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Casablanca Birdie

US Politics: Free Trade, Freer Trade, and Nuclear War

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8 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

 

  • The Gunner:  Hand up like a rifle shot at all times, ready to impart useless knowledge entirely tangentially related to the subject you are discussing.  

Hey, what’s up?

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1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

1.  I think you know enough about who I am IRL that you will find that if you apply your prodigious powers of deduction and intellect you can figure out where Zabzie comes from.

 

I need one clue. Is it an actual word or a play on words?

Also, when I previously Googled your name, I accidentally clicked on a picture that said zabzie and the results were…..creepy. It’s probably benign, but after a few random pictures, all our avatars started popping up.

Quote

2.  Oh it's such a mixture.  

  • The Gunner:  Hand up like a rifle shot at all times, ready to impart useless knowledge entirely tangentially related to the subject you are discussing.  You would think that the phrase frolic and detour was invented for them, except when you are discussing the actual doctrine of frolic and detour, in which case, it's more like Alice Down the Rabbithole (and you learn, much to your chagrin, the real history of the phrase).
  • The Do-Gooder:  Butter wouldn't melt in their mouth.  They are going to save the world ONE.LAWSUIT.AT.A.TIME.  All money is TEH EVUL and consistency and logic are not valued when they do not advance the worldview.  Tend to be more competitive than you'd think about grades.
  • The Scion:  There because daddy said to go to law school.  Usually bored; hasn't done the reading; checks phone continually; great in study groups because they usually bring the booze.
  • Grown Up Tracy Flick:  Takes notes constantly on a computer - basically types down verbatim what the professor says and can read it back almost as well as a court reporter.  Understanding limited.
  • Silently Dying Inside:  Went to law school because they didn't know what to do/hated being a [  ].  Worried about getting a job to pay off enormous loans.  Hates the subject matter.  Freaking out about getting straight B+s first semester.  
  •  The Foreign LLM Student:  All comments begin "but in my country...." or "what kind of cross border angle can you describe."  Particularly deadly when combined with The Gunner.

:o

Um, I display a lot of those traits. Oh No!  

:bawl:

Doesn’t help that the original reason I wanted to be a lawyer is not in play anymore, so I guess I’ll just have to save the world, one law suit at a time.  

:P

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Not to reopen a previous debate, but...

Quote

“I want to thank the White House Historical Association and all of the people that work so hard with Melania, with everybody, to keep this incredible house or building, or whatever you want to call it — because there really is no name for it; it is special — and we keep it in tip-top shape. We call it sometimes tippy-top shape. And it’s a great, great place.” 

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-white-house-tippy-top_us_5ac2ddeae4b04646b645698e

:lmao:

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23 hours ago, dmc515 said:

The thought process is Maine's Republican party is moving further to the right, which means she's very likely to receive a strong primary challenge in 2020 if she remains GOP.  If she flips to Dem, they'd likely clear the primary field for an incumbent such as her, and she can take on that far-right challenger among Maine's general electorate rather than the Republican party electorate.

That’s an interesting thought, thanks for explaining it. 

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

I've seen clips of this, with a creepy bespectacled bunny on one side, and very stern and frowny wife on the other, it was a hoot. 

 

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I see Trump has announced he could add another $100 B in tariffs against Chinese goods as a response to China’s announcement of a retaliatory $50 B in tariffs against US goods.

After advisors came out yesterday and said the initial tariffs were ‘negotiating tactics’, I wonder if anyone believes him? And since China only imports $130 B from the US, they kinda run out of tit for tat products to put tariffs on.

This is really getting tiresome. I almost wish tariffs go on by both sides and everybody ends up hating each other, just because Trump said ‘and we’ll end up with a great relationship with the Chinese once they learn to respect us’.

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8 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

I see Trump has announced he could add another $100 B in tariffs against Chinese goods as a response to China’s announcement of a retaliatory $50 B in tariffs against US goods.

After advisors came out yesterday and said the initial tariffs were ‘negotiating tactics’, I wonder if anyone believes him? And since China only imports $130 B from the US, they kinda run out of tit for tat products to put tariffs on.

This is really getting tiresome. I almost wish tariffs go on by both sides and everybody ends up hating each other, just because Trump said ‘and we’ll end up with a great relationship with the Chinese once they learn to respect us’.

Well, one of his firefighters immediately came out and was all ‘nothing’s scheduled to take effect in the near future’. I’m beginning to wonder if they vary the script or just kinda go through blanket routine disavowals at this point.

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Just scrolling through Facebook while I’m out. One day I will learn how to link articles.  :rolleyes:

Paul Manafort apparently ran black ops for the Ukrainian President he worked for.

And.

In his first public comment about Stormy Daniels, Trump says he did not know about the $130,000 payment made to her. I assume that in the US this screws his lawyer pretty badly, because lawyers aren’t suppose to do things like that without the consent of the client, not in their name like Cohen did.

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@Tywin et al. - Mlle. Zabzie may be some kind of lawyer-witch.  Beware her powers!

 

There's something that occurred to me recently while pondering the Trump voter, and i think it amounts to a real flaw in one of their principal rationalizations.  One often hears Trumpers or media people repeating Trumpers say something like "We know he's not the best guy."  The argument seems to be an attempt to say "don't bring that moralizing stuff at us, we know why we're voting for him."  Now, if it's about the sex stuff, that's one thing, but presumably it's about the whole deal meaning also about his shady business background (Trump U. stiffing contractors, etc...).  So one of Trumps big "bargains" with voters was the bullshit Kudlow argument that he's so rich he has no incentive to be corrupt.  You heard Trump say things like "This won't be good for me, believe me."  

But these two trains of thought cannot be reconciled.  Why would Trump, admittedly by Trump voters a totally self-interested guy, become POTUS not for self-gain but to help out the average folk as a true public servant?  The answer, obviously, is that he wouldn't.  Everything Trump does is for Trump, axiomatic.  So my take on this is that the Trumper's "we know he's not the best guy" was a pathetic attempt to signal that they're a sophisticated voter, not being taken for a ride.  But it takes just a shallow, additional degree of sophistication for the rest of us to have seen how wrong this is.  

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9 minutes ago, Triskele said:

@Tywin et al. - Mlle. Zabzie may be some kind of lawyer-witch.  Beware her powers!

 

There's something that occurred to me recently while pondering the Trump voter, and i think it amounts to a real flaw in one of their principal rationalizations.  One often hears Trumpers or media people repeating Trumpers say something like "We know he's not the best guy."  The argument seems to be an attempt to say "don't bring that moralizing stuff at us, we know why we're voting for him."  Now, if it's about the sex stuff, that's one thing, but presumably it's about the whole deal meaning also about his shady business background (Trump U. stiffing contractors, etc...).  So one of Trumps big "bargains" with voters was the bullshit Kudlow argument that he's so rich he has no incentive to be corrupt.  You heard Trump say things like "This won't be good for me, believe me."  

But these two trains of thought cannot be reconciled.  Why would Trump, admittedly by Trump voters a totally self-interested guy, become POTUS not for self-gain but to help out the average folk as a true public servant?  The answer, obviously, is that he wouldn't.  Everything Trump does is for Trump, axiomatic.  So my take on this is that the Trumper's "we know he's not the best guy" was a pathetic attempt to signal that they're a sophisticated voter, not being taken for a ride.  But it takes just a shallow, additional degree of sophistication for the rest of us to have seen how wrong this is.  

It's mostly that they just don't care but can't bring themselves to say that publicly. He embarrasses them or does stupid shit but he's better then that witch Hillary Clinton amiright?

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13 minutes ago, Shryke said:

It's mostly that they just don't care but can't bring themselves to say that publicly. He embarrasses them or does stupid shit but he's better then that witch Hillary Clinton amiright?

Sure, there's that.  But I think this has gone on beyond the election too.  It's like a rationalization of why Trump is still worth defending (he's draining the swamp, he's kept all of his promises, etc...).

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3 hours ago, Shryke said:

It's mostly that they just don't care but can't bring themselves to say that publicly. He embarrasses them or does stupid shit but he's better then that witch Hillary Clinton amiright?

Still reading the comments sections to a great many political articles.

Mostly, Shryke's comment is true...but it's wearing thin among a growing segment.  Hillary?  When Trump has four or five ongoing scandals at any given time?  Decrying Hillary's prior evils carries little weight compared to the seriousness of Trump's scandals.  A fair number seem to be realizing that Clintons (and Obama's) political careers are over.  It's the argument of sorts I noted before in these threads.  Runs like this:

 

1 - Obama was a complete disaster for the country.

2 -  Hillary promised to be more of the same, so I *had* to vote for Trump (despite reservations)

3 - Yet, impossibly, Trump is actually worse than Obama (on some things.) Therefore, maybe Hillary wasn't - (and at this point you can almost see their thought processes freeze up.)

 

Something else: no few Trump supporters seem to be wearing industrial strength blinders, going to substantial effort to NOT see (and therefor acknowledge) severe problems with Trump.  The thing is, other people do talk about these issues, so that approach runs into problems. 

 

I am starting to wonder if Trump's popularity among conservatives might undergo an extreme drop. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

I see Trump has announced he could add another $100 B in tariffs against Chinese goods as a response to China’s announcement of a retaliatory $50 B in tariffs against US goods.

After advisors came out yesterday and said the initial tariffs were ‘negotiating tactics’, I wonder if anyone believes him? And since China only imports $130 B from the US, they kinda run out of tit for tat products to put tariffs on.

Yeah, the whole thing is stupid no matter which way you slice it. Either we;re getting into a full blown trade war, which is supremely stupid, or Trump's own people just gave away that we're not willing to actually go into a trade war, neatly invalidating the supposed point of the tariffs as threats and bluffs. I mean, it's not like Chinese officials and intelligence can't read or listen to the same reassurances Kudlow and company try to give to investors about this being a negotiating tactic. If we're not willing to follow through, and the Chinese think that we're not willing to do so, then all they have to do is wait it out and wait for the collapse when the bluff is called. If we're going to go full on with poker analogies, way to show all the cards in your hand to the other players, guys.

And if we are willing to follow through on the tariff threat, what the hell good does it do to reassure investors that we're not and prop up the market in the short term when it'll just tank later when we do have to apply tariffs? If it's an actual negotiating tactic, you have to be willing to let the market potentially suffer a bit now and trust that it'll come back later when your negotiating tactic works and you give every indication that you're serious and you get the other side to back down.

But hey, it wouldn't be the Trump Administration without rampant stupidity and fucking over everything around for minimal short term gain. (I do wonder if the Trump family and his administration officials make out like bandits when they get these market swings to happen though.)

19 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

Still reading the comments sections to a great many political articles.

Mostly, Shryke's comment is true...but it's wearing thin among a growing segment.  Hillary?  When Trump has four or five ongoing scandals at any given time?  Decrying Hillary's prior evils carries little weight compared to the seriousness of Trump's scandals.  A fair number seem to be realizing that Clintons (and Obama's) political careers are over.  It's the argument of sorts I noted before in these threads.  Runs like this:

 

1 - Obama was a complete disaster for the country.

2 -  Hillary promised to be more of the same, so I *had* to vote for Trump (despite reservations)

3 - Yet, impossibly, Trump is actually worse than Obama (on some things.) Therefore, maybe Hillary wasn't - (and at this point you can almost see their thought processes freeze up.)

I mentioned this before in a recent post, so sorry for any repetition, but it is fascinating to watch the tribalism inspired double think at work in comment sections. There's a pretty familiar pattern that goes along the following steps:

1) News of some scandal or unethical thing done by the Trumpsters breaks out.

2) The same people who are always defending Trump and company in the comment section of the same news sites show up en masse to scream about how Obama and Clinton did the exact same things, (usually incorrectly, but leave that aside for a moment) and the fact that it's being treated as a scandal when Trump does it is proof of evil liberal media bias!

3) If Trump is, according to his defenders, doing the exact same thing as Obama and Clinton, why are these comment trolls so sure that Obama was such a disaster and the worst president ever, and Clinton deserved to be locked up, but Trump is an awesome president that they should spend their every free minute of every day defending?

4) No answer, rinse and repeat with next news story.

Quote

Something else: no few Trump supporters seem to be wearing industrial strength blinders, going to substantial effort to NOT see (and therefor acknowledge) severe problems with Trump.  The thing is, other people do talk about these issues, so that approach runs into problems. 

I am starting to wonder if Trump's popularity among conservatives might undergo an extreme drop. 

I doubt there will be a major drop in popularity unless/until Trump does do something to truly screw over the country, like start a trade war in earnest, allow some sort of incredible fuck up that hits directly at the base, or crosses one of their red lines, as he started to do with gun before hastily stepping away from it.

Otherwise I imagine we'll continue to see the slow erosion of support and enthusiasm we seem to be getting now, and especially less people will to take time out of their busy day to vote for a "Trump candidate" or buy his MAGA hats and contribute to his campaigns.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

Still reading the comments sections to a great many political articles.

Mostly, Shryke's comment is true...but it's wearing thin among a growing segment.  Hillary?  When Trump has four or five ongoing scandals at any given time?  Decrying Hillary's prior evils carries little weight compared to the seriousness of Trump's scandals.  A fair number seem to be realizing that Clintons (and Obama's) political careers are over.  It's the argument of sorts I noted before in these threads.  Runs like this:

 

1 - Obama was a complete disaster for the country.

2 -  Hillary promised to be more of the same, so I *had* to vote for Trump (despite reservations)

3 - Yet, impossibly, Trump is actually worse than Obama (on some things.) Therefore, maybe Hillary wasn't - (and at this point you can almost see their thought processes freeze up.)

 

Something else: no few Trump supporters seem to be wearing industrial strength blinders, going to substantial effort to NOT see (and therefor acknowledge) severe problems with Trump.  The thing is, other people do talk about these issues, so that approach runs into problems. 

 

I am starting to wonder if Trump's popularity among conservatives might undergo an extreme drop. 

 

 

Right now, for better or worse ,   The Republican Party are  stuck with Trump  because, there is no one  among their ranks that the voters really like .  In a way, they got a similar problem to the Democrats who have also got  no one that really appeals much  to the voters . And forget about Joe Bidden , he any member of the 70 plus  old guard will not get the Democrats  back into the White House.

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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Posted (edited)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/04/05/china-has-more-to-lose-in-a-trade-war-but-trump-has-a-key-weakness/

Quote

As the U.S.-China trade spat gets uglier, people in both countries are asking: Who has more to lose? And how does this end?

China has more to lose economically in an all-out trade war. The Chinese economy is dependent on exports, and nearly 20 percent of its exports go to the United States. It sold $506 billion in stuff and services to the United States last year. In contrast, the United States sold $130 billion to the Chinese.

“In a serious economic battle, the U.S. wins. There is no question about it,” said Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has helped advise the administration on China.

Probably the two most single successful industrialized nations have been the UK and the US. And both started their lives out as protectionist countries, before switching to free trade.

Alexander Hamilton was probably correct to reject Adam Smith’s advice to implement unfettered free trade. Had Hamilton followed Smith’s advice, it’s doubtful that US industry would have been able to compete with capital intensive goods made in England. The US needed time to build up it’s capital stock and to build up it’s engineering know how before embracing free trade.

And it would appear that two of the most successful industrialized Asian Nations, South Korea and China, followed in Hamilton’s foot steps and not Smith’s. Both implemented and followed a high savings, to finance internal investment, and high export strategies to develop their capital intensive good industries and engineering know how.

And it would seem, looking back on things, American policy makers might have been extremely naive or unrealistic in their expectations of Chinese trade policy. They were of course aided and abetted by some economist that preached mindless free trade doctrine in all times and in all context.

In Walrasian world, China’s high savings and high export strategy should have presented no problems, as the savings would have automatically become investments.

But, as JM Keynes taught us in the GT and act of savings doesn’t automatically become an act of investment. In fact, the relationship may often be the other way around, ie it’s investment that creates the savings.

In the real world, it takes time for prices to adjust to where they equilibrate supply and demand on all markets, if they ever truly do. And it takes time (perhaps a very long time) for workers who have lost their jobs due to import competition to find new ones. And when they don’t the results can be disastrous both economically and politically.

The FED of course can offset the drop in demand by lowering the policy rate. But too low of a policy rate can create problems, putting you closer to a liquidity trap, and helping to distort asset prices. And perhaps causing households to take on too much private debt.

The rap against George W. Bush is that he ran needless deficits. And while it’s always fun to poke fun at the Republican Party for always failing to deliver on it’s rhetoric, the real rap against George W. Bush might just be he didn’t run big enough deficits on useful stuff, rather than wasting money on low grade unproductive stuff, like tax cuts for the wealthy and the Iraq War. Had larger deficits been used to fund spending on useful stuff, including helping recently unemployed workers who lost their jobs to Chinese import penetration, happened, then maybe private debt would have been lower, safe US treasuries would have “crowed out” mortgage backed securities, which were thought as being safe stores of value, until they weren’t, much of the worst aspects of the GFC might have been avoided, and perhaps the election of one orange clown wouldn’t have happened.

The point is that had US economic policy, particularly macro policy, been realistic about Chinese growth strategy and relied on more realistic trade models, the last 10 years might have played out a bit differently, including the election of one orange clown. Of course,  I don’t really blame the Chinese all that much for following in the foot steps of Hamilton, and not Smith, but its more putting the blame on US policy makers for not being realistic about Chinese growth strategy, and developing appropriate policies to counter them. In  fact, perhaps developing countries should be allowed to pursue protectionist policies, for a period of time, to develop their capital intensive industries and engineering know how.

Now the Orange clown, possibly thinks he can reverse what ever damage was done by raising tariffs. But, the process isn’t reverseable, and its not possible to go back 2001 and get a “do over”, by simply raising tariffs. And of course, Chinese leaders are well aware they can’t pursue their high savings high export strategy forever, they will need to allow more consumption to happen. And when that happens, and it likely will, American-Chinese trade deficits will likely start to shrink. Also there are productivity gains to made under trade. Once a country is able to build up it’s stock of capital goods and engineering know how, pursing protectionist policies will likely breed inefficiencies and lower growth. And I assume China’s leaders and policy advisers are smart enough to know this.

So the point is really this: In hindsight US economic policy making was very bad in response to the “China shock” and Trump is trying to fight the last war so to speak. His strategy is based on what China did in the past and not what it is likely to do in the future.

...................................................................................................................

Now conservative sorts of people, as you know, libertarians have a little ol’ special way of often getting on my fucking nerves. In fact they have a way of getting on lots of peoples nerves, sometimes even conservatives.

It’s not that I think every point they make is bad, but they have a way of going off into wacko land.

And libertarian sorts of people have long had it out for public education. Now its not that I think every point they make about our current state of education lacks merit, but mainly I think it’s just a bunch of privileged and mainly white guys that resent paying taxes for public education.

And I think, if libertarian sorts of people, really think that education is largely worthless, then I think they can demonstrate that they are making a good faith argument by refusing to send their own children to the best schools that money can buy. Otherwise, they just seem to a bunch of mostly rich and mostly white guys that just don’t like paying taxes for education.

Anyway, interesting:

https://www.vox.com/conversations/2018/2/16/16870408/public-education-libertarianism-democracy-bryan-caplan

Quote

I’m not a libertarian, but I love debating libertarians.

Case in point: Bryan Caplan. Caplan is an economics professor at George Mason University and the author of a new book, The Case Against Education. In that book he makes a bold argument: Public education is waste of time and money and we should stop investing in it. Caplan marshals a ton of evidence in support of this claim, most of which reinforces his view that what we’re doing now isn’t working that well.

I agree with him that our current system is broken, but I’m not convinced we should give up on public education. So I reached out to Caplan and asked him to lay out his argument.

 

Juxtapose with:

https://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2018/april/raising-speed-limit-on-future-growth/

Quote

The U.S. economy is facing a future of slow growth, mainly because the labor force is expanding less rapidly. However, there are ways to improve. Given the important role education plays in labor force participation, employment, and wages, investing in education across diverse groups offers an important opportunity to raise the speed limit for economic growth. The following is adapted from a speech by the executive vice president and director of research of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to Lambda Alpha International Land Economics Society in Phoenix, AZ, on March 29.

.........................................................................

Like fuckin' seriously? Really?

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/5/17202182/the-atlantic-kevin-williamson-twitter-abortion-death-penalty

Quote

“I would totally go with treating it like any other crime, up to and including hanging.”

That’s how Kevin Williamson, very briefly a columnist at the Atlantic, articulated his views on the proper punishment for women who get abortions in a September 2014 episode of his National Review podcast.

Mr. Uhaul Truck Rental guy, strikes again!

Quote

Williamson may be gone from the Atlantic, but the point of view he espoused is alive and well. Now, as when he was hired, suggesting that women be punished for getting abortions is not an idle speculation or flippant joke. It’s an all-too-real proposal being floated in multiple states, and one that had the support, at least at one point, of the man who is now our president. That’s something no one should forget, no matter what Williamson does next

I've always thought the real problem most US conservatives have with places like Iran is that they are tired of them cuttin' in on their action.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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I think the segment of Trump supporters that spend a lot of time commenting on news articles is pretty small and not representative of his overall base. Also, I think the idea that he's currently losing support is sadly just wishful thinking. His support has dipped twice, once during the first couple months of his administration, when the people who didn't like him but were willing to give him a chance bailed out (remember, he had a slightly positive rating at his inauguration) and once during the health care repeal attempt, when it seemed like Republicans might really directly fuck over their supporters. He hasn't recovered from the first loss, but he has recovered from the second loss; and for the past several months he's been hovering in that 40-42% range that he was also in back in April 2017.

The thing it can be hard for politically tuned-in people to remember is that they are extreme outliers, most people don't pay nearly as much attention to the day-to-day events (and many Republicans who do pay attention are in a bubble where they simply don't believe the version of events that we see). And even more importantly, Trump has not yet directly, negatively affected almost any of his supporters, or most other Americans either; most of his terrible decisions are pretty far removed from their downstream effects (e.g. loss of trust in America around the world) or will take a while to manifest (e.g. allowing more coastal oil drilling). And meanwhile, the economy is doing pretty well (or at least it was, until he decided to start a trade war).

Until one of those facts change, his support is probably not going to drop any further. 

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Posted (edited)

March Jobs Report:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/06/business/economy/jobs-report.html

103,000 jobs were created, which is 80,000 short of expectations. January numbers were revised down while February was revised up with a net loss of 50,000 jobs. This news, combineded with the reports of more tariffs should lead to an interesting day on the stock market.    

Edited by Tywin et al.

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13 hours ago, LongRider said:

I've seen clips of this, with a creepy bespectacled bunny on one side, and very stern and frowny wife on the other, it was a hoot. 

 

That's a satirical impressionist isn't it.

Please gods may that be a satircal impressionist, not the actual F***ing POTUS!

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11 hours ago, Triskele said:

@Tywin et al. - Mlle. Zabzie may be some kind of lawyer-witch.  Beware her powers!

Shhhh, I’m a mole, looking into the nefarious lawyer-witch ways!

Quote

There's something that occurred to me recently while pondering the Trump voter, and i think it amounts to a real flaw in one of their principal rationalizations.  One often hears Trumpers or media people repeating Trumpers say something like "We know he's not the best guy."  The argument seems to be an attempt to say "don't bring that moralizing stuff at us, we know why we're voting for him."  Now, if it's about the sex stuff, that's one thing, but presumably it's about the whole deal meaning also about his shady business background (Trump U. stiffing contractors, etc...).  So one of Trumps big "bargains" with voters was the bullshit Kudlow argument that he's so rich he has no incentive to be corrupt.  You heard Trump say things like "This won't be good for me, believe me."  

But these two trains of thought cannot be reconciled.  Why would Trump, admittedly by Trump voters a totally self-interested guy, become POTUS not for self-gain but to help out the average folk as a true public servant?  The answer, obviously, is that he wouldn't.  Everything Trump does is for Trump, axiomatic.  So my take on this is that the Trumper's "we know he's not the best guy" was a pathetic attempt to signal that they're a sophisticated voter, not being taken for a ride.  But it takes just a shallow, additional degree of sophistication for the rest of us to have seen how wrong this is.  

I think the simplest answer is likely the correct one: they don’t care about reality and treat Trump like a blank canvass and see what they want to see. Furthermore, as I’ve said several times, conservatives have ceased caring about their stated values and are now totally consumed by power. And means to it is justifiable.

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