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Congress Unifies... Against Trump

[ Posted Thursday, August 3rd, 2017 – 17:23 PDT ]

President Donald Trump finally got a major piece of legislation to sign. However, he wasn't too thrilled about it and I doubt he'll be bragging much about it in the future. Because while it could be called a rather stunning bipartisan congressional victory, it certainly wasn't any sort of political victory for Trump. Unless you count "unifying Congress... against Trump," which I kind of doubt he would.

The bill was a sanctions bill against Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Originally intended to just be Russian sanctions in response to their meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the other two countries got added in along the way. What was truly stunning about the bill, however, was the vote count: 419-3 in the House, and 98-2 in the Senate. That is not some thin shred of bipartisanship (convincing a handful of the other party to cross the aisle, in other words), that is the real deal. The near-unanimous vote in both chambers sent a very strong message, both to the leaders of the named countries and to America's leader as well.

Trump just signed the bill, but only very reluctantly. It was truly a lose-lose situation for him, because he had the choice of signing a bill that stripped him of some of his executive powers to deal with foreign policy, or vetoing it and seeing his veto immediately overturned by an overwhelming margin. Trump wisely chose to limit the political damage and went the "lose" route rather than the "lose-lose" route. But although this is the first real major legislation he's ever signed as president, there was no camera-ready signing ceremony, since the bill was such a stinging rebuke to him personally.

Congress, with one voice, told Trump in clear terms: "We do not trust you when it comes to Russia and sanctions." There's simply no other way to read it. By stripping the president of the power of deciding when to lift the sanctions, Congress was clearly sending this message, both to the American public and to Vladimir Putin. Putin, amusingly, responded with a tweet stating that Trump had been "humiliated" by his own Congress. It's hard to argue with this, really.

So, over six months in, Trump now has two major accomplishments from Congress. Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court, and Congress agreed that Trump shouldn't be trusted to handle Russia. Not exactly what Team Trump had planned, at this point on the calendar.

There are other signs that bipartisanship may be breaking out on Capitol Hill, although certainly nowhere near as dramatically as the sanctions bill yet. A bipartisan group of 43 House members has already put forth a recommendation for a bill to mend (rather than end) Obamacare, and the Senate also seems interested in hammering out a bipartisan agreement on healthcare as well (Chuck Schumer reportedly has been contacted by at least ten Republican senators interested in working with Democrats to shore up Obamacare for the short term). It's rather remarkable that all of this is happening so soon after the Republican "repeal and replace" effort spectacularly crashed and burned. Democrats have always been open to negotiating in good faith (meaning: absolutely no talk of "repeal" at all) with Republicans over Obamacare, so it's a healthy thing to see Republicans finally feeling free to take them up on the offer. The "repeal Obamacare" fever may have finally broken, in other words, which is a positive sign indeed.

Congress may soon act on another bipartisan issue -- another one where everyone agrees that Trump's powers must be severely curtailed. There was a story in the news today about two separate bills being introduced in the Senate -- both with bipartisan authors -- to strip the power to fire Special Counsel Bob Mueller away from Trump. Both bills are similar, and will eventually probably be merged into one effort. They would mandate that Mueller could only be fired for cause, and that a three-judge panel would have to approve such a firing before it was final. Right now, Trump can order Mueller fired at any time, really. The political blowback would be enormous, and might result in Mueller just switching job titles (to a congressionally-approved Independent Counsel) without interfering one bit in the investigation itself. But if this new bill is approved (by another veto-proof vote, obviously, since Trump isn't going to want to sign this one either), then Trump will no longer have the final say over what exactly constitutes "cause" to be fired. Once again, Congress appears to be uniting in a bipartisan manner... against Trump.

This is all good to see, of course. Congress and the White House have been locked into a power struggle pretty much since our country began, so Congress now stepping up and removing presidential powers is really nothing new, in the historic sense. But in the short term, the political implications are very positive for Democrats (and anyone leery of Trump's ability to make cool and rational decisions, for that matter). Republicans are finally signalling that there are lines that Trump should be blocked from crossing, even pre-emptively. This is more powerful than just the occasional Republican opposing Trump on cable television, in other words. With Trump's poll numbers sinking as he loses support even among his base, Republicans no longer see Trump as quite the political threat as before. Bucking him has become nowhere near as risky as previously thought, to put it another way.

Freed of the threat of political retaliation by Trump, Republicans are now signalling that they're ready to unite with Democrats on issues that are the right thing to do for the country. Foremost among these, so far, is limiting the damage that Donald Trump can do as president. So Trump has indeed achieved unity in Washington -- just not the kind he expected. Because Congress is now acting with increasing degrees of unity... against Trump.

 

Program Note (fair warning):

Next week, new columns will not appear here at CW.com in any kind of regular fashion. I will be attending the Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta, and thus will be too busy to meet my daily deadlines. I have not decided yet what to do for next week -- perhaps run old columns on a regular basis, or perhaps just file reports when I can (sometimes very late at night). I usually don't do "what's going on at Netroots" style columns, since there are so many others doing the same thing out there, but I may want to chime in on the political scene during the trip. In any case, at some point during this weekend, while packing and getting the house-sitter (and cat-sitter) settled in, I will hopefully post another program note to let people know what to expect next week. I'll try not to let the site go totally dark, but at this point don't really know what that'll mean. Just wanted to give regular readers fair warning in advance.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

68 Comments on “Congress Unifies... Against Trump”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Re. Netroots Nation conference

    I hope you do file reports next week as this is the only place I would ever hear about them and you're the only writer I would want to read, you know.

  2. [2] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Next week seems like a perfect time to run a long overdue guest column about One Demand (not the guest column, an article about One Demand is overdue).
    Did you get the column I sent you when you invited us to submit guest columns for consideration and if so do you still have it? All it needs is to substitute One Demand for Voucher Vendetta. I will send it again if you did not receive it, no longer have it or prefer that I update it to make it easier for you.

  3. [3] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Limbaugh, today, identified Trump emphatically as being neither Republican or Democrat. He also said half-jokingly that he was renaming his Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies to something or the other political. WF Buckley is dead, and his movement's political power looks to be waning from Republican congressional reality. Now a Republican -or maybe a libertarian- has re-branded Conscience of a Conservative.

    But this is a movement, much more powerful than what Buckley was able to set loose in the Republican party. A minority, but comprised of citizens opposing the cosmopolitans with steel will. Greenfield's piece on Politico today gives a great point of view of what is implied in the way that Miller deployed that word against Acosta.

  4. [4] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    In [3], the first sentence 2nd para changes to:

    ...set loose using the Republican party.

  5. [5] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    I didn't realize I was so influential. I post one comment yesterday about going after Congress in 2018 and then they unite against Trump to try and boost their polling numbers the very next day!

  6. [6] 
    altohone wrote:

    Leaning Blue
    delayed response to comment 53 in previous column

    "The union of the world's greatest extraction technology with what could prove out to be the greatest extractable reserves in the world"

    Russia has been pursuing the Iran strategy of self sufficiency... sanctions proofing their economy as someone put it.
    They've been developing their own extraction tech including deep sea drilling tech, so they no longer need our help.

    They also implemented a plan to tackle basically everything they used to need to import from the US.

    Meanwhile, Trump's gang announced they will delay action on Chinese dumping of steel and aluminum that is threatening industries vital to national security and has caused 14,000 job losses... in favor of a focus on ANOTHER health care vote and getting tax reform (cuts for the rich) through Congress.

    Not exactly sure why the walking and chewing gum thing is so challenging.

    A

  7. [7] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    If sanctions on Iran destroy Obama's nuclear deal and move us a step closer to war, Trump will be fulfilling a main campaign promise and his favorite wet dream.

    Lose-lose is not exactly accurate.

    I'm also at a loss to understand how sanctions, which have a horrible track record of effectiveness in achieving our stated goals... while causing death and misery to millions of innocents... and which constitute economic warfare that is in line with an ideology that is nothing to be proud of for liberals who claim to value diplomacy... and which harm our economy... is anything to be cheering about.

    When Madeleine Albright was asked about the sanctions on Iraq during the Clinton admin which killed half a million Iraqi children, she replied "It was worth it".

    Do you agree with her?

    Even in the context where those sanctions ended up helping Saddam consolidate power?
    The opposite of what we wanted.

    How about our sanctions allowing N Korea to build more nukes?
    The opposite of what we wanted.

    How about Germany increasing exports to Russia by 20% this year, profiting off the restrictions on US businesses?
    Is that what we want?

    Look.
    I get the anti-Trump thing.
    But resistance shouldn't mean supporting bad policies... or ignoring counter-productive political actions by Dems (the first part of my comment) and the ensuing giddiness of Big Money special interests who are not our friends... not to mention the giddiness of the DiFi and McCain crowd you're so fond of.
    Why are you cheering this on?

    A

  8. [8] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW
    delayed response

    Speaking of resistance, how about that great bipartisanship to confirm Wray to the FBI?

    The guy was a Bush appointee who didn't speak out against torture and human rights violations, has no law enforcement experience, and spent the last decade making millions by working to get big banks sweetheart deals with nobody going to jail for their massive frauds including tax evasion by 22,000 wealthy Americans and money laundering.

    Why did Dems support this guy?

    Don... you want to answer that one?

    A

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    If sanctions on Iran destroy Obama's nuclear deal and move us a step closer to war, Trump will be fulfilling a main campaign promise and his favorite wet dream.

    Yep...

    That's why I have to laugh at the spin over this sanctions legislation..

    President Trump played the Democrats masterfully...

    He has a built-in defense to sling at Democrats when they accuse him of coddling Russia, a defense CREATED for him by Democrats..

    And he will be able to totally decimate Obama's Iran deal and shut it down utterly and completely..

    For President Trump, it's a win-win...

    A shining example of The Art Of The Deal...

    President Trump's master deal-maker reputation is well-deserved...

    But resistance shouldn't mean supporting bad policies... or ignoring counter-productive political actions by Dems (the first part of my comment) and the ensuing giddiness of Big Money special interests who are not our friends... not to mention the giddiness of the DiFi and McCain crowd you're so fond of.
    Why are you cheering this on?

    Simple... Party Uber Alles

    The guy was a Bush appointee who didn't speak out against torture and human rights violations,

    Ya see, people...

    Silence *DOES* give assent.. :D

  10. [10] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Al,

    When Madeleine Albright was asked about the sanctions on Iraq during the Clinton admin which killed half a million Iraqi children, she replied "It was worth it".

    Are "sanctions" code or slang for "bombs"? I don't remember us killing 500,000 children prior to the Iraqi War. Was that because MSM is owned by the evil corporations that profited off of their deaths or something?

    That was snarky, I apologize, but I don't see you being the type that would support countries taking military action against other countries that commit what would be considered "minor offenses" (bad, but not bad enough to declare war against them), but that do need to be encouraged to stop whatever bad thing it is that they are doing. Am I right?

    When countries violate international laws or commit human rights infractions, sanctions are about the only way to encourage them to change their methods. Blaming the countries that sanction one that needs punishment for how their dick-tater responds to being punished makes no sense. What do you believe is the proper response to these countries' misconduct since you obviously belief sanctions are not the way to go?

    Side question: Do you believe "time-out's" are the preferred method of disciplining a child or are you OK with spankings? To be clear, anything that counts as physical abuse is NOT what is meant when I use the term "spanking".

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    LB,

    Limbaugh, today, identified Trump emphatically as being neither Republican or Democrat.

    Something I have been saying since the GOP Primary...

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Right now, Trump can order Mueller fired at any time, really.

    Something else I have been saying for quite a while now..

    Glad to see I have such high level confirmation...

    Now, pardon me while I wash this brown stuff off my nose. :D

    Regardless, the law is simply unconstitutional.. If President Trump decides to fight it, he will win...

    And I can prove to you it's unconstitutional..

    Imagine the US Congress, in light of Obama's pledge to Putin to be more flexible for Putin, passed legislation that said Obama can't do ANYTHING with or about Russia w/o Congressional approval..

    Ya'all would have been howling constitutionality issues to the high heavens.. And, ironically enough, ya'all would have been right. :D

    It's all about the '-D'/'-R' after the name...

    That's the only dynamic in play here...

  13. [13] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote:

    "That's why I have to laugh at the spin over this sanctions legislation..

    President Trump played the Democrats masterfully...

    A shining example of The Art Of The Deal...

    President Trump's master deal-maker reputation is well-deserved..."

    We all know he did NO such thing. You are assigning some masterful Machiavellian strategy on his part where everybody knows that none existed, even including Putin, a Master at the art.

    But hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, right?

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Are "sanctions" code or slang for "bombs"? I don't remember us killing 500,000 children prior to the Iraqi War.

    Allow me to help yer memory out a little, as it appears defective when it comes to Democrats...

    UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 30— As many as 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the Persian Gulf war because of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council, according to two scientists who surveyed the country for the Food and Agriculture Organization.
    nytimes.com/1995/12/01/world/iraq-sanctions-kill-children-un-reports.html

    On the other hand, there are claims that the 500,000 children died claim is a myth...

    THE IRAQ SANCTIONS MYTH

    Sanctions allegedly killed hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq and provided a rationale for invasion, a line still heard today. But those deaths almost certainly never happened.
    psmag.com/news/the-iraq-sanctions-myth-56433

    I report... You decide.. :D

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    JM,

    We all know he did NO such thing.

    No, ya'all like to THINK he did no such thing because it goes against your hysterical Anti-Trump attitude..

    You are assigning some masterful Machiavellian strategy on his part where everybody knows that none existed, even including Putin, a Master at the art.

    EXACTLY like ya'all did with Obama.. :D

    Like I said.. I don't make the rules. Ya'all do..

    I simply decimate your arguments, using your rules.. :D

    Regardless, the facts are clear.. President Trump got everything he wanted in the Iran sanctions.. The JCPOA is history...

    If he had to give the Democrats a little saving-face on the Russia thing...???

    Well, that is what DEAL making is all about.. Making your opponent think THEY got something of value...

    "Look, you don't know the business like I do. I don't have any money, so I have to give the actors something else."
    "Bigger trailers?"
    "I can't afford that, either. No, I have to give them something that costs me nothing, but no actor can refuse.
    "And what's that?"
    "A good ego stroking."

    -STARGATE SG-1, 200

    :D

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    "I can't afford that, either. No, I have to give them something that costs me nothing, but no actor can refuse.
    "And what's that?"
    "A good ego stroking."

    Apparently, it works for Democrats too.. :D

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Trump....

    Toyota, Mazda to build $1.6B, 4,000-job U.S. automotive assembly plant
    http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/2017/08/03/toyota-mazda-us-plant/538744001/

    Making America JOBS Again

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Next week, new columns will not appear here at CW.com in any kind of regular fashion. I will be attending the Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta, and thus will be too busy to meet my daily deadlines.

    Fancy a 3 hour drive south to meet up for lunch, CW??? :D

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Trump...

    US trade deficit narrowed to $43.6 billion in June

    The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in June as exports hit the highest level in 2 Years
    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/us-trade-deficit-narrowed-436-billion-june-49031342

    Making America Awesome Again :D

  20. [20] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    President Trump got everything he wanted in the Iran sanctions.. The JCPOA is history.

    Not so fast there, Cisco. The US was just one of eight participants in the JCPOA. Iran's been busy making deals with the Europeans, and shoring up an economy that took a pretty severe hit while the sanctions were in place.

    There's even money right now that Iran won't use this as an excuse to end the JCPOA, so that they can continue to reap the benefits of their new trading status. After all, they weren't depending on a lot of US trade anyway. Moreover, one of the other signatories to that deal was Russia, who will happily step in to fill the void left by the US.

    What this could do is further isolate the US from having a role in the future of the Middle East. While Obama had the US positioned firmly in the middle - favoring neither the Shia or Sunni sides to the extent that we could - Trump (first), and now Republicans in Congress, have tilted us in favor of the outrageously undemocratic Saudis.

    This must surely bemuse the Iranians, who, while still a repressive theocracy, have also just elected a moderate to lead their country.

    The next step could be something that the Iranians have so far been reluctant to do: sign a defense pact with Russia. This would extend Russia's influence across that northern 'Shia crescent', which could soon include Iraq as well. Given recent events, Qatar could jump as well.

    In other words, if Russia's goal was to isolate the US and extend their own influence in the Middle East, they're right on track, and they're being helped mightily by the ineptitude and short-sightedness of the GOP and Trump administration.

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Maybe you think it's a great idea to jump into bed with the world's NUMBER ONE State for terrorism..

    But patriotic Americans are not...

    Ya'all go on and on about Putin and Russia and how evil they are..

    Yet Iran makes Russia look like a virgin saint..

    Yet you see NO problem giving Iran a reach-around..

    Why???

    Because Party loyalty demands it...

  22. [22] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [21] Oh, I have no illusions about the nightmare that's unfolded for the last 100 years or so in Tehran. One problem there is that the religiously conservative rural folk outnumber the more cosmopolitan, more sectarian folk in the cities. They're the backbone of the religious nationalist state, and the military that supports it. Ironically, our sanctions tend to exacerbate that dynamic. That's not new: we've been making things worse for ourselves in Iran for a long time.

    During the period preceding the JPOA, Obama was playing a close psychological game with Tehran. On the one hand, he didn't discourage Iran from openly aiding Baghdad against Isis, on the other hand, neither would he lift the crippling sanctions regime that had been placed on them, without an agreement for nuclear stand-down. Obama knew something about this sort of negotiation, having learned much about nuclear arms reduction while still a Senator.

    One of the most important parts of that agreement was that it was an international effort. It wasn't an agreement between just us and the Iranians, it was the "P5+1" (the US, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union). That was deliberate: because the sanctions relief that accompanied the JPOA was spread across so many countries, the penalty to Iran for pulling out of the agreement was worse than the perceived benefit of staying in.

    Compared to the force of the pre-JPOA sanctions regime, which included all of those countries, the sanctions imposed by the bill Trump was forced to sign are more of an annoyance to the Iranians, than a flat deal-breaker, in other words.

    So nobody's jumping "into bed with the world's NUMBER ONE State for terrorism..", unless Trump had a dalliance while visiting the Saudis.

  23. [23] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Fact check for [20]: The agreement was the JPOA, (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) not the JCPOA, as erroneously stated in my post. And the participants were the countries I named in [22], not merely eight.

  24. [24] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Wait a minute: it IS the JCPOA. Brain fart.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    So nobody's jumping "into bed with the world's NUMBER ONE State for terrorism..", unless Trump had a dalliance while visiting the Saudis.

    Saudi Arabia is not the Number One State for Terrorism..

    Once again, we see that your so-called "FACTS" are dictated by Party zealotry and have nothing to do with reality..

  26. [26] 
    Paula wrote:

    So the big fat idiot Rush Limbaugh says Blotus isn't a Republican.

    WONDERFUL!! Spread that message everywhere! Lets help them break their party in half! Isolate the deplorables and send them to Russia!

    Blotus doesn't lead the GOP he leads the Deplorable Party! GOP was just stupid, greedy and wicked enough to sign on to him. I LOVE that message!

  27. [27] 
    Paula wrote:

    Meanwhile, the Repub-turned Dem-turning-back-to-Repub Gov in West Virginia has some Russian trouble of his own. Looks like some money laundering there, with his coal mine sales to a Russian company: https://t.co/LxU7J8loqr

    He certainly has returned to where he belongs. He's a liar and a money-launderer -- GOP all the way. OR Deplorable. Maybe he needs to move on from the GOP to the Deplorables. He seems horrible enough to fit right in.

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    I know, I know.. I told Liz that I would take it easy on ya'all..

    But my gods.. It's like yer BEGGING me to intellectually bitch-slap ya!!!

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Blotus doesn't lead the GOP he leads the Deplorable Party! GOP was just stupid, greedy and wicked enough to sign on to him. I LOVE that message!

    Yes, by all means.. Insult Trump supporters..

    It worked SO WELL for Dumbocrats in 2016... :^/

    Meanwhile, the Repub-turned Dem-turning-back-to-Repub Gov in West Virginia has some Russian trouble of his own. Looks like some money laundering there, with his coal mine sales to a Russian company: https://t.co/LxU7J8loqr

    Joe McCarthy!!??? Is that you!!!!?????

  30. [30] 
    TheStig wrote:

    So Mueller has crossed Trump's (thin) Red Line.
    That it has come to this should be no surprise, Trump's many fatal flaws have been common knowledge to New Yorkers for decades. Pity nobody in the Republican Establishment bothered to inquire.

    Trump is a chronic liar, fableist, cheat, bully, misogynist, and philander with no prior political experience. He doesn't even own Trump Tower, he justs rents his name and collects a royalty.

    To hang with Trump is to know betrayal. Even the dying Roy Cohn got the shiv. "Trump pisses ice water." Trump has a name for his followers. "Rube."

    Let Trump's long journey through an ass kicking begin! It's LONG overdue.

    Hans Zimmer, screen score master, thoughtfully provided a melancholy sound track for what is about to go down: Journey to The Line

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqlza_17uB8

    Warning! Minimalism.

  31. [31] 
    Paula wrote:

    Blotus doesn't want Secret Service inside Trump Tower. They're in a "dispute" over rent and usage.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/secret-service-vacates-trump-tower-command-post-in-lease-dispute-with-presidents-company/2017/08/03/7338de16-785d-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.66c873f40691

    I think DT wants to protect all the Russian criminals who live there. But that's just a theory.

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    He certainly has returned to where he belongs. He's a liar and a money-launderer -- GOP all the way.

    And yet... Ya'all LOVED him when he had a -D after his name..

    Yea... NO hypocrisy there... :^/

  33. [33] 
    Paula wrote:

    [30] Let Trump's long journey through an ass kicking begin! It's LONG overdue.

    Seconded!

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think DT wants to protect all the Russian criminals who live there. But that's just a theory.

    Do you have ANY facts to back up your bigoted theory??

    If you can't back up your claims with facts, you're a lying troll

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump is a chronic liar, fableist, cheat, bully, misogynist, and philander with no prior political experience.

    And yet, he kicked NOT-45's ass and DEVASTATED her in a free, fair and legal election..

    That doesn't say much for NOT-45 now does it!? :D

  36. [36] 
    Paula wrote:

    Upcoming cover of Newsweek has Blotus sitting in a recliner, his hands stuffed with food and the headline: LAZY BOY. https://mobile.twitter.com/THR/status/893289716661063681/photo/1

    Perfect.

  37. [37] 
    Paula wrote:

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/4/16069926/immigrants-trump-america

    6 immigrants talk about the anxiety of living in Trump’s America

    Blotus is a despicable shit and his followers wallow in it. Curses on all of them.

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    6 immigrants talk about the anxiety of living in Trump’s America

    Here's a thought.. If they don't want to be anxious...

    "QUIT BREAKING THE LAWS, ASSHOLE!!!!"
    -Jim Carrey, LIAR LIAR

    :D

    Funny how you go on and on about the Right and their alleged criminal activity..

    But ya don't give a rat's ass about illegals that kill and rape and attack innocent Americans..

    Who'se side are you on!???

  39. [39] 
    Paula wrote:
  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    Blotus is a despicable shit and his followers wallow in it. Curses on all of them.

    And yet..... Democrats CAN'T win without Trump voters

    And Trump voters WERE Odumbo voters..

    But when they were Odumbo voters, they were perfectly acceptable to you...

    Once again, the hypocrisy is glaringly obvious...

  41. [41] 
    altohone wrote:

    9

    My comment had nothing to do with the Russia portion of the sanctions.

    If there was any logic in your comment, it is not apparent.

    A

  42. [42] 
    Paula wrote:

    Wow, now I got to see a close-up of the Blotus Lazy Boy cover of Newsweek: the subhead says: "D….d T….P is Bored and Tired. Imagine how bad he'd feel if he did any work."

    Love it!

  43. [43] 
    Paula wrote:

    Happy Birthday to Barack Obama, our last real President.

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Happy Birthday to Barack Obama, our last real President.

    Ironic how that last "real" president was totally and unconditionally REJECTED by tens of millions of patriotic Americans.. :D

  45. [45] 
    Paula wrote:

    This is a good one! http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/trumps-fledgling-presidency-has-already-collapsed.html

    During his very brief tenure as communications director, Anthony Scaramucci blurted out something very telling: “There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president.” The conviction that Trump is dangerously unfit to hold office is indeed shared widely within his own administration. Leaked accounts consistently depict the president as unable to read briefing materials written at an adult level, easily angered, prone to manipulation through flattery, subject to change his mind frequently to agree with whomever he spoke with last, and consumed with the superficiality of cable television. In the early days of the administration, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and then–Homeland Security Director John Kelly secretly agreed that one of the two should remain in the country at all times “to keep tabs on the orders rapidly emerging from the White House,” the Associated Press reported recently.

  46. [46] 
    altohone wrote:

    Listen
    10

    Madeleine Albright believes we killed 500,000 Iraqi children with our sanctions program, and said it was worth it.

    The clip is available on YouTube.

    So, no, I'm not referring to bombs.
    It's very sad how poorly our corporate media informs our citizens, and/or how effective their misinformation remains.
    Even when they do cover such issues, it isn't in a manner that reaches a majority.

    Alternative media outlets serve a vital role, and I hope you find one that is acceptable to you some day. The few tidbits I share here are just scratching the surface of a much wider world of readily available, accurate information.

    "I don't see you being the type that would support countries taking military action against other countries that commit what would be considered "minor offenses" (bad, but not bad enough to declare war against them), but that do need to be encouraged to stop whatever bad thing it is that they are doing. Am I right?"

    No, I'm not such a type.
    But you presenting it as a false choice between two options is unfortunately typical.
    Diplomacy is a third option.
    So, no, you're not right.

    "When countries violate international laws or commit human rights infractions, sanctions are about the only way to encourage them to change their methods."

    Nobody's tried it on us, but I doubt it would work to get us to change our policies either.
    As for other countries, the track record is clear... sanctions are ineffective and affect the wrong people.

    "What do you believe is the proper response to these countries' misconduct since you obviously belief sanctions are not the way to go?"

    Diplomacy... preferably multilateral.
    Referring those responsible to the International Criminal Court (and supporting their efforts with funding and expertise, and particularly by not committing such crimes ourselves) would be the next step.
    Our constant do as we say, not as we do double standard is a leading enabler for other world leaders and groups to both commit and get away with war crimes and human rights violations.

    "Do you believe "time-out's" are the preferred method of disciplining a child or are you OK with spankings? To be clear, anything that counts as physical abuse is NOT what is meant when I use the term "spanking"."

    The most successful training method for all animals is positive reinforcement.
    Making your displeasure clear by tone for animals old enough to have learned it is a good addition.
    For animals not there yet, a mild exclamation (ah!, ooh!, eek!) to get their attention, followed by gentle redirection is the way to go.
    Violence of all kinds creates problems.

    A

  47. [47] 
    altohone wrote:

    Balthy
    20

    "There's even money right now that Iran won't use this as an excuse to end the JCPOA"

    I'd say it's better than even money Iran will not be the one to end the deal, and yet highly likely that Trump will create an excuse to do exactly that, without regard to the other countries involved and the consequences.

    The question is, what will Dems do?
    They supported the sanctions, will they support Trump if he trots out his previewed excuses (terror, Hezbollah, missiles) to end the deal?

    Just for context, ask those screaming terror to name a terrorist attack on the US since 9/11 attributed to Iran, and they sputter madly because there aren't any.
    Ask about Hezbollah being an elected part of the coalition government in Lebanon, and they sputter madly because the will of the people there must be ignored.
    Ask any expert about missiles, and they will admit Iran has a legal right to develop and test the technology and launch satellites into space.

    22

    "I have no illusions about the nightmare that's unfolded for the last 100 years or so in Tehran"

    100 years?

    "That's not new: we've been making things worse for ourselves in Iran for a long time.""

    Yup.

    But sanctions are hardly the main problem.
    Instigating the coup of their democratically elected, western oriented leader in 1953 and installing a brutal dictator, illegally shooting down a civilian jet, covert direct actions, and funding terrorists to attack Iran on our behalf all deserve to be mentioned.

    A

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    Republican donor from Virginia Beach sues GOP, accusing the party of fraud over failed Obamacare repeal
    https://pilotonline.com/news/government/politics/virginia/republican-donor-from-virginia-beach-sues-gop-accusing-the-party/article_f7e5e7ec-f6ad-5d09-90d5-29774701b0c2.html

    Nice... Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of scumbags....

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    illegally shooting down a civilian jet
    and funding terrorists to attack Iran on our behalf all deserve to be mentioned

    They would deserve to be mentioned..

    If they actually happened...

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    Altohone...

    The most successful training method for all animals is positive reinforcement.
    Making your displeasure clear by tone for animals old enough to have learned it is a good addition.
    For animals not there yet, a mild exclamation (ah!, ooh!, eek!) to get their attention, followed by gentle redirection is the way to go.
    Violence of all kinds creates problems.

    Just off the top of my head.....

    I am guessing you don't have kids.. :D

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Maxine Waters Says Putin, Er, Pence Needs to Be Impeached After Trump
    The Democratic congresswoman has moved on from calling for Donald Trump’s impeachment to now calling for Mike Pence’s impeachment

    http://ntknetwork.com/maxine-waters-says-putin-er-pence-needs-to-be-impeached-after-trump/

    Yer Democrat leadership, ladies and gentlemen...

    No wonder they can't win elections.... :^/

    I'm just sayin'....

  52. [52] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Sanctions did not kill a single person! Not a single death certificate stated "Sanctions" as the cause of death, I guarantee. How Sadaam reacted to sanctions might have caused the deaths, but the sanctions, themselves, did not. If Iraq had wanted to save those children, they had it within their power to do so. That's why blaming our government for their deaths is a dishonest argument. I am not saying that the sanctions did not lead to the deaths of 500,000 children, but that was the choice of their government!

    When you can show me a dictator that looks less like a possible contestant on the Biggest Loser and more like a Holocuast victim, then I might be more willing to accept that our sanctions are actually responsible for killing people.

    No, I'm not such a type.
    But you presenting it as a false choice between two options is unfortunately typical.
    Diplomacy is a third option.
    So, no, you're not right.

    Actually, the question posed to you asked simply if you were the type to support military action in the situation described. No other options were offered -- not sanctions, not diplomacy, only military action. You either do or do not support military action. I said I did not believe you supported military action; so I was correct.

    You have a tendency of reading far more into questions on here than what is actually being asked. It allows you to tell others that they are wrong.

    Diplomacy is the best solution to getting countries to change, I agree, but it is a long term option and does nothing to address immediate problems that arise. As for sanctions not working, Iran is a great example of how sanctions do work as sanctions were the foundation for the diplomacy to be able to succeed. It was their desire for the removal of sanctions placed on them by the UN that motivated the Iranians to seek a diplomatic solution.

    No one has tried sanctioning the U.S.? What do you think Russia was doing when it discontinued allowing the adoptions of Russian children by U.S. families or when they just recently dropped the number of U.S. diplomatic staff allowed in Russia? Those are sanctions in response to sanctions we placed on them. We don't like to refer to them as "sanctions" because it implies that we did something wrong, but sanctions they are!

    Referring those responsible to the International Criminal Court (and supporting their efforts with funding and expertise, and particularly by not committing such crimes ourselves) would be the next step.
    Our constant do as we say, not as we do double standard is a leading enabler for other world leaders and groups to both commit and get away with war crimes and human rights violations.

    I agree that we should live up to the standards that we demand of others. But referring those responsible to the International Criminal Court requires the offending country to be a member of the agreement that gives the court its power for the court's findings to have any teeth. It may be a long term solution, but it does nothing as an immediate response.

    And FYI, Alternet, New Republic, and Daily KOS are three sites that I frequent daily.

  53. [53] 
    Paula wrote:

    Boy, a good day for articles. Here's another gem:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/australias-pm-slowly-realizes-trump-is-a-complete-idiot.html

    The transcript of Blotus talking to the Australian PM and coming to the realization that Blotus literally is a moron (or demented).

  54. [54] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Al,

    [52] is my response to [46].

    The most successful training method for all animals is positive reinforcement.
    Making your displeasure clear by tone for animals old enough to have learned it is a good addition.
    For animals not there yet, a mild exclamation (ah!, ooh!, eek!) to get their attention, followed by gentle redirection is the way to go.
    Violence of all kinds creates problems.

    You are assuming that the "animal" is concerned with our displeasure. Dogs may want to please their masters, but little Timmy doesn't give a crap about what anyone else wants if he isn't getting his way. There are no actual consequences in the method you are suggesting. For young animals, pleasing the alpha is not motivation enough to prevent them from engaging in activities that could harm them.

    I think that time outs are fine for minor disciplinary problems, but spankings are necessary when the child needs to understand the seriousness of the consequences that their actions could have had. Our ability to fear is hardwired into our bodies for a reason -- it keeps us alive.

    A spanking literally terrifies a child -- the person who has always shown them love and care is suddenly making them afraid and is physically causing them to hurt. That is why you have to make it clear to them why they are being spanked. It isn't the pain caused by spankings that make it an effective way to discipline "young animals", it is the fear of the spanking.

    The "time out" is also more attractive to parents because it is easier on them. Spanking a child horrifies the child, and it isn't the wish of any parent to see their child their child terrified by their actions. It is painful, which is why the line "this hurts me more than it hurts you" generally won't be fully understood by the child until they are parents, themselves.

    I have no doubt that it is the "time out" culture that has led to people being horrified when the police have to physically compel someone resisting arrest to comply. Look at the response to the Eric Garner video. There is nothing in that video that came even close to being "excessive force" by the police, much less "police brutality".

    The officers serving the arrest warrant to Garner brought more than a dozen officers with them after Garner had refused to comply with their attempt to arrest him the day before. The large number of officers served two purposes: 1) To hopefully convince Garner that he would not be able to resist without being physically forced to comply. 2) If Garner still chose to resist, the police would have enough personnel to be able to physically compel compliance as safely as possible for all involved.

    Garner chose to resist. He asked his buddy to record the video and he put on a performance (notice he keeps looking to the camera throughout the struggle). Sadly, he was too good of an actor and his body went into respiratory arrest. The public was horrified that the police had used physical force against Garner. A court had issued an arrest warrant for Garner. The officers were required by law to enforce it. Garner refused on multiple occasions to comply with the police's order to place his hands behind his back -- even when he knew it would result in a dozen police physically forcing him to comply. Consequences exist. And those that believe a "time out" is the worse they will face for disobedience are not prepared for the real world.

  55. [55] 
    altohone wrote:

    49

    Yes, all of that is historical fact.

    A

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yes, all of that is historical fact.

    Then you won't have any problem citing those facts, eh?? :D

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yes, all of that is historical fact.

    Then you won't have any problem citing those facts, eh?? :D

    Don't get me wrong.. If it were just me personally, I would let ya slide on hysterical hyperbole once or twice..

    But the rules are the rules..

    And the rule around here clearly states that if ya make a claim and you can't back it up with FACTS, then the claim is rendered invalid not factual....

    So, let's see your facts that prove that the US illegal shot down a civilian airliner and that the US funded terrorists to attack Iran...

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russ,

    Garner chose to resist. He asked his buddy to record the video and he put on a performance (notice he keeps looking to the camera throughout the struggle). Sadly, he was too good of an actor and his body went into respiratory arrest. The public was horrified that the police had used physical force against Garner. A court had issued an arrest warrant for Garner. The officers were required by law to enforce it. Garner refused on multiple occasions to comply with the police's order to place his hands behind his back -- even when he knew it would result in a dozen police physically forcing him to comply. Consequences exist. And those that believe a "time out" is the worse they will face for disobedience are not prepared for the real world.

    Word.....

    :D

  59. [59] 
    altohone wrote:

    Listen
    52

    "Sanctions did not kill a single person!"

    I love that river in Egypt.

    "That's why blaming our government for their deaths is a dishonest argument."

    Bull.
    Cause and effect is a law of the universe.

    "When you can show me a dictator that looks less like a possible contestant on the Biggest Loser and more like a Holocuast victim, then I might be more willing to accept that our sanctions are actually responsible for killing people."

    When we support such a dictator, give them chemical weapons, and ignore or even cheer on their killing when it serves our interests, the entire premise of your "argument" crumbles.
    Who is the biggest loser?
    Who are the victims?

    "You have a tendency of reading far more into questions on here than what is actually being asked."

    Yes, I should learn to ignore the context of the discussion and pretend sentences stand alone in a vacuum.

    In general, I should also learn to forget what people have said in the past, pretend that everyone is crystal clear despite vague language making different interpretations possible, ignore facts and history, and accept that assumptions are wrong despite the evidence...
    ... but other than attempting to jump on that bandwagon, that has nothing to do with you or our current discussion, it's just a recurring theme among some who seek to avoid admitting fault or being wrong, an easy way to end discussions that aren't going as they hoped, and a way to claim superiority.

    "Diplomacy is the best solution to getting countries to change, I agree, but it is a long term option and does nothing to address immediate problems that arise."

    Sanctions address immediate problems?
    I'm sure you have examples to offer then.

    Diplomacy never yields immediate results?
    Please tell me you're just in an argumentative mood and are not unaware of numerous examples that show the opposite is actually true.

    See.
    You didn't say either of those things, but both are most assuredly implied by what you did say.

    "Iran is a great example of how sanctions do work as sanctions were the foundation for the diplomacy to be able to succeed."

    That is exactly what our neoliberal establishment wants you to think. It's a myth that happens to excuse their failures and brutality.

    Diplomacy with Iran was an option from the beginning, and all the evidence suggests it could have achieved the same result years earlier.
    Again, the context and history are relevant.
    Iran's actions occurred as a result of our own.
    You can claim Iran's motivations were based on the sanctions, but it ignores what their motivations were prior to the sanctions or would have been without sanctions. There is no evidence that sanctions were necessary to achieve our goals.

    "No one has tried sanctioning the U.S.? What do you think Russia was doing when it discontinued allowing the adoptions of Russian children by U.S. families or when they just recently dropped the number of U.S. diplomatic staff allowed in Russia? Those are sanctions in response to sanctions we placed on them."

    Neither of those are sanctions.
    Access to the population of another country for adoption and diplomatic access are privileges that can be revoked at will. Sanctions are the revocation of rights previously granted.

    "I agree that we should live up to the standards that we demand of others. But referring those responsible to the International Criminal Court requires the offending country to be a member of the agreement that gives the court its power for the court's findings to have any teeth."

    The US is not a participant in the ICC... so I have to laugh at that "the bad guys won't participate" bit.

    54

    "You are assuming that the "animal" is concerned with our displeasure. Dogs may want to please their masters, but little Timmy doesn't give a crap about what anyone else wants if he isn't getting his way. There are no actual consequences in the method you are suggesting."

    Positive reinforcement training does not assume any such thing. It's about their pleasure, not our displeasure. The absence of the reward is the consequence.

    The additional methods can be effective though, and dogs and children are not different in that regard.
    It doesn't always work, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. And it tends to get progressively more effective with use.

    Using fear as a training tactic in animals including humans is hardly uncommon, but I don't support it. Your whole rationalization for it is depressing to me.
    And the scientific evidence suggests there are better approaches and negative consequences.

    And, nowhere did I say I support time outs either.

    That said, your rant about police brutality is both devoid of evidence and reminiscent of the wrong side of the culture wars.
    One part scapegoating, one part excusing the inexcusable.

    A

  60. [60] 
    altohone wrote:

    57

    Are you claiming that the US shooting down the civilian Iranian jet was legal, or are you unaware that it happened?

    Heard of the MEK? Are you unaware of US support for them? Or unaware of their attacks inside Iran?

    I expect common knowledge to be commonly known.

    A

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    Are you claiming that the US shooting down the civilian Iranian jet was legal, or are you unaware that it happened?

    How should I know since you haven't provided any facts to support your claim...

    Heard of the MEK? Are you unaware of US support for them? Or unaware of their attacks inside Iran?

    It's not up to me to go searching and researching your claims..

    You made the claim.. You back it up.. If you don't (or can't) then the claim is not factually valid...

    Like I said.. I'se don't makes the rules...

    I expect common knowledge to be commonly known.

    Yea??

    Who was the first TOS Star Trek actor to play all three of the major TOS aliens, Klingon, Romulan and Vulcan???

    That's common knowledge.. I expect it to be commonly known...

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    Altohone,

    Allow me to help you out of the hole you dug yerself by engaging in hysterical Anti-US hyperbolic hate-mongering..

    The "illegal" shootdown you are touting is likely the incident where the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian Airliner. The airliner was operating in a posted warzone and a NOTICE TO AIRMEN had been issued for the area.. The USS Vincennes had attempted 10 different times to make contact with the radar bogey and warn it out of the area. These attempts were on Iranian Air Channels, international channels and GUARD channels.. The aircrew aboard the airliner ignored all attempts at communication...

    The Captain of the Vincennes did his duty when he downed the airliner..

    While it was an unfortunate accident, it was NOT "illegal" as the term denotes or, in this case, implies intent...

    As to the MEK, I am not going to waste my time with research.. That is your job, not mine. The Vincennes incident was from memory and no research was required..

    However, given yer penchant for hysterical hyperbole, it's likely that this MEK group has received funds from various US sources. Is it a terrorist group?? You tell me.. But, considering your definition of terrorism is likely based on your whatever your agenda is at any given moment, it's unlikely that it is an actual terrorist group. Even if it WERE a terrorist group, your leap that it had performed terrorism against Iran at the behest, prodding and/or urging of the US is likely completely a figment of your imagination brought about by your hatred of the US and your admiration for the Number One state sponsor of terrorism..

    But hay... I am open to being proven wrong..

    Just bring some facts to the table... :D

  63. [63] 
    altohone wrote:

    62

    Your claim of an "accident" doesn't jibe with the concept of legal action. That's an inherent contradiction.

    And yes, the MEK was on the list of terrorist groups you rely on for your pathetically narrow definition of terrorism.

    A

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    Your claim of an "accident" doesn't jibe with the concept of legal action.

    But it is what the facts prove happened..

    And yes, the MEK was on the list of terrorist groups you rely on for your pathetically narrow definition of terrorism.

    My "narrow" definition is derived from 2+ decades in the field..

    What's your definition and what does it derive from, other than Party expediency??

    I asked you to bring FACTS..

    Do you have any??

  65. [65] 
    altohone wrote:

    64

    It was officially called an accident for a reason.
    If it was legal to shoot down civilian planes, that wouldn't have been necessary.

    BTW, I think accidentally killing a planeload of innocents is third on the list of duties... right after defending the Constitution and respecting the chain of command.
    You could say he accidentally violated his duty though.

    You're changing the subject about the MEK.
    We supported them when they were on the State Dept list of terror groups and thus within your own definition.

    And, again, I'm not in a party.

    A

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    We supported them when they were on the State Dept list of terror groups and thus within your own definition.

    Many organizations were on the State Dept list of terror groups...

    Yet you support them...

  67. [67] 
    altohone wrote:

    66

    Whataboutery.
    Of course.
    You are nothing if not predictable when cornered.

    A

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    Whataboutery.
    Of course.
    You are nothing if not predictable when cornered.

    Typical dodge...

    You are nothing if not predictable when you intellectually get yer ass kicked. :D

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