Author Topic: Trump and Ethics  (Read 5270 times)

yossarian22c

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Trump and Ethics
« on: January 16, 2018, 07:06:58 AM »
https://www.citizensforethics.org/yearone/

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This report lays out all of these violations of law, ethics rules, and norms and many more, setting out an issue-by-issue accounting of a year characterized by contempt for ethical and legal obligations. Still, it only provides an overview of the administration’s ethics problems – so much is still unknown that we are only beginning to understand the scope of the problem. Nonetheless, looking back on the first year of the Trump administration, it is now clear that the president has operated with a clear disregard for ethics and the rule of law, and this attitude has infected his administration. From the smallest incidents of using official positions to promote hats or clothing to the most damning examples of business conflicts that could influence American foreign policy and systematic obstruction of justice, President Trump and his administration are sending a signal that they view the government as working for them, rather than for the American people. If we want government of the people, by the people, and for the people to continue, it is time for Congress, enforcement agencies, and most importantly the American people to demand an end to the violations and a return to an ethical and lawful government.

I haven't had the time to read the whole thing yet but it seems to be a substantive detailing of Trump's conflicts of interest and violations of the emoluments clause during his first year in office.

TheDeamon

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 11:26:46 AM »
https://www.citizensforethics.org/yearone/

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From the smallest incidents of using official positions to promote hats or clothing

This one just into the full on bizzare in my book that it is somehow even an issue. The Obama's could rock a designer label(and provide advertising for them!) and nobody bats an eye. But the moment Ivanka Trump walks into a state function wearing something from her own clothing line people are screaming "ethics violation!" Seriously?

Of course, virtually of those designer labels the Obama's were tied to had "respectable credentials" and so on.

Now if we discussing the Postmaster General using his position to solidify his position as something of a media mogul. That is an obvious abuse(and Benjamin Franklin is guilty as sin). But getting fussy over personal wardrobe choices that might have financial benefits for the wearer, how exactly is the taxpayer being abused there? Now if they required government employees to buy products from their clothing line, or whatever else, that's another matter.

Even "private use" of government email (in a "non-advertising" manner) to discuss non-government related things(like how to promote said clothing with an associate) is a grey area where I'd be inclined to grant the Obamas a pass on, so how did that even become an issue under Trump? The issue with the "official e-mail address use" is when that address can be directly used to "Self-Promote" for personal gain. IE use of the (government) office copy machine to produce sales flyers using government provided supplies, or use of that e-mail address to solicit sales from a prospective customer.

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to the most damning examples of business conflicts that could influence American foreign policy and systematic obstruction of justice,

And this can get rather subjective too. This stance almost presumes guilt. If you're innocent, and you KNOW you are innocent, you're not going to be very appreciative of "random people" being granted a basically unlimited license to rifle through through your stuff. As such, most people are going to do everything they can to curtail any such searching as may happen. An unreasonable search is unjust, and if you're innocent, being searched in pursuit of evidence regarding an invalid claim in an unjust outcome. Acting to prevent an unreasonable search is not "obstruction of justice."

So what we are left with, is splitting hairs over what exactly constitutes "reasonable." I don't agree with a lot of things Trump may view as being perfectly reasonable, but I also think the anti-Trump crowd is anything but exemplars of reasonability.

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President Trump and his administration are sending a signal that they view the government as working for them, rather than for the American people.

The executive branch works for the President. If Congress objects to the executive branch exerting authority granted to it, then Congress needs to re-evaluate what they have placed under the purview of the Executive Branch. If this means potential constitutional amendments, then suggest accordingly. I think few in here will object to claims that the Executive Authority that exists in the United States is too far reaching, and it badly needs to be curtailed.

Fix the system, not the symptoms. This is complaining about a symptom, and thinking that firing Trump will somehow fix the system. That's a rather short-sighted perspective to take.

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If we want government of the people, by the people, and for the people to continue, it is time for Congress, enforcement agencies, and most importantly the American people to demand an end to the violations and a return to an ethical and lawful government.

"Ethics" is a voter and political consideration. Of course, impeachment is "a political consideration" as well. As to lawful or unlawful government practices, I think only time will tell on that front. But I think a lot of the objections regarding Trump fall firmly into the "lawful" side of things, even if they're very sketchy on the ethics side. But that just points to a system problem that needs to be addressed, and focusing on the person rather than the legal system which enables it, is doing a disservice to everyone.

yossarian22c

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 12:02:27 PM »
https://www.citizensforethics.org/yearone/

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From the smallest incidents of using official positions to promote hats or clothing

This one just into the full on bizzare in my book that it is somehow even an issue. The Obama's could rock a designer label(and provide advertising for them!) and nobody bats an eye. But the moment Ivanka Trump walks into a state function wearing something from her own clothing line people are screaming "ethics violation!" Seriously?

I think this was referencing Kelly-Ann Conway going on a national TV interview and saying buy Ivanka.

Fenring

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 12:05:02 PM »
Acting to prevent an unreasonable search is not "obstruction of justice."

So what we are left with, is splitting hairs over what exactly constitutes "reasonable." I don't agree with a lot of things Trump may view as being perfectly reasonable, but I also think the anti-Trump crowd is anything but exemplars of reasonability.

I think what liberals/Democrats/the left has failed to recognize is that they've been conned. They have been bamboozled, tricked, lied to, and at this point there's some Stockholm Syndrome going on too. They've been put in a position where their values are beyond secondary and where defeating the other side is such a priority that many would gladly sacrifice systemic stability and even their own principles if it means getting Trump impeached. He's a lightning rod, except that the conductor is the Democrat voter and as they turn up the juice they're the ones being fried. It's not just that the targeted attacks are negative in tone and mostly vitriol over substance, but that the 'obvious' rightness of all the invective and hate spewed about him - and I'm not even discussing whether he deserves it or not - has turned many a liberal into a close facsimile to a radical evangelical. It is very bad for people to be caught up in this mindset, and the perception that the event of Trump's election is somehow uniting people against him is true, but only in the worst possible way. The manner in which people are united more so than ever is in the fact of being united in favor of partisan infighting and being abused by people who don't care about parties and operate laterally to the legislative system. This 'common cause' is merely achieving making people a united front of suckers. If you can be conned into having to vote for someone like Hillary, for instance, and to have to apologize for her antics, you ought to know that you've been led down the garden path.

Honestly, I think the best thing people can do to 'thwart' Trump is to stop railing against him and instead to focus on why he got into power in the first place. But people don't want to find real solutions, they only want to feel validated in being able to say how bad someone is, as the excuse for why things don't appear to be awesome. It's a simple scapegoat mentality. The fact that Trump brings half of it on himself is another matter, but the way to avoid a Trump is to have viable, good candidates running for office for both parties. These last set of primaries were a disgrace; Trump is just the mess left on the floor after the frat party ended.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 12:07:03 PM by Fenring »

TheDrake

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2018, 12:46:22 PM »
Jimmy Carter give up his peanut farm.

As for Obama:

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“Well, not to get too personal, but our home back in Chicago—not the White House, which, as I said, that’s a rental—our home back in Chicago, my mortgage interest rate, I would probably benefit from refinancing right now, I would save some money,” Obama said. “When you’re President, you have to be a little careful about these transactions, so we haven’t refinanced.”

Could any president avoid helping friends, foundations, etc? probably not entirely. The major difference is that they made the attempt and recognized that it was a real concern.

Add to that that Trump had no problem criticizing Hillary Clinton's conflicts, and it starts to paint a picture that he doesn't think the rules apply to him.

TheDeamon

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 01:21:27 PM »
I think what liberals/Democrats/the left has failed to recognize is that they've been conned. They have been bamboozled, tricked, lied to, and at this point there's some Stockholm Syndrome going on too. They've been put in a position where their values are beyond secondary and where defeating the other side is such a priority that many would gladly sacrifice systemic stability and even their own principles if it means getting Trump impeached.

A lot of that willing, at least on the upper echelons. The reason they're not jumping on curbing executive authority for example, rather than curb-stomping on Trump and his supporters, for example.

They do not want executive authority rolled back or otherwise curbed.
1) It calls into question things Obama did.
2) It deprives them of "another chance" at it once "their guy" reaches office.

Neither of which is acceptable to their tastes, particularly as they expect Trump(or whatever Republican holds to presidency in 2020) to be "an easy political 'kill'" for whomever they place in opposition. So they really don't have any desire what-so-ever to place hard limits on what a President can do.

If they were serious about "defeating Trump" and not setting the stage for a delusional 2020 "easy-mode" Presidential win on their part, they'd be campaigning on limiting Presidential power both now, and into the future. Rather than the focus on impeaching Trump.

The one platform would pull in independents and conservatives by the millions, they've been believers in the need since the Obama Admin, if not earlier. The other platform only really has wide appeal to the Liberal/Democratic political base. It isn't going to get much traction in the parts of the nation that voted against Hillary in 2016(which, BTW, was a majority of voters, even if a majority also didn't vote for Trump).

That Laser-tight fixation on Trump will cost them in the mid-terms, and if they're not careful, they're going to get Trump re-elected in 2020. Because it also ignores another key tenant of politics: All politics are local. Unless you're able to demonstrate how malfeasance on the part of the Trump admin is making their life worse, pursuing a strong Anti-Trump (Impeachment) line might as well be campaigning to impeach Bill Clinton in light of his perjury charge in the 1990's.

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He's a lightning rod, except that the conductor is the Democrat voter and as they turn up the juice they're the ones being fried. It's not just that the targeted attacks are negative in tone and mostly vitriol over substance, but that the 'obvious' rightness of all the invective and hate spewed about him - and I'm not even discussing whether he deserves it or not - has turned many a liberal into a close facsimile to a radical evangelical. It is very bad for people to be caught up in this mindset, and the perception that the event of Trump's election is somehow uniting people against him is true, but only in the worst possible way. The manner in which people are united more so than ever is in the fact of being united in favor of partisan infighting and being abused by people who don't care about parties and operate laterally to the legislative system. This 'common cause' is merely achieving making people a united front of suckers.

Not going to disagree, but I guess we both fail to properly understand both "the rightness(aka (self-)righteousness) of their cause" as well as the urgency in which it needs to be addressed.
 
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Honestly, I think the best thing people can do to 'thwart' Trump is to stop railing against him and instead to focus on why he got into power in the first place. But people don't want to find real solutions, they only want to feel validated in being able to say how bad someone is, as the excuse for why things don't appear to be awesome. It's a simple scapegoat mentality. The fact that Trump brings half of it on himself is another matter, but the way to avoid a Trump is to have viable, good candidates running for office for both parties. These last set of primaries were a disgrace; Trump is just the mess left on the floor after the frat party ended.

See above, nothing substantive is going to be done by the DNC because they're busy drinking the kool-aide in their echo chamber for this election cycle and eagerly waiting for 2020, where they're still likely going to be punch-drunk from 2018. They're convinced "their turn" resumes after 2020 and as such don't want to upset the Executive Authority Apple Cart until they get to pick it clean themselves.

Seriati

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 01:14:07 PM »
Lol that was pretty funny, a whole lot of conclusions without basis.  I really like how they opened with their suit filed at 12:01 on the day of the inaugeration.

TheDrake

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 01:45:14 PM »
As far as the most unethical presidency goes, I'd have to begin with Nixon's use of the FBI against his political enemies coupled with the obvious Watergate stuff.

FDR's high on the list. He threatened to subvert the supreme court, imprisoned citizens and allowed their property to be stolen.

Then you have to consider Warren Harding and the Teapot Dome scandal, secretly leasing of oil reserves, although he was never directly implicated.

Fenring

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2018, 02:11:28 PM »
FDR's high on the list. He threatened to subvert the supreme court, imprisoned citizens and allowed their property to be stolen.

He literally confiscated all gold in the country! Wtf! If a President tried that now there would probably be a coup.

TheDrake

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 05:29:58 PM »
Au, come back with my gold!

Imagine if Trump tried to eliminate the $100 bill. I'm not sure how, but I'm sure it would mean he is racist, helping rich people, stupid, and unethical. Maybe like this:

1. He's racist because poor people don't use banks like white people, so he's destroying the life savings of minorities.
2. With the increase in banking fees, his pals in the financial industry are going to make millions.
3. He doesn't understand what paper money is and why people use it.
4. He is overstepping the traditional separation between the US Mint and the Executive.


Wayward Son

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 06:27:18 PM »
Well, that is certainly what the Right would say the Left would say about it, regardless of the truth.  :P

TheDrake

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 07:49:57 PM »
I'd bet dimes to dollars at least one of those would come up, although I don't know how widespread the adoption of it would be. Probably at least the DailyBeast and CNN. ;)

I'm sure I could dig up some examples that stretch to make any action taken by Trump fit the author's narrative.

Not that any of those character judgments are necessarily unfounded, just that when that is an author's whole goal they will do anything to make the piece fit the puzzle. And with a helpful dose of hyperbole, like "most racist president ever!" - when we have Woodrow Wilson and Richard Nixon just to start the post 1900 examples.

Of course many of the people writing these articles probably only have vague memories of Bill Clinton when they were still wearing footie pajamas and didn't pay much attention in history class.


TheDeamon

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2018, 05:20:40 PM »
Something else fun to consider, as I recently checked in with 538 to see what Nate Silver has been up to, and his thoughts on the Senate(I generally agree with him).

But in some related looking around, I notice a lot of the polling that has Democrats drooling at present has a perhaps fatal flaw present. Something they should have wizened up on after last November.

The overwhelming majority of those polls are national in scope. They also often a sample size of fewer than 1,000 registered voters. Now also, keep in mind how many legislative districts there are in the House of Representatives.

Now also keep in mind that the districts are not created equally, there can be rather large disparities between them population wise. A lot of the complaining about the Electoral College revolved around the Senate's composition more than anything else, but the apportionment of House Seats also was a major factor.

We already know from last November there was a strong population bias in favor of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. We also know that "bias" was most pronounced in urban areas--which is where most of the population lives these days. The problem is, that isn't necessarily how the congressional districts work.

With a sample size of less than 1,000 there is no way to get a representative breakdown on a district by district basis(typical sample size per district being 2, with a small number of districts getting 3, if evenly distributed per district). What they're more likely targeting, and obtaining is the more generic "population sample" which opens them up to polling biases that could potentially lead to "surprises" later on depending on which populations they end up sampling from(rural vs urban).

I don't have time to crunch numbers, and know Democrats enjoy some "low population districts" as well, but they need to be wary of super-majority congressional districts skewing numbers on the national level in ways that don't pan out in many/most districts. 2018 could see a "popular minority" as per polling numbers, in control of the House of Representatives because they win a majority of seats.

Which actually gets us into the "Generic ballot" where it seems the "likely Democrat" voters still tracks closely to the Hillary vote in '16. The "likely republican" Generic Ballot(which again, is typically being done nationally) is lagging well behind at this time, but you need to keep in mind the very dysfunctional relationship the GOP has developed with its voters since 2010 in particular(but even before then).

Ditto on the Presidential Approval numbers. Obviously that disapproval count has to include previous "Trump voters" many of whom may indeed have buyers remorse. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're waiting to belly up to anything the Dems will offer them. Many of them didn't like Trump to start with, but they still voted for him.

However, the Democrats are drooling because established wisdom is that an unpopular president makes candidates from the same party weak, particularly when you can link the two together.  What they're failing to process is that in 2016, Millions of Americans who did not like Trump, voted for him anyway, because they viewed the Democratic Offering as being worse. Democrats taking his low approval ratings to mean those people "have seen the light" and now realize that the Democratic offering is in fact superior are likely to get a rude awakening when they continue down the path their on, and see many voters respond at the ballot box by basically saying. "Yeah, we don't like Trump, but you're still the worse than he is."

TheDeamon

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2018, 11:14:27 AM »
But in some related looking around, I notice a lot of the polling that has Democrats drooling at present has a perhaps fatal flaw present. Something they should have wizened up on after last November.

The overwhelming majority of those polls are national in scope. They also often a sample size of fewer than 1,000 registered voters. Now also, keep in mind how many legislative districts there are in the House of Representatives.

Now also keep in mind that the districts are not created equally, there can be rather large disparities between them population wise. A lot of the complaining about the Electoral College revolved around the Senate's composition more than anything else, but the apportionment of House Seats also was a major factor.

We already know from last November there was a strong population bias in favor of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. We also know that "bias" was most pronounced in urban areas--which is where most of the population lives these days. The problem is, that isn't necessarily how the congressional districts work.

With a sample size of less than 1,000 there is no way to get a representative breakdown on a district by district basis(typical sample size per district being 2, with a small number of districts getting 3, if evenly distributed per district). What they're more likely targeting, and obtaining is the more generic "population sample" which opens them up to polling biases that could potentially lead to "surprises" later on depending on which populations they end up sampling from(rural vs urban).

I don't have time to crunch numbers, and know Democrats enjoy some "low population districts" as well, but they need to be wary of super-majority congressional districts skewing numbers on the national level in ways that don't pan out in many/most districts. 2018 could see a "popular minority" as per polling numbers, in control of the House of Representatives because they win a majority of seats.

ABC news just noticed almost exactly the above.
http://abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/strength-party-strongholds-key-midterm-outcomes-poll/story?id=52795264

Quote from: ABC
The wide Democratic advantage in congressional vote preference comes entirely in districts the party already holds, raising questions about the extent of its possible gains in November. Yet the closeness of the contests in GOP-held districts underscores this year’s Republican vulnerability.

Democrats lead by 14 points among likely voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, a result reported previously. But that reflects a vast 38-point Democratic lead in districts already held by Democratic members of Congress. In districts the Republican Party holds, by contrast, it’s a tight 45-51 percent Democratic vs. Republican contest.

. . .

Political independents – often swing voters, given their weaker party loyalty – drive the results of this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. In Democratic districts independents favor the Democrat; in Republican districts independents split evenly, 45-46 percent. Partisans on both sides, by contrast, stick nearly unanimously with their party.

Overall, the poll finds that 77 percent of Republicans live in one of the 238 GOP-held congressional districts, while a smaller majority of Democrats live in a district held by their party, 52 percent. Independents are split 50-50 between Democratic and Republican districts. Half the people in Democratic-held districts live in urban areas, vs. a third of those in GOP districts.

Urgency
Democrats, as noted, have urgency on their side. Half of likely voters say voting this year is more important to them than in previous midterm elections – and they split by a wide 65-29 percent for the Democrat over the Republican in their districts.

Among those who say voting this year is no more important than in the past, it’s a closer 42(D)-51(R )percent contest. And within the parties, Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say voting is more important this year, 64 vs. 40 percent.

That said, enthusiasm won’t necessarily flip seats – there’s little difference in “more important” ratings between those who live in Democratic districts vs. Republican ones, 53 vs. 49 percent, suggesting some amount of this energy will end up boosting incumbents rather than forcing turnover. And there’s no guarantee that current fervor won’t flag in the nine months ahead; Democrats, in particular, often lag in midterm turnout.

. . .

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Jan. 15-18, 2018, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,005 adults and 846 registered voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-23-40 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.


TheDeamon

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Re: Trump and Ethics
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2018, 12:47:10 PM »
And for somebody that several people in here tend to at least consider on a regular basis:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-happened-to-the-democratic-wave/

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natesilver: A key point of context here is that Democrats could win the House popular vote by 6 points — which is kind of a lot — and still not take the House.

harry: Right. The movement we saw from December’s generic ballot average to January’s average was obviously smaller than the movement from December’s Democratic high point to January’s Democratic low point. And we published that article (unknowingly) at December’s high point, and we’re at the low point now.

There’s probably a floor in here somewhere for the Democrats given the fundamentals at play.

natesilver: Another key point of context is that it doesn’t take all that much to go from a ripple to a tsunami. If the Democrats were to win the House popular vote by 12 points say — and there were lots of polls to that effect in December — they could win lots and lots and lots of seats. It’s a pretty nonlinear effect once you start getting into the territory where supposedly safe gerrymandered seats come into play.

So I think the conventional wisdom is overly certain that Democrats will take the House. But I also think the chance of Democrats winning say 50+ seats is higher than people assume.

So too early to call, but even Nate Silver is considering potential outcomes where popular support clearly backs the Dems(by +6% no less!), but the nature of the House Districts/how Democrats and Republicans are distributed across them results in a Republican controlled House all the same.