Politics Thread


Sure. It was a nice one to have. It was nice to hear your views on the subject as well. Even better that it didn’t devolve into circular arguments and name calling like politics tends to do these days. So thank you for the conversation.


Shifting to a new topic, has anyone heard about this?


As much as reporters may be extremely annoying and even downright hostile at times, that doesn’t justify losing your temper and “body slamming” them. Gianforte was convicted of misdemeanor assault for good reason. As for Trump himself, between his tough guy image and continued demonizing of the press, Trump’s response was predictable. In fact it’s pretty clear that Trump found it humorous, probably because no real harm was done aside from a broken pair of glasses.


I honestly wonder, considering the hostility to the press so far, how far away our own reporters are from getting involved in “a fight” or “an interrogation gone wrong.” Freedom of the press is vitally important for society itself to remain free, but the escalating hostility against reporters, journalists and anchors is disturbing, to say the least.


This is on point, considering Trump praised a politician that was charged with assault against a reporter. It was a true physical assault, that even Fox news witnesses were appalled by.

There have been riots and fights where media got put in the middle - some of the events of the 1960’s come to mind - the 1968 Democratic Convention and the Watts Riots are two such events.

In today’s world, those events would have been covered in a different, more dangerous (for the journalists) manner.


Well, that’s par for the course and of course Trump would further abase himself and the office of the US Presidency before tyrants. Also not surprising our deal-maker extraordinaire would choose to fall for the old scapegoat trick. As there is only one man the Saudi’s could remove if they had to seriously go for appeasement.
It is also extremely sad that we only seem to care about this one horrific crime likely perpetrated by the Saudi government but are willfully blind to all the others, most notably (at the moment anyway) Yemen.


I don’t think Trump has any illusions (or delusions for that matter) about Khashoggi’s murder. He’s simply unwilling to end or otherwise jeopardize an important strategic relationship over the life of one non-citizen who was killed outside the US.

Yemen is an entirely different matter, a poor country caught in a brutal proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as an al Qaeda insurgency, all taking advantage of internal tribal frictions, much to the detriment of the people. Trump sees Iran as a dangerous enemy supporting terrorists who kill Americans and Israelis, and al Qaeda as a malignant terrorist group, so it’s a no-brainer for him to support the Saudi’s as the “lesser evil” against the other two sides, despite the brutality of their methods.


And an assault on the free press, don’t forget that part. The killing of that one non-citizen was very likely related to what he did and the very mild criticism he spouted while fulfilling that role. Even that mild criticism was apparently too much for the Saudi’s and enough to justify not just the elimination of that one, non-citizen but to deliberately do it in a most brutal manner in a foreign country that I cannot interpret in any other way than that the Saudi’s wanted to send an incredibly chilling message to critics, particularly critical journalists abroad that: “If you dare criticize us you will not only be executed but butchered and in a most brutal manner at that and nothing is beyond our grasp”.

As far as Trump’s delusions go, he has demonstrated time and time again to sympathize with authoritarian leaders of all stripes, particularly against scrutiny by a free press.
In the spirit of the late Senator McCain, Trump is again making the conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the free press.
Tragic as it is, were I in charge the murder of that one non-citizen would not surprise me coming from Saudi Arabia nor galvanize me into any sort of action beyond the usual. The fact that one “non-citizen” was a journalist working for an outlet of the free press, a critical institution in any democratic country, and the fact that this brutal murder has further reaching implications against that same free press and critics, particularly journalists critical of Saudi Arabia would. As such Saudi Arabia ought to purge the one who gave the order and we all know who that is. This isn’t actually impossible as there are plenty of other princes to step into that void, he himself replaced his uncle as the second man not too long ago, I believe. Sadly I don’t think Trump is willing to apply the amount of pressure needed for that change. :unamused:


Political Stuff…

So an article called Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape came out recently.

Here’s what Vox had to say about it.


I think this is more of an issue with respect to the crown prince, and monarchies in general. The current king has given too much power too quickly to his favorite son, and his son has abused his power over the security services. Trump doesn’t seem willing to call MBS out, giving his father the opportunity to find some scapegoats and shield his son from the consequences of his crime. That may turn into a huge mistake should MBS not have learned his lesson by the time he ascends the throne. If I were in Trump’s shoes I’d have pressed the King to select another heir as MBS clearly doesn’t have the temperment required.

I find it ironic that Erdogan helpfully provided all of the evidence against the Saudis after effectively crushing the free press in his own country. This is clearly a payback for Saudi opposition to Turkey’s plans in Egypt, Syria and Qatar.

There are several separate issues here. First there is his condemnation of the press as “enemies of the people” which I agree is dangerous to democracy within the US. Then there is his apparent sympathy for authoritarian leaders being scrutinized by a free press. His attempt to bond with them over a shared sense of grievance against the press not only looks bad, robbing America of the moral high ground, but also sets a bad precedent, coming across as a disavowel of a historically core American value, freedom of the press.

In most of these cases Trump is trying to be the good cop in order to preserve his ability to make a deal with them. I think he’s going too far though, just as I thought Obama went too far to get a deal with Iran.


Sadly, I agree.


We at least seem to agree on that. Again no shortage of princes. If nothing else I bet the uncle MBS displaced would be quite willing to assume the role again.

Yes, agreed. It also goes to showcase MBS does not possess the right temperament to be King at this time as a more deft hand would have made some calculations and realized this beforehand.


I unknowingly benefit from plenty of horrible crimes already. Billions in blood money isn’t going to alleviate my conscience much.

I don’t want my country allied with a country like Saudi Arabia.


This looks like it could be disastrous:

It’s still a memo at this point—a proposal—but it’s best to show that this is unacceptable before they enact it.

As a summary, this is coming from the Department of Health and Human Services, and this proposal would narrowly define gender as being based on assigned sex, with disputes to be resolved only by genetic testing, and would be a federal guidance.

Here’s another source explaining in more detail what this would entail:

It doesn’t seem to me like this has generated as much attention as I’d have expected for something so drastically and blatantly harmful.

It’s just chilling.


This is horrifying. This is like a series B futuristic movie in a dystopian universe.

Genetic tests to determine if you are a men or a woman? Wtf? Why the fuck do this people care so much about something this harmless? The only situation in which this could be relevant is in a medical moment, and I am pretty sure that transgender people will take care of their own health.

I’m so sorry for the transgender people living in the US right now. I wish you the best of luck.


It really is a new horror everyday out of this government. I just wish I knew why. Who benefits from hate? I get that the politicians can stay in power by whipping it up in their supporters, but what do the supporters actually gain from it?


Which might work to some extent if Trump was competent, or at least interested in learning the tricks of the governmental and political trade, and gave his ministers/secretaries the space and support they’d need to credibly play the “bad cop”. Unfortunately, this is Trump we’re talking about, the man who doesn’t bother to even read his briefings unless his name is literally mentioned at least every other line. :unamused:
He would also not like to give his secretaries the time in the limelight they’d need to credibly be seen as his “bad cop” alternatives.

I guess I’d be more comfortable with the opposite style, particularly in light of the need for a left-wing leader to not be seen as “soft” and play the “bad cop” while giving more “reasonable” ministers the role of “good cop”.
But again games like that require finesse, coordination and a decent working relationship with the ministers/secretaries in question. All things Trump lacks or isn’t even interested in trying.

I agree that deal was highly flawed but I have trouble seeing a better course as the old sanctions regime wasn’t working all that well either. At least that deal bought some time and wiggle room. Wiggle room that Trump has now destroyed again.

I don’t think the west would have been well-served with military adventurism in Iran as it would have turned into a far bigger quagmire then Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

But I realize Iran is one of the issues we disagree on.

Yikes! Ugh, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to feel trapped in the wrong body and the Republicans just want to add onto the misery of an already more vulnerable then average population. :unamused:

Agreed, sadly enough.

The assurance that though their circumstances may be bad they are not at the total bottom of the social pile. It’s more complicated than that in reality of course, as people are still individuals, but that is the simple and sad truth of it. Reactionary politics thrives on division and where there isn’t enough exploitable division already it seeks to create ever more until we’re left with a (de-facto) caste system in all likelihood. :unamused:



For reference (also I’m not sure if this is up to date; someone who is a better researcher than me can find out):




For the moment at least, his secretaries have successfully managed to push through a tougher response to Putin than ever occurred under Obama. Despite Trump’s very unfortunate rhetoric, he hasn’t prevented them from taking action the way Obama did their predecessors. Obama continually hesitated in taking action against Putin, and when he did eventually take action it amounted to little more than a scolding connected to some relatively minor sanctions.

I’m not a fan of Trump’s attempt to win Putin over, but Obama was seriously outplayed by Putin. He thought he could win Putin over too, even going so far as to cancel the European end of the US’s anti-ballistic missile defense system. He got nothing from Putin in return for his generous gift except arms treaty violations and Russian hacking of multiple US computer systems from Defense to Social Security that Obama papered over and tried to pretend didn’t occur. Obama was so fearful of conflict that whenever Putin stepped forward, such as in Ukraine and Syria, Obama stepped back, always giving Putin a face-saving “exit ramp” that Putin never felt the need to take. The contempt in Putin’s voice when he spoke about and to Obama was obvious. Trump may not have Obama’s raw intellect, but neither is he paralyzed by a worldview that is totally discombobulated by cannily aggressive dictators like Putin. Perhaps Obama was too civilized to be President, because he seemed to think that if he stopped playing the Great Game so too would other world leaders. All he accomplished was allowing geopolitical rivals like Putin to make several moves unopposed at the US’s expense. I find it ironic that Obama and his Democratic party allies didn’t draw the line until Putin hacked their party emails. Only then did they suddenly pull their heads up out of the sand and start to care.


It was a terrible deal, but better than nothing at all. The Iranians and Republicans both agreed that the Iranians by far got the better end of the deal. Iranian media made it pretty clear that they had bamboozled Obama. Unwilling to go to war, Obama likely felt that he got the best deal he could. A lot of people think he was an idiot for taking war off the table before starting negotiations, and that Iran wouldn’t have dared take American servicemen hostage and use them for political gain if they weren’t certain Obama would do nothing. The palettes of cash sent to Iran in return for the hostages were an embarrassment.

It’s hard for me to feel empathy for a theocracy that regularly leads its people in daily chants of “Death to America”. I wish Obama had done more to support the “green” protest movement in Iran after the government blatantly stole the 2009 presidential election. He seemed surprised when it was brutally crushed by the Pasdaran, just as he seemed stunned that his man Morsi was overthrown in Egypt and that Russia wasn’t stuck in the quagmire he predicted after its brutal intervention in Syria.

A lot of people are rooted in the traditional binary gender system. They are troubled by the idea of what they consider to be “men” in womens bathrooms and they desire to go back to the way things were before the Obama administration issued its guidance on bathrooms. And what one President does, the next can undo.


And this is why we shouldn’t have executive orders to this degree :blush:
Proper channels


That depends, rescinding executive orders is easy. Getting US insurance firms to provide some coverage for sex-affirming treatments again is much, much harder, unless you ditch the insurers altogether and finally switch to single-payer.

I think Obama did get the best deal he could without threatening military adventurism and risking Iran calling that particular bluff. Trouble is that the deal still wasn’t all that great and did favour the other side. It did buy us valuable time however and make no mistake that was all it did. Still thanks to Trump’s “policy” decisions here the next president of the US and the next generation of EU leadership are now in all likelihood going to run out of time with Iran.

See above this is where we disagree, it’s not a gamble I’d have dared to make either, because if they did call the bluff…

Well be as brutal as Putin in Syria and ally with people like Assad and the US probably could have avoided most of the quagmire too. At least in Syria. There would still be domestic fallout of the kind autocrats like Putin need not overly worry themselves about. Which is why the US could not an cannot act in such a fashion. And both the chances of the truly “moderate/liberal” Syrian opposition and how “moderate” they would actually have been are things we disagree on too.

Unfortunately, the way Trump allows them to take action makes everything seem ad-hoc and spur of the moment and worse, like he’s not in control of his own government.

I still think Trump is worse for the damage he did to the “shining city on the hill” moral high ground by trampling on supposedly core American values in pursuit of deals that aren’t actually all that good at best. Book aside Trump is not a great deal-maker.

True and not something I agreed with either. I’m not that dovish either.

It is clear that Obama didn’t have much experience with dealing with macho bullies like that, perhaps a testament to his good fortune in life (though at least from his professional life as a social worker wouldn’t Obama also have acquired that sort of wrong-side of the tracks experience?). It would perhaps be one arena where my hard-won experience personal with all the crap I got for being gay from macho bullies would actually count for something.

The trouble with that was those protestors were mostly upper-middle and upper-class elites who did not command enough loyalty with the lower echelons of Iranian society to reach critical mass, no matter what sanctions the US would have imposed to aid them as that always allows the regime to redirect public anger to those “dissident” elites.

For the moment the Iranian regime is facing pressure on two fronts. “Bread riots” (as seen at the beginning of this year) by the poor and dissension and dissatisfaction among some of the upper-middle class urban elites.
Unless those two groups join forces they can be contained and divided nearly indefinitely. The problem is that for the moment at least, those groups have dissimilar goals as the current middle-class elites are no socialists and seem for the most part determined to end what welfare and subsidies there still are in return for a relatively smooth entry into the neo-liberal global system. Thus to their countrymen, those elites do not necessarily present themselves as an improvement, except to the small segment who prefer greater freedom over fuller bellies, but that segment is vanishingly small.

The young students of the Iranian Green movement, for whatever reasons that I’m probably not privy to, failed to build valuable bridges with their own working-class that would have been critical to the success of any uprising.

As the more recent round of protests in Iran at the beginning of this year has shown the new generation of Iranian students has still not yet learned that lesson almost a decade later.

Morsi was far from blameless in that affair himself, still, I do agree this might have been one of the occasions where the US might have been able to successfully broker a political compromise in an allied country and got both sides of that dispute to tone down a bit.