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EvC Forum Side Orders Coffee House The Trump Presidency

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Author Topic:   The Trump Presidency
caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 162 of 4573 (797531)
01-23-2017 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 145 by NoNukes
01-21-2017 6:00 PM


Re: Reaction: The Trump Inauguration
Obama entered the white house with a net worth of something like 2 million dollars. Let's recall that both he and Michelle worked at large law firms before entering public service. The president drew a salary of 400K for 8 years, and now his net worth is estimated at something between 7 and 12 million dollars[1] depending on who does the estimating.
Partly raises the quesiton, of course, of why the President should have such an absurdly large salary.
The President has several homes - all free, including all the trimmings - the utilities, the staff, the in house medical attention, the bowling alleys, the swimming pools, the linen - all in. He has luxury cars, helicopters and private jets at his disposal for travel. He has a very good health insurance plan. He has an annual expense account much more than double my gross annual wage (bearing in mind this a man who does not need to pay for most of the things which consume my entire income). He has a separate tax-free travel expense account which is twice the size. He has probably the best retirement plan in the world, considering he's never in the job more than a decade.
Given all this, I think $50,000 a year would be more than enough compensation.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(1)
Message 181 of 4573 (797630)
01-24-2017 3:46 PM
Reply to: Message 179 by RAZD
01-24-2017 2:45 PM


Re: Reaction: The Trump Inauguration
Perhaps the politicians should be audited annually to show that their earning are honest and not graft or corruption. That is the concern, yes?
I believe the concern that NoNukes is addressing is that only people who were already rich would be able to become elected officials. If the President earned minimum wage, Trump would have little incentive to raise it. He was vastly wealthy beforehand, after all.
Once upon a time, members of Parliament in the UK did not receive any compensation. They were all wealthy gentlemen in no need of such trifles. Pay for elected officials was originally a socialist policy, strongly opposed by conservatives who much preferred Parliament to be packed with people who had no need of gainful employment, being rich already.
In the late 19th century organisations like the Labour Representation Council and Labour Electoral Association grew out of trade unions to campaign for the election of working-men to Parliament. But campaigning was only part of the purpose. They were also aware that they needed to fundraise in order to pay for the upkeep of any socialist MP they actually succeeded in electing, since he would be required to quit his job in order to attend Parliament.
I would agree that the pay of the President and congresspeople are too high, but they do need to paid enough that it would be feasible for a poor person to quit their job and up sticks to Washington.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1510 of 4573 (824859)
12-04-2017 11:32 AM
Reply to: Message 1504 by Tangle
11-30-2017 2:09 AM


Re: Trump retweets islamophobic videos from British Far right group
If he was a UK citizen there'd be a real chance of being arrested for inciting racial hatred for those tweets.
Not really - this would be religious hatred rather than racial hatred, for starters, and the bar for demonstrating incitement to religious hatred is higher than that for racial hatred. To be an offense you have to be explicitly threatening; and the legislation specifically states that "expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult, or abuse" of a religion, it's beliefs or its adherents are not criminal. You have to basically say something like. "Let's go and kill the Muslims".
Note that the leaders of Britain First were not charged with incitement to religious or racial hatred - they were charged with harassment for following Muslims around and shouting at them. Hansen's more recent arrest in Belfast was under the Public Order Act from the 1980s, which makes it an offense to:
quote:
use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour (...in order to...) thereby to stir up hatred or arouse fear

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1537 of 4573 (825284)
12-11-2017 1:15 PM
Reply to: Message 1521 by Percy
12-07-2017 11:21 AM


Re: The Process Begins
It's Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution. Apparently not only can the cabinet remove an unfit president, so can Congress: "...or of such other body as Congress may by law provide...". Representative Jamie D. Raskin (Dem-Md) has written a letter proposing a committee be formed to study the president's fitness to serve. It has 50 House co-sponsors. Read about it here in this Jennifer Rubin editorial in the Washington Post: And about the 25th Amendment
Based on my reading of the 25th Amendment, Congress does not appear to have any power to remove an unfit President - only the vice-President does. The "such other body as Congress may by law provide" only comes into play in the event that the VP declares the President unfit, and the President disagrees.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(1)
Message 1580 of 4573 (826110)
12-22-2017 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 1577 by Percy
12-22-2017 7:41 AM


A view from abroad
You mentioned the alienation of allies, but it's worth noting that some allies are quite satisfied with Trump (not that this is a good thing). Populists and nationalists have come to power in several Central European countries in the last few years. These were countries which, due to the communist legacy, were generally very strongly in favour of the Atlantic alliance throughout the nineties and early 21st century. With the rise of the populist right at the same time that Obama was President in the US, however, this relationship became more strained. They would complain about the 'liberal multicultural agenda' being forced on them by the West.
A pathetically childish example of this strain is shown by the Presidential office here in Czech Republic, which publicly claimed that the (former) American ambassador (an Obama appointee who considered the promotion of human rights and democratic values as part of his role) did not attend the St Wenceslas' Day celebrations. This would be a bit like skipping the 4th of July in the US. This was a barefaced lie, as easily demonstrated by this new-fangled technology of 'video'.
The Trump administration, however, has shown no interest in criticising European nations over institutional racism or the undermining of democratic institutions. Even better, he's served to distract foreign attention from this process. The Polish government is busy abolishing the independence of the judiciary at the moment; a process in which the White House has shown no interest, and which I think is getting less coverage internationally than it would if the news wasn't so busy with Trump's Twitter.
So, in conclusion, there are a few US allies very happy with Trump's administration so far.
Edited by caffeine, : No reason given.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1594 of 4573 (826254)
12-27-2017 12:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1593 by Percy
12-27-2017 10:00 AM


Re: Why Does Trump Seem Invulnerable to his Base
That's why populism works. It invents enemies, your enemies, and vows to destroy them for you.
It also helps, of course, that standing amongst the enemies perceived by Trump's supporters are the 'liberal media establishment'. News critical of Trump easily looks like the globalists fighting back. Which is why my heart dies a little whenever I see something like the cringeworthy whining of CNN over the stupid wrestling video tweet. This kind of over-the-top melodrama undermines the media's credibility when it comes to serious and relevant criticism, and strengthens the view of Trump supporters that the 'lamestream media' are out to destroy Trump at any cost.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1644 of 4573 (826670)
01-06-2018 4:51 PM
Reply to: Message 1636 by Percy
01-06-2018 10:19 AM


Re: Historical Parallels and Similarities?
This is monstrously untrue. The entirety of human history is the same thing over and over. Probably the most common repetition is war. Genocide is another. Economic boom/busts are another. The rise and fall of civilizations is another.
We're getting very tangential to the topic here, but I couldn't let this pass without comment since you stated it so firmly.
In a sense Bradley is entirely correct and your response is pretty meaningless. Your categories of repeating events are so broad as to have little meaning. Sure, there's been more than one war, but many of these wars are fundamentally different from one another, especially when we're looking over longer time periods.
Saying that wars repeat is like saying history is the same because it's just people doing things over and over. Well yes, but the things are different. One of the things we can learn from history is that similar situations play out extraordinarily differently when the social, technological, economic and political background in which it takes place has changed.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(2)
Message 1661 of 4573 (826779)
01-09-2018 12:40 PM
Reply to: Message 1645 by Percy
01-06-2018 5:36 PM


Re: Historical Parallels and Similarities?
There's no meaningful difference in a war between Cro-Magnons beating each other over the heads with clubs over prime hunting grounds and modern armies clashing over oil fields. The specifics and details are inconsequential compared to the overriding repeating patterns.
Well that's just silly. Is there any difference between Trump and Obama? They're both Presidents and they both speak - what does it really matter if there are different words?
If your only point was that there will always be conflict, then it's not a response to the original article, since I very much he was arguing anything so obvious. 'People engaging in conflict' is not a pattern; and the specifics and details are enormously consequential. The specifics and details are what decide whether this or that conflict will erupt into a shooting war or not; and if so how that war plays out and what are it's consequences. Is it a short, sharp affair; a decades-long conflict; localised, global? These things matter.
You may see no meaningful difference between two people getting into a fistfight and a global nuclear apocalypse, but you would understand if no one else agrees with you.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(1)
Message 1679 of 4573 (826884)
01-13-2018 1:11 PM


US Ambassador to the Netherlands
Not sure if this is getting as much play on the other side of the Atlantic, but Trump recently appointed a new ambassador to the Netherlands.
He was a controversial choice from the first because, despite being of Dutch ancestry, he ha publically promoted the view popular in some circles that Europe has already succumbed to Islamic fundamentalism. He was caught out in a deeply embarrassing interview with a Dutch journalist, who asked him about his claims that politicians in the Netherlands were being set on fire by Islamic fundamentalists. He claimed this was fake news, and upon being presented with video evidence, denied that he had called it fake news (a few minutes before).
The poor chap is being hit in the face with the fact that such gaslighting techniques do not work when everything you say is being recorded. He had his first press conference in Holland recently. A journalist asked him to either back up his claims or retract them. He announced that he did not want to revisit the issue. A second journalist asked him to either back up his claims or retract them. He tried to ignore the question. A third journalist asked him to either back up his claims or retract them. It gets very painful to watch,
I find this all a bit puzzling. Is this ideology trumping policy? Is it an intentional distraction from more important issues? Is it a misguided belief that the PVV represent the Dutch and Hoekstra would therefore find a happier reception?

Replies to this message:
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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1681 of 4573 (826886)
01-13-2018 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1680 by NoNukes
01-13-2018 1:20 PM


Re: US Ambassador to the Netherlands
Somebody posted an article about it here.
Sorry, I missed that one.
At least Trump has gotten around to appointing a diplomat for your country.
It's not my country, I just have family connections.
Trump has appointed a new ambassador to Czech Republic as well. He's not on the news because he's much more circumspect; and has said nothing controversial or offensive. He's diplomatic, which you'd expect a diplomat to be.
It can't be that simple, though, because this is Trump. He was one of the guys who arranged the Watergate break-in. He held the US attorney-general's wife hostage in a hotel room. And now he's a US ambassador. You couldn't make this shit up.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1724 of 4573 (827065)
01-16-2018 1:41 PM
Reply to: Message 1687 by Percy
01-13-2018 2:24 PM


Re: US Ambassador to the Netherlands
They call their country just Nederland. The Dutch equivalent (De Nederlanden) is not used in modern Dutch to refer to the Netherlands.
Worth noting there as well is that the don't pluralise it either - it's Nederland, not Nederlanden. The official name of the country is, however, Koninrijk der Nederlanden. Legally, the distinction between Nederland and Nederlanden dates to the constitutional amendment of 1922, which defined the Kingdom of the Netherlands as consisting of four realms united in one kingdom (Netherland, the Dutch East Indies, Suriname and Curacao). The same concept exists today; except now the four realms are Netherland, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. Nederland is the European part of the Nederlanden as opposed to it's overseas constituents,
I don't know if people used singular Nederland in common speech before that, though,

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1729 of 4573 (827090)
01-17-2018 9:27 AM
Reply to: Message 1727 by Percy
01-17-2018 7:26 AM


Re: Lying for Trump
Click on the "under oath" link in the above quote and you'll see that the Cabinet secretary was John Kelly's replacement at Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who in a stunning and amazingly convenient attack of amnesia cannot remember what the leader of the free world said about El Salvador, Haiti and Africa. She could not even say something perfectly believable like, "I cannot remember President Trump's exact words, there were many expletives flying around from all sides, but he did speak in strongly disparaging and profane terms about immigration from those countries."
To be fair, Nielsen's response is not as ridiculous as you make it sound. Bear in mind that speaking to the leader of the free world is not, for her, a unique and special experience that would stick in her memory. She's a Cabinet Secretary - she speaks to him on a regular basis.
So what she actually said was 'I cannot remember what my boss said at a meeting at which I was present." I am often present at meetings at which I pay little attention to what my boss is saying.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1735 of 4573 (827109)
01-17-2018 1:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1730 by Percy
01-17-2018 11:16 AM


Re: Lying for Trump
Gee, that must be embarrassing when your boss says, "Caffeine, what's your opinion on this?", and you have no idea what he's been talking about.
Yes, those are always awkward moments.
I'm retired now, but I must say that in my entire career I never had a meeting in which my boss was present (or my boss's boss or my boss's boss's boss) where I did not listen to every word said and be able to remember those words (not verbatim, of course) for days and even weeks, depending upon the subject matter.
If that's true, you attended a lot less meetings than I do.
A lot often depends on what type of boss. There are certain meetings you attend where you know that nothing worthwhile will be said; and also that the particular boss speaking is not going to seek opinions - they're going to blether about their own opinions which you know are nonsense; and you know that, due to their lack of attention to detail and their ignorance about what you do, you can actually do most of your bits without taking them into account. The meeting is more about humouring them.
Now, to be clear I don't think it's true that she doesn't remember; but Trump does strike me as exactly the sort of boss who would be totally ignorant of what you do, and who you would need to humour, but could ignore in your day-to-day work.
ABE: For the record, I do hope that people who hold senior posts in government have better work ethics than me; but I sadly fear that this is not always the case.
Edited by caffeine, : No reason given.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1752 of 4573 (827153)
01-18-2018 12:33 PM


The "Highly Anticipated" Fake News Awards
The fake new awards Trump banged on about on Twitter have now been published on GOP.com (is that the RNC's official website?)
Apparently the delay in their publication was because Trump hadn't got round to it, since it doesn't look like much work was put into it. There's no categories for the awards or anything, it's just a list of his (or the aide who wrote its) top ten Fake News from 2017; plus:
quote:
11. And last, but not least: "RUSSIA COLLUSION!" Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!
Absent are dates, urls, or the sort of details that would make it easier to check the actual content of the original reports. I'm not sure if this is an intentional attempt to conceal exagerrations or just a result of the fact that this blog post was banged together in 5 minutes without much effort.
One looks like Trump doesn't distinguish between 'Washington Post reported' and 'Washington Post journalist tweeted', but that's not surprising,
ABE: A quick bit of looking around reveals that two of the ten were tweets by journalists rather than news stories; and further that in almost all the chosen cases the news organisation admitted a mistake and issued corrections.
So if 'fake news' actually means cases where a news organisation made a mistake and apologised, I assume we can treat all the stories that have not been retracted as reliable?
Edited by caffeine, : No reason given.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1107 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(4)
Message 1776 of 4573 (827549)
01-27-2018 3:29 PM


A small aside
I've mentioned here before that the Czech President is a fan of Donald Trump. The Czech Presidential election just finished, and the second round was between the incumbent, Milos Zeman, and Jiri Drahos, former President of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Drahos' campaign has been based strongly around foreign policy, the idea that human rights matter in international relations and the natural allies of the Czech Republic are countries like Germany and the UK; rather than Russia and China. He is a strong supporter of the European Union. He's also argued that the Presidency should be an office above and seperate from party politics (Drahos is not a member of any party), and that the selection of a government should be based around majority support in the Chamber of Deputies (like in most parliamentary democracies).
Zeman didn't run a campaign, but the 'Friends of Zeman' did. Their campaign was based around 'Stop Immigration'. That's not an exaggeration - 'stop immigration' and 'vote Zeman' were literally the extent of their public messages.
It should be pointed out that Czech Republic has quite a low rate of immigration, and if not for immigration would have a declining population. The primary source countries for immigrants are Ukraine and Vietnam, and yet for some reason the media narrative is dominated by Muslims (12 Syrians requested asylum in Czech Republic last year).
Zeman won the second round with 51.4%, Putin was the first foreign dignitary to call with congratulations.

  
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