Trump presidency

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:14 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
addams wrote:When ya' hunt Witches ya' find Witches.

I'm sure it wasn't the intention, but given the history of actual witch hunts and the meaning of the idiom about them, it sounds like this is saying that the "witches" now found were only declared witches because someone went looking to call someone witches, and not because they were actually Satan's concubines or anything.
Yeah.
Well it wasn't and still isn't a Witch Hunt.
It is an investigation of International Organized Crime.

Let's hope we have a few educated and organized Good Guys.
We Know we have powerful ruthless criminal interests at work.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:16 am UTC

Not so much "When you hunt witches you find witches" as "When you dig up a latrine you find shit."

The judge noted that Cohen could serve up to 65 years in prison, though the prosecutors' recommended sentence is 46 to 63 months.


That's a very generous offer in exchange for him singing like a canary, isn't it?

31 May 2013 - Trying to steal a $35 rack of pork ribs will cost a Texas man 50 years in ... in which Willie Smith Ward, 43, attempted to steal a package of meat ...

13 Mar 2014 - ... for six months by a Bomet court for stealing six packets of chewing gum. ... year at Mutai enterprise in Bomet town, he stole the chewing gum ...

The crime of shoplifting is theft from a store, and charges for shoplifting can ... Costume jewelry; A pack of gum; One or two items of off-the-rack clothing ... a third-degree felony in Florida is eligible for up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Maryland man affiliated with Ku Klux Klan gets 4 years in prison for gunshot at Charlottesville rally

23 May 2018 - A mother who forced her daughter to marry a relative almost twice her age has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. The woman ...

26 Jul 2018 - A 42-year-old Vancouver man was sentenced Thursday to nearly four years in prison for possessing child pornography, but his incarceration ...

Samantha Jean Thompson, 39, was sentenced Monday to four years followed by four years of supervised release, for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

28 Jun 2018 - Raphael Sanchez stole the identities of several immigrants, using them to defraud financial institutions. He has been sentenced to four years in ...


I am having a hard time figuring out how serious an offence has to be to get someone jailed for 46 to 63 months.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:09 pm UTC

Given that rapists these days can get off completely jail free, four to five years for federal corruption is hard time! After all, the biggest crime was getting caught. Some of those old fashioned American punishments seem very appealing right now-with all of the backyard chickens around tarring and feathering should be easy enough to manage.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:16 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Given that rapists these days can get off completely jail free


"These days"? There was a time when that didn't happen?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zohar » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:22 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
addams wrote:When ya' hunt Witches ya' find Witches.

I'm sure it wasn't the intention, but given the history of actual witch hunts and the meaning of the idiom about them, it sounds like this is saying that the "witches" now found were only declared witches because someone went looking to call someone witches, and not because they were actually Satan's concubines or anything.

I had a similar feeling reading that, thanks for pointing it out, and for the clarification addams.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:48 pm UTC

Perhaps someone can help me, because I can't figure out from the news what crime Cohen apparently committed.
The reported facts are that he paid, as middleman for Trump, hush money to a porn actress who had had an affair with Trump, which would have embarrassing to his campaign if it had become public.

As far as I've can tell, the affair itself is legal. Covering up the affair is legal, as is aiding in that. Paying hush money is apparently legal as well. The crime seems, in my muddled understanding, to be something to do with campaign donations.

Like, and now I am guessing, if Trump spends his own money to help his campaign, then it should be considered as donation from himself to his campaign, and that should have been reported. And the crime is not reporting the donation? If that's it, can that be a potential 65-year jailtime crime? I must be missing something

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:57 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Perhaps someone can help me, because I can't figure out from the news what crime Cohen apparently committed.
The reported facts are that he paid, as middleman for Trump, hush money to a porn actress who had had an affair with Trump, which would have embarrassing to his campaign if it had become public.

As far as I've can tell, the affair itself is legal. Covering up the affair is legal, as is aiding in that. Paying hush money is apparently legal as well. The crime seems, in my muddled understanding, to be something to do with campaign donations.

Like, and now I am guessing, if Trump spends his own money to help his campaign, then it should be considered as donation from himself to his campaign, and that should have been reported. And the crime is not reporting the donation? If that's it, can that be a potential 65-year jailtime crime? I must be missing something
Yep.
That is a significant campaign finance crime.
These things were done in the last days and weeks of the campaign to significantly change the natural outcome of the campaign,

But... Honey;
That is, just, the tip of the IceBurg.
There are multiple charges of Fraud and Money Laundering as well as out and out Theft.

You don't need to worry that these multi-millionaires are being tripped on technicalities.
These men have a long and lucrative history with Organized Crime. It Stinks underwater.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:00 pm UTC

The crime is "Unlawful corporate contributions" and "excessive campaign contribution", but that's just what Trump is also guilty of; Mueller has Cohen by the medallions for tax evasion and false statements to financial institutions. You can see the plea deal here:

https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper ... d/full.pdf
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:08 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Perhaps someone can help me, because I can't figure out from the news what crime Cohen apparently committed.
The reported facts are that he paid, as middleman for Trump, hush money to a porn actress who had had an affair with Trump, which would have embarrassing to his campaign if it had become public.

As far as I've can tell, the affair itself is legal. Covering up the affair is legal, as is aiding in that. Paying hush money is apparently legal as well. The crime seems, in my muddled understanding, to be something to do with campaign donations.

Like, and now I am guessing, if Trump spends his own money to help his campaign, then it should be considered as donation from himself to his campaign, and that should have been reported. And the crime is not reporting the donation? If that's it, can that be a potential 65-year jailtime crime? I must be missing something


Essentially, you've got it.

Also, of course, the secrecy involved. As with Nixon, it's not so much the crime as it is the cover-up. The more effort you put into hiding evidence, the worse you look, even if the original thing isn't that big a deal. All the effort put into making it look like that's not what they were doing, even if it is ultimately unpersuasive to literally anyone, indicates a guilty conscience.

I doubt anyone is actually going to jail for much at all, mind you. Generally those high enough up the power chain manage to get off with a slap on the wrist.

Trump could also just pardon whoever. Of course, if he does so, that's another step down the "looking dirty as hell" path for Trump. The question's really how much it takes for other Republicans to be on board with impeachment.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:16 pm UTC

Manafort was convicted on federal income tax evasion; that means he also evaded state income tax and if he accepts a pardon, he has confessed to federal income tax evasion. So he can be arrested for state income tax evasion, which Trump can't pardon him for. Cohen also has exposure in New York for tax evasion. Who knows what else there is, but pardons are probably not going to protect anyone.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:23 pm UTC

Like Cancer, there are some cures and there are some treatments.
This is old, now; Yet a useful exercise.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8ZbtMBzjWE
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:24 pm UTC

Like Cancer, there are some cures and there are some treatments.
This is old, now; Yet a useful exercise.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8ZbtMBzjWE
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

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They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:48 pm UTC

As with Nixon, it's not so much the crime as it is the cover-up.

But in Nixon's case, there were direct (and many) crimes below the coverup. This Stormy Daniels thing is like Clinton, where the thing being covered up is not a crime, just embarrassing.

Most of the sentences are tax frauds unrelated to Trump, do I understand that right? That reeks of two-track justice, where people can get away with tax fraud unless a political investigation decides to target them. Like those Chinese corruption trials. Where the defendant is surely guilty of corruption, but everyone is and the ones on trial are the subset who crossed the wrong person.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:00 pm UTC

Part of this is to get other evidence on Trump. The raid of Cohen's office is going to lead to a lot of problems for the Trump Organization, and Cohen knows a lot about his dealings in money laundering, etc.

The big problem is that unless you have reason to start an investigation, you can't do anything, and financial crimes are not out in the open like car theft.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:05 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
As with Nixon, it's not so much the crime as it is the cover-up.

But in Nixon's case, there were direct (and many) crimes below the coverup. This Stormy Daniels thing is like Clinton, where the thing being covered up is not a crime, just embarrassing.

Most of the sentences are tax frauds unrelated to Trump, do I understand that right? That reeks of two-track justice, where people can get away with tax fraud unless a political investigation decides to target them. Like those Chinese corruption trials. Where the defendant is surely guilty of corruption, but everyone is and the ones on trial are the subset who crossed the wrong person.


The Clinton comparison is perhaps more apt, yeah. In a similar fashion, it may be that Trump has committed some wrongdoing in denying, etc, despite the original embarrassment not being any sort of crime. He might well have been better off simply admitting to it in the first place. I'm not sure if it would have mattered for the election, but Trump's history is hardly pristine. It's difficult to imagine that more time could have been devoted to attacking him as a result.

There is, unfortunately, a lot of politics involved. At that level, there pretty much always is. It is indeed pretty likely that Trump's pals are not the only people with dirty hands. Much like with Clinton, there was a strong desire to find *something* on Clinton and pals, no matter what it actually was. Here, it's a useful play to try to get to Trump. I presume that there's a hope that either they'll flip on Trump in hope of getting lesser punishments, or that Trump'll commit an error in attempting to make the investigation go away.

Justice gets uncomfortably fuzzy at high levels of politics in the US.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:17 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The crime is "Unlawful corporate contributions" and "excessive campaign contribution", but that's just what Trump is also guilty of; Mueller has Cohen by the medallions for tax evasion and false statements to financial institutions. You can see the plea deal here:

https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper ... d/full.pdf


My layman's understanding:

In order to avoid a direct paper-trail from Trump to either of the women paid off, Cohen was directed to pull money from one of Trump's shell companies. The payoffs, as well as purchases of the rights to any articles, etc. were done -explicitly- in support of the 2016 election campaign. This makes all the funds involved in to 'campaign contributions' from the shell company in excess of current limits on campaign fundraising.

Grand upshot (again to my understanding): this would make Trump an unindicted co-conspirator to campaign-finance jaywalking. This is only really impactful if these minor charges open the door to evidence of Trump's involvement in more serious crimes (similar to the the way mob boss Al Capone was arrested for tax evasion the investigation of which revealed evidence of the rest of the organized crime ring), otherwise it's unlikely Trump will actually face any (meaningful) consequences over Cohen's admission.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:29 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
As with Nixon, it's not so much the crime as it is the cover-up.

But in Nixon's case, there were direct (and many) crimes below the coverup. This Stormy Daniels thing is like Clinton, where the thing being covered up is not a crime, just embarrassing.

Most of the sentences are tax frauds unrelated to Trump, do I understand that right? That reeks of two-track justice, where people can get away with tax fraud unless a political investigation decides to target them. Like those Chinese corruption trials. Where the defendant is surely guilty of corruption, but everyone is and the ones on trial are the subset who crossed the wrong person.

You're forgetting about obstruction of Justice. Like if you get a speeding ticket, but you start intimidating witnesses and destroying evidence, then you got a much bigger problem. If they get Trump under oath, they'll add perjury on top. Trump instinctively lies so much, I'm not sure if he can stop himself anymore.
Elsewhere, lurking in the background is Conspiracy. Which is the big league crimes. *

*High crimes and misdemeanors is also possible and probably true, but incredibly hard to prove.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:18 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:
Thesh wrote:The crime is "Unlawful corporate contributions" and "excessive campaign contribution", but that's just what Trump is also guilty of; Mueller has Cohen by the medallions for tax evasion and false statements to financial institutions. You can see the plea deal here:

https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper ... d/full.pdf


My layman's understanding:

In order to avoid a direct paper-trail from Trump to either of the women paid off, Cohen was directed to pull money from one of Trump's shell companies. The payoffs, as well as purchases of the rights to any articles, etc. were done -explicitly- in support of the 2016 election campaign. This makes all the funds involved in to 'campaign contributions' from the shell company in excess of current limits on campaign fundraising.


The defense will argue that the payoffs had nothing to do with the campaign; that the money was something that anyone in Trumps position would pay to avoid public humiliation, regardless of any political campaign. Sure, you and I and everyone else in the peanut gallery will know it's bullshit - but proving otherwise in court is another story.

The defense might also argue that Trump never directed Cohen to make the payoff - that Cohen is lying, or that he misunderstood, or something along those lines. There is no other evidence, at least not that's been made public, that Trump directed him to do any such thing.

Grand upshot (again to my understanding): this would make Trump an unindicted co-conspirator to campaign-finance jaywalking. This is only really impactful if these minor charges open the door to evidence of Trump's involvement in more serious crimes (similar to the the way mob boss Al Capone was arrested for tax evasion the investigation of which revealed evidence of the rest of the organized crime ring), otherwise it's unlikely Trump will actually face any (meaningful) consequences over Cohen's admission.


Pretty much... we basically have someone who claims he was directed by Trump to do something that, while definitely shady, probably falls short of being actually criminal. And even if it does get ruled to be a violation of campaign law, is certainly not at the level of removing a sitting president from office. It might well lead to something bigger; but by itself it's really not nearly as big a deal as some are wanting it to be...

And remember... this is the sitting president. Even if this alleged crime was enough to put a normal person in jail, which is unlikely, Trump isn't going to be tried as a normal person. He's going to be tried by the House. And even if the House votes to impeach, it would then fall to the Senate to vote 2/3 in favor of removing him from office to actually get rid of the guy.

In short, while this may lead to something bigger, the folks who are getting themselves all riled up about this being "the thing" that brings down the Trump presidency, are in all likelihood just setting themselves up to be disappointed.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:42 pm UTC

cphite wrote:In short, while this may lead to something bigger, the folks who are getting themselves all riled up about this being "the thing" that brings down the Trump presidency, are in all likelihood just setting themselves up to be disappointed.


Oh yeah. You need enough dirt to get the Republican senate to throw him under the bus. Now, sure, they don't like Trump all that much, but partisanship is a helluva drug.

Maybe there's something there that would result in folks deciding en masse that Pence is better, but it requires that Trump basically screw himself over. Maybe he gets caught lying red handed, repeatedly on the stand. Maybe it's an overt abuse of pardons... This is the bait for Trump to err, it's not the hook.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:09 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Dauric wrote:In order to avoid a direct paper-trail from Trump to either of the women paid off, Cohen was directed to pull money from one of Trump's shell companies. The payoffs, as well as purchases of the rights to any articles, etc. were done -explicitly- in support of the 2016 election campaign. This makes all the funds involved in to 'campaign contributions' from the shell company in excess of current limits on campaign fundraising.


The defense will argue that the payoffs had nothing to do with the campaign; that the money was something that anyone in Trumps position would pay to avoid public humiliation, regardless of any political campaign. Sure, you and I and everyone else in the peanut gallery will know it's bullshit - but proving otherwise in court is another story.


Problem with this defense is (iirc) that the money came from an incorporated company. Even if it's nominally under Trump's 50% +1 shares control, he still can't legally just take money out of it for personal expenses (he would have to sell shares or file a new compensation agreement, both making paper trails), and he can't direct the company to make payments for his personal non-company related expenses. The only way Trump doesn't run afoul of a blatant tax evasion scheme while keeping the paper trail from leading directly to himself is if the company spends the money essentially as a donation to his campaign.

So (assuming this goes anywhere) Trump gets to be responsible for the campaign finance violation, or he gets to be tried for tax evasion (which is going so well for his former associates)
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
cphite wrote:In short, while this may lead to something bigger, the folks who are getting themselves all riled up about this being "the thing" that brings down the Trump presidency, are in all likelihood just setting themselves up to be disappointed.


Oh yeah. You need enough dirt to get the Republican senate to throw him under the bus. Now, sure, they don't like Trump all that much, but partisanship is a helluva drug.


Votes are the drug. The main reason that GOPers won't throw him under the bus is fear that it would cost them their own re-elections.

Maybe there's something there that would result in folks deciding en masse that Pence is better, but it requires that Trump basically screw himself over. Maybe he gets caught lying red handed, repeatedly on the stand. Maybe it's an overt abuse of pardons... This is the bait for Trump to err, it's not the hook.


The ironic thing is that for the folks who are most serious about getting rid of Trump, they would probably find Pence even worse.

Pence is far more conservative, particularly on social issues; and he doesn't carry near the political baggage that Trump does. He's an actual politician, he isn't orange, and he can actually talk like a grown up.

And consider... after an impeachment there are going to be an awful lot of people out there who just want to see stuff getting done again. In walks Pence, perfectly reasonable and respectable in contrast to Trump, with a GOP Senate, offering to get stuff done. The democrats are going to have to choose between letting stuff get done - republican leaning stuff - or continuing to be the roadblock that prevents stuff from getting done. That will not be an easy position to be in.

Not saying it would lead to any sort of GOP comeback... but I think that democrats may find that removing Trump - who is currently a living, breathing billboard for the democratic party - might not be the best move in the long run.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:15 pm UTC

But isn't protecting the image of a CEO, protecting the image of the company as a whole, or at least enough so in the courts?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:35 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But isn't protecting the image of a CEO, protecting the image of the company as a whole, or at least enough so in the courts?


Getting further out of my depth here, but I think there's a line that has to do with what the CEO is known for. If the CEO is pretty much just the CEO of that company and the board of directors is informed and signs off on the expense that defense might apply. If they're a majority shareholder in multiple companies and one of those companies is responsible for all the payoffs it runs afoul of corporate governance and tax law (the other companies benefit from the payoff as well, without footing any of the bill effectively shifting wealth between companies without the requisite record-keeping). Trump has multiple corporations and "charitable foundations" all of whom answer to a number of creditors, presumably none of whom knew about or signed off on the payoffs, which is another potential legal violation.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:20 am UTC

I’m more scared of getting Pence in office than I am of the Cheeto’s criminal acts. Not to say the Cheeto shouldn’t get the fullest extent of the law. Every one can see the Cheeto is a buffoon, and crazy. Pence is crazy like a a fox, with a real ideology driving him which is batshit Christian idiocy. He’s eager to speed up the end times, so he and his buddies can all go sit at the right hand of jeebus. And he can, as mentioned, speak in complete sentences. He’s slick. He’s...plausible. If he gets the Oval Office, it’s hello theocracy.
I would ask the same question when folks were ranting about impeaching Bush. Did they really want Cheney in charge?
Also, there’s impeachment, then there’s conviction for a crime. Wouldn’t the Cheeto be able to be arrested and tried as a citizen for a criminal act, not just impeached for those high crimes and misdemeanors? What if his car got a parking ticket?
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:37 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:I’m more scared of getting Pence in office than I am of the Cheeto’s criminal acts. Not to say the Cheeto shouldn’t get the fullest extent of the law. Every one can see the Cheeto is a buffoon, and crazy. Pence is crazy like a a fox, with a real ideology driving him which is batshit Christian idiocy. He’s eager to speed up the end times, so he and his buddies can all go sit at the right hand of jeebus. And he can, as mentioned, speak in complete sentences. He’s slick. He’s...plausible. If he gets the Oval Office, it’s hello theocracy.
I would ask the same question when folks were ranting about impeaching Bush. Did they really want Cheney in charge?
Also, there’s impeachment, then there’s conviction for a crime. Wouldn’t the Cheeto be able to be arrested and tried as a citizen for a criminal act, not just impeached for those high crimes and misdemeanors? What if his car got a parking ticket?
http://lawsandsausagescomic.com/comic/301 Here's a law professor's attempt at impeachment origins and purpose.
Presidents have indictments put on hold until after they leave office. Statute of limitations may apply, depending on how friendly SCOTUS is *cough*Kavanaugh *cough*. IIRC, statute of limitations on campaign finance violations is 5 years.(Either from the time of the crime, or the time is held until after leaving office. As for parking tickets, the presidential staff would work out the details, but for most purposes, he's above the law.

Impeachment is a political process, and crimes are mostly a tool to influence voters.

How would you tell the difference between a Cheney vs W. Bush presidency? Trump has bigger differences, but policy wise Pence vs Trump its:
1. More tax cuts for the rich, for longer. (trump is an awful legislator in chief)
2. Less overt corruption (maybe)?
3. Different foreign policy, sorta. You still hate iran, but you might leave more institutions alone.
All the other evil stuff they do, It's the cabinet leaders causing the damage.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby iamspen » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:43 am UTC

The difference is, the damage Pence would do to our country and its executive branch is mostly reversible.

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sardia
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:17 am UTC

iamspen wrote:The difference is, the damage Pence would do to our country and its executive branch is mostly reversible.

I wonder if Trump is actually all that special. The force of will of one vs a mob ready for anyone who's close enough. Like if Trump didn't run, maybe Alex pizzagate Jones would be president.
If it's the latter, then it doesn't matter it is pence. The GOP coalition is crying for the blood of minorities. Any politician with a brain could read the room and see the future is McCarthy style politics. Lots of hate n scape goating the weak. Think how often the GOP primary voters had the option to go more establishment and moderate, but didn't. Republicans want to blame minorities, politicians obey their will as best as they dare.

Tldr politicians can be bad, but voters aren't innocent.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:28 am UTC

I really think it is the latter. As I was just saying earlier in the "Edgelord" thread in IXCT, lots of politicians I don't like pushing policies I don't like have been elected in my lifetime and I've never felt so emotionally upset about it, and the thing about this election that's different isn't so much Trump himself, but what he represents: the political will of frothing-at-the-mouth batshit insane purposefully antirational... I want to say "nihilists", people who like The Joker's style... 4chan is what I'm trying to say. The kind of people who live on 4chan. What I thought was a bunch of feral children on the internet who were best ignored suddenly have their man in charge of a country. And not just any country, my country. You know what else was all about feral children basically in charge of their country, as it were? Lord of the fucking Flies. And I hated that book.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:49 am UTC

Me, like four pages ago wrote:Trump is just the latest asshole in charge of a broken system. The first step in fixing it is recognizing that Trump isn't special or unique in his awfulness, except perhaps in magnitude, and that the actual problem is systemic and institutional. Getting rid of Trump isn't going to fix things unless the system that created and enabled him is also fixed.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby iamspen » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:46 am UTC

While I certainly agree with the two posts above, I would point to Trump's disastrous foreign policy, one which is alienating virtually every other economic power on earth and could easily lead to a collapse of American economic and geopolitical power. A President Pence would certainly do a shitload of damage domestically, but (and I'm not trying to be flippant) that can be repaired in future election cycles.

America's economic, geopolitical, and cultural future are on the line, and once those things tumble, they will be all but impossible to earn back.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:23 am UTC

I would point to Trump's disastrous foreign policy, one which is alienating virtually every other economic power on earth and could easily lead to a collapse of American economic and geopolitical power.

Isn't that a bit over the top? US power can take a lot of hits. Foreign goodwill towards the US might be a nice icing on the cake, but the core of US power is military strength and a huge domestic economy. People will be always be friendly to that, regardless how you treat them back.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:03 pm UTC

But if the US finds itself having to leverage its military and economy just to get its "allies" to help with anything, the US's dominance will be much reduced. And if the US seems unreliable then other countries will make arrangements that simply put the US less at the centre of everything.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:42 pm UTC

Nah. Realpolitik always has and always will rule the day. We are friends with Saudi Arabia because we want their oil. We are friends with China because we want their goods. We condemn North Korea because they have nothing we want.

May probably despises Trump as a person, but sucks up to him publicly because, having stuck two fingers up at Europe, our options are severely curtailed.

Will the US look kindly upon the UK when it comes to negotiate trade agreements, on the basis of our 'special relationship'? Does Trump really seem like the kind of guy to act out of sentimentality when it comes to cutting a business deal..?

Nah. Goodwill probably oils the wheels when it comes to countries cooperating on matters of mutual interest, but ultimately I think international relations is a pretty pragmatic, hard-nosed and cut-throat business.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:49 pm UTC

I'm not talking about goodwill, I'm talking about the appearance of reliability. For example, on the military front, the US gets to call the shots a lot because its the centre of NATO, which Europe relies on for defence. Too much, you might say, and I agree. But it's actually to the US's detriment if Europe becomes more self-reliant militarily - Suddenly, the US's consent for military matters becomes less essential. Trump undermining NATO is to the US's long term strategic detriment, and his trade wars will have the same effect on the economic front.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby iamspen » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:15 pm UTC

And Trump making things like trade, commerce, economic alliances, and international cooperation a massive headache only pushes other frustrated nations to form blocs without the US, and they'll eventually figure out ways of effectively doing business without us. It's already happening in the Pacific, and the EU is rolling its eyes and whispering amongst themselves, as well.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:44 pm UTC

From the Fox interview, apparently the US economy would crash if they impeach him. "Because without [Trump's] thinking, you would see numbers that you wouldn't believe in reverse."

I've got to listen to that being said, maybe. It sounds positively deranged and yet entirely accurate (the opposite way to how he means, eventually).

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:45 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
I would point to Trump's disastrous foreign policy, one which is alienating virtually every other economic power on earth and could easily lead to a collapse of American economic and geopolitical power.

Isn't that a bit over the top? US power can take a lot of hits. Foreign goodwill towards the US might be a nice icing on the cake, but the core of US power is military strength and a huge domestic economy. People will be always be friendly to that, regardless how you treat them back.

The strength of the US economy has foundations in trade and global geopolitical power. Trump is eroding the US economy with tariffs and anti immigration. Trump is just eating the seed money for the US. It'll hurt future returns as The lack of smart foreigners restrict growth.
Besides, it's easier to argue if you believe the US isn't the sole super power anymore. It's either already have equivalent rivals on some metrics, or will have them very soon.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:20 pm UTC

And Trump making things like trade, commerce, economic alliances, and international cooperation a massive headache only pushes other frustrated nations to form blocs without the US, and they'll eventually figure out ways of effectively doing business without us. It's already happening in the Pacific, and the EU is rolling its eyes and whispering amongst themselves, as well.

Then again, these conversations and whsiperings are always happening. Countries are not US "allies" because they like it (especially the people in charge of them) - it's because it's rather hard to get around the the US. They don't have anything serious lined up.

Think about the EU - a multi-generation project, heavily disputed, very hard to put together, or even to keep together. And it's not buying its members that much independence from the US. There's no supercharged EU (let alone a Pacific Union) waiting around the corner, just because the US is being impolite.

Of course, everything is fluid in the long run. A generation of Trumpian US foreign politics might change a lot. But that would clearly not be about the person Trump, it would just make Trump the leading edge of a wave that was coming anyway.
The strength of the US economy has foundations in trade and global geopolitical power.

I am not sure this true. The US surely benefits from them, but it's not the base, it's superstructure ;-) The US is about as close to an autarky as you can find today. In raw numbers: there are only a handful of countries with a lower trade-to-GDP ratio. It has very few strategic imports. While the US could, for example, cut off the fuel supply to the EU, or China, or quite some other countries. Think Suez crisis. Most US exports are extensions of domestic production, not export-first oriented. While many important firms in China, Japan or Germany would collapse without exports.

I would turn this around: US strength in trade and in geopolitics are founded on its domestic economy. The US can engage or disengage with the rest of the world on its own terms, while the rest of the world cannot do so in reverse.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zohar » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:23 pm UTC

The advantage of impeaching Trump, even if Pence becomes president, is it's a signal that this is not an acceptable candidate. I feel like a Pence presidency for two years is going to be a lot more limited in power - he's not who rallied in the the Trump base, he's not the person who brings in the votes, and the party would be less inclined to play along.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:12 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Votes are the drug. The main reason that GOPers won't throw him under the bus is fear that it would cost them their own re-elections.


It's a risk for them, sure. Trump has some diehard fans. They aren't all of the GOP, but pissing off a segment of your base is risky unless you're in a super safe seat, or not in an area where that segment of the base is strong.

The ironic thing is that for the folks who are most serious about getting rid of Trump, they would probably find Pence even worse.

Pence is far more conservative, particularly on social issues; and he doesn't carry near the political baggage that Trump does. He's an actual politician, he isn't orange, and he can actually talk like a grown up.


And consider... after an impeachment there are going to be an awful lot of people out there who just want to see stuff getting done again. In walks Pence, perfectly reasonable and respectable in contrast to Trump, with a GOP Senate, offering to get stuff done. The democrats are going to have to choose between letting stuff get done - republican leaning stuff - or continuing to be the roadblock that prevents stuff from getting done. That will not be an easy position to be in.


Yeah, he's probably far more effective as a politician, and roughly as traditional as a GOP candidate can get. The GOP establishment would be stoked if he wound up in power.

He benefits from Trump widening the hell out of the Overton window, and ends up appearing remarkably sane and moderate in comparison. I agree that Trump's removal, while ostensibly a victory for democrats, may not play out well for them at all. Puts them in an awkward situation. On the one hand, not fighting Trump is a hard pill for them to swallow, but having Pence take his position may actually be worse for them.


As to the CEO thing...as a shareholder, I'd be pissed if a CEO was spending corporate funds to cover up their embarrassing secrets. Pay for that on your own dime.

EdgarJPublius wrote:
Me, like four pages ago wrote:Trump is just the latest asshole in charge of a broken system. The first step in fixing it is recognizing that Trump isn't special or unique in his awfulness, except perhaps in magnitude, and that the actual problem is systemic and institutional. Getting rid of Trump isn't going to fix things unless the system that created and enabled him is also fixed.


You're not wrong.

Trump happens to highlight some systemic weaknesses.

Also, agreed with regards to realpolitik running the world. Military and economic might are the main drivers of power. There's something to be said for using power in a proper fashion, of course, and image still matters to some degree...but most alliances and enemies are driven by pretty straightforward conflicts or alliances of interests. Trump's image issue will fade surprisingly rapidly after he leaves office, too.


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