


The left, however, is wrong about this. Democracy is a bad thing. Bad for the left too.

This remains unclear to the left. This is understandable. The word “democracy” sounds vaguely good. It has proved useful in advancing the progressive agenda. Thus, celebrations of democracy persist but the outcomes, even from their point of view, just are not looking so hot.

O Democracy!

The Washington Post earlier this year adopted the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” According to the Post’s own credible backstory, this was not aimed at President Trump but was derived from a line in a speech by its owner Jeff Bezos, adopted from Bob Woodward (who had used it for many years), itself appropriated from a coinage by appellate Judge Damon J. Keith.

Currently, the poster child book on this topic is How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (whose names are curiously omitted from the front cover of the book jacket). The New York Times’s David Leonhardt extols it in his recent column The Meaning of Bannon vs. Trump:

Democracy. Later this month, an alarmingly titled book, “How Democracies Die,” written by two political scientists, will be published. It is, as the book’s promotional material states, “a bracing, revelatory look at the demise of liberal democracies around the world — and a road map for rescuing our own.”

Let’s help the left out. America was unequivocally designed as a republic, not a democracy. There are reasons for this.

My friend Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings Institution, has wryly painted how wrongheaded have been the progressives in undermining the republican order. His assessment may be found, among other places, in a cover story at The Atlantic archly headlined The Case For Corruption. Progressives have, over more than a century, conscientiously eroded America’s republican structure, including the very political norms — the guardrails — they take Trump to task for violating.

Let them consider whether Trump’s presidency is the effect, not the cause, of their own century-long project of undermining republican safeguards.

Progressives? Meet the Law of Unintended Consequences.

A more democratic America has delivered unto you President Trump.

Happy?

Let’s take a deeper dive into democracy vs. republicanism to help understand where the left went so Wrong.

I have many dear progressive friends. I heart them for their commitment to justice among other things. I myself am neither a progressive nor a democrat. As Alcuin famously wrote to Charlemagne in 798 AD, “Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.”

And do not listen to those who keep saying, ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God.’ because the tumult of the crowd is always close to madness.

Trump certainly plays to the tumult of the crowd. As I have pointed out here the remnants of the republican system – the electoral college (which progressives are now targeting for demolition) — worked as designed. The electorate — which is subtly but materially different from the “crowd” — chose the presidential aspirant who best, relative to the other 19 significant contenders in 2016, articulated its yearning for peace and prosperity.

The left would do better to seek to extract the log in its own eye than to condemn the mote in the eye of the right. “’You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,— mon frère!‘”

Notwithstanding their ongoing confrontation with the Law of Unintended Consequences the left continues to extol democracy. That’s a system of government America’s founders deplored. The Founders’ deploring it, one supposes, would have made them a basket of deplorables to the Hillary Clintons of their day. Such figures, then, were blessedly few.

Let’s go to the record.

The founders of America detested democracy, putting many guardrails against it into the Constitution. They made no bones about it.

Here are some representative quotes by some of the premier architects of our charter document:

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787: A lady [one Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia] asked Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy[?] — A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it[.]

James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10:

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

Edmund Randolph, in the Constitutional Convention, said in speaking on the constitution of a Senate:

If he was to give an opinion as to the number of the [U.S. Senate], he should say that it ought to be much smaller than that of the first; so small as to be exempt from the passionate proceedings to which numerous assemblies are liable. He observed that the general object was to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy; that some check, therefore, was to be sought for against this tendency of our governments, and that a good Senate seemed most likely to answer the purpose.

As John Adams wrote to John Taylor in 1814:

You Say “Mr. Adams calls our Attention to hundreds of wise and virtuous Patricians, mangled and bleeding Victims of popular Fury.” and gravely counts up several Victims of democratic Rage as proofs that Democracy is more pernicious than Monarchy or Aristocracy.” Is this fair, sir? Do you deny any one of my Facts? I do not say that Democracy has been more pernicious, on the whole, and in the long run, than Monarchy or Aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as Aristocracy or Monarchy. But while it lasts it is more bloody than either.



Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to Say that Democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious or less avaricious than Aristocracy or Monarchy. It is not true in Fact and no where appears in history. Those Passions are the same in all Men under all forms of Simple Government, and when unchecked, produce the same Effects of Fraud Violence and Cruelty.

America was very much designed to avoid democracy, The Constitution itself, at Article 4, Section 4 states:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government….

“A Republican Form of Government.” Nowhere in the Constitution does the word democracy occur. This is not an oversight.

Fraud, Violence and Cruelty? John Adams, a member of the Committee that wrote the Declaration of Independence and our second president, thereby demonstrated prophetic qualities. The left, hoist with its own petard, would do well to take heed.

Comes now How Democracies Die. Its lead jacket blurb is from E.J. Dionne, Jr., who I respect greatly as one of the leading classical liberal public intellectuals working today notwithstanding that he bats (cleanup) for the Other Team.

How Democracies Die turns out to be an interesting work by two scholars who have deep knowledge of how authoritarians have taken power. They give special attention to the role of the establishment parties in facilitating that process, by connivance or negligence, thus paving the way for monsters such as Hitler, Mussolini, or Hugo Chavez to take power. They offer many interesting cautionary vignettes from world, and American, history.

They offer a soft, almost exculpatory, critique of some of FDR’s violations of political norms – prominently, threatening to pack the Supreme Court and violating the precedent of limiting himself to two terms. They gently chide, while exonerating, some of Barack Obama’s violations.

At base however, the authors blame the Republicans. They attribute the key erosion in what they call the political “guardrails” to the hardball tactics of Speaker Newt Gingrich and Majority Leader Tom Delay. There is some merit to this claim. However, they weirdly present a case that good Republicans are domesticated to the progressive agenda and protest, if at all, impotently. They seem oddly insensitive to the manifold examples of the violations by prominent Democrats such as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi among many others. The sins of progressives are venial while comparable sins by conservatives are presented as mortal.

The left has a propensity to extol hardball tactics when used by Democrats and excoriate them when used by Republicans. Chris Matthews’s finest and most delightful book, Hardball: How Politics Is played, Told by One Who Knows the Game, for which his MSNBC show is named, provides a very nice Bill of Particulars.

In the eyes of progressives “democracy” is a great thing … so long as Democrats get elected and move the policies of America leftward. When the political system works to elect Republicans who move policy rightward it is ipso facto deemed demagoguery.

How Democracies Die displays many of the internal contradictions inherent within the left’s narrative. For example, the authors critique state defiance of President Obama’s (questionable) regulatory order limiting greenhouse gas emissions. They term it “a stunning undermining of federal authority.” Then the authors attack Trump for signing an executive order authorizing federal agencies to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” that refused to cooperate with the administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

State resistance to federal authority is inherently either legitimate or illegitimate. They can’t have it both ways. The plenitude of these kinds of opportunistic arguments is one of the book’s greatest flaws. While I — on conservative philosophical grounds — oppose the withholding of federal aid to self-designated sanctuary cities one cannot logically reconcile how state resistance to the federal government is “a stunning undermining” while municipal resistance is legitimate.

The authors, blind to their own contradictions, paint themselves into many such logical corners. There are arguments to be made for their preferred policies here. This argument, however, is self-contradictory and thus contributes to the polarization which the authors, purportedly, deplore.

Senator Warren is right. The game is rigged.

Just, not necessarily in the way she propounds.


The Founders were not alone in their condemnation of democracy. H.L. Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore, a somewhat libertarian curmudgeon beloved by progressives for his ridicule of William Jennings Bryan for his attack on the teaching of evolution, was an intense and consistent critic of democracy.

Mencken devoted his Last Words to a rather definitive deconstruction of the pretense of democracy (and, let it be noted, of the Democrats of his day):

Democracy always seems bent upon killing the thing it theoretically loves. I have rehearsed some of its operations against liberty, the very cornerstone of its political metaphysic. It not only wars upon the thing itself; it even wars upon mere academic advocacy of it. I offer the spectacle of Americans jailed for reading the Bill of Rights as perhaps the most gaudily humorous ever witnessed in the modern world. Try to imagine monarchy jailing subjects for maintaining the divine right of Kings! Or Christianity damning a believer for arguing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God! This last, perhaps, has been done: anything is possible in that direction. But under democracy the remotest and most fantastic possibility is a common-place of every day. All the axioms resolve themselves into thundering paradoxes, many amounting to downright contradictions in terms. The mob is competent to rule the rest of us—but it must be rigorously policed itself. There is a government, not of men, but of laws – but men are set upon benches to decide finally what the law is and may be. The highest function of the citizen is to serve the state – but the first assumption that meets him, when he essays to discharge it, is an assumption of his disingenuousness and dishonour. Is that assumption commonly sound? Then the farce only grows the more glorious.

I confess, for my part, that it greatly delights me. I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself – that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating.

The many political and policy maladies and madnesses of which the left complains derive from democracy itself, not its death. For the sake of making tactical gains the left has (and continues) to kill the goose that lays the golden egg: republicanism. To fall doubly afoul of the metaphor: the chickens are coming home to roost. Down with democracy!



© 2019 Forbes Media LLC.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:55 am

The above is testament to the idea that idealism is alive and well, and those who claimed that action preceded essence were merely over focused on an ethereal presence, whereby middle class industrial nueve riches made a permanent mark on history. It is not too uncommon a veritable ironic nite. by no less then Heidegger to declare the death of philosophy, for those who have not learned its message are condemned to repeat them.

Irony is not merely lost on the shallow people.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:10 am

Concerned over President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, the FBI reportedly opened an investigation into whether Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia, according to a New York Times report published Friday night.

The bureau opened the counterintelligence inquiry days after Comey was ousted in May 2017, the Times reported, citing several people, including former law enforcement officials, familiar with the probe.

Investigators were specifically looking into whether Trump’s firing of Comey posed a national security threat as well as whether it was an obstruction of justice, considering the FBI’s broader investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Former law enforcement officials told the Times that the criminal aspect (whether Trump obstructed justice) and counterintelligence aspect (whether Trump was working covertly for Russia) of the investigation were combined into one inquiry because it would have been considered a national security threat if Trump had indeed ousted Comey to impede the Russia investigation.


According to the Times, Trump at least twice linked his decision to fire Comey with the Russia investigation, prompting counterintelligence officials to probe the president’s actions.

First, two days after Comey’s dismissal, Trump told NBC News’ Lester Holt that he had “this Russia thing” in mind when he decided to fire the FBI director.

“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said: ’You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won,” the president told Holt at the time.

Second, Trump reportedly drafted a letter to Comey, slamming him for refusing to say that he wasn’t the focus of the Russia investigation.


Shortly after Comey was fired, special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to oversee the broader investigation into Russia and the election. It’s unclear if Mueller is still investigating the counterintelligence inquiry into Trump.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:23 am

National Security

Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face encounters with Putin from senior officials in administration
By Greg Miller
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:28 am

Politics

‘In the White House waiting’: Inside Trump’s defiance on the longest shutdown ever
By Robert Costa, Josh Dawsey, Philip Rucker, Seung Min Kim

January 12, 2019 at 5:32 PM


President Trump speaks to reporters during his visit to the Capitol to meet with Senate Republicans on Jan. 9. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
When President Trump made a rare journey to the Capitol last week, he was expected to strategize about how to end the government shutdown he instigated. Instead, he spent the first 20-odd minutes delivering a monologue about “winning.”

“We’re winning” on North Korea, the president told Republican senators Wednesday at a closed-door luncheon. “We’re winning” on Syria and “we’re winning” on the trade war with China, too. And, Trump concluded, they could win on immigration if Republicans stuck together through what is now the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, according to officials who attended the presidential pep talk.

The problem was that Trump offered no path to victory — other than brinkmanship.

Talks between the two parties remained stalled this weekend after the president torpedoed his last negotiating session with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) by walking out of the room.

With Trump determined to deliver on his signature campaign promise of building a border wall and Democrats standing firm against what they view as an immoral and ineffective solution to illegal immigration, there is no end in sight to the dysfunction.

Trump was nevertheless confident on Saturday about his handling of the standoff. “I do have a plan on the Shutdown,” he tweeted. “But to understand that plan you would have to understand the fact that I won the election, and I promised safety and security for the American people.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) address reporters outside the White House on Jan. 9 after a meeting with President Trump. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
The president who pitched himself to voters as a world-class dealmaker has proven to be an unreliable negotiator. Grappling for the first time with a divided government, Trump has contradicted himself, sent miscues and spread falsehoods. He has zigzagged between proudly claiming ownership of the shutdown and blaming it on Democrats, and between nearly declaring a national emergency to construct the wall without congressional approval and backing off such a legally and politically perilous action.

As Washington braced for a snowstorm on Saturday morning, Trump was hunkered down in his private quarters at the White House and tweeting taunts to Democrats. “I am in the White House waiting for you!” he wrote in one message. The president claimed in another that there was no chaos in his administration — “In fact, there’s almost nobody in the W.H. but me,” he wrote — and argued that the onus was on Democrats to buckle and agree to fulfill his demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding.

Out of work and behind on her bills, a furloughed food inspector for the FDA in Ohio says she may have to leave government service if the shutdown goes on much longer. (Ray Whitehouse/The Washington Post)
The government could reopen if Trump agreed to sign legislation funding the government, versions of which already have passed both chambers of Congress, and table the polarizing debate over border security.

In the weeks leading up to December’s deadline to fund the government, Trump was warned repeatedly about the dangers of a shutdown but still opted to proceed, according to officials with knowledge of the conversations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the president that he had no leverage and that, without a clear strategy, he would be “boxed in a canyon.” He tried to make the case to Trump that even if Pelosi and Schumer were interested in cutting a deal with him, they would be constrained from compromising because of internal Democratic Party pressures to oppose Trump’s wall, these officials said.

Then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) talked with Trump by phone for 45 minutes the day before the shutdown, warning that he saw no way to win as he paced in a Capitol hallway just outside a conference room where House Republicans were meeting. Then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned about the perils of a shutdown during the Christmas season.

Inside, some of the more hard-line members urged a showdown over border wall funding, arguing that Trump’s core supporters would revolt otherwise. But McCarthy asked, “Tell me what happens when we get into a shutdown? I want to know what our next move is.”

A senior White House official characterized Republican leaders as “supportive” throughout the shutdown.

President Trump salutes as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter passes over the Rio Grande on the southern border in McAllen, Tex., on Jan. 10. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Trump’s advisers are scrambling to build an exit ramp while also bracing for the shutdown to last weeks longer. Current and former aides said there is little strategy in the White House; people are frustrated and, in the words of one, “freaking out.”

The shutdown was born out of frustration. Angry that he was stymied by party leaders and his own aides from getting more money for the wall in 2018, rattled by conservative criticism and stung by his party’s midterm defeats, Trump decided in late December to plunge into a border fight after being encouraged by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both hard-line conservatives. It was a startling decision to McConnell and others, who thought they had White House assurances that a shutdown would be avoided.

“He has no choice here,” said Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter who was House speaker in the Clinton administration and during the second-longest shutdown, an episode widely viewed as a disaster for Republicans. “He has to win. His entire reputation, his entire relationship with the base, it’s all a function of being committed on big things and not backing down. If he backs down on this, Pelosi will be so emboldened that the next two years will be a nightmare.”

A federal employee with colon cancer grapples with complicated insurance problems as a result of the partial government shutdown. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)
As the shutdown dragged on, aides said, Trump has bragged that he looked “tough” and that his supporters had his back. He has viewed the past three weeks more as an hour-to-hour public relations fight than as a painstaking legislative negotiation, trying to sway opinion with a prime time Oval Office address and a high-profile trip to Texas to survey the U.S.-Mexico border.

“He is determined, as he has been from day one, not to break faith with the people who brought him to the presidency,” said William A. Galston, a senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution. “I’ve never seen a president who is more indifferent to expanding his appeal.”

Trump has exhibited more determination than calculation. Over the holidays, he inhabited the White House largely alone, tweeting out his demands and grievances. Several senior West Wing officials described the building as a “ghost town” or a “no man’s land.”

Only after Christmas did administration officials begin realizing the full scale of the logistical problems a prolonged shutdown would cause. Aides said Trump has been largely uninterested in the minutiae of managing government agencies and services.

Farmer John Boyd, 53, of Baskerville, Va., is facing a double calamity: tariffs have sunk the prices of crops like soybeans, but financial relief from the federal government hasn’t come because the Department of Agriculture is closed. (Lee Powell/The Washington Post)
During negotiation sessions, Trump’s attention has veered wildly. At one such meeting with Pelosi and Schumer in the White House Situation Room earlier this month, the president went on a long diatribe about unrelated topics. He trashed the Iran nuclear deal, telling Democrats they should give him money for the wall because, in his view, they gave President Barack Obama money for the agreement with Tehran. He boasted about his wisdom in ordering the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. And he raised the specter of impeachment, accusing Pelosi of wanting to try to force him from office — which she denied.

Eventually, he was moved back to the budget talks.

During last week’s Senate lunch, Trump praised his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while delineating his foreign policy accomplishments. “I don’t know why I get along with all the tough ones and not the soft ones,” he quipped, referring to dictators and allies, according to attendees.

Also at the lunch, Trump asked Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to stand up for applause and thanked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for supporting him on TV. He obliquely knocked the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) for not voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, attendees said.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) warned Trump that declaring a national emergency could set a precedent for Democrats to follow on other issues, should they win the White House. But Trump assured them he would win reelection in 2020.

Vice President Pence speaks to reporters on Jan. 9 after a meeting with congressional leadership at the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Vice President Pence, after being roasted by critics last month for sitting idly during Trump’s contentious televised meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, jumped into the negotiations in recent weeks, doing what one of his longtime allies described as a “reimagining” of his dutiful and low-key approach.

But Pence’s efforts were challenged from the start as his initial pitch to Senate Democrats — in which he floated lowering the demand from $5.7 billion for wall funds — was dismissed by Trump days later, even though Pence delivered the offer at the president’s behest.

Still, Pence, whose aides say he has a preternatural calm, shifted and became a salesman for the president’s position and worked to lay the groundwork for possible executive action.

Democratic aides, however, were irritated by Pence’s dogged emphasis on a crisis during last weekend’s talks and the administration’s lack of preparation on the exact numbers of its requests.

“They’re sitting there going, ‘Where are the numbers? What is going on here?’ ” said a senior House Democratic aide briefed on the discussions.

Some White House officials privately groused that meetings were pointless and believed it was beneath the office of the vice president to negotiate with congressional staffers.

President Trump holds up a photo of a “typical standard wall design” as he speaks on Jan. 11 during a roundtable discussion on border security in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Exasperated, a small group of Republican lawmakers tried to determine a way out last week. Led by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), they met Wednesday in Graham’s office with White House legislative affairs director Shahira Knight and senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner to discuss a broader immigration deal that could include protections for undocumented children in exchange for $5.7 billion in wall funding.

Graham saw an opening to broker an accord between Trump, whom he had come to call a friend, and Senate GOP moderates who were urging aggressive steps to reopen the government.

Following the passage of criminal-justice reform legislation that he championed, Kushner carried himself with the confidence of a White House chief of staff, according to congressional aides.

One GOP senator, who like other officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly, said he appreciated Kushner’s “good attitude” but said that senators “really doubt whether he can do anything” to convince Trump to soften his hard-line tactics and back a bipartisan immigration deal.

After meeting with McConnell last Thursday, Graham and three colleagues — Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — presented their plan to Pence. He then relayed the idea to Trump, who was flying to Texas for his border tour.

But the president said no. Pence then told Graham and Alexander that Trump appreciated their proposal but was not interested in re-opening the government until the Democrats were willing to negotiate on the wall.

“I have never been more depressed about moving forward than I am right now,” Graham told reporters that afternoon. He then walked off, muttering: “I’m going to the gym.”

The next day, Graham called for drastic measures: “It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers.”

Damian Paletta, Sean Sullivan and Erica Werner contributed to this report.


Robert Costa is a national political reporter for The Washington Post. He covers the White House, Congress, and campaigns. He joined The Post in January 2014. He is also the moderator of PBS's "Washington Week" and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Josh Dawsey is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. He joined the paper in 2017. He previously covered the White House for Politico, and New York City Hall and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the Wall Street Journal.

Philip Rucker is the White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post. He previously has covered Congress, the Obama White House, and the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Rucker also is a Political Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He joined The Post in 2005 as a local news reporter.

Seung Min Kim is a White House reporter for The Washington Post, covering the Trump administration through the lens of Capitol Hill. Before joining The Washington Post in 2018, she spent more than eight years at Politico, primarily covering the Senate and immigration policy.



© 1996-2019 The Washington Post
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Re: Trump enters : is he predisposed to use collusive thinki

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:01 am

????????


Is he the man by choice by measure of his character, or, is his manifest destiny?

So many questions and so few answers, given the window of opportunity to solve them. Will AI be able to fine tune them, without taking over?
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Re: Trump enters the stage -twilight zone to black mirror

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:00 am

Black Mirror's Charlie Brooker Predicted Trump—Here's What He (and His Show) Have to Say About the Future
ANNA PEELE
December 12, 2017 11:25 AM

Maarten de Boer/Getty Images
Netflix's tech cynic anthology Black Mirror has been oddly prophetic. The same goes for its creator Charlie Brooker. But the new fourth season of the spiritual Twilight Zone heir has moments that are, dare we say, optimistic? Brooker tells us why he's "contrarily hopeful" about the world.
Four years before David Cameron was accused of performing a sex act on a (dead) pig, Charlie Brooker wrote an episode of Black Mirror where the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom performed a sex act on a (live) pig. Four years before Donald J. Trump was sworn in President of the United States, Brooker wrote an episode of Black Mirror in which a populist movement gets a lewd, inflammatory cartoon to run for public office. It almost makes you feel like you should set aside December 29 to watch the fourth season of Brooker’s Black Mirror (he runs the Netflix series with producer Annabel Jones) just to know what dystopic development to prepare for next.

Luckily, in Brooker’s hands a bleak sense of humor accompanies news of our nightmare future; each episode of the (truly super) funny anthology series has an entirely new plot and cast and explores the very human impulses that create technology, and the very human weaknesses that are enabled and exploited by it. In other words, we did this to ourselves—the Snapchat is coming from inside the house. Black Mirror is basically a televised version of the “This is fine” meme with extra panels where we find out how the be-hatted pup wound up in the room and accidentally set it on fire—maybe someone told him there was a rare Pokemon in there and he knocked over a festive scented candle catching it?—and realizing, too late, that he needs to get the fuck out.

The six new episodes of Black Mirror cover digital ills both current and upcoming—think video games, dating apps, and consciousness-uploading devices—and feature a bananas lineup of directors and actors that includes Jodie Foster, David Slade, Jesse Plemons, and Andrea Riseborough. Brooker took a break from working on his next, highly classified project to talk to GQ about Trump, Get Out, and why Batman is so depressed.

GQ: What’s this top-secret thing you’re working on now?

Charlie Brooker: I wish I could tell you. But you can probably guess what it is.

Is it the Twilight Zone?

I’m not allowed to say! I’m looking forward to the Twilight Zone from Jordan Peele…if anyone’s gonna reboot the Twilight Zone, then there’s the man to do it.

Did you see Get Out?

I loved Get Out. In fact, Jordan Peele did send me a message because he was a big fan—he’d seen [Get Out star] Daniel Kaluuya on Black Mirror. And I hadn’t had a chance to get out and see his movie, so I was embarrassed and I didn’t reply. It was so embarrassing. But I saw it and thought it was fucking brilliant and that Daniel was brilliant.

I’m so excited—he’s going to be in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther.

As is Letitia Wright from [season four Black Mirror episode] “Black Museum.” We saw an audition tape [from her] and there was a voice reading the other lines off-camera. I was like, “Hang on…is that Daniel Kaluuya?” It must have been in a trailer on [the set of] Black Panther.

Watching newer Black Mirror episodes makes me feel like you’ve turned into a real romantic.

Do you think?

Your tender underbelly definitely shows in “Hang the DJ,” the dating app episode from the new season.

To be honest, it’s probably a consequence of us going from three episodes a season to six—you’ve gotta have a soft center in the chocolate box. With “Hang the DJ,” I was concerned that it was more comedic and much lighter than we normally do for Black Mirror. But that’s what people are picking out as one they enjoy. It’s interesting when we confound our own expectations of what the show is.

It’s not really that surprising, because “San Junipero” was the one everyone went nuts over last season. People like to feel good.

I mean, there are episodes where a giant fucking boot comes down and crushes everyone.

Yep.

But overall there’s probably a bit more hope in this season because it was being written from July 2016 to February 2017, and I didn’t know what state the world was going to be in by the time it aired. I didn’t want it to just be horrifying and awful, although obviously that’s also the thing that people tune in for.

People have been making the joke that 2017 is a viral marketing campaign for Season Four of Black Mirror. Because I don’t know if you’ve heard, but things aren’t so great over here, Charlie.

I picked up on that. Ours has always been a worried show, but I don’t see it as being particularly reactive to the moment in which it’s being written. I started writing this season just after Brexit, but I didn’t sit down and go, “What’s the Brexit episode?” Though it’s really weird—I sort of thought, Well, there’s nothing in this season that’s gonna come, like, remotely true. But we’ve got this memory device in “Crocodile,” and somebody showed me a device that you can connect to a mouse’s brain and show it a face and then pull out a likeness of that face like ten minutes later. So what do I know?

More than you think, apparently! When we talked last fall you told me Trump was going to win. So, since you’re a prophet: what happens next?

I get contrarily hopeful—when everyone in the world is worried, I think, Oh, I can take the day off. So there won’t be a nuclear war with North Korea, I’ve decided. With Trump in America, the fact that the lines are drawn and that everyone is so polarized and concerned and worried and fractious makes me feel like that has to solve itself somehow. I don’t think it’s going to end in a civil war, if that’s any consolation.

I’m thrilled to hear it.

I mean, is that your perspective?

I don’t know if I think we’re going to have a civil war, but the people who love Trump aren’t just going to calm down and feel good about things if, like, Elizabeth Warren beats Trump in 2020.

But haven't they always been there and always been that angry?

Sure.

And of that 33% [who approve of Trump’s performance], how many are actually that furious? There are people who you can disagree with vehemently politically, but most people are fundamentally decent.

Plus, think of how much harder it is to actually fight in a civil war than to live your life just being kind of ambiently dissatisfied with the government.

Oh, my God, yeah. It would be such a pain in the ass. So what percentage of that percentage that you’re worrying about would actually [join a civil war?] What would happen if Trump was replaced by someone else is you’d get those people shouting at the TV and grumbling and complaining online. But that’s the hopeful view.

If this were an episode of Black Mirror and you were writing a story where the government had to try and appease those angry people, what would you have it do?

The basic problem is that the pie is not being sliced correctly, isn’t it? That is the thing that is driving everything. But don’t ask me how to solve that, ‘cause I ain’t got a fucking clue.

One of the things I love about Black Mirror is that the bad guys tend to wind up in a prison of their own making. I was thinking of which real-life villains would be good for that and imagining PayPal founder Peter Thiel having to be a banker forever, trapped in a virtual money gulag.

That’s a mean thought you’re having there, isn’t it?

I mean…yes. But you’re the one who came up with this concept!

Yeah, but I put fictional people in there. It’s like in “White Christmas.” Rafe Spall’s character ends up in eternal hell for like millions of years—someone worked out [the math]. It would be inhuman. You’re a terrible person! Just like the spectators in “White Bear.” That’s what you’re like. Would you not feel a glimmer of sympathy?

Okay, you could keep them in there until they learn their lesson, not actually for eternity. Maybe there’s a parole board…

You’re setting yourself up as a tyrant there, aren’t you? I mean, this is the problem. Often in Black Mirror someone’s got a technological thing that they believe they’re going to use in a good way, and they end up doing something terrible. So who’s to say that inflicting this cruel and inhuman…what’s that quote about gazing into the abyss? [“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.—Friedrich Nietzsche”] Careful what you wish for.

You’ve convinced me, Charlie! I’m bad; torture is bad. Would you trust yourself to be a moral arbiter?

No! Definitely not. Years ago, I did a show in the UK that was a Daily Show-esque thing [called 10 O’Clock Live]. And every so often people would say things like, “If [only] you guys were running the country…” And you’d think, “Are you joking? We’d be the worst people, just lazy and stupid.” I can’t complete the simplest strategy game. When I tried to play SimCity, it inevitably ended up being a fucking disaster. Roads didn’t even join up. So I should never be put in charge of any system ever.

I suppose if one person has too much control and isn’t taking in input, things always get screwed up. Like me torturing Peter Thiel, or Michael, the architect Ted Danson plays on The Good Place. Or Trump.

He’s odd, isn’t he? Because he, on the one hand, is incredibly opinionated, and on the other you can read interviews with him where he seems to just say what he wants the person to hear.

It’s because the thing that drives Trump is people liking him. So if he’s in a room with you, he says whatever he needs to get you to “yes.” If he’s on a stage, he says whatever he needs to get to you to chant.

But his approval ratings are low. Hasn’t anyone pointed out to him that if he suddenly decided to do the opposite of everything he’s doing, that might mean that suddenly 70% of people [would approve of him]? Imagine if he turned up on TV tomorrow and said, “Fuck all that!” Wouldn’t he be received rapturously as a hero by a huge swath of the people?

That’s literally an episode of Seinfeld. But Trump would never do that because he’s like a monkey. He sticks his hands through slots in his cage to pick up two grapes—that’s the 30% of people who like him. But then someone puts a bunch of bananas on his side of the cage, which is the 70%. In order to get the bananas he has to drop the grapes, but he won’t let go of the thing that’s already in his hand in order to get the better thing.

So what—you have to saw off his hand? Or you have to keep piling up bananas until it becomes irresistible. Or you just wait for the grape to rot.

There you go. On Black Mirror, characters tend to be driven by a fear of being found out.

Like Kelly in “Shut up and Dance,” who’s being blackmailed.

One thing that terrifies me about all the recent news of real-life sexual predators is that they don’t seem to be scared of being found out at all.

I suppose the thing is that all that stuff is about power, isn’t it? Or they’ve not contemplated it because of the power structure surrounding them. On Black Mirror, we don’t tend to deal with big, powerful people, because when you look at a Weinstein or something you think, “Is he capable of feeling anything?” We’ve always wanted the stories to feel very relatable. Having said that, our very first episode had a prime minister, but we immediately strip him of all his power, basically. If [an episode were going to be] about the high-flying CEO figure, I’d think, “Who cares about the fucking head of whatever multi-corp? I don’t give a shit.”

You even have to do that with superheroes now. Bruce Wayne is, like, clinically depressed.

It’s true. [When I was young] Bruce Wayne was someone you looked up to because he was rich. Whereas now you’d be like, “I’m never gonna be Bruce Wayne. Fuck that fucking asshole!” And that’s because the pie isn’t being sliced fairly.

Gimme some pie, Bruce!

Where’s my fucking pie?



© Condé Nast 2019


Durkheim



Observing like an outsider, it feels that when you know that everything you’re doing is being recorded, social facts tend to feel more and more coercive. This is so true that even in the aesthetics of the episode we can see that everything is extremely clean, uptight, a perfect environment boxed in social facts and cutting edge technology. Almost everybody acts like a perfect individual. Think about all the things you do, not because you really wanted to, but because it was expected from you. Going to med school to praise your parents, for example.

Of course, even with all of this plasticity, nothing can bend the drama and the conflict that humankind makes, and it happens here in this episode: lack of trust and paranoia.

Public vigilance — discipline power and social control



There’s an example of public use of the memory device right in the beginning of the episode. Liam’s going to the airport and a security guard stops him, he has to show the guard his last 24 hours and a little bit more. That’s the new tactic for anti terrorism and other criminal matters that could happen if a dangerous person got into the airport. It’s not shown, but it’s implicit that this method of crime preventing it’s a usual thing, probably working in many other different social ambient. In Black Mirror, through the memory device, there are many possibilities of control, of vigilance. It’s not only about cameras around, authority and institutions, it’s a camera literally inside you. Think about that: even if you’re completely alone, you will still record what you’re doing, and a random police officer can demand it to see fast-forward. There’s a huge camp for cyber criminology studies here, because when the institutions get advanced, the criminal elements tend to be one step ahead.

, talking about social coSontrol is talking about Michel Foucault. To him, in many different ways, society works as a chain of control. Almost everywhere, there’s a pre-established order, there’s some kind of authority, a center of power. Like in a classroom, for example, there’s a professor, a teacher, and students that should obey.

Our society work with many points of power and control, between two people, between the State and it’s people. Foucault says that this control is ready to make people “docile bodies”. In case somebody doesn’t know what a docile body is:

“Discipline manufactures submissive and exercised bodies, docile bodies, which are based on efficient gesture. It increases the force of the body in economic terms of usefulness and decreases those same forces, in political terms of obedience.” — Foucault.



Side-by-side were the dystopian and utopian trajectories facing modern civilization — the spectre of a nuclear apocalypse and shimmer of space-age apotheosis. Not surprisingly, The Twilight Zone featured episodes showing the horrors of nuclear war and bizarre journeys into outer space. Throughout its five-year run, The Twilight Zone depicted numerous scenarios related to existence in the then modern world and the vast universe.

In many ways, Serling and The Twilight Zone were philosophically grounded in the mid-20th century existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, yet the series repeatedly pointed toward issues that would soon be addressed by theorists and philosophers emerging in the 1960s: Marshall McLuhan, Guy Debord, Michel Foucault, and Jean Baudrillard, among others. By the end of the 1960s, there had been no nuclear war, but NASA had landed humans on the moon in a triumphal moment viewed on global television and celebrated worldwide as a great human achievement. “We did it” cheered the humans on planet Earth.

But once NASA pulled the plug on the Apollo missions and everyone realized they would not be drinking martinis at a hotel on the moon, a new utopian destination appeared on the horizon. Outer space was replaced by cyberspace as the next human destination. Personal computers and laptops thrived and began linking up via the internet and World Wide Web. Chat rooms evolved into social media echo chambers. Google, YouTube, and Facebook became the archivists of our information, imagery, and selves. Television eventually migrated online with digital users, their hands tightly gripped around their mobile phones, poised for a selfie moment or status update.


How can such ponderings into the Nietzchean Abyss that the Superman can reflect on in a burst of joyful Dionysus experience before plunging back , icarus was way ahead, not to feel betrayed?

How cannot Trump feel in his roller coaster ride, where , not given an opportunity to ever have gone underground, merely simulate, such, by figuring apprentices who really resembles himself?

He is acting as seen from a dark mirror, but not for his wealth of escape routes, may view himself as though a mirror, darkly?
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:48 pm

Now this:



The Trump Impeachment
Unfit To Lead
Donald Trump’s Latest Psycho Tweetstorm: The BEST REASON YET to Invoke the 25th Amendment
By News Corpse / Daily Kos (01/12/2019) - January 12, 20191100



The Ring of Fire / YouTube
The rapidly declining mental state of Donald Trump has been the subject of untold numbers of articles and analyses, including by professionals who view the President as a malignant narcissist who is a danger to the nation and the world. But there is no better indicator of the hazards Trump’s psychoses represent than his own frenzied ravings on Twitter.

When Trump gets a full head of steam, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the tsunami of lunacy that he unleashes. It’s pointless even to try. Take for example his outburst on Saturday morning. He was triggered by a report in the New York Times (which isn’t failing, it’s enjoying record success) that disclosed the existence of an FBI investigation into whether Trump was/is an asset of the Russian government.



There is abundant evidence to support that contention. Including his open infatuation with Vladimir Putin; his attacks on the media; his maligning of our allies in NATO and the European Union; his opposition to sanctions on Russia; his rejection of American intelligence in favor of information from Putin and the Kremlin; his refusal to accept that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election; his firing of FBI Director James Comey and others; his chumminess with Russian operatives in the White House; his threats aimed at his own cabinet for pursuing legitimate investigations into Russian espionage against the U.S.; and so much more.

However, to hear Trump tell it, it’s all a paranoid conspiracy against the greatest president of all time who is being attacked for his awesomeness and purity of heart. After reading the article in the Times (or having excerpts read to him), Trump mounted his Twitter machine and disgorged a steady stream of manic gibberish, almost all of which he has previously unfurled in numerous episodes of derangement. But reading it all of a piece is shocking, and not a little frightening. So buckle up:

Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!

…Funny thing about James Comey. Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike. After the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she was interviewed on July 4th Weekend, not recorded or sworn in, and where she said she didn’t know anything (a lie),….

….the FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey’s poor leadership and the way he handled the Clinton mess (not to mention his usurpation of powers from the Justice Department). My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop……

…..who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats – leaking machines who have NO interest in going after the Real Collusion (and much more) by Crooked Hillary Clinton, her Campaign, and the Democratic National Committee. Just Watch!

I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!

Lyin’ James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter S and his lover, agent Lisa Page, & more, all disgraced and/or fired and caught in the act. These are just some of the losers that tried to do a number on your President. Part of the Witch Hunt. Remember the “insurance policy?” This is it!

This sounds more like a mental patient who has been hospitalized after running through the streets naked shouting at random cars and store mannequins, than a president. He is consumed with paranoia and a devout belief in his superiority and goodness. And his perceived enemies are unambiguously evil, omnipresent, and determined to destroy him. That isn’t the profile of a world leader. It’s the diagnosis for a psychopath. And for the sake of the nation – and the planet – Trump needs to be removed from office and placed in a facility where he can either get medial attention and be punished for his obvious crimes.











Any other president, with any other controlled Senate, would have been impeached a year ago. Any doubt still exist that Republicans are traitors along with the moron-in-chief? Why haven’t people taken to the streets before this? We need to act, because congress sure isn’t. Our country, our way of life, our lives are in imminent danger.

Trump is mentally disable. The country maybe in shutdown, but is brain has always been shutdown. Time to go!


How credible is this view? I do not have tea leaves
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:31 am

U.S.
MUELLER DRAFT REPORT SAYS TRUMP 'HELPED PUTIN DESTABILIZE THE UNITED STATES', WATERGATE JOURNALIST SAYS
By Jason Lemon On Sunday, January 13, 2019 - 14:45

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland
PHOTO: CHRIS MCGRATH/GETTY IMAGES

U.S. DONALD TRUMP RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein has said that he’s been told that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report will show how President Donald Trump helped Russia “destabilize the United States.”

Bernstein, who is renowned for his coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to discuss two bombshell reports released this weekend, one from The New York Times and one from The Washington Post, which revealed new details about whether or not Trump and his aides have colluded with Russia.

The Post reported that Trump has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to conceal direct conversations he has had with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Times article revealed that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump after he fired former bureau director James Comey in 2017, suspecting the president could be working on behalf of Russia. Trump has angrily denied allegations that he worked with Russia and has regularly attacked the media for reporting on the investigation. But Bernstein slammed Trump’s dismissal of the probe.

“This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir Putin,'” Bernstein explained during his appearance on Reliable Sources .

“From a point of view of strength… rather, he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals. He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,” the journalist added. He then explained that he knew from his own high-level sources that Mueller’s report would discuss this assessment.

“And that is part of what the draft of Mueller’s report, I’m told, is to be about,” he said. “We know there has been collusion by [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by [Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort. The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it?”

Trump has defended himself against such reports, arguing, inaccurately, that he has taken a hardline stance against Russia.

“I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again! [sic],” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

However, the president’s 2016 campaign remains the subject of a special investigation led by Mueller. Several former high-ranking Trump aides have been indicted in the probe and last week, it was revealed that Manafort shared confidential polling data with an associate linked to Russian-intelligence.

RELATED STORIES
Expert: Trump 'Aiding & Abetting' Russian Intelligence
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FBI May Have Classified Evidence on Trump: Former Chief
Trump's administration recently moved to remove financial sanctions on an ally of Putin, and has recently pulled troops out of Syria -- a long-standing demand from the Russian President.


© Copyright 2019 NEWSWEEK
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:10 am

One off the wall scenario:


Remember the ' better be red than dead' cliche of the 50' s and the 60's in a vastly longer perceived U.S. time then Euro-Russian?

Given all the perceived hoopla of advanced Russian weaponry, or even without credibility of such , is it even remotely possible that the agreement/collusion was in fact made, in order to escape the ideological struggle, which was described in c. 1982-86, as a forgone assessment?

Could this be ledgered as a preemptive attempt describing as among leading possibilities?

And now, because unforseen and uninformed hi partisan information sharing, had to be slowly abandoned do to political pressure?

Both Trump and Putin may be heading for the Nobel Peace Prize, if they are able to pull it off!

As uncertain such possibility , given what has been happening, it can not be entirely ruled out.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:27 am

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