Trump presidency

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri May 12, 2017 5:03 pm UTC

cphite wrote:It's also entirely possible that he really did fire Comey because he thinks Comey was doing a lousy job, and that he's just too politically clueless to understand why the timing looks awful.


I agree. This is a very distinct possibility.

I think everyone here would agree that Comey's handling of last year was utterly awful. The issue therefore is not necessarily with Comey's firing, but with the timing of it.

In particular, Comey just last week testified before Congress in such an awful manner, that the FBI had to issue a statement correcting Comey. The fact of the matter is: when Stephen Colbert mentioned that Comey was fired, his audience cheered initially. Nobody liked Comey anymore.

Koa wrote:NYT reported that Comey requested additional resources for the investigation days before being fired, but in the open senate hearing McCabe clearly stated more than once that they had adequate resources. So for me it mostly comes down to what Trump said in the interview that he asked Comey if he was under investigation. It would be a funny ad hoc lie in order to explain the petty message slipped to the public in the letter.


I agree. The 2nd paragraph of Trump's letter is the most mind-boggling part of this whole event. Comey made too many fuckups and was disliked almost universally as of last week. Comey's days in Washington were numbered regardless.

Trump exacerbated things by firing Comey in such a dramatic fashion. Trump is a drama-queen, so of course he wants to do things in that manner. The main problem is that it lines up with the Russian message and looks sketchy as all fuck. But Trump clearly doesn't know what he's doing, so there's a big chance this is all just ignorance.

Furthermore, Trump's press team is clearly out of touch. Sean Spicer was caught flat-footed, and the Deputy Huckabee seems to be too. (Harder to tell, since she's a far more effective liar than Spicer). Trump's team has completely lost control of the story. What's troubling here is the clear amount of "groupthink" within Trump's circle. Trump fires people he doesn't trust, and forces those who stay back to bend to his will. The entire team is unable to critically analyze situations... or consider viewpoints aside from Trump's.

These were the conditions that created the "Bay of Pigs" disaster. Tons of smart people were in the same room when the decision went down, but no one was willing to consider alternative viewpoints. I fear something along those lines will happen before Trump loses credibility...
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 12, 2017 5:25 pm UTC

These were the conditions that created the "Bay of Pigs" disaster. Tons of smart people were in the same room when the decision went down, but no one was willing to consider alternative viewpoints. I fear something along those lines will happen before Trump loses credibility

If I were them, I wouldn't worry about scenarios that require a ton of smart people in the same room.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Koa » Fri May 12, 2017 5:30 pm UTC

Stephen Colbert's audience is awful, and Comey's situation is far more complicated than jeers except to such people who can't see shades of gray.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri May 12, 2017 8:48 pm UTC

Trump just threatened Comey over twitter, claiming there might be recordings of their conversations. Link.

Is there anyone left who doesn't think this man is an incompetent dumbass?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Fri May 12, 2017 9:31 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Trump just threatened Comey over twitter, claiming there might be recordings of their conversations. Link.

Is there anyone left who doesn't think this man is an incompetent dumbass?

Don't worry, his staff is already walking back Trump's statement to a 'promise, not a threat'. ;-)

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby SDK » Fri May 12, 2017 9:34 pm UTC

sardia wrote:... a 'promise, not a threat'. ;-)

This is a movie, right? I'm in a movie.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby freezeblade » Fri May 12, 2017 9:46 pm UTC

SDK wrote:
sardia wrote:... a 'promise, not a threat'. ;-)

This is a movie, right? I'm in a movie.


If it is, I'm hoping Trump shoots for a Bolivian Army Ending.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Fri May 12, 2017 10:02 pm UTC

freezeblade wrote:
SDK wrote:
sardia wrote:... a 'promise, not a threat'. ;-)

This is a movie, right? I'm in a movie.


If it is, I'm hoping Trump shoots for a Bolivian Army Ending.

I made up the part about it being a promise. If you can't tell that, then we can chalk that up to Trump.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/co ... al-crisis/
For those of you wondering what a constitutional crisis is, here are some definitions that help with this overused term.
The key point is that the Constitutional doesn't address what happens if one branch refuses to check/balance another branch, due to let's say... Electoral incentives. That would be a constitutional crisis. Trump firing Comey is just an old fashion bad thing. This reminds me why excessive partisanship is bad. It means the Republicans will put up with anything Trump to avoid Democratic control.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri May 12, 2017 10:10 pm UTC

Seriously though, one of the frustrating things about this whole Presidency -- I mean, okay, besides the flagrant bigotry and ongoing fear that Trump is basically one terrorist attack away from taking "Drastic Action" -- has been the continued insistence from several different quarters that Trump isn't a dumbass. That he's a competent business-man -- that his actions follow some rhyme or reason that extend beyond an oblivious, short-sighted asshole being an oblivious, short-sighted asshole.

Can we do away with that narrative once and for all, now? Can we all accept that Donald Trump's success has precious little to do with Donald Trump? Can we finally all just throw aside the American myth of capitalism -- that being absurdly wealthy must have something to do with being a mature, responsible, competent adult?

Can we at last accept that Donald Trump is basically America's version of an obnoxiously ignorant, self-aggrandizing aristocrat? A self-absorbed braggart with a fancy-sounding name who was born into a system that works to maintain his wealth, ego, and importance regardless of how absurdly out-of-touch with reality he becomes?

EDIT: And no, calling Trump a dumbass isn't underestimating him. Dumbasses are dangerous -- dumbasses are powerful. Democracies involve careful balances of power designed to mitigate the actions of sophisticated operators -- they are vulnerable to dumbasses who charge in and deploy their authority like a goddamn club, oblivious to what that could mean.

McCarthy wasn't some cunning political agent; he was a drunk asshole with half-baked theories about communist infiltration and little to no sense of self-preservation. That's what makes people like this dangerous. Not that they're politically savvy -- but they're so politically unsavvy that things like 'decorum' and 'consequence' don't even give them pause.

People like this beat you in a race not because they know how to drive, but because they don't know enough about driving to ever bother applying the brakes. Eventually, they crash and burn -- but they'll do plenty of damage on their way to the finish line.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Sat May 13, 2017 4:08 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:McCarthy wasn't some cunning political agent; he was a drunk asshole with half-baked theories about communist infiltration and little to no sense of self-preservation. That's what makes people like this dangerous.
No, not completely. What makes them dangerous is that they can operate unopposed.

Trump isn't the problem (though he's a problem). Trump is the symptom. The problem is twofold:

1: There's a large enough segment of the population that wants what Trump promises.

2: The checks and balances in the system exist, but only operate when the people in those positions (in this case Congress and the Courts) choose to oppose the branch that's off the rails. The courts are stepping in, in a small way, but Congress is not. If the individual members of the other two branches choose to not oppose the rising dictatorship that is developing in the Executive branch, then they are abdicating their role.

To the extent that this is happening, that is what makes people like him dangerous.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ObsessoMom » Sat May 13, 2017 4:10 am UTC

The following would be yummy if they didn't make me feel so queasy:

First, there's Trump's interview on his economic policy in The Economist, which was accompanied by several essays commenting on it. I thought this one was particularly spot-on:

Why Trumponomics won't make America great again: The impulsiveness and shallowness of America's president threaten the economy as well as the rule of law

Then there are these takes on it, too.

Donald Trump tries to explain economics to The Economist. Hilarity ensues. (Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine)

An Economist reporter dishes on Trump's 'priming the pump' interview (Sarah Birnbaum, PRI's The World)

The Goldman guys in the White House are acting exactly how America feared they would (Linette Lopez in Business Insider)

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ivnja » Sat May 13, 2017 5:01 pm UTC

That interview was...interesting to read. The one thing I had hoped going into this four-year adventure, even if I did dread most of what was coming, would be that he'd be able to speak somewhat sensibly about the economy. But there was not much economic fluency showing through there.

The "priming the pump" exchange was just weird.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Sat May 13, 2017 5:38 pm UTC

I only made it 3\4 of the way through. Reading how he talks at length when not at a campaign rally is... I'm not sure. He's not all There.

I want to see a recording of him screaming at a television.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Sat May 13, 2017 7:26 pm UTC

Liri wrote:I only made it 3\4 of the way through. Reading how he talks at length when not at a campaign rally is... I'm not sure. He's not all There.

I want to see a recording of him screaming at a television.

If you want to see Trump at his smartest, you need to talk real estate. The way he talks changed dramatically when it's something he knows well. There's a NPR interview that went into this.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby SlyReaper » Sun May 14, 2017 7:29 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Trump just threatened Comey over twitter, claiming there might be recordings of their conversations. Link.

Is there anyone left who doesn't think this man is an incompetent dumbass?

I actually don't think he's dumb. I think he knows exactly what he's doing, and that he's going to get away with it. Again. Lurching from one scandal to another is how he operates - it's a great way to keep everyone distracted.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun May 14, 2017 9:37 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:I actually don't think he's dumb. I think he knows exactly what he's doing, and that he's going to get away with it. Again. Lurching from one scandal to another is how he operates - it's a great way to keep everyone distracted.
Distracted from what? He was making progress on TrumpCare; now, his legislation is in a state of paralysis. I can't see any of his decisions as being clever attempts at distraction, because the only thing he's ever distracting you from is the last ridiculous thing he did (by doing something even more ridiculous). It's like a guy who buys a cat to catch a mouse, a dog to catch the cat, a tiger to catch the dog...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Sun May 14, 2017 9:59 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I actually don't think he's dumb. I think he knows exactly what he's doing, and that he's going to get away with it. Again. Lurching from one scandal to another is how he operates - it's a great way to keep everyone distracted.
Distracted from what? He was making progress on TrumpCare; now, his legislation is in a state of paralysis. I can't see any of his decisions as being clever attempts at distraction, because the only thing he's ever distracting you from is the last ridiculous thing he did (by doing something even more ridiculous). It's like a guy who buys a cat to catch a mouse, a dog to catch the cat, a tiger to catch the dog...

Notice how this entire time nobody has fired the guy who keeps releasing animals... Remember when we were only asking for his taxes? Look, we know Trump isn't particularly good at this whole distraction thing, but he doesn't have to be. Its incredibly hard to get rid of a president, and that's assuming Republicans aren't making a very rational choice here. Fuck over the country a little bit now, but get a brand new president later. In the mean time, it's an all you can eat tax cut/deregulate/military/judge appointing buffet. If you look at any of the polls, Republican voters aren't that upset at him, and most of them are very happy that Democrats are upset, or don't know any better.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Puppyclaws » Mon May 15, 2017 3:26 am UTC

I have to agree that if "he knows exactly what he's doing" which is an argument I hear a lot, I am totally confused by how he keeps losing and making a fool of himself and not really winning much of anything that isn't a gimme. All while maintaining a 40% approval rating. Like, nobody is distracted from anything, and I can only think that the millions he's swindling by using the presidency to market his brand would be making more if he weren't regularly making himself look like an idiot.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Mon May 15, 2017 4:59 am UTC

I think it's just an excuse made up by Trump supporters so they don't have to admit they support a blithering idiot.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Mon May 15, 2017 5:20 am UTC

Thesh wrote:I think it's just an excuse made up by Trump supporters so they don't have to admit they support a blithering idiot.

Excuses are a lot easier to swallow when you have all/most of the power. Well, in their case, their "team" has all the power. I'm sure there's gonna be a benefit besides infuriating liberals. I'm gonna bet on an improving economy and a small tax temporary tax cut. I still can't stress the importance of the Judicial nominations though. Think about the effect of half the country's judges being appointed by Trump's team of super conservative experts. And make no mistake, the Justice department and court appointees aren't a joke. They're the best staffed and high functioning of all the Trump cabinet members.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Mon May 15, 2017 7:18 am UTC

This could go either way. I mean it was a threat by Trump, oroginally, against Comey. I think, because... "tapes". Is that because they're audio philes, or is it "pizzagate"-lebel of "code"? To whom are the "tapes" a problem?

Reminds me of a not-subtle but definitely-obscured comment made during a game of Mafia. But that woupd be worse, given that there's no reason a sensible person would have to telegraph his steganography in open-Twitter... (Not that I'm inclined to believe that Trump is a normal person, but he has countless ways of being so subtle that we don't know he's doing so. Get a trusted aide to post a letter addressed to the Russian embassy (and not on Trump/WH stationary!), if necessary. Or put that inside a "birthday card" to his daughter/whoever, for them to post in the bustle of NY...

He does my head in. If this were Mafia, I'd assume Jester...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon May 15, 2017 9:14 pm UTC

I hate to distract you all from Trump's last disaster. But Trump did another thing today that should distract you from everything else.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... story.html?

The man is an utter dumbass.

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.


I will say this: If this is Trumps way of distracting us from the FBI issue, I think this methodology will prove successful. There's virtually no reason to talk about the FBI thingy now that Trump straight up leaked classified information to our adversary.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Mon May 15, 2017 9:17 pm UTC

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Mon May 15, 2017 9:18 pm UTC

Um, are there any laws against doing that? Isn't he in breach of an anti-espionage law or something?

Seems like the CIA should just not brief him with their most critical intelligence anyway.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Mon May 15, 2017 9:21 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Um, are there any laws against doing that? Isn't he in breach of an anti-espionage law or something?

Seems like the CIA should just not brief him with their most critical intelligence anyway.

The president can declassify pretty much anything they want, so it's probably not illegal.

Edit2: aka, "if the president does it, it's not illegal"
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Mon May 15, 2017 9:22 pm UTC

It's going to be like Christmas for left-wing trolls.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Mon May 15, 2017 9:23 pm UTC

Liri wrote:
Mutex wrote:Um, are there any laws against doing that? Isn't he in breach of an anti-espionage law or something?

Seems like the CIA should just not brief him with their most critical intelligence anyway.

The president can declassify pretty much anything they want, so it's probably not illegal.

Ok, I thought that might be the case. Shame.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon May 15, 2017 9:24 pm UTC

Liri wrote:
Mutex wrote:Um, are there any laws against doing that? Isn't he in breach of an anti-espionage law or something?

Seems like the CIA should just not brief him with their most critical intelligence anyway.

The president can declassify pretty much anything they want, so it's probably not illegal.


While that's true, this also applies to the Secretary of State. Former Secretary Clinton had the power to declassify whatever she wanted. I don't think that argument did so well for her last year however.

The fact of the matter is: Donald Trump has revealed classified information before it has been declassified. That's big. Clinton had the argument that her emails were no longer classified and therefore the FBI should stop investigating her. See how much that helped.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Mon May 15, 2017 9:46 pm UTC

It strikes a different chord than his prior (in office) ...transgressions. To what new depths will the cowardice of Ryan and McConnell descend?
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Mon May 15, 2017 9:50 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:The fact of the matter is: Donald Trump has revealed classified information before it has been declassified. That's big.

Could you elaborate? Other than making him look terrible, what actual repercussions will he face for this?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Mon May 15, 2017 9:54 pm UTC

Whether the declassification or revelation of secrets to the Russian government is legal or not is a technicality. Information gets declassified by somebody; who is higher up than the president? It's probably technically legal.

Does it however constitute treason? The president's first duty is to the country. This country: the USA. Treason hinges on whether or not the USA benefits (enough) from the revelation, and that is a judgment call. "Enough" should be evaluated in several ways, all of them relative to other things. It could be a good step for diplomacy, for example, despite endangering our covert operatives and harming other operations. I suspect this is not likely. It could be a simple trade with Russia, in exchange for allowing certain real estate deals to go through, the primary beneficiary of which just happens to be extremely well connected with the person who sleeps in the White House. Were this the case, it might be considered High Treason by those who see the presidency as a position of trust. They just might consider it the sale of goods that do not belong to Trump (the USA is not his property). That's at least a misdemeanor, and if the value of the US is greater than $1000, it might be a felony. Are felonies "High Crimes"? I don't know, IANAL (TG!).

It's probably not very easy to prove tit for tat; I'm sure the wink wink nudge nudge is behind a lot of closed doors. And I'm certainly not saying that's what happened. But some people, who might be inclined to consider this direction of thought, well, to quote the President himself... "You know what to do".

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon May 15, 2017 10:14 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:The fact of the matter is: Donald Trump has revealed classified information before it has been declassified. That's big.

Could you elaborate? Other than making him look terrible, what actual repercussions will he face for this?


Honestly, I'm so cynical that I don't think he'll face any actual repercussions unless this manages to piss off his base somehow.

As discussed throughout this thread... the power to impeach the President rests in the House of Representatives. And those House Members will continue to back the President as long as their supporters back the President.

I have a bit of hope that after the whole Clinton classified email on a server that may have been hacked by the Russians thing will pale in comparison to just... telling the Russians classified information. If Trump's base holds even a shred of consistency, they might become pissed at this event. Until then, the Republicans hold a majority in the House and Senate, so it will require a majority in the House (to being the Impeachement) and a super-majority in the Senate (66 I think) to remove him from office.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Mon May 15, 2017 10:19 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:If Trump's base holds even a shred of consistency,

Oh... never mind then.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon May 15, 2017 10:24 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:If Trump's base holds even a shred of consistency,

Oh... never mind then.


If I go into 100% cynical mode... the primary effect it will have is distrust between the intelligence agencies and the US President. US Agencies will not want to risk future intelligence assets by telling the President. So really, it just means that the US Government as a whole becomes significantly weaker and unable to function as a result of this whole crisis.

It also weakens Trump's standing with the world. US Allies will be less willing to share with us their information, since our President is not to be trusted. Once again, weakening the ability for the US to lead its allies and otherwise act on the world stage.

At some point, you'd hope that the House of Representatives (even if they're Republican controlled) will have enough of this bullshit and start removing the man from office. But that's hope, I'm not really seeing that happening.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby speising » Mon May 15, 2017 10:37 pm UTC

You know, most people will have to pass extensive screening before they can get clearance for any sensitive information.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ObsessoMom » Mon May 15, 2017 10:40 pm UTC

Time after time over the past two years, I've thought, "Okay, Trump's really crossed the line now--surely this will do him in, and he'll lose support."

Basically, it's been like watching two years of this.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zohar » Tue May 16, 2017 12:24 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:While that's true, this also applies to the Secretary of State. Former Secretary Clinton had the power to declassify whatever she wanted. I don't think that argument did so well for her last year however.


While that's true, you're ignoring a pretty big difference between Trump and Clinton, namely that she is a woman and thus cannot be trusted.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Tue May 16, 2017 1:03 am UTC

Zohar wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:While that's true, this also applies to the Secretary of State. Former Secretary Clinton had the power to declassify whatever she wanted. I don't think that argument did so well for her last year however.


While that's true, you're ignoring a pretty big difference between Trump and Clinton, namely that she is a woman and thus cannot be trusted.

No, she's also a dirty Democrat. If she was a Republican, then it's totes ok.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Tue May 16, 2017 2:39 am UTC

sardia wrote:
Zohar wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:While that's true, this also applies to the Secretary of State. Former Secretary Clinton had the power to declassify whatever she wanted. I don't think that argument did so well for her last year however.


While that's true, you're ignoring a pretty big difference between Trump and Clinton, namely that she is a woman and thus cannot be trusted.

No, she's also a dirty Democrat. If she was a Republican, then it's totes ok.


We had Dems in control for 8 years. Sort of. In 2006 and 2008, we ousted a large number of halfway competent politicians for committing the crime of being Republican, so it's politics as usual.

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The Great Hippo
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue May 16, 2017 3:49 am UTC

How long before someone on Fox news argues that by exposing our president as a security breach, the Washington Post has exposed a security breach -- and is therefore the *real* problem, here?
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Tue May 16, 2017 4:48 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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