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Pol Lounge General News Thread of "This doesn't deserve it's own thread" (Page 58)
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subego
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May 11, 2021, 05:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Trump was never an actual populist, though. He leveraged populist rhetoric to rake in donations, votes, and adoration, but that's as far as his involvement with the concept went. Bernie's the real deal. With Trump, it's just a tool for the grift.
I’d disagree. There’s no question he’s a grifter, but he went beyond just talking the talk with the examples I gave above.



Which goddammit, are on the previous page now.
     
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May 11, 2021, 06:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Because the definition of Trump supporter varies so widely from individual to individual. How I self-identify based on my own idiosyncratic notions of what constitutes a Trump supporter is a worthless piece of information.
You seemed somewhat ambiguous in your previous post, so I thought it’d be better to ask. Since you voted for Trump in 2020*, I’d call you a Trump voter.

* I re-read your post, and noticed you could also read it differently, namely that in 2020 you merely considered voting for Trump but ultimately didn’t.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
In 2016 I never considered voting for Trump. In 2020 I did. Does that make me a Trump supporter? If that fits someone’s definition, me saying “no I’m not” won’t get the discussion anywhere.
Do you feel that way because of the baggage that comes with being called a Trump supporter? That people lump you in with the 70 % of Republicans who apparently still believe the last presidential election (and only that) was stolen from them? (I don’t mean to be aggressive, just asking.)
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Trump lacks conviction, but there was substance to his working class policy.
What legislation has Trump championed that was then passed by Congress?
I can only think of one major legislative achievement, the big tax cut, which primarily benefitted wealthy people. The other major piece of legislation, health care “reform”, failed in the Senate. The only other achievement was the appointment of many federal judges, although that has little to do with working class people. Am I missing something?
Originally Posted by subego View Post
No more sending Joe Sixpack and his friends and family to die in the Middle East.
In your mind, what has Trump done concretely?
I cannot remember any coherent policy. He withdrew support from the Kurds, yes, although that didn’t seem carefully considered by anyone. On the other hand, Trump ordered more drone strikes in 2 years than Obama in 8. And it President Biden who has announced American troops will withdraw from Afghanistan. What achievements am I missing?
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subego
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May 11, 2021, 07:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You seemed somewhat ambiguous in your previous post, so I thought it’d be better to ask. Since you voted for Trump in 2020*, I’d call you a Trump voter.

* I re-read your post, and noticed you could also read it differently, namely that in 2020 you merely considered voting for Trump but ultimately didn’t.
I totally apologize! I realized too late I didn’t answer your question.

I voted for JoJo, but Illinois isn’t a swing state.

There’s a person very close to me who I would have betrayed by voting for Trump, so if I lived in a swing state I would have voted for Biden, solely due to this one person. I’ve made bad votes for worse reasons.

I never got too far past this step in the analysis, so I can’t accurately answer the question of how I would have voted if I lived in a swing state and was unconcerned about betrayal. The probability I’d have voted for Trump is low, but it’s non-zero, unlike in 2016. Also, there’s a decent probability I would have voted for JoJo, which can be considered de facto support of Trump.

This is part of what I meant by 2020 being complicated.
     
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May 11, 2021, 07:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I voted for JoJo, but Illinois isn’t a swing state. […] The probability I’d have voted for Trump is low, but it’s non-zero, unlike in 2016. Also, there’s a decent probability I would have voted for JoJo, which can be considered de facto support of Trump.
Why didn’t you open your discussion with that?
I don’t think voting for the Libertarian ticket should be considered supporting Trump, and I reckon few people would — especially in the last election. And your electoral calculus makes sense, in a swing state the calculus is different. Then it depends on who you’d rather not have in the White House.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
There’s a person very close to me who I would have betrayed by voting for Trump, so if I lived in a swing state I would have voted for Biden, solely due to this one person. I’ve made bad votes for worse reasons.
Votes, in my opinion, are not contingent on reasons, a vote is a vote.

PS That person must be really special.
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subego
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May 11, 2021, 07:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don’t think voting for the Libertarian ticket should be considered supporting Trump, and I reckon few people would — especially in the last election.
Oh... lots of people would.

The calculus for a Biden supporter (or anti-Trumper) is “any vote in a swing state not for Biden is a vote for Trump”, and they’re not wrong.



And, yes! Ultra close and important!
     
subego
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May 11, 2021, 08:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Do you feel that way because of the baggage that comes with being called a Trump supporter? That people lump you in with the 70 % of Republicans who apparently still believe the last presidential election (and only that) was stolen from them? (I don’t mean to be aggressive, just asking.)
If I understand correctly I feel the opposite.

If my opinions and actions fit someone’s good faith definition of Trump supporter (and all the baggage that entails), tough shit for me if I don’t like it. I wouldn’t be able to change their definition even if I wanted to, and I’ve stopped wanting to because I honestly believe they’re entitled to it.

The same goes for whether I’m racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, or whatever. To some I’m all these things, to others I’m none of them.
     
subego
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May 11, 2021, 09:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
What legislation has Trump championed that was then passed by Congress?
Illegal immigration is already illegal, no legislation needed. The substance of Trump’s policy was to put in people at ICE and Justice who were interested in pursuing extant legislation.

That said, he can be categorically faulted for failing to build his wall.

While the legislature is ostensibly involved with us going to war, it’s really more a function of the Commander in Chief and the State Department. He didn’t get us into a new war. Remember, the initial question was whether Hillary would get us into a war, which is a different proposition from whether Biden will. Not to put too fine a point on it, Hillary’s a hawk, and the Middle East got really messy when she was at State.
     
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May 11, 2021, 07:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The calculus for a Biden supporter (or anti-Trumper) is “any vote in a swing state not for Biden is a vote for Trump”, and they’re not wrong.
I’d say that depends on what your stance on third parties is in the US electoral system. Personally, I like having more parties and if I could craft the US political system in my image, I’d abolish first-pass-the-post and switch to proportional representation. A lot of the polarization could be ameliorated by having more urban Republicans and more rural Democrats — as well as smaller parties that inject new ideas. But personally I know that within the current system as it is now third parties are useless.

So to me it is a question of what you want to do about: I’d vote third party if part of their platform were electoral reform. If not, no bueno.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
If my opinions and actions fit someone’s good faith definition of Trump supporter (and all the baggage that entails), tough shit for me if I don’t like it. I wouldn’t be able to change their definition even if I wanted to, and I’ve stopped wanting to because I honestly believe they’re entitled to it.
Sure, but in this case that someone is me and I know you better than some person on TV. So I prefer to talk to you and
Personally, I’d say you support some of Trump’s policies rather than being a Trump supporter. And I’d criticize some of your policy stances if need be.

The bar for being a Trump supporter is different. If you had a facsimile of Trump on your van, wore Maga hats all the time and went to x number of Trump campaign events, calling you a Trump supporter is fair.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The same goes for whether I’m racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, or whatever. To some I’m all these things, to others I’m none of them.
Personally, the bar for calling someone e. g. a racist is quite high. I usually prefer to say that what you said or did was racist.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Illegal immigration is already illegal, no legislation needed. The substance of Trump’s policy was to put in people at ICE and Justice who were interested in pursuing extant legislation.
Of course, legislation is needed. Comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue. Saying that unlawful immigration is unlawful is like saying alcohol is illegal during the time of prohibition. And Trump didn’t just clamp down on illegal immigration, he restricted legal immigration as well. And that is in keeping with part of Trump’s base, it isn’t just illegal immigration, it is immigration, period.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
While the legislature is ostensibly involved with us going to war, it’s really more a function of the Commander in Chief and the State Department.
The US Constitution begs to differ.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
He didn’t get us into a new war. Remember, the initial question was whether Hillary would get us into a war, which is a different proposition from whether Biden will. Not to put too fine a point on it, Hillary’s a hawk, and the Middle East got really messy when she was at State.
If there were a contest of who is more hawkish, I don’t think Hillary Clinton would necessarily win against Trump. If you look at the substance, Trump escalated the drone war, he escalated the situation in Syria by suddenly cutting ties to the curds, he escalated the situation in Iran by unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran Deal, Trump dismantled pivotal nuclear arms control treaties with Russia (and tested weapons that violated those treaties soon after), etc. The only notable exception is Trump’s announcement to withdraw troops from Germany (which the military did not like, because Rammstein and other German bases are pivotal in the drone war and to support operations in the Middle East). But part of the announcement was an increase in troops in Poland and Belgium. It never came to that, though.

The only difference between Clinton and Trump that I can see is that Clinton surely would pursue a longer-term strategy whereas Trump only thinks short-term and doesn’t seem to know much of the pertinent information. Clinton’s hawkishness was one of my main points of criticism. But at the same time I was convinced in 2016 that Trump would be much worse, and seeing how the Trump Presidency played out, I think I was right.

One thing, Trump’s rhetoric on the subject is not a departure from earlier presidents’s campaign promises: Bush 2’s humble foreign policy, Obama’s stated desire to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and Biden’s announcement of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan (finally) are all slightly different incarnations of the widespread desire in much of the American public to withdraw troops from conflicts all over the world. In the end, it was Biden to actually withdraw the troops from Afghanistan — something Trump could have done, too.
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subego
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May 12, 2021, 05:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Of course, legislation is needed. Comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue. Saying that unlawful immigration is unlawful is like saying alcohol is illegal during the time of prohibition. And Trump didn’t just clamp down on illegal immigration, he restricted legal immigration as well. And that is in keeping with part of Trump’s base, it isn’t just illegal immigration, it is immigration, period.
Let me rephrase my point.

Trump campaigned on busting illegal immigrant heads.

Once elected, he busted illegal immigrant heads.

He didn’t need legislation to do it, it was already legal for the government to do this.

This was substantive policy from him, that also made good on a campaign promise.



I’m not arguing whether that’s good policy, but whether there is substance to it.

To put it another way, his immigration policy wasn’t grift. He actually delivered what he was selling (not counting the wall).
( Last edited by subego; May 12, 2021 at 07:12 AM. )
     
subego
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May 12, 2021, 05:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I’d say that depends on what your stance on third parties is in the US electoral system.
I like third parties, and consistently vote for them, but I can’t deny the realpolitik. If my goal was to get rid of Trump, in a swing-state the only vote which affirmatively contributes to this goal would be a vote for Biden. Any other vote is contrary to the goal.

I’ve seen people get shit for voting third party here in Illinois, where it doesn’t even matter. From people smart enough to understand how the EC works.
     
subego
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May 12, 2021, 06:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The US Constitution begs to differ.

If there were a contest of who is more hawkish, I don’t think Hillary Clinton would necessarily win against Trump. If you look at the substance, Trump escalated the drone war, he escalated the situation in Syria by suddenly cutting ties to the curds, he escalated the situation in Iran by unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran Deal, Trump dismantled pivotal nuclear arms control treaties with Russia (and tested weapons that violated those treaties soon after), etc. The only notable exception is Trump’s announcement to withdraw troops from Germany (which the military did not like, because Rammstein and other German bases are pivotal in the drone war and to support operations in the Middle East). But part of the announcement was an increase in troops in Poland and Belgium. It never came to that, though.

The only difference between Clinton and Trump that I can see is that Clinton surely would pursue a longer-term strategy whereas Trump only thinks short-term and doesn’t seem to know much of the pertinent information. Clinton’s hawkishness was one of my main points of criticism. But at the same time I was convinced in 2016 that Trump would be much worse, and seeing how the Trump Presidency played out, I think I was right.

One thing, Trump’s rhetoric on the subject is not a departure from earlier presidents’s campaign promises: Bush 2’s humble foreign policy, Obama’s stated desire to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and Biden’s announcement of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan (finally) are all slightly different incarnations of the widespread desire in much of the American public to withdraw troops from conflicts all over the world. In the end, it was Biden to actually withdraw the troops from Afghanistan — something Trump could have done, too.
My point about the CinC and State is if they want a war, they have unrestricted access to the means of getting one.

The lens we’re supposed to be looking through for analysis is that of the working class, no? The thing that matters to the working class is having their friends and family getting shoved into a meat grinder on the other side of the planet. At least that’s what I’m told. I’m not working class.

Trump made good on his promise to the working class he wouldn’t send them to their death in a foreign country.
     
subego
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May 12, 2021, 07:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Sure, but in this case that someone is me and I know you better than some person on TV. So I prefer to talk to you and
Personally, I’d say you support some of Trump’s policies rather than being a Trump supporter. And I’d criticize some of your policy stances if need be.
Well, the context of this particular situation is a little unusual.

The proposition is “anti-Hillary and anti-Biden Sanders supporters are actually crypto-Trump supporters”.

If we want to answer the question of whether this description fits me, I need to recuse myself because there’s a pretty straightforward conflict of interest.


Beyond that, I really do believe it isn’t up to me. I dunno... maybe I’m taking the position how someone wants to label me says more about them than it does about me.
     
subego
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May 12, 2021, 08:33 AM
 



     
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May 12, 2021, 10:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The lens we’re supposed to be looking through for analysis is that of the working class, no? The thing that matters to the working class is having their friends and family getting shoved into a meat grinder on the other side of the planet. At least that’s what I’m told. I’m not working class.
But Trump didn‘t end any wars, he kept on feeding the meat grinder. Maybe he didn‘t switch on another meat grinder, but he surely didn‘t switch any of the others off. I don‘t see how Trump made good on his promise.

I totally get that there is a contingent of people out there who are all too happy to give credit to Trump no matter if he earned it or not. The people who attribute positive economic data during the Trump presidency to Trump, but during Obama‘s Presidency, it was the market. Fine. So there may be people who feel he stopped the meat grinder. But it doesn‘t mean that this is what happened, objectively speaking. That‘s just marketing, isn‘t it.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The proposition is “anti-Hillary and anti-Biden Sanders supporters are actually crypto-Trump supporters”.
To me that sounds like an argument politics nerds have on Twitter (or on forums ), but not something that many people will say.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
If we want to answer the question of whether this description fits me, I need to recuse myself because there’s a pretty straightforward conflict of interest.
It seems to me you are begging that someone calls you a Trump supporter
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I like third parties, and consistently vote for them, but I can’t deny the realpolitik. If my goal was to get rid of Trump, in a swing-state the only vote which affirmatively contributes to this goal would be a vote for Biden. Any other vote is contrary to the goal.
Sure, if this is your goal, then voting for a third party runs counter to that. If this is your goal.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’ve seen people get shit for voting third party here in Illinois, where it doesn’t even matter. From people smart enough to understand how the EC works.
The Libertarian Party is bad news for the Republicans, and at times the Green Party spoils things for the Democrats (Al Gore comes to mind). That‘s the thing that pushes out third parties: what would be natural political allies in a many-party democracy become enemies, because votes for the Libertarian Party come at the expense of the GOP. The question is: should you care? Do you care? And in states that are reliably Republican, Libertarians don‘t matter electorally.

IMHO if I were American, I‘d only vote for a third party if part of that party‘s platform is to get rid of the first-pass-the-post system. But that‘s just me. Since otherwise I know that mathematically, there is a very strong tendency in first-pass-the-post democracies to end up with no more than two viable parties.
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Laminar
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May 12, 2021, 10:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The proposition is “anti-Hillary and anti-Biden Sanders supporters are actually crypto-Trump supporters”.
Sorry if I wasn't clear. It's more like "people that preface a bunch of heavy criticism of Democrats with 'I actually supported Bernie' are very often Trump supporters trying to avoid immediate dismissal of their criticism as biased."

Not "everyone who's anti-Hillary or anti-Biden is actually a Trump supporter."
     
subego
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May 12, 2021, 12:12 PM
 
I’m the one who’s not being clear. You were totally clear.

The best way I can explain my convoluted thought process is think of what I called “the proposition” like it’s a disease.

We’re testing for the presence of this disease. When the disease is there, the proposition is true. When it’s not, the proposition is false.

My overall point was I have a vested interest in the outcome of the test, so it would be bullshit for me to be the one to interpret the results, especially since they’re kind of an edge case in the first place.



Related...

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
It seems to me you are begging that someone calls you a Trump supporter
It depends on where I am.

The mother of a friend of mine is absolutely thrilled to have me visit now that she thinks I’ve gone to the dark side.
     
subego
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May 13, 2021, 02:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
But Trump didn‘t end any wars, he kept on feeding the meat grinder. Maybe he didn‘t switch on another meat grinder, but he surely didn‘t switch any of the others off. I don‘t see how Trump made good on his promise.
Not switching on a new meat grinder counts for something.

It ends up counting for more because Trump’s opponents warned his awful personality traits (like poor impulse control, hostility, and pettiness) would the expressed through the military. The expectations were set very low.

There’s lots to complain about when it comes to Trump being cozy with Putin, but I’d wager things would have gotten a lot more messy in Syria if they didn’t have their “special relationship”. Remember, if Hillary’s president, she’s got a score to settle with Putin over trying to throw the election. I’m not saying Hillary starts a war as a “**** you” to Putin, I’m just saying their relationship is far from optimal when it comes to making sure some accident doesn’t tumble out of control.

Trump got Afghanistan down to 30% of what it was when he came in, which is a significant drawdown on the grindiest of the grinders, but it should be noted that happened at the literal end of his term.


So, I overstated my case, but I don’t think it’s a given Hillary would have better served the working class when it comes to this concern.
     
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May 13, 2021, 07:43 AM
 
I guess Liz Cheney learned this week that it doesn't matter how much you supported and voted for his policies (and she did quite bigly), if you don't hew to Trump's Big Lie™ you're persona non grata in the GOP now.
     
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May 13, 2021, 08:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Not switching on a new meat grinder counts for something.
Would you have lauded Hillary Clinton for doing the same had she won the 2016 election? If not, what does that say about the discussion.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It ends up counting for more because Trump’s opponents warned his awful personality traits (like poor impulse control, hostility, and pettiness) would the expressed through the military. The expectations were set very low.
Yeah, that’s indeed a problem: the expectations weighing down on Clinton’s shoulders were much higher, so it is much easier for her to fail than for Trump where expectations were essentially zero. Him not accidentally starting a war would be a win. But what kind of argument is this? It’s not just profoundly unfair, it puts the whole burden of proof on one side. I see that sometimes when e. g. Marjorie Taylor Greene is compared to AOC. They are not like-for-like. Or I think earlier we compared Bernie Sanders to Trump: Sanders has substance, Trump does not.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
There’s lots to complain about when it comes to Trump being cozy with Putin, but I’d wager things would have gotten a lot more messy in Syria if they didn’t have their “special relationship”.
I think that had little to do. To be honest, I don’t think Trump understood any of the complexity of the situation and just acted out of his gut. Plus, I don’t think there was any special relationship. Putin is just way smarter (both, intellectually and in terms of experience) than Trump, and Trump likes autocrats.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Remember, if Hillary’s president, she’s got a score to settle with Putin over trying to throw the election. I’m not saying Hillary starts a war as a “**** you” to Putin, I’m just saying their relationship is far from optimal when it comes to making sure some accident doesn’t tumble out of control.
I doubt that, Clinton is controlled, smart and experienced. Putin would have had a harder time dealing with her than he had with Trump. For one, I am quite sure Clinton would not have left the nuclear arms control treaties with Russia (at least not without replacing them). But I don’t think that’d have meant escalation. I reckon the US would still be allied with Kurds, or example.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Trump got Afghanistan down to 30% of what it was when he came in, which is a significant drawdown on the grindiest of the grinders, but it should be noted that happened at the literal end of his term.
The thing is that Trump announced a whole host of measure that never happened. Like I wrote, he announced a net withdrawal of I think about 3,000–4,000 troops from Europe (-12,000 from Germany, about +7,000 to Poland and about +1,000 to Belgium). I could be wrong about the exact numbers, but the ballpark should be right. That never happened. I wouldn’t be surprised if the military slow rolled this and hoped for Biden to win.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
So, I overstated my case, but I don’t think it’s a given Hillary would have better served the working class when it comes to this concern.
I think from a domestic perspective, I think the impression could be that this is correct. But it forgets the damage Trump has done to the relationship to its partners. I live in Japan and I cannot tell you how he freaked out the South Koreans and the Japanese. E. g. Trump claimed that Japan should pay for the American troop presence. They already are, not just to the tune of >10 billion dollars per year, but there are all sorts of serious political conflicts about military bases and the local population that are kept down. We can argue whether Trump had no clue or was lying, but in the end, who cares, the damage is done. Ditto for Korea. Who needs their early warning system for nuclear missiles anyway?

I reckon the large share of the American population isn’t really aware of this, because they usually judge presidents by success and failures of their domestic policies. Or American body bags from abroad.

PS Just to give you a positive example: it is my understanding that most Americans regard the presidency of George Bush Sr. as a failure — he broke his promise not to raise taxes, etc. In Europe he is loved, because he managed the negotiations that peacefully dissolved the Iron Curtain. He played a major role in the reunification of Germany and the re-constitution of countries like Poland. This is a huge achievement, and one that seems totally forgotten domestically.
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May 13, 2021, 09:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Would you have lauded Hillary Clinton for doing the same had she won the 2016 election? If not, what does that say about the discussion.
Of course I would. Why wouldn’t I? What gives the impression I wouldn’t? I obviously need to correct that impression.

Edit: one of my arguments against Hillary was she’d start a war. In other words, I had low expectations for her which she could have easily defied by just doing nothing.
( Last edited by subego; May 13, 2021 at 10:07 AM. )
     
subego
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May 13, 2021, 10:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Or I think earlier we compared Bernie Sanders to Trump: Sanders has substance, Trump does not.
Is it possible there’s a semantic issue here?

For example, I would by no means describe Trump as a “man of substance”. Is the idea his policies aren’t substantive because they originate from a man lacking substance?

I’m using the term literally. “Trump substantively cracked down on illegal immigrants” means he put considerable effort into doing this. I’m not making a value judgement the way I would be with “man of substance”.
     
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May 13, 2021, 12:35 PM
 
the two words mean different things in those contexts. A man of substance means "Someone who has a lot of power, money, or influence" which sure yes trump has that... but for me it also implies integrity, and sincere belief in what he's doing. Trump feeds meat to his base, but I doubt really believes any of it, or cares enough to believe. It's all about how to monetize the base.
     
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May 13, 2021, 12:37 PM
 
I’ve only known “man of substance” to mean “man of integrity”, which Trump is most certainly not.

Lots of power, money, and influence would be a “man of means”.
     
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May 13, 2021, 12:46 PM
 



When I think “diplomacy”, Rahm is always the first person who comes to mind.
     
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May 13, 2021, 01:49 PM
 
@subego, as a local, you have the inside scoop on Rahm. Is he a good choice, or will the Yakuza prosper while he's there?
     
subego
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May 13, 2021, 02:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
@subego, as a local, you have the inside scoop on Rahm. Is he a good choice, or will the Yakuza prosper while he's there?
From what I’ve been told, ambassador to Japan is one of those gigs you get as a reward, and don’t have to actually do anything other than go to parties and burn an expense account. I figure he can manage that without too much trouble.

If he had to do something for real, he’s a miserable choice. He’s not a friendly person.

If you’re familiar with the show Entourage, the Jeremy Piven character is based on Rahm’s brother. They’re cut from similar cloth. Rahm’s not an ambassador, he’s an enforcer.


Edit: he’s savvy enough not to behave that way in public, but it’s not really a secret he’s kind of a prick. It came up once at a press conference and he said his wife’s told him to reel it in.
( Last edited by subego; May 13, 2021 at 02:40 PM. )
     
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May 13, 2021, 02:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
but I doubt really believes any of it, or cares enough to believe.
As an aside, when it comes to Trump, this is a feature and not a bug.

Trump isn’t ideological, and thinks politics is for cucks.

He’d have been way more dangerous if he actually believed in something.
     
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May 13, 2021, 02:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think that had little to do. To be honest, I don’t think Trump understood any of the complexity of the situation and just acted out of his gut. Plus, I don’t think there was any special relationship. Putin is just way smarter (both, intellectually and in terms of experience) than Trump, and Trump likes autocrats.

I doubt that, Clinton is controlled, smart and experienced. Putin would have had a harder time dealing with her than he had with Trump. For one, I am quite sure Clinton would not have left the nuclear arms control treaties with Russia (at least not without replacing them). But I don’t think that’d have meant escalation. I reckon the US would still be allied with Kurds, or example.
My instincts tell me Putin likely has direct evidence of Trump evading taxes and/or laundering money.

How does Putin having more difficulty dealing with America help to keep us out of Syria?
     
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May 13, 2021, 03:00 PM
 
Being made ambassador to Japan is pretty much a parting gift. Akin to saying "Thanks. Now go away and enjoy the scenery."
     
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May 13, 2021, 08:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
From what I’ve been told, ambassador to Japan is one of those gigs you get as a reward, and don’t have to actually do anything other than go to parties and burn an expense account. I figure he can manage that without too much trouble.
The ambassadorship of Japan is definitely not a plum job with parties and all, quite the contrary, it is one of the most important. American bases in Okinawa and the rest of Japan are the backbone of the Pacific defense posture. Since China is being more aggressive in patrolling its shipping routes, chances are Japan will become an even more important partner.
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May 14, 2021, 03:16 AM
 
I will of course defer to your proximity, but you’re the only person I’ve heard claim this.


Edit: sorry we sent you an abusive asshole.
( Last edited by subego; May 14, 2021 at 03:38 AM. )
     
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May 14, 2021, 05:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I will of course defer to your proximity, but you’re the only person I’ve heard claim this.
Just the jobby-job aspects will be enormous. Judging by the size of the Russian embassy (as luck would have it, our AirBnB is super close to that), the American embassy proper must be huge. Then there are the usual problems that are perennial bests: conflict between the Japanese and the Koreans, etc.

When I hear a plum job of an ambassadorship, I think of some Caribbean island that is beautiful, yet unimportant
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Edit: sorry we sent you an abusive asshole.
The expat Twitter sphere is not very enthusiastic either. There is quite a bit of consternation going on.
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subego
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May 14, 2021, 05:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Just the jobby-job aspects will be enormous. Judging by the size of the Russian embassy (as luck would have it, our AirBnB is super close to that), the American embassy proper must be huge. Then there are the usual problems that are perennial bests: conflict between the Japanese and the Koreans, etc.

The expat Twitter sphere is not very enthusiastic either. There is quite a bit of consternation going on.
I could be totally wrong, but the impression I’ve had is for our closest allies, the real jobby-job aspects are handled by career State Department and/or Defense Department types. Those are the people with the practical connections to “get shit done”. The ambassador themselves is a bit of a figurehead, which is why we’d let a asshole like Rahm have the job.

It’s a bit of a vestige from another time. Nowadays, Abe can just get Biden on the blower.

Much different when our relationship with a country isn’t as tight. Those are the ambassadors who get their hands dirty.
     
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May 14, 2021, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
When I hear a plum job of an ambassadorship, I think of some Caribbean island that is beautiful, yet unimportant
I bet Scott Brown thanks his lucky stars he was in New Zealand for the pandemic.

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2020/12/...w-england-law/
     
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May 14, 2021, 01:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’ve only known “man of substance” to mean “man of integrity”, which Trump is most certainly not.

Lots of power, money, and influence would be a “man of means”.
"Man of substantial influence/means" and "man of substance" can occasionally but not necessarily (but do, in this case) mean opposite things.
     
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May 14, 2021, 01:35 PM
 
Oh, absolutely.

We can say Trump’s illegal immigration policy wasn’t substantive in the sense it didn’t originate from substance, because the man has none. He didn’t think past it’s use as a meme, and I’ve argued since long before he was elected that anyone who owns a ton of hotels is just fine with illegal immigrants and the money they save by employing them.
     
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May 14, 2021, 07:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I could be totally wrong, but the impression I’ve had is for our closest allies, the real jobby-job aspects are handled by career State Department and/or Defense Department types. Those are the people with the practical connections to “get shit done”. The ambassador themselves is a bit of a figurehead, which is why we’d let a asshole like Rahm have the job.
Maybe. But by impression of Emanuel is that he is an operator and Biden has chosen him for that reason. Put another way, I don’t hink of him as the type who wants a cozy assignment to ride into the sunset of his life, he wants to wield the levers of power he is given.

You know Emanuel better than I do, does that characterization make sense? And (this is a serious question) how much less of an asshole is he than his brother? (I remember him at a Q&A after an interview at some incarnation of All Things D with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, and he was a ginormous d*ck, especially and particularly to Joshua Topolsky, one of the co-founders of The Verge. So I know the base level of asshole-ness that seems to run in the family.)
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May 14, 2021, 07:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Of course I would. Why wouldn’t I? What gives the impression I wouldn’t? I obviously need to correct that impression.
I get the impression that Clinton and Trump were measured by two very different yardsticks. Just the inane focus on “Hillary’s emails”. When it came out that the Trump family (involved in the campaign) also used personal email accounts for business, crickets. Perhaps you’d have lauded her, but I don’t think most of the conservative media would have. Looking at how they switched from excusing Trump to treating Biden, I know they don’t. l
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Edit: one of my arguments against Hillary was she’d start a war. In other words, I had low expectations for her which she could have easily defied by just doing nothing.
Knowing what you know now, knowing how the Trump Presidency has turned out, have you changed your mind? (I think it is important to not just focus on the number of wars, though, but also the state of the alliances between the US and others.)
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May 15, 2021, 12:12 AM
 
Also how we withdraw troops matter. We might have wanted to be out of Afghanistan (?), but suddenly withdrawing troops just as our native allies were about to be creamed was not cool.
     
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May 15, 2021, 04:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Maybe. But by impression of Emanuel is that he is an operator and Biden has chosen him for that reason. Put another way, I don’t hink of him as the type who wants a cozy assignment to ride into the sunset of his life, he wants to wield the levers of power he is given.

You know Emanuel better than I do, does that characterization make sense? And (this is a serious question) how much less of an asshole is he than his brother? (I remember him at a Q&A after an interview at some incarnation of All Things D with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, and he was a ginormous d*ck, especially and particularly to Joshua Topolsky, one of the co-founders of The Verge. So I know the base level of asshole-ness that seems to run in the family.)
The big Rahm story, back from when he was Obama’s Chief of Staff, is his favorite tactic was to ambush people as they came out of the shower in the Congressional gym’s locker room.

So, just like you said, he’s totally an operator. His specialty is (metaphorical) “wetwork”. He’s a big huge bully.

Perhaps naively, I don’t think that’s what we need in Japan (of all places).

He’s not riding off into the sunset, though... those are the ambassadors to nice tropical islands that you mentioned. Assuming he isn’t there to peel heads, my guess is he took the gig to fill up his Rolodex for later use practicing international law.

That, and great parties, and a huge expense account. The main job ambassadors have is to jockey with other ambassadors over who can appear the most ostentatious.
     
subego
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May 15, 2021, 10:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Also how we withdraw troops matter. We might have wanted to be out of Afghanistan (?), but suddenly withdrawing troops just as our native allies were about to be creamed was not cool.
This was the reason Trump gave for why the drawdown in Afghanistan took so long.
     
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May 15, 2021, 04:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I get the impression that Clinton and Trump were measured by two very different yardsticks. Just the inane focus on “Hillary’s emails”. When it came out that the Trump family (involved in the campaign) also used personal email accounts for business, crickets. Perhaps you’d have lauded her, but I don’t think most of the conservative media would have. Looking at how they switched from excusing Trump to treating Biden, I know they don’t.
Conservatives unquestionably use a different yardstick for Clinton than they do Trump, but AFAIK, it’s never been shown the Trump family ran classified information through their private email.

It’s been proven Hillary did, and further, she initially claimed it never happened.

Not the same thing.
     
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May 15, 2021, 07:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Conservatives unquestionably use a different yardstick for Clinton than they do Trump, but AFAIK, it’s never been shown the Trump family ran classified information through their private email.
This is not my point: Trump blasted Clinton for doing so, yet he and his own campaign did the same — that’s utter hypocrisy. (Ditto for Trump’s push to remind voters of Bill Clinton’s philandering, where the comparison is more direct and even starker.) Sure, you can get technical and say it was about classified information, but I don’t think this this is entirely correct. There were two prongs, the second one being transparency and the ability to preserve the emails properly for posterity.

(Plus, there was the conspiracy angle that I never bought, that Clinton did some shady dealing over her private account. BS. Everything is out there in the open, she is making money off of her old contacts just like many others do. Speech engagements (like e. g. many generals do) and the like.)
( Last edited by OreoCookie; May 15, 2021 at 09:06 PM. )
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May 15, 2021, 07:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The big Rahm story, back from when he was Obama’s Chief of Staff, is his favorite tactic was to ambush people as they came out of the shower in the Congressional gym’s locker room.
What a d*ck.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
So, just like you said, he’s totally an operator. His specialty is (metaphorical) “wetwork”. He’s a big huge bully.
That was my impression of him, which is why I think it isn’t going to be a cushy job for him. He wants to wield the power he is given. And interpreting my 2 Euro cents and 2 ¥ into Biden’s move, Biden knows exactly what he is doing. You put an operator into such an important position to, well, crank hard. China will be a major focus and Japan is the premier launching pad.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Perhaps naively, I don’t think that’s what we need in Japan (of all places).
No, definitely not.
Not knowing the culture is a huge negative, although to be fair, the US has been known to do that a fair bit.
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May 15, 2021, 09:44 PM
 
Can he at least speak Japanese? Extra points if he can read kana too.

When in Rome, speak Latin.
     
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May 15, 2021, 10:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
This is not my point: Trump blasted Clinton for doing so, yet he and his own campaign did the same. Sure, you can get technical and say it was about classified information, but I don’t think this this is entirely correct. There were two prongs, the second one being transparency and the ability to preserve the emails properly for posterity.

(Plus, there was the conspiracy angle that I never bought, that Clinton did some shady dealing over her private account. BS. Everything is out there in the open, she is making money off of her old contacts just like many others do. Speech engagements (like e. g. many generals do) and the like.)
That’s a ridiculous conspiracy. Hillary’s way too smart to do her shady shit over email.

With rare exception, anybody in government who does an end-run around email retention policy should get smacked equally by liberals and conservatives. Ironically, among the countless ****ups we can lay at Hillary’s feet, trying to evade retention policy isn’t one of them. She handed her emails over to State.

If we want to get technical, she also handed them over to every competent foreign intelligence agency on the planet.

But back to the conservatives. I didn’t dig very deep into how guilty the Trump administration is of violating retention policy, but assuming the accusations are even half-legit, conservatives were shamelessly partisan about it.
     
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May 15, 2021, 10:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Can he at least speak Japanese? Extra points if he can read kana too.

When in Rome, speak Latin.
As far as I know, he doesn’t.

Have no idea if this is true, but one thing I’ve read is Japan likes it that way because then they can take advantage of the ambassador’s lack of cultural insight.

One question I have for Oreo is how much success is China having muscling into Japan proper. As in buying up businesses and land and stuff.
     
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May 16, 2021, 01:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Have no idea if this is true, but one thing I’ve read is Japan likes it that way because then they can take advantage of the ambassador’s lack of cultural insight.
There is some truth to that, although I think not knowing your way around in Japan is a huge hindrance. Unlike Europe, even if you are trying to, keeping tabs on the political inner workings in Japan is exceedingly hard. I’ve been living here, and it is all very oblique. You have de facto one-party rule where fight that usually would happen between different parties happen within factions of the Liberal Democratic Party (Liberal = conservative in this case). Not knowing your way around significantly decreases your effectiveness as an American ambassador.

The issue of American bases in Japan, in Okinawa in particular, is a huge source for scandals. The majority of the local population doesn’t want them, and while in principle regions (= states) are supposed to have a good degree of autonomy, they are overruled. Plus, there are regular scandals where e. g. local LDP party officials have received substantial bribes to allow for the sale of land earmarked for an American base. There are also regular cases where American military personnel commits crimes (such as rape) in Okinawa, and they are effectively shielded from prosecution.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
One question I have for Oreo is how much success is China having muscling into Japan proper. As in buying up businesses and land and stuff.
The story is complicated, because there is no simple beginning to the story. One major loss was President Trump’s decision to leave the Trans Pacific Partnership, where the vacuum left by the US has been filled by China. Not because of anything “evil” China is doing, but simply it is the biggest member of the TPP. This is one of those silent moves whose ramifications will be vastly underestimated in the long term. Ditto for the lack of coordination during the Trump administration to stand up to China’s unfair trade and investment practices (especially the lack of reciprocity and the de facto forced technology transfer).

There are smaller many issues where China establishes its dominance. One instance is the fate of certain small mostly uninhabited islands in the Pacific that Japan claims for itself. China has been bullying the Japanese, and they went to Big Brother for help. This issue is really important for Japanese nationalists (including the power base of prime minister Abe and his successor Suga).

If I had to explain one of the larger problems, though, is that domestically, reliance on the US is priced in — just like in Europe. It is part of the way politicians think, and when the alliance was fraying in plain sight, this put politicians in a huge pickle. With Europe the explanation is a bit easier, because Europe is further along. The strong US presence in Europe and Germany in particular has freed Germany from pursuing a strong military. Germany did not have to pursue nuclear weapons, the US stored them for us. While this may look like laziness to the untrained eye, its neighbors (in the past much, much more so than now) have feared Germany getting in the same unholy position as in the 1910s and 1930s. So Germany’s neighbors also like that arrangement. This was also a major concern of Prime Minister Thatcher and President Mitterand during the reunification talks. Thatcher in particular was afraid that a unified Germany would shift the power balance. Now there seems to be a path to do defense more on a European level. Germany could slip under France’s nuclear umbrella.

Now the EU is in that uncomfortable age where the “parent”, the US, wants us to leave the house and is no longer willing to pay for our food, but still wants to tell us how to live our lives, thinking they can’t actually manage without them. And many of the European countries complain about their parent and are thinking of moving out, but don’t have the gonads to actually do it. It’s just too convenient. Japan’s situation is like that, but they are 10–20 years behind Europe. They are the teenager with pimples. Japan also has added complications in that they never really made up for their colonial past and crimes against humanity. (That even applies to domestic history. Yesterday I passed a memorial to a former Japanese Prime Minister who was assassinated in 1921. The marker in Apple Maps said “Prime Minister Hara Accident Memorial Site” — he accidentally slipped into the knife of his assailant, apparently.) Further, Japan is constitutionally forbidden to have a proper military. They do have a military, but it is limited in what it is allowed to do. And changing the constitution has been a fever dream of the conservative ruling party for literally decades, but that’d be something they would have to do. It is extremely unpopular. But “at least” they have all the building blocks for nuclear weapons, no doubt one of the reasons why the Japanese government clings to nuclear power.
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subego
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May 17, 2021, 08:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
There is some truth to that, although I think not knowing your way around in Japan is a huge hindrance. Unlike Europe, even if you are trying to, keeping tabs on the political inner workings in Japan is exceedingly hard. I’ve been living here, and it is all very oblique. You have de facto one-party rule where fight that usually would happen between different parties happen within factions of the Liberal Democratic Party (Liberal = conservative in this case). Not knowing your way around significantly decreases your effectiveness as an American ambassador.
I’ve heard the Japanese are very uncomfortable with foreigners learning their language in general. Same with the Dutch for whatever reason.

The Gaijin Smash guy had a hilarious story about how the counter-girl at a Japanese McDonald’s refused to verbally take his order even though he’s fluent. She kept meekly gesturing to the menu booklet at the register he was supposed to point at to order.

The cherry (blossom) on top is the Japanese phrase for what he wanted to order was “Biggu Maccu”.

He also noted that every burger from a Japanese McDonald’s has the ingredients perfectly arranged. None of the slapdash stuff you get in America.

Gaijn Smash is also where I learned about kanchō.
     
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May 17, 2021, 08:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The story is complicated...
Excellent write-up! Thank you!

I was against the TPP because of the copyright extensions, so I can’t say I was displeased when it got spiked. I really hate copyright.

I’m somewhat familiar with China’s naval ambitions. I don’t see Rahm being able to help with this from inside Japan. If anything, it’s the opposite. He’s in a much better position to get Japan to back-off.

I’m curious about your opinion. Should Japan militarize?


Edit: if I was Japanese, or lived in Japan, I would want to. If I was Chinese, I’d ****ing hate the idea. As a non-local, I’ve been inclined towards the status quo.
( Last edited by subego; May 17, 2021 at 01:41 PM. )
     
 
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