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On 2/21/2018 at 10:47 PM, Lazarus said:

Huh? I'm really floored (and disappointed) to hear this far-right wing unsubstantiated name calling coming from you. Even though this could be a separate topic on its own (The Bill Clinton Presidency), please be informed that the US experienced an extended period of economic prosperity during the Clinton presidency, and that Bill Clinton left office with high approval ratings - these are the facts.

I'm not sure why you're disappointed.  Because I'm not a fan of Hillary ?  She did two things that left a bad smell.  The first was how she dealt with Bernie.  And the second was her use of a private email address.  The private email debacle in particular left me flabbergasted.  What, I mean WHAT was she thinking ?

That's why I said "Her last name is Clinton after all".  I can't really say for certain but I suspect a lesser being would've been in a lot more trouble.  I could be wrong.  Who knows.  Maybe it isn't a big deal.

Does not liking Hillary make a person right wing ?  Then I'm right wing.  And what are you if you don't like Trump ?  Left wing.  I'm that too.  And what are you if you didn't like Bush.  I'm that as well.  The only president who was actually a proper president in the last 20 or so years was Obama.  All the rest for the tip.  Bill was kind of all right.  Any man that can say "I did not have sexual relations" with such a straight face, he gets points from me.  I think in the end even Bill was surprised how little people cared.

On 2/21/2018 at 10:47 PM, Lazarus said:

What we have here is a case where the Russian government is actively trying to alter the electoral landscape in many countries across the globe using similar tactics. In the US, they succeeded in changing the (anticipated) electoral outcome. What remains to be seen is how exactly did they accomplish it. Hopefully, time and investigations will show.

What's the big deal ?  All right I'm being facetious.  I know it's a big deal.  But this is the world we live in now.  It's how it is and it's here to stay.  The internet is a game changer.  Before you had only the mass media whereas now anyone can post whatever they want.  It's harder to suppress lies now but ironically it's easier to make them up.  The problem is that the amount of lies and disinformation has grown exponentially and I don't see it abating.  We are, for the moment anyway, in this state of flux where no one is sure what to do about it.  China has their ideas (suppress everything!) but I don't see that working outside of China.

As for the idea of just "fixing" the internet so hacking doesn't happen.  That is a very long discussion for another day.

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And, then this magic box.. fixes everything needs fixing.  So the con-artist in chief, tells the cult members that he, only him, has the magic box. You have a problem with immigration, I will fix

Let Trump do his thing. He knows business better than anyone else. He has done more in 4 days than that bozo in 8 years

I said, As to the dance around the issues, some people are conservative first. The rest is finding ways to attack their opponents. If you are a conservative, you are religious; you have archaic ideas

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Agree with a lot of what you're saying @AchillesHeel.  The analogy of WWF made me laugh.

I will say though I don't agree about keeping people divided to maintain control.  Just too conspiratorial for my liking.  Maybe I'm naive.  I just think the simpler explanation is that the system of government is so huge that to make meaningful changes takes a long time.  Add to that the fact that there is little urgency by the people that actually have the power to change things and you have a system that is sclerotic.  This doesn't just apply to the U.S. but to many many countries around the world.  This weird situation where having a choice of two parties (party A kicks you in the head, party B kicks you in the guts, now make your choice!) who are intensely lobbied by corporations and big money has become the new normal.  But don't worry, there's a money trickling into your pocket from ... somewhere.

The biggest issues really (not that they're talked about enough) is income inequality and automation of jobs.  Automation isn't a problem just yet but give it a decade or two.  Although that really ties into the main issue of income inequality.  How do you fix it ?  The people in power that can change it have no incentive to (unless forced).  And to be fair, I don't think they really know how to "fix" things.  Any talk of fixing income inequality is screamed down with words like "socialist" and that's pretty much the end of the discussion at that point.  Sad state of affairs really.

There will come a day, maybe in our life time, maybe a little further along, but either way at some point in say the next 50-100 years where I would guess 80% of jobs (and that's being conservative) will be automated.  And at that point, the shizen will really hit the fan because at that point when you have 80% of the population earning nothing, it's not just them who will be struggling but the entire system of economics collapses.  It'll make the Great Depression look like a small event in comparison.  Time to bring in a universal basic income ?  GTFO you commie bastard!

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6 hours ago, Bananas said:

I'm not sure why you're disappointed.  Because I'm not a fan of Hillary ?  She did two things that left a bad smell.  The first was how she dealt with Bernie.  And the second was her use of a private email address.  The private email debacle in particular left me flabbergasted.  What, I mean WHAT was she thinking ?

You can like or dislike whomever you want. It's the justification or lack thereof that I'm interested in. I know US politics is not your cup of tea, but expect that once you enter a conversation and express an opinion to be evaluated for it. And I expect you (or anyone reading this) to evaluate my post and opinion accordingly.

While this is not the topic to discuss the Democratic 2016 Presidential campaign, this is how I see the two issues that you touched. a) Hillary Clinton has never committed a crime when it comes to the handling of the private email server  (her predecessor Colin Powell did the same) - it was however a political misjudgement. Given the choice of candidates and what they brought to the table, she was my choice for leadership in the US. b) Bernie Sanders is a populist, albeit a little more on the socialist side. Just like Trump he was promising things he would not have been able to deliver. He too benefited from the Russian misinformation campaign.

5 hours ago, AchillesHeel said:

By now we should all be aware that both sides get funded by the same backers and deal with the same banks and financiers....why would there be any different outcome in their decisions and policy making of who ever is in power.

There is always a difference in the policies of governing parties. Sometimes smaller than others. Sometimes policies don't make it into laws. But to say it is all the same is ill advised and exactly what conservatives would like people to believe and keep them from exercising their voting choices. Why go vote if it doesn't make a difference?

Every vote counts and one should make sure their vote is cast at every election.

4 hours ago, Bananas said:

Although that really ties into the main issue of income inequality.  How do you fix it ?  The people in power that can change it have no incentive to (unless forced).  And to be fair, I don't think they really know how to "fix" things.  Any talk of fixing income inequality is screamed down with words like "socialist" and that's pretty much the end of the discussion at that point.  Sad state of affairs really.

Thumbs up my friend! Now, you really hit the nail on the head! That would be a great subject to discuss, and if you were to start a topic on that I would jump right in.

 

4 hours ago, Bananas said:

GTFO you commie bastard!

:applause-597229:You're onto something here... Do I smell a little Marx (not the Groucho kind )? So many things to talk about, so little time.

5 hours ago, AchillesHeel said:

Just because one side is wrong doesn't automatically mean that the other side is right.

While that is true, it does mean however that the side that is wrong is ...wrong. And one weighs the alternatives that both sides offer and the cost to coexist with the 'lesser evil.' It buys time and keeps things moving. And when the next election comes, one still has to evaluate the alternatives. Who do I vote for, what will I get in return and what will it cost me?  Life goes on  - and if one is lucky they will see small improvements along the way. Sometimes one has to look at things short term. Not every vote is going to be a home run.

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On 2/22/2018 at 2:57 PM, Lazarus said:

There is always a difference in the policies of governing parties. Sometimes smaller than others. Sometimes policies don't make it into laws. But to say it is all the same is ill advised and exactly what conservatives would like people to believe and keep them from exercising their voting choices. Why go vote if it doesn't make a difference?....

The "donor class" gets lots of benefits from an expensive political system it helps fund, and this is evident from the chasm between the super rich and the rest. However, there are still big differences between the two major political parties, and anyone who says otherwise is either trying to confuse and distract or doesn't know what he's talking about.

I don't know how the Green party and those who voted for Jill Stein (arguably may have tipped the election to Trump) can still say with a straight face that the Trump admin. is nothing different than one under HRC might have been!  Tsk...  Yeah, the Earth is elated with this bunch of anti-science, anti-environment, non-qualified and dangerous Trump people. Sure, no difference between hiring competent people in leadership positions and the  Trump charlatans. I mean, Trumpism identified the sources of our troubles: The Chinese, the Mexicans, and ..Obama.

I'd even argue that the recent tax bill wouldn't have passed under HRC. She'd be raising her own taxes to pay for health care instead of giving bigger tax breaks to the wealthy and taking health insurance from millions of Americans. Just on these two, health care and the environment, and probably now with gun control [Clinton's sensible gun control expired in 2004 and despite popular support the Repubs didn't renew it],  the differences are striking.

 

Oh, I almost forgot.... the Supreme Court matters a lot and this is where presidents leave a legacy for decades since their appointees stay on the bench for 20-30+ years.

 

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Well, if you hire a clown expect a circus. Never in the last century we've seen such a disarray in the White House, with people being indicted, lots of resignations/firings, and scandals. All within the first year of the Trump admin.  The man (toddler) is not qualified and dangerously incompetent because he doesn't even listen. I don't think he cares about anything other than his ego and his own wealth.

Also, the economy was doing very well when Obama left, and let's not forget the economic disaster he inherited from Bush. That momentum continued under Trump. However, Trump has the distinction of being so unpopular with a good economy. When a prez gets under 40% approval, usually the economy is tanking....  So, where will he go when the economy begins to slow?

The man is so ignorant (and won't listen to economists), that he agreed to huge tax breaks when the economy didn't need this stimulation, while piling on huge debts. No serious economist (left or right thinks the latest tax bill was good). He now talks about tariffs that would hurt US trade interests and consumers.

 

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On 2/26/2018 at 2:39 PM, AchillesHeel said:

I probably fall into the latter category (I probably don't know what I'm talking about) in that I stopped following american politics in an indepth analytical way a long time ago mainly because I don't live in the US and therefore don't look too closely to see the details (which I often perhaps wrongly equate to rhetoric and semantics)....I basically believe that Hillary lost the election not through any russian hacking or any special feat by the republicans and Trump but simply through her and the democrats arrogance, believing that simply parading a bunch of celebrities urging the public to go out and vote would guarantee her the election. Unfortunately for everyone her loss of touch with the "regular joes" put the world into an almost surreal, bizarro reality with Trump holding the post of commander in chief  of the US. I think this is what most people outside the US perceive. Add to this the fact that numberwise the US economy is doing pretty well atm (not necessarily due to Trump) and you got to be wondering who is going to step up and lead the opposition....maybe some rapper or hollywood actor and turn the next presidential race into a complete circus. No disrespect intended to democrats or republicans.

Not only her arrogance but also that of the media.  Maybe arrogance is not the right word.  Delusion ?  Does delusion and arrogance go hand in hand ?

Seeing the polls in the media compared to the reality on the day was eye opening to say the least.  "How could we have got it so wrong ?"  Because your heads are up your asses you idiots.

And now we have Trump ...

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Trump's presidency has been a circus. I'm still surprised by the sheer number of Americans who were able to fall for his incoherent speeches and essentially deify him. Perhaps what's most disheartening is that the majority of the GOP is following him down this road of right wing populism and demagoguery  (but her emails!!!!).

Republicans are slowly becoming a party strictly for Evangelicals, rural old-timers and unemployed factory workers. The middle class suburbanites and highly educated folks are flocking to the Democratic party who are having a bit of an identity crisis of their own.

Both parties are at an interesting crossroads, whereas the Republicans are marching to the right, the mainstream Democrats have so far resisted become the party of democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders. What I fear is that with increasing polarization, a large number of Americans (including myself) will find themselves stuck in the middle with no voice to represent them.

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There's been a lot in the news lately about this data firm known as Cambridge Analytica that worked under the directives of the Trump campaign to accumulate Facebook data for targeted messaging. Seems like the connections between Trump's campaign, the alt-right, data groups and Russian oligarchs run very deep.

At this point, it seems an awful lot like the Trump campaign acted either illegally or unethically w/ regards to outside influence. Compound that with Trump's pattern of covering up these past behaviors (Comey firing) and general incompetence, it's hard not to feel a real animosity to the people who still fanatically support the man.

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Trump has absolutely nothing to do with the Korean re-approach. He just happened to be sitting in the US Presidential chair (unfortunately).

Of course he likes taking credit for anything with a positive hue - i.e. the sun rising up every morning - whereas he blames everybody else for things negative (usually blames, Obama, Clinton, the Democrats and anybody that doesn't agree with him).

Anyway, it's too early to come up with a conclusion on the outcome of the North Korea denuclearization intentions. The talks have not yet began. Only generalized intentions have been mentioned so far.

Our Asshole in Chief is exactly that. Still.

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DJT hates the Iranian deal (because Obama dealt) but, at best, he'd get the same deal from DPR.

 

The latest: “The crooked Clintons are the most corrupt people in the world,” Colbert said on Wednesday night, doing his Trump impersonation. “Get me their lawyer!”  [Trump hired a Clinton's lawyer during his impeachment]

 

 

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I've disagreed with other presidents on policy and ideological grounds. This is something different, because this guy is a man-child,  semi-literate, and totally unqualified (therefore, dangerous) to be president.

Look how he publicly derides our intelligence agencies and experts on national security, but praises Putin! Because, heck, Putin made him an "incredible offer" to investigate the Russian attack on our political system!  Treasonous?

He met with Putin for 2 hours no advisers present. Dan Coats, his National Security chief contradicted Trump about the Russian role. It must have been embarrassing when Coats was caught off guard about Putin visit. ...    There's a consensus in the intelligence community, and in the higher levels of gov. that this president is incompetent.

Anyone who still thinks Trump is a "straight shooter" or is qualified is, in my opinion, a moron... (I don't mean "moron" as an insult but as a descriptive)

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On 5/28/2018 at 12:24 PM, AchillesHeel said:

Who the hell writes his speeches....they make him sound like a total clown....not that he needs any help in that department but you would think they would be concentrating on damage control.

He goes off script (he reads at 5th grade level anyway) most of the time. He can't be controlled. Remember when the "official view" was the travel ban didn't target 1 particular religion (which is unconstitutional)? But Trump kept talking about "banning Muslims" and the courts kept ruling against his executive orders?....

Anyway, he's a classic megalomaniac and a sociopath, who believes he's does no wrong since he's been so successful. Look he made it all the way to the US presidency on lies, scams, and self-promotion!  As a con artist, he's one of the best. Yes, it's a skill, and it's often rewarded ..bigly....

I don't understand how any reasonable person would not see him for what he is.  If I were a conservative, I'd say .... He's the worst of the worst; we/the US should never have such an incompetent, treasonous, dangerous, illiterate/ignorant, buffoon, who's destroying our institutions, etc. etc...  But, he delivers the Supreme Court to us (conservatives), gives big tax breaks, and removes regulations (obstacles) from the marketplace.... And, that's why I oppose the liberals who want to do the opposite.   I'd be honest with my assessment of his even if I liked what he does in those 3 areas.

But, such statements are rare especially in the conservative landscape. Xtian nationalists love him.

 

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He's the worst of the worst; we/the US should never have such an incompetent, treasonous, dangerous, illiterate/ignorant, buffoon

Is treason not punishable by death in the US? Or are rich folk above the law? No wonder those Russians fixed the election over in the US, they must be having a right laugh, however I heard the British also had a hand in rigging the US election, an English company called Cambridge Analytica was also exposed, hope it doesn't ruin our special relationship. 

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On 7/23/2018 at 9:18 PM, tantra129 said:

i remember way back when ... i said he's dangerous and you told me about checks and balances.

glad we agree now

Ha! I don't remember how I said it, but it's like saying there's a good justice system, honest police, etc.... Then crime happens! Same with having good health, etc.

Authoritarians can take control everywhere, including democracies, though it may be harder in the latter, because of checks and balances. Case in point the Muller investigation, free media, Congress, courts,etc. All of these have often defied Trump, and have curtailed his authoritarian tendencies. These C & B may even bring him down.

Trump is dangerous because he so unqualified, and because he's destroying the institutions that matter in a democracy.

On 7/21/2018 at 12:55 PM, js1000 said:

Is treason not punishable by death in the US? Or are rich folk above the law? No wonder those Russians fixed the election over in the US, they must be having a right laugh, however I heard the British also had a hand in rigging the US election, an English company called Cambridge Analytica was also exposed, hope it doesn't ruin our special relationship. 

The difference is Putin and the KGB are involved--there's no doubt about it. So, it's a direct attack against our institutions by a hostile foreign power. Private companies from other countries may be involved too, but it's not the same. I doubt very much that the British gov acted like the Russians.

At any rate, Russia must have something on Trump... How else can you explain his stance? Where are the Repubs and the cons who never miss a chance to declare their super-patriotism???!!  Imagine if Obama or any Dem prez did what Trump has been doing......  

As for treason?..... Well.....

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Well I expect the UK government will be looking into the behavior of Cambridge Analytica and they will be reprimanded for their conduct I’m sure there are laws against private firms being used to influence elections in other countries. 

Its refreshing to see that it’s only the Republicans stoop to such treachery, but one can’t help thinking the Democrats shot them selves in the foot, If Trump was up against Sanders I doubt any amount of Russian and British meddling would have swung it Trumps way. 

Still at least us brits and the Russians have something to chuckle about when we look at the US president, perhaps that’s why they fixed the election for Trump, for comedic purposes. How embarrassing for the US.

As for treason.....we’ll.... you mentioned it, I’m just wondering why no consequences are faced. 

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I don't know if you guys remember a couple years ago when we had people here who were spewing the Info Wars (Alex Jones) garbage, like arsonists....   We had to make a decision to stop this nonsense that did not contribute to the discussion in a rational and civil manner.

Apparently ..our action is now also being taken by many news aggregates and distributors.

After Alex Jones’ Infowars got the boot from Apple’s Podcasts app Sunday evening when the company removed five of the six Infowars podcasts from the platform, Spotify followed suit and removed the Alex Jones Show from its podcast channel, too. From there the purge broadened: Facebook moved to “unpublish” four Infowars pages—not just individual posts, as it had previously done—saying that they had violated its community standards. Then the Google-owned YouTube banned the Alex Jones Channel, which counted 2.4 million followers at the time.  [Source]

I'm an ardent defender of the free speech, but this doesn't mean anyone has a right to oblige others to listen to him or use others' media to spread stupidity, ignorance, and hate.

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8 hours ago, AchillesHeel said:

No one is obliged to listen to anyone....just change the viewing content or better yet turn it off....and of course privately run media can refuse to allow access to whomever they choose. All that being said forbidding any one to voice their opinion, however ludicrous it might be, is the first sign of fascism....regardless of the ideology behind the act. Community standards today equates to the family values diatribe presented during the Reagan years....an excuse to exercise censorship and stifle differing views. A slippery slide if there ever was one.

I get that you're in favor of free expression, and like a true progressive you want to allow for challenges to the "prevailing wisdom."  That's good. I'm in favor of that too.

However.....a good argument has to be articulated on the grounds of reason and evidence. In the past, and in all authoritarian regimes, this standard was not adhered to, and that's why traditional societies were hard to change, because the status quo didn't want change.

I could even argue that the danger of authoritarianism increases if we dispose of such standards, because then every opinion is perceived of equal value. Like "the leader" would say, "trust me" not the fake...whatever.  People don't know what to believe.

Let's say you're a teacher and you're having a discussion in a classroom, while trying to teach your students about rational/critical thinking, evaluating sources, analyzing issues. What standards would you adhere to?...  How much time would you give to student Alex Jones?...

The common currency of understanding (and of debating) has to be reason and evidence; we have to preserve this standard.

The arguments we witnessed here a couple years ago were of the Alex Jones/Info Wars type.....  And, that every crazy idea and every conspiracy merited exposure and discussion on this forum...  And, that became a demand, much like AJ is now screaming about it when he's being kicked out of media places.

Everybody has a right to their opinion but not to their own facts.

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1 hour ago, tantra129 said:

Alex jones is a psychopathic liar that preaches hate.  

Do you think he’s a liar or he believes what he says ?  I don’t have an opinion as I’ve never listened to him.

A person that believes silly things, in a non violent manner, I can still respect, even if what he believes seems ludicrous.  A person that knowingly lies, I cannot.

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