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Here's an article from Forbes that summarizes a lot of the Mueller investigation. Now, this is Forbes web content, so fact-checking is advisable.  There are also a few parts that are obviously speculative (and the author doesn't seem to be trying to hide that, mind you), so those should be taken with a grain of salt.  But as a basic outline, it might be useful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Giuliani stumbles into admitting Trump’s hush money payments were probably illegal

 

Giuliani is not the kind of lawyer Trump needs, but I believe he's the kind of lawyer Trump wants, because they both behave in public the same way: say whatever self-serving BS comes to mind, but say it like you're convinced of its rightness, to try to sell it to people. But in Giuliani's case his recent BS has been Trump-serving.

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I don't like Donald Trump, but I will give credit for this decision.  I am a military isolationist, and I think that, long term, the smaller our global military footprint the better off we'll all be.

 

Trump is pulling all US ground troops from Syria

https://www.vox.com/2018/12/19/18148281/trump-syria-troops-kurds-turkey-war-withdrawal

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But Trump is also boosting military spending. Reducing America's international military commitments would make for sizeable savings, which could be plowed back into upgrading equipment for domestic defense without raising the budget. If that was his intention. I'm convinced Trump has no such plan, though. His moves are only calculated to play to his base, which is often just as illogical.

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5 hours ago, Sociotard said:

I don't like Donald Trump, but I will give credit for this decision.  I am a military isolationist, and I think that, long term, the smaller our global military footprint the better off we'll all be.

 

Trump is pulling all US ground troops from Syria

https://www.vox.com/2018/12/19/18148281/trump-syria-troops-kurds-turkey-war-withdrawal

 

In some instances I agree.  In this case, leaving the Kurds to die in exchange for Erdogan shutting up about MBS, and entirely ceding Syria to the Russians, is not a strategy for long term success.  Syria may have been unwinnable in a conventional sense but sticking it out could have eventually beaten both Assad and Putin through attrition.

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On 12/18/2018 at 7:18 AM, Pattern Ghost said:

Bump stock ban incoming. Depending out outcomes of lawsuits, no doubt.

 

You know what’s weird? I haven’t heard anything about this. Nothing from the NRA, Trump, Mitch, any of the GOP congresscritters, nothing from Fox. Where is the outrage from the gun lobby?

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Perhaps they see this as a convenient bone to throw to the gun-control lobby. Bump stocks were never an NRA priority issue, because they're just a workaround to the restrictions on fully automatic weapons the NRA wants to overturn; but recent tragedy has made bump stocks a provocative and polarizing symbol. A ban on them has broad support across the American public, and will make the government look like it's taking action without having to touch more sensitive and controversial concerns.

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Sure, but usually any new restriction or regulation on gun ownership is loudly protested as part of a slippery slope that ends with jackbooted stormtroopers coming to seize our guns. The silence here is striking. 

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It's kind of hard to refute that bump stocks (and similar devices) are intentional end runs around restrictions on full auto. I'm sure the NRA and some other organizations might put up a token resistance, but I'm also equally sure they don't really care about them. Besides, they aren't technically being banned*, just made NFA items. So pony up your $200 tax and you can keep your bump stock. (Of course, I don't know how that'd work out on a practical basis with the 90 day time period, b/c there's no way that all of those requests can get processed that fast.)

 

*The article is sloppy here, as usual: Full auto weapon ownership isn't banned, just restricted. New manufacture of full auto weapons is banned. And I'm not sure this order puts bump stocks into that area. Would be interesting to read an informed article on it.

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1 hour ago, Old Man said:

Sure, but usually any new restriction or regulation on gun ownership is loudly protested as part of a slippery slope that ends with jackbooted stormtroopers coming to seize our guns. The silence here is striking. 

 

Incrementalism is a valid tactic in eroding rights you don't want the plebs to have. The end goal of the anti-gun lobby -- or at least some significant portion of it -- is to ban all of the guns. Or at least to the greatest extent they can in a post-Heller world.

 

Here's an interesting article from Justice Stephens calling for repeal of the 2nd Amendment, just to make the point that you may not really be paranoid if they're really out to get you*:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/opinion/john-paul-stevens-repeal-second-amendment.html

 

For me, the scary thing about that article isn't that a Supreme Court justice wants to do away with the 2nd Amendment, it's this statement:

 



Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.

 

"Simple" in this context is a gross understatement. I mean, in the Occam's Razor sense, if you didn't have a pesky 2nd Amendment, you would have free reign passing gun control legislation. But practically speaking . . . that's just crazy talk. You're going to have to engage in several generations' worth of (successful) social engineering to get the votes to pull off a full repeal of the 2nd. You'd think he'd understand that since the premise of the op ed is that new laws can't be passed despite a high number of mass shootings. It only took a couple to get the UK to where it is and one to get Australia to where it is. That should tell him how firmly entrenched in our society the right is.

 

 

 

*Of course, you can both be paranoid, and have people out to get you. We do seem to have an unusually large and vocal number of those running around these days.

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What will comics do when Donnie and Co vanish from the scene, and now they have to dig to get material?

 

:)

 

Of course, right now I'm just hoping that Trump doesn't eviscerate us out of spite as he doesn't get his way in all things.

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And the hourglass is running rather low.  

 

Politico has a piece saying it was the hard-core right wing nutjobs raking Trump over the coals that led to this.  Well, if true, one has to wonder yet again about the long-term viability of the Republican Party.  They're willing to burn down the Party's house much too easily...because they're critics, not leaders.

 

Trump's pullout from Syria is also not going to be popular with many Republicans.  This feels less about factional disputes than Trump's personal tunnel vision.  Trump's moves in general, tho, cause enormous damage to our ability to conduct foreign policy moving forward.  

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It isn't a matter any more of agreeing or disagreeing with any particular decision or opinion from Donald Trump. His overall conduct constantly disregards standards of respect and civility. He violates the trust and responsibility of the nation he leads toward allies and friends. He fosters distrust, fear and chaos in subordinates and the public to exploit for his benefit. He all but abandons the pretense of acting for anything other than his own aggrandizement. The wounds he's inflicting on his country's standing and influence in the world, and the faith between America's government and governed, may take a generation or more to heal, and some scars may never fade.

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1 hour ago, Pattern Ghost said:

The last adult has left the Trump administration. Just heard on the radio that Mattis has "resigned."

 

Edit: NYT article on Mattis leaving.

 

Wow.  Yeah, this is a massive slam.  All the more so because of its tone.  

Lord Liaden:  I've said much the same.  You said it better.  If I may add, in doing so he forces a Hobson's choice on so many around him.  Does the Republican establishment really have a choice but to follow?  Sure, but how great is *that* cost?  Classic theory of co-opting someone is, get them to do little things, then use that as leverage to force them to escalate.  That's Trump and the Republican establishment.  They *couldn't* reject him at the convention, they *couldn't* reject him early on...by the time they could it was too late.

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27 minutes ago, unclevlad said:

Lord Liaden:  I've said much the same.  You said it better.  If I may add, in doing so he forces a Hobson's choice on so many around him.  Does the Republican establishment really have a choice but to follow?  Sure, but how great is *that* cost?  Classic theory of co-opting someone is, get them to do little things, then use that as leverage to force them to escalate.  That's Trump and the Republican establishment.  They *couldn't* reject him at the convention, they *couldn't* reject him early on...by the time they could it was too late.

 

Thank you. ☺️

 

The Republican Party establishment didn't hide its contempt for Trump from the start, but that didn't stop him from riding a wave of populist disaffection, which the party itself had already greatly contributed to by its past conduct. Once Trump was in office, they convinced themselves they could aim him toward decisions where they wanted to "win" the issues they seemed enamored of. But it appears to finally be sinking in that Donald Trump can't be aimed by anything but his "gut." I only hope the elected representatives accept their constitutional responsibility to act as a balance to the power of the Presidency, before it really is too late.

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24 minutes ago, unclevlad said:

On the Mattis resignation, a thought just crossed my mind.  

 

Remember this?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html?module=inline

 

Yeah, I think this resignation gives considerable credence to this...and it says they're losing the battle.

 

Whatever criticisms one might level against the previous forty-four occupants of POTUS, almost all of them acknowledged that other people knew more about some subjects than they did, and their experience should be heeded.

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A thought crossed my mind: Pelosi is incoming Speaker of the House. Putting her in line for the Presidency after Pence.

 

So, has anyone heard of any possible charges against Pence in all of this?

 

I'm not saying I'm hoping for a two-fer, but I'm also not not saying I'm not hoping for a two-fer.

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