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Author Topic: Random Political Musings  (Read 69291 times)

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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1155 on: July 13, 2018, 04:43:35 PM »

I don't think Trump wants to destroy NATO.  I don't think he particularly cares.  I agree with you there.

I think that Trump is capable of destroying NATO though, either by catering too much to his base directly, or by doing enough damage to weaken it, or by empowering that set of supporters enough that the next President gets rid of it.

You're assuming that Trump is negotiating with NATO on behalf of the US.  He isn't.  He's negotiating with his base on behalf of himself.  If his base decides they want out of NATO and in exchange Trump can be President for life, then we will be out of NATO in a week.  I have no idea how intentional any of this stuff is or how much deliberation goes into it, but that's always how Trump has worked.  He's only ever sold one product which is himself.  Why do you think he puts his name on everything?  His real estate business basically sucked.  He makes all his money on his Trump brand.

It's why Trump doesn't like multilateral agreements.  Germany, UK, NATO, Russia as countries are not Trump brand corporation customers.  His voter base, Putin, and Kim are.  Those are people he can sell himself to, face-to-face and who can provide him something directly in return.

All of these conflicting things he says, he's basically just floating out trial balloons to see what his base wants and how much they want it, and to get them excited about possibly having it.  When he lies and says he had the biggest inauguration crowd or whatever, he's just overselling to try and get his followers to believe the crowd was bigger than it was.

Trump is selling himself to the highest bidder.  That's why he's dangerous and bad for the country, not because of whatever views he might hold himself.  That's why I think it's important to continually "outbid" the racists and whatever out there.  If the people screaming to kill illegal immigrants are louder than the people screaming not to kill illegal immigrants then some immigrants are getting killed.  And we aren't that far off from where some people are going to start screaming to kill illegal immigrants.

You can only try and do damage control politically though.  The problem of why there are so many people in the US willing to
go to such lengths for certain extremist sorts of views is a much tougher puzzle to solve.

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1156 on: July 13, 2018, 05:11:26 PM »

I listen to POTUS on sat radio on the way home.  Julie Mason had this guy on.

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

Part 3 is actually fun to watch, part 2 is sickening to watch.   It's not exactly related to what we are talking about, but yet it is.  Perhaps this is why the political class can't discuss things anymore. 

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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1157 on: July 13, 2018, 11:52:12 PM »

I mean, I don’t know.  The guy seems to be annoyed by the capitulation to student needs instead of intellectual openness and hardcore learning or whatever. 

But when you are paying $50k a year, of course you are going to demand to be catered to.  I think the telling part of that piece was where they said most of the students thought the incident was ridiculous but none of them would speak out because there was nothing for them to gain.  Not that they had something to fear, but that they had nothing to GAIN.

People get into ivy leagues, they think their work is done.  Your dad was an Ivy League alum, he’s the CEO of some company, you grow up with getting into an ivy as your goal.  You made, and now it’s time to enjoy the reward.

Colleges have always been weird like that.  The notion of the liberal ivory tower has always been somewhat of a myth.  Most college professors are liberal.  Most students are liberal and white.  Lots of radical far leftism.  But then, look ten or twenty years down the road and the average white college graduate is conservative.

You see these kids staging sit ins and hanging with antifa and all that junk, yet they don’t even bother to vote.  How about trying to work within the system before you decide it has failed you and is broken and you need to go radical?  Especially when the system han’t failed you.  Your rich, you go to college no matter how shitty your grades are and that college degree is the shield between you and the lower class.  You bought your way in with money, but now that’s a problem?  I’ve never had much tolerance for the stereotypical left wing college student Bernie Bro type.

I think that is less an “I need a safe space issue” than “I paid for my safe space and I’m not getting it.”  The end of Part 2 nails it where the student is talking about how she didn’t come for debate, she came expecting the campus to be her home, then dude is like, “She’s right” and they cut to the Dean saying “Welcome home.”

Faculty aren’t any better.  They spent years getting their phds and working to get jobs through a broken tenure.  So they think they have it made and demand a safe intellectual environment for themselves as well.  If they challenge the system, they don’t get jobs so of course they all think the same—either through self-selection or self-preservation.  Their are faculty with tenure at Yale who could have said something, yet didn’t.

I don’t really like the students, but I am sort of on their side.  I think that colleges claim to be centers of intellectualism but really they are just selling degrees.  So they’re pretty fake about it.  College fraternities are really pretty much repugnant in every way.  If they were serious about both creating safer spaces AND a focus on learning, they’d boot them all off campus.  But they won’t, so we get inane sexual assault policies and Halloween costume guidelines instead.

That’s one thing that is not mentioned in that piece either.  The week guidelines were issued, there was an incident on campus where a fraternity was throwing black people out of their party. So in the backdrop of that, of course you look kind of like a boob when you respond to the guidelines with an email. about how students can do what they want and stop trying to regulate racism.  I think she honestly meant well, but the timing was unfortunate.

But what can you do?  I would not send my kid to an Ivy League but 90% of parents would.  Including and perhaps especially conservatives who whine the most about PC college campuses.

There ARE cases where the weird world of college politics bleed over into the real world.  That does concern me.  What happened at Berkeley with the Milo thing was a joke.  The antifa rioters were mostly not students, nor were some of the right wingers they clashed against.  I don’t know that the President could have done much to stop Antifa, since the whole MO of the group is stealth strikes.  But to blame that on Milo is stupid.  Milo didn’t attack anyone, it was the people opposing him who did.  I would have fired that dude on the spot, and the mayor was a dipshit as well.

When Kessler was doing his whole Unite the Right BS, the university and city had arranged to move the event to a different location for safety reasons.  It was the ACLU that fought them.  So was free speech advocacy at a university the right thing to do there?  Interestingly, both Kessler and Richard Spencer are UVA graduates.

I don’t know what to do about the breakdown in civil discourse, really. I don’t think you should go and scream at Jason Kessler when he goes to work out at the gym.  OTOH, I have no sympathy for a guy like Kessler who uses his free speech to advocate for stripping the rights away from others.  There are all sorts of crazy people in this world and part of freedom is that crazy shit will happen now and again.  Even deaths, unfortunately.  But I still think the breakdown in civil discourse is less due to loss of civility but rather a ratcheting up of the stakes.  So that too is a symptom of the culture wars, rather than the cause.  Although tbf, I can also see the argument that it’s all vicious cycle with both things feeding off each other.

Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1158 on: July 15, 2018, 01:26:04 AM »

Why do people think China can’t tariff soybeans without suffering?

Do you think they just turn those beans into gallons of soy sauce or something?  No.  They use the soybeans to feed their cattle to make beef. 

Who just made a deal to export beef to China?  U-S-A, U-S-A!

Also, are people somehow under the impression that China can’t grow soybeans?  That’s where they are FROM.  Of course they can grow soybeans.  They’ve been doing it for 4,000 years.  They INVENTED farming soybeans.  You know why they don’t grow soybeans?  Because they make more money from corn.  It’s a better crop.  Wait, you say... so then why is the US growing soy beans?  Why, because we subsidize the soybean growers so we can undercut the Chinese and flood the market.  Some might call that unfair trade.

Do you think them tariffing our tech hurts them either?  No, because they have been wanting to do in-house for a decade anyway.  That is why they keep stealing our tech patents.  And what are the US tech companies going to do if they can’t get chips?  Apple is using Taiwan Semiconductor chips.  Guess where their major new factory is?  Not the US.  Also, not in Taiwan.  I guess that would open the door for the second largest and fastest growing cell phone maker.  Oh shit, that’s Huawei.  You know, the company that sells boatloads of routers and phones to every country the world except the US because we deem them a security hazard?  I wonder why it’s just us?  Oh, that’s right.  Cisco.  Good ol’ American Cisco.  Gotta protect our domestic companies. Although tbf, some might call that unfair trade.

I guess we could always buy Samsung.  They make tons of chips and phones.  Too bad they also manufacture some in China.  But screw it.  We will get Samsung by tariffing their washers.  They will have to make them someplace else.  If only there were a country in close proximity to both China and S. Korea that was super poor and easily exploitable to make cheap stuff if their market were opened up.  Probably there isn’t such a country, but if there were I would definitely not want to ease up trading sanctions with them.

It’s almost a bunch of people thought of all this stuff already and that’s why things are the way they are. Obviously, those people weren’t as smart as Trump, though.

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1159 on: July 16, 2018, 11:01:33 AM »

Can a liberal or progressive beat Trump in 2020, or only another republican (primary)?

There is a chance the dems run a moderate candidate, but the chances look bleak at the moment. 


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Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1160 on: July 16, 2018, 02:38:37 PM »

Faux news and the Washington Examiner both have critical articles about the Trump summit performance.   Not even going to add any conjecture to that because teflon Don has escaped so many of these situations.   
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1161 on: July 16, 2018, 04:29:09 PM »

He screwed the pooch pretty badly.

I don't think his base cares very much about the substance of if he is friendly with Putin or complains about the "witch hunt" (which they all believe Putin didn't do anything).  But his statements and demeanor made him come across as the weaker man and quite dominated by Putin.  That's a big no-no for his alpha-male base.

But I think Trump can recover his manhood easily enough by picking a fight with someone and winning it.  He's been playing the media card heavily recently so that's not it.  Maybe Mexico.  Talk some smack about their new anti-Trump leader and how they're going to pay for the wall.  Should fix it up.

euro60

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1162 on: July 16, 2018, 11:01:20 PM »

Sad state of affairs all around. A couple of Republicans have come out against what happened today in Helsinki, but not nearly enough of them. Why? Are they intimidated by Trump? Where have you been, Mr. Portman.....
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1163 on: July 17, 2018, 12:12:37 AM »

Screwed up again on Hannity.

There is no collusion because you didn’t collude.  End of story.  Who would know better than you?  Who has the biggest hands in the room and would never need anyone’s help?  You, dude.

The collusion didn’t occur because you say so.  Not because Putin does.  And calling him “very strong” again. 

Tucker Carlson knows what it’s all about.  Always steer it back to Mexico. 

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1164 on: July 18, 2018, 08:56:12 AM »

Did you read Will's column in WaPo?

This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man
By George F. Will

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-sad-embarrassing-wreck-of-a-man/2018/07/17/d06de8ea-89e8-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html?utm_term=.c7be77aa103e

America’s child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care. It was a useful, because illuminating, event: Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, a Democrat closely associated with such Democratic national security stalwarts as former senator Henry Jackson and former senator and former vice president Hubert Humphrey, was President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations. In her speech at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, she explained her disaffection from her party: “They always blame America first.” In Helsinki, the president who bandies the phrase “America First” put himself first, as always, and America last, behind President Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Because the Democrats had just held their convention in San Francisco, Kirkpatrick branded the “blame America first” cohort as “San Francisco Democrats.” Thirty-four years on, how numerous are the “Helsinki Republicans”?

What, precisely, did President Trump say about the diametrically opposed statements by U.S. intelligence agencies (and the Senate Intelligence Committee) and by Putin concerning Russia and the 2016 U.S. elections? Precision is not part of Trump’s repertoire: He speaks English as though it is a second language that he learned from someone who learned English last week. So, it is usually difficult to sift meanings from Trump’s word salads. But in Helsinki he was, for him, crystal clear about feeling no allegiance to the intelligence institutions that work at his direction and under leaders he chose.

Speaking of Republicans incapable of blushing — those with the peculiar strength that comes from being incapable of embarrassment — consider Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who for years enjoyed derivative gravitas from his association with Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). Graham tweeted about Helsinki: “Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.” A “missed opportunity” by a man who had not acknowledged the meddling?

Contrast Graham’s mush with this on Monday from McCain, still vinegary: “Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Or this from Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake (R): “I never thought I would see the day when our American president would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression.” Blame America only.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and others might believe that they must stay in their positions lest there be no adult supervision of the Oval playpen. This is a serious worry, but so is this: Can those people do their jobs for someone who has neither respect nor loyalty for them?

Like the purloined letter in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story with that title, collusion with Russia is hiding in plain sight. We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave — ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States’ intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukraine, downing civilian airliners, attempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).

Americans elected a president who — this is a safe surmise — knew that he had more to fear from making his tax returns public than from keeping them secret. The most innocent inference is that for decades he has depended on an American weakness, susceptibility to the tacky charisma of wealth, which would evaporate when his tax returns revealed that he has always lied about his wealth, too. A more ominous explanation might be that his redundantly demonstrated incompetence as a businessman tumbled him into unsavory financial dependencies on Russians. A still more sinister explanation might be that the Russians have something else, something worse, to keep him compliant.

The explanation is in doubt; what needs to be explained — his compliance — is not. Granted, Trump has a weak man’s banal fascination with strong men whose disdain for him is evidently unimaginable to him. And, yes, he only perfunctorily pretends to have priorities beyond personal aggrandizement. But just as astronomers inferred, from anomalies in the orbits of the planet Uranus, the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer, and then find, still-hidden sources of the behavior of this sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1165 on: July 18, 2018, 11:40:59 AM »

All the old-school intellectual conservatives hate Trump.  I'll give Will some credit in that he renounced his membership in the GOP so he appears to have at least some degree of understanding that it's not just mere crisis of leadership with Trump "hijacking" the party but a problem with conservativism in the US in general.

Still, Will is an old school paleo conservative.  It must be a kick in the teeth to discover that the ivy league, corporate, Alex Keaton, whitebread America he reveres so much and has defended from the unwashed heathens does not exist and probably never did.  And that not only is America filled with anti-intellectuals, but they exist in his own party and he has been inadvertently arguing their cause the entire time. 

Not to say that Will is an intentional bigot.  Just that he's never been much of an open-minded, melting pot, embrace all philosophies kinda guy.  He's always been "America First," it just turns out that his America doesn't exist and probably never did.  The Trump version of America is abhorrent to him.  And tbf, while it's easy to laugh at the thought of Will realizing in horror that that these guys don't even watch baseball, he's also fundamentally not wrong.  He opposes Trump for the right reasons as well as a few wrong ones.  We should be alarmed at what is happening.

Did we really need Will to weigh in on this shit with $100 words when $.01 words would have done?  Is he even relevant anymore?  Maybe he hasn't been relevant for 20 years.  With Krauthammer's death it's really just him and Kristol now.  They're not exactly on the same page policy-wise, but they are the last of the intellectual elite conservatives.

Carlson sold out long ago.  Shapiro carries the flag in some philosophical respects and I suspect that deep down he has more in common with the old-school conservatives than the Trump crowd.  But he's quite happy to brawl in the trenches for the $$.  The only thing that distinguishes Shapiro from every other far-right ahole is Shapiro just happens not to like Trump.  And it's really more due to personal grievances. Shapiro was quite happy writing to the Breitbart crowd.

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1166 on: July 19, 2018, 02:02:39 PM »

The most disturbing thing to come out of this, so far, is the fact the Trump team is considering making (forcing?) available a couple of people for the Kremlin to interrogate. 
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1167 on: July 19, 2018, 04:18:34 PM »

If that actually happens, I will finally believe that Trump is actively colluding with Russia.

FWIW:  My current operating theory is Trump did not personally collude with Russia but is some combination of dumbass/does not care/willfully ignorant and allowed many of his cronies to collude or attempt to collude.  Also, the reason the Mueller investigation is taking this long is because the crookedness runs deep.... not so much in Trump's administration but in Congress.  When it's all over, Nunes is going to be the one going to jail, not Trump. 

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1168 on: July 19, 2018, 04:42:58 PM »

I'm in complete agreement there.   Just listened to Major Garrett from CBS on Julie Mason's press pool show and his theory is he winged it, he said he was going to wing it, and he met someone just like him but evil, was a little off his game, and got his ass kicked.

Having good relations with Russia is a good thing IMO, but what Trump did was a horrible mistake.  Equating our justice system to theirs is even worse.

I have to add there is a little part of me that still thinks Putin has some dirt on Trump.   I try to throw out wild ideas, but ....
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1169 on: July 19, 2018, 10:32:42 PM »

I have zero doubt that Putin has dirt on Trump.  I mean, one guy is Putin who probably has dirt on everyone.  The other guy is Trump who is probably the easiest person ever to get dirt on because he’s pretty much a loathesome person personally and in business and he doesn’t exactly keep a low profile.

I just don’t think Putin would use his dirt.  It seems like a low percentage move.  You have a guy who hates being told what to do, cannot follow orders, is not a great politician, is a poor speaker off a script, loves direct confrontation, loves brinksmanship, basically sees every deal as a test of wills and prides himself on coming out on top, is completely unreliable and untrustworthy, and is nearly untouchable by scandal because he was elected for the express reason that he’s a dick.

OTOH, it is said he does not really care much about policy and politics, hates to read or study, makes snap decisions, and tends to just side with the last person who spoke to him.

All that is probably a little over the top but just making a point.  Trump is extremely dangerous to confront directly.  He knows how to get the best of a deal, there is no question about that.  But he’s also a bit impatient and headstrong.  I think we would agree that Putin basically played him like a fiddle.

So the key for Putin in getting to Trump, IMO, is access.  Get a couple of close advisors to plant ideas in his head that he thinks are his own.  And then you can play your mind games which we all now Putin is awesome at, having KGB training plus just surviving in Russian politics.

And the best way to do this is to get access is through Trump jr, Eric, Stone, Hannity, some of the Bannon/alt-right crowd, a few select congressmen and advisors.  It seems kind of apparent now that Russia has had assets in Republican and Conservative circles for some time.  So the access was there and Trump fell like a gift from the heavens.

I mean, if you look at it practically, Russia is just doing the same thing everyone else is.  The establishment GOP does not want to go against Trump, so they just try and manipulate him into doing what they want.  Which actually they have been decently successful at.  All of Trump’s advisors who keep leaking and infighting and getting fired.. same thing.  They’re all trying to get access to Trump to plant their own agendas because it’s the easiest way.  You’re not going to convince him with white papers and six hour policy meetings.

But it doesn’t really matter.  Whether Trump is being bribed, blackmailed, manipulated, selling out the US for personal gain, or is just looney he is dangerous and doing Putin’s bidding.  I mean, there is no other way to look at it, is there?

What’s still the main concern is how little huge portions of the population care.  I said that this probably dinged Trump a little and I stand by that.  But it should have absolutely *buried* him. 

You can disagree, but I really believe it has a lot to do with Putin being a white Christian male strongly enforcing white Christian male values to the extent of killing non-white, non-Christians.  The Trump supporters really do see Russia as an ally?  Why?  Because cultural concerns have become more important than political or financial or system of government  issues.  Putin really is their ally.  He’s the strongman they s creaky or not so secretly want Trump to be.

Anyway, this whole sequence of kowtowing to Putin, issuing a weak excuse, walking back the excuse, now inviting Putin over for talks, letting him interrogate Us citizens, etc.   This is one thing where we agree this is not just politics as usual but something new and legit exceedingly worrisome, no?  Like Democrats SHOULD be screaming about this, and the failure is that most Republicans are not.
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