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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:43 pm 
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Kea wrote:
Hold on there.
1. Has it been confirmed that the FBI got a warrant to wiretap Trump? All I've heard is that if they spied on him, they would've had to get a warrant. Not that they actually did it.
2. If the FBI had been wiretapping Trump during the campaign, Comey had to have known about it, so why did he do cartwheels to prove he was Tough On Clinton knowing that it would help a suspected Russia collaborator? Comey may be a lot of things, but if he's a stooge of Putin, America has way bigger problems than Trump.
2. How do you know Trump isn't manufacturing a fake scandal out of some Breitbart fever dream as a distraction? If he demands an investigation into Obama, he'll give his accomplices in Congress an excuse to drag the Democrats through a years-long pointless Benghazi-style inquiry


Confirmed, no (Comey is simply denying that Obama ordered a tap). More of leaked. The first request was apparently made last summer and was turned down: "The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus." It was supposedly granted in October: "Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia." It may well be that the hack at Breitbart who wrote the Obama story which Trump read had heard about one or both of these stories and switched the facts around to make it about Obama (always safe in that office).

As for manufacturing a scandal? He probably believes the Breitbart report that Obama ordered a tap. It may come as a rude shock that there was a tap and it was actually ordered by a counter-espionage court based on probable cause. It certainly came as a rude shock to his fellow travelers on the Hill; they can hardly try to bury it in committee now, and whether Trump's delusional or suspected of espionage (or both) it won't look good.

As for Comey, it would suffice for him to be a stooge of the Republicans. Either way we're doomed.

edit: I missed one. From the BBC: "Their first application, in June, was rejected outright by the judge. They returned with a more narrowly drawn order in July and were rejected again. Finally, before a new judge, the order was granted, on 15 October, three weeks before election day." It seems hooking the campaign's computer up to Alfa bank (and possible another) came back to haunt them.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:27 pm 
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Ah, Friday. The day which Republicans committing criminal abuses of power like to announce it. Needless to say...

Preet Bharara is the Federal Prosecutor/United States Attorney for Southern New York. Among his many current investigations are things done by Trump which are impeachable offenses according to the Constitution (and others which are offenses against State and/or Federal law). Or rather, he was; he was fired by Trump's consigliere Sessions on Friday (technically, his resignation was demanded). Of course, simply firing a man looking into Trumps misdeeds would have been the kind of abuse even the folks in Trumps base would have had a bit of trouble lying their way around if it ever came up; so Sessions simply fired all of the Federal Prosecutors appointed by Obama (47 of a theoretical 93; the others had already resigned).

'Whence the criminal abuse?' I hear you asking. Well, those old enough to remember Dubya may have noticed when every Federal Prosecutor who would not cover up Republican election fraud was fired (over a dozen of his own appointees). Apparently it didn't occur to anyone when power was first stolen for Bush that any Republican in such a spot would be so silly as to value the rule of law and/or so selfish as to refuse to risk taking one for the party. The Thomas Becket problem, one supposes. Needless to say, none of Dubya's prosecutors every involved themselves in investigating Republican election fraud again; one of the replacements going so far as to deny for the record that when Ohio sent Republicans to prison for election fraud under state law that it constituted grounds to open an investigation on the Federal level. And one of the Senators at the time who played along and benefited was, of course, Trump's consigliere.

So what are the odds that Trump and his consigliere, both of whom clearly have legal problems to bury, would suddenly rethink this modern Republican tradition and appoint someone who hasn't agreed up front to play ball to these posts? And yes, it is a distinctly Republican tradition; among the folks sent to prison by Bharara are career Democrats whom the rest of their party were content to see go (and New York's governor Cuomo is now breathing a sigh of relief).

edit: Sessions has refused the resignation of two of them. One of them was nominated by Trump for a Justice Department post (which would look bad, one supposes), the other is currently Session's acting assistant AG (for whatever reason).

re-edit: I see in the NY Times that Bharara does not intend to submit his resignation. If Trump wants him gone then he's apparently going to have to own it; only the President can fire a US Attorney. This might get interesting.

Yet another edit: Trump has fired Bharara. According to the latter some flunky at DOJ called to let him know.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:12 am 
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A brief follow-up on the last. I hear tell that Trump wants to name his buddy Roger Ailes' personal attorney to Bharara's old job. For some context, this is the Roger Ailes who's sexual harassment of female staff over at Fox led to payouts of hush money so big that an investigation is underway whether keeping the payments from the stockholders constituted legal naughtiness. That investigation is, or rather was, being overseen by one Preet Bharara. Recusal is presumably not on the table.

Oh, and in passing; when Trump and Bharara met back in November, Trump asked Bharara to stay on. That was, apparently, then.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:02 pm 
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I suppose we'll soon see how many Republicans are going to refuse to vote for their own crappy health care plan. There's a small part of me that's worried that they'll all talk a good game about how crappy the plan is, but then turn around and vote for it anyway, because when have Republicans ever been known to not vote for gratuitous tax cuts for the rich?

I mean, they're so gerrymandered to hell that even if their constituents are angry, a lot of them will get reelected anyway because voting for a Democrat is so unthinkable to these districts. Kansas keeps reelecting Sam Brownback even though everybody hates his budget cuts because they'd rather have bad schools than (as far as they're concerned) a pinko commie social justice warrior libtard.

I'll bet that if this bill does go down in flames, it'll be because of the Tea Party wing that thinks it isn't conservative enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:53 pm 
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Gerrymandering and all, there are a fair number of Republican Congresscritters who would still have to fear an election that's both a referendum on Trump and this bill, too. But it's the Senate that's the sticking point; too many of them become vulnerable if they alienate every lightly attached Republican who will be victimized by this bill while enraging and energizing the Democratic base.

So yes, it's kind of amusing that the debate is in terms of whether the bill is going to impoverish and kill too many Republican base voters or not enough of them; but there isn't enough of a majority in the Senate to overcome those arguing the former (and might not be in the House, either).

Oh, and Catheter Cowboy rides again to school Trump on the risks of becoming unpopular by backing this mess. Check out the last episode of Last Week Tonight, and the previous one on Trump and Truth, if you don't know what I'm talking about.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:37 pm 
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Yes, I saw that episode. I wonder if Trump is enraged by those ads, or thinks the TV is possessed and talking directly to him. Prank cowboys aside, it's interesting that there's Trump campaign donors/surrogates telling him to ditch Ryan's bill and do universal health care, i.e. Medicaid for all.

It would be insane if Trump pulled that off, except the White House is completely incompetent and the Republicans would crap themselves.

Oh yeah, Inhofe's flunkies are now in charge of gutting the EPA. We're all doomed anyhow.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:08 pm 
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Weremensh wrote:
Catheter Cowboy


Is that literally the name, or your dysphemism?

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:36 pm 
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That's the character's actual name, yes.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:17 pm 
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Original Catheter Cowboy commercial
John Oliver's parody/trolling/Trump-targeted-PSA version

In other news, it appears that Trump has sidelined all the sane people in his cabinet - Mattis, McMaster, Tillerson. They're all spinning their wheels, unable to hire qualified people as undersecretaries. It's clear now that they were hired as window dressing. Trump only listens to Bannon and his son-in-law Jared Kusher and a few other cronies. Foreign diplomats have figured out that Tillerson is so irrelevant that they bypass him and the entire State Department and go straight to the White House to talk to Kusher. America's most powerful foreign policy adviser is essentially a man who only knows what countries are good to build hotels in.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:33 am 
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Um, guys. They have found an actual $^*!)%#ing Nazi collaborator in Trump's administration. One of Trump's counter-terrorism advisers is a documented anti-Semite who definitely has ties to and is probably a pledged lifetime member of Hungary's fascist party. One which historically collaborated with the actual Nazis.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:05 pm 
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Half of them are in bed with the Communists anyway, so a bona-fide Nazi would be a step up in the eyes of Trump's base. That said, I'm kind of amused that Trump seems to have leaked two pages of his own taxes to try to change the subject. Since it documented no crimes and wasn't particularly embarrassing, his press poodles didn't do their usual tricks for him; I suppose Trumpcare and his small piece of a Federal budget were deemed more likely to sell toothpaste.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:33 am 
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Trump and the murderous reactionaries (a band soon to go on tour) have agreed a deal to get the health bill through the House. Long story short, they're killing Medicaid. About a fifth of the American population is going to lose their subsidized/covered health care because of this unless the states implement massive tax increases, and that's before we even look at ACA policies from private insurers. Needless to say, the CBO report is specifically being avoided by trying to get this through before they can analyze it.

Oh, and wait until the Trump chumps realize that they're going to be getting their elderly and sick kin dumped back in their laps to care for...they can kiss whatever they thought of as their lives, figuratively and all too often literally, goodbye.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:15 pm 
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Comey told Congress that the FBI is running a counterintelligence investigation on Trump and his boys, which might or might not include a criminal investigation (and/or might or might not be expanded to include one). This is probably as close as we'll come for a while to confirmation that his campaign was wiretapped by court order.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:41 pm 
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Today the House is supposed to vote on Trumpcare. Not only has it not been scored, but apparently no one has even read the current version. This ought to be interesting, though it will probably happen after the markets close around here today.

In passing, the various vote counters are saying that the efforts to make the bill crueler in order to win the far right (who only need to think about primary elections) have backfired; they're not impressed, and the slightly nearer to the center crowd (who have to think about general elections) are moving into open opposition. Getting the number of Republican 'no' votes down below the magic number of 22 currently seems to be out of reach, but Trump and Ryan have a great deal to lose here so who knows what they might pull out?

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:23 pm 
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1. I'm not sure why they're going to so much effort to squeeze it through the House when it's even less popular in the Senate. Do they think that they can use the mere fact of passing the House to strongarm the Senate into letting it through?
2. Numerically, are there more far-right Congresscritters than moderates? Otherwise, why try to appease the unappeaseable? That's their thing.
3. The irony is that Paul Ryan won't give the far right what it wants - allowing insurers to offer cheap crappy insurance plans - for fear that the poor might use their cheap crappy subsidies to purchase them. Because then the government would have to give out money.

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