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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: où surréal côtoie

PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:50 pm
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Firstly, I'm not entirely sure who you're referring to as the "far left" – do you mean anyone to the left of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden? If so, that's a pretty broad umbrella category that pretty much takes in anyone with the vaguest commitment to social progress, from left-leaning Democrats like Elizabeth Warren to European social democrats like Bernie Sanders to actual far leftists of the Trotskyite, Anarchist, "anti-imperialist" (i.e. tankie) or more doctrinaire socialist varieties. Needless to say, those groups have a range of different reactions to Trump and Russiagate, ranging from mouth-frothing conspiracy theorising about Trump's collusion to total opposition towards Russiagate narratives. For what it's worth, Sanders himself has suggested that action should be taken against Trump as a result of the findings of the Mueller Report, and I'm guessing he very much still falls within your "far-left" designation.

One of the things Chomsky gets right is how much of a red herring Russiagate is in the bigger picture of government corruption, breaches of trust and so on – think corporate party donations, lobbying from other foreign governments such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, intelligence agencies like the NSA working against the public interest, etc. Ultimately, one thing Mueller's report has conclusively failed to establish is that Trump did not win fair and square, because, however much we might hate to admit it, he did (apart from the usual Republican gerrymandering, voter suppression and so on, which have nothing whatsoever to do with Russian internet trolls). So why criticise leftists for not falling for delusions to the contrary, for not getting sucked into partisan nonsense?

As many of us learned the hard way in 2016, predicting the outcome of elections is a mug's game, and any assertions as to what will or won't work should be taken with a grain of salt. So rather than trying to cynically figure out the best way of manipulating the voting public, I would much rather see progressive politicians run on meaningful structural change and things that will actually make people's lives better, such as reforming the health system, instituting more progressive taxation rates, winding back the cruelty of mass incarceration and putting an end to destructive overseas military interventions – because what I care about as an outside observer (and what I would care about if I weren't) is better social outcomes, not Party A beating Party B at any cost.

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pietillidie 



Joined: 07 Jan 2005


PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:58 am
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^Fair enough. That was lazy; there is a mix of views on this on the left and far left. My interest is that group which refuses to recognise the seriousness of Russia's election meddling. That ropes you in because of your stated views on this, although you may have entirely novel reasons of your own.

(For the record, I don't think anyone with serious candidacy, including Sanders and Warren, is far left. Pelosi and Biden are institutional Democrats, which probably means old right. Chomsky and friends are far left. A mix of other political forces, from more radical greens to communists, are far left. In the UK, Corbyn is old Marxian/union left supported by many on the far left. Or something like that.).

I have rephrased the below for you:

pietillidie wrote:
One aside I have for you is this: after decades of questioning the validity of elections due to interference, propaganda, gerrymandering, corporate money, etc., why are so many on the left and far left now scared to death of questioning election victories? The response to Brexit and Trump might suggest some on the left are more beholden to naked populism than to fairness and governance. Did Brexit and Trump perhaps achieve what some on the left want to achieve in a manner similar to the way they imagine achieving it?

The double standard certainly makes one question the commitment to principles such as fairness. It's as if conspiracy theorists have embarrassed people away from what are plain facts: Brexit was a farce no one understood, and a hostile foreign power interfered in the US election.

David wrote:
Ultimately, one thing Mueller's report has conclusively failed to establish is that Trump did not win fair and square, because, however much we might hate to admit it, he did (apart from the usual Republican gerrymandering, voter suppression and so on, which have nothing whatsoever to do with Russian internet trolls). So why criticise leftists for not falling for delusions to the contrary, for not getting sucked into partisan nonsense?

How do you think they were going determine the relevant 'might haves' with a confidence befitting the investigation? But by the very same token, what makes you so confident that minor tweaks in the right places at the right time don't get you a Clinton victory? What if Clinton the Forgettable were Bernie Sanders? And just when did it become anathema to consider these questions?

The fact is there was a systematic effort to influence the election by a foreign power which included mass propaganda efforts by a specialist online/social media propaganda unit, strategic criminal hacking and leaking, and efforts to groom future policy influencers. This at minimum needs to be acknowledged.

But beyond this, what also needs to be acknowledged is that Trump welcomed the interference with open arms while surrounded by a cadre of corrupt hangers-on, in a manner that would see any other politician drummed out of office with immediate effect. And, Mueller clearly documented collusion-like behaviour but deferred judgement on its criminality in a transpartisan manoeuver. (May's soft Brexit was also an effort at transpartisan compromise, although much of the poison in her chalice was brewed at her own hand). Ignoring Russian interference and Trump's welcoming thereof is far more strained than acknowledging it. Trump is so corrupt that nothing — not the embrace of foreign election interference, collusion with hostile powers, obstruction of justice, the breaking of electoral laws, the elevation of unqualified relatives to positions of power, and profiteering from office — is beyond him.

Thinking that other things are strategically more important is one thing, but deeming the known facts partisan hysteria is quite another. God love him, but virtually anything can be declared a red herring on Chomsky's geological time scale. And he's hardly going to contradict his longstanding criticism of Cold War reactionism to suddenly declare Russian intervention important; basically, he has snookered himself through the repetition of a single point for rhetorical effect. But in some contexts Russia's mischief is noteworthy in its own right, as is North Korea's or Iran's or whoever's.

Moreover, dismissing propaganda, gerrymandering and voter suppression, in addition to foreign interference, only brings us back to my question: after decades of arguing that these things invalidate elections across the world, what has suddenly made them acceptable at home for so many on the left? You'd think there would be even less tolerance of these things at home.

David wrote:
...rather than trying to cynically figure out the best way of manipulating the voting public, I would much rather see progressive politicians run on meaningful structural change and things that will actually make people's lives better, such as reforming the health system, instituting more progressive taxation rates, winding back the cruelty of mass incarceration and putting an end to destructive overseas military interventions – because what I care about as an outside observer (and what I would care about if I weren't) is better social outcomes, not Party A beating Party B at any cost.

I like those ideas, but the magic set of policies that engage change productively while providing a broad-based sense of security across party lines, sufficiently capable of overcoming populist fear and anger, remains elusive. One of the very few strategies we do have for countering populist hate mongers is to shine a spotlight on the corruption and instability that goes hand-in-hand with their narcissism.

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thesoretoothsayer 



Joined: 26 Apr 2017


PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:13 pm
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New York Times, the paper of record <snip – such terminology is uncalled for here. Thanks, BBMods.>

https://www.news.com.au/world/north-america/new-york-times-apologises-for-antisemitic-portrayal-of-trump-netanyahu-in-cartoon/news-story/b504b830d3cb14611fa773b0d6f19004
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stui magpie 

Oh the Premiership's a cakewalk


Joined: 03 May 2005
Location: preparing the Pilosocereus suppository

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:38 pm
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<snip – dealt with above. Thanks for pointing this out – BBMods.>

The cartoon itself doesn't phase me, but if Jewish people take offence to it, that's their call. I make no judgement on that.

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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: où surréal côtoie

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:32 pm
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Maybe I'm being stupid, but can someone explain to me why it's anti-Semitic? The fact that the right-wing pro-Israel lobby is upset doesn't tell us much.
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stui magpie 

Oh the Premiership's a cakewalk


Joined: 03 May 2005
Location: preparing the Pilosocereus suppository

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:09 pm
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David wrote:
Maybe I'm being stupid, but can someone explain to me why it's anti-Semitic? The fact that the right-wing pro-Israel lobby is upset doesn't tell us much.


Maybe WPT can answer that, I don't get it but cartoons have caused more carnage. ( je suis charlie) Depicting the Israeli PM as a dog, and a dachshund at that, as a guide dog for Trump, is low on taste at minimum. It doesn't offend me but I have a high tolerance level and don't see it as anti semetic, but I'm not Jewish.

Edit, I don't see the need to delete Wokko's post, it could have been edited similar to mine above. Just saying.

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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: où surréal côtoie

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:35 am
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That’d be pretty depressing, if so – the idea that Netanyahu ought to be treated with kid gloves simply because he happens to be Jewish seems like an actual instance of "political correctness gone mad". I’m not saying that all bets are off because he’s a genocidal autocrat – if he were actually drawn as a Jewish stereotype, that would be racist and indefensible – but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

My guess is that it’s partially that and partially the issue of invoking the "trope" of Israel dictating America’s foreign policy (which got Ilhan Omar in so much trouble). While there are absolutely problems with that narrative (US policy on Israel is more about its own geopolitical and economic interests than Israel’s), making any reference to it taboo makes it easy to gloss over the existence of pro-Israel lobbying groups like AIPAC and the cosy relationship between the Likud government and the US right. What’s frustrating about that is that, when every microaggression is pounced on and the perpetrator gets publicly shamed, the cycle of outrage, apologies and repercussions completely obscures the much more urgent point they were trying to make in the first place: the American establishment’s callous indifference to (and, indeed, active enabling of) the brutal suppression and killing of Palestinian civilians. Carefully policing the boundaries of discourse and ferreting out the merest hint of anti-Semitism seems like a pretty good way of stopping people from thinking or talking about that.

(PS Stui, re: Wokko’s post, no censorship or slight was intended there; this is just our usual practice with responses to inappropriate posts, both to keep the thread on topic and avoid re-quoting the original. Deletion doesn’t necessarily mean that the poster themselves did anything wrong. Hope that makes sense.)

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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: où surréal côtoie

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 10:30 am
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Meanwhile, this might seem a bit mystifying to those who don’t consume hysterical US liberal media sources, but, yes, Democrat army-general-worshipping is a real (and highly cringeworthy) phenomenon:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-left-needs-to-stop-crushing-on-the-generals/

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thesoretoothsayer 



Joined: 26 Apr 2017


PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 3:38 pm
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David wrote:
Meanwhile, this might seem a bit mystifying to those who don’t consume hysterical US liberal media sources, but, yes, Democrat army-general-worshipping is a real (and highly cringeworthy) phenomenon:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-left-needs-to-stop-crushing-on-the-generals/


Our current and next governor-generals say hi.
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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: où surréal côtoie

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 3:56 pm
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And any governor-general a future Coalition government might appoint, I dare say...
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ronrat 



Joined: 22 May 2006
Location: Thailand

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 5:09 pm
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Menwhile Trump is indignant about the horse that finished first in the Kentucky Derby being disqualified after flattening 2 other runners. Clearly never known a jockey who was a quadraplegic or died as a result of a fall caused by a another jockeys incompetence.
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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 5:45 pm
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^ Political correctness gone mad! Wink
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Pies4shaw 



Joined: 08 Oct 2007


PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 8:26 am
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https://www.theage.com.au/world/north-america/ex-prosecutors-trump-wouldve-been-charged-if-not-president-20190507-p51kpg.html
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Pies4shaw 



Joined: 08 Oct 2007


PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 3:14 pm
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https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/07/us/politics/donald-trump-taxes.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

'By the time his master-of-the-universe memoir “Trump: The Art of the Deal” hit bookstores in 1987, Donald J. Trump was already in deep financial distress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals, according to previously unrevealed figures from his federal income tax returns.

Mr. Trump was propelled to the presidency, in part, by a self-spun narrative of business success and of setbacks triumphantly overcome. He has attributed his first run of reversals and bankruptcies to the recession that took hold in 1990. But 10 years of tax information obtained by The New York Times paints a different, and far bleaker, picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition.

The data — printouts from Mr. Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, for the years 1985 to 1994 — represents the fullest and most detailed look to date at the president’s taxes, information he has kept from public view. Though the information does not cover the tax years at the center of an escalating battle between the Trump administration and Congress, it traces the most tumultuous chapter in a long business career — an era of fevered acquisition and spectacular collapse.

The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.

In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.

Over all, Mr. Trump lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years.

....

Every year from 1985 through 1994, Donald J. Trump reported a negative adjusted gross income on his tax returns. That number grew as new losses were combined with those from prior years. The New York Times previously found that Mr. Trump declared an adjusted gross income in 1995 of negative $915.7 million.

.... 1990 and 1991 represented the worst years of the period reviewed by The Times, with combined losses of $517.6 million. And over the next three years, as Mr. Trump turned over properties to his lenders to stave off bankruptcy, his core businesses lost an additional $286.9 million.

The 10-year total: $1.17 billion in losses.'


Luckily, the Marshallsea was demolished.
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Wokko Pisces

Come and take it.


Joined: 04 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 3:26 pm
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Thus destroying the narrative, again, that Trump cheated on or didn't pay his taxes. He suffered huge losses and has offset those against his future profits.

That story reads more like a leak from the Trump camp than anything. Like the previous tax return leak it shows he pays everything he owes and offsets past losses whenever possible. When you have a net worth I'm the billions you take risks and they don't always pay off. Nothing at all surprising really.

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