Politics Thread


#1549

Is this legit, american users?

Is there for real a go fund me with more than 17 million dollars to build the wall? If this is true, I have no words.


#1550

In my expert American opinion.

The first rule of America, believe that we can be stupid enough to do anything. That way when we do it, you aren’t surprised.

“They won’t be stupid enough to wage two open ended wars in the Middle East right?”

George Dubbyah Bush: “Hold my American beer.”


#1551

With this much money at stake along with the attendant media publicity, if he’s committing fraud then he is going to land himself into a huge heap of trouble. OTOH if he’s legit, then it will be interesting to see how he turns the money over to the federal government, and whether or not they actually spend it on a wall. Given that the Trump administration would be responsible for spending the funds for the next two years, odds are high that it will get spent just as they desire.


#1552

Earmarking is allowed, right? And Congress controls the purse strings, do they not? Then if he hands over the money to the Republican Congress in January they could still earmark it for the wall, correct? I agree that after the current “lame duck” session ends that would become next to impossible as the new Democratic majority isn’t going to help the guy out.

Also have they made a foundation for this purpose? If so then according to what I remember of our tax law permissible (non-suspicious) overhead and operating costs for charities generally tend to run between 5-15% of donations.


#1553

Ear marking is not allowed anymore.


#1554

According to the link:

• How will we get the funds to the right place? We have contacted the Trump Administration to secure a point of contact where all the funds will go upon completion. When we get this information secured we will update. We have many very high level contacts already helping.

Republican Representative Representative Warren Davidson has bill on the table right now HR 7207 that if passed with Gov Funding bill we can give the funds towards the wall, and with our contractual guarantee to only be used on the wall.

• Rep Andy Harris Introduced the Border Wall Bonds Act of 2018, if passed with the Gov Funding bill it will allow us to donate towards the wall.
this Act funds only for the construction of the wall, nothing else.

• 100% of your donations will go to the Trump Wall.

• We are working with a law firm on a legal document that will bind the government to using the funds for the border wall itself, nothing else.

• We will hold all funds and not release a single penny until we have all legal aspects covered to ensure our money goes only to the wall.


#1555

Really, have you guys finally made the same mistake our legislature did? Earmarking back when it was allowed over here tended to be a great source of opposition influence over a weak government, as it could make sure funds would go directly to where they were needed and not in the big pot of “general means”.
I mean, like everything earmarking had its excesses and abuses, but I’m still sad it’s gone.


#1556

It is within the executive branch’s perview to construct buildings, including a wall on federally owned land at the border. It is not in their perview to fund that construction. Nevertheless if they’re handed money by a citizen’s group there is nothing barring them from spending that money how they see fit to my knowledge, including on the construction of a wall. Now if Clinton were President, she could and very likely would spend the money on something other than the wall. The administration is under no obligation to utilize the donated funds in the way the donors desire, but given that the Trump administration and the donors are aligned on this issue, it very likely will be spent the way the donors desire.

Yep, this has made it ten times more difficult to fashion the compromises needed to get legislation passed. I used to be against earmarks, but now I concede that getting rid of them has magnified the power of those forces stoking division and pushing for greater partisanship, and resulted in much greater gridlock and legislative paralysis.


#1557

I suppose that’s where my practical experience as a political aide came in handy. Everybody on the streets who was not a bureaucrat or in government tended to hate them over here too. I mean that’s what got them abolished in the first place, politicians listening to the media and angry voters.
But that’s because they had a largely undeserved sordid image because the media tends to be far better at bringing bad news and highlighting the worst excesses (and, yes, we had our fair share of those with earmarked funds too, I’m not being willfully blind to that) but they were still a type of political grease that overall had relatively few downsides and tended to make the whole political machine run more smoothly.

I guess that is a major difference between the US style government and ours as ours almost always rests on a majority in parliament for all but the most contentious issues, which means the government can generally fund whatever they like, because the parliamentary coalition is virtually sure to approve it.
Except for weak and minority government, or very contentious or unforeseen (at the time they made the coalition) issues, which is where earmarking, when it was still allowed tended to be useful for the opposition to get something done.


#1558

Whlle the number of people who understand this today is greater than it was before, it’s still unfortunately only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the population. This has nationalized elections to a degree they weren’t previously, because legislators were previously able to argue that bringing home the bacon (Jobs! Investment! Infrastructure improvements!) to their constituents was more important than the prevailing national political headwinds, but those days are now gone. Getting this changed in today’s partisan climate would likely prove a herculean task. The national interest groups that came out ahead are unlikely to give up their newfound power willingly.

The US has a very strong executive branch that can operate without a sympathetic legislature, in fact being able to vote in a legislature hostile to the chief executive is one of the principle checks and balances in the US’s system of governance, along with the independent judiciary. The incoming Democratically controlled House is going to give the Trump administration no end of headaches with its subpoena power and numerous hard-nosed investigations…

Unfortunately the US’s system of checks and balances doesn’t work so well on foreign policy as they do on domestic policy much to the disappointment of the US’s allies abroad…


#1559

The advantage of a parliamentary system is that if that happens and they don’t want to continue with a minority government or the opposition won’t let them it’s time for fresh elections.
In general Linz has made a terrific analysis of (the dangers and shortfalls of) strong Presidential systems, including the US.


#1560

Both systems have their upsides and downsides. And for all of its warts, especially the giant one currently in the White House, overall I prefer the US’s presidential system over parliamentary systems, but I’ve lived all of my life in the US so I am no doubt biased. That isn’t to say that there aren’t a number of changes that I’d make if I could such as reversing Citizen’s United, making all primaries open primaries, and an end to the legal obstructions the two major parties have colluded to place in the way of third parties.


#1561

I think that’s underestimating the huge corruption of the Trump administration a bit there, perhaps? :sweat_smile:


#1562

:smile: If their goals weren’t so closely aligned and the President didn’t have such a huge interest in promoting this project I’d agree, but this is just too close to the President’s heart, and more importantly, political survival, for him to do anything other than showcase it in a way that makes his usual corruption difficult. Of course, that assumes competence and follow-through. The man at the top is capable of truly astounding levels of chaos, and his jack-rabbit attention span along with his valuing of loyal yes-men over competence and honesty in his aides and appointees could very well turn this into yet another screw-up, just like wall-funding legislation turned out to be. His inattention and vacillation has pretty much doomed wall funding, leaving him resorting to a bit of last minute theatrics in an attempt to prove to his base that he really does care.


#1563

He needs to move at a jackrabbit’s pace so that you can never catch up with his nonsense. By the time you finish processing his nonsense you get inundated by something worse.


#1564

He’s managed to turn a weakness into a strength by giving the press one outrage after another, ensuring that not only does no one particular outrage gain any traction since it is immediately replaced by the next, but also reducing the public’s sensitivity to further outrages.

Nevertheless the endless stream of outrages does appear to have shrunk his base if the 2018 elections are any guide, turning off educated suburban voters, especially educated suburban women in droves. The Republican party took a severe beating in the 'burbs where in the past they had usually come out ahead by a significant margin. If Trump were to face re-election right now that loss of suburban voters would cost him the same Rust Belt states that gave him the 2016 election.


#1565

Because most people take a look at him and go, “Holy shit this man has a few screws loose.”


#1566

There is a barrier, as it happens. The Dept of Homeland Security, like most government departments, has a rule preventing it from accepting private gifts without Congressional permission. (This prevents rich U.S. citizens from circumventing the usual process of buying policy outcomes.)

Anyone can make a donation to the government, but it goes into a general fund – it can’t be committed for a particular purpose.

We can expect to see bills brought to the House floor authorizing Homeland Security to use this wall crowdfund…but with a Dem majority, unless the funds raised get past the “drop in the bucket” point when compared to the multi-billion dollar cost of a border wall, the bill is highly unlikely to pass.

Meanwhile, GoFundMe may well make hundreds of thousands of dollars off it. So there’s a silver lining.


#1567

If it makes too much money won’t it simply turn into another predatory big tech giant or taken over by one?

With all the people raising money for basic necessities for survival, such as insulin, on there it almost makes me want to start a counter-offensive of collecting money for single-payer health care in the US of A or, less ambitious, medicare for all. And I’m not even American. :unamused:

Or they need to take a leaf out of Wisconsin’s book and quickly pass just such a bill during the current, “lame duck session” (hi again @TSSL ).

The “usual process” currently being the kind of massive dark money bombs and lobbying authorized by “Citizens United”, you mean?


#1568

Yup.