[Discussion] Hope to Remember The Trump Administration Thread as being 'transparent and honest'

Let's follow and discuss what our newest presidential administration gets up to, the good, the bad, the lawsuits, and the many many indictments.

Top_Shelf wrote:

I know these ads aren't going to change minds but as a Cold War kid, this just made my Top 10 political ads of all time.

Krushchev! Zhukov! Mother Russia!

Komrade Individual 1!

Brutal. The Lincoln Project are Republicans, by the way, and they're not &%[email protected]#ing around. I dislike negative campaigning, but I'm happy that the Never Trumpers are gathering strength and hopefully making a difference.

Looks like Trump turned the fascist volume up to 11 last night...

From CNN’s article.

"We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation's children, end this radical assault and preserve our beloved American way of life, from a new far left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.
"If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished, It's not gonna happen to us, make no mistake. This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol and memory of our national heritage.

It's a bit on the nose to celebrate the 4th of July by violently attacking and arresting Native Americans who are defending their land from dangerous people from Washington who spread disease and risk destroying the natural environment.

I've said somewhere that no one in particular is defending the American civic religion, but that's clearly wrong: Trump is defending it, in service of his white supremacist agenda. It's not really necessary, if your only goal is to preserve American state power: reinventing who the heroes of the country are could have been a national project that unified much of the country while a handful of bitter lost-cause losers grumbled, but doubling down on Columbus et al. just tears us further apart. It's not like the American civic religion is all that venerable, either: a bunch of the mythology is a post-WW2 construction, and even the older elements have been subject to frequent reinvention. (The most popular musical of the past few years is about Alexander Hamilton for crying out loud.)

Erecting new statue gardens memorializing the worst of the bunch is an attempt to freeze the interpretation of history in place. It's a very fascist move, since both white supremacy and fascism run on heavy control of how the past is understood. Race has to be invented, historical trends have to be massaged to justify current political conditions. The German Aryanism was deliberately constructed, through anthropology and art, to appropriate the accomplishments of the past for a tiny group of racists. American slavery was preconditioned on theories of race that didn't exist in other times and places, solely to justify what was even at the time recognized as being a "peculiar institution"--though the context there was part of a claim that Northerners couldn't understand how special the practice of slavery was in the South. They had to actively invent justifications for their cruelty, so they could tell themselves stories of how what they were doing was the only right thing to do.

One bit of media that I think is a particularly effective exploration of how that that process operates is a videogame: Opera Omnia.

Gremlin wrote:

I've said somewhere that no one in particular is defending the American civic religion, but that's clearly wrong: Trump is defending it, in service of his white supremacist agenda.

heh, I don't think you have to say you're wrong, as I think it was clear you meant it in the sense of "attempting to salvage it" and not "doubling down on all its blindspots."

It's not really necessary, if your only goal is to preserve American state power: reinventing who the heroes of the country are could have been a national project that unified much of the country while a handful of bitter lost-cause losers grumbled, but doubling down on Columbus et al. just tears us further apart.

I'm not sure about that. I don't think it would just be the bitter lost-causers that would grumble, I think there's a very real element on the left that sees the U.S. Constitution as just an articulation of Slaveholders' Rights and the U.S. as the scene of the biggest crime in history.

I think it's more that the left will strategically hold its tongue when someone advances that national project of unification in the service of attacking a white supremacist agenda. That means you already have to be seen as being on the side of attacking that agenda. Your reinvention of the American civic religion must be couched in how people like Trump are traitors to it to be acceptable.

JC wrote:
Individual 1 wrote:

"...is designed to overthrow the American Revolution..."

That man says some pretty idiotic things, but really... overthrowing a revolution? How do you overthrow a revolution, even if it's not one that happened almost 250 years ago?

I guess he wants to be king of England and make us colonies again?

Keldar wrote:
JC wrote:
Individual 1 wrote:

"...is designed to overthrow the American Revolution..."

That man says some pretty idiotic things, but really... overthrowing a revolution? How do you overthrow a revolution, even if it's not one that happened almost 250 years ago?

Stele wrote:

I guess he wants to be king of England and make us colonies again?

that's one way to replace Obamacare with something better and cheaper!

I mean, *he's* only right in the sense that a broken clock is right twice a day, to use an obsolete analogy. You overthrow a revolution by recognizing it wasn't a revolution that was about freedom, it was a regressive rebellion that wasn't about progress but just about power: just about which set of rulers gets to profit from exploitation.

Especially if you think that political break allowed for the human rights trajectory of that new political entity to be so much worse than that of the metropole it broke away from (edit), or the other 'colonies' that did not break away.

I was thinking about Trump's response to COVID-19. Once the seriousness of it was unavoidable, he reveled in the attention of daily press briefings, play-acting a President leading the country through a crisis. Then, when criticism escalated, and even his staff and media allies advised him to step back, the fun was over and he reverted to completely ignoring the situation again.

I think there's a definite possibility the same thing could play out with his presidential campaign. If these negative poll numbers persist. If the convention or many of the rallies he so craves are cancelled or tainted by low numbers or mandatory masks or reports of participants getting infected. If his media allies start panicking and focus on giving him desperate advice on how to turn things around, instead of just patting him on the back and telling him how great he is. If that's how things go for the next couple of months, he could begin internalizing the likelihood that he's going to lose and just suddenly become bored with the whole thing and ready to move on.

Not that this would prevent his administration from pulling a bunch of crap that he signs off on.

But I would not want to be in the shoes of his debate prep people. I can't imagine he'll be very focused on that. Especially since I think one of his main motivations in the 2016 debates was that his ego couldn't handle being being beaten by a woman (see also his treatment of female journalists, Angela Merkel, etc.) Won't have that with Biden.

DSGamer wrote:

What a brilliant system of checks and balances the infallible “founding fathers” left us

Exactly. It seems like they didn't (all) anticipate how much extreme partisanship could warp all of the branches of government.

The Electoral College was in many ways a very good design for keeping demagogues like Trump from the presidency, but only if the electors take that as their job. (With a side benefit that it's a way to give undue power to rural states.) Trump was so obviously problematic and unqualified for the position: they could have just installed someone else, saving us all from this nightmare. And yet they didn't.

And the Senate is able to remove a president for malfeasance. And few presidents in history have so clearly required removal as Trump. And yet they didn't.

The whole system is broken, at this point. This is very nearly completely on the Republican party (starting at least in the early 90s) due to their willingness to stretch or ignore the rules, the previous boundaries of which were set by agreement due to their obvious importance for constraining people like Trump.

Newt Gingrich bears a lot of responsibility. Mitch McConnell bears a huge responsibility for where we are now. At some point getting their way became more important than the health of our republic.

Again, if the founders anticipated men like these, they didn't build in strong enough constraints on them. There have been awful men in our history, but these will surely go down as among the worst: Trump, McConnell, Gingrich.

The non-partisanship thing failed during the ratification of the Constitution, with the Federalists forming to get the thing ratified, and a few years later coalescing into one of the two earliest American political parties.

The flaws have been apparent from the beginning, and were much discussed at the time, though granted I don't know if they anticipated things getting quite this bad. Washington and John Adams were very concerned about parties forming, but ultimately the Constitution was designed with the idea that the checks and balances would mean that the different branches and offices would be too self-interested to put the party over their own interested. That, um, hasn't worked out. The Constitution was designed to avoid political parties, and as such doesn't have a lot of mechanisms to deal with the effects of actually having parties.

firesloth wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

What a brilliant system of checks and balances the infallible “founding fathers” left us

Exactly. It seems like they didn't (all) anticipate how much extreme partisanship could warp all of the branches of government.

I'd say it's that the the Constitution was written *right* before the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Nationalism (heck, the American Revolution itself helped kick that off). The Constitution was written for a world that radically changed almost before the ink was dry.

So we wound up with a government sufficiently powerful to operate as a nation-state in the modern era, but it's like it's all running on ancient software code--we cobbled together this stuff, but never really gave the Constitution the top-to-bottom overhaul it needed. So when you get someone willing to come in and break all the norms, there's little in the Constitution to stop him because so much of the development of the American Federal government was unplanned.

Trump-connected lobbyists reap windfall in federal virus aid

Associated Press wrote:

Forty lobbyists with ties to President Donald Trump helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid, among them five former administration officials whose work potentially violates Trump’s own ethics policy, according to a report.

The lobbyists identified Monday by the watchdog group Public Citizen either worked in the Trump executive branch, served on his campaign, were part of the committee that raised money for inaugural festivities or were part of his presidential transition. Many are donors to Trump’s campaigns, and some are prolific fundraisers for his reelection.

They include Brian Ballard, who served on the transition, is the finance chair for the Republican National Committee and has bundled more than $1 million for Trump’s fundraising committees. He was hired in March by Laundrylux, a supplier of commercial laundry machines, after the Department of Homeland Security issued guidance that didn’t include laundromats as essential businesses that could stay open during the lockdown. A week later, the administration issued new guidance adding laundromats to the list.

Dave Urban, a Trump adviser and confidant, has collected more than $2.3 million in lobbying fees this year. The firm he leads, American Continental Group, represents 15 companies, including Walgreens and the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, on coronavirus issues.

Trump pledged to clamp down on Washington’s influence peddling with a “drain the swamp” campaign mantra. But during his administration, the lobbying industry has flourished, a trend that intensified once Congress passed more than $3.6 trillion in coronavirus stimulus.

While the money is intended as a lifeline to a nation whose economy has been upended by the pandemic, it also jump-started a familiar lobbying bonanza.

“The swamp is alive and well in Washington, D.C.,” said Mike Tanglis, one of the report’s authors. “These (lobbying) booms that these people are having, you can really attribute them to their connection to Trump.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Shortly after Trump took office, he issued an executive order prohibiting former administration officials from lobbying the agency or office where they were formerly employed, for a period of five years. Another section of the order forbids lobbying the administration by former political appointees for the remainder of Trump’s time in office.

Yet five lobbyists who are former administration officials have potentially done just that during the coronavirus lobbying boom.

On top of this swampiness we finally got some visibility of all the companies who got Payroll Protection Program money that Mnuchin desperately wanted to hide.

The Ayn Rand Institute took upwards of a million dollars. f*cking Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform decided it needed $300,000 of our tax dollars.

And then there's the swampiness that's calling from inside the White House. Upwards of $1 million went to the parent entity of Observer Media, which is the publishing company Kushner used to own before he handed it over to his brother-in-law before coming on board with Trump. The Kushner family also got paid. Upwards of $2 million went to a company that's 40% owned by Kushner's mom, brother, and sister and a million dollars went to a company that his father controls.

The Daily Caller Inc., which Tucker Carlson just unloaded last month, took between $350,000 and $1 million. The Daily Caller News foundation took upwards of $300,000. Trump's buddy at NewsMax, Christopher Ruddy, was somehow able to secure upwards of $5 million.

And it looks like Republican politicians did their best to cash in as well. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's family companies received at least $6.3 million in PPP money (Justice is worth $1.2 billion).

I saw that Norquist even publicly wrote a letter complaining about the relief bills. Trash.

firesloth wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

What a brilliant system of checks and balances the infallible “founding fathers” left us

Exactly. It seems like they didn't (all) anticipate how much extreme partisanship could warp all of the branches of government.

The Electoral College was in many ways a very good design for keeping demagogues like Trump from the presidency, but only if the electors take that as their job. (With a side benefit that it's a way to give undue power to rural states.) Trump was so obviously problematic and unqualified for the position: they could have just installed someone else, saving us all from this nightmare. And yet they didn't.

And the Senate is able to remove a president for malfeasance. And few presidents in history have so clearly required removal as Trump. And yet they didn't.

The whole system is broken, at this point. This is very nearly completely on the Republican party (starting at least in the early 90s) due to their willingness to stretch or ignore the rules, the previous boundaries of which were set by agreement due to their obvious importance for constraining people like Trump.

Newt Gingrich bears a lot of responsibility. Mitch McConnell bears a huge responsibility for where we are now. At some point getting their way became more important than the health of our republic.

Again, if the founders anticipated men like these, they didn't build in strong enough constraints on them. There have been awful men in our history, but these will surely go down as among the worst: Trump, McConnell, Gingrich.

Everyone always points to Newt — and he was a bad actor, but he only took the playbook that Tom DeLay provided to him for how to be a sh*t gibbon.

firesloth wrote:

Seriously, I don't really condone violence, but demonstrate to the people destroying the fabric of our country that this is not a real option by showing them that the people have power, then occupy DC until Trump causes the generals to decide whether they'll follow a corrupt chain of command or stand up for the f*cking country.

I don’t think there are many that do condone violence; however, when what was promised to you (a voice in your government) gets overturned due to malfradance, that social contract is effectively broken. It’ll be a sad day for sure when Meal Team 6 realizes that Libruls also have weapons.

As it is, with the way social media reframes and minimizes peaceful protesting by throwing everything at the wall to get something to stick, it’s only when a police precinct in Minneapolis is burned to the ground when people in power realize that simple information warfare against their own constituents isn’t quite going to cut it anymore and other measures have to be taken.

Yes. Property is lost. It is definitely a shame, but it is property. When weighed against one life, let alone a systemic disenfranchisement, that property means nothing - from the White House on down.

BlackSheep wrote:
firesloth wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

What a brilliant system of checks and balances the infallible “founding fathers” left us

Exactly. It seems like they didn't (all) anticipate how much extreme partisanship could warp all of the branches of government.

The Electoral College was in many ways a very good design for keeping demagogues like Trump from the presidency, but only if the electors take that as their job. (With a side benefit that it's a way to give undue power to rural states.) Trump was so obviously problematic and unqualified for the position: they could have just installed someone else, saving us all from this nightmare. And yet they didn't.

And the Senate is able to remove a president for malfeasance. And few presidents in history have so clearly required removal as Trump. And yet they didn't.

The whole system is broken, at this point. This is very nearly completely on the Republican party (starting at least in the early 90s) due to their willingness to stretch or ignore the rules, the previous boundaries of which were set by agreement due to their obvious importance for constraining people like Trump.

Newt Gingrich bears a lot of responsibility. Mitch McConnell bears a huge responsibility for where we are now. At some point getting their way became more important than the health of our republic.

Again, if the founders anticipated men like these, they didn't build in strong enough constraints on them. There have been awful men in our history, but these will surely go down as among the worst: Trump, McConnell, Gingrich.

Everyone always points to Newt — and he was a bad actor, but he only took the playbook that Tom DeLay provided to him for how to be a sh*t gibbon.

Who got it from some other man, who got it from some other man, etc. It's sh*t Gibbons all the way down.

The latest Lincoln Project ad kinda makes me wonder how nation states are playing Trump if a group of Republican strategists and ad makers are doing this.

It’s a shame that the DNC is not running ads like this.... or pretty much any ads. Too bad Bloomberg didn’t take his money and do the same.

I think the DNC is kind of smart to not do this. Let the Lincoln project tear into Donny, and they can spend their money on other races. Everywhere you can save a dime is good.

farley3k wrote:

I think the DNC is kind of smart to not do this. Let the Lincoln project tear into Donny, and they can spend their money on other races. Everywhere you can save a dime is good.

Yup. 2% of Democrats currently approve of Trump along with just a third of Independents (which pretty much means it's just the Independents who lean Republican).

DNC money much better spent on races that might lead us to the increasingly possible outcome where Democrats maintain control of the House and regain control of the Senate.

Which thread does this bone headed move go into? It can be his administration, coronvirus, world news, etc.

Trump administration begins formal withdrawal from World Health Organization

Isolating the US even more. But of course that is what his brand of idiocy loves.

farley3k wrote:

Which thread does this bone headed move go into? It can be his administration, coronvirus, world news, etc.

Trump administration begins formal withdrawal from World Health Organization

Isolating the US even more. But of course that is what his brand of idiocy loves.

Thankfully, this can be reversed once he loses in November.

JC wrote:
farley3k wrote:

Which thread does this bone headed move go into? It can be his administration, coronvirus, world news, etc.

Trump administration begins formal withdrawal from World Health Organization

Isolating the US even more. But of course that is what his brand of idiocy loves.

Thankfully, this can be reversed once he loses in November.

The blow to US soft power can't be reversed. Now it's clear to the rest of the world that the longest they can rely on the US to be consistent is 4 years.

JC wrote:
farley3k wrote:

Which thread does this bone headed move go into? It can be his administration, coronvirus, world news, etc.

Trump administration begins formal withdrawal from World Health Organization

Isolating the US even more. But of course that is what his brand of idiocy loves.

Thankfully, this can be reversed once he loses in November.

But the world now knows the U.S. is unstable and unreliable, and it's only a matter of time before its citizens vote in another man-child-tyrant.

Edit: Jonman-hausered

JLS wrote:

But the world now knows the U.S. is unstable and unreliable, and it's only a matter of time before its citizens vote in another man-child-tyrant.

Speaking of man-children: Jonman-hausered

Fixed that for you.

Trump's really taking the accusations that Russians paid bounties to Afghans to kill American soldiers seriously. And by seriously I mean he's having the Pentagon try to track down who leaked the information. He's totes cool with the rest.

Worst. Timeline. Ever.

polypusher wrote:

Worst. Timeline. Ever.

I just told my niece's husband whose sister works in a linear particle accelerator lab that I need her to send me to the timeline where Gore won Florida.

Paleocon wrote:
polypusher wrote:

Worst. Timeline. Ever.

I just told my niece's husband whose sister works in a linear particle accelerator lab that I need her to send me to the timeline where Gore won Florida.

Aren't we already in that timeline?