Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned

For those unfamiliar with this Catholic meme, it is the opening sentence Catholics whisper to the priest to start confession.

My confession is that I find this particular point in our history fascinating.

We have a President who appears determined to self-destruct, a party that is uncertain they are willing to go down with him, and his supporters who have swallowed the kool-aide and have lost touch with reality.

So here’s a little bonus coverage courtesy of one of my favorite academics, Jonathan Haitt of Righteous Mind fame.  He has a great article in The Atlantic which explains the widespread negative reaction to Trump’s Charlottesville comments.

This IS NOT a political rant.

It is simply an explanation of a taboo that Trump broke.

All societies have taboos.  I won’t go through why, though Haitt does in his article.  Suffice it to say that we use a common set of deeply revered values, people, or places to hold all our citizens together in a shared bond.  That bond is our willingness to sacrifice our individual interests for the greater common good.

Charlottesville was a clash of sacred symbols.

The far right displayed their sacred symbols including swastikas, confederate flags, and guns – lots of guns.  They were marching to defend another symbol – the statue of Robert E. Lee.  The goal of the rally was to bind white people together with a shared hatred of Jews, African Americans, and other minorities using claimed white victim-hood and racial purity. (BTW racial purity is a myth.  Skin color is the result of a not well understood interaction between about 100 genes rather than the presence or absence of a particular set of genes.  Commonly available genetic ancestry tests are causing real problems for those advocating a “pure white” society.)

For UVA students, “the lawn” in the center of campus is also hallowed ground.  Students rushed out, unarmed, to defend the Jefferson statue from the approach of the torch-bearing armed white supremacists.  The marchers weren’t planning on vandalizing the statue, but from the student’s point of view these particular marchers would have “contaminated” the statue if allowed to approach unopposed.  That’s because for a Jeffersonian, neo-Nazi’s are taboo.

That’s what the country saw.  Unarmed students spontaneously opposing an organized group chanting the worst slurs against Jews and African Americans and making Nazi salutes.  It was a desecration of our most cherished American story based on the belief that “all men are created equal”.  We all know that this creed is aspirational, but we demand that all of our political leaders accept this premise as a requirement to hold office.  Denying this premise is blasphemy.  As a result white supremacists, the KKK, and neo-Nazis are widely regarded as blasphemous outsiders.

We treat our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution as sacred texts.  We erect monuments to our martyrs.  We punish or shame anyone who ignores our documents or dishonors our martyrs.  We expect our president to play the role of high priest and chief unifier in times when those texts and martyrs seem under attack.

In Trump’s press conference on Tuesday August 15th, Trump fumbled his opportunity to play the role of the high priest and chief unifier because he failed to condemn the blasphemers exclusively.  In response to the public outcry, the President read a staff-written speech to right that wrong.  If it had stopped there, perhaps he could have recovered.  Instead just 24 hours later, he committed the greatest sacrilege of his presidency by saying that there were “very fine people on both sides”.  That’s because our basic belief is that Nazi’s aren’t just bad – they are taboo.

Trump has become taboo by embracing those that we have decided are taboo.  The moral stain of the blasphemers has rubbed off on him.  That’s why you saw such a scramble by all those who understood what he had just done.  Those who fail to distance themselves from the taboo will also become taboo, just as Trump has done.  That’s also why most people in this country were willing to condemn those who just walked in the march.  They didn’t have to carry a flag, shout a slogan, or salute.  Just being there made them taboo too.  They got fired.  They were disowned by their families.  People won’t want to live next to them any more than they would a sex offender.

You can’t apologize for breaking a taboo, particularly one as deep as the Nazi or KKK.  You can’t even use the excuse of ignorance because that would suggest ignorance of our basic values.  In Trump’s case, it doesn’t matter, because he is not going to admit that he did anything wrong.

the stain, the moral pollution, the taint, will linger on him and his administration for the rest of his term. Business leaders have quit his panels and projects; artists who were due to receive honors from the president have changed their plans. Pollution travels most rapidly by physical touch, so be on the lookout for numerous awkward moments in the coming months when people refuse to shake the president’s hand or stand next to him. It is unclear how far the contagion will spread, but it will surely make it more difficult to attract talented people into government service for as long as Trump is the president.

Further this is going to do generational damage to the Republican Party.

people’s political orientations are shaped for life by events that happen when they are young, particularly between the ages of 14 and 24. The young generation—iGen, as Jean Twenge calls them—is extraordinarily progressive and passionate about matters of race and prejudice. If Republicans stand by their tainted president rather than renouncing him, an entire generation of voters may come to see the GOP as eternally untouchable.

It’s hard to say what will come next, but right now the country is unbalanced.

Extraordinary sacrilege has occurred, but divine retribution has not yet come down from the heavens.  We have no priest and no scripture to guide us.  The country may suffer for failing to remove this apostate.

What I can see in the not too distant future, however, is an emotional pivot toward impeachment as a cathartic recovery of purpose and balance.  Trump will be blamed.  Some in his administration will go to jail.  All will be disgraced.  The country will heal.  I saw this happen with Nixon.  It could very well happen with Trump too.  All that is missing is the smoking gun of corruption or scandal and the game will be over.

 

 

35 Responses to “Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned”

  1. Jeff Beamsley says:

    We are starting to see those in Trump’s cabinet distance themselves from Trump.

    We already heard about Cohn and his story about writing out his resignation letter, but then deciding not to submit it. There is some speculation that he is holding on in hopes of getting the Fed job. If so, his tenure there will always be tainted by the fact that he didn’t resign.

    Now from the Wash Post.

    In separate, jaw-dropping comments that made news over the weekend, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to distance themselves from the president on his response to the Charlottesville violence and, perhaps, in general.

    This is big news. These aren’t GOP members of Congress distancing themselves from a president they’ve secretly always disliked. These are two of the highest-ranking officials in government — who both agreed to be conduits for Trump’s policies and presidency — publicly disagreeing with their boss on whether America is going in the right direction.

    You can see the specific comments that each made in the Wash Post article.

    This is not something that is being made up by the Wash Post. This is straight up reporting of comments one made on Fox News and the other made to troops.

    Haitt knows what he is talking about.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    David Brooks continues the theme in his most recent NYT column

    Each individual Republican is now compelled to embrace this garbage or not. The choice is unavoidable, and white resentment is bound to define Republicanism more and more in the months ahead. It’s what Trump cares about. The identity warriors on the left will deface statues or whatever and set up mutually beneficial confrontations with the identity warriors on the right. Things will get uglier.

    And this is where the dissolution of the G.O.P. comes in. Conservative universalists are coming to realize their party has become a vehicle for white identity and racial conflict. This faction is prior to and deeper than Trump.

    When you have an intraparty fight about foreign or domestic issues, you think your rivals are wrong. When you have an intraparty fight on race, you think your rivals are disgusting. That’s what’s happening. Friendships are now ending across the right. People who supported Trump for partisan reasons now feel locked in to support him on race, and they are making themselves repellent.

    It may someday be possible to reduce the influence of white identity politics, but probably not while Trump is in office. As long as he is in power the G.O.P. is a house viciously divided against itself, and cannot stand.

  3. Jeff Beamsley says:

    more evidence to support Haitt’s prediction of long term damage to the Republican brand.

    Anderson is a smart and telegenic young Republican pollster. She has specialized in studying how the party can improve its anemic performance among the Millennial generation, which will pass the right-leaning baby boomers to become the largest generation of eligible voters in 2018.

    Anderson’s fear is that in a rapidly diversifying America, Trump is stamping the GOP as a party of white racial backlash—and that too much of the party’s base is comfortable with that. Trump’s morally stunted response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, this month unsettled her. But she was even more unnerved by polls showing that most Republican voters defended his remarks.

    Yet Anderson fears that Trump has “changed the balance in the party” by driving out those voters and absorbing more who are attracted by his winks toward white identity politics. Anderson isn’t interested in joining the Democrats, but she wonders whether “there is space that I haven’t considered before” for a centrist third-party ticket in 2020. Like the business leaders who stampeded away from Trump after Charlottesville, or the surveys showing the party’s standing collapsing among the rising Millennial generation, Anderson’s step toward the exit measures the price Republicans are paying for tolerating Trump’s serial intolerance.

  4. Keith says:

    Seeming unlike the democrats. President Clinton was impeached. Who can forget the pep rally held in his support in the rose garden?

    Changing topics.

    So let’s just support President Obama. I do. I think from these words he supports President Trump also. Do you?

    https://www.facebook.com/newlypress/videos/1877996129131426/

    2nd Q GDP 3%?

  5. Keith says:

    Republican brand in trouble? 67 times they repealed the ACA when President Obama was in office and now they can’t even come up with a plan? Of course they’re brand is suffering. They ARE PART of D.C. That much is clear. If they can’t get taxes, infrastructure or imagration done they’ll be obliterated. (A bit exaggerated)

    The Dems have lost everything since the 2008 election except President Obamas reelection. (Please forgive the very slight exaggeration) Do you think anyone cares for the Dems brand??? Just what is it? Remember I’m the guy that said throw them all out years ago. They do not represent us.

    Hope your well.

  6. Keith says:

    Both sides gear up for political fight as Trump prepares to end immigration protections for ‘dreamers’ – The Washington Post
    https://apple.news/ArSabwU7KS0G-_RtYZB_lqA

    I find Trumps position to be perfect!!! I would think everyone including dreamers and those here illegally would also. President Obamas excutive action did nothing. In fact whilst the Dems had control of all three beaches of government, why didn’t THEY do something? Now Trump wants to reverse it and is actually asking congress to fix it. He doesn’t want to deport dreamers he’s asking congress to make a permanent solution. What more could a dreamer want??? In fact why doesn’t congress fix this for everyone here illegally ??? Maybe neither party wants it settled because they raise too much money off this.

  7. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Seeming unlike the democrats. President Clinton was impeached. Who can forget the pep rally held in his support in the rose garden?

    Though Clinton did commit adultery, that IS NOT a sacrilegious act as far as our public religion is concerned. MANY presidents were unfaithful husbands. Trump DID commit a sacrilegious act in claiming that you can be a “fine person” and also support racists, fascists, and white supremacists. The difference is born out in Clinton’s approval ratings. His approval ratings went up during the Lewinsky affair to the highest of his administration. Over 60% of those polled felt he was doing a good job. Trump hasn’t had a rating above 41% (using the RealClearPolitics aggregate) since May. He has been stuck below 40% for the last month and half – and it has yet to really hit the fan for him regarding all of the various investigations that are underway.

    So let’s just support President Obama. I do. I think from these words he supports President Trump also. Do you?

    https://www.facebook.com/newlypress/videos/1877996129131426/

    I don’t trust any video’s posted to facebook.

    2nd Q GDP 3%?

    The economy is doing great. Unemployment is low. There should be more evidence of wage growth than there has been, but we should see that soon too. Trump conflated his quarterly results with annual results when he said, “On a yearly basis, as you know, the last administration, during an eight-year period, never hit 3 percent.” He hasn’t hit a 3% annual GDP growth rate either (Obama did come close at 2.9% in 2015). Obama had 8 quarters with 3% or greater growth rates (four of those were 4% or greater) and you felt that Obama did a terrible job. Let’s see if Trump can sustain these good times for more than a quarter.

  8. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Both sides gear up for political fight as Trump prepares to end immigration protections for ‘dreamers’ – The Washington Post
    https://apple.news/ArSabwU7KS0G-_RtYZB_lqA

    I find Trumps position to be perfect!!! I would think everyone including dreamers and those here illegally would also.

    I agree that this should be a legislative solution. By threatening to eliminate this protection, Trump has challenged Congress to act and at the same time transferred any blame for his act from himself to Congress. While this may help him with his base, it is not going to help him with his relationship with Congress.

    President Obamas excutive action did nothing.

    In fact whilst the Dems had control of all three beaches of government, why didn’t THEY do something?

    You bias is showing. Clearly Obama’s executive action required Trump to do something. If Obama had done nothing to address the “dreamers”, this would not have been an issue for Trump.

    In fact whilst the Dems had control of all three beaches of government, why didn’t THEY do something?

    I think that they were busy saving the world from economic meltdown, passing healthcare reform, and passing financial reform. By the time they got done with that, Dems lost their majority in the House and Republicans refused to cooperate on any bi-partisan immigration reform bills.

    But your partisan statement DOES beg the question. Why did Trump have to threaten to remove protection for “dreamers” in order to get Congress to act? Don’t Republicans control everything? They would certainly have the support of Democrats if they wanted to pass a bill protecting “dreamers”. Why didn’t the Trump administration simply propose legislation to protect “dreamers” rather than threaten to remove their protection?

    He doesn’t want to deport dreamers he’s asking congress to make a permanent solution. What more could a dreamer want??? In fact why doesn’t congress fix this for everyone here illegally ??? Maybe neither party wants it settled because they raise too much money off this.

    Let’s wait until he actually announces his plans and see what sort of spin he puts on this. During the campaign he promised to “immediately terminate President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration” and “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants” meaning DACA. After he got elected, he promised to do something to help “dreamers” using language every similar to what we heard him say about healthcare.

    IMHO this is more evidence of an unprincipled political neophyte who is in way over his head. He painted himself into a political corner with his campaign statements. He squandered what little political capital he had on meaningless fights with the media, the intelligence community, his own staff, his own party, and democrats. Now he is left in a weakened state where anything that he does is going to upset somebody, but the issues of the country continue to flood the White House. As Charlie Patton, Memphis Minnie, and Led Zeppelin have famously said,

    Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
    Now, cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
    When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Republican brand in trouble? 67 times they repealed the ACA when President Obama was in office and now they can’t even come up with a plan? Of course they’re brand is suffering. They ARE PART of D.C. That much is clear. If they can’t get taxes, infrastructure or imagration done they’ll be obliterated. (A bit exaggerated)

    Very different to have a political issue with a party, and to feel that a party is taboo. That’s the difference here. Millennials are not the single largest voting block in this country. They are also the most socially inclusive group in this country. They are the largest supporters of LGBT rights in the country, for example. Just like an African American would never vote for David Dukes and the KKK, Millennials and the younger iGeneration may NEVER vote for another Republican because of Trump’s cozy relationship with racists.

    The Dems have lost everything since the 2008 election except President Obamas reelection. (Please forgive the very slight exaggeration) Do you think anyone cares for the Dems brand??? Just what is it? Remember I’m the guy that said throw them all out years ago. They do not represent us.

    They may not represent YOU, but they did manage to get a majority of the popular vote in seven of the last eight national elections. Republicans did make significant gains since 2010, but I think we are at about the end of that cycle. The wonderful thing about democracy is that there is always another election. If Democrats make significant gains in 2018, you are going to have to come up with some other excuse to support your claim that the nation “wants” to be conservative.

  10. Keith says:

    My point wasn’t the country wanting republicans. My point was they have rejected democrats. Clearly and in historic proportion…

    Again Jeff. Do not confuse our conversation with republican verse democrat. Pro Trump verse against Trump.

    The republicans are pathetic. However less pathetic then Dems. I can’t full throat endorse either. What I would hope you can get your arms around is we have what we have and we should try to get at minimum some things done. Immigration reform among them!!! Unfortunately it’s my belief neither side will be the side that goes to the middle to get it done.

    Meaning republicans I doubt will give blanket citizenship or amnisty unless maybe, and I doubt, they get a wall. Dems will never go along with a identification with heavy fines and without the right to vote. In both cases it’s better then what we have. But I doubt better then what we have will do it. I’m hopeful Trump will.

  11. Jeff Beamsley says:

    My point wasn’t the country wanting republicans. My point was they have rejected democrats. Clearly and in historic proportion…

    Maybe clearly to you. Republicans LOST the popular vote in the last national election. They LOST seats in both the House and the Senate in the last national election.

    None the less, Republicans GAINED control of the government by winning the White House and so far have FAILED to pass any meaningful legislation.

    The reality is that polls show that there is still strong support among self-described Republicans for the current administration. But at the same time, you have long-term Republican Reps and Senators who are announcing their retirement. Why would they do this if they felt that the next election would be a cake-walk? And these are people in districts or states where Trump won and we’re still a year away from the election. But all these people are stepping down for the same reasons. First, they are concerned that they might lose. Two, taboo. They don’t want their future career defined as “Trump supporter”. Stepping away now gives them cover for the inevitable purge that will occur when the whole Trump phenomena ultimately collapses.

    What I would hope you can get your arms around is we have what we have and we should try to get at minimum some things done. Immigration reform among them!!! Unfortunately it’s my belief neither side will be the side that goes to the middle to get it done.

    It is amazing that you still trust that Trump can get anything done. His willingness to do a deal with the Democrats, though interesting, is demonstration of how weak and short sighted he is. Why would Ryan and McConnell trust him at this point? Why would they propose any future legislation when Trump can swoop in with Democratic votes in hand to “make a deal” that undercuts them?

    Democrats are going to push to get DACA ratified in December with the next debt ceiling increase. Dems will also get something passed to patch Obamacare. NOTHING else of substance is going to happen between now and then. Republicans will try to get something going on taxes, but that will collapse of its own weight because of the conflicts within the Republican party itself. Instead everyone is going to be focused on hurricane relief, the very real risk that the Trump administration will again demonstrate that it isn’t up to running the government, and the continued drip-drip-drip of the Mueller investigation.

    BTW – hope you noticed that Bannon certainly considers the Comey firing material. He told 60 minutes that it was the greatest political mistake of the modern era. Perhaps he and Trump’s new attorney should talk. 🙂

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/us/politics/steve-bannon-60-minutes-interview.html

  12. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I’m all for bi-partisanship. But that’s not the question that Rasmussen (who has a right wing bias) asked.

    Here’s what they asked.

    1* Should President Trump continue to rely on congressional Republicans to pass his agenda, or should he reach out more to Democrats in Congress for help?

    2* Is it good or bad for the country if President Trump works with congressional Democrats to advance his agenda if Republicans in Congress fail to act?

    If the question had said that a majority of the nation would prefer that Trump work with Democrats to find areas of compromise which would benefit the country, I would be more excited.

    The way the question was asked, however, suggests that Trump somehow convinced Democrats who have otherwise been opposed to pretty much everything that he has proposed, to change their minds. The debt ceiling deal, for example, was NOT his idea. He agreed to a deal OFFERED by Democrats.

    I would be very happy to see him agree to more deals offered by Democrats or to negotiate with Democrats to find middle ground between what the Republican party wants and what the Democratic party wants, but that’s not what this question asked.

    It’s hard to say whether those who were asked this questions were saying that they wanted to see more bi-partisanship or that they just wanted to see more of the Trump agenda passed. As a result, there really isn’t much of substance that you can take away from it other than that people would like to see a President who actually got something done. To that end, I think we are all in agreement.

  13. Keith says:

    DECA ???

  14. Jeff Beamsley says:

    DECA ???

    You mean DACA? Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

    Funniest thing. The guy is supposed to be a deal maker. He makes a couple of deals that some of his supporters don’t like and all of a sudden, they aren’t so sure about this guy.

    He can collude with the Russians.

    He can obstruct justice.

    He can have more conflicts of interest than the previous 44 presidents combined.

    He can tell more lies than all those guys too.

    He can cozy up to white supremacists, neo-Nazi’s, and racists.

    But make a deal to keep the dreamers here in this country? Nope that is bridge too far. 🙂

  15. Keith says:

    You go too far Jeff. I’ll just grab one of your points above. Where is the collusion with the Russians. You are guessing/hoping but you don’t know that. I am for immagration reform!!!! Let’s fix it!!! I like the hypothetical deal the Dems and Trump made.

    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Dreamers-Accuse-Pelosi-Other-Dems-of-Deportation-445419613.html

    I find this interesting. So the left says Trump has caused the white supremacist to feel comfortable enough to show their faces in public. I say the left has made people here illegally comfortable enough they make demands of our government.

  16. Keith says:

    Do you see how the extremes are winning and the right casts the left in this light and the left casts the right in this light also. This has to stop!!!!!

  17. Keith says:

    I believe if left alone Shumar and Trump can get a lot done. Much like Clinton and Gingrich.

  18. Jeff Beamsley says:

    You go too far Jeff. I’ll just grab one of your points above. Where is the collusion with the Russians. You are guessing/hoping but you don’t know that.

    Every day brings us new information regarding the involvement of the Trump campaign with Russians. Today we learned that Manafort was actually wiretapped before and after the election. This was a FISA order which means that the FBI had to go to court and convince a judge that there was sufficient evidence to support the investigative action.

    Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.

    I predicted that Mueller’s investigation would produce indictments. It appears that Manafort and Flynn are probably the first two who will get an opportunity to trade testimony for immunity. Then we’ll see how far this investigation goes.

    I am for immagration reform!!!! Let’s fix it!!! I like the hypothetical deal the Dems and Trump made.

    I am for reform too. Trump has vacillated wildly since this “deal” was announced. Let’s see where he lands first before we give him credit.

    I find this interesting. So the left says Trump has caused the white supremacist to feel comfortable enough to show their faces in public. I say the left has made people here illegally comfortable enough they make demands of our government.

    IMHO, here is the only way that these things are related. Everyone in this country is protected by the First Amendment – not just citizens. That means that both the KKK who are taboo and illegal aliens who are simply at risk of being deported can both voice their opinions without fear of being imprisoned for what they have said.

  19. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Do you see how the extremes are winning and the right casts the left in this light and the left casts the right in this light also. This has to stop!!!!!

    Curious what you regard as extreme and how you suggest it be stopped.

  20. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I believe if left alone Shumar and Trump can get a lot done. Much like Clinton and Gingrich.

    I believe that Schumer will take advantage of this small window to get a few things done. I believe that Trump doesn’t trust anyone while at the same time desperately needing the approval of everyone. As a result, he obsessively destroys every relationship he has. In this way he protects himself from being hurt by someone who may betray his trust. He also takes sadistic pleasure in taking advantage of those who trust him. He forces them to pledge their loyalty to him, then he publicly criticizes them for being vulnerable and weak. This is classic abusive behavior. In the end, he doesn’t really care about people. The only thing he cares about is that they are sufficiently afraid of him that they will obey and do their best to stay in his good graces.

    IMHO he is a sad sick lonely man who desperately wants to loved but can’t bring himself to admit that he loves anyone or anything. That’s because deep down he knows that he is a phony. But he has constructing this colossal personality to protect his fragile infantile ego. For him the world is a game of winners and losers, where he has to be the winner. If he ever admitted to himself that he lost, his world would come crashing down. That’s why he has surrounded himself with people who tell him every day what a wonderful brilliant person he is. It is this delusion which ultimately makes him very dangerous.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/16/politics/trump-anger/index.html

  21. Keith says:

    You are very presumptuous with what Trump thinks my friend.

    Again, following your lead with Hillary, you don’t KNOW anything. You are guessing. (You may be correct but as of today, nothing)

    Also remember Clinton was a lonely man in the White House. He had zero friends

  22. Keith says:

    So Trump WAS wiretapped…..

  23. Jeff Beamsley says:

    You are very presumptuous with what Trump thinks my friend.

    That’s why I preface those sections with IMHO. But I think that you would have to admit that his behavior in office is very different from any other President in modern history. Also you have to admit that his complete disregard for the truth is challenging to our system of government.

    Again, following your lead with Hillary, you don’t KNOW anything. You are guessing. (You may be correct but as of today, nothing)

    The investigations have so far turned up a lot of interesting stuff. What we don’t know is how far this will go.

    Here’s some of the things that we DO know.

    1. Russians did intervene in our election in an attempt to discredit Clinton.
    2. Both Manafort and Flynn failed to report their business dealings with foreigners as required by law.
    3. Russians were able to get a meeting with DT Jr., Manafort, and Kushner by offering damaging information on Clinton.
    4. Trump fired Comey because he refused to stop his Flynn investigation after initially suggesting it was because of something else.

    There are a few other things that we strongly suspect are true because of the surrounding evidence.

    1. There was a deal in play to build a Trump-branded property in Moscow that started before Trump announced his candidacy and continued through his campaign
    2. DT jr. stated that there was a lot of Russian money flowing through the Trump organization prior to the election.
    3. Trump continues to personally benefit from both foreign and US government spending at his properties
    4. Kushner’s sister offered to fast track special visa’s for Chinese investors in some Kushner projects.
    5. Trump personally authored DT Jr.’s response to the story about the Russian meeting. That was the letter that said the meeting was about Russian adoptions rather than obtaining damaging material on Clinton.

    In the case of Clinton, you continue to deny the facts of the case after the investigation concluded because of YOUR suspicions and personal political bias.

    In this case, we don’t know how far this will go because Mueller hasn’t released any indictments yet. What we DO know is how past investigations of Presidents have gone. Past investigations REQUIRED sworn testimony of lower level insiders to build a case against the President and those closest to him. We we are SEEING is evidence that Manafort may be one of the early targets because the FBI raided his house AND we now have discovered that there was a FISA court agreement to monitor his conversations. We don’t know if Manafort has information that would be damaging to Trump. We don’t know if Manafort is going to be willing to make a deal with Mueller. But we will know both of those things at some point in the future.

    In short, this is VERY FAR from “nothing”.

    Also remember Clinton was a lonely man in the White House. He had zero friends

    Simply not true. David Kendall, Leon Panetta, Vernon Jordan, Al Gore, James Carville, and Hillary were all very close friends of Bill through out his administration and stuck with him through the Lewinsky scandal.

  24. Jeff Beamsley says:

    So Trump WAS wiretapped….

    The FBI got two FISA court warrants to monitor SOME of Manafort’s conversation. The first was because of Manafort’s undisclosed foreign involvements. The second was part of the FBI’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

    BTW, weren’t you the guy who said that you weren’t concerned about domestic surveillance during the Bush administration because you had nothing to hide? The Bush surveillance was illegal because it didn’t use the FISA courts. How do you feel about it now?

    We (including you) don’t know if any of those monitored conversations included Trump. Most likely, they were conversations between Manafort and foreigners. If Trump WAS involved in any of those conversations directly, or was informed by Manafort about those conversations, that could be the smoking gun that brings all of this down. That’s because among other things, Trump, his campaign, and his administration have sought to distance themselves from Manafort since he was fired. Yet there are also reports that Manafort and Trump continued to speak on even after the eleciton.

    Also there is no evidence that Trump’s offices were bugged, which is the substance of his original claim. Manafort was the target of this particular investigation, not Trump.

    Here’s a more detailed article if you are concerned about the details. Clearly Brietbart is not.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/does-the-latest-manafort-news-vindicate-trumps-wiretap-claim/540321/

    Finally, earlier this month, Trump’s own Justice Department said in a court filing that it had no evidence for his claim. “Both FBI and [the National Security Division] confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” a motion said.

  25. Keith says:

    “The FBI got two FISA court warrants to monitor SOME of Manafort’s conversation.”

    How is this public knowledge?

  26. Keith says:

    If trump was recorded in these conversations, which it is not a lot to assume, then he WAS correct he was wire tapped.

  27. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Neither party represents the majority.

    Shouldn’t you preface that statement by and “in my opinion”.

    If by “majority”, you mean a majority of the national vote, you’re correct. Democrats won a plurality of public vote but didn’t secure 51% because of third party candidates. But clearly we aren’t a majority-rules system. So I’m not sure what you mean by your comment.

  28. Jeff Beamsley says:

    “The FBI got two FISA court warrants to monitor SOME of Manafort’s conversation.”

    How is this public knowledge?

    CNN broke the story. Somebody familiar with the investigation, likely someone from the FBI, told CNN. CNN was able to get that story corroborated by enough other people, also like from the FBI, that they felt confident in running it. The White House has said nothing to challenge this.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/18/politics/paul-manafort-government-wiretapped-fisa-russians/index.html

  29. Keith says:

    It’s simple Jeff. first take off you partisan hat. Most democrats I know and republican as well will tell you neither party represents them. In election we had, mostly, two choices. So you pull the lever for or the other. That doesn’t mean “they represent you.” I’m sure you understand this.

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.theblaze.com/news/2017/09/18/new-study-shows-why-college-students-cant-handle-free-speech/amp/

  30. Jeff Beamsley says:

    If trump was recorded in these conversations, which it is not a lot to assume, then he WAS correct he was wire tapped.

    That’s true. But that’s not what he said. Here’s what he tweeted.

    Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

    Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

    I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

    He said that he personally was the object of surveillance ordered by Obama.

    The investigation that occurred as a follow up to that claim discovered that was no evidence to support the claim. The Obama administration can’t order eaves-dropping on their own. They have to engage the FBI. Then the FBI has to go to a FISA court and get a warrant. There is no evidence that any of this occurred regarding Trump.

    You also completely ignore my second point. The ONLY reason that the FBI would be able to obtain a warrant for Manafort was if they had reason to believe that Manafort was breaking the law by somehow getting foreign interests involved in the election. THOSE are the only conversations/email/etc. that FBI was authorized to intercept. If Trump was on one of those calls, it IMMEDIATELY raises the question of why both Manafort and Trump were talking to foreigners on the same phone call. I personally don’t think that Trump is that stupid, because he was smart enough to send everyone out of the room when he pressured Comey to drop the investigation. But I could be wrong. 🙂

  31. Jeff Beamsley says:

    It’s simple Jeff. first take off you partisan hat. Most democrats I know and republican as well will tell you neither party represents them. In election we had, mostly, two choices. So you pull the lever for or the other. That doesn’t mean “they represent you.” I’m sure you understand this.

    You attempted to use this “most people I know” validation before.

    I agree. This should not be a partisan exercise, but it also should not be an anecdotal one either. We have polling data and we have voting data.

    The Gallup polling data says that 28% of those polled identify as Republicans, 41% identify as Independents, and 28% identify as Democrats

    http://news.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

    In the last election 46% voted for Trump, 48% voted for Clinton, and 6% voted for somebody else.

    I have no sympathy for those who complain that they don’t have the choice that they would like and it is somehow the fault of the candidates who are running. We get the government that we vote for. If you don’t like the major candidates, vote for a minor candidate. If you don’t like the minor candidates, write your own name down on the ballot. Democracy DOES NOT guarantee that you will ultimately be represented by the person you voted for. It simply guarantees that the person who receives the most electoral votes will have the responsibility of representing EVERYONE.

    The other thing that the polling data and election data show is that most of the people to claim they are independent still vote for mainstream party candidates. What that tells me is that they feel free to choose either party. That’s fine, but it certainly doesn’t appear to be the actions of a voter who feels that neither party has anything to offer to them.

  32. Keith says:

    Because people vote for one or the other. Which devil to they hate more and choose the opposite. This was absolutely the case with Trump.

    My democrat & republican friends, aquantinces, etc, mostly all, except far left progressives and far far right folks, agree with a form of the following. (And I’ve had many many many conversations)

    The 12 million here illegally can stay. They get some sort of ID and pay a fine. They will be perminate residents but will not be citizens and will not vote. Yes taxation without representation for those who illegally came. Their offspring will be citizens. Problem easily solved.

    SS is going bankrupt. Raise the age to 69. Those currently over 50 are fine a scale upwards to 69 after that. Tie increases to chained CPI. Those with incomes in excess of $300k get zero SS. Problem solved.

    The $4 – 8 million who really need health insurance get it, FREE with block grant to the states! Prexisistimg gets it also though they pay.

    Everyone will pay a minimum of 5% federal taxes. There will be lower rates and there will be higher rates up to 45 or 50% but that will be on income way way up there. $400k should not be tax as $400 million.

    Govt spend will be stopped. Test will be put In Place on what gets spent. Undefined for time this morning.

    Business tax rates will come down so we are competitive.

    Repatriation of off shore trillion will occur at lower rates. Who better to have that cash, us or some other nation to use?

    Simple problems, simple solutions that everyone except the far left and far far right would rally around.

  33. Jeff Beamsley says:

    The 12 million here illegally can stay. They get some sort of ID and pay a fine. They will be perminate residents but will not be citizens and will not vote. Yes taxation without representation for those who illegally came. Their offspring will be citizens. Problem easily solved.

    No problem with that. This is pretty much the situation that we had under Obama, with the exception of the ID. I think you could easily add that if one of these people breaks the law in some violent way, they get deported.

    SS is going bankrupt. Raise the age to 69. Those currently over 50 are fine a scale upwards to 69 after that. Tie increases to chained CPI. Those with incomes in excess of $300k get zero SS. Problem solved.

    I’m not sure that this solves the problem, but if you’ve got some data that supports your claim that this stabilizes the system, I’m happy to look at it. I would add that we take the income cap off SS taxes, but have no problem with your other suggestions. Many more people these days are waiting until 70 to claim their benefits because they can.

    The $4 – 8 million who really need health insurance get it, FREE with block grant to the states! Prexisistimg gets it also though they pay.

    Nope not with you on this one. This was essentially the ACA plan. Extend Medicaid to the working poor. 19 states refused the program because, when it is a block grant, they can.

    Everyone will pay a minimum of 5% federal taxes. There will be lower rates and there will be higher rates up to 45 or 50% but that will be on income way way up there. $400k should not be tax as $400 million.

    Not with you on that either. One of the most successful programs for the working poor is the earned income tax credit. The bottom line is that it is expensive to be poor in this country. The poor are already paying a disproportionate share of their income to FICA and other flat taxes. I agree with higher rates for the wealthy. Don’t see any value in high rates for the poor.

    Govt spend will be stopped. Test will be put In Place on what gets spent. Undefined for time this morning.

    Unless you are willing to take on defense spending, it doesn’t matter. If you are willing to scale our defense spending back to levels comparable with the rest of the industrialized world, then I’m willing to have this conversation.

    Business tax rates will come down so we are competitive.

    Our business tax rates ARE competitive because the EFFECTIVE rate of many of the largest companies is zero. Big companies have SO many opportunities to reduce or eliminate their taxes that we have to start there. Just one example is to require companies to commit to the cost of a their exit from a community of they take big tax breaks up front to locate a plant there. This claim that we aren’t competitive is BS. There is PLENTY of evidence to support the case, at least on a statewide basis, that lower taxes DO NOT generate higher revenues. Simple economics supports view that businesses invest where they have an opportunity to make a profit. Their profit is determined by MANY more things than what they pay in taxes.

    Repatriation of off shore trillion will occur at lower rates. Who better to have that cash, us or some other nation to use?

    This is a tax code issue, not a rate issue. We ALLOW companies to park their money off shore because we allow companies to lobby for special changes in the tax code that benefit them. If we can figure out how to get corporate money out of politics, or at least make it more difficult for politicians to pass these small hidden tax deals for corporations, we would go a lot further toward resolving the problem.

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