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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:57 pm 
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Kea wrote:
I'm disappointed that Beto O'Rourke, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams all lost, but at least Wisconsin got rid of Scott Walker and Kris Kobach (gag) is out.

Beto's loss was disappointing but expected. At least we are finally getting rid of Pete Sessions.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:25 am 
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Kea wrote:
I don't know about you, but I'm relieved. The blue wave turned out to be more of a damp squelch, but the Democrats eked out a 3-seat margin in the House. The Senate was a mess, but it was a rotten map to begin with, so no surprise there.

I'm disappointed that Beto O'Rourke, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams all lost, but at least Wisconsin got rid of Scott Walker and Kris Kobach (gag) is out.

I hope Congress's first order of business is to kick Devin Nunes out of the House Committee on Intelligence.


kitoba wrote:
I felt like America secured the bare minimum to keep democracy on life support.

Most of the very worst people running won, which means that this election isn't the firm rebuke of the racism and corruption of the Trump era that I was hoping for, but, in many places, an enthusiastic endorsement of it. I'm more worried than relieved.


So... what I'm hearing here is that the Democrats won the bare minimum required to make then think they'd won something, while the Republicans lost anyone who could have slowed them down?

...this could be a problem.

Kea wrote:
Trump's already moving to bury Mueller's investigation. Whitaker doesn't have to fire Mueller, he can slow walk the investigation until Trump leaves office or keep his report secret, even from Congress.

Mueller could hand off prosecutions to states, but only the ones involving state laws being broken.


Charging a sitting President in even a truly independent court is not easy. Zuma managed to avoid and postpone corruption charges for over eight years in office (and now that he's not in office he's still avoiding them) and I have no doubt that Trump's legal team has been fully briefed on the strategies that Zuma used. In short - object to everything, appeal everything, delay everywhere possible, and continually argue that everything was a conspiracy against you by your political opponents. And then arrange (with the help of a large golden handshake) for the head of the National Prosecuting Authority to retire, replace him with someone who will listen to you, and have him stop the prosecution against you entirely on grounds supported by evidence that no-one else is allowed to see without a multi-year court battle.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:05 am 
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Quote:
So... what I'm hearing here is that the Democrats won the bare minimum required to make then think they'd won something, while the Republicans lost anyone who could have slowed them down?


It's not quite that bleak. The Democrats now control one house of Congress, which means they can block the Republicans from passing terrible legislation. They also take over committees on intelligence and the judiciary which means they can carry out investigations into Trump's misdeeds. They can subpoena witnesses and documents and publicize their findings.

The downside is that with the retirement and defeat of Republicans who actually valued their conservative principles enough to call Trump out when he violated them, Trump has consolidated his hold on the party. Republicans will therefore spend all their energy screeching about Democratic witch hunts.

At least Zuma was only greedy. Trump might actually be the toady of a hostile foreign country. According to the Guardian, the Soviets, through their ally Czechoslovakia, were already spying on Trump in the 1980s through his then-wife's family. They knew back then that he was a) politically ambitious and b) a vain idiot, and that's exactly the type of person they were looking for.

Quote:
However, secret memos written by the KGB chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov, in the mid-1980s reveal that he berated his officers for their failure to cultivate top-level Americans. Kryuchkov circulated a confidential personality questionnaire to KGB heads of station abroad, setting out the qualities wanted from a potential asset.

According to instructions leaked to British intelligence by the KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky, they included corruption, vanity, narcissism, marital infidelity and poor analytical skills. The KGB should focus on personalities who were upwardly mobile in business and politics, especially Americans, the document said.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:00 pm 
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Kea wrote:
They also take over committees on intelligence and the judiciary which means they can carry out investigations into Trump's misdeeds. They can subpoena witnesses and documents and publicize their findings.


Okay, that's good. But, in my opinion, severely insufficient. I predict a certain noticeable sluggishness among all sorts of people necessary to do such an investigation, and that anything and everything that does get done will be automatically appealed all the way to the Supreme Court (and higher, if there's anything higher), with the end result that Trump will still be in power by the next American Presidential election, irrespective of the results of any investigations.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:13 am 
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If Italy with Berlusconi works as blueprint, things look indeed bleak for the US. And there are a lot of paralells. A sex crazed corrupt narcissist populist with business man credentials and not reservation to contanct with fascists takes over the rightwing and crowds out all the sane rightwingers.

The left is a neither fish or fowl alliance of centrists, leftwing populists and sane rightwingers, who changed sides. (I don't know if the last has happened already in the US but i guess it's bound to happen eventually)

You can just hope that the US equivalent of Grillo, a non fascist populist, who outcrazies the new right with anti-establishmentism to steal their thunder comes faster then in Italy.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:39 am 
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It took too long for me to realize this, but the Republicans just lost the ability to steal the election for Trump in 2020...the House is going to be Democratic. If any states are contested, they just vote party line for the Democratic electors, and that's that.

My but that's going to be interesting to watch...

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:20 am 
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arcosh wrote:
The left is a neither fish or fowl alliance of centrists, leftwing populists and sane rightwingers, who changed sides. (I don't know if the last has happened already in the US but i guess it's bound to happen eventually)


This has already happened here. The GOP didn't even seem to notice when they left.

We arguably got our Grillo first, in the form of Bernie Sanders. I'm not sure what kind of solution that is, however.

One crucial difference between the US and Italy, however, is that the US is still a dominant world power, so Trump hurts the world in a way that wasn't true for Berlusconi. Another difference, and perhaps a more decisive one, is that our left is also composed in a large part of a coalition of ethnic and cultural minorities.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:18 am 
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Weremensh wrote:
If any states are contested, they just vote party line for the Democratic electors, and that's that.

Wait what? Can you unpack that a bit?

On the other hand, the Democrats losing the governorships in Florida and Georgia give the Republicans the ability to gerrymander those states until 2030. I don't have much faith in the Supreme Court striking it down anymore. What the hell, Kennedy? You trusted your retirement to these bozos?

My nightmare scenario is that the Republicans successfully use gerrymandering and voter suppression to lock in minority rule for a couple more decades, during which increasingly authoritarian leaders dismantle democratic norms. Then I'll have the dubious privilege of being a citizen of two illiberal states.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:25 am 
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It's up to the House to decide which slate of electors to accept if any state is contested. The Republicans stole two presidential elections out of the last 6 because the House belonged to the Republicans, who naturally party line voted for the Republican electors. That just became impossible.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:21 pm 
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Were any states contested last time? How does a state end up contested in the electoral college?

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:34 pm 
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Basically, someone makes a serious case that the election was tainted in that state. I don't think any of the major states were contested last time, but it's notable that twice in the last 6 elections the Republican majority in the House overrode complaints about Republican election fraud in Ohio (and Florida, and etc) to give the presidency to a Republican (Dubya). Hence everyone already knew in 2016 that the fix was in, which would tend to suppress the inclination to call a spade a spade. That no longer applies.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:24 am 
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kitoba wrote:

This has already happened here. The GOP didn't even seem to notice when they left.

We arguably got our Grillo first, in the form of Bernie Sanders. I'm not sure what kind of solution that is, however.

One crucial difference between the US and Italy, however, is that the US is still a dominant world power, so Trump hurts the world in a way that wasn't true for Berlusconi. Another difference, and perhaps a more decisive one, is that our left is also composed in a large part of a coalition of ethnic and cultural minorities.


I view them both from the outside, but i don't think Sanders compares to Grillo well.

Sanders seems to have the attitude of a pretty normal sensible politican, it's his positions, that makes him stand out in the crowd. And AFAIK his previous career has consisted as much about compromising as of grandstanding. After all he had a pretty long career before his attempt at the presidency, where he was relativly unknown at a federal level.

Grillo has AFAIK overall fairly standard center left positions, with the exception of being anti-EU. But he really has the angry "they are all corrupt, lock em all up" attitude. And he outperformed Berlusconi in the grandstanding over substance category.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:36 am 
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So, in the opinion of both the Fox News legal expert, and the husband of Trump's own press flack, Whitaker's selection as acting attorney general is not just shady, but actively illegal, since he was never confirmed by the Senate for any Justice Department related position. Is this a constitutional crisis? Is anything likely to come of it? Is there a reason no legislator on either side seems to be running with this?

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:52 pm 
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Adam Schiff, soon to be the head of the House Intelligence Committee, just warned Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia investigation in today's Washington Post. Linky here. It's got a paywall but you should be able to see it if you haven't used up your monthly limit of articles.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:40 pm 
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The mid-term elections are almost over, and Trump has taken the lesson that he was too moderate and cooperative. One wonders how things will go if after his two rallies in Mississippi the GOP actually manages to lose the seat.

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