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Thread: Inauguration Day, Inauguration Hooooooraaay!

  1. #481
    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    It was Jake Tapper on CNN.

    I found that clip frustrating. It wasn't the Daily Show, but it was *very* similar to the Daily Show. Awkwardly similar. It seems like with that segment, CNN fell into Donald Trump's trap, the very trap he planted when he said that the media was the opposition party. If CNN keeps running segments like that, it's going to toss out the last bit of credibility it still has. It'll seem to most like nothing but a partisan organisation bent on an anti-Trump message rather than an impartial conveyor of reliable information.
    Hm, I just watched that Tapper segment, but that wasn't it. I see what you mean, but I saw an actual comedy show that wasn't the daily show. Ah well.

  2. #482
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    CNN invented the modern cable news format. HLN (originally called CNN2). 24-hour news cycle, story hype, news ticker. Now everybody works like HLN.

  3. #483
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    CNN invented the modern cable news format. HLN (originally called CNN2). 24-hour news cycle, story hype, news ticker. Now everybody works like HLN.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    There's a way for the media to push back against Trump, and they must, for the sake of democracy. But the way some outlets are choosing to do so is playing right into his hands by undermining their own credibility.
    Wasn't it CNN that gave Trump a ton of free coverage in the very early stages of his campaign?

    Donald Trump getting away with the presidency with few qualifications to speak of seems a bit to me like Edward Snowden having run off with tens of thousands of classified NSA documents. In either case, we see that a middle man with prodigious amounts of experience in the manipulation of his respective medium (be it television or system administration), even while lacking any real understanding of the messages the media carry. An American real estate mogul becoming the American president strikes me a bit like a quorum of neurons deciding to revoke conscious experience from its host just by the chance it manages perpetuate itself longer than it ought to. (Or maybe this analogy has more to it after all, seeing how well the Trump meme spread through imageboards and social media. Is it simply that hooking up computer networks to idle simpletons gave civilization meme cancer?)

    I do wonder if the Greeks (or some other ancient civilization) wrote much about the danger of a Trump-like figure--a hero who overcomes a sequence of tests, not by completing them, but perhaps through self-determination and charm alone, realizes he can simply ignore the tests altogether, and that they were really never necessary after all. (Was Neo an authoritarian?)

    Or maybe a Star Trek episode, describing a perfect civilization which had overcome the prisoner's dilemma at all levels of nature, but which comes into contact with a human being, who single-handedly precipitates a catastrophic collapse simply by being human.

    TL;DR: In the Trump presidency, we will witness a spectacular illustration of some generalization of the Second Law of Thermodynamics applied to human civilization. Let's hope this rapid increase in "entropy" doesn't spread to the domain of physics and go thermonuclear!

  4. #484
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    The Weimar Republic was gridlocked by political extremism and partisanship. The public had little faith in democracy. Executive decrees were routinely used to keep the system running, establishing a precedent for extra-legislative law-making. It was within this environment that Adolf Hitler ran a divisive, populist, racist campaign, aimed at addressing the economic hardships of the working class. He was appointed chancellor as leader of a coalition between white supremacists, nationalists, and conservatives. His coalition had the most seats, but did not win the popular vote. This was despite being widely considered a "joke candidate" who would never get any power, and who his nationalist and conservative allies thought would be easily controlled. Hitler spent most of his early efforts as chancellor trying to discredit, threaten, or eliminate the checks and balances against his power.

    So, if you're specifically looking for despots whose ascension vaguely resembles Trump's, you could do worse than Hitler.

    That doesn't mean Trump is going to be America's Hitler. It just means America is in the same place Germany was in 1933, politically speaking.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 02-05-2017 at 03:02 AM.

  5. #485
    If only there were a neutral mountainous neighbouring state with a subset of the population sharing our language to escape to.

  6. #486
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    Canada's full.

  7. #487
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    We'll totally keep your money safe tho

  8. #488
    Build a wall.

  9. #489
    Sorry, that was rude of me to try to force myself into your country.

  10. #490
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    Don't worry. We actually take refugees.

  11. #491
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    The Weimar Republic was gridlocked by political extremism and partisanship. The public had little faith in democracy. Executive decrees were routinely used to keep the system running, establishing a precedent for extra-legislative law-making. It was within this environment that Adolf Hitler ran a divisive, populist, racist campaign, aimed at addressing the economic hardships of the working class. He was appointed chancellor as leader of a coalition between white supremacists, nationalists, and conservatives. His coalition had the most seats, but did not win the popular vote. This was despite being widely considered a "joke candidate" who would never get any power, and who his nationalist and conservative allies thought would be easily controlled. Hitler spent most of his early efforts as chancellor trying to discredit, threaten, or eliminate the checks and balances against his power.

    So, if you're specifically looking for despots whose ascension vaguely resembles Trump's, you could do worse than Hitler.

    That doesn't mean Trump is going to be America's Hitler. It just means America is in the same place Germany was in 1933, politically speaking.
    Calling a state of emergency after the burning of the Reichstag was what gave Hitler the power to suspend the rule of law,use military force against civilians/rival politicians, the camps, etc. It seems like an important difference between the US and the Weimar Republic is that the Weimar Republic was so dysfunctional that it routinely called states of emergency even before the burning of the Reichstag, just to pass basic legislature. We haven't gotten there in the US. Even though the US has technically been in a state of emergency since 9/11, in the US, states of emergency must be much more narrowly defined than in European countries. (Even in the 21st century.)

    Not that that makes the US immune. It's perfectly feasible that a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 could be used to justify congress' consent to yet another, broader suspension of US law under a state of emergency. But it's difficult to imagine congress handing over to the executive branch the power to legislate and abolishing all civil protections.
    Last edited by Eversor; 02-05-2017 at 11:45 AM.

  12. #492
    But about things being difficult to imagine:

    And yet 100 years on, World War I offers a sobering reminder of man’s capacity for folly. When we say that war is “inconceivable,” is this a statement about what is possible in the world—or only about what our limited minds can conceive? In 1914, few could imagine slaughter on a scale that demanded a new category: world war. When war ended four years later, Europe lay in ruins: the kaiser gone, the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved, the Russian tsar overthrown by the Bolsheviks, France bled for a generation, and England shorn of its youth and treasure. A millennium in which Europe had been the political center of the world came to a crashing halt.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/internat...s-trap/406756/

  13. #493
    Eversor, I think we can recognize the analogy without trying too hard to infer a causal theory from it. Like Jon said, just because there are similarities with 1933 Germany doesn't mean things need to be quite so bad for us to learn something.

    Back to 2017....in today's Washington Post, we hear that the Trump administration feels that the judge is overstepping his branch of government's authority by endangering our national security.

    “Judicial second-guessing of the President’s determination that a temporary suspension of entry of certain classes of aliens was necessary at this time to protect national security would constitute an impermissible intrusion on the political branches’ plenary constitutional authority over foreign affairs, national security, and immigration,” Acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in a brief.

  14. #494
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Eversor, I think we can recognize the analogy without trying too hard to infer a causal theory from it. Like Jon said, just because there are similarities with 1933 Germany doesn't mean things need to be quite so bad for us to learn something.
    I was merely expressing cautious optimism that there are mechanisms in place in the US constitution that could prevent something like what happened in Germany from happening in the US. I wasn't disagreeing with anything he said about the current situation's similarities to the Weimar Republic.

  15. #495
    Of course.

    OTOH, given the president's temperament, incompetence, and impatience with our institutions, I could easily see the Trump administration grasping for executive authority from way out in left field in the event of a major crisis. Assuming the Justice department uses some half-assed and far-fetched legal theory, it would probably go to the supreme Court.

    While Trump's first pick for a supreme court justice was highly qualified, there is a good chance he picks a stooge next time around, especially if the fillabuster is no longer around.

    (What do the actuaries say about 80+ year old female cancer survivor survival rates 2 years out??)

  16. #496
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    While Trump's first pick for a supreme court justice was highly qualified, there is a good chance he picks a stooge next time around, especially if the fillabuster is no longer around.
    When Bush 43 recommended Harriet Miers to the court, democrats and republicans both roundly criticized her, and the president had to put forward a more conventional nominee for SCOTUS in her place. We lived in partisan times then, too. But just like then, Republicans now aren't interested in fulfilling every wish of their Republican president, no matter what it is. They want to push their agenda forward. They won't confirm a justice who's obviously a Trump crony, and whose only purpose is to protect the president's executive orders.
    Last edited by Eversor; 02-05-2017 at 06:13 PM.

  17. #497
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Don't worry. We actually take refugees.
    And Trump is threatening to cut federal funding to California if we do, too.

  18. #498
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    * authoritarian
    You're right, authoritarian is the correct word. Bannon and Trump are authoritarian. And they have alot of control and influence now. I'm afraid the situation in America is only going to get worse.

  19. #499
    And Trump is threatening to cut federal funding to California if we do, too.
    Well I hope that Mark Levin defends our state's rights every night on his program, because I am hearing that too much of that retaliatory business is liable to violate our 10th amendment rights.

  20. #500
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Bannon and Trump are authoritarian.
    I first read that as Barron and Trump are authoritarian.

  21. #501
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    I'm afraid the situation in America is only going to get worse.
    A wise Jewish man once said: “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

  22. #502
    Hey thanks for referencing that, I had never read it.
    sniff

  23. #503
    And thank you sir, for the fine recomnendation of literature on the matter of civilizational collapse. I may yet find the time to rea

  24. #504
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    That doesn't mean Trump is going to be America's Hitler. It just means America is in the same place Germany was in 1933, politically speaking.
    With the major caveat that Germany had a lot more economic desperation, and the US population is a lot more ideologically sorted and entrenched. At this point, it would take a hell of a lot to get people to rally around Trump. A major terrorist attack might give him a short term boost, but we just did that, and everyone is already pissed off over how that played out. A lot of the power grabs that you could normally do that are going to feel cliched and obvious. Plus, a major attack is unlikely at the moment. Major sponsors of terrorism are too busy with sectarian violence to get support anything on the scale of 9/11.

  25. #505
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    With the major caveat that Germany had a lot more economic desperation,
    It's important to remember that hardship doesn't cause anger, frustrated expectations do. Trump's most ardent supporters were raised to believe that hard work is enough to ensure prosperity. Trump's message isn't powerful because he's promising those people survival, it's powerful because he's threatening to unmask and injure the agents responsible for preventing the outcome his supporters had every reason to expect. Germans in 1933 might have been worse off, but I'm not sure they could have had greater expectations than the American Dream.

    and the US population is a lot more ideologically sorted and entrenched. At this point, it would take a hell of a lot to get people to rally around Trump. A major terrorist attack might give him a short term boost, but we just did that, and everyone is already pissed off over how that played out. A lot of the power grabs that you could normally do that are going to feel cliched and obvious. Plus, a major attack is unlikely at the moment. Major sponsors of terrorism are too busy with sectarian violence to get support anything on the scale of 9/11.
    I'm not sure about the political demography. Hitler wasn't universally popular at first: voting of the Enabling Act was met with public protests, even after the burning of the Reichstag, and it only passed because Nazi thugs physically blocked opposition members from voting. Most of Hitler's later popularity was bought with welfare and pork projects.

    I guess one important question is, would voting on a bill in the US still count if opposed congresspeople 'happened' to be temporarily detained during the vote?

  26. #506
    Or if that much was suggested in a tweet....

  27. #507
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    Hey guys, is there a legitimate reason for Trump not releasing his tax returns other than he has something to hide (such as ties to Russia or something else)? I understand he has the legal right not to release them, but it's apparently tradition for the president to release them and that makes sense as it's the highest level public office in the country. During the campaign his excuse was being under audit, but that doesn't actually prevent anyone from releasing their tax returns. Once he was elected, the excuse changed to "no one cares except the reporters". God, I'd love to know what's in those tax returns!
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  28. #508
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    Yes, there are legitimate reasons Trump might be unable to disclose his income tax returns. Generally this would be if his return contained information which by law must be disclosed to the IRS, but is considered confidential information by a separate non-disclosure agreement. For example, if Trump has signing authority over a foreign account relating to a business activity, he would need to file an FBAR for that account even if he doesn't have financial interest. Trump could also be claiming deductions from lawsuit settlements, the terms of which are confidential, or receiving income from sources which either don't want to be publicly associated with Trump, or consider the terms of his compensation a trade secret.

    It's not strictly "legitimate" since it still means someone doesn't want the public to know how Trump's involved in their business, but it would block Trump from releasing his tax returns if he wanted to. There are way more plausible 'below-board' reasons, though. Way more. Occam's razor pretty much rules out the NDA thing by itself, I mean.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 02-06-2017 at 07:06 PM.

  29. #509
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    Thank you.
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  30. #510
    Well then maybe the best choice is for a billionaire not to be president

  31. #511
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    It might even be cool if there were simply no billionaires.

  32. #512
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    It was Jake Tapper on CNN.

    I found that clip frustrating. It wasn't the Daily Show, but it was *very* similar to the Daily Show. Awkwardly similar. It seems like with that segment, CNN fell into Donald Trump's trap, the very trap he planted when he said that the media was the opposition party. If CNN keeps running segments like that, it's going to toss out the last bit of credibility it still has. It'll seem to most like nothing but a partisan organisation bent on an anti-Trump message rather than an impartial conveyor of reliable information.
    It's about time they take cues from comedy shows if it means exposing some of the blatant lies and inconsistencies of the Trump administration. That's the media actually serving the important role it has in any functional democracy. These comedy shows have been doing a better job of it for years. Perhaps your gripe is more with the presentation, but if they should point out the administration contradicting itself in this way, it's effective to actually show them doing just that.
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  33. #513
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    It might even be cool if there were simply no billionaires.
    Or no men, or no Mexicans, or no

  34. #514
    We could just start with no psychotic billionaires, but then again maybe capitalism selects for some rather anti-social traits?

    If only Trump were our philosopher-king?

  35. #515
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    It might even be cool if there were simply no billionaires.
    Honest question: assuming you don't allow billionaires into your society, how do you stop them from controlling it from the outside?

  36. #516
    Maybe we can build a six-sided wall around Donald Trump.

  37. #517
    Quote Originally Posted by Krokodile View Post
    It's about time they take cues from comedy shows if it means exposing some of the blatant lies and inconsistencies of the Trump administration. That's the media actually serving the important role it has in any functional democracy. These comedy shows have been doing a better job of it for years. Perhaps your gripe is more with the presentation, but if they should point out the administration contradicting itself in this way, it's effective to actually show them doing just that.
    If you think hours and hours of coverage about the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration is holding the administrations feet to the fire, fine. If you think the Jake Tapper segment is ok, where they point out one thing that Sean Spicer said - nobody calls the travel ban a ban - is wrong, because he and others in the administration, including the president, have referred to it as a ban, then fine. You're entitled to your opinion. I don't see what good it does.

    Maybe it indicates that Sean Spicer is a hypocrite, or a liar, and that you, as a member of the public, shouldn't trust him. Well, we already know that.

    Or maybe the payoff is only emotional: its a feeling of vindication, for an audience who would've preferred a democratic president, that the Republican president's team has got caught in a lie, that they're incompetent, or that they're just plain bad. It's catharsis.

    But whatever it is, I see three major problems with this sort of segment. One, it's undoubtedly the case that its become personal for many in the media. They want to take this guy down. I'd like to see him out too, but I also want people who tell me my news to be dispassionate enough to tell me what's actually happening. If their knee-jerk reaction is to criticize, and then walk back their criticism as more information is released, then I have more reason to be much more skeptical of their reporting.

    The second is that the media sometimes stoops to his level. When Trump said CNN was failing, they did a segment on how many viewers they have. This, coming from a network that laments how it now has to talk about the number of attendees at the inauguration? Not well played, if CNN cares about its respectability -- or even the respectability of other "mainstream" media institutions, because, let's be honest, the term "mainstream media" has a way of putting numerous institutions into the same basket. Even though these organizations aren't tightly connected to each other, because they're perceived to be, one organization's reputation being harmed diminishes the reputation of the others. It's not fair or right, but it's how it is.

    But if CNN also cares about proving that it isn't "at war" with the administration, it can't fight back, otherwise they're playing into Trump's hands: by being petty, they behave like an organization that is "at war" with the administration. Again, even if it does win the approval of an audience composed of people who voted against him.

    The third thing: even Donald Trump has by now acknowledged that the Russians hacked the election. But we don't talk about it. Ever. Not at all since the inauguration. If the press wants to hold the president accountable, maybe they should remind the public daily of this fact, and motivate those who have the ability to find out more information to do so. Or keep it on the mind of the public, at least. If the Trump administration is the threat to the republic we think he is, its coverage should be serious. It shouldn't be as petty as the president, who has won the attention of the world by having absolutely no sense of decency.
    Last edited by Eversor; 02-07-2017 at 07:34 AM.

  38. #518
    The mainstream media's coverage *should* be serious. But of course, I don't expect that it will be. As Jon Stewart likes to say, the incentives built into the industry incentivize sensationalist, lazy reporting, not the sort of reporting that our country actually needs, but instead the sort of reporting that enables someone like Trump to remain the center of attention for the entirety of an 18th month election cycle and become president.

  39. #519
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    If you think hours and hours of coverage about the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration is holding the administrations feet to the fire, fine. If you think the Jake Tapper segment is ok, where they point out one thing that Sean Spicer said - nobody calls the travel ban a ban - is wrong, because he and others in the administration, including the president, have referred to it as a ban, then fine. You're entitled to your opinion. I don't see what good it does.

    Maybe it indicates that Sean Spicer is a hypocrite, or a liar, and that you, as a member of the public, shouldn't trust him. Well, we already know that.

    Or maybe the payoff is only emotional: its a feeling of vindication, for an audience who would've preferred a democratic president, that the Republican president's team has got caught in a lie, that they're incompetent, or that they're just plain bad. It's catharsis.

    But whatever it is, I see three major problems with this sort of segment. One, it's undoubtedly the case that its become personal for many in the media. They want to take this guy down. I'd like to see him out too, but I also want people who tell me my news to be dispassionate enough to tell me what's actually happening. If their knee-jerk reaction is to criticize, and then walk back their criticism as more information is released, then I have more reason to be much more skeptical of their reporting.

    The second is that the media sometimes stoops to his level. When Trump said CNN was failing, they did a segment on how many viewers they have. This, coming from a network that laments how it now has to talk about the number of attendees at the inauguration? Not well played, if CNN cares about its respectability -- or even the respectability of other "mainstream" media institutions, because, let's be honest, the term "mainstream media" has a way of putting numerous institutions into the same basket. Even though these organizations aren't tightly connected to each other, because they're perceived to be, one organization's reputation being harmed diminishes the reputation of the others. It's not fair or right, but it's how it is.

    But if CNN also cares about proving that it isn't "at war" with the administration, it can't fight back, otherwise they're playing into Trump's hands: by being petty, they behave like an organization that is "at war" with the administration. Again, even if it does win the approval of an audience composed of people who voted against him.

    The third thing: even Donald Trump has by now acknowledged that the Russians hacked the election. But we don't talk about it. Ever. Not at all since the inauguration. If the press wants to hold the president accountable, maybe they should remind the public daily of this fact, and motivate those who have the ability to find out more information to do so. Or keep it on the mind of the public, at least. If the Trump administration is the threat to the republic we think he is, its coverage should be serious. It shouldn't be as petty as the president, who has won the attention of the world by having absolutely no sense of decency.
    Good points.
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  40. #520
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Honest question: assuming you don't allow billionaires into your society, how do you stop them from controlling it from the outside?
    It was something of a joke, but if we could somehow eliminate billionaires world-wide the world would be a better place. There's not really a feasible way to do that, though.

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