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6 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Hah.  Glad to know politics in Canada has(n't) improved.

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14 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

If "all of this' also includes his conduct in the SNC Lavalin affair (including his treatment of his Attorney General, his insipid non-apologies and his obstruction of any form of inquiry intended to get the real facts to the public, after running on a platform of greater freedom for MPs and transparency in government); his pressure to have the Parliamentary Budget Officer take an active role in costing election promises followed by a refusal to have his own promises costed publicly, and his refusal to address Quebec's clearly ethnically motivated banning of religious attire by civil servants, to mention just a few, then it should carry much more significant consequences than some raised eyebrows.

 

 

Yes, "all of this" should include all those things. And I stand by my statement. Donald Trump has done as much and more, but he brushes all of it off and ignores or blusters and bullies his way through those who criticize him about it. We know he won't apologize for or try to change any of his actions or behavior, because he clearly has no shame or conscience. Neither Trump nor Trudeau will choose to step down because of their conduct; and if our other elected officials are unwilling to take an ethical stand due to their self-interest, neither leader can be forced out, short of being voted out. And even that isn't guaranteed, because principle doesn't carry as much weight to a voting public grown understandably cynical.

 

Like I said, all the rules and laws in the world mean nothing if the people entrusted with upholding them lack conscience and shame.

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12 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Yes, "all of this" should include all those things. And I stand by my statement. Donald Trump has done as much and more, but he brushes all of it off and ignores or blusters and bullies his way through those who criticize him about it. We know he won't apologize for or try to change any of his actions or behavior, because he clearly has no shame or conscience. Neither Trump nor Trudeau will choose to step down because of their conduct; and if our other elected officials are unwilling to take an ethical stand due to their self-interest, neither leader can be forced out, short of being voted out. And even that isn't guaranteed, because principle doesn't carry as much weight to a voting public grown understandably cynical.

 

Like I said, all the rules and laws in the world mean nothing if the people entrusted with upholding them lack conscience and shame.

 

Emphasis added.  As I watched these events unfold, I started to question whether I retained any right to criticize the US political situation.

 

If you can only justify Justin Trudeau's behaviour by comparing it to Donald Trump's behaviour, I submit that this demonstrates only that the behaviour of neither one can be justified. 

 

Trudeau campaigned, back in 2015, on a platform of open, transparent government that was a complete change from what had gone before.  Maybe we got a change, but  the implied promise was a change for the better - honesty and integrity.  That is definitely not the change we got.  We definitely did not get openness or transparency. 

 

I do not believe he won the election on a promise to be "no worse than Donald Trump", even the Donald Trump we had seen to that point.

 

You are 100% correct that the electorate is ultimately responsible. 

“The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”  (attributed to Winston Churchill).

Perhaps more appropriate as we head to the polls, "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."

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https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/trumps-ukraine-call-clear-impeachable-offense/598570/

 

This is a rubber hits the road, s*** or get off the pot moment for conservatives and libertarians of good faith, imo.  I was told by more than a few that if Mueller had found real evidence of collusion by Trump with a foreign power, that they would be on board, in full agreement that such conduct merited the removal of the president from office.  Well, taking these new developments at face value, here you are.  The president apparently solicited or pressured the president of Ukraine(with military assistance to them hanging in the balance), with the assistance of his personal attorney and also during phone conversations(of which a record certainly exists), to commence a criminal investigation of the son of his greatest current rival for the 2020 election.  Such an investigation, based upon prior reporting and accounts of regional experts, would be wholly without merit and a pure political witch hunt.  But even if that weren't so, the abuse of power involved in Trump's solicitation is clearly impeachable conduct.  As the linked opinion piece states, if this isn't impeachable conduct, what is?

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Not a land war yet -- official sources suggest the troop deployment would be in the "hundreds."

 

I've come to suspect all of Trump's contradictory signals, suggested policy reversals, ill-considered comments, may actually be a deliberate tactic to try to confuse everyone as to his real intentions, because he thinks that strengthens his bargaining position. How it weakens America probably doesn't cross his mind.

 

OTOH his real intention has become clear by now -- to get re-elected. He'll say and do anything he thinks will get him to that goal.

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Trump’s foreign policy is largely driven by his paymasters, Putin and the Saudis. Putin is on good terms with Iran and has made it clear that there will be no US retaliation for the recent attacks. But Trump has to do something to appease his Saudi friends “who pay in cash”. 

 

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Discussion last week on All Things Considered brought up another factor: China. The PRC is even more dependent on Persian Gulf oil than the US. They will deeply not want war between two major suppliers, incidentally interrupting supplies from everyone else.

 

In fact, the only party I can imagine that benefits from war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is... Russia. Gulf War III drives up the price of petroleum, which is Russia's chief commodity for sale. When oil prices are high, Putin has lots of money to buy off the Russian people with subsidized goods and pensions. When oil prices drop, the Russian people get squeezed and start resenting their life in a clumsy kleptocracy.

 

I would almost think Russia staged the attack on Saudi, if it weren't for the Houthi claim of responsibility. The Houthis are an Iranian ally, but I have not heard anyone say they are a Russian proxy.  Too bad; it would make a great spy thriller. But I would not rule out that Putin might be making promises to the Iranians that would give them greater confidence in such a risky move.

 

(All wild speculation on my part, of course. But if I were a high muckymuck in a Western intelligence agency, I'd order a search for evidence to confirm or reject the hypothesis.)

 

Dean Shomshak

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Discussion last week on All Things Considered brought up another factor: China. The PRC is even more dependent on Persian Gulf oil than the US. They will deeply not want war between two major suppliers, incidentally interrupting supplies from everyone else.

 

In fact, the only party I can imagine that benefits from war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is... Russia. Gulf War III drives up the price of petroleum, which is Russia's chief commodity for sale. When oil prices are high, Putin has lots of money to buy off the Russian people with subsidized goods and pensions. When oil prices drop, the Russian people get squeezed and start resenting their life in a clumsy kleptocracy.

 

I would almost think Russia staged the attack on Saudi, if it weren't for the Houthi claim of responsibility. The Houthis are an Iranian ally, but I have not heard anyone say they are a Russian proxy.  Too bad; it would make a great spy thriller. But I would not rule out that Putin might be making promises to the Iranians that would give them greater confidence in such a risky move.

 

(All wild speculation on my part, of course. But if I were a high muckymuck in a Western intelligence agency, I'd order a search for evidence to confirm or reject the hypothesis.)

 

Dean Shomshak

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Discussion last week on All Things Considered brought up another factor: China. The PRC is even more dependent on Persian Gulf oil than the US. They will deeply not want war between two major suppliers, incidentally interrupting supplies from everyone else.

 

In fact, the only party I can imagine that benefits from war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is... Russia. Gulf War III drives up the price of petroleum, which is Russia's chief commodity for sale. When oil prices are high, Putin has lots of money to buy off the Russian people with subsidized goods and pensions. When oil prices drop, the Russian people get squeezed and start resenting their life in a clumsy kleptocracy.

 

I would almost think Russia staged the attack on Saudi, if it weren't for the Houthi claim of responsibility. The Houthis are an Iranian ally, but I have not heard anyone say they are a Russian proxy.  Too bad; it would make a great spy thriller. But I would not rule out that Putin might be making promises to the Iranians that would give them greater confidence in such a risky move.

 

(All wild speculation on my part, of course. But if I were a high muckymuck in a Western intelligence agency, I'd order a search for evidence to confirm or reject the hypothesis.)

 

Dean Shomshak

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53 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

(All wild speculation on my part, of course. But if I were a high muckymuck in a Western intelligence agency, I'd order a search for evidence to confirm or reject the hypothesis.)

 

Dean Shomshak

 

Or if you were the leader of a country you might just order a search for evidence to either confirm or reject the hypothesis, whichever suits you purpose.

 

But that's never been done, right?

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1 hour ago, Cancer said:

 

Great article.  And I agreed with the author's insights.

 

I've been on the side of having a doctor afraid to continue medication and finishing off my shoulder reconstruction (bone dissolving screws and all) was VERY painful.  I was only a few weeks into the pain meds and they reduced my dose to something slightly less effective than thinking happy thoughts.

 

Let the doctors sort it out.  Keep the politicians and threats of taking medical licenses away from healthcare and let people in pain get the medication they need.

 

The great political art of changing the laws to make it look like you're doing something is usually worse than not doing anything at all.

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My brother is fighting against being kicked off of disability.  If he cannot keep it, my parents will likely have to move him and them all to Canada.  Literally the cost of getting him a health care plan (that's provided by being on his disability) will be higher than their social security and all other benefits they'd get living in the US put together.

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I hate to say this, but I think impeaching Donald Trump is a horrible idea. The Democrats don't have anything like the votes necessary to convict him in the Senate, and with Moscow Mitch at the helm, I don't know that there would ever even be a vote. The effect I foresee from an impeachment of Trump is to make him a martyr, emboldening his fan base for the next two election cycles (at least) and virtually guaranteeing his reelection next November.

 

You can't count on Donald Trump to resign the Presidency, the way Nixon did, at the threat of impeachment. That would require a sense of shame, or a concern for the future of the country, or some kind of understanding that he's done something genuinely wrong. Nothing I've ever seen of this President leads me to believe that he possesses any of those traits.

 

If the Democrats really want to be done with Donald Trump--and really, who could blame them?--they need to focus on a candidate and a platform that can unite the Democrats' various warring factions while winning enough support from moderates and disenfranchised Republicans to take back all of those Electoral College votes Trump wasn't projected to win the last time. That isn't likely, but is at least theoretically possible to accomplish. But impeachment is a non-starter as long as McConnell and the GOP run the Senate.

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I must respectfully disagree.  Yes, any impeachment attempt is doomed to fail in the Senate.  But the Democrats need to show their base that they're willing to fight for what's right and not just acquiesce weakly to the GOP.  Nothing will depress Democrat turnout like defeatism. 

 

At least force Moscow Mitch to block the vote, or force the GOP Senators to vote down the removal.  Emboldening Trump's supporters is a non-issue--they're already as emboldened as they will ever be.  If 40% of voters still support Trump in the face of obvious corruption, philandering, obstruction of justice, collusion with enemies of America, and violent child rape, a failed impeachment won't even move the needle.  Instead, the Democrats need to motivate 41% of their voters to show up on Election Day.

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Trump's aggregate approval rating topped 51% last week.

 

That means at least a few of the Hillary voters have switched sides.

 

Trump is going to win 2020 if the Democrats don't put up a solid candidate with more mainstream ideas.

 

Tulsi Gabbard has won me over during her Joe Rogan session and a few interviews.  Sounds way more sane than several of the other choices.

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26 minutes ago, Old Man said:

I must respectfully disagree.  Yes, any impeachment attempt is doomed to fail in the Senate.  But the Democrats need to show their base that they're willing to fight for what's right and not just acquiesce weakly to the GOP.  Nothing will depress Democrat turnout like defeatism. 

 

At least force Moscow Mitch to block the vote, or force the GOP Senators to vote down the removal.  Emboldening Trump's supporters is a non-issue--they're already as emboldened as they will ever be.  If 40% of voters still support Trump in the face of obvious corruption, philandering, obstruction of justice, collusion with enemies of America, and violent child rape, a failed impeachment won't even move the needle.  Instead, the Democrats need to motivate 41% of their voters to show up on Election Day.

 

Those are good points. Thank you for making me feel a little less hopeless about the whole thing.

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27 minutes ago, ScottishFox said:

Trump is going to win 2020 if the Democrats don't put up a solid candidate with more mainstream ideas.

 

 

Problem is no one is interested in doing anything about climate change, and I'm dubious about whether even the 'non-mainstream' people will actually do or accomplish anything.

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2 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

 

Trump is going to win 2020 if the Democrats don't put up a solid candidate with more mainstream ideas.

 

 

Just out of curiosity, what mainstream ideas would you prioritize?

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3 hours ago, TrickstaPriest said:

 

Problem is no one is interested in doing anything about climate change, and I'm dubious about whether even the 'non-mainstream' people will actually do or accomplish anything.

Actually there's a great deal of interest, and at the same time the resistance to it is highly organized and extremely well funded.  

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19 minutes ago, megaplayboy said:

Actually there's a great deal of interest, and at the same time the resistance to it is highly organized and extremely well funded.  

 

And there's tons of people who chalk it up to 'liberal hysteria'.  As if every scientific body on the planet doesn't know better.

 

Seriously.  I want to put together a list of all the jobs and fields of study that have had to actively change and compensate for the global warming and carbon levels we've already had.

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Sean Spicer, former White House spokesperson, has made it through the first two episodes of Dancing with the Stars without being cut.

 

Even more impressive, he isn't the worst of the remaining dancers. Maybe bottom three but definitely not the worst.

 

The funniest part of it, to me at least, is that when they're interviewing him live and stick a microphone in his face, he becomes tongue-tied and has trouble answering the question just like he used to do in his old job.

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