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Monday, July 17, 2017

OTP 17 July 2017: Love is baseball, family. Keep the politics out

This is baseball, and it’s our cocoon, our special time together, protected from the harder realities of life. Here, the sun is always shining, even if it rains.

If you don’t understand that, you’ve probably never lifted a child up over your head to watch adults scramble after a ball or circle the bases after crushing a home run. Or maybe you’ve never slid head first into a mud puddle without a care of how you would get past your mom and into the laundry room. Maybe you’ve never sat for hours on a rickety old bus with ice on your ankle, sprained from sliding into home, but smiling because you were safe.

Maybe you should have; if not, maybe you should try now. You are never not welcome to go sit in the bleachers and cheer on the players at a youth game, even if you cheer for both sides. Leagues always need volunteers. I coached for 35 years after playing, so I know.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 17, 2017 at 08:54 AM | 3063 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball, ffs, politics

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   201. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 17, 2017 at 08:26 PM (#5494970)
Jeffery Lord on CNN right now:

"Trump accepting dirt on Hillary from the Russian Government is no different that obama interviewing Dreamers."

   202. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 17, 2017 at 08:27 PM (#5494972)
Hell, everybody (except Ray and Donald Trump) thinks meeting with a hostile foreign government for the purpose of trading for incriminating material against his opponent is immoral.


What we are witnessing in real time here is Ray's absolute nihilistic cynicism. I mean, I'm a cynic, but Ray literally believes every politician on the planet is equally as soulless and vile as Donald Trump. It's astounding to behold.
   203. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 17, 2017 at 08:48 PM (#5494980)
I mean, I'm a cynic, but Ray literally believes every politician on the planet is equally as soulless and vile as Donald Trump

Not really. He thinks Hillary is worse.
   204. greenback wears sandals on his head Posted: July 17, 2017 at 08:51 PM (#5494983)
Lee and Moran just drove the final knife into the latest version of TrumpCare. Moran specifically cited the threat of this plan turning into single payer one day.
   205. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 17, 2017 at 09:14 PM (#5494995)
Lee and Moran just drove the final knife into the latest version of TrumpCare.


It is not dead until it is in the ground and Liberals are shoveling dirt on the grave ... and Trump starts a weird distraction and/or takes credit for ACAs successes.

However ... How Republicans Underestimated Obamacare Repeal

“The Trump transition team and other Republican leaders presumed that Congress would scrap Obamacare by President’s Day weekend in late February, according to three former Republican congressional aides and two current ones familiar with the administration’s efforts.”

“Republican leaders last fall planned a quick strike on the law in a series of meetings and phone calls, hoping to simply revive a 2015 repeal bill that Obama vetoed. Few in the administration or Republican leadership expected the effort to stretch into the summer months, with another delay announced this weekend, eating into valuable time for lawmakers to tackle tax reform, nominations or spending bills.”
   206. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 17, 2017 at 09:22 PM (#5495000)
The Senate health care bill is getting dangerous for Donald Trump


Support for the health care bill tracks closely with approval for Trump and faith that his policies will improve the US economy, Vox/SurveyMonkey polling shows. It is not a complete overlap, however: About one in seven Trump supporters now fear that the Senate health care bill will make them worse off.

Those supporters are the most vulnerable part of Trump’s coalition. They have lost faith in Trump’s promise that he would replace Obamacare with something “much better,” and they have less faith in the rest of his presidency too. Compared with their fellow Trump backers, they are more economically anxious, less confident in Trump’s economic policies, and more concerned about the Russia scandal and the administration’s possible ethical violations.



   207. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: July 17, 2017 at 09:24 PM (#5495003)

What we are witnessing in real time here is Ray's absolute nihilistic cynicism.


I've seen the term thrown around a lot regarding Raybot, but it's selling the original Russian Nihilists short. They were an interesting lot. The only interesting thing about Raybot is ...

OK. I got nothing.

   208. McCoy Posted: July 17, 2017 at 10:24 PM (#5495024)
Just got back from SunTrust Park. What a total shvtshow. The Braves should pull DNC aside and wring their necks. The most poorly managed and executed operation I've ever seen.
   209. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 17, 2017 at 10:41 PM (#5495028)
Support for the health care bill tracks closely with approval for Trump and faith that his policies will improve the US economy, Vox/SurveyMonkey polling shows. It is not a complete overlap, however: About one in seven Trump supporters now fear that the Senate health care bill will make them worse off.

Those supporters are the most vulnerable part of Trump’s coalition. They have lost faith in Trump’s promise that he would replace Obamacare with something “much better,” and they have less faith in the rest of his presidency too. Compared with their fellow Trump backers, they are more economically anxious, less confident in Trump’s economic policies, and more concerned about the Russia scandal and the administration’s possible ethical violations.

The question still remains as to whether these voters will manage to put 2 & 2 together a year from November, or whether losing their health insurance won't be as bothersome to them as those ICE raids are thrilling. In any event, they'll get what they deserve.
   210. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 17, 2017 at 10:55 PM (#5495034)
The Hill: GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West
A growing problem for Republicans: Demographic change is slowly, but inevitably, moving Western states to the left.

The political power of Las Vegas is a hint of the GOP’s worst-case scenario: A mega-metropolitan area so dominant, and so Democratic, that it swamps the Republican advantage in increasingly conservative rural areas. Republicans who have watched Nevada politics in recent years worry their party’s struggles in the Silver State will be a harbinger of things to come as the face of the American electorate changes — especially in other Mountain West states such as Arizona and Colorado. “The Wild West is slowly becoming an Urbanized West,” said Mike Slanker, a Republican strategist in Las Vegas.

The vast majority of Nevada’s growth has come in Clark County, which has seen its population jump from 48,000 in 1950 to 2.1 million today. Waves of immigrants from Central and South America, Asia, the Midwest and California have flocked to the Las Vegas area.

The challenge for Democrats is that many of those new residents are disproportionately unlikely to turn out to vote, especially in midterm elections. But if they do show up, the GOP’s nightmare scenario will be realized. ...States with metropolitan areas experiencing significant Hispanic population growth such as Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.

...The population boom has made Vegas an overwhelming force in Nevada politics: When Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid retired in 2016, his hand-picked successor, Catherine Cortez Masto, won Clark County, lost every other county in the state and won the election. In 2018, Democrats have a chance to put Nevada solidly in the blue column if they can win an open-seat governorship and defeat Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.), who is considered the most vulnerable Senate Republican up for reelection next year.

...Most Mountain West states, like Nevada, are dominated by a single fast-growing metropolitan area. Next door in Arizona, Phoenix’s Maricopa County represents about three-fifths of the votes cast in a statewide election, and it accounts for 80 percent of the state’s population gains in the last five years. Two of every three dollars earned in the state come from Phoenix. In Colorado, the six counties that make up the Denver metropolitan area — Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver and Jefferson — account for about half of the votes in recent statewide elections. Albuquerque and Santa Fe similarly dominate New Mexico politics. Salt Lake City and its neighbors, Ogden to the north and Provo to the south, make up nearly two-thirds of all votes in Utah.

...The problem Democrats face everywhere: Nationally, almost 65 percent of non-Hispanic white voters turned out to vote in 2016, according to political scientist Michael McDonald at the University of Florida. Nearly 60 percent of non-Hispanic black voters turned out, but only 45 percent of Hispanic registered voters showed up at the polls. In midterm elections, white voters, and even black voters, have been almost twice as likely to show up as Hispanic voters. That means Democrats have left thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of votes on the table.


Demographics may not be destiny, but for some, they are a dilemma.

Fortunately, it will be counterbalanced by the devastating infighting among some California Democrats.
   211. Howie Menckel Posted: July 17, 2017 at 10:58 PM (#5495035)
can JE explain what the Rs are doing on health care? I have had a too-busy but productive summer which is ok but leaves me utterly ignorant of their .... anything.

R is President, R is Senate, R is House. I may not like what they do, but can't they just do it?

#naivete but I am not surprised to hear Trump losing ground w Is in polling (granting a lot of weeding out there. but even the actual 6 pct of Is overall who are willing to roll the dice can't be impressed by any of this.

posters here have mentioned the dog finally catching the car and now what? does anyone disagree?
   212. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 17, 2017 at 11:12 PM (#5495044)
So the health care bill is now officially dead, with the silver stake driven through it by Senators from Kansas and Utah, no less. Sad!

And in other Amateur Hour news, Trump’s treasury secretary is hurtling toward potential debt-limit fiasco At some point not even Clapper's going to be able to keep up with all the winning.

OTOH when you pick your key appointees from the city dump, what else can you expect?
   213. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:18 AM (#5495060)
So the health care bill is now officially dead, with the silver stake driven through it by Senators from Kansas and Utah, no less. Sad!


Might as well just let Obamacare fail under its own weight anyway.
   214. Jay Z Posted: July 18, 2017 at 01:09 AM (#5495067)
R is President, R is Senate, R is House. I may not like what they do, but can't they just do it?


The Congress probably expects some degree of leadership from Executive. They are getting zero. Trump has no capability to lead anyone in anything.

Say what you want about Team W, but as an administration they were fairly well organized as to what they wanted to do. Poor choices, but they knew what they wanted.

Then, how many times do the Rs actually cut benefits on any massive scale? They don't, really. They may not pass the big programs, but they really haven't walked them back too often either. Even DMN here makes statements like "Almost everyone has healthcare", like taking 20 million citizens off the books would be no matter. Instead of bravely standing for taking people's insurance away.
   215. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 07:41 AM (#5495080)
Might as well just let Obamacare fail under its own weight anyway.


The grapes, I am sure they are sour anyway.
   216. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 07:49 AM (#5495083)
Credit where credit is due ... The Trump administration just saved Obamacare in Alaska

The Trump administration took a big step Tuesday to make Obamacare work better, potentially lowering premiums and increasing enrollment.

Yes, you read that right. For all the work the White House has done to destabilize the health law — and there is much of it — the Trump administration approved an Alaska plan that will make the law work much better.

The Trump administration will send Alaska $48 million to stabilize its health insurance markets and offset the costs of especially high-cost patients. It expects, however, that the program won't cost the federal government a dime. Instead, the Trump administration will recoup all that money in the form of less spending on Obamacare subsidies because premiums in the market would decline.


The GOP is in charge. They own healthcare and the economy and foreign affairs and ... They should realize that and start actually governing. This is a nice step. There are plenty of problems guys, time to get working on those you can actually manage.
   217. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 18, 2017 at 07:49 AM (#5495084)
Might as well just let Obamacare fail under its own weight anyway.

The grapes, I am sure they are sour anyway.

Too bad there isn't a way to drive Ray's premiums up to about $5,000 a month, and have each invoice be accompanied by a note telling him which specific smartphone carrying opioid addicts in Moonshine, WV his $5,000 is going to subsidize.
   218. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:05 AM (#5495086)
I try and do something productive for a bit and I come back to see you pumpkins spent the day arguing morality with a lawyer. Can we get some incels in here to discuss healthy relationships next?
   219. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:10 AM (#5495088)
I come back to see you pumpkins spent the day arguing morality with a lawyer.


To be fair, it was more of trying to use the exchange as a teachable moment for lurkers who might learn from Ray's categorical failures on the subject.
   220. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:18 AM (#5495091)
Even DMN here makes statements like "Almost everyone has healthcare", like taking 20 million citizens off the books would be no matter. Instead of bravely standing for taking people's insurance away.
Almost everyone had health coverage pre-Obamacare. That's simply a descriptive statement, and a reason why repealing it isn't a big deal. Removing people from the welfare rolls is not taking people's insurance away; Medicaid is welfare, not insurance. (And it's certainly not "theirs.") I "bravely stand" for eliminating all government involvement in health care and health insurance.
   221. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:22 AM (#5495093)
To be fair, it was more of trying to use the exchange as a teachable moment for lurkers who might learn from Ray's categorical failures on the subject.


I just kind of wanted to find out exactly how Ray thought morality worked. Clearly he doesn't actually know what it is, so I wanted to find out what he thought it was. Sadly he refused to actually engage and explain his thoughts and just kept pounding away on the same responses. Oh well.
   222. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:25 AM (#5495095)
I "bravely stand" for eliminating all government involvement in health care and health insurance.


One of your more willfully ignorant positions, yes. Health markets are more like police and military services than purchasing dry goods.
   223. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:26 AM (#5495096)
Sadly he refused to actually engage and explain his thoughts and just kept pounding away on the same responses.


It's part of this bunker mentality he has these days, especially as the other Trumpistas drip and drab away slowly while the train wrecks in the background.
   224. BrianBrianson Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:37 AM (#5495105)
What an odd question. We've heard for many moons now that Russia wanted Trump to win the election.


And why did Putin want Trump to win the election?

I mean, I suppose it should be obvious why Trump, and his little minions, assume everyone would exploit any advantage in an election - they simple can't understand that anyone who might run for office might put the welfare of America before their own advantage. It's literally unthinkable to them that America is a good thing on it's own - to be cherished/loved/cared for - it's just a resource for them to exploit. When you say you should (not sell access to the President to the Russians/mitigate global warming/provide for the disadvantaged/protect the environment) it's just gibberish to them, because it doesn't do anything good for them, only for America - so you can't convince them they should care. It's like you're speaking to them in Linear A.
   225. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:37 AM (#5495106)
I "bravely stand" for eliminating all government involvement in health care and health insurance.


This is a fair enough position and it has the benefit of being coherent. Sadly it is strongly in the minority world wide, and the trend seems to be going the other direction. Every first world nation I am aware of, and indeed most other nations, have plenty of government involvement in health care and health insurance. In fact I don't know of any nation (and I mean those places that can be said to have an actual nation) that doesn't have some degree in involvement, usually scaling up the more wealthy the country is, the more resources it has to throw at the problem.

The reason is simple. Governments are, by and large, organized to make people's lives better. And being healthy is better than being sick, having access to health care is better than not having access.

Almost everyone had health coverage pre-Obamacare.


Of course the part you "accidentally" neglect to mention in your sentiment is that the reason most people had some degree of access to health care pre-ACA is because of other government involvement in health care and health insurance that predates ACA. And by your statement you want that repealed as well. You want all government involvement removed, which would result in many many people having no access to healthcare.

So while your sentiment is coherent, it results in human suffering and millions who have access now would lose that access to healthcare if you had your way. No thanks.
   226. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:44 AM (#5495108)
Republicans Aren't Turning on Trump—They're Turning on Each Other

“We’re in charge, right? We have the House, the Senate, and the White House,” one GOP member of Congress told me. “Everyone’s still committed to making progress on big issues, but the more time goes by, the more difficult that becomes. And then the blame game starts.”

The House blames the Senate: At a press conference last week, Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, waved a chart of 226 House-passed bills that the Senate hasn’t taken up. “We will continue to do our work here, and we hope the Senate continues to do their work as we move forward,” McCarthy said pointedly.
...
For its part, the Senate blames the House. A Russia sanctions bill passed the upper chamber with 98 votes a month ago, but it has yet to come to the floor in the House. That prompted Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to accuse the House of “dilly dallying” and “a ridiculous waste of time.”

House leaders say procedural issues and Democrats have tied up the legislation, which the White House opposes. Some members, however, suspect that House leadership is purposely slow-walking the bill to avoid embarrassing the president. A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan denied that was the case, telling me the White House’s position on the issue was “not a factor” in the bill’s fate.


But Trump is turning on Republicans

At a dinner with GOP senators on Monday evening, Trump said the party would look like “dopes” if they couldn’t pass the bill after passing a repeal bill in 2015.

“If the Republicans have the House, Senate and the presidency and they can't pass this health care bill they are going to look weak,” Trump said, according to a source familiar with the meeting. “How can we not do this after promising it for years?”

Trump had no idea defections were coming Monday night, according to another White House official with knowledge of the meeting. "Why would we have a dinner like that if we knew people were going to drop out?" the official said.
   227. dog poop god (SS) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:48 AM (#5495110)
trying to use the exchange as a teachable moment

When you've got nothing else, you can always spend the day beating a dead horse.
   228. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:48 AM (#5495111)
“We’re in charge, right? We have the House, the Senate, and the White House,” one GOP member of Congress told me. “Everyone’s still committed to making progress on big issues, but the more time goes by, the more difficult that becomes. And then the blame game starts.”


Who knew a bunch of inbred, rabid howler monkeys wouldn't be capable of piloting a 21st century ship of state?
   229. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:50 AM (#5495113)
When you've got nothing else, you can always spend the day beating a dead horse.


I here there was an accident on a freeway in China this morning. You should totally get on explaining how that's America's fault, buddy. Probably, like, a dark ops drone program from Obama, who still secretly runs the CIA from the deep sub-basements of his lair beneath Lake Michigan.
   230. dog poop god (SS) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:51 AM (#5495114)
Piling on would be beating a dead horse.

Perhaps "getting your gang rape on" is the better metaphor. Especially since Ray apparently follows Nick Nolte's recreational drug advice.
   231. dog poop god (SS) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:55 AM (#5495117)
229 -- No need to make #### up like you. Perhaps you can follow Zonk's example and flee the country as soon as you actually see something wrong.
   232. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:58 AM (#5495119)
If healthcare "reform" is well and truly dead (and I am not sure I believe it quite yet) then on to the next fight ... The coming Republican civil war over the budget resolution, explained

Republicans are unified in their goal to cut taxes, but they are locked in an intraparty struggle of how deeply to cut rates — and whether to offset those cuts at all with increased taxation elsewhere. GOP leaders have proposed a tax reform blueprint that would include such an increase to offset lost revenue from rate cuts and keep the budget deficit from growing.

The conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus say that proposal is dead on arrival, and they are pushing House Speaker Paul Ryan to adopt an alternative: one that relies on draconian welfare spending cuts and incredibly optimistic economic growth projections in order to avoid swelling the deficit. Ryan has resisted their efforts, particularly their proposed spending cuts.

Rather than stage that fight this fall, when the White House and conservative leaders will undoubtedly ramp up the pressure to pass a tax bill, the Freedom Caucus members have chosen to make their tax stand over the budget resolution — a nonbinding government spending guideline that both chambers have to pass if they want to circumvent the threat of a Democratic filibuster in the Senate on tax reform.

GOP leaders are refusing to back down from a resolution that Freedom Caucus members warn would force a vote on a smaller batch of tax and spending cuts in the fall. But without the Freedom Caucus on board, the resolution will fail a floor vote — which is why caucus members have identified the budget resolution as their best leverage to get what they want on tax reform, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) said.

And so the budget resolution has become a proxy war, while President Trump’s attention is still on health care in the Senate.


I am sure the GOP President already knows all he needs to know and he has the best people on it already. What could possibly go wrong?
   233. dog poop god (SS) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:07 AM (#5495123)
you cannot be this dense. If all they wanted was for Trump to win, there is no need for the meeting. They just release it. The meeting is to extract something in return for their support. And as we saw, that was the case.

The obvious thing is repeal of the Magnitsky act, since according to the conspiracy theory, they were all aboard the Trump train from the get go. But strangely, their cohorts at Fusion GPS allied against Magnitsky while also working on oppo against Trump.

In this they alligned with Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, who came out against Magnitsky after a half million dollar payout to her husband.

Not suggesting any conspiracies, just that all parties involved got their mind on their money and their money on their mind above all. Any claims for morality are a convenient cover story.
   234. dog poop god (SS) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:19 AM (#5495128)
Perhaps I've missed it, but I've seen no discussion here of the humanitarian crises in Yemen and Gaza. Then again, KSA nor Israel will never be called ######## inside the beltway nor proclaimed by WaPo or NYT as worthy of the two minute hate.
   235. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:22 AM (#5495130)
The conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus say that proposal is dead on arrival, and they are pushing House Speaker Paul Ryan to adopt an alternative: one that relies on draconian welfare spending cuts and incredibly optimistic economic growth projections in order to avoid swelling the deficit
That's not right.

Fudging the numbers in this way may make it look like you're not raising the deficit, but it won't actually stop the deficit from going up.

EDIT: And it just shows how dishonest the Freedom Caucus is.
   236. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:28 AM (#5495134)
EDIT: And it just shows how dishonest the Freedom Caucus is.


If this were Paul Ryan, I'd go with "dishonest." Given the facts of the "Freedom Caucus" membership rolls, this is probably more rank stupidity than dishonesty. I think people still underestimate how mindbogglingly stupid your run of the mill GOP House member is.
   237. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5495136)
One of your more willfully ignorant positions, yes. Health markets are more like police and military services than purchasing dry goods.
No. Law enforcement and national defense are public goods (as that term is defined by economists -- not just a layman's "something good for the public."). Health care, with the limited exception of dealing with certain communicable diseases, is not. (And in particular, the type of health care that accounts for the bulk of spending is not. Treating injuries, chronic diseases, cancer, elderly care... all private goods. Rivalrous and excludable.)
   238. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:34 AM (#5495137)
Perhaps I've missed it, but I've seen no discussion here of the humanitarian crises in Yemen and Gaza. Then again, KSA nor Israel will never be called ######## inside the beltway nor proclaimed by WaPo or NYT as worthy of the two minute hate.
Apparently you missed it, but Israel pulled out of Gaza a dozen years ago.
   239. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:36 AM (#5495138)
I think people still underestimate how mindbogglingly stupid your run of the mill GOP House member is.


I am not sure stupid fits here (not arguing how smart or dumb they are, BTW). They are not using reason, analysis and thought didn't go into forging their opinion, so it is a bit unfair to judge their reason, thought, and analysis on their position. I don't even know how dishonest it is.

They seem to truly believe taxes and government are evil, and so they engage all their faculties into "proving" that such is true. And thus any measure which reduces taxes and government MUST be good. And so you argue for it, that it ends up being a good thing, using every means available, because you already know it is true.
   240. Greg K Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5495139)
Perhaps I've missed it, but I've seen no discussion here of the humanitarian crises in Yemen and Gaza. Then again, KSA nor Israel will never be called ######## inside the beltway nor proclaimed by WaPo or NYT as worthy of the two minute hate.

The Economist has been harping on that (ie. Yemen) for a while now. In the US the focus is understandably on Trump's role in the whole Qatar ultimatum business, but Yemen has to loom large in the growing tensions between Gulf states, right?
   241. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:48 AM (#5495143)
Americans Should Impeach Presidents More Often


We don't call it "the v-word" when the president signals he might veto a bill. Yet somehow, when it comes to the constitutional procedure for ejecting an unfit president, journalists and Congress members—grown-ups, ostensibly—are reduced to the political equivalent of "h-e-double-hockey-sticks."

* * *

The Framers borrowed the mechanism from British practice, and there it wasn't nearly so narrow. The first time the phrase appeared, apparently, was in the 1386 impeachment of the Earl of Suffolk, charged with misuse of public funds and negligence in "improvement of the realm." The Nixon-era House Judiciary Committee staff report Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment described the English precedents as including "misapplication of funds, abuse of official power, neglect of duty, encroachment on Parliament's prerogatives, [and] corruption and betrayal of trust."

As Hamilton explained in the Federalist, "the true spirit of the institution" was "a method of national inquest into the conduct of public men," the sort of inquiry that could "never be tied down by such strict rules…as in common cases serve to limit the discretion of courts."

Among those testifying beside Sunstein and Tribe in 1998 was Northwestern's John O. McGinnis, a genuine originalist, who argued that the Constitution's impeachment provisions should be viewed in terms of the problem they were designed to address: "how to end the tenure of an officer whose conduct has seriously undermined his fitness for continued service and thus poses an unacceptable risk of injury to the republic."

* * *

Today, even the president's political enemies tend to set the bar far higher. Donald Trump has acted in a way that is "strategically incoherent," "incompetent," and "reckless," Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi said in February, but "that is not grounds for impeachment."

But incoherence, incompetence, and recklessness are evidence of unfitness, and when we're talking about the nation's most powerful office they can be as damaging as actual malice. It would be a pretty lousy constitutional architecture that only provided the means for ejecting the president if he's a crook or a vegetable, but left us to muddle through anything in between.

Luckily, Pelosi is wrong: There is no constitutional barrier to impeaching a president who demonstrates gross incompetence or behavior that makes reasonable people worry about his proximity to nuclear weapons.

* * *
Thus far, the Trump administration has been a rolling Fyre Festival of negligence and maladministration, from holding a nuclear strategy session with Japan's prime minister in the crowded dining room of a golf resort to having the former head of Breitbart News draft immigration orders without the assistance of competent lawyers. Near as I can tell, James Comey's verbal incontinence had a bigger impact on the 2016 election than Russian espionage, but liberals hold out hope for a "smoking gun" of collusion that's unlikely ever to emerge. Meanwhile, the Trump administration was apparently clueless that firing the FBI director in the midst of the Russia investigation would be a big deal, and Trump himself was unaware that admitting he did it in hopes of quashing the inquiry was a stupid move.

As the Comey story emerged, pundits and lawbloggers debated whether, on the known facts, the president's behavior would support a federal felony charge for obstruction of justice. But that's the wrong standard. As the Nixon Impeachment Inquiry staff report pointed out: "the purpose of impeachment is not personal punishment. Its purpose is primarily to maintain constitutional government." Even if, to borrow a phrase from Comey, "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a charge of obstruction on these facts, the House is free to look at the president's entire course of conduct and decide whether it reveals unfitness justifying impeachment.

   242. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:49 AM (#5495144)
The Economist has been harping on that (ie. Yemen) for a while now. In the US the focus is understandably on Trump's role in the whole Qatar ultimatum business, but Yemen has to loom large in the growing tensions between Gulf states, right?


The root cause of it has, in a somewhat unusual turn for the Mideast, nothing to do with Israel. It is all about the various centers of power in the ME, religious, economic, political and military power, striving against each other. I don't think there is much the US (or anyone else) can do to resolve the situation, I think the best we can likely do is try to mitigate the damage done, keep things as calm as possible and offer both aid and other resources in an attempt to both mitigate the current harm being done and to prevent things from getting worse.

Some problems can't be solved externally in any reasonable manner. The various factions involved are going to have to manage - hopefully with as little damage as possible.

EDIT: And of course, GOP President Trump is very ill suited for the situation. Yet another example of him being unqualified for the job he holds.
   243. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5495146)
BTW - also have to post this, it's about Bannon -- but I just gotta post this quote from Trump:

“You think you’ve gotta go on TV to talk to me?” Trump shouted. “You treat me like a baby! Am I like a baby to you? I sit there like a little baby and watch TV and you talk to me? Am I a ####### baby, Paul?”


Yes, you are a ####### baby.

Next question.
   244. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:53 AM (#5495147)
Americans Should Impeach Presidents More Often


To the surprise of no one I disagree. It is a very weighty matter to remove a duly elected official. It should be done in the last resort and as reluctantly as possible. Even when an incompetent and unqualified idiot is elected.

There has to be a mechanism to do it, and I am not utterly opposed to it being deployed, but the time is not yet and in fact I don't think we are particularly close to it.
   245. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:57 AM (#5495148)
No. Law enforcement and national defense are public goods (as that term is defined by economists -- not just a layman's "something good for the public."). Health care, with the limited exception of dealing with certain communicable diseases, is not. (And in particular, the type of health care that accounts for the bulk of spending is not. Treating injuries, chronic diseases, cancer, elderly care... all private goods. Rivalrous and excludable.)


Health care, while tight-roping very close to the notion of a public good (despite m'lady's rousing objects), is so distorted by perverse incentives that it can't be adequately addressed solely via a private market. Thus, it must be addressed, by a rational society*, as a public good regardless.

*not Libertopia, obviously, because you boys are a bunch of soft-headed dreamers who close your eyes and demand the world work how you want it too rather than how it actually does.
   246. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:01 AM (#5495149)
I am not sure stupid fits here (not arguing how smart or dumb they are, BTW). They are not using reason, analysis and thought didn't go into forging their opinion, so it is a bit unfair to judge their reason, thought, and analysis on their position.


This is why stupidity is precisely the correct frame. It's not ignorance. Ignorance is a lack of information or knowledge. Ignorance can be addressed by education. Stupidity, on the other hand, is the lack of the capability to be educated. The ignorant aren't necessarily stupid, but the stupid are almost always ignorant. The House GOP caucus is populated by scores upon scores of stupid men (and women.) They can't be reasoned with. They can't be educated. They're too dumb to know how ####### dumb they are.
   247. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:07 AM (#5495151)
To the surprise of no one I disagree. It is a very weighty matter to remove a duly elected official. It should be done in the last resort and as reluctantly as possible. Even when an incompetent and unqualified idiot is elected.


If an unqualified and incompetent idiot doesn't call for the last resort of removal -- then what does?

Looking for a prosecutable crime is the wrong standard because as Healy notes - impeachment isn't punishment. It's not intended to be a criminal remedy... so why should it be the standard for impeachment?

I wholly agree that it's a weighty matter and shouldn't be approached as a mere partisan tool... but we're at the bottom of the barrel. If not now, then there probably is no 'when'.
   248. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:08 AM (#5495152)
This is why stupidity is precisely the correct frame. It's not ignorance. Ignorance is a lack of information or knowledge. Ignorance can be addressed by education. Stupidity, on the other hand, is the lack of the capability to be educated. The ignorant aren't necessarily stupid, but the stupid are almost always ignorant. The House GOP caucus is populated by scores upon scores of stupid men (and women.) They can't be reasoned with. They can't be educated. They're too dumb to know how ####### dumb they are.

More likely it's that an ideology that's been ingrained in them since adolescence** acts as a barrier gate to processing any information that would counter it.

** The prime reading age for Ayn Rand novels
   249. Greg K Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:13 AM (#5495154)
To the surprise of no one I disagree. It is a very weighty matter to remove a duly elected official. It should be done in the last resort and as reluctantly as possible. Even when an incompetent and unqualified idiot is elected.

There has to be a mechanism to do it, and I am not utterly opposed to it being deployed, but the time is not yet and in fact I don't think we are particularly close to it.

Yeah, the 17th century had a run of chief ministers impeached under those terms. In 1626 the Duke of Buckingham was charged with straight-forward corruption (selling offices and titles, promoting his incompetent family), but also with vaguer "crimes" like not being good at his job (failing to protect English shipping in the English Channel), and even accusing him of enacting policy they didn't like (loaning English ships to the French as part of a negotiated alliance).

In 1641 parliament essentially presented an impeachment case against the Earl of Strafford that amounted to..."this guy...this is not our kind of guy". Which is pretty rough when impeachment means your head is cut off.

But there is something to be said for a procedure that allows for the removal of a political figure for lack of confidence in his/her ability to continue in office (rather than an actual crime). I suppose it's easier in a parliamentary system where a no-confidence vote essentially serves that purpose. But then you'd have to have the legislative and executive inter-mingled with one another, which presents its own problems.
   250. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:15 AM (#5495157)
More likely it's that an ideology that's been ingrained in them since adolescence** acts as a barrier gate to processing any information that would counter it.


I don't care why they're stupid. I don't care if they're willfully stupid or stupid by some basic lack of material biology. I care that they're stupid, and demonstrably incapable of improvement.
   251. dog poop god (SS) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:16 AM (#5495158)
. In the US the focus is understandably on Trump's role in the whole Qatar ultimatum business, but Yemen has to loom large in the growing tensions between Gulf states, right?

In exacerbating tensions largely present. Every country has internally conflicting interests. The Qataris' sin appears to be taking a more independent stance rather than be subordinate to its stronger neighbors. I'm not really sure of the pecking order on the pennisula after KSA.
   252. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:17 AM (#5495159)
If an unqualified and incompetent idiot doesn't call for the last resort of removal -- then what does?


Here is the thing, I get what you are saying, but we start in a different place. The voters who elected GOP Nominee Trump knew his personal qualifications and elected him anyway. GOP President Trump is the guy they elected. He has acted pretty much exactly as anyone rational would have expected from his behavior before the election.

Since that is the case I think it is wrong to remove him for showing the very attributes the voters presumably knew about when they elected him.

Impeachment is a political solution to the problem of power, having that much power invested in a single person. It is not a tool to overrule the voters and say "Hey you folks voted for someone we think is incompetent at their job, so we are giving them the heave ho."

In theory I think impeachment should be used for when things change, when the President changes or information about them changes (is revealed), or the situation changes drastically enough that the voters decision is no longer feasible. I don't think that has happened here. I think the voters are getting what they voted for, even if I think most of those votes were foolish. In many ways impeachment is like pornography, you know it when you see it, and I don't see it yet.

In reality of course impeachment is wholly political in nature and in the hands of politicians and they are operating from an entirely different calculus than you or I are.
   253. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:18 AM (#5495160)
But there is something to be said for a procedure that allows for the removal of a political figure for lack of confidence in his/her ability to continue in office (rather than an actual crime). I suppose it's easier in a parliamentary system where a no-confidence vote essentially serves that purpose. But then you'd have to have the legislative and executive inter-mingled with one another, which presents its own problems.


This is a good point in Healy's favor -- i.e., the American constitutional framers were certainly well aware of what carving out a separate executive branch, rather than a executive chosen from a parliament, meant.

The bar is certainly higher via the American system via impeachment than a parliamentary system -- and that's fine. But - the bar still exists, and I'm very much buying the argument that impeachment was never intended to the sort of high standard remedy many people now insist.
   254. McCoy Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:20 AM (#5495161)
If the voters are fools and they voted in a manner that is detrimental to the well being of the state impeachment should absolutely be employed. If the foolish voters don't like it they can either vote out those who impeached their foolish leader or start a recall procedure when applicable.
   255. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:21 AM (#5495164)
But there is something to be said for a procedure that allows for the removal of a political figure for lack of confidence in his/her ability to continue in office (rather than an actual crime). I suppose it's easier in a parliamentary system where a no-confidence vote essentially serves that purpose. But then you'd have to have the legislative and executive inter-mingled with one another, which presents its own problems.


In theory sure, but we have the system we have and I don't like changing the rules midstream, just because a narrow election tipped a way I don't like.

I think there is also something to be said for not being able to remove a leader for less than monumental reasons. I suspect Lincoln would have been given the boot, to fairly disastrous results (to cherry pick one example).
   256. Greg K Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5495168)
Looking for a prosecutable crime is the wrong standard because as Healy notes - impeachment isn't punishment. It's not intended to be a criminal remedy... so why should it be the standard for impeachment?

This is actually where Strafford's accusers ran into trouble. When they tried to shoe-horn their complaints about him into something that fit the definition of a "crime" it was pretty weak sauce, and the peanut gallery wasn't really buying it.

The 17th century is actually a fun time for impeachment, because over the course of a few proceedings in the 1620s and 1640s parliament was piecing together what "impeachment" actually was on the fly. The article above is correct that impeachment was a 14th century process. But it had been dormant for generations by the 17th century and the records of how it had actually worked were pretty sketchy. There's a fun mixture of antiquarians trying to recover the ancient institution, and politicians saying "why don't we just make impeachment mean what we need it to mean?"

Robert Cotton's library played a large role in this. Members of parliament on all sides of issues would drop by his house to research precedents (since his private library was far more extensive than any documents parliament itself had). It must have been an interesting house to spend time in when parliament was in session.
   257. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5495169)
If the voters are fools and they voted in a manner that is detrimental to the well being of the state impeachment should absolutely be employed.


That is one opinion. I value the process of democracy very highly. I acknowledge there is a price for following the whims of the morons, but there is also a price for overruling those whims. The first step is always "for the good of the country", but that is seldom the last step on the road towards authoritarianism.
   258. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:25 AM (#5495174)
If an unqualified and incompetent idiot doesn't call for the last resort of removal -- then what does?
Because (from your link) "As James Madison's notes recount, when Virginia's George Mason moved to add "maladministration" to the Constitution's impeachable offenses, Madison objected: 'So vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the Senate.'".

IOW, if the bar for impeachment were lower, the president would become a tool of Congress. That's not what the Founders envisioned and not what I think the country would want.
   259. Greg K Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:26 AM (#5495176)
In exacerbating tensions largely present. Every country has internally conflicting interests. The Qataris' sin appears to be taking a more independent stance rather than be subordinate to its stronger neighbors. I'm not really sure of the pecking order on the pennisula after KSA.

The fun dynamic I keep reading about is the competition between Saudi Arabia and the UAE to be military top dog in the Yemen coalition. The UAE looking to set up shop with a permanent presence in and around Yemen when the fighting is done. And Saudi Arabia, especially the Crown Prince, not being too excited about that.
   260. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5495177)
Here is the thing, I get what you are saying, but we start in a different place. The voters who elected GOP Nominee Trump knew his personal qualifications and elected him anyway. GOP President Trump is the guy they elected. He has acted pretty much exactly as anyone rational would have expected from his behavior before the election.

Since that is the case I think it is wrong to remove him for showing the very attributes the voters presumably knew about when they elected him.

Impeachment is a political solution to the problem of power, having that much power invested in a single person. It is not a tool to overrule the voters and say "Hey you folks voted for someone we think is incompetent at their job, so we are giving them the heave ho."

In theory I think impeachment should be used for when things change, when the President changes or information about them changes (is revealed), or the situation changes drastically enough that the voters decision is no longer feasible. I don't think that has happened here. I think the voters are getting what they voted for, even if I think most of those votes were foolish. In many ways impeachment is like pornography, you know it when you see it, and I don't see it yet.

In reality of course impeachment is wholly political in nature and in the hands of politicians and they are operating from an entirely different calculus than you or I are.


Well, not all of them -- at least, there are certainly Trump voters of the NeverHillary sort who pinned their hopes on "Oh, he'll start acting Presidential"... that's obviously not happened and there ARE both statistical (via polling) and anecdotal evidence that at least some portion of Trump voters that were willing to risk 2016 as an 'act', with 2017 being different. 63 million people aren't monolith any more than 66 million - or as David often, quite correctly, points out - 73 million.

I have no doubt that among that 63 million - there are 10s of those million (~30 million? ~40 million?) who wanted exactly what they're (and we) are getting - The Kardashians Go To Washington.

Besides - whether they understood it or not - they were ALSO electing a congress... and it takes a super-majority of that congress to impeach, so the will of a super-minority of Americans doesn't so much concern me.

To borrow a favorite liberal phrase that probably drives people who write in Reason nuts and re-use it -- an election isn't a suicide pact.



   261. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5495180)
The first step is always "for the good of the country", but that is seldom the last step on the road towards authoritarianism.


That's not what authoritarianism means.
   262. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:32 AM (#5495182)
Besides - whether they understood it or not - they were ALSO electing a congress... and it takes a super-majority of that congress to impeach, so the will of a super-minority of Americans doesn't so much concern me.


Meh. Parse it out however you want, Trump won the election. I am not interested in trying to finely chop his support into bins in order to justify removing him from office.

For some reason the pro-impeachment folks never ever seem to acknowledge the potential future cost of overruling the outcome of the election. Can you at least acknowledge that, or is it all needs of the moment?
   263. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5495183)
This is actually where Strafford's accusers ran into trouble. When they tried to shoe-horn their complaints about him into something that fit the definition of a "crime" it was pretty weak sauce, and the peanut gallery wasn't really buying it.

The 17th century is actually a fun time for impeachment, because over the course of a few proceedings in the 1620s and 1640s parliament was piecing together what "impeachment" actually was on the fly. The article above is correct that impeachment was a 14th century process. But it had been dormant for generations by the 17th century and the records of how it had actually worked were pretty sketchy. There's a fun mixture of antiquarians trying to recover the ancient institution, and politicians saying "why don't we just make impeachment mean what we need it to mean?"

Robert Cotton's library played a large role in this. Members of parliament on all sides of issues would drop by his house to research precedents (since his private library was far more extensive than any documents parliament itself had). It must have been an interesting house to spend time in when parliament was in session.


The US congress did the same with Johnson -- though, as Healy also notes - one of the articles was intemperance/maladministration...

Because (from your link) "As James Madison's notes recount, when Virginia's George Mason moved to add "maladministration" to the Constitution's impeachable offenses, Madison objected: 'So vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the Senate.'".


Sure - but he also directly under that -

But the Convention debates were held in secret, and Madison's notes weren't published until half a century later. Furthermore, the language Mason substituted was understood from British practice to incorporate "maladministration." Nor did Madison himself believe mismanagement and incompetence to be clearly off-limits, having described impeachment as the necessary remedy for "the incapacity, negligence, or perfidy of the chief Magistrate."


I don't think they saw it as a binary situation - and the framers certainly do appear to have been concerned about congressional whims... but just because they saw it as a heavy hammer, not blithely used doesn't mean they saw it as solely for purposes of a "crook or a vegetable".

Do I need to post GoT spoiler alerts for something from 3-4 seasons ago? The Kingsguard are sworn to protect the king... but however distasteful and whatever the consequences, Jamie becoming the Kingslayer was certainly the proper course.
   264. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:35 AM (#5495184)
The reason is simple. Governments are, by and large, organized to make people's lives better.


Oh, what world are you living in. Governments are good at killing people and taking their money. In either order.
   265. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5495186)
Oh, what world are you living in. Governments are good at killing people and taking their money. In either order.


You'd survive less than a week in a world without them.
   266. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:39 AM (#5495189)
That's not what authoritarianism means.


?

How does your post apply to mine? Do you deny that overturning the outcome of elections isn't a step along the road to authoritarianism?

Political scientists use the term authoritarianism to describe a way of governing that values order and control over personal freedom. A government run by authoritarianism is usually headed by a dictator.


The people freely elected an incompetent as President. And I agree that is dumb. But the point is that while it is tempting to overrule them, to say "you folks are idiots, us smart sorts will overrule your decision after the fact, because we don't like what you decided" I think it is also dangerous. And one of the dangers, a danger at remove I admit, is the slow and gentle slide - each step for the good of the nation, because really "the proles don't know what they are doing and need our guidance".

I am not saying, nor suggesting, hinting or otherwise, that no president should ever be impeached and if they are we are doomed for dictatorship. That would be dumb and binary. But that doesn't minimize the dangers of overruling valid elections based on "Sure you knew he was that way, but still we don't like it, so screw that we want a do over."
   267. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:41 AM (#5495190)
Meh. Parse it out however you want, Trump won the election. I am not interested in trying to finely chop his support into bins in order to justify removing him from office.

For some reason the pro-impeachment folks never ever seem to acknowledge the potential future cost of overruling the outcome of the election. Can you at least acknowledge that, or is it all needs of the moment?


That's not my justification - my justification would come from a long list of pick 'ems... it's simply responding to the question of the 'will of the people'.

But sure, of course I acknowledge it. As I said, I was not among those who supported any move towards impeachment of W.

We are not and have never been a 'pure' democracy. We are not and were never intended to be a pure democracy.

The Republican party - like the Democratic party - has mechanisms in its nominating process that were/are supposed to exclude unfit candidates. It failed. The Electoral College only and solely exists to be the exact same sort of check against an unfit President. It failed, too.

It's just illogical that we have all these systems created solely and specifically to protect against the unfettered will of "the people" (where the people are actually just ~20% of a geographically appropriate spread of 330 million), but we never use them.
   268. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5495195)
This is hilarious. Pence speaking now in front of the National Retail Federation, and every time he gave an applause line about repealing Obamacare, the response was very tepid, a few tentative claps was all he got. Happened 3 or 4 times. I don't think he was expecting a golf clap to "OBAMACARE NEEDS TO GO NOW!!!"
   269. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5495197)
The root cause of it has, in a somewhat unusual turn for the Mideast, nothing to do with Israel.
No, that's quite normal. American progressives are obsessed with Israel; the rest of the Middle East is not. Sunni vs. Shi'a, secular vs. religious, nationalist vs. islamist.
   270. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5495198)
The reason is simple. Governments are, by and large, organized to make people's lives better.
Oh, what world are you living in. Governments are good at killing people and taking their money. In either order.


That's not really an answer to what you quoted. Perhaps you don't understand the structure of the argument.
   271. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5495199)
Article quoted in #226:
The House blames the Senate: At a press conference last week, Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, waved a chart of 226 House-passed bills that the Senate hasn’t taken up... For its part, the Senate blames the House. A Russia sanctions bill passed the upper chamber with 98 votes a month ago, but it has yet to come to the floor in the House.


T'was ever thus. Politicians were already complaining about bills only getting considered by one chamber when George Washington was picking termites out of his teeth. There are about 500 more novel examples of internecine GOP eye-biting these days than "those jerks over there won't pass my great legislation."


--------


Jess Franco, #227:
When you've got nothing else, you can always spend the day beating a dead horse.


He's not a dead horse. Call him Secretariat.
   272. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5495201)
Ray, #264:
Oh, what world are you living in. Governments are good at killing people and taking their money. In either order.


This was posted from Ray's own private internet.
   273. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5495203)
Do you deny that overturning the outcome of elections isn't a step along the road to authoritarianism?


Extrajudicial overturning, more often than not, yes. (Sometimes they're revolutionary in nature rather than reactionary-authoritarian in nature.) Constitutionally defined impeachment? No. Not at all.

"What do you mean the runner is out at first? The guy never made the pivot!"

"He's out by interference."

"You can't declare a runner out by interference just willy nilly!"

"Yeah, you can. It's right there in the rules."
   274. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5495204)
"Am I like a baby to you? I sit there like a little baby and watch TV and you talk to me? Am I a fucking baby, Paul?"










- whispers to Don Jr. -


"That's how that Goodfellas quote goes, right?"


*beat*


- blank stare from Don Jr. -


*beat*


- whispers to Ivanka -


"That's how that Goodfellas quote goes, right?"
   275. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM (#5495205)
I am not saying, nor suggesting, hinting or otherwise, that no president should ever be impeached and if they are we are doomed for dictatorship. That would be dumb and binary. But that doesn't minimize the dangers of overruling valid elections based on "Sure you knew he was that way, but still we don't like it, so screw that we want a do over."


You're not overturning an election. The election still exists. They really did vote for the incompetent idiot. Either by spite or stupidity, they really did do that. And now people who recognize the harm an entire four year term by an incompetent idiot - a man's who's moronicism is only matched by his vileness - can lead to, can and should use the OTHER levers of the constitutional republic's tool kit to remove that guy from office. Checks and balances, son. Look it up.
   276. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM (#5495208)
Here is the thing, I get what you are saying, but we start in a different place. The voters who elected GOP Nominee Trump knew his personal qualifications and elected him anyway. GOP President Trump is the guy they elected. He has acted pretty much exactly as anyone rational would have expected from his behavior before the election.

Since that is the case I think it is wrong to remove him for showing the very attributes the voters presumably knew about when they elected him.
Setting aside the merits of impeachment, you overestimate the public. It's hard when one hangs out in a place like BBTF to understand that most people pay very very little attention to details. If they spend a few minutes a day thinking about these things, it's a lot; they make Ray look like Larry Sabato. Did they know Trump was unorthodox, an outsider, a businessman, not a typical politician? That he shot from the hip? Of course. Did they know he was incompetent, that he doesn't hire the best people, that he doesn't listen to advice, that he's uninterested -- not disinterested -- in governing? No, they didn't. Did they know he was actually a lousy dealmaker? Did they know he cared so little that he wouldn't even bother to submit nominees for many positions? No. Did they know he would flip flop from minute to minute because there is nothing but unfiltered id in his head? That his only criterion for whether to work with someone is whether they've said nice things about him? No.
Impeachment is a political solution to the problem of power, having that much power invested in a single person. It is not a tool to overrule the voters and say "Hey you folks voted for someone we think is incompetent at their job, so we are giving them the heave ho."
You act as if some unelected board of review would be the entity doing the impeachment. It would be elected representatives, who the voters also chose.

EDIT: And it requires the buy-in of people on the same side of the aisle as the president; it's essentially impossible for one party to remove the president unilaterally, so there's no danger of it being a purely partisan move.
   277. dog poop god (SS) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5495209)
   278. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:10 AM (#5495212)
You're not overturning an election. The election still exists. They really did vote for the incompetent idiot. Either by spite or stupidity, they really did do that. And now people who recognize the harm an entire four year term by an incompetent idiot - a man's who's moronicism is only matched by his vileness - can lead to, can and should use the OTHER levers of the constitutional republic's tool kit to remove that guy from office. Checks and balances, son. Look it up.


I'd also add -- contra to claims from certain quarters that elections are just scoreboard means unto themselves -- I would presume that his running mate and now VP shares his vision for the functions of the Presidency, no?

It's not like the outcome of impeachment would be President Hillary... it would be President Pence. I'm none too happy about that - indeed, the GOP would probably be more successful at governing WITH a President Pence.

It's too bad that some people are so addled that they think a Presidential election is just like voting on Dancing with the Stars or American Idol.... but that's not, of course, what the President is elected for.

The "will of the people" who saw fit to elect Trump would still be carried out because the person chosen by Trump to run with him will become President.
   279. Sleepy's not going to blame himself Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5495213)
In this they alligned with Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, who came out against Magnitsky after a half million dollar payout to her husband.
I know that his is the headline on Breitbart and Fox news etc, but is there any real reason to believe this is true? If it is, it seems odd that HRC's State Department independently placed sanctions on Russians linked to human right violations in 2011, after Bill's 2010 speech and well before the Magnitsky act passed in 2012. If Hillary was really involved in "pay for play" would she have approved those sanctions, which were completely under her control as Secretary of State? This claim just doesn't make sense.

The reporting on this by Fox and others is extraordinarily disingenuous. If there was really opposition at State to the act (in 2010, as Fox claims, without citing proof), it was likely because it interfered with Obama's "reset", which was announced over a year before Bill's speech.
   280. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5495214)
The bar is certainly higher via the American system via impeachment than a parliamentary system -- and that's fine. But - the bar still exists, and I'm very much buying the argument that impeachment was never intended to the sort of high standard remedy many people now insist.
Yes. To be clear, I don't think that impeachment should be undertaken lightly. It of course shouldn't rest on mere unpopularity, or the failure to have a productive administration. But the notion that only a felony -- and in particular, a felony for which there is sufficient evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt -- is sufficient is also misguided.
   281. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:15 AM (#5495217)
You act as if some unelected board of review would be the entity doing the impeachment. It would be elected representatives, who the voters also chose.


Huh? I have explicitly stated it is a political process. As far as I know only Ray thinks public opinion doesn't matter where politics are concerned.

The "will of the people" who saw fit to elect Trump would still be carried out because the person chosen by Trump to run with him will become President.


Meh. This is too cute by half. People don't vote for Vice President, and you know it. They vote for a nominee and then for President.


I fully understand the impulse to know better than the people. Look at how dumb they all are! But still I value the process of Democracy over the short term results of getting rid one guy I think is incompetent.
   282. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5495219)
Yes. To be clear, I don't think that impeachment should be undertaken lightly. It of course shouldn't rest on mere unpopularity, or the failure to have a productive administration. But the notion that only a felony -- and in particular, a felony for which there is sufficient evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt -- is sufficient is also misguided.


I agree with all of this, by the way. I have never said nor suggested there is a necessary criminal element to it.
   283. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:18 AM (#5495222)
A new poll!

Hillary Clinton is favored less than President Trump, poll shows

Even after months of Trump, America is still not with her.

A new poll on Tuesday showed Hillary Clinton is viewed less favorably than President Trump, even as he wallows in historically low approval ratings.

A Bloomberg National Poll showed 39% of Americans hold a favorable view of Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate who was widely expected to win the 2016 election.

That falls just short of Trump’s favorability rating of 41%. The poll of 1,001 adults, though, has a 3.1% margin of error, meaning Trump and Clinton could possibly be tied for likeability.

Meanwhile, Trump scored 55% for unfavorable opinions, while Clinton hit 58%.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/hillary-clinton-favored-president-trump-poll-article-1.3335065


Sort of a neat trick to be polling this low while NOT running for anything.
   284. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5495226)
Sort of a neat trick to be polling this low while NOT running for anything.


I am shocked that it is Ray who keeps bringing Hillary up. I suppose we will get an endless supply of these posts as Ray realizes that talking about Trump is not a winner.
   285. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5495231)
If the voters are fools and they voted in a manner that is detrimental to the well being of the state impeachment should absolutely be employed.

That is one opinion. I value the process of democracy very highly. I acknowledge there is a price for following the whims of the morons, but there is also a price for overruling those whims. The first step is always "for the good of the country", but that is seldom the last step on the road towards authoritarianism.

On the one hand, Trump is so demonstrably unhinged, corrupt, and incompetent that NOT trying to be rid of him ASAP almost seems like a form of civic irresponsibility.

OTOH in many ways I think we're almost better off with Trump left exposed as a naked jaybird, slowly but surely tarring the entire Republican brand with his name for the next 16 months. And given that no more than a tiny handful of his fellow party members have lifted a finger to thwart his agenda, it only seems right and proper for him to take the whole stinking carcass down with him. And to have that happen he'd have to be still in office in 2018, further poisoning the GOP brand with every successive tweet. Without a Democratic Senate majority in the next Congress, there's no telling what further damage a President Pence could do, given how his ideology is if anything even worse than Trump's, if such a thing is possible.

So bottom line I want him around to the point where it finally dawns on a clear majority of the country that it's not just Trump the Madman who's a threat to the country, but the entire cancerous ideology that's protecting him.
   286. CheersUnusualPlays Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:38 AM (#5495234)
I'm on the outside looking in here, but it appears that the Republicans spent 8 years trying to get in power, but didn't actually prepare any concrete agenda or plans for when that eventuality arrived. That is sheer incompetence and can't be blamed on Trump. Trump has enough things he can be blamed for, but the Republicans should have been able to work around him.
   287. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:38 AM (#5495235)
Sort of a neat trick to be polling this low while NOT running for anything.


Also a neat trick to keep bringing up Citizen Clinton.
   288. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5495236)
The first step is always "for the good of the country", but that is seldom the last step on the road towards authoritarianism.

I disagree. The first step is always almost letting an autocrat rule unchecked, amass power, grow bolder. Well designed democratic systems rely on a series of checks and balances to prevent that - of which impeachment is one. It is when those checks and balances fail, that you end up with a dictatorship.
   289. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5495243)
If we add Presidents McGovern and Perot, Donald Trump might only have the fourth-lowest support ever.
   290. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5495246)
I fully understand the impulse to know better than the people. Look at how dumb they all are! But still I value the process of Democracy over the short term results of getting rid one guy I think is incompetent.


A distinct minority of "the people"... as I said, some proportion of 63 million... as opposed to the 73 million who voted otherwise, the ~130 million who didn't at all... not even counting those among the 63 million who are in the "I've made a horrible mistake" camp.

You can't have it both ways.... and this argument is trying to have it both ways -- both respecting the "institutions" that exist SOLELY to be a check on the will of the people, while simultaneously ignoring that the "will of the people" was actually only the will of a distinct minority.

Pick a lane.
   291. McCoy Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:55 AM (#5495254)
The GOP is probably screwed either way and their best course of action is to not tick off their base which they would do if they started a war with the president. For better or for worse they are handcuffed to trump until their base allows them to go against trump
   292. BDC Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:55 AM (#5495255)
If we add Presidents McGovern and Perot, Donald Trump might only have the fourth-lowest support ever

It is troubling that Harold Stassen is ahead of Trump in the 2020 straw polls.
   293. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:01 PM (#5495260)
BTW -

For the record, I would not support bringing up articles of impeachment at the moment for the simple reason that - even if they were to somehow miraculously pass the House, Trump undeniably would not be found guilty in the Senate.

As I said, I'm in perfect agreement that impeachment is not something undertaken lightly... which means, it's not like an Obamacare repeal vote where you do it a dozen times.

Hence, I do think articles should wait until there's a far stronger possibility they pass the Senate.

I simply brought up the whole issue and posted the article because an obviously necessary step is eliminating this idea that some magic felony is a requirement. That thinking needs to be reformed before we proceed.
   294. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:03 PM (#5495261)
I'm on the outside looking in here, but it appears that the Republicans spent 8 years trying to get in power, but didn't actually prepare any concrete agenda or plans for when that eventuality arrived. That is sheer incompetence and can't be blamed on Trump. Trump has enough things he can be blamed for, but the Republicans should have been able to work around him.

Well, in fairness they do have plans of sorts, but every one of them is either unpopular or incoherent or both. But then when their foremost intellectual mentors are Ayn Rand and Jeff Sessions, I'm not sure why anyone would've expected anything better.
   295. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:21 PM (#5495280)
Did they know Trump was unorthodox, an outsider, a businessman, not a typical politician? That he shot from the hip? Of course. Did they know he was incompetent, that he doesn't hire the best people, that he doesn't listen to advice, that he's uninterested -- not disinterested -- in governing? No, they didn't. Did they know he was actually a lousy dealmaker? Did they know he cared so little that he wouldn't even bother to submit nominees for many positions? No. Did they know he would flip flop from minute to minute because there is nothing but unfiltered id in his head? That his only criterion for whether to work with someone is whether they've said nice things about him? No.
Wait a second. What about The Apprentice? What about The Art of The Deal? What about all of those golf courses and casinos and buildings? If Trump wasn't so great at everything else, how would he ever get away with grabbing a woman's *****?
   296. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5495283)
I'm on the outside looking in here, but it appears that the Republicans spent 8 years trying to get in power, but didn't actually prepare any concrete agenda or plans for when that eventuality arrived.


It turns out that when you fetishize institutional selfishness as a virtue, that can lead to a situation where everyone assumes that someone else will take care of the problems. Who could have guessed it?
   297. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:24 PM (#5495284)
You can't have it both ways.... and this argument is trying to have it both ways -- both respecting the "institutions" that exist SOLELY to be a check on the will of the people, while simultaneously ignoring that the "will of the people" was actually only the will of a distinct minority.

Pick a lane.


I have. I get you don't like my preferences, but I have picked.
   298. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5495289)
From Bloomberg:


Top Issues for Americans. Which of the following do you see as the most important issue facing the country right now?

Health care -- 35%
Unemployment and jobs -- 13%
Terrorism -- 11%
Immigration -- 10%
Climate Change -- 10%
Relationship with Russia -- 6%
Taxes -- 4%
Other -- 4%
Trade -- 2%
None of these -- 2%
Not sure -- 2%

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-17/americans-feel-good-about-the-economy-not-so-good-about-trump-j57v0var


So despite the constant bleating and gnashing of teeth from the TDSers here and everywhere, in the media, on tv, on CNN, David Brooks........ Just 6% of those polled found Russia as the most important issue facing the country. Not far above the most pressing issue of our time, "Not sure."

Yes - I know the question asked for the "most important" issue. But Russia was still 6th, behind a line of things, and got just 6%.

But keep hope alive, folks. Maybe you can focus on this nothingburger all through the next election cycle and lose that election also, as you learn the day after the election that the sane people were focused on other issues.

   299. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5495290)
I'm on the outside looking in here, but it appears that the Republicans spent 8 years trying to get in power, but didn't actually prepare any concrete agenda or plans for when that eventuality arrived. That is sheer incompetence and can't be blamed on Trump. Trump has enough things he can be blamed for, but the Republicans should have been able to work around him.


I think your first mistake, coming from afar, is to assume that Trump is something sui generis that "happened to" the Republicans. He's not. He's the logical end to the Republicanism of the last 10-15 years. He's a culmination of the trend, not an outlier. That being the case, you have to understand that the GOP of 2017 *has no positive agenda.* They don't have anything that might be traditionally understood to be called a "governing program" that they want to implement. Their only goal is to destroy anything Obama touched in the last 8 years. Literally. Their platform exists exclusively as a negation of "whatever the Dems wanted to do." They're not a "conservative governing party." They're reactionary know-nothings whose only impetus is to tear down and destroy.
   300. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5495291)
ust 6% of those polled found Russia as the most important issue facing the country. Not far above the most pressing issue of our time, "Not sure."


Which would be two percent more than the respondents who were joining you jacking off in the corner about taxes.

You're becoming sort of pathetic, Ray.
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