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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14221 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-07, 18:19

View Posty66, on 2019-November-07, 17:05, said:

Bloomberg to enter the fray? That would make things interesting.


I'm still hoping Sherrod Brown will toss his hat into the ring.

"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning..." Donald J. Trump
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#14222 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 08:21

View Posty66, on 2019-November-07, 17:05, said:

Bloomberg to enter the fray? That would make things interesting.


It already has made it interesting. As I get it, Bloomberg was not going to run since he thought Biden was strongly placed to win the nomination and then go on to beat Trump. He no longer thinks that highly of Biden, and he is skeptical of those who have moved ahead of him. He has a point. This by no means shows that Bloomberg should be the candidate, but it does illustrate that the Dems have some problems. Well, it's a complicated world. Yes, this will be interesting.





Ken
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#14223 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 08:42

Guest post from David Leonhardt at NYT:

Quote

Good for him.

I’ll be surprised if Michael Bloomberg wins the Democratic nomination. We are living in a political era characterized by economic dissatisfaction and populism, and a 77-year-old Wall Street billionaire doesn’t look like an obvious nominee for a left-of-center party during such a time.

But I’m glad Bloomberg appears to be running. The current field is imperfect, split between candidates running weak campaigns (Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, for instance) and those who have so far shown little interest in appealing to swing voters (Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders). By entering the race, Bloomberg could sharpen the eventual nominee — or run such a strong campaign that he’ll prove skeptics like me wrong.

And it’s not fair to compare him to Howard Schultz, who threatened an independent campaign. Because he’s running in the primaries, rather than as an independent, Bloomberg won’t help re-elect President Trump by splitting the votes of progressives and moderates. Bloomberg understands this, as I’ve written before.

I’m glad he appears to be running for another reason, too. He has already shown that he knows how to use government to improve people’s lives.

He certainly made mistakes as mayor of New York — like his approach to policing — but he had many more successes than failures. Here’s what I wrote in 2017, in a book review of Chris McNickle’s biography of him:

[Bloomberg and his team] remade New York’s once grim waterfront, transforming the face of the city. They won a huge public-health victory by restricting smoking and made more progress than many people realize on obesity. Bloomberg rewrote archaic zoning laws, so they were no longer based on the notion that factories and residences were the main uses for New York’s real estate; offices, retail and public parks were vital too. The Bronx Terminal Market, Hunters Point in Queens and the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn are all examples. He presided over a decline in both crime and the jail population. The poverty rate fell relative to the rest of the country’s. His schooling reforms fell short of what he wanted, but McNickle shows they were also responsible for real improvements.

My biggest substantive question for the Bloomberg presidential campaign: Does he understand that the stagnation of American living standards requires more than technocratic tweaking? If so, how will he use the power of the federal government — including the tax code — to reduce inequality and help the middle class and poor?

Other points of view

David Axelrod, former Obama adviser: “This is a thunderclap. And not exactly a vote of confidence [from Bloomberg, a fellow moderate] in durability of @JoeBiden campaign.”

Eric Levitz, New York Magazine: “Bloomberg in the general is a spoiler who helps Trump. Bloomberg in the primary is — if anything at all — a spoiler who helps Bernie/Warren. No chance of capturing Biden’s (heavily nonwhite) coalition. Only possible impact is splitting the anti-anti-billionaire vote.”

My colleague Jamelle Bouie: “Rather than throw money behind the talented senator who could win over black voters in the south [Cory Booker], the moderate rescue plan has been:

  • rally behind the mayor of a small college town
  • encourage a billionaire to enter the race on his own behalf.

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight: “Media elites have underestimated the resilience of Biden’s candidacy pretty badly so far and Bloomberg is, among other things, a media elite who hangs out with a lot of other media elites.”

“If he is serious about running for president, which those close to him believe he is, he needs to show voters that he can learn from his mistakes,” wrote my colleague Mara Gay in The Times last year. “He should not only apologize for his administration’s use of stop-and-frisk, he should begin listening seriously to black and Latino voters in a way he never did as mayor.”

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#14224 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 09:05

Jonathan Bernstein zeroes in on something in his column today that explains the hyper revulsion of many posters on this thread to Trump and his ilk and why impeachment is part of the solution:

Quote

The political scientist Thomas Pepinsky argued recently that the U.S. is on the verge of a “regime cleavage,” by which he means:

a division within the population marked by conflict about the foundations of the governing system itself—in the American case, our constitutional democracy. In societies facing a regime cleavage, a growing number of citizens and officials believe that norms, institutions and laws may be ignored, subverted or replaced.

He concludes that the impeachment and removal of President Donald Trump may be the only way to jolt the system back and reassert respect for the rule of law and democratic norms.

I’m not sure this diagnosis is correct. It’s true the U.S. is going through an extended period of partisan polarization. But I doubt that’s a serious problem in itself. What’s more troubling is constitutional hardball: the willingness of political actors to exploit every opportunity to gain an advantage even if it destroys democratic norms. Recent examples have included efforts to strip the power of incoming Democratic governors in North Carolina and Wisconsin; to enact lopsided partisan gerrymanders whenever possible; to freeze out judicial and executive-branch nominations made by President Barack Obama; and Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to use the census for partisan purposes.

Constitutional hardball is, of course, a bipartisan temptation. But Republicans have acted on it far more in recent years. This leaves the opposition with the impossible choice of either conceding power or replying in kind. Thus the majority-imposed change in the filibuster by Senate Democrats in 2013 in response to abuses by Republicans.

So the problem may not be the U.S. system so much as the actions of one party. Julia Azari may be correct that some Democrats “have never been eager to lend a lot of legitimacy” to Trump. But the party’s elected officials have mostly done just that. At his inauguration, State of the Union speeches and other formal occasions they’ve treated him perfectly normally. Trump is the one who hasn’t treated Congress as legitimate, from his use of belittling nicknames to his refusal to comply with lawful oversight. And in this he is both a creature of his party and a ringleader in rejecting democratic norms.

At the same time, it’s worth emphasizing that these tendencies coexist with a lot of perfectly normal partisanship. It appears that we’re getting an example of that in Kentucky, where Republican Governor Matt Bevin has refused to concede defeat in this week’s election and there’s been talk that the Republican legislature might attempt to overturn the result. And yet it appears, at least for now, that Republican legislators are unlikely to actually go through with it.

Returning to impeachment: Azari contends that it “doesn’t have the institutional reach to address the real issues at stake.” Perhaps. I’d say, however, that with the exception of Bill Clinton, impeachment has historically been very much about abuses of office. It may be a blunt instrument that doesn’t really do what people want it to do. But one could argue that it worked reasonably well with Richard Nixon in 1974 anyway. And to the extent that Trump is being impeached because of his overall behavior — regardless of what specific allegations the House ends up making — perhaps impeachment is doing what it can do reasonably well.

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#14225 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 09:10

View Posty66, on 2019-November-08, 09:05, said:

Jonathan Bernstein zeroes in on something in his column today that explains the hyper revulsion of many posters on this thread to Trump and his ilk and why impeachment is part of the solution:


Harvard political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt in their book, How Democracies Die, (which I highly recommend) used the term forebearance to describe the norm that held constitutional hardball in check.


Richard would know more about any game theory involved, but it seems to me that the big question is whether or not Democrats can win in sufficient numbers without sacrificing the norms. As Joshua in War Games pointed out: "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."
"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning..." Donald J. Trump
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#14226 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 10:51

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-November-07, 13:57, said:



I think you are either misreading the situation or not being clear in your language choice. There is no chance of the Senate Republicans convicting unless there is enough public backlash that they would fear from not convicting genuine political harm, i.e., elections and re-elections. Honor, honesty, integrity, abiding by oaths of office - those immigrants were long ago deported.


Well, I did say "any hope" -- I didn't really expect it.

Maybe what I'm thinking is that it will take a number of offenses to get that public backlash, since we can't expect it from the Senators on their own.

#14227 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 15:27

View Postbarmar, on 2019-November-08, 10:51, said:

Well, I did say "any hope" -- I didn't really expect it.

Maybe what I'm thinking is that it will take a number of offenses to get that public backlash, since we can't expect it from the Senators on their own.


I was absolutely shocked yesterday when I read about an interview with Bill Gates where he made an idiotic statement about Elizabeth Warren's proposed wealth tax and then went on to be unwilling to state for the record that he would not vote for Trump in 2020.

What has happened to this country when even one of the richest people on earth thinks of his self-interest before thinking of anyone or anything else? I suppose that kind of wealth considers itself a global citizen and the fate of the U.S. is of no consequence to them personally - a massive miscalculation on their part. Just ask the oligarchs under Putin.

"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning..." Donald J. Trump
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#14228 User is online   Chas_P 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 19:18

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-November-06, 04:20, said:

Chas, would I be right in thinking that should a link between those two events be demonstrated, that would be enough to convince even you of wrongdoing?


As I've said before in this forum, what I would like to see is comity between our two major political parties and a mutual commitment to improving the lives of average Americans. Sadly, all I've seen from the Democrats for 3+ years is "my way or the highway". I'm not a Republican and I don't really like Trump; he's brash, vulgar and, as Ken says, "scum". But I cannot see how removing him from office will improve the lives of average Americans; if you feel otherwise, please elaborate. While you're at it, please tell us how your, Winston's, Richard's, John's, and Arend's lifestyles have been diminished by the Trump presidency and how those same lifestyles would be enhanced by a Warren presidency. Please bear in mind that unemployment is at an all-time low, the stock market is at an all-time high as is consumer confidence. I anxiously await your response.

#14229 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 20:50

View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-08, 19:18, said:

While you're at it, please tell us how your, Winston's, Richard's, John's, and Arend's lifestyles have been diminished by the Trump presidency and how those same lifestyles would be enhanced by a Warren presidency. Please bear in mind that unemployment is at an all-time low, the stock market is at an all-time high as is consumer confidence. I anxiously await your response.


Hey there Chas

Why is it that you have time to post a new bunch of bullshit but you never managed to provide any response to the discussion from last week?
Its almost like you're trying to distract from that whole impeachment discussion...
Alderaan delenda est
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#14230 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-November-08, 20:50

View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-08, 19:18, said:

As I've said before in this forum, what I would like to see is comity between our two major political parties and a mutual commitment to improving the lives of average Americans. Sadly, all I've seen from the Democrats for 3+ years is "my way or the highway". I'm not a Republican and I don't really like Trump; he's brash, vulgar and, as Ken says, "scum". But I cannot see how removing him from office will improve the lives of average Americans; if you feel otherwise, please elaborate. While you're at it, please tell us how your, Winston's, Richard's, John's, and Arend's lifestyles have been diminished by the Trump presidency and how those same lifestyles would be enhanced by a Warren presidency. Please bear in mind that unemployment is at an all-time low, the stock market is at an all-time high as is consumer confidence. I anxiously await your response.


My life is diminished when my government places children in concentration camps

I don't think anything more needs to be said
Alderaan delenda est
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#14231 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-November-09, 08:28

The question that Charles asks could lead to some discussions. I am about to go for a walk in the woods, later I am going to a book club where we will discuss Chabon's Moonglow. If HC had been elected, I suspect I would be doing exactly the same. So does it just not matter who is president?

Let me try it this way. Some years back, after dealing with a substantial kidney stone, a doc gave me some pain killers. Reluctantly I took them but only for a couple of days and then, on general principles,I threw the stuff out (in some appropriate way). More recently a dentist wanted to give me some pain killer and I absolutely refused. He said I would not be able to reach him over the week-end if I changed my mind, I said that was ok. So the opioid crisis has nothing to do with me, right? I'm not so sure. Besides the misery to others, it causes distrust. I have several reasons for being distrustful of the medical profession, I don't need another.

So it is with Trump. There are reasons to distrust politicians, and most people do distrust them, but DT is really in a class by himself on this. Charles agrees with my description of DT as scum. On general principles, it cannot be good to have a piece of scum sitting in the Oval Office. It won't stop me from hiking today, but it's not good.

There are many many people out there who are not reading this post or anyone else's post, they are busy with their lives, and I can well imagine a "So how does it affect me" approach. I would like them to think it over. For me, many decisions are of the "general principles" sort. it cannot be good to have someone like Trump in office, even if I cannot point to exactly any pain that it is causing me specifically.
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#14232 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-09, 11:01

In national elections, the gap between those who will always vote Republican and those who will always vote Democrat is fairly narrow. Results then stem from the ability to sway those voters who are not slavish to any party. Example of this are the Obama/Trump voters, especially in the midwestern states.

Imagine this country with a pliant rather than adversarial press and no whistleblower protections; with no whistleblower and no press willing to publicize wrongdoing, the president of Ukraine would have been forced to create a fake investigation into Joe Biden, implying improper and untrustworthy behavior, if not actual criminal, and continue the fraud by making a public announcement that he had done so in return for a White House meeting with the U.S. president and have his fears of withheld arms alleviated.

That brings up some questions:

1) Assuming Biden would be the Democratic candidate, would that fake investigation and announcement, compounded by the perpetual amplification of it by media outlets be enough to sway those non-party voters?
2) Would it be an acceptable and proper method of campaigning?
3) Is coercing another country to create a fake and misleading investigation for the sole purpose of damaging the opposition candidate's election damaging to the democratic election processes of the U.S.?
4) Would answers 1-3 change if a different president from the opposition party were in office?

"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning..." Donald J. Trump
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#14233 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-November-09, 18:25

View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-08, 19:18, said:

As I've said before in this forum, what I would like to see is comity between our two major political parties and a mutual commitment to improving the lives of average Americans.

An excellent ideal. I suggest that a good start to that would be for the Senate to call votes for the half doyen or so bills that have passed in the House, such as the one on background checks for gun owners. There is broad approval for that within the USA so it seems an obvious step to finding common ground.


View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-08, 19:18, said:

Sadly, all I've seen from the Democrats for 3+ years is "my way or the highway".

I think you have to be looking at American politics through extremely partisan glasses to reach the conclusion that Reps have been reaching out across the isle and Dems creating a divisive policial environment.

View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-08, 19:18, said:

I'm not a Republican

Sorry but I honestly do not believe that. It is a strange thing that I have noticed how de facto Reps often say they are independents. Indeed, I once had an American friend who was a registered Democrat but who voted Republican in every election during the years in which I knew her. She also consistently brought up only conservative talking points and in recent times posted many conservative memes on Facebook including obviously fake news. I even posted a couple of times to point out the most ridiculous, which is why she is unfortunately an ex-friend.

View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-08, 19:18, said:

and I don't really like Trump; he's brash, vulgar and, as Ken says, "scum".

Being dislikable, brash and vulgar is not a reason to consider impeachment. Scum is a term that can mean many different things that may or not be impeachable. The word I find that fits best is "dodgy", as everything he does has the appearance of being questionable even if it is perfectly legitimate. It is like the movements of a stage magician that provide cover to the underlying deception of a trick.

View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-08, 19:18, said:

But I cannot see how removing him from office will improve the lives of average Americans; if you feel otherwise, please elaborate. While you're at it, please tell us how your, Winston's, Richard's, John's, and Arend's lifestyles have been diminished by the Trump presidency and how those same lifestyles would be enhanced by a Warren presidency. Please bear in mind that unemployment is at an all-time low, the stock market is at an all-time high as is consumer confidence. I anxiously await your response.

There you go again with the conservative talking points. The US economy has continued the recent trend, as has been the case internationally. Labour markets are generally tight across the board. The question of how the US economy would be without DJT as POTUS is something of an academic one. The tax cut is one thing that has had an effect. The general effect of that is to have US Government debt finance corporate stock buybacks. The second aspect of WH policy that has had a major effect on the economy are tariffs and it is difficult to see these as a positive for, well, anyone really. At the very least, my understanding is that most economists believe that removal of the tariffs, which would surely be one result of his removal from office, would improve the lives of ordinary Americans, since they are in fact the ones that primarily end up paying for them.

What I feel more personally though is that the erosion of support for structures built up over time, such as NATO and friendly agreements between countries, has simply made the world a more dangerous place. Combined with the increase in hate speech and crimes, not only in the USA but also spreading out internationally, I would say that practically every person in the Western world ought to view events with concern. Perhaps even more seriously the status of American democracy in the world is pretty much at an all time low due right now, at least within my lifetime. Now America might not be the best example of democracy but it is certainly the one that carries the most weight. It is this that has made the USA, imho, a force for good in the world and why I have always argued against anti-American sentiment. At the moment it is difficult to see American policy as that of an ally but rather that of a school yard bully. I do not know how Winston, Richard and Arend feel about it, but for me the relationship between Europe and the USA is important, perhaps even critical. I have not really considered the effects of a Warren presidency but my assumption would be that that relationship would improve.

Finally, I do not really understand why the question you present here (how will removing him from office will improve the lives of average Americans?) is somehow to be conflated with the actual question currently facing Congress (has he abused the office of POTUS to such an extent that he should face a trial in the Senate?) The moment that we, as citizens, put self interest ahead of defending our system of government from abuses of power is the point where we open the door to the death of democracy. This is why I think it is important for Dems to go through this process, even if they know it has little chance of resulting in a successful vote in the Senate and even at the risk of it being a net negative in terms of elections. I would hope that you, as a presumably educated man, would be interested in protecting US democracy from obvious abuses of power. It is important, much more so than the DOW, National Debt or any other economic indicator.
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#14234 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-10, 07:30

From Public Hearings Start With A Bang by Noah Feldman at Bloomberg:

Quote

It’s no surprise that Ambassador William Taylor is expected to be the first witness to testify when the House of Representatives opens public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump next week.

First, he’s an astoundingly credible witness — straight from central casting, as Trump himself likes to say about some of his appointees. As a matter of prosecutorial strategy, that makes him an ideal first witness for House Democrats to lay out their case for the first time to the public.

Second, the content of Taylor’s deposition was extraordinarily damning. That’s because it nailed Trump’s abuse of power, the fundamental element of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” for which Democrats aim to impeach.

His biography alone will make Taylor believable to the viewing public, not only to anti-Trump Democrats but even to pro-Trump Republicans. Unlike some other witnesses, he can’t be dismissed as an anti-Trump partisan or, like U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an immigrant. As Taylor said introducing his deposition testimony: “For 50 years, I have served the country, starting as a cadet at West Point, then as an infantry officer for six years, including with the 101 Airborne Division in Vietnam.” He went on to work at the Department of Energy; as a Senate staffer; at NATO; with the State Department in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jerusalem, and Ukraine; and at the nonpartisan United States Institute of Peace. (He had me at 101st Airborne in Vietnam. This so-called “deep state” turns out to have some pretty impressive people working for it.)

Moreover, if Taylor revealed any implicit political leanings, they were Republican. His first stint as ambassador to Ukraine came after he was appointed to the role by George W. Bush. When asked by the Trump administration to reprise the role, he asked two people for advice: his wife and an unnamed “respected former senior Republican official who has been a mentor to me.”

For all of these reasons, Taylor is an ideal witness for House Democrats to begin with: an honest, unbiased person with detailed recollections.

Now to the content of his testimony. In his deposition last month, Taylor testified that President Trump conditioned aid to Ukraine and a White House visit on Ukraine investigating Joe and Hunter Biden. His most fundamental revelation was that he was told in no uncertain terms that Trump was demanding that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy publicly announce an investigation of Burisma, the energy company that put Hunter Biden on its board, before the U.S. would unfreeze military aid and agree to a White House visit. It was this testimony by Taylor that first seems have jogged the memory of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who’d initially said there was no “quid pro quo” but now seems to have reversed himself.

The takeaway here is the essential one for the impeachment case: Trump abused the office of the presidency by coercing Ukraine to attack the political rival he seems to see as most threatening to his re-election, Joe Biden. Abuse of office isn’t just a high crime deserving impeachment: it’s the high crime par excellence. Democrats need to keep the abuse of power front and center, and Taylor’s testimony does so in dramatic fashion.

Taylor’s deposition also highlighted what prosecutors call “consciousness of guilt” by illustrating Trump’s repeated insistence that there was no quid pro quo. By saying he wasn’t committing the very crime he was committing, Trump was proving that he knew he was committing it. After Taylor’s now-famous text message to Sondland, the latter responded, “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.” The idea that Trump was “clear” seems to rest on Trump and his associates repeatedly reciting the words “no quid pro quo” — even as they created and enforced a quid pro quo.

As prosecutors, House Democrats can’t afford to confuse the public. Even the simple phrase “quid pro quo” might be in danger of losing its meaning as a result of Trump’s defensive word-cloud.

The prosecutors’ answer is credibility and simplicity. Here’s the best witness you could imagine saying that Trump abused his power. The remedy for that is impeachment. Taylor’s testimony will set the stage for others; but it’s also just about enough on its own.

Trump abused his power. The remedy is impeachment. This is not close.
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#14235 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-November-10, 09:00

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-November-09, 11:01, said:

In national elections, the gap between those who will always vote Republican and those who will always vote Democrat is fairly narrow. Results then stem from the ability to sway those voters who are not slavish to any party. Example of this are the Obama/Trump voters, especially in the midwestern states.

Imagine this country with a pliant rather than adversarial press and no whistleblower protections; with no whistleblower and no press willing to publicize wrongdoing, the president of Ukraine would have been forced to create a fake investigation into Joe Biden, implying improper and untrustworthy behavior, if not actual criminal, and continue the fraud by making a public announcement that he had done so in return for a White House meeting with the U.S. president and have his fears of withheld arms alleviated.

That brings up some questions:

1) Assuming Biden would be the Democratic candidate, would that fake investigation and announcement, compounded by the perpetual amplification of it by media outlets be enough to sway those non-party voters?
2) Would it be an acceptable and proper method of campaigning?
3) Is coercing another country to create a fake and misleading investigation for the sole purpose of damaging the opposition candidate's election damaging to the democratic election processes of the U.S.?
4) Would answers 1-3 change if a different president from the opposition party were in office?



This Biden business will be tricky, maybe impossible, to navigate. As I understand it, HB was paid more, substantially more, than would be expected based on his qualifications. If I am wrong about this then no problem, but if it is true that HB was paid extravagantly then this will be a political problem for JB even if there is no legal problem for either B. People will ask "Why the extra pay" and the answer will be "Because he was the son of the vice-president". This answer will probably be the correct answer, regardless of whether there was any benefit to those doing the paying. To charge either B with a crime there would have to be evidence that he did something wrong. For someone deciding how to vote, the standard would be different. More like "HB is presumably not so stupid that he had no idea why he was being offered this large salary, he decided to take it, that's not a plus". Of course it is JB, not HB, who will be on the ballot. Voters will, reasonably I think, want JB to be able to say more than "We did nothing wrong". or "Nobody has any proof that we did anything wrong". The optics were clear, and JB will be held accountable at the ballot box for how he dealt with this.

Ken
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#14236 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-10, 11:24

View Postkenberg, on 2019-November-10, 09:00, said:




This Biden business will be tricky, maybe impossible, to navigate. As I understand it, HB was paid more, substantially more, than would be expected based on his qualifications. If I am wrong about this then no problem, but if it is true that HB was paid extravagantly then this will be a political problem for JB even if there is no legal problem for either B. People will ask "Why the extra pay" and the answer will be "Because he was the son of the vice-president". This answer will probably be the correct answer, regardless of whether there was any benefit to those doing the paying. To charge either B with a crime there would have to be evidence that he did something wrong. For someone deciding how to vote, the standard would be different. More like "HB is presumably not so stupid that he had no idea why he was being offered this large salary, he decided to take it, that's not a plus". Of course it is JB, not HB, who will be on the ballot. Voters will, reasonably I think, want JB to be able to say more than "We did nothing wrong". or "Nobody has any proof that we did anything wrong". The optics were clear, and JB will be held accountable at the ballot box for how he dealt with this.



There is no question that HB profited mightily from his father's position. It was a scummy thing to do.

The impeachment, however, has nothing should have nothing to do with either HB or JB.

"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning..." Donald J. Trump
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#14237 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-10, 12:46

Matthew Yglesias @mattyglesias said:

A weird thing about the current highly polarized moment is that most of the electorate happens to have lived through a historically anomalous low-polarization era, which they mistake for the norm.

Dave Weigel @daveweigel said:

Finishing “The Republic For Which It Stands,” which is both 1) great history and 2) proof that anyone who says “we’ve never been so divided” should stop talking about politics and take up water polo or something. https://amazon.com/R...6/dp/0199735816

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14238 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-November-10, 14:24

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-November-10, 11:24, said:

There is no question that HB profited mightily from his father's position. It was a scummy thing to do.

The impeachment, however, has nothing should have nothing to do with either HB or JB.


On this we agree. A standard defense trick is "Look over there, look behind you, look down, look up, look anywhere except at what's in front of you". If everyone just said "No, I don't care who or what, I am not falling for that" we would all be better off.


I was addressing, in response, the problems that I think this causes for Biden's candidacy. I think those are real and they are along the lines that I say. But it is irrelevant for impeachment.
Ken
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#14239 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-November-10, 15:21

I don't think HB was paid an unusual amount for being a board member. It's just that someone with his, uhm, track record in the field wouldn't normally become board member.
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#14240 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-November-10, 15:36

View Postcherdano, on 2019-November-10, 15:21, said:

I don't think HB was paid an unusual amount for being a board member. It's just that someone with his, uhm, track record in the field wouldn't normally become board member.


Yes, that's pretty much as I understand it. Presumably someone who chooses such appointments figured it couldn't do the company any harm, might do some good, so do it. It's hardly illegal to hire the vice-president's son and for that matter we can't expect him to turn down all job offers, but we can expect a person to have a pretty good sense of just why it is that he is being hired.

It does not require great cynicism to say "I think I get it". Maybe this can be defended, but it will take some clarity and some frankness. Huffing and puffing won't do it.

Ken
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