Trump allegedly requests foreign election interference

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 NEXT
 

tstorm823:

Asita:

Quod erat demonstrandum. "Not acknowledging the good things" is something you're projecting onto me, that you're assuming about me. You deciding that I "just hate Trump" has never been about whether or not I give credit. It's an accusation you first made of me when we were discussing the Mueller report. To quote you directly: "the problem is that your conclusions are based on the underlying assumption that Trump's intentions were corrupt because you hate him", and more recently that "hating Donald Trump" prevents me from seeing that the Ukraine tried to influence the elections on Clinton's behalf. "Acknowledging good things" doesn't even enter into the equation. This is wholly about you assuming whole cloth that my disagreement with you must be the result of prejudice. It's pure appeal to motive that can adequately be paraphrased as "well you wouldn't believe that if you weren't fatally biased".

Well, you wouldn't believe that if you weren't fatally biased. And like, almost everyone here has the same bias as you, but I don't see myself boiling everyone's comments down the same as with you. Because it's more than just your bias. I can debate happily with someone presenting their own bias. It's that you act like everyone without your bias is obviously wrong, and since you know better what wrong thing other people are thinking than they do, it's worth looking down on them.

Frankly, if you ever stopped trying to tell me what I think, I wouldn't have to lecture you like this.

Lecture me? Is that really what you think you're doing when you're claiming that truth is irrelevant to me? When you characterize me as deliberately "putting together the least reasonable views to laugh at" when the summation I delivered was in fact the version of events the principle players in this story (Trump and Giuliani) have been and are still championing? That I'm blinded by hatred? That the only reasons I reach the conclusions I do is because I "just hate Trump"? Do you really think that all that, and the very post I'm quoting now, is lecturing and thus laudable and not - in your words - "trying to tell me what I think"?

Do you actually not see how the accusation of looking down on others and claiming to know their thoughts better than they do applies to someone who condescends to others that they're not demanding a source simply because it "saves [them] the heartache of admitting an error"? That they're "trying to sweep the point under a rug and hope [you] forget about it"? That they "10000% would be praising his character" if the story was about Obama rather than Trump? That you can "hear [their] response already"? Do you really not see how your accusation applies to your own conduct?

With that said, I won't deny that you are right in that I am guilty of the same in this thread and that that's poor form to say the least. For what little it's worth, I do apologize for that. Debates should focus on the topic rather than the people making the arguments, and while "you did it too/first" might explain why someone falls to such tactics, it is no excuse, especially when it gets to the point of eclipsing the topical discussion.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/opinion/trump-ukraine.html

On Ukraine, Trump Is a Con Man, but He's Also a Mark

"All of a sudden they started going around Ukraine telling anybody who would listen, particularly with the government, that they have been advised by a high-level, mysterious unnamed source, that in fact the D.N.C. servers had been hidden in Ukraine, that Russia was not the origin," he told me. This claim, which echoed Russian propaganda, contradicts the findings of the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee. Nevertheless, it soon came to shape American foreign policy.

The heart of the Ukraine scandal, for which Trump will almost certainly be impeached, is simple. Trump used congressionally appropriated aid to Ukraine, as well as the promise of a White House visit, to try to extort Ukraine's president to announce investigations that would benefit Trump politically.

But there's a broader story that's still murky, because in this scandal Trump is both the perpetrator and the mark. Trump used the power of his office to try to force Ukraine to substantiate conspiracy theories. But the president was fed those conspiracy theories by people with their own agendas, who surely understood that he is insecure about Russia's role in his election, and he will believe whatever serves his ego in the moment. The main reason Trump should be removed from office is that he has subverted American foreign policy for corrupt personal ends. But this scandal is the latest reminder of how easy sinister forces find it to pull his strings.

On Saturday, BuzzFeed News obtained previously secret documents from Robert Mueller's investigation via Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. The documents showed that Manafort, convicted felon and Trump's former campaign chairman, was pushing the story that Ukraine was to blame for hacking the D.N.C. as far back as 2016. Manafort seems to have picked up that narrative from his associate Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Russian intelligence officer who, according to federal prosecutors, "has ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016."

At first glance it might seem as if Parnas and Fruman were just doing Giuliani's bidding when, in 2019, they started pushing the same disinformation. But Giuliani wasn't paying them - they were paying Giuliani. Parnas, in turn, was being paid by Firtash, who is, according to the Justice Department, an "upper echelon" associate of Russian organized crime. Firtash is also close to the Kremlin; a Ukrainian official once described him as "representing Russia's interests in Ukraine."

Firtash, who made his fortune as a middleman in Ukraine's natural gas industry, is stuck in Vienna, fighting extradition to the United States for trial on bribery and racketeering charges. Last month, when Parnas and Fruman were arrested while attempting to leave the United States on one-way tickets, Vienna was their destination.

On Friday, CNN reported that Parnas boasted of the "luxurious lifestyle" Firtash bankrolled. "Beginning in mid-August, this included around-the-clock bodyguards, two luxury S.U.V.s for his entourage, and at least six private charter flights in the past several months," CNN said. It's hard to imagine what Firtash would have been paying for besides access to Trump.

It was reportedly Firtash's lawyers who first obtained an affidavit from the fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin claiming, falsely, that Joe Biden had targeted Shokin for investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company that had Hunter Biden on its board. Giuliani would later wave this affidavit around on cable television as proof of his claims against Joe Biden.

Firtash's motives aren't hard to grasp. As he fights extradition, he has obvious reasons to want to ingratiate himself with Trump. It was in his interest to see the former Ukrainian ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired, because her work against corruption - particularly her support for the reform-minded chief executive of Naftogaz, Ukraine's national gas company - threatened his business interests. And by helping to spread damaging conspiracy theories about Ukraine, he aided his allies in the Kremlin. "It serves the interest of Russian intelligence to cause further consternation and confusion by pointing the finger at Ukraine rather than Russia for the 2016 successful disinformation campaign," said McCallion.

In court last month, a lawyer for Parnas said that some evidence against him could be subject to executive privilege, apparently because his work with Giuliani overlapped with Giuliani's work for Trump. If that's true, then Firtash is directly linked to America's president. The two men may have used each other, but there's no reason to believe that Trump was the one in control. There was a time when Republicans would be mortified by an American president being manipulated by a figure like Firtash. Lucky for them, they've lost the ability to feel shame.

This article by the New York Times is frankly kind of bizarre. They're like halfway to where I am, acknowledging that Trump wasn't the one instigating all this, but still refusing to give up on impeachment. Like, they're still maintaining the claim that Trump used aid money to pressure Ukraine to do his bidding, which is all but completely contradicted by the facts at this point. But then also introducing the much more reasonable accusation that Trump was being manipulated. And I don't see any reason why they would maintain the lie that weakens the truth other than to not undermine Trump's impeachment. But then there's also the question of why publish this article at all if you want to maintain the status quo of "Trump Ukraine quid pro quo election interference impeachment!", and I can only assume this is prep work sort of presented in reverse: the title says "Trump is a con-man but also a mark" so that when other places start pointing out that Trump was the mark in this one, they've laid the ground work for saying "still a criminal, impeach him!"

I know the media is never going to step back far enough to realize that the end result of all of this was Trump meeting with Zelenskyy, building a relationship with the new Ukrainian leadership, releasing the military aid for their fight against Russia, and arresting the men responsible for conspiracy theories spread in Ukraine to benefit Russia. And had the whistle-blower and press done nothing, Zelenskyy would have investigated those theories, built a relationship with Trump, gotten the military aid, and found the source of the conspiracies who still would likely have been arrested (they were arrested for campaign finance violations). And I certainly know they're never going to acknowledge the difference between Trump holding back aid to a country he's being told meddled in our election and Trump holding back aid until they agree to meddle in our election (I'm not saying the former is necessarily good foreign policy, but it's definitely not a crime). But this was a promising first step toward people possibly being told the truth rather than just maintaining the lie until impeachment has happened and the Senate refuses to indict and the truth no longer matters.

tstorm823:
This article by the New York Times is frankly kind of bizarre. They're like halfway to where I am, acknowledging that Trump wasn't the one instigating all this, but still refusing to give up on impeachment.

Imagine someone offers you a bribe without you asking for one, and you accept that bribe. Well, you maybe didn't "instigate" that bribe, but you accepted it and you are thus culpable for doing so. This is why this idea of who brought Trump info on Ukraine is a red herring. It's what he chose to do with any information that's the problem, and no-one made him decide it was okay to abuse public office for it. Impeach away.

Even then and at the kindest interpretation for Trump, it means he is wholly inadequate president. He can be easily played by actors working for foreign countries; he is deficient in temperament, wisdom, scruples; he is gullible, oversensitive and greedy. He would rather listen to dodgy individuals in his personal circle of trust than government professionals who know better in terms of what is going on and what is ethically sound.

I know the media is never going to step back far enough to realize that the end result of all of this was Trump meeting with Zelenskyy, building a relationship with the new Ukrainian leadership, releasing the military aid for their fight against Russia, and arresting the men responsible for conspiracy theories spread in Ukraine to benefit Russia.

The only reason there was a problem with US-Ukraine relations in the first placewas Trump. Why should we credit him with US-Ukraine relations turning out okay when he completely unnecessarily damaged them in the first place? What about the risk it hadn't worked out okay?

But this was a promising first step toward people possibly being told the truth

And this is the same concept.

The truth is, regarding these Ukraine investigations, that there's nothing worth seeing. Until this shitstorm blew up, people didn't know or care, which fairly reflected that truth. Again, what you're claiming here is that Trump et al. have vastly magnified a lie with no good reason, and that's somehow okay because it would hopefully have been put to rest eventually... conveniently missing out it would have slurred a presidential candidate unfairly.

Potentially how much else is going on in the executive on a similar basis of Trump's whim rather than sound judgement? Good governance should involve robust decision-making procedures, and we are handed a constant list of evidence that decision-making under Trump is anything but. The North Korea nothingburger meetings, ineffective policy against Iran, letting Saudi Arabia murder dissident journalists, wrecking alliances with Europe, etc. All of these are costing the USA, and Trump can only get away with it because the cost isn't manifest to the average American on the street (yet).

Agema:

Imagine someone offers you a bribe without you asking for one, and you accept that bribe. Well, you maybe didn't "instigate" that bribe, but you accepted it and you are thus culpable for doing so. This is why this idea of who brought Trump info on Ukraine is a red herring. It's what he chose to do with any information that's the problem, and no-one made him decide it was okay to abuse public office for it. Impeach away.

Even then and at the kindest interpretation for Trump, it means he is wholly inadequate president. He can be easily played by actors working for foreign countries; he is deficient in temperament, wisdom, scruples; he is gullible, oversensitive and greedy. He would rather listen to dodgy individuals in his personal circle of trust than government professionals who know better in terms of what is going on and whatZ xbox is ethically sound.

What he chose to do with that information? He put a temporary freeze on military aid while asking the Ukrainian president to investigate it. What part of that is incorrect?

tstorm823:
What he chose to do with that information? He put a temporary freeze on military aid while asking the Ukrainian president to investigate it. What part of that is incorrect?

The incorrectness of omission that:

1) according to released documents:
"Mr. Sondland said [to Andrey Yermak]: "I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anticorruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks""

2) all the other stuff where US foreign policy was wrongfully subordinated to Trump's search for electoral gain.

Agema:

The incorrectness of omission that:

1) according to released documents:
"Mr. Sondland said [to Andrey Yermak]: "I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anticorruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks""

2) all the other stuff where US foreign policy was wrongfully subordinated to Trump's search for electoral gain.

It's funny you should call it incorrectness of omission and then say something that's incorrect. Russian propaganda gets spread around Ukraine and makes it back to the US president through his lawyer, so he asks the new Ukrainian President to look into it, and you're characterizing that as "Trump's search for electoral gain". Like, if Trump had paid these goons to spread this information out and then tried to start an investigation into Biden's campaign when the intel he instigated eventually circled back to him, I could see impeachment for that, but fortunately the candidate guilty of that nonsense lost in 2016.

But Trump didn't withhold aid to Ukraine because he was trying to make them investigate Joe Biden. He froze the aid because he was getting information from Ukrainians that Ukraine hacked the DNC.

tstorm823:
It's funny you should call it incorrectness of omission and then say something that's incorrect. Russian propaganda gets spread around Ukraine and makes it back to the US president through his lawyer, so he asks the new Ukrainian President to look into it, and you're characterizing that as "Trump's search for electoral gain".

Yes. Because the USA government has a vast welter of departments, agencies and professionals for looking into this sort of thing. A couple of dodgy guys whispering in the ear of the president's personal lawyer is patently a ludicrous and inappropriate way to dictate national foreign policy. It encourages corruption, reduces transparency, and takes things out of the governmental loop damaging coherent policy. The president should let government agencies do their job, but the problem for Trump here was that relevant agencies were saying there was nothing to see. Your autocratically-inclined president with loose ideas about proper procedure and ethics evidently didn't want to let that stop him.

Let's not forget that Trump cashiered the ambassador to Ukraine - a respected government professional believed to be a strong voice against corruption - to serve the interests of corrupt Ukrainians! A vast number of government staff were either expressing concern about, covering up, or ended up resigning over this because they knew perfectly well the way Trump was handling Ukraine was dirty.

But Trump didn't withhold aid to Ukraine because he was trying to make them investigate Joe Biden. He froze the aid because he was getting information from Ukrainians that Ukraine hacked the DNC.

Firstly, that's evidently not what key State Dept. staff believed, and I think their opinion counts for more than yours. Secondly, Trump's decision would be one based on unsafe information from an unsafe source through inappropriate channels, that government staff did not believe were reliable or credible. His motivation for all this is transparently one of personal gain, for which he was willing to sacrifice national interest.

Agema:

Yes. Because the USA government has a vast welter of departments, agencies and professionals for looking into this sort of thing. A couple of dodgy guys whispering in the ear of the president's personal lawyer is patently a ludicrous and inappropriate way to dictate national foreign policy. It encourages corruption, reduces transparency, and takes things out of the governmental loop damaging coherent policy. The president should let government agencies do their job, but the problem for Trump here was that relevant agencies were saying there was nothing to see. Your autocratically-inclined president with loose ideas about proper procedure and ethics evidently didn't want to let that stop him.

Let's not forget that Trump cashiered the ambassador to Ukraine - a respected government professional believed to be a strong voice against corruption - to serve the interests of corrupt Ukrainians! A vast number of government staff were either expressing concern about, covering up, or ended up resigning over this because they knew perfectly well the way Trump was handling Ukraine was dirty.

I don't think that's the problem, I haven't seen reason to believe Trump tried to have "government agencies do their job". You could very well applaud that he kept the US government out of it for the most part. When Giuliani brought him info, he told Giuliani to handle it. He only got anyone else involved when Giuliani came back claiming Zelenskyy was surrounding himself with snakes and wasn't going to work with US interests. At which point he connected Giuliani to the State Department, and State Department officials handled the diplomacy from there.

What's the alternative you think is more prudent or official? Aim the force of the US intelligence community against Ukraine? That's great diplomacy! /s Have the FBI investigate Joe Biden based on questionable information? I guess that would be following the precedent set by the previous administration, but that's certainly not a good look. Just ignore the information? Let's not pretend outright ignoring intelligence is ever a good answer.

Trump got information about people in Ukraine screwing with the US and asked the president of Ukraine to look into it. Trump got information that Zelenskyy wasn't going to be trustworthy, so he paused on giving them more weapons of war until the two administrations started cooperating. There's not just not a crime here, there's hardly anything to criticize.

I look forward to the continued release of information that at this point I pretty much guarantee will all support me. The only way I can even imagine this looking like an impeachable offense would be if it comes out that Trump started the chain by paying those guys to spread rumors about Biden in the first place so that when the information made it's way back to him he could attempt to investigate the Biden campaign, but once again, that's just Fusion GPS part 2 anyway, and to my knowledge, the DNC wasn't punished for that crap.

Key diplomat changes testimony and admits quid pro quo with Ukraine.

In a significant reversal, a top US diplomat revised his testimony to impeachment investigators to admit a quid pro quo linking US aid to Ukraine with an investigation into President Donald Trump's political rival.

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Monday sent the committees a three-page addition to his testimony, saying he had remembered a September 1 conversation in which he told a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the security aid was linked to investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

"I now recall speaking individually with Mr. (Andriy) Yermak, where I said resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks," Sondland said.

Sondland's new testimony, which was included in the public release of his closed-door deposition transcript on Tuesday, adds to Democrats' evidence that the President connected the freezing of US security aid to Ukraine to investigations into Biden as well as the hacking of the Democratic National Committee's servers during the 2016 election, which cuts to the heart of their impeachment case against Trump. The committees have now heard from several witnesses, including top US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and National Security Council aide Tim Morrison, who have testified that Ukraine opening such investigations was linked to $400 million in US security aid and a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Zelensky.

The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees released deposition transcripts of Sondland and former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker on Tuesday as they shifted toward the public phase of their impeachment inquiry.

In his deposition last month, Sondland testified that he did not ultimately know why the aid to Ukraine was withheld. But he told lawmakers that efforts by the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to persuade Ukraine to open an investigation into Trump's political rivals "kept getting more insidious" as time went on, and he suggested Giuliani's efforts might have been illegal, according to the deposition transcript.

Sondland testified that it would be "improper" for Giuliani to push the Ukrainians to investigate Biden or get involved in the 2020 election. Asked if it was illegal, Sondland said: "I'm not a lawyer, but I assume so."

In his own testimony, Volker said that the Ukrainians had asked to be put in touch with Giuliani - whose efforts have been described by other witnesses as a shadow foreign policy outside of State Department channels - because they believed "that information flow would reach the President." He said he had been surprised and troubled by what was said on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.

So, must the tap dancing happen more? I don't even mean the impeachment inquiry. As much as I loathe Trump, he is still a United States Citizens and he must be afforded the same due process as everyone else. I'm asking if the Republicans still need to blindly tap dance around these revelations and pretend there has to be another explanation?

ObsidianJones:
Key diplomat changes testimony and admits quid pro quo with Ukraine.

In a significant reversal, a top US diplomat revised his testimony to impeachment investigators to admit a quid pro quo linking US aid to Ukraine with an investigation into President Donald Trump's political rival.

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Monday sent the committees a three-page addition to his testimony, saying he had remembered a September 1 conversation in which he told a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the security aid was linked to investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

"I now recall speaking individually with Mr. (Andriy) Yermak, where I said resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks," Sondland said.

Sondland's new testimony, which was included in the public release of his closed-door deposition transcript on Tuesday, adds to Democrats' evidence that the President connected the freezing of US security aid to Ukraine to investigations into Biden as well as the hacking of the Democratic National Committee's servers during the 2016 election, which cuts to the heart of their impeachment case against Trump. The committees have now heard from several witnesses, including top US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and National Security Council aide Tim Morrison, who have testified that Ukraine opening such investigations was linked to $400 million in US security aid and a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Zelensky.

The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees released deposition transcripts of Sondland and former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker on Tuesday as they shifted toward the public phase of their impeachment inquiry.

In his deposition last month, Sondland testified that he did not ultimately know why the aid to Ukraine was withheld. But he told lawmakers that efforts by the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to persuade Ukraine to open an investigation into Trump's political rivals "kept getting more insidious" as time went on, and he suggested Giuliani's efforts might have been illegal, according to the deposition transcript.

Sondland testified that it would be "improper" for Giuliani to push the Ukrainians to investigate Biden or get involved in the 2020 election. Asked if it was illegal, Sondland said: "I'm not a lawyer, but I assume so."

In his own testimony, Volker said that the Ukrainians had asked to be put in touch with Giuliani ? whose efforts have been described by other witnesses as a shadow foreign policy outside of State Department channels ? because they believed "that information flow would reach the President." He said he had been surprised and troubled by what was said on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.

So, must the tap dancing happen more? I don't even mean the impeachment inquiry. As much as I loathe Trump, he is still a United States Citizens and he must be afforded the same due process as everyone else. I'm asking if the Republicans still need to blindly tap dance around these revelations and pretend there has to be another explanation?

This may be the most non-story of all the non-stories presented thus far. Sondland admits he may have told Yermak that they'd get the money if they gave the statement they were already planning to give. And like, in September. And very shortly after, the money was released without that statement ever being given.

That the news is making this out as admitting quid pro quo is patently absurd. A quid pro quo is "you do this for me and I'll do this for you". It would be "you investigate these things for me, I'll release the military aid for you." That's decidedly not what happened here. I don't know how CNN is going to pretend that Donald Trump was doing a quid pro quo, military aid for investigations, in the phone call on July 25, when Andrei Yermak was surprised on August 30th to find out the aid was frozen at all, and on September 1st was asking Sondland how to get it restored. If Ukraine has to find out from Politico that the aid was being held and has to ask what they should do to get it released, it's kind of difficult to call that a quid pro quo.

They really should give up on the military aid angle altogether. The "White House visit for investigation" argument holds a lot more water. There's zero evidence that Trump ever intended to tell the Ukrainians that the military aid had been put on hold or was dependent on anything.

tstorm823:

I don't think that's the problem, I haven't seen reason to believe Trump tried to have "government agencies do their job".

Dude, he's the president. It's literally his job to have government agencies do their job. Not base policy on off-the-books personal operations: "l'etat, c'est moi" is for absolute monarchs.

You could very well applaud that he kept the US government out of it for the most part.

Do you really think we should applaud Trump for setting a guy on a mission without oversight, transparency, cohesion with government agencies running policy, and with a dodgy agenda, who got hoodwinked by corrupt Ukrainians? For Trump then letting this dictate overall policy towards the Ukraine, thus bringing corruption right into the heart of the US government?

Oh, but he didn't keep the US government out of it, did he? He failed to keep the US government out of it right from the start because he let it dictate Ukraine policy. And indeed, now it has snowballed vastly and the US government is consumed with this huge pile of ordure. It's like saying "You could applaud Hitler for avoiding war" by casually omitting all that military spending, annexation, and everything that occurred after August 1939.

What's the alternative you think is more prudent or official? Aim the force of the US intelligence community against Ukraine? That's great diplomacy!

Yes. It's what the intelligence services are for: discreetly collecting information.

Have the FBI investigate Joe Biden based on questionable information?

Yes. Investigating reported crimes is what law agencies are for, and they can professionally assess how questionable the information is.

Trump got information about people in Ukraine screwing with the US and asked the president of Ukraine to look into it. Trump got information that Zelenskyy wasn't going to be trustworthy, so he paused on giving them more weapons of war until the two administrations started cooperating. There's not just not a crime here, there's hardly anything to criticize.

Trump ran Ukraine foreign policy on the merest slip of rumour for personal gain. A rumour he should have known was untrue had he heeded appropriate and better informed sources. Again, we have a massive load of government officials spilling on this shitshow, the White House frantically trying to stop them, and all sorts of legal experts saying this is impeachable. This tells us something is very, very seriously wrong with what Trump did.

And what absurd euphemism is that about "administrations started cooperating"? Ukraine and everyone in the US government was happy to co-operate on foreign policy. Trump didn't co-operate, because he wanted something else for personal gain.

I look forward to the continued release of information that at this point I pretty much guarantee will all support me.

Remember what Trump meant when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose a single vote? You are the living embodiment of that sentiment.

I mean, you've just doubled down and now claimed what Trump did was actually clever, despite the obvious consequences that he ran foreign policy on a fake information from charlatans and it's become a colossal clusterfuck.

tstorm823:
I don't know how CNN is going to pretend that Donald Trump was doing a quid pro quo, military aid for investigations, in the phone call on July 25, when Andrei Yermak was surprised on August 30th to find out the aid was frozen at all, and on September 1st was asking Sondland how to get it restored. If Ukraine has to find out from Politico that the aid was being held and has to ask what they should do to get it released, it's kind of difficult to call that a quid pro quo.

"Hey, I've noticed our aid is frozen. Why?"
"You should release an official statement saying you're investigating Joe Biden's son"

It beggars belief how anyone can think that is not a quid pro quo. It doesn't fail to be a quid pro quo just because it isn't precisely worded as "You need to do X for me so I do Y for you".

Let's remember here that the baseline is that the US Congress has authorised this aid and it should be released. Holding the aid is therefore a deliberate, active intervention by the US president.

We might note Volker says clearly that this decision should have had a justification, but it didn't. We must therefore ask why the White House hamstrung the State Dept's understanding of policy and ability to carry out its work. The answer is either incompetence, or deliberate intent. The most plausible intent, given wider context, is that the justification would create an official record of abuse of power, and so they declined to supply it.

Agema:

snip

Again, I'll wait for more information, because it's all going to support me. All of it. Sondland may have told them the hold was related to Ukraine giving a statement, but the timeline of events doesn't suggest that military aid was being used as leverage against Ukraine, but rather that the levers started turning to release it once the Ukrainians found out it was being held at all.

The transcript of Bill Taylor's testimony is out. Turns out he wasn't worried about Trump or Giuliani based on his personal knowledge, his worries mostly came from reading the New York Times. Go figure. Also, they freaking included the name of the whistleblower in the transcript (which has been speculated about for weeks) and are now mad at Trump Jr for tweeting the speculation. Also, Adam Schiff is such a turd. At one point he spontaneously declares a recess while Republicans are asking whether Ukraine did anything to get the aid released, and when they resume, he makes sure everyone knows that Trump was being publicly accused of misconduct with the Ukraine aid before he released it. And he's like "I think that was the timeline, I might have to double check." Like, no Schiff, you don't have to double check, you're the person who was making the public accusations. You know that you personally put the accusation out before the aid was released, and we know from these hearings that the process of releasing the funds began before he made that accusation, and we know he could have done that a month prior if he wanted to, so it's pretty darn obvious Adam Schiff heard they were releasing the aid to Ukraine soon and decided to publicize the ordeal first so that he could claim Trump only released the aid due to pressure from the House. My god, the man is a turd.

tstorm823:

Again, I'll wait for more information, because it's all going to support me. All of it. Sondland may have told them the hold was related to Ukraine giving a statement, but the timeline of events doesn't suggest that military aid was being used as leverage against Ukraine, but rather that the levers started turning to release it once the Ukrainians found out it was being held at all.

The aid as quid pro quo is very much a grey area as there's insufficient solid information either way to be sure, but circumstantially - absence of official justification for holding it, other efforts to pressurise Ukraine - it looks mighty suspicious indeed. Again, if held for "innocent" reasons, it indicates Trump's White House runs poor procedures that lack transparency and thus are open to abuse.

It is equally feasible that the aid hold dates to shortly before the phone call between Zelenskyy and Trump, coming directly from Trump. This is interesting timing - it's reasonable to consider that once Trump has heard that Zelenskyy has bitten the hook, it adds an ace card to play if needed. The release of the aid also coincides with it becoming clear, to borrow from John Bolton's terminology, that the Ukraine hand grenade was about to go off within the corridors of power.

And again, even at the best assessment of Trump and team in Ukraine, there is clear indication that he and it conducts governance in an incredibly shoddy fashion. Defences of Trump increasingly boil down to "he didn't do anything illegal, he's just incompetent". So that's okay then for four more years, eh?

I don't care about how much of a turd Adam Schiff is: he's currently not meaningfully accused of abuse of power.

tstorm823:

Agema:

snip

Again, I'll wait for more information, because it's all going to support me. All of it. Sondland may have told them the hold was related to Ukraine giving a statement, but the timeline of events doesn't suggest that military aid was being used as leverage against Ukraine, but rather that the levers started turning to release it once the Ukrainians found out it was being held at all.

The transcript of Bill Taylor's testimony is out. Turns out he wasn't worried about Trump or Giuliani based on his personal knowledge, his worries mostly came from reading the New York Times. Go figure. Also, they freaking included the name of the whistleblower in the transcript (which has been speculated about for weeks) and are now mad at Trump Jr for tweeting the speculation. Also, Adam Schiff is such a turd. At one point he spontaneously declares a recess while Republicans are asking whether Ukraine did anything to get the aid released, and when they resume, he makes sure everyone knows that Trump was being publicly accused of misconduct with the Ukraine aid before he released it. And he's like "I think that was the timeline, I might have to double check." Like, no Schiff, you don't have to double check, you're the person who was making the public accusations. You know that you personally put the accusation out before the aid was released, and we know from these hearings that the process of releasing the funds began before he made that accusation, and we know he could have done that a month prior if he wanted to, so it's pretty darn obvious Adam Schiff heard they were releasing the aid to Ukraine soon and decided to publicize the ordeal first so that he could claim Trump only released the aid due to pressure from the House. My god, the man is a turd.

Dude, Trump is all kinds the guilty and any continued claim otherwise is just absurd.

Besides, you guys were so easily convinced that Hillary and every other Democrat was guilty at the slightest provocation, and suddenly when mountains of evidence and arrests and 'Nah, hes not proven guilty of anything!'

The only reasonable thing for any right-winger to do now is save themselves. You dont owe Trump anything and dont need to go down with the ship with him, he certainly would not go down for your sake.

Saelune:
Dude, Trump is all kinds the guilty and any continued claim otherwise is just absurd.

Besides, you guys were so easily convinced that Hillary and every other Democrat was guilty at the slightest provocation, and suddenly when mountains of evidence and arrests and 'Nah, hes not proven guilty of anything!'

The only reasonable thing for any right-winger to do now is save themselves. You dont owe Trump anything and dont need to go down with the ship with him, he certainly would not go down for your sake.

This is a point that needs to be highlighted more and more.

There not enough found to actually place any charges of Hillary in 7 hearings about Benghazi. That did not stop crowds of people chanting "Lock Her Up!"

This situation never comes to the lips of Republicans when they call anything against this Administration a sham... Even though Hundreds of Prosecutors said Trump would have been indicted if he wasn't president. Or all of the charges of criminal wrongdoing by his administration or people close to his election. Actual, Factual things that people are spending time in jail for.

Everything against Trump is a lie, even if there are overwhelming facts that have brought many people to charges. Everyone around him is just wrong somehow. He's a guiltless angel that once said he only picks the best people... who eventually have said people brought up on charges or running for the hills when things get to hot.

Look, I really don't care if Republicans want Republicans in charge. That makes sense. I want Progressives in charge. But you have better options. You have the ability to pick a Republican leader that will not look so bad to us and the rest of the world. This cult is so damaging to the Republican image, I can't even begin to think of the aftermath of this all.

Agema:

I don't care about how much of a turd Adam Schiff is: he's currently not meaningfully accused of abuse of power.

I mean, he is by me. If I were to speculate, I'd say Adam Schiff heard from the whistleblower and helped him formulate the complaint as to best reach the end of impeachment. I'd suggest he leaked the complaint and the complainant to the media way before it became public. At minimum, the New York Times definitely knew the entire complaint way before the public did, and they are to this day the only corroboration to the whistleblower's claim that Ukraine knew about the freeze in early August, still reporting that despite every official from either nation and the recorded documents all publicly saying otherwise. I'd guess that Adam Schiff is responsible for feeding all of the information to Pelosi to have her start impeachment before anything was publicized at all. He's been holding closed door hearings about this refusing Republican witnesses, even refusing Republican questions, and then conveniently all and only anything that looks bad for Trump gets leaked to the press. And now he intends to have open hearings where he intends people to see him only call forth the witnesses who he already knows will say things he wants to hear. Schiff has abused his position every single step of the way.

tstorm823:
I mean, he is by me.

It is hilarious to read you level those accusations against Adam Schiff, whilst at the same time robustly claiming Trump is proven guiltless. You could not have made it clearer you have no balance or consistency.

You are of course following the new Republican strategy. Trump's survival rests on public approval - a large loss of trust in the president will oblige Republican senators to support impeachment. As influential Republicans have realised the evidence is damning, so they need to target the procedings. Thus the Republican aim in this is to kill it by turning it into a circus. This means dragging everyone and everything into a sump of counter-accusations and digressions so that the chaos distracts public attention away from how badly the president fucked up.

I say how badly Trump fucked up, because even at best and as I've said before, this affair is shockingly incompetent governance. It beggars belief that the government is currently about staff frantically running round trying to clear up the faeces that the man-baby in the Oval Office keeps smearing over the walls on a daily basis. And somehow Republicans translate that into being okay, because at least Trump's personal DoJ appointee says Trump is innocent and Republican senators are (probably) going to vote that he did nothing illegal to protect their seats. It's madness. China and Russia must be laughing their arses off.

Agema:

It is hilarious to read you level those accusations against Adam Schiff, whilst at the same time robustly claiming Trump is proven guiltless. You could not have made it clearer you have no balance or consistency.

Why should I treat them with balance or consistency? Adam Schiff isn't Donald Trump. Different people are different. Trump is a narcissistic doofus, Schiff is a conniving bastard. I totally believe Donald Trump cheated with a porn star and then paid her off. If you accused Schiff of the same, I wouldn't believe it without concrete evidence. I totally believe Schiff is trying to weaponize the bureaucracy and the media against his political opponents from behind the scenes. If you tell me Donald Trump is doing that, I'm not going to believe it without concrete evidence. It's not a matter of party, it's a matter of person and character.

tstorm823:

Why should I treat them with balance or consistency? Adam Schiff isn't Donald Trump. Different people are different. Trump is a narcissistic doofus, Schiff is a conniving bastard.

Yes, but Trump isn't in trouble for weaponising the bureaucracy - indeed he can't, because he lacks the knowledge and skill to do so. He constantly attempts to circumvent and subvert the bureaucracy, and that's what has dropped him deep in the mire.

Trump is incompetent in the sense he is absolutely and hopelessly unaware of how government works or is supposed to work. He came from the business world running what is to all intents his personal fiefdom, and seems to think being president should be much the same. That's much of the thing with all the nepotism of family (Jared, Ivanka) and trusted stooges - installing cronies to get his way.

But don't let Trump's organisational and procedural incompetence in government blind you to the fact he is very much a conniving bastard himself. The briefest glance through the many antics in his business career, plus even his dodgy "charity" (which he's just been mightily slapped for) and large chunks of his personal life make it abundantly clear he is cunning, ruthless, and very ethically deficient. He also has a large number of significantly more competent (in terms of knowledge of government) people to run round and cover up / fix a lot of what he screws up.

ObsidianJones:

Look, I really don't care if Republicans want Republicans in charge. That makes sense. I want Progressives in charge. But you have better options. You have the ability to pick a Republican leader that will not look so bad to us and the rest of the world. This cult is so damaging to the Republican image, I can't even begin to think of the aftermath of this all.

There's tribalism, obviously, particularly of less savoury trolling variety of enjoying the aggravation of the political opposition.

But I think there's a hefty measure of psychological defence in it all.

For many Republicans, to admit that Trump is a clusterfuck - corrupt, incompetent, morally barren - would be for them to admit they put such a man into power. No-one likes to admit they were wrong even on the small things, for something as big as electing the president, it's got to be particularly embarrassing and painful.

Agema:

There's tribalism, obviously, particularly of less savoury trolling variety of enjoying the aggravation of the political opposition.

But I think there's a hefty measure of psychological defence in it all.

For many Republicans, to admit that Trump is a clusterfuck - corrupt, incompetent, morally barren - would be for them to admit they put such a man into power. No-one likes to admit they were wrong even on the small things, for something as big as electing the president, it's got to be particularly embarrassing and painful.

Embarrassing and painful? You think Trump supporters are embarrassed? People go to his rallies like they're rock concerts, they wear his hat like a fashion statement, this presidential term is an Andrew W.K. party song came to life. Party til you puke, man!

Obsidian's talking about the damage this does to Republicans, and frankly, I don't see it. The American Right is celebrating a time of prosperity while the left for reasons I can't even begin to understand is picking fights with Bill Gates. The left is trying to weaponize every convicted individual tied to Donald Trump as though it isn't a breath of fresh air to see someone actually allow sleazeballs to be punished rather than protect people to avoid guilt by association. And while the people carrying unbridled hatred for Trump are just insufferably miserable, the rest of us are having a blast. Exceptionally few people think Donald Trump is a man of upstanding character, but in the words of the previous president: "People who do really good stuff have flaws", which really is a lovely summary of this moment in time.

tstorm823:

Agema:

There's tribalism, obviously, particularly of less savoury trolling variety of enjoying the aggravation of the political opposition.

But I think there's a hefty measure of psychological defence in it all.

For many Republicans, to admit that Trump is a clusterfuck - corrupt, incompetent, morally barren - would be for them to admit they put such a man into power. No-one likes to admit they were wrong even on the small things, for something as big as electing the president, it's got to be particularly embarrassing and painful.

Embarrassing and painful? You think Trump supporters are embarrassed? People go to his rallies like they're rock concerts, they wear his hat like a fashion statement, this presidential term is an Andrew W.K. party song came to life. Party til you puke, man!

Obsidian's talking about the damage this does to Republicans, and frankly, I don't see it. The American Right is celebrating a time of prosperity while the left for reasons I can't even begin to understand is picking fights with Bill Gates. The left is trying to weaponize every convicted individual tied to Donald Trump as though it isn't a breath of fresh air to see someone actually allow sleazeballs to be punished rather than protect people to avoid guilt by association. And while the people carrying unbridled hatred for Trump are just insufferably miserable, the rest of us are having a blast. Exceptionally few people think Donald Trump is a man of upstanding character, but in the words of the previous president: "People who do really good stuff have flaws", which really is a lovely summary of this moment in time.

Bill Gates is pretty corrupt. Because, you know, the left thinks laws that benefit CEOs or the rich over everyone is bad.

But... you think that's bad? I know that many on the right think that rich people are impeachable, so I'm having a guess that's the reason

trunkage:
Bill Gates is pretty corrupt. Because, you know, the left thinks laws that benefit CEOs or the rich over everyone is bad.

But... you think that's bad? I know that many on the right think that rich people are impeachable, so I'm having a guess that's the reason

In an ideal capitalist system the wealth one accumulates is equal to the value generated for others. I know the real world is far from ideal, and some wealth is ill-gotten gains, but the man made his fortune paving the way for accessible personal computing. That you and I are interacting at all would not be happening without the efforts of Gates or someone like him. The wealth the man has added to society far exceeds the money that he has.

And the majority of his wealth isn't money. He invests, a lot. His money is funding enterprises that make the world better for people at his own personal risk. A stock market crash could knock out half his net worth overnight. And it's not like he's just throwing money at any business that might profit for him. He's got money in renewables. He's trying to put billions into a renaissance in nuclear power. The man might personally turn the trends on climate change, and if it works, his net worth is probably going to go up from it. Is it corrupt to create the means to stabilize the climate?

And then the rest of his time he spends giving away his money basically as fast as he can. It's not like he can just hand his net worth over to people who need it. A bump in stock values could "make" Bill Gates a billion dollars over night. But to give that value away, he has to liquidate the stock and find a place to actually give the money. Looking at big government programs or the behavior of lottery winners should tell you that cutting big checks all at once tends to go wrong, and charity watchdog groups exist because throwing vast sums of money around thoughtlessly leads to fraud and corruption. Even just giving money to a reputable group to disperse it for you is a risk: the Chick-fil-a story that irritated me recently was about how they gave money to a charity that gave money to a bigger reputable charity group that partially funded another non-profit that at one point worked with a Ugandan homophobe. The man has to work to make his philanthropy truly valuable, and he's managed to give tens of billions of dollars away. He's waging war against malaria.

Bill Gates is a man who got rich by improving the lives of literally everyone. He made a foundation to ensure his wealth gets used to help those most in need of it even after his death. If you're really going to try and rationalize the position that this person is corrupt, you have to understand that the person you're demonizing is better liked than any other business person or political figure in America today. Calling Bill Gates corrupt is the fast track to scaring people away from your politics.

tstorm823:

trunkage:
Bill Gates is pretty corrupt. Because, you know, the left thinks laws that benefit CEOs or the rich over everyone is bad.

But... you think that's bad? I know that many on the right think that rich people are impeachable, so I'm having a guess that's the reason

In an ideal capitalist system the wealth one accumulates is equal to the value generated for others. I know the real world is far from ideal, and some wealth is ill-gotten gains, but the man made his fortune paving the way for accessible personal computing. That you and I are interacting at all would not be happening without the efforts of Gates or someone like him. The wealth the man has added to society far exceeds the money that he has.

And the majority of his wealth isn't money. He invests, a lot. His money is funding enterprises that make the world better for people at his own personal risk. A stock market crash could knock out half his net worth overnight. And it's not like he's just throwing money at any business that might profit for him. He's got money in renewables. He's trying to put billions into a renaissance in nuclear power. The man might personally turn the trends on climate change, and if it works, his net worth is probably going to go up from it. Is it corrupt to create the means to stabilize the climate?

And then the rest of his time he spends giving away his money basically as fast as he can. It's not like he can just hand his net worth over to people who need it. A bump in stock values could "make" Bill Gates a billion dollars over night. But to give that value away, he has to liquidate the stock and find a place to actually give the money. Looking at big government programs or the behavior of lottery winners should tell you that cutting big checks all at once tends to go wrong, and charity watchdog groups exist because throwing vast sums of money around thoughtlessly leads to fraud and corruption. Even just giving money to a reputable group to disperse it for you is a risk: the Chick-fil-a story that irritated me recently was about how they gave money to a charity that gave money to a bigger reputable charity group that partially funded another non-profit that at one point worked with a Ugandan homophobe. The man has to work to make his philanthropy truly valuable, and he's managed to give tens of billions of dollars away. He's waging war against malaria.

Bill Gates is a man who got rich by improving the lives of literally everyone. He made a foundation to ensure his wealth gets used to help those most in need of it even after his death. If you're really going to try and rationalize the position that this person is corrupt, you have to understand that the person you're demonizing is better liked than any other business person or political figure in America today. Calling Bill Gates corrupt is the fast track to scaring people away from your politics.

So, because he did good, he can get away with whatever he wants

No amount of money given replaces the fact that you are an ass, corrupt, or, in Chick-fil-a, an actual horrible person. Just because you contributed to society on something, doesn't mean you always contribute to society. OR in fact, your existence DAMAGAES society. If you need to give money to charity to ease your conscience, MAYBE LISTEN TO IT FIRST, before treating people terribly.

If you think this, you are corrupt. You, personally, have been bought. Bought to ignore injustices rich people have committed. I can recognise that Gates made a good product. Doesn't mean that he knows how to handle money. Doesn't mean that all he's doing to combat Malaria hasn't corrupted the government in the area, just like humanitarian aid from government (by the way, this corruption of humanitarian resources is THE reason I am interested in getting rid of humanitarian aid. Because, no matter if its private or government, it always leads to more war and death.) Doesn't mean he didn't treat his workers poorly, or not give them a decent share of their labour. Or monopolising an industry just to jack up prices for the $$$$. Recently, in the last two years, Windows went from about $1000 to $190 in my country. Great. Thank you almighty Bill Gates. Let me grovel at your feet and ignore all your other choice in life.

And I don't have that much of a problem with Gates. He seems to be one of the nice rich ones.

trunkage:

So, because he did good, he can get away with whatever he wants

No amount of money given replaces the fact that you are an ass, corrupt, or, in Chick-fil-a, an actual horrible person. Just because you contributed to society on something, doesn't mean you always contribute to society. OR in fact, your existence DAMAGAES society. If you need to give money to charity to ease your conscience, MAYBE LISTEN TO IT FIRST, before treating people terribly.

If you think this, you are corrupt. You, personally, have been bought. Bought to ignore injustices rich people have committed. I can recognise that Gates made a good product. Doesn't mean that he knows how to handle money. Doesn't mean that all he's doing to combat Malaria hasn't corrupted the government in the area, just like humanitarian aid from government (by the way, this corruption of humanitarian resources is THE reason I am interested in getting rid of humanitarian aid. Because, no matter if its private or government, it always leads to more war and death.) Doesn't mean he didn't treat his workers poorly, or not give them a decent share of their labour. Or monopolising an industry just to jack up prices for the $$$$. Recently, in the last two years, Windows went from about $1000 to $190 in my country. Great. Thank you almighty Bill Gates. Let me grovel at your feet and ignore all your other choice in life.

And I don't have that much of a problem with Gates. He seems to be one of the nice rich ones.

What other choices in life? What treating people terribly? Do you have reasons to think Bill Gates has done horrible things, or are you just assuming people are only rich if they're evil?

tstorm823:

Agema:

There's tribalism, obviously, particularly of less savoury trolling variety of enjoying the aggravation of the political opposition.

But I think there's a hefty measure of psychological defence in it all.

For many Republicans, to admit that Trump is a clusterfuck - corrupt, incompetent, morally barren - would be for them to admit they put such a man into power. No-one likes to admit they were wrong even on the small things, for something as big as electing the president, it's got to be particularly embarrassing and painful.

Embarrassing and painful? You think Trump supporters are embarrassed? People go to his rallies like they're rock concerts, they wear his hat like a fashion statement, this presidential term is an Andrew W.K. party song came to life. Party til you puke, man!

Obsidian's talking about the damage this does to Republicans, and frankly, I don't see it. The American Right is celebrating a time of prosperity while the left for reasons I can't even begin to understand is picking fights with Bill Gates. The left is trying to weaponize every convicted individual tied to Donald Trump as though it isn't a breath of fresh air to see someone actually allow sleazeballs to be punished rather than protect people to avoid guilt by association. And while the people carrying unbridled hatred for Trump are just insufferably miserable, the rest of us are having a blast. Exceptionally few people think Donald Trump is a man of upstanding character, but in the words of the previous president: "People who do really good stuff have flaws", which really is a lovely summary of this moment in time.

I'd say the right is celebrating a time of great decline rather than prosperity. Morally the republicans are experiencing an almost total collapse and the same goes for their competency considering they put a guy like Trump in charge. Maybe they'll get some short term gains from it and maybe they will have ''a blast'' but the long term effects are ruinous.

I find it a strange thing to say that Trump allowing the sleazeballs to be punished is a breath of fresh air. He's not allowing them to be punished but puts them in important leadership position while being the biggest sleazeballs himself. Trump is quick to drop his support once his cronies have been found out but that doesn't strike me as very moral, more of way to cover his own tracks. Rather than allowing the sleazeballs to get punished the Republicans instead rally as one to defend the sleazeball while accusing those that makes their crimes come to light as ''traitors''.

Agema:
There's tribalism, obviously, particularly of less savoury trolling variety of enjoying the aggravation of the political opposition.

But I think there's a hefty measure of psychological defence in it all.

For many Republicans, to admit that Trump is a clusterfuck - corrupt, incompetent, morally barren - would be for them to admit they put such a man into power. No-one likes to admit they were wrong even on the small things, for something as big as electing the president, it's got to be particularly embarrassing and painful.

The question is this: IS he a clusterfuck to them?

He symbolizes that the combined sleazy tactics (Gerrymandering) and blind devotion of their most reprehensible of figures can lead to their will being met. Not all Republicans voted for Trump, but they have to bare the weight of the Cult being their representatives. And the cult loves every Environmentally-Destructive, Ally-Abandoning, Corporate Tax-break, Country-Dividing Moment of it

trunkage:
So, because he did good, he can get away with whatever he wants

No amount of money given replaces the fact that you are an ass, corrupt, or, in Chick-fil-a, an actual horrible person. Just because you contributed to society on something, doesn't mean you always contribute to society. OR in fact, your existence DAMAGAES society. If you need to give money to charity to ease your conscience, MAYBE LISTEN TO IT FIRST, before treating people terribly.

If you think this, you are corrupt. You, personally, have been bought. Bought to ignore injustices rich people have committed. I can recognise that Gates made a good product. Doesn't mean that he knows how to handle money. Doesn't mean that all he's doing to combat Malaria hasn't corrupted the government in the area, just like humanitarian aid from government (by the way, this corruption of humanitarian resources is THE reason I am interested in getting rid of humanitarian aid. Because, no matter if its private or government, it always leads to more war and death.) Doesn't mean he didn't treat his workers poorly, or not give them a decent share of their labour. Or monopolising an industry just to jack up prices for the $$$$. Recently, in the last two years, Windows went from about $1000 to $190 in my country. Great. Thank you almighty Bill Gates. Let me grovel at your feet and ignore all your other choice in life.

And I don't have that much of a problem with Gates. He seems to be one of the nice rich ones.

First, you have to assume there was a conscience that aligned with conventional morality to begin with. He could have easily listened to a Conscience that said "Only we know what's real and what's not. LGBTQ's bad. We're making the world a better place".

I'm going to put out a personal story. I understand everyone has the right to free speech, but I stress again how personal it is for me. I'll leave out names as usual not for their protection, but just to get it out without breaking down.

I had a few best friends in my life. I had one that was "Better Than Family". She was amazing. Simply Amazing. More than a decade ago, she had some irregularities on and in her ovaries. She went to the doctor, as you're supposed to, and the doctor saw the absolute state of it. How harmful it would be if it wasn't treated.

But the doctor imposed his own mortality. His own views. Religious, as they were. A woman is supposed to have children. What affront to all that is known would he commit if he suggested a hysterectomy. Which would have actually suited her, because she didn't want to have kids. She made the mistake of being honest with her doctor and told him that. That seemingly only strengthened his convictions. He said it was nothing, and he gave her some pills to mask the pain and hope it would all end well.

It didn't.

It rotted away inside her. Spread inside her. She was an active woman, and she could barely get through the day without her pain being numbed to about 3 on the pain tolerance level (and that was a good day) with heavy doses of medication. She lived liked this for a decade. A number of surgeries to remove damaged tissue. And then that Hysterectomy she should have gotten years ago.

It wasn't enough. My 'Better Than Family' passed away last year in May.

Now I'm sure that doctor has actually saved lives before. Plenty. Or fixed people. But for us and others (and I have to believe there are others who suffered due to this doctor's beliefs), this doctor took from us. Gravely. Irrevocably. I can be glad with the lives that Doctor saved... and never forgive him for the atrocities he committed.

Now, I don't know what Bill Gates supposedly did. I know how he has been working for the environment. His Carbon Capture Plant is the best news the Environment has had since the modernization era.

But as Trunkage says, if he brought misery to the world, then we all should weigh that to the true measure of the man. If not for just morality sake, then for future generations. I don't know about others, but I do not want to give the children who we're supposed to give this steam-pile to the impression that you can do anything as long as you give us back a few trinkets.

Hades:
I'd say the right is celebrating a time of great decline rather than prosperity. Morally the republicans are experiencing an almost total collapse and the same goes for their competency considering they put a guy like Trump in charge. Maybe they'll get some short term gains from it and maybe they will have ''a blast'' but the long term effects are ruinous.

I find it a strange thing to say that Trump allowing the sleazeballs to be punished is a breath of fresh air. He's not allowing them to be punished but puts them in important leadership position while being the biggest sleazeballs himself. Trump is quick to drop his support once his cronies have been found out but that doesn't strike me as very moral, more of way to cover his own tracks. Rather than allowing the sleazeballs to get punished the Republicans instead rally as one to defend the sleazeball while accusing those that makes their crimes come to light as ''traitors''.

Although found to be inaccurate, I think the best phrase to sum this up is "Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned". Republicans have been touting themselves as selfless crusaders of justice, but have allowed the cult to paint themselves as deceivers of the highest order. But not of the rest of us. But of themselves.

Every time some Republican called for the impeachment of Obama, it rallied the proto-cult.

In 2010, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa called the alleged White House job offer to ex-Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak if he dropped out of a Senate primary "a crime, and could be impeachable" for Obama, Fox News reported.

Then in 2011, HuffPost reported that South Carolina Republican Rep. Tim Scott?now a U.S. Senator?said Obama raising the federal debt ceiling without congressional approval would be an "impeachable act" because the president would "usurp the entire system set up by our founding fathers"

The same year, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Republicans should consider impeaching Obama if his administration ignored the Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed states not to recognize same-sex marriage, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Back in 2013, the former GOP Michigan Rep. Kerry Bentivolio retained experts and historians to help him understand the impeachment process and said it would be "a dream come true" to impeach Obama, The New York Times reported.

Also in 2013, ThinkProgress reported that former GOP Texas Rep. Steve Stockman said he would file articles of impeachment if Obama used executive orders to force through tougher rules to keep guns out of criminals' hands.

GOP Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold even spoke of impeachment in response to a voter's question about the discredited birther conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in America and so not eligible to be president, Politico reported.

Republican lawmakers during Obama's two terms also called for his impeachment over the Libya intervention, the Benghazi attack, and immigration policy.

They spout 'Witch Hunt' and how unfair the Left is to the Right, but never look in their own closet and see what their side has done. It isn't about fairness in the Cult's eyes. It's about winning. And they will burn this planet to the ground as long as they get to pick the choice ashes for themselves.

Trump to them is the symbol of winning. Someone who will cater to them and only them as long as he is in power. It doesn't matter if other suffer if I benefit. That is the mentality of the Cult. Not all Republicans. I know Fiscal Republicans who have the world interest at heart, but just think it can be done for less (I don't believe that, but at least their hearts are in the right place).

But the cult. Those who will lie to themselves to believe they are in 90 degree weather in Miami when they are acutally in St. Paul Minn in a blizzard just because they want to believe they are in the sunshine. Those same cultist who will yell at anyone else who tells them that the cult need to come inside because they are getting caked with snow and will eventually freeze to death out there on their own. The same cult who sees other people saying How great the sun feels while they are being buried in the snow.

They will find the warmth of the same delusions. And proclaim themselves to be the only ones who see the truth because they all agree on it.

Meanwhile, we have 2677 pages of transcripts and testimonies. Of Republicans calling out the actions of the President. As we've seen with people here, nothing to them matters as long as they don't believe in it.

The Power of Delusion.

Hades:

I'd say the right is celebrating a time of great decline rather than prosperity. Morally the republicans are experiencing an almost total collapse and the same goes for their competency considering they put a guy like Trump in charge. Maybe they'll get some short term gains from it and maybe they will have ''a blast'' but the long term effects are ruinous.

Only time will tell us if you're right or I am, but the collapse you're talking about seems to me completely made up. Conservative everything is growing in popularity. Conservative events are getting crowds of young people, conservative media online is getting shockingly mainstream, and none of it is the old "conservative coalition" crap. I've only really been politically engaged for a dozen years or so, but this is the first time I've ever personally witnessed conservative voices just saying what they think and not tiptoeing around topics that might offend the libertarians or the neocons that might be Republicans if you squint hard enough. Nor are people acting so apologetic when the left accuses people of bigotry. This is a big source of why people supported Trump in the first place: the man is not a wiener. He's a lot of terrible things, but he's certainly not a wiener. Mitt Romney is a Wiener. John Kasich is a wiener. Rand Paul is like if Ron Paul was more of a wiener. Donald Trump is an arrogant buffoon, a self-obsessed narcissist, a serial adulterer, and his skin is genuinely orange, but he's not a wiener. I'm frankly excited about the post-Trump future. There is no doubt that conservatism is popular in America: individual freedom, limited government, and patriotic love of country are not hard principles to sell. And now Trump has proven something that should have been obvious from the start: not being a wiener is also popular. When Trump is done, I have great hope that the actual Republicans who follow will learn that lesson, and will display their values confidently and not be wieners.

I find it a strange thing to say that Trump allowing the sleazeballs to be punished is a breath of fresh air. He's not allowing them to be punished but puts them in important leadership position while being the biggest sleazeballs himself. Trump is quick to drop his support once his cronies have been found out but that doesn't strike me as very moral, more of way to cover his own tracks. Rather than allowing the sleazeballs to get punished the Republicans instead rally as one to defend the sleazeball while accusing those that makes their crimes come to light as ''traitors''.

Let me put it very simply: pick any president of the last 50+ years. If any of them were in office while also accused of being involved with Jeffery Epstein, the FBI wouldn't have arrested him. Politicians protecting even their perceived associates to help their own image is basically standard procedure. Look at the people arrested while involved with Trump's campaign and administration: Paul Manafort has been in politics since Gerald Ford was president, Micheal Flynn was Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama, Roger Stone's political career started when working for Richard Nixon. Do you think all of these people were squeaky clean for years and then suddenly thought "well, I'm working with Donald Trump, time to break some laws!" Or do you think they were always doing questionably legal things and only got arrested this time because Trump doesn't know how to cover for people?

You know what's good for the future of the Republican Party? Putting Roger Stone in prison. That's a good thing.

ObsidianJones:

They spout 'Witch Hunt' and how unfair the Left is to the Right, but never look in their own closet and see what their side has done.

Jesus Christ. The wikipedia article on efforts to impeach Obama is basically a list of Republicans saying "that might be an impeachable offense, but we definitely aren't going to impeach Obama." We don't know if there's a strong case yet, it's not good for the country, the senate wouldn't convict anyway, etc. And also Dennis Kucinich (D, for the record) cited as calling for impeachment, who literally said "Now, it doesn't necessarily follow that simply because a president has committed an impeachable offense, that the process should start to impeach and remove him. That's a whole separate question. But we have to clearly understand what this Constitution is about." Also for the record, Kucinich is the person who introduced articles of impeachment for George W. Bush.

Compare. The same article but for Donald Trump. Democrats were out for blood before he was inaugurated. It's pretty clear they don't even care about whether a crime was even committed, and have been looking for any reason to impeach. One of the resolutions for impeachment was for "Associating the Presidency with White Nationalism". Forget for a moment this was based off the Charlottesville statement where Trump explicitly condemned white nationalism, so the whole thing was stupid on its face. Al Green, who introduced that resolution: "The question isn't whether we have a bigot as President, the question is: What are we going to do about it?" Green wrote in a letter to fellow lawmakers ahead of the vote. "The answer is: impeachment for his high misdemeanors, which need not be a crime." Rephrased, it doesn't even matter what Trump does, that guy's pushing for impeachment. In fairness to the saner Democrats, that resolution was shut down in a bipartisan consensus of 364-48. But that's 48 Democrats who voted for "we don't need a crime, impeach him anyway."

No Republican was doing that to Obama. No resolution was ever introduced to impeach Obama. There wasn't an "Impeach Obama Leadership PAC" registered the month after he took office. If you want to argue Trump deserves to be impeached and Obama didn't so the much greater impeachment efforts are justified, go right ahead, you might make that case. But if you're comparing treatment of Obama to treatment of Trump and thinking "looks the same to me", your eyes are closed and your ears are shut.

tstorm823:

trunkage:

So, because he did good, he can get away with whatever he wants

No amount of money given replaces the fact that you are an ass, corrupt, or, in Chick-fil-a, an actual horrible person. Just because you contributed to society on something, doesn't mean you always contribute to society. OR in fact, your existence DAMAGAES society. If you need to give money to charity to ease your conscience, MAYBE LISTEN TO IT FIRST, before treating people terribly.

If you think this, you are corrupt. You, personally, have been bought. Bought to ignore injustices rich people have committed. I can recognise that Gates made a good product. Doesn't mean that he knows how to handle money. Doesn't mean that all he's doing to combat Malaria hasn't corrupted the government in the area, just like humanitarian aid from government (by the way, this corruption of humanitarian resources is THE reason I am interested in getting rid of humanitarian aid. Because, no matter if its private or government, it always leads to more war and death.) Doesn't mean he didn't treat his workers poorly, or not give them a decent share of their labour. Or monopolising an industry just to jack up prices for the $$$$. Recently, in the last two years, Windows went from about $1000 to $190 in my country. Great. Thank you almighty Bill Gates. Let me grovel at your feet and ignore all your other choice in life.

And I don't have that much of a problem with Gates. He seems to be one of the nice rich ones.

What other choices in life? What treating people terribly? Do you have reasons to think Bill Gates has done horrible things, or are you just assuming people are only rich if they're evil?

Nah, plenty of people are nasty. Rich people are just the people who can make it happen. Or rather, I see the desire to make money as corruptive, especially when it starts making decisions for you.

Bill Gates, when he was the owner and decision maker, should earn more than his workers. But not that much more.

He said corruption is the codt of business https://www.acc.org.bt/?q=node/1207
Now, I've got to respect the fact that he's honest and I'm highly aware that this isn't all his fault. A bunch of Warlords are being paid off the let the nets in. Who are then repressing the population. Governments have tried for decades to get around this problem to no avail, so I understand Gates'position. But corruption is corruption, and I highly doubt it's limited to Africa. He would have done the same in the US but with the aim to increase profits. At least he's corrupt to help people here

And this is his ecological impact https://www.syngenta.com/who-we-are/our-stories/world-malaria-day Curing the disease by starving the people. Certainly, he's doing a good job of copying Mao - trying to do something good that kills a bunch of people. We will see if he can turn it around before it gets stupid.

As I said, I don't think hate hin, he's trying to do good. It just has a bunch of unintended consequences

trunkage:

He said corruption is the codt of business https://www.acc.org.bt/?q=node/1207

"Anyone who wants there to be zero corruption should just go in their room and shut their door. Don't go to Illinois, don't go to New Jersey." - Bill Gates

Can I get this quote framed? I also have special dislike for Illinois and New Jersey.

tstorm823:

In an ideal capitalist system the wealth one accumulates is equal to the value generated for others. I know the real world is far from ideal, and some wealth is ill-gotten gains, but the man made his fortune paving the way for accessible personal computing. That you and I are interacting at all would not be happening without the efforts of Gates or someone like him. The wealth the man has added to society far exceeds the money that he has.

I would argue that the stupid quantities of wealth amassed by Bill Gates (and others) is poetntially evidence that capitalism is far from ideal.

In order to amass that sort of wealth, it suggests to me that competition is not what it should be. Good competition should really make it extremely difficult to massively dominate markets for stupendous quantities of money.

What mega-billionaire potentially represent is capture of markets by large actors which are then able to squeeze out (or simply buy out) others. Theoretically, a large firm need never innovate again - it can just buy smaller companies that do. If two companies go head to head in an area that can only support one, it's not necessarily the one with a better product that survives, but which one has more capital to sustain losses - and here again large companies can subsidise a lot of inferiority to success from its other divisions. They can lobby and buy out politicians up the wazoo for all sorts of regulations that benefit them. The money Microsoft might have extracted does not just represent "value", it's also a sort of rent extracted on people who don't have that much choice because Microsoft is squatting on a near-monopolistic operating system with associated near-monopolistic office programs, and can chuck a lot of money at government and court cases to keep it that way.

tstorm823:
Embarrassing and painful? You think Trump supporters are embarrassed?

ObsidianJones:
The question is this: IS he a clusterfuck to them?

No, I'm explicitly arguing some avoid feeling embarrassed through faith that he's not corrupt and incompetent. There's obviously a limit for all these individuals where their faith could be broken by Trump doing enough wrong, but that might be a high bar to surpass.

It can be a high bar to pass because, I suppose as Adam Smith said, "There's a lot of ruin in a country". There's an awful lot going on and the president doesn't matter to a great deal of it unless he does something amazingly extreme and ill-advised. The economy ticks over, the law ticks over, stuff gradually changes, and unless people take a big hit to their interests here and now, mistakes can easily seem trivial or even not mistakes at all. Trump can scrap NATO and sell Iran nukes, what are many Americans really going to care when it makes no difference to their daily lives? Then there's always a certain level of partisanship where something becomes a good idea just because the right person says so.

Agema:

I would argue that the stupid quantities of wealth amassed by Bill Gates (and others) is poetntially evidence that capitalism is far from ideal.

In order to amass that sort of wealth, it suggests to me that competition is not what it should be. Good competition should really make it extremely difficult to massively dominate markets for stupendous quantities of money.

What mega-billionaire potentially represent is capture of markets by large actors which are then able to squeeze out (or simply buy out) others. Theoretically, a large firm need never innovate again - it can just buy smaller companies that do. If two companies go head to head in an area that can only support one, it's not necessarily the one with a better product that survives, but which one has more capital to sustain losses - and here again large companies can subsidise a lot of inferiority to success from its other divisions. They can lobby and buy out politicians up the wazoo for all sorts of regulations that benefit them. The money Microsoft might have extracted does not just represent "value", it's also a sort of rent extracted on people who don't have that much choice because Microsoft is squatting on a near-monopolistic operating system with associated near-monopolistic office programs, and can chuck a lot of money at government and court cases to keep it that way.

But like, is that happening? I feel like you're applying 20th century explanations to 21st century problems. If you look at the richest people in the world right now, it's a lot of tech people. If you look at who's putting together gross monopolies, it's like Disney. The vast accumulation of wealth these days seem to me rooted in out inability to figure out if intellectual property is worthless of infinitely valuable.

tstorm823:

But like, is that happening? I feel like you're applying 20th century explanations to 21st century problems. If you look at the richest people in the world right now, it's a lot of tech people. If you look at who's putting together gross monopolies, it's like Disney. The vast accumulation of wealth these days seem to me rooted in out inability to figure out if intellectual property is worthless of infinitely valuable.

Facebook (>70% social media share, presumably including Instragam) and Google (92% search market share) pretty much are monopolies. They've theoretically got competition, and they're still monopolies. Amazon of course is rampant as an online marketplace, although as anyone can sell shit it's not as dominant, but ~40% is still huge. I think to some extent they created mega-billionaires because they started out pretty much as garage outfits, so the founders owned a disproportionate amount of the firms.

But nevertheless, if you compare these companies to other industries (banking, car manufacturers, petrochemicals etc.), those other industries have maybe 4+ major players in your average Western country.

When a company amasses enough power, it doesn't need to compete so much in terms of improved products/services - it can find all sorts of ways of shutting everyone else out. Mind you, even with about 4 players, there can still be forms of cartel-like behaviour. They compete against each other, sure, but they often also co-ordinate to protect their interests as a group as well: lobbying, think tanks, etc.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here