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Messages - scifibum

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1
General Comments / Re: Abuses of Power
« on: December 10, 2018, 07:45:53 PM »
AOC is energetic, smart, and already pointing out aspects of the the "swamp" that need to be corrected, like a supposed orientation for members of Congress that was heavily attended by lobbyists and CEOs. She scares conservatives, which is why they are so desperate to come up with a narrative that she's dumb or wears fancy clothes or something.

Just look at Crunch here. Repeating the talking points like a good boy. The age thing was a joke, btw, which is entirely obvious even from a transcript:

Quote
“No, not for a long time. Thank God,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Although we’ve been joking that because the Equal Rights Amendment hasn’t been passed yet, the Constitution technically says he cannot run unless he’s 35. … So what we’ll do is we’ll force the Republican Party to pass the Equal Rights Amendment by threatening to run for president.”

She says "we've been joking" and yet here Crunch is, pretending she was serious and grossly misinformed, because that's the party line.

Why do you post here Crunch? Nobody buys what you're selling.

2
General Comments / Re: Is Money Laundering a High Crime or Misdemeanor?
« on: December 06, 2018, 03:20:31 PM »
We get it, orange man bad.

I get it, your president is a garbage fire and so the best option available is to attempt to ridicule the people who aren't willing to ignore that for a tax cut.

3
General Comments / Re: Is Money Laundering a High Crime or Misdemeanor?
« on: December 05, 2018, 06:07:36 PM »
Quote
I haven't see the "egregious" lies, I know you want to believe that's willful blindness, but honestly, the "eggregiosness" and even in many cases the "lies"  themselves seem mostly to be unfavorable interpretations.

No, no no. Lies. Constant. Some small, many egregious. (My spelling is correct in case you're not sure.)

Whenever people point out the lies you pick small ones and quibble, and ignore the big ones or simply insist they are different points of view. You can do your own homework if you want:
http://projects.thestar.com/donald-trump-fact-check/

The "Voter fraud" is a pretty good category for sheer made up nonsense, like this:

Quote
"A lot of times it doesn't matter, because in many places, like California, the same person votes many times. You probably heard about that. They always like to say, 'Oh, that's a conspiracy theory.' Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people."

Note the repetition on this one:

Quote
"We started it about eight months ago. It's incredible. The head of U.S. Steel called up, he said I've never said anything like it -- what you've been able to do in such a short part of time. They're building seven new plants, they're expanding plants."

Source: Campaign rally in Huntington, West Virginia

in fact: Though Trump had been making such claims for four months, there was still no evidence at the time that U.S. Steel is building seven new plants. At the time Trump spoke, U.S. Steel had only announced a major development at two existing facilities since he introduced his steel tariffs. First it said it was restarting two shuttered blast furnaces at its plant in Granite City, Illinois, then that it was investing $750 million to revitalize a plant in Gary, Indiana.


Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

Quote
If this were the standard in place, admitting we can't determine soulessness, you agree we should have impeached Obama and Clinton as well?

Hell no I don't agree. Trump's dishonesty is a couple of orders of magnitude above any president in living memory. He just makes things up constantly. There's no comparison to Obama and Clinton.

Quote
What is this "rule" that Trump is violating so clearly in your head that so clearly  demands a specific action that you aren't seeing and what exactly is that action?

I'll tell you what it is, it's a strawman of your own invention. Must have been fun taking it down.

4
General Comments / Re: Is Money Laundering a High Crime or Misdemeanor?
« on: December 05, 2018, 11:45:11 AM »
Seriati, being a soulless demagogue who constantly tells egregious lies to the people is impeachable. It's not going to happen with this congress because they are too partisan. It won't happen with the next congress because the Senate will remain too partisan to convict. But it should. We should require basic decency from the highest elected office in the nation, and Trump debases the office with his constant lying. He uses Twitter and his rallies to repeat, over and over again, many falsehoods. One good recent example is claiming that he has $150 billion in spending commitments from Saudi Arabia, to justify his inaction over the crown prince-directed  murder of Kashoggi. He's repeated this false claim multiple times, trying to manipulate popular belief into thinking that any effort to hold the Saudis accountable will impoverish our nation. But that's just one out of many.

I know that lying in this way is not a crime, but "high crimes and misdemeanors" has never been meant to map to the criminal justice code. There is already precedent for impeachment over demagoguery, for other offices. There's no reason it couldn't be one article among several, including obstruction of justice - again it doesn't have to be based on a criminal charge, which you know - and abusing his military authority for political purposes with the southern border deployment. Not to mention literally standing with Putin in Helsinki while endorsing his claim that Russia did not interfere in our elections, immediately after Mueller detailed Russia's efforts: egregiously siding against American interests.

5
General Comments / Re: Is Money Laundering a High Crime or Misdemeanor?
« on: December 04, 2018, 03:08:44 AM »
Trump's conduct is impeachable several times over already.

Which conduct is impeachable?

That you're asking, not to mention your tireless apologetics for Trump, tells me that it wouldn't be a wise use of my time.

6
General Comments / Re: Is Money Laundering a High Crime or Misdemeanor?
« on: November 30, 2018, 07:37:58 PM »
Trump's conduct is impeachable several times over already. The question is what will stir the Senate Republicans.

We already know that past criminal tax fraud won't.

It's going to take a lot.

7
General Comments / Re: Misleading or False Claims by Trump
« on: November 20, 2018, 02:58:59 PM »
Trump didn't start a war in Iraq, so it's going to be hard to match W for direct harm until he does start a war.

I think what gets me so upset with Trump is how many lies he's getting away with - he doesn't have to rely on faulty intelligence reports or anything to convince a large contingent of Americans to believe a large number of false things. All while directly and consistently trying to undermine the press.

8
General Comments / Re: Misleading or False Claims by Trump
« on: November 20, 2018, 01:17:29 PM »
Litigating the details of a particular false claim kind of misses the point - which is that he makes hundreds of false claims, some big, some small, some believable to most people (if they aren't paying attention to who he is), some believable only to people who have sold their souls to Sean Hannity.

Putin successfully created an authoritarian regime where what is objectively true isn't as important as what he declares is true. This sort of thing is happening elsewhere, and Trump is trying to make it happen here. It's incredibly important, and I think it's morally reprehensible to minimize it.

9
General Comments / Re: Corey Booker and Kavanaugh Hearing
« on: November 15, 2018, 01:07:39 PM »
I don't like Avenatti either, and I think Jacob Wohl is a pathetic person who would try to frame him if he thought he could, but my money right now is on Avenatti getting into some kind of altercation with a woman who is not his wife, which resulted in her being hurt in some way. He's going to mount a defense that he didn't strike her and the injury was unintentional. (Pushed her away in self defense and she fell into a door, for instance.)

Wohl is probably just trolling this time, and Avenatti is taking advantage of that for the short term cover it gives him with supporters. 

Just my general feeling.

10
General Comments / Re: Pittsburgh Shooter
« on: November 09, 2018, 04:31:32 PM »
"What's going to happen is the collective disgust with mass shootings is going to build up to the point that we eventually repeal the 2nd amendment."

Ha. Ha. Ha.

2/3 of both houses, 3/4 of state legislatures

You couldn't get that much support for an Amendment declaring that stop signs should be red.

Urbanization will continue, kids who aren't yet voters are growing up with the drills that most of us didn't, and the body counts are trending up. And boomers are dying off.

Yep, eventually the disgust will add up that high.

11
General Comments / Re: Pittsburgh Shooter
« on: November 09, 2018, 04:13:20 PM »
I think the gun lobby needs to come up with some ideas about how to prevent mass shootings.

The 2nd amendment does give people the right to own guns, and the gun lobby is very good at making sure that the guns that people can have are capable of horrific destruction. And there are already so many guns out there that even some of the mitigations the left wants won't stop the shootings.

What's going to happen is the collective disgust with mass shootings is going to build up to the point that we eventually repeal the 2nd amendment.  If the gun lobby doesn't get on board with managing gun rights to a much more effective degree, eventually the public disgust will eliminate gun rights. But a lot of bodies will pile up in the meantime.

12
General Comments / Re: Media Perspective
« on: November 09, 2018, 04:06:56 PM »
Sorry for the multiple posts, but I want to concede that if the issue was simply whether Jim Acosta gets to go to the White House, you would be right that it would not be a big deal.

But that's not the issue.

Trump today has been insulting more reporters, calling them stupid/losers, and indicated he might be suspending more press passes if people aren't more respectful. This for reasonable questions about his intentions with regard to Whitaker and Mueller.

It's where he wants to go with this that is the issue. He wants to control the media. He openly admires autocrats in countries where that is exactly what happens, he has repeatedly floated the idea of using the FCC to punish media companies that aren't friendly to him, and now he's escalated to banning reporters from the WH and threatening to ban others. It's going to be bad if the only people allowed to ask him questions are working for sycophantic outlets.

13
General Comments / Re: The Invasion
« on: November 09, 2018, 04:00:04 PM »
It sounds reasonable, until you realize that the wait times are already at a couple of weeks. CBP officials say "at capacity, no way to process them".

They are also processing fewer than they were able to process in the past, for no good reason other than trying to make the process miserable enough to deter people from applying.

14
General Comments / Re: Media Perspective
« on: November 09, 2018, 03:54:43 PM »
Quote
Tell me you wouldn't see it as more dangerous to freedom of press if a mob confronted Rachel Maddow's family and threatened them.  You'd be on here saying how Trump inspired it, and tripling down on your meme that Trump is threatening the press.

Who am I supposed to blame for the mob at Tucker Carlson's house? I don't have a liberal president repeatedly calling him the enemy of the people. They are apparently stupid extremists, but there's no leader calling them to these actions. If there were, I'd consider that worthy of condemnation.

Trump has a unique responsibility that he ignores, and poses a unique danger with his rhetoric. He's also uniquely bad in various ways - whatabout fails because none of his predecessors have done the things he is doing.

15
General Comments / Re: Media Perspective
« on: November 09, 2018, 03:45:30 PM »
Quote
I'm not angry about a doctored video.  I'm angered by the blatantly "teamist" argument that a mob threatening a conservative commentator's family is less threatening to a free press that Jim Acosta losing his press pass.  By that logic, the mail "bomber" wasn't a threat either since he didn't work for the government.

I don't think it's OK to mob reporters' houses. I don't think what happened to Carlson was OK. I am glad law enforcement got involved, if people engage in that behavior they should be charged with crimes, etc. It's a problem, and I believe it will be acknowledged as a problem and addressed to the extent that freedom of the press is not curtailed.

Does that make sense?

I think the actual leader of the country banning reporters from his press briefings using false pretenses is a more dangerous thing, because there's no clear way to address the problem - there are no police to call, no charges that can be brought - and because it's a recognizable step in the direction of authoritarian domination of the press. It's happened in other countries.

16
General Comments / Re: Media Perspective
« on: November 09, 2018, 02:26:31 PM »
Seriati, you're dead wrong. There is clear documentation that the video the press secretary shared was doctored. Not "the videos", but that video. If you refuse to see it, there's not much I can do for you.

Your defensive anger is telling.

17
General Comments / Re: Media Perspective
« on: November 08, 2018, 07:17:24 PM »
Media response?  Claim the video has been doctored - nevermind that if you look at their own versions you still see him do it.

The doctoring of the video is an outrage, putting aside one's feelings about Acosta. If you watch the two videos in slow motion side by side you'll see that in the one it looks like he preemtively chops her hand away (making it feel more like "get out of here"), while in the other it looks like he responded on instinct to a hand reaching into his space and grabbing the mic he was holding, making it feel a lot more like self-defence if you want to call it that. Before I knew the context of why she was grabbing it away and just watched the videos, it looked like she was borderline assaulting him and that his response was actually quite minor and smooth all things considered. Someone else (let's say it was a woman, and not him, and one who had previously been an assault victim) might well have felt actually threatened by her move and the reflex would not only have been warranted but actually they would have been painted as having been attacked. It all depends on spin, right?

What Acosta actually did is refuse to let go of the microphone. He didn't push or manhandle the woman at all. The contact with the woman was incidental to her grabbing the microphone.

I'm disturbed to see that Seriati thinks that regardless of which video you watch, "he did it". Because the WH's version of "it" is false.

18
General Comments / Re: Media Perspective
« on: November 08, 2018, 07:13:49 PM »
There have been statements of solidarity and condemnation against the idiots at Carlson's house. Several are here.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/11/08/they-were-threatening-me-my-family-tucker-carlsons-home-targeted-by-protesters

I've seen similar statements from dozens of journalists and pundits on Twitter.

What happened to Tucker Carlson's family is worse than what happened to Acosta in terms of personal impact. But the latter is much more ominous when it comes to freedom of the press.

First, the federal government will always have infinitely more ability to interfere with constitutional rights than small groups of people without official power. That's such a fundamental thing that it underlies the separation of powers and checks and balances built into the Constitution.

Why this incident with Acosta is threatening: WH used a false pretext for banning Acosta. They straight up lied about what happened. Then Sarah Sanders shared a doctored video to bolster the lie.

As international journalists have pointed out, this is a familiar pattern. It's part of a playbook. The lie isn't meant to be convincing, it's meant to separate loyalists from opposition.

Acosta may be a jerk. He may have asked more questions than he was invited to ask. The proper response to this is not to lie about what happened and revoke his security credentials. It might be to skip him the next couple of times? Or turn off the microphone?

WH taking offense at Acosta's behavior is transparently self serving. Insist that reporters be polite while Trump shrieks about "enemy of the people" and insists that documenting his pervasive lies is "fake news". 

But this goes well beyond taking unearned offense at impolite behavior. It's a gambit testing WH's ability to coerce more friendly treatment from journalists.

19
He tweets or says things that he knows will generate negative news coverage. The birthright citizenship thing was an example. I believe he had two reasons: He was continuing his strategy of making the midterms about supposed dangers of immigrants, and wanted to move some of the coverage away from Pittsburgh.

20
My dad believed that environmentalist efforts were a waste of time because of some scripture that said there's plenty for everyone. He's not great with nuance.

21
Right. Trump drives the news cycle. There are reports from WH staffers indicating this is a deliberate strategy.

22
Trump's economy gets as much coverage as anyone's ever did. It's overwhelmed by his utter, bottomless dip*censored*tery. Blaming that on the media is ridiculous.

23
General Comments / Re: Invest in automation
« on: October 10, 2018, 06:31:51 PM »
Unless we botch it and create a SkyNet or Omnius, robot labor should be a good time for all of us.  Once we wrap our head around that kind of world.

It should ALREADY be a good time for all of us. To an extent it is - lots of us have smartphones - but the benefits of increases in productivity have largely accrued to a tiny percentage of the population. I think it's going to go badly. Either oligarchy or revolution. I hope I'm wrong though.

24
It's theoretically possible for a subordinate to sexually harass the boss, sure. Bosses normally have an easier time of shutting it down without incurring negative consequences for themselves, but it could happen and it should have consequences for the harasser.

Here's the thing though: even if an underling instigates an inappropriate incident on her own (and I don't believe that's what happened with Lewinsky, but for the sake of argument) - it would still be entirely inappropriate for the boss to accept it, encourage it, or escalate it. And if he does, an employer - or an oversight body - should treat it the same as if he was the sole aggressor. Part of his job is to shut that kind of thing down immediately and take steps to prevent it from recurring.

25
General Comments / Re: Hey Doc--I figured out a treatment for schizophrenia
« on: September 13, 2018, 09:30:01 PM »
sp, I sent you an email. If you can't access that email would you mind using the email link in my profile to send me one and let me know an address that works?

26
General Comments / Re: Hey Doc--I figured out a treatment for schizophrenia
« on: September 13, 2018, 06:35:26 PM »
We should grab lunch or coffee sometime. No rush on my part - I have crippling social anxiety anyway, and am recently dry so it's worse at the moment.

27
Accelerating growth in national deficit. 

That's about all I feel confident about.


My prediction was right!

28
General Comments / Re: Hey Doc--I figured out a treatment for schizophrenia
« on: September 13, 2018, 04:29:50 PM »
I've rarely felt so compelled to say something and so unsure of what it is I want to say - or maybe I always feel that way, but I'm especially conscious of it at the moment.

I want to welcome you and calm you and chide you and encourage you. But I'm not qualified to help, and not sure how to tell when any of those actions would make sense.

It's really good to know that you're seeking some help. It's actually really good to read your words again. I enjoyed your posts, always, but not always for the best reasons. There were times when I wondered if you were OK, but I let go of those thoughts. Those times were mostly when you hinted (or outright said, and I don't remember which way it went) that the rest of us could not understand you fully. I think I decided that you meant that we weren't catching all your puns. Which made sense - I thought I was probably catching a fraction of the hard ones but I always believed that I was missing something. Yeah, apparently that was part of what you meant, but I never guessed at the extent or nature of the conversations you were having. Right now I'm consoling myself that I couldn't have pushed you to get help sooner. That's to try to make myself feel better about pushing away those occasional doubts.

Also, you seem...hale. But you deserve more rest than you probably know what feels like.

I hope you always keep writing, if it's helpful to you. You do have a unique gift for it.

29
The tweet isn't an order because we don't live in a country where private businesses can be ordered to do something by the President via tweet. It's not an order because there is simply no chance that it will be treated as such.

It's still very disturbing that Trump evinces the desire to violate the 1st amendment on a frequent basis. This may be political commentary, but the political position he's advocating for is totalitarianism. His continued fondness for brutal dictators gives the same impression.

Seriati...
Quote
The media lying and misrepresenting for political purposes directly harms this country.  Is calling them "enemy of the people" a bridge too far?

I'd like you to do a thought experiment and ask yourself how you'd have reacted if Obama, in office, had repeatedly called right-leaning media "the enemy of the people" and suggested that their 1st amendment rights should be curtailed. 

It's several bridges too far, and I'm disappointed in you.

30
General Comments / Re: Trump verses Google Search
« on: August 30, 2018, 04:33:30 PM »
Google can't be transparent about its trade secrets, really.

I suspect the most controversial part of their algorithm would be which sites they consider news sites.  Although I think they are already too generous with that.

31
Nazis have badly broken moral compasses.

Multiply that by the fact that political activism is always about something controversial, not about whether babies should be allowed to nap or about whether the USA should just go ahead and hand over the keys to DPRK.

It's a really safe rule of thumb, as such things go.

32
General Comments / Re: The Manafort Question
« on: August 15, 2018, 11:26:59 PM »
You've got a good point, Donald. I have been following as closely as I can, but the information I have access to only accounts for a small fraction of what has transpired in the courtroom.

33
General Comments / Re: The Manafort Question
« on: August 14, 2018, 05:40:19 PM »
With the amount of hard evidence presented at trial and the multiple witnesses alleging Manafort's awareness and participation, I think his only chance to avoid conviction on at least some of the counts is a rogue juror - someone willing to ignore jury instructions. I don't think he's going to get a jury nullification, but a hung jury is possible. Maybe someone who lied about their bias during selection, or someone who can't stomach Gates getting the better end of the deal.

34
Fascinating read, though I could have done without the unsubstantiated digs the author threw in on Trump's truthfulness generally.  They seem to have only been included to "prove" the author was on the right side of the anti-Trump aisle.


It's funny that you would say unsubstantiated, since there's a link in the story to some pretty exhaustive substantiation.

You shouldn't really be spared the discomfort of being reminded that Trump is constant liar.

35
General Comments / Re: Trump Putin Summit
« on: July 20, 2018, 01:51:20 PM »
Other reporting indicates that Trump has had knowledge of Putin's personal involvement since before his inauguration. He was briefed on the intelligence.

If you wonder why John Brennan is apoplectic, it's because he knows that Trump knows, and yet has to watch things playing out like the rest of us.

36
What would turn Trump to my favor?

For a start, apologize sincerely to the literally hundreds of people he has publicly insulted and humiliated.
Apologize for commenting on investigations in process, and never do it again.
Personally retract his comment saying he would order American soldiers to kill relatives of terrorists, which is a war crime.
Admit that he had no evidence that Obama tapped his phones, or that there were 3 million illegal votes.
Admit he was a major force behind the lie that Obama was not born in the US.
Admit that the women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault are not all liars.

That's off the top of my head.
Notice that these are not policy positions. These are not things that Republicans do or Democrats don't. These are evidence that he is a total a**hole, and not a person who should be representing our country.

I'd like him to acknowledge and apologize for the atrocity of stealing young children from their parents in some kind of attempt to scare people away from the border, and take steps to mitigate the damage done. 

Quote
Pence will provide the judges and the anti-immigrant rhetoric and the tax cuts, without all the garbage Trump brings.  So there is no rational reason to keep him.

Well, there is. It's the same reason that the GOP is afraid to criticize him. If Trump goes down, it demoralizes the people who voted for him. If Trump goes down, the midterm election is a huge blue wave.

Rational, but not moral.

37
General Comments / Re: whats up with all the rallies
« on: July 12, 2018, 07:45:46 PM »
I woke up this morning and what was on tv?  An unscheduled international presser by President Trump.  I watched him do an excellent job answering questions for 15 minutes, with clear answers and great transparency.  And at the end of it, I was so furious with the US media that I couldn't see straight.

The international media asked questions that were relevant and that had substantive answers that had impact on their lives and they got answers.  I'm struck by how our US media uses the pressers as an opportunity to grandstand and uses questions to make political points rather than to get substantive answers.  If you've ever seen the media ask 15 versions of the same question you should know what I'm talking about, they have an agenda to get a specific soundbite, not an actual answer.  If you really want to know why we don't have informative press conferences this one showed exactly why, our "journalists" are political activists first.

Had you had your coffee yet?  I'm partway through the transcript, and I'm seeing repetitive, critical questions.  And the answers are word salad. 

https://www.c-span.org/video/?448369-1/president-trump-calls-nato-alliance-very-unified-strong&start=2

What part of this impressed you?

38
I don't have to read snopes, I read the bill, at least the parts that pertain to this 55 gallon limit. It clearly states that the utilities are responsible, not individuals. It also clearly states that this target is 20% below existing levels. So while your numbers may be correct for the average American, it clearly is not relevant to what californians might have to give up.

Your contempt is nauseating.

He's citing numbers that are overall domestic usage per person and household - including outdoor use. The 55/50 limit was interior household water usage.

Comparing snopes to infowars is irrational.

39
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/california-laundry-and-shower/

There's no penalty for individual consumers.

Not to mention 55 (or 50) gallons per day per person on average does not equate to being restricted to 55 gallons on a given day.

I've got 5 kids and a wife. Our household generates around 1.5 loads of laundry per day, and we've got lots of room for improvement there - we end up washing a lot of the kids' clothes after being worn once when they are probably good for a couple more days (particularly pants).  Some of them are small, so if we continue washing jeans after a single day our household might end up generating 2 or 2.5 loads of laundry per day when they get bigger. 

2.5 x 40 = 100. 
If we all take a 17 gallon shower 6 days a week and a 40 gallon bath once a week, the daily average for the household will be 142 gallons. 

So between (overly frequent) laundry and bathing we're at about 70% of a 50 gallon per person per day budget.  Add 5 flushes a day per person and we're up to 85%.  Leaving a pretty good margin for sink faucets and the ice maker, as far as I can tell. 

Scary.

40
Wow, that’s the very best example of grasping at straws I’ve ever seen.

But no, when Flynn was charged , nobody thought he’d lied to the FBI. Flynn was prosecuted for a crime nobody thought he committed. Flynn maintained his innocence right up until they coerced him into the plea.

 It’s exactly what it looks like.


This is the dumbest talking point. This kind of charge is not supposed to be predicated on impressions of interviewing agents. Flynn did lie. The charging document covers the evidence that he lied. Your assertion that nobody thought he lied when he was charged is completely false, based on the ridiculous concept that interviewing agent impression of body language preempts the actual evidence.

41
General Comments / Re: NFL fines for disrespect
« on: May 24, 2018, 11:17:16 AM »
It's obvious that employers can require things of their employees although I think there's some potential for further development here because there's a free speech issue. Free speech is not an absolute right but limits on it need to be examined.

I think it's pretty clear that Donald's point was that the NFL was pretending not to understand the players motivation for their protest. It's been a common theme. Instead of trusting Kaepernick and others to say why they're protesting and what they want, it gets reframed as some sort of disrespect for the military or other completely distorted versions of what they're doing.

Personally I don't give a crap about the NFL, but I'm even more unlikely to start giving a crap now. I think they are caving to nationalistic demagoguery on the part of politicians.


42
General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: May 16, 2018, 04:06:53 PM »
I am sympathetic to the opinion that it would be ridiculous to try to take Trump down over this particular peccadillo. I don't think it CAN happen. He isn't going to have his party turn on him over this (after all, it's just additional color on things that were already known about his character).

But if it COULD be done, I'd be fine with it. It's not like we can't field presidents who HAVEN'T done this kind of thing.

Avenatti's PR for his case as a political campaign is an interesting angle, but I'm gonna guess he's not billing his client for the TV appearances anyway.

43
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: May 16, 2018, 02:49:51 PM »
Quote
I think Crunch is probably right on this one.
Ummm... which part?  The part where he characterizes the men's actions as "cashing in on an “undisclosed financial settlement“ from Starbucks"?

Clearly, not the settlement that has now been disclosed for 2 weeks.  Clearly not the part where they were "cashing in on" their one-dollar settlement.  Maybe it was the part where he implies that their associate "magically appears"?



Thanks, I was a little startled that he appeared to be getting away with that one.

44
General Comments / Re: Trump just won the 2020 election
« on: May 04, 2018, 12:33:08 PM »
When it comes to dairy and grapes, I think regional designations actually make some sense.  I don't know if this holds true for apples, but the local environment and farming customs do affect the characteristics of dairy products as well as grapes.


While the sellers main motivation is to preserve the reputation of their products - and their profits - it does benefit the consumer when it comes to consistency and predictability. After all, to the degree that "Parmesan" doesn't tell a consumer that their cheese comes from a particular region with regulations that predict the characteristics of the product? It also doesn't tell them whether what they are buying is what they expect.

45
General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: May 03, 2018, 05:28:37 PM »
Quote
When asked why Cohen paid Daniels the money, Giuliani said Cohen made the allegations against Trump go away, saying "he did his job."

“Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton?" Giuliani asked.

"Cohen made it go away," he added. "He did his job."

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/386035-giuliani-imagine-if-that-came-out-in-the-middle-of-the-last

46
General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: May 03, 2018, 04:20:26 PM »
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There's literally no way to establish that where you have a celebrity that has a practice of paying for NDAs that predates his campaign.  In fact, it's almost certain that the opposite conclusion would be held.

In theory there certainly is a way to establish this, such as if the people involved made statements that the purpose of the payoff was to influence the outcome of the election.  Giuliani has now suggested this was the case.  Who knows what else lurks on Cohen's seized devices? If coupled with an admission that they want to keep this off the campaign books, you even get a crime-fraud exception.

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I get it, you guys are looking for a crime for Trump to be guilty of, no matter how implausible, but this isn't likely to be it.

Indeed, we're watching closely, and Trump's constant telegraphing that he's worried about what the investigations will find helps hold our attention.

Note that I didn't make a claim about how likely it was that Trump would be guilty of a crime here. I was responding to your claim that if Trump used his own funds then the possibility of violations was pretty much eliminated. However the funds were accounted for, if the intent to influence the election can be established it's still arguably in violation of campaign finance laws since it wasn't reported. I'll grant that Trump's (no doubt extensive) history of paying off people with dirt on him will help his argument on THIS particular hush operation.

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Loan from Michael Cohen to the campaign required filings (he was paid back in installments over time).

Legal services and expenses are routinely billed after the expense is incurred, this is not a "loan."   By this interpretation every campaign in history has violated the campaign finance laws by failing to report the services they received and later paid for as "campaign contributions."

You're off track. If it was a campaign expenditure then it had to be reported, whether it was a "loan" or a "service" or an "expense". The question is whether it was a campaign expenditure, which depends on facts that we don't know (but investigators might know). Certainly Giuliani has suggested that it was by asking us to imagine if [Clifford's story] had come out during the final debate, in order to understand Cohen's motivations at the time.

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General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: May 03, 2018, 12:23:51 PM »
"But I don't really see how it's a violation of the law to use campaign money on PR for the candidate..."

You have to account for campaign money regardless.

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General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: May 03, 2018, 12:22:59 PM »
Intent to influence the election = in-kind campaign contribution.

Loan from Michael Cohen to the campaign required filings (he was paid back in installments over time).

So no, this doesn't clear the air.

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I think it'd go a long way to substantiating some kind of collusion between Trump or his campaign and Russia.

I'm already fairly convinced there's something there - Trump's deference to Putin and tendency to act guilty on the subject of Russian interference, combined with the way Flynn and Sessions seemed to want to hide conversations with Russians, combined with the campaign meeting about the stolen emails and the attempted coverup of that, combined with the Steele dossier - I think it adds up.  But I know it's not enough to act on.  I'm not proposing that the country should act in accordance with the implications of my conspiracy theories. :)

But if they prove Cohen was in Prague, I think it's just a matter of time before the collusion can be proven. It's a key part of the dossier and has been denied emphatically. I would have given low odds that he was actually there - it seemingly would have required some cloak and dagger maneuvering - but his dropping these suits just when some of his secrets might be exposed makes me reluctant to dismiss the possibility.

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General Comments / Re: Justice and murder by the mentally ill
« on: April 18, 2018, 02:58:57 PM »
I think punitive justice is a fiction.

Locking the woman up might be justified absent advances in psychology that can more or less guarantee that she is not too dangerous to live as an ordinary citizen, since she's demonstrated that she sometimes is too dangerous.

Locking up the woman to deter others from killing children is probably also justified (although I think it's worth studying how much punishment creates how much deterrence - on a perpetual basis).

Locking the woman up to balance out the harm she did makes zero sense. 

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