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Author Topic: Random Political Musings  (Read 36189 times)

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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1140 on: July 12, 2018, 01:05:29 AM »

Trump is asking for an amount that even we donít spend. 

We pulled out of the international climate treaty even though it obligated us to do nothing.  Are we going to tie ourselves down to a multilateral treaty with real requirements?  What do you think is going to happen in Congress when the Democrats realize they have Trump over a barrel and ask for increases in social spending so Trump can meet his obligation?

Trump wants to raise military spending anyway.  If Germany doesnít do their 4%, what is Trump going to do, cut our military spending as a warning tit-for-tat?  If Germany isnít meeting their 2% requirement now, what does raising it to four percent accomplish?

What he needs to do is enforce the two percent.  Not ask for four. It undercuts his basic message that NATO countries arenít pulling their weight.  If you hire someone to mow your lawn and they donít do it, do you ask them to paint your house?  No.  You ask them to mow the lawn or give you the money back.

China is scared because they are smart.  Youíd be an idiot not to be concerned with a nuclear rival acting crazy.  And unlike us, they correctly see a trade war as hurting both sides.  Also they share a border with NK and donít want to see them get nukes or for the US to push Kim too far and something crazy happens.  NKís nukes probably canít hit the Us yet, but they can definitely hit China.  Not to mention China having to deal with refugees.

We are already lifted the sanctions on ZTE for basically nothing.  That actually would have bloodied Chinaís nose a bit and showed them we were serious.  It was directly on point with our stance that China needs to quit stealing IP.  Punish them for that.  Punish them for restrictive trade policies in targeted sectors where it matters.  Donít complain about a trade deficit they can do little to stop.

Europe and China will always try to get away with what they can, just like we do.  At the same time though, they only want to bend the rules so far because they understand the importance of peace and stability.  They are kind of helpless right now because Trump is acting all crazy and raising the stakes everywhere.  If we win, they lose.  If we lose, they still lose.

Trump won on an isolationist/populist platform, but his Security Advisor is John Bolton, the most neocon of neocons.  How is anyone supposed to make sense of that?  Plus he continually undercuts or fires his staff and changes his mind every other day.  How can you strike a deal with the US if the stances and demands are constantly changing?

Hardball is fine.  Crazy is not fine.  Other countries being scared of us is not a win.  Everyone is scared of the rabid dog, except the rabid dog. Even though the rabid dog is the only one guaranteed to die in that scenario.  All they want is to stay away from us until hopefully we die as quietly as possible without biting anyone. 

No one has ever tried what Trump is doing because itís stupid.  They are smart enough to see that itís kind of cool being the richest, most powerful country in the world and rather than complain about others not pulling their weight, we should be kinda happy that everyone lets us be number one.  Why would we go all-in in a game we are already winning?

Basic rule of negotiatingó donít ever put the opposing side in a no win position because then you basically tie your own hands.  If they are damned if they do, damned if they donít then they no longer have either the incentive or ability to give you what you want.


Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1141 on: July 12, 2018, 08:01:44 AM »

Last sentence above,  you just described what NATO has done.  Put Russia in a no win situation.  Rubbed salt in the wounds.  I'm not sure NATO makes any sense. 

I understand the brand 'crazy'.  It tends to work because those around you are forced to confront things that used to be behind closed doors.   It's not the best way to do things, but it's not as over the top bad as you make it out to be.   

He killed ZTE, then 'negotiated' a solution as a favor to China.  Classic passive aggressive behavior.  He might not be doing it on purpose but the one thing totalitarian regimes have trouble dealing with is insane behavior.  I don't think I need to remind you how the USSR took Reagan seriously when he joked

My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

Rocket man can't quite figure us out either.

You can see him laughing every time he says stable genius.  It's a brand name now, he knows it will get him coverage, YouTube shorts, and the publicity he craves.  There is no such thing as bad publicity.

None of this makes him smart or awesome or anything, but I don't think he's crazy any more than a con man would be considered crazy. 
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 08:04:01 AM by Markalot »
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1142 on: July 12, 2018, 10:22:07 AM »

I think most con people are sort of crazy actually.  It takes a lot of skill and effort involved in pulling off a long con.  They could just have made more money legit.  It's not about the money for them, it's about the power/ego/testosterone boost they get from manipulating people.

But that's neither here nor there.  I don't see the point in psychoanalyzing Trump or trying to figure out why he does what he does.  I've always said the problem isn't Trump, it's the people who vote for Trump and what it indicates about the state of our nation.

If you want to call that NATO conference a win, you can have it.  Trump came in, stunk up the place, got all the attention, and then left without really accomplishing anything or changing the status quo.  I think that's what everyone is hoping for.  That you can just let him run his mouth and then wait until he leaves or gets bored and then get down to real business.

Your ZTE interpretation makes no sense.  Trump is the President.  He can theoretically sanction or in some cases "sanction" any Chinese company any time he wants to.  Failing to sanction them doesn't give us any leverage.  It was a big bargaining chip we had.  All we did was hand it back to the Chinese.  Sure, we can threaten to take back the chip that was already ours and can be ours again anytime we want.  Big whoop.  What's Trump going to say?  "I want X or I will sanction ZTE?"  He was already in a prime position to do that in the first place.

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1143 on: July 12, 2018, 10:40:34 AM »

I didn't say it made sense, I said it was his standard negotiating ploy and now the Chinese (government) is off balance, not knowing what to expect.   Again, I want to be careful not to attribute any genius to Trump, but predictable patterns have always fared worse when dealing with totalitarian regimes.  Crazy works much better.  A lot of the Trump voters wanted crazy for a while.   

In a larger sense it fascinating to me how societies lurch toward improvements.  Is this an accidental lurch forward (certainly not on human rights), backwards, or just a pause?   I'm not worried about the Trump supporters.  They have been here all along and their numbers are not growing.  What I worry about is the people, some right here in this forum, who have answered my voting questions before as MY VOTE DOESN'T COUNT.  That is blatant ignorance, which less politely might be called stupid.  Fix that and the Trump supporters are just a blip on a losing ballot. 

CNN headline right now is NATO allies did not commit to Trump's call for 4% spending, sources say

Predictable because he said it, so they an report a failure.  Trump will lie and claim 4% or some other nonsense.   Guy is behaving like a con man, CNN sees money in reporting it, rinse and repeat.

Sociopath might describes Trump, and that is considered crazy, sort of.  It's believed many CEO's are psychopaths even though that usually means violent behavior.  It's a sliding scale so I suspect Trump is somewhere on that scale.  Most CEO's with this trait do quite well because that brand of crazy somehow works.   Why?  Pffft.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1144 on: July 12, 2018, 11:54:39 AM »

Right.  So the outcome here is either countries realize Trump is a blowhard dick and mostly ignore him while shoring up their guards just in case, or Trump really is crazy and we're all screwed.  I fail to see how that is anything other than bad negotiating.

TBF, the former case probably suits quite a few of the "blow it up" libertarians, as the recognition and consequences of incompetent/corrupt authority has always been a necessary step on the way to self-reliance, freedom and independence.

But it's pretty bad for the "America First"/Let's show them who's boss crowd. 

Do you want in on NATO or not?  Do you want America to be #1 with the responsibility that comes with it or not?  Because right now all we're doing is complaining about our position without any real steps to change it.

I find it fascinating the ways in which conservatives try to disassociate themselves from Trump while still trying to backdoor justify how somehow it all works because it makes liberals seem wrong-er.  The dude is a chump.  At least the extreme libertarians, some of the church leaders and the racists out there are totally cognizant of that.  Even Ann Coulter is pretty much openly saying "Yeah, Trump's an idiot and a con.  I don't care as long as he screws over immigrants."  They just see how it can suit their purposes and they want to control him.

It's only the conservatives that are actually trying to make it like Trump is really sort of competent in a backward sort of "No, somehow it works" way.  It's not 4-d chess, it's 3 1/2-D chess.  He's still right, he just should be right-er!  Ben Shapiro is probably the prime example of this.

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1145 on: July 12, 2018, 01:33:42 PM »

I don't think Trump is dangerous, this much is very true.  I don't think yelling at Germany or the UK is a bad thing, this much is also true.   I think every politician lies, Trump is just more overt about it.  I am being told I can't take a passive position and see what happens because I am then complicit in the awfulness.  Sorry, I don't buy it.  I voted, I lost, I will vote again this fall.  Voting is what matters, and healthy democracies thrive when we try everything, even the really bad shit. 

I continue to fail to see how we are screwed if Trump is really crazy.





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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1146 on: July 12, 2018, 02:07:17 PM »

Yep.  That's the only difference.  Trump is just more overt about his lying.  Nothing else really going on here.  And really, isn't there a certain honesty in being overt?  I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1147 on: July 12, 2018, 05:17:51 PM »

Yep.  That's the only difference.  Trump is just more overt about his lying.  Nothing else really going on here.  And really, isn't there a certain honesty in being overt?  I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Haha, no, more is going on, but not much more.  Obama bombed the hell out of everything with drones, but it's cool.  Obama deported more than Bush did, but it's cool.  Obama is/was a good politician.  He exposes the stuff that benefits him and doesn't discuss what doesn't.

A bit ranty here ....

Trumpy comes in and slows down deportations for a while but decides dreamers is a topic that should be decided.  Not good politics, or one would not think so, but somehow it bounces off of Teflon Don.

Obama decides to pretty much ignore North Korea, China pretty much ignores him.   North Korea blows up stuff.   It's all cool cause the pres is cool.  Obama decides to go into Libya for some unknown reason, blows shit up, kills a lot of people including an ambassador.  Republicans who love blowing shit up are appalled, peace loving dems are cool with it. 

I just find it amusing how much BS the public will tolerate when they think the president is one of their own.  We're seeing it again with Trump and the Trumpies, who are going to be killed by trade wars and inflation.  Doesn't matter, he's one of us. 

So Trump tweets like crazy, he's only the second president to tweet in office so he may be more normal than Obama.  He bullshits with his followers, lies in other words.  Makes himself look good.  Amazingly he also keeps campaign promises, even the outrageous ones.  Many have always complained about broken campaign promises ... so does that mean their guy lied?

I became an Obama fan boy because he was cool on immigration and blew shit up.  I'm still upset that Trump didn't completely obliterate Syria, he wimped out and just bombed a few planes.  For crying out loud when will someone have the balls to start assassinating these despots. 
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1148 on: July 12, 2018, 11:09:11 PM »

That is a shit ton of whataboutism and stupidity.

euro60

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1149 on: July 12, 2018, 11:35:02 PM »

That is a shit ton of whataboutism and stupidity.
agreed

As a Republican-leaning voter, I have never felt stronger that this POTUS needs to go, and I hope the Dems take control of both the House and Senate in the midterms.

The only sane voice I'm hearing in the current debate comes from OH gov. Kasich, and he'll get my vote for whatever office he runs after his term expires in Nov
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notoriouspbake

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1150 on: July 13, 2018, 02:12:20 AM »

trump is a piece of shit and his appointments for EPA and Education further validate this point. he has no long game. he's no master negotiator. he was just played by KJU and lied about it (release of american remains from korea?). if i was this incompetent and lied about it, i'd be fired. i was amazed at how much trump gets away with, but he keeps doing it , and getting away with it. congrats GOP, i used to to be a fairly nuanced voter, trying to find which candidates best reflected my ideals. but now, i'm voting democrats - they may suck, but they are way better than republicans/conservatives.

full disclosure: the three "E's" are my main voting points: education, energy, environment. (and i'm a teacher).

DeVoss getting the sect of ed is the most amazing blatant disregard for voters. she never even attended a public school and was hell bent on destroying public ed in michigan before she bought her position in washington. and she blew up DPS with her charter schools. she can rot in hell.
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Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1151 on: July 13, 2018, 07:38:35 AM »

That is a shit ton of whataboutism and stupidity.

I'm glad you liked it, I figured I'd change everyone's mind with that one.   This happened during the Bush era as well, and ended up getting him elected for 8 years. Trump is so much worse perhaps Bush looks good now, eh?   A con man is a con man, talking about it is exactly what he wants.  Something bad happens, he throws up a new items he knows the news will cover more than the important stuff, he wins. 

I'm not sure exactly what people read into others posts at times, but whatever.  I really hope everyone votes a straight democrat protest vote this time, I know I will (as I've said in the past) but I have strong doubts about any big change.  My only hope is that I'm usually wrong.  We all know full well the current two party system is not working, but frankly we are part of the problem as well.  It's too damn easy to hate and rant, and wish people would rot in hell. 

« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 07:50:48 AM by Markalot »
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Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1152 on: July 13, 2018, 08:45:53 AM »

You write for the WashPost now Zafar?  :)  Democracies work as long as people we agree with get elected. /sarcasm  I think I'm most angry about distrust of the system more than anything else.  When bad people get elected it means someone was ignoring a problem for too long.  Pretty simple, really.  The best teacher is by example ... I thought I said it above, but I really do think Trump will lead us to a string of better politicians, not worse.  We should be around long enough to see, I hope.

Anyway, here's the article.

Things will not be okay

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/everything-will-not-be-okay/2018/07/12/c5900550-85e9-11e8-9e80-403a221946a7_story.html?utm_term=.249518a39528

By Robert Kagan
July 12 at 4:08 PM
Human beings often choose self-delusion over painful reality, and so in the days and weeks to come, we will hear reassurances that the NATO alliance is in good shape. After all, there have been spats in the past — over the Suez crisis in 1956, Vietnam in the 1960s and ’70s, missile deployment in the Reagan years and, of course, Iraq. American presidents have been complaining about shortfalls in European defense spending for decades. President Trump is not wrong to criticize Germany’s pipeline deal with Russia. As for this week’s fractious summit, we are urged to focus on the substance, not the rhetoric. U.S. forces in Europe have been beefed up in recent years, and new plans are in place to resist Russian aggression. On the ground, the alliance still functions.

All true, but unfortunately beside the point. Small troop deployments and incremental defense increases don’t mean much when the foundations of the alliance are crumbling — as they are and have been for some time. And pointing to previous differences ignores how much political and international circumstances have changed over the past decade. Europe faces new problems, as well as the return of some of the old problems that led to catastrophe in the past; and Americans have a very different attitude toward the world than they did during the Cold War. This is not just another family quarrel.

The transatlantic community was in trouble even before Trump took office. The peaceful, democratic Europe we had come to take for granted in recent decades has been rocked to the core by populist nationalist movements responding to the massive flow of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. For the first time since World War II , a right-wing party holds a substantial share of seats in the German Bundestag. Authoritarianism has replaced democracy, or threatens to, in such major European states as Hungary and Poland, and democratic practices and liberal values are under attack in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. France remains one election away from a right-wing nationalist leadership, and Italy has already taken a big step in that direction. Meanwhile, Britain, which played such a key role in Europe during and after the Cold War, has taken itself out of the picture and has become, globally, a pale shadow of its former self. The possibility that Europe could return to its dark past is greater today than at any time during the Cold War.

Some of that has to do with the changing attitude of the United States in recent years. It’s little secret that President Barack Obama had no great interest in Europe. Obama, like Trump, spoke of allied “free riders,” and his “pivot” to Asia was widely regarded by Europeans as a pivot away from them. Obama rattled Eastern Europe in his early years by canceling planned missile-defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic as an inducement to Vladimir Putin to embrace a “reset” of relations. In his later years he rattled Western Europe when he did not enforce his famous “red lines” in Syria. Both actions raised doubts about American reliability, and the Obama administration’s refusal to take action in Syria to stem the flow of refugees contributed heavily to the present strain.

Obama was only doing what he thought the American people wanted. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the 2008 financial crisis, left Americans disenchanted with global involvement and receptive to arguments that the alliances and institutions they supported for all those years no longer served their interests. The Obama administration tried to pare back the American role without abandoning the liberal world order, hoping it was more self-sustaining than it turned out to be. But the path was open to a politician willing to exploit Americans’ disenchantment, which is precisely what Trump did in 2016.

NATO has never been a self-operating machine that simply chugs ahead so long as it is left alone. Like the liberal world order of which it is the core, it requires constant tending, above all by the United States. And because it is a voluntary alliance of democratic peoples, it survives on a foundation of public support. That foundation has been cracking in recent years. This week was an opportunity to shore it up. Instead, Trump took a sledgehammer to it.

Never mind the final communique that Trump deigned to sign, or his reassurance at the end that the alliance was “very unified, very strong, no problem,” and or his claim that “I believe in NATO.” In his press comments alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in his tweets and in his private comments to European leaders, Trump made clear that he does not believe in NATO. In fact, he used this summit to lay out for the American people why NATO was not only “obsolete,” as he once said, but also a rotten deal for them.

Consider the question of allied military spending. As many pointed out, Trump could have come to Brussels and taken credit for the increased commitments that the Allies have made — and of course he did force Stoltenberg to give him credit. But then he moved the goal posts. He insisted the 2 percent of gross domestic product mark must be reached not by 2024, as agreed by the alliance (including the United States), but by January — something he knows is impossible. Then he went further, insisting that the allies spend 4 percent of their GDP on defense, higher even than his own defense budget.

These are not negotiating tactics. They are the tactics of someone who does not want a deal. In the private meeting, Trump is reported to have warned the allies that if they did not meet the 2 percent standard by January the United States would “go it alone.” To Stoltenberg he publicly warned that the United States was “not going to put up with it.” Whether he has any intention of making good on such threats scarcely matters. In his tweets, he asked, “What good is NATO” if Germany was paying Russia for gas? Why should the United States pay billions to “subsidize Europe” while it was losing “Big on Trade”? Those comments were not aimed at Europe. They were designed to discredit the alliance in the eyes of his faithful throng back home.

But even Trump must know the likely response in Europe. The insults and humiliations he inflicted on allied leaders will not be forgotten or forgiven. They will make it impossible for European leaders to win public support for the spending Trump disingenuously claims to want. What German leader after such a tongue-lashing could do Trump’s bidding and hope to survive politically?

Any student of history knows that it is moments like this summit that set in motion chains of events that are difficult to stop. The democratic alliance that has been the bedrock of the American-led liberal world order is unraveling. At some point, and probably sooner than we expect, the global peace that that alliance and that order undergirded will unravel, too. Despite our human desire to hope for the best, things will not be okay. The world crisis is upon us.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1153 on: July 13, 2018, 11:23:37 AM »

Well, these debates always come down to the same thing.

I don't believe that Trumpism is a political movement.  It's a cultural movement.

Yes, we have ignored the "problems" of a section of Americans-- mainly social conservatives.  The Republicans decided to address the needs of social conservatives, and it won them the election.  And you see the result.  So in my book, the Democrats have done nothing wrong. 

It's not that the Democrats can't be criticized.  They have plenty of bozos in the party and say lots of stupid stuff.  But that's politics.  The Republicans have even bigger bozos and say even stupider stuff and no one cares. 

I don't believe that Trump is a con man.  Or rather, I believe he's a con man but I don't think people are actually being conned.  The farmers and manufacturers know full well these tariffs are going to screw them but they support Trump anyway.  Because it's not about politics or economics. 

If the election was just about Clinton being a crook, or the left being too far left and overly PC, etc. there were solutions in the Republican primary.  I don't particularly care for Kasich or Bush, and I definitely don't like Rubio.  But they're more-or-less just conservatives.  Those guys got smoked. It came down to Cruz and Trump. And Trump doesn't win if he doesn't pick Pence.

There's a cultural war going on.  It's escalated to the point where the usual safeguards of government checks and balances are no longer working.  I think we have to acknowledge that this isn't just politics as usual.  Trump is a fundamentally awful President regardless of his views.  I don't think that's the worst thing about him, but IMO it's important to continue to point this out to show what's happening in this country.  He's dangerous in his authoritarianism.  And he's catering to racists.  Those things really are pretty horrible, but they're not really centered around Trump.  It's a feature, not a bug.

I don't want Trump supporters to rot in hell.  But I have zero interest in solving their problems, or in compromise.  I don't think the problem can be solved if the Democrats just ran the right candidate, or were nicer in their message.  The old white Christian lifestyle is under assault, as it should be because it's stupid.  I'm not saying take away any of their fundamental rights.  I'm just saying, that culture is going to die unless we go to extraordinary and asshole-ish lengths to save it.  Which I have no interest in doing.

I don't think that Trump being an incompetent boob automatically paves the way for a better America.  That portion of America will just vote for a "better" Trump, or they will start to go outside of the political process. 

People need to look outside of politics at the cultural state of America, or really the different cultural states of the two Americas existing in the same physical space.  Just voting for Democrats isn't going to fix things, whether you are liberal or conservative.  I actually don't know if things CAN be fixed.  I just know that blowing up the current political hegemony isn't going to accomplish anything.  The current social/cultural construct of America needs to be blown up.

Markalot

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Re: Random Political Musings
« Reply #1154 on: July 13, 2018, 12:00:30 PM »

In that article, as an example, he talks about Trump moving the bar as if he wants to destroy NATO.  That's pretty deep thought for a shallow idiot.  If you review how Trump, who IMO is a con man, has done business he's ALWAYS been about setting a target and moving it when people reach the target.  He has a history of not paying contractors because he makes new claims that clearly were not in the contract and forces them to sue to collect.  It's what he does.

That's a good simple example of why I think a lot of this shit is overblown.  He will continue to do this because that's what he does.  Ask Trump what NATO is and he'll probably need someone to tell him. 

Culture wars never end but good politics can tap them down.  We've been in bad situations before and recovered just fine.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 12:03:08 PM by Markalot »
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