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American Politics Thread

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AOC said something yesterday on Insta live that implied that there is more going on than is being told.
Other Democrats appear to be dropping some not-so-subtle hints.


View: https://twitter.com/sarahnferris/status/1349416291740897282?s=20
 
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Other Democrats appear to be dropping some not-so-subtle hints.


View: https://twitter.com/sarahnferris/status/1349416291740897282?s=20
Yeah it’s sounding like some members of Congress may have been in on it. Things like Lauren Boebert live tweeting Pelosi’s location during lockdown back that up.
 
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192 Republicans in Congress: Fascism is cool, actually

I strongly think that Trump might have a mental disorder that swaps right and wrong, so what he thinks is right is actually wrong.
That's pretty unlikely, there's no recorded mental illness that works like that. And we can see that Trump does at least know societal norms about right and wrong- he regularly demonized immigrants as "rapists that love to kill people", and BLM protesters as "violent rioters and looters", and he repeatedly said that "I'm the least racist person ever". So it'd be really weird for him to believe that rape, murder, violence, etc. was actually all moral, and the entire world around him was mistaken in believing otherwise.

If you'll excuse a bit of moral philosophizing on my part, the thing about good and evil is that nobody ever wants evil for evil's sake. Evil can come from hatred of others, a misguided belief, a desire for personal benefit, etc. The closest we could get to evil for evil's sake is people who hurt others for their own entertainment, but even that doesn't justify itself as "actually the right thing", and they don't believe that it'd be good to maximize their actions in the same way people will argue to maximize good actions in utilitarianism. Slaveowners were horrible to the people they enslaved, but they didn't take every opportunity to make their lives even worse than they already had, because they weren't doing it because they believed doing bad things to them was just like doing good things for others. They committed those atrocities because it was profitable to them.

To me, it seems like Trump's evil actions are, sadly, fueled by common desires, attacking people who he feels slighted him and trying to get more political power. It's possible he has some issue that contributes to him acting like that- Mary Trump described him as "the only person who can gaslight himself", so maybe he's managed to make himself buy into the election lies But he's not doing this because he believes that anything evil is actually good, he's doing it because he's managed to justify it to himself.

It's also worth remembering that Trump's actions are only allowed to go so far because of the people that enable him. The Republicans that supported him as candidate despite attacking him before he got the nomination, because it helped their party get ahead, the representatives that don't hold him accountable for his actions, because they're worried about their own careers if he wrote a mean tweet about them, the press secretaries that continue to spout off lies because they like their cushy jobs, the conservative outlets that defend him for ratings and the social media outlets that keep him on for clicks- one man's personality can't justify all that.

Plus, there's a lot of people with mental disorders- even those that can affect behavior and beliefs about the world- that still work to be good people. While I know this definitely wasn't your intention, I feel like the common argument that "Trump's like this because of some mental issue" ultimately just demonizes the mentally ill more while almost letting Trump off the hook.
 
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192 Republicans in Congress: Fascism is cool, actually
That's pretty unlikely, there's no recorded mental illness that works like that. And we can see that Trump does at least know societal norms about right and wrong- he regularly demonized immigrants as "rapists that love to kill people", and BLM protesters as "violent rioters and looters", and he repeatedly said that "I'm the least racist person ever". So it'd be really weird for him to believe that rape, murder, violence, etc. was actually all moral, and the entire world around him was mistaken in believing otherwise.

Plus, there's a lot of people with mental disorders- even those that can affect behavior and beliefs about the world- that still work to be good people. While I know this definitely wasn't your intention, I feel like the common argument that "Trump's like this because of some mental issue" ultimately just demonizes the mentally ill more while almost letting Trump off the hook.
Considering his words before he was even elected with "locker room talk," I think he's still think his morals are out of whack regardless of anything. I still kinda want the brain scan though just too even if there is no mental disorder just to see consider how little marbles he has left.

But yeah, I should really should've thought before I type that. Curiosity killed the cat I guess.
 
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I saw a bit of Trump's video on ABC News (here in Australia) and I was pretty shocked. There are two problems with what he said in the video.

1) He said freedom of speech was under attack. What about attacks on the First Amendment like freedom of the press and freedom of speech. He attacked outlets that was critical of him, calling it "fake news" and "lamestream" media (even though the First Amendment protects freedom of the press), while many in the so-called "alternative media" (like InfoWars) got off scot-free for perpetuating Donald Trump's lies (I read somewhere that Trump lied on average 50 times a day during his Presidency, but that was rarely mentioned in the pro-Trump "alternative media"). And he denied people (mostly on the left and centre) their right to freedom of speech, and his goons attacked them when they were practicing their free speech.

2) He condemned the violence at the Capitol, saying his supporters would never do it. Trump encouraged the attacks on the Capitol, even excusing them (the MAGA extremists) for their horrific crimes. And Trump egged them on, saying he will be with them when they (the MAGA extremists) attack the Capitol. And he said it at a rally BEFORE the attack near the Capitol.

I have absolutely no sympathy for Trump who brought this second impeachment upon himself, and I don't think many people on the forums have any sympathy for Trump, especially after what happened last week at the Capitol.

I feel that a lot of people on the forums would want to expand on what I have just said, and some may have seen the whole video. So if you wish to expand on what I said, then please expand.
 
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If you'll excuse a bit of moral philosophizing on my part, the thing about good and evil is that nobody ever wants evil for evil's sake. Evil can come from hatred of others, a misguided belief, a desire for personal benefit, etc. The closest we could get to evil for evil's sake is people who hurt others for their own entertainment, but even that doesn't justify itself as "actually the right thing", and they don't believe that it'd be good to maximize their actions in the same way people will argue to maximize good actions in utilitarianism. Slaveowners were horrible to the people they enslaved, but they didn't take every opportunity to make their lives even worse than they already had, because they weren't doing it because they believed doing bad things to them was just like doing good things for others. They committed those atrocities because it was profitable to them.
Maybe but Trump feels very much like the exception to that rule. If you don't believe he could be evil for the sake of evil, the only thing that explains the more headscratching aspects is that he is the epitome of too dumb to live and would have been claimed by Darwin if not for Presidential perks or his money.

So really it's the whole pick your poison. Would you rather be seen as pure evil or top contender for the Darwin Award?:)

No really being rich and in charge mean that while you can get away with being extremely selfish, statically speaking even the richest and most powerful among us at some point has to give or have given in order to get what they want.

Anyone else with a similar lack of morals for example sure as Hell wouldn't:

1. Publically state that they would lets say dating a family member if the relation was non-existant.

2. Be wishy washy on the public question of denouncing white supremacy. Anyone else in Trump's place would either be ballsy and admit that yes they would or deliver lie outdoing a Shakespeare performance stating a direct "I denounce them entirely and have no use for them in my country".


But then if any other President made a casual incestuous comment or refrained from denouncing white supremacy? They would have be eaten alive.

To me, it seems like Trump's evil actions are, sadly, fueled by common desires, attacking people who he feels slighted him and trying to get more political power. It's possible he has some issue that contributes to him acting like that- Mary Trump described him as "the only person who can gaslight himself", so maybe he's managed to make himself buy into the election lies But he's not doing this because he believes that anything evil is actually good, he's doing it because he's managed to justify it to himself.
How exactly does dismissing the serious threat of the Coronavirus/Covid be profitable? That and his lack of concern for the environment is 100% like the Evo-Villains of Captain Planet who purposefully were harming the environment even to the point where profit isn't part of the equation.

I'm willing to consider most of what I typed up to this point in the post to be opinion based (just opinions that are right:)).

But Fact Number 1. There are people who follow him even though prior to the riot that many died in 2020 because he dismissed the precautions.

If Trump actually showed common sense and demanded that people wear masks and kept a distance as much as possible (making it punishable by law), his most devoted follower would have happily done so and possibly even policing those still not complying.

I said it before when Biden was declared the new President and I'll say it again and this is Fact Number 2.

If Trump showed some smarts and actually took the pandemic serious, his second term for Presidency would have been a 100% sure. Taking command, saving lives and doing so before the virus had a chance to mutate would have meant many Trump supporters would be around to support him and whilexI can't guarantee my stance or some of the familes' stance against him changing, yes some democrats in good faith would actually vote for him. As opposed to you know some of the votes for Biden being former Trump supporters.

Not even sorry. Any other President in a similar place and lack of morals would still have treated the Coronavirus as a serious manner even if it was for selfish reasons of securing power.

No really when such a thing puts your own allies or supporters what did Trump have to gain? Cause even before the election the guy was loosing some respect from Republicans who voted him in the first term.
 
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If you don't believe he could be evil for the sake of evil, the only thing that explains the more headscratching aspects is that he is the epitome of too dumb to live and would have been claimed by Darwin if not for Presidential perks or his money.

So really it's the whole pick your poison. Would you rather be seen as pure evil or top contender for the Darwin Award?:)
I mean, I know stupid people exist, and I've yet to see anyone that just loves evil for evil's sake, so naturally I'm more inclined to believe that stupidity factors more into Trump's behavior than somehow being the only person who loves evil and just wants to maximize it.
No really being rich and in charge mean that while you can get away with being extremely selfish, statically speaking even the richest and most powerful among us at some point has to give or have given in order to get what they want.
I'd argue that being the richest probably has a direct correlation with giving less. (Also don't really understand how this is connecting to your other points)
1. Publically state that they would lets say dating a family member if the relation was non-existant.
Going with the "evil for evil's sake" theory, Trump said "I'd date Ivanka if she weren't my daughter" because it was a gross thing to say, and he wanted to make his daughter and the audience feel gross about hearing it, because that's "good" in his opinion. But if that's his goal, why is it just the one time? Why doesn't he constantly make gross statements to maximize the effect?

If we consider that Trump is acting selfishly and without consideration of others- Trump sees women in terms of sex appeal, and he wants to make himself seem like a playboy who gets all these young women. So he makes the creepy comment as a way to boast about it and "compliment" Ivanka.

2. Be wishy washy on the public question of denouncing white supremacy. Anyone else in Trump's place would either be ballsy and admit that yes they would or deliver lie outdoing a Shakespeare performance stating a direct "I denounce them entirely and have no use for them in my country".
Even outright racists know better than to blatantly say they're white supremacists, that's why we get new groups and symbols like the Proud Boys, because they realize that the groups like KKK are unpopular, and they want to win people over to their side.

Trump's given direct statements plenty of times, actually; it just always happens right after he dogwhistles to/praises them, and it's always clearly a statement written by someone else, so nobody bothers paying attention to the blatant lie.

Like I said before, Trump's actions are also affected by those around him. Look at all the Republicans that defend Trump every time he's called out for supporting white supremacists- do you honestly think they all love evil for evil's sake, or that they're all this stupid? Believing that they're all trying to benefit themselves by defending Trump seems way more reasonable to me.
But then if any other President made a casual incestuous comment or refrained from denouncing white supremacy? They would have be eaten alive.
I mean, several presidents owned slaves, Ronald Reagan called African delegates "monkeys", and they're still widely revered, so I think you're being a little optimistic.
How exactly does dismissing the serious threat of the Coronavirus/Covid be profitable? That and his lack of concern for the environment is 100% like the Evo-Villains of Captain Planet who purposefully were harming the environment even to the point where profit isn't part of the equation.
Because taking it seriously means taking accountability, admitting a mistake, and diverting resources to help people. Trump was too vain to admit that he was wrong, so he downplayed the virus so that he could pretend to his base that it wasn't such a big deal, just like he said. He didn't want to spend time that could be spent watching TV or golfing on listening to briefings or thinking of how to solve the problem.

If Trump was evil for evil's sake, he'd never have made that single tweet about mask-wearing, because he would have actively wanted to prevent people from wearing masks. The reality is that whether or not he cares about people wearing masks is directly related to how he thinks it'll make him appear to his base. He didn't want people to think he wasn't facing a big issue, so he downplayed the virus and told people that wearing masks was optional. When people started making more of a fuss, he put out that "masks are patriotic" tweet to make himself look good. And then when that died down, he went back to "masks are debatable".

Lack of concern for the environment is even simpler- Trump's not going to be here when the effects come home to roost. He's in his 70s. It's the same as it is with all the CEOs who profit from carbon emissions- they won't personally suffer from it, and they'll make money off it, so they'll do it. In Trump's case, his benefit is to appeal to his base more, because they're already well-established as people that dislike regulations and environmentalism. (And bonus points if it happened under Obama)

If the goal was to just destroy the environment because he thought that was a good thing, why leave it at just undoing regulations? Why not require more damaging behavior instead?

Fact Number 1. There are people who follow him even though prior to the riot that many died in 2020 because he dismissed the precautions.

If Trump actually showed common sense and demanded that people wear masks and kept a distance as much as possible (making it punishable by law), his most devoted follower would have happily done so and possibly even policing those still not complying.
Yeah, that's not something I dispute at all. (Except the "making it punishable by law" thing, I doubt that could be done in an executive order) What I'm arguing is that Trump didn't choose not to do this because he loves evil and actively wanted those people to die- he blew off the pandemic because of apathy.
Not even sorry. Any other President in a similar place and lack of morals would still have treated the Coronavirus as a serious manner even if it was for selfish reasons of securing power.
Just like they did for the homelessness crisis, for people dying from a lack of healthcare, for victims of gun violence, for people in the wake of Hurricane Maria... the list goes on. The trouble is, people in power have always been willing to put their own financial interests over the well-being of others. And while COVID doesn't have its own NRA or healthcare industry or military industrial complex lobbying for it, the fact that politicians could rally against COVID guidelines instead of being expected to give financial aide gave them incentive to enable Trump's apathy.
No really when such a thing puts your own allies or supporters what did Trump have to gain? Cause even before the election the guy was loosing some respect from Republicans who voted him in the first term.
But not enough to make him change his mind. And if it took until corona for him to lose their respect, doesn't that further prove my point? If he was just acting for the sake of evil,


And to be clear, I'm not saying this makes Trump any less of a bad person, that it absolves him of any responsibility, etc. What I'm saying is that Trump's logic is not "This thing is bad->I like to do bad things->I want to do this", and simplifying him to a cartoon villain implies that he was just some fluke, as if he just took advantage of an otherwise-fair system and something like this wouldn't usually happen.
 
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[provisional half-formed message, poor flow]
[disclaimer / I am a political layperson, etc. etc.]

Maybe but Trump feels very much like the exception to that rule. If you don't believe he could be evil for the sake of evil, the only thing that explains the more headscratching aspects is that he is
Hey Antiyonder!
I quite agree with the framing that TechSkylander provided above.
[Also too tired to properly read the response Tech posted atm, but I also jive with the parts I skimmed.]

And I also quite agree with the ethical considerations you outlined.
I'd like to respond on how I figure President Trump is no different from most people in being aware of morals and seeing themselves as mostly in line with acting with justification,
but I don't really have the energy and motivation right now to get into it.

So... like I've done occasionally, I'm leaving a placeholder message that I'll very likely not get back to.
___
I will make some somewhat-formed comments before I go--

- statistics that are reported are quite intangible to the more automatic-modes of our brains, compared to personal, lived (anecdotal) experiences.

- I venture that, with environmental protection policies, some set of businesses somewhere is profiting from each overturning or lack of regulation, and those small-picture profits are somehow associated with and transformed variously to lobbying efforts, lawmaking decisions, political meta, and public belief (by some) that these rollbacks are all part of what's good for not just business but environment. That's not all that happens, but is probably a part of the picture.

[Really tired, just going to stream-of-conscious crapwrite]
- I am not a psychiatrist/psychologist/sociologist/etc., and while I don't think of Trump has having any particular mental disorder, it does seem clear that a huge driver is some degree of narcissism. (I have no particular desire to posit or guess at potential NPD, and frankly I don't think that is particularly important.) [Honestly, even that's not the key.]
It is also true that Trump has been, to some degree, unpredictable. However, the pattern does indeed exist that he is highly influenced by how others see him. It's important to him to be seen as successful, good, powerful.

For most people, I believe that we all have our own personalized sense of morality landscape. These morals are not just shaped by a sense of fairness and desire for good and reduction of 'evil', but are also highly influenced by the social norms which we are accustomed to.

[Really tired, just going to stream-of-conscious crapwrite]

Another related topic pillar:

When you face a decision where your personal morals match up against some significant loss, you can do a combination of things?
(The loss could be severe. Your public reputation, your career (terminally), your source of income (for you, maybe family), etc etc)
- Make the moral decision, take the loss
- Make the survival decision, and take guilt [and/or] try to make it up [and/or] justify your decision

- And then there could be decisions that are less clear-cut, or less one-time. like a policy position, as an example.

Another topic:
Sometimes, how things have been done is equated to how things should be done. Eventually, the history and current meta-state of policy for any particular subject becomes the "proper" sense of way to approach a subject, within any group, or company department, or political party. Of course, this is an oversimplification, but hopefully you know what I'm getting at... It's a whole web of influences and players/agents out there.

Very shitty another point
(Trump was born into and benefited greatly (at least, in the material and privileges sense) from being part of the wealthy, cosmopolitan (wishy-washy language here) background. There are a lot of business ties associated with his family's namesake. And he's certainly been connected to politicians.) ->
But yeah, he was a political outsider. Obviously ever since his ascent to presidency, he's been a key figure and politician, and there are money ties that follow him from before he was president, but he didn't really have any substantial statesperson/lawmaking ties (that I know of, as a layperson): no prior history of lawmaking relations or work in the public sector. A whole new dynamic rose up when the 45th administration came into power, as opposed to the kind of shifting dynamics when a more established politician shifts and becomes president, still tied strongly to existing relationships.
A lot of it is centered on his populist image. And there's feedback loops going on with government actions and communication, media coverage/reporting/opinion reporting, and public beliefs/sentiment/voice.

Jumping again because I have no flow
People have different morals and degrees of adherence to their morals, and different weights on where they will bend and what would even make them bend. Also very much a reality, person A could be unscrupulous for issue A, and be an unyielding Sir Thomas More for issue B. Person B could be flip-flopped on the two issues. Repeat in different combinations for several billion people (living in different personal worlds) and a difficult-to-categorize variety of sub-issues.

I really believe that the vast majority people think of themselves as generally good. (What Techsky said. Also see chapter #1, first pages of How to Win Friends and Influence People, etc.)

For some decisions, we just justify our choices and actions.
One justification (brain can't consider full range) is that an action is a necessary means to an end.
This could be for ""bootstrap sake"" (I must protect myself, for I'm the best person for this job), or for protecting an entity that is bad in one way but net good in other ways, etc.

People don't just lie to others, people lie to themselves.

As TechSkylander mentioned, I'm assuming a relative of Trump said that DJT may be one of the rare people who can gaslight themselves [to such an extent <-- added this modifier].

Also, most people care what others think of them, even if only because it affects their actions and possibilities to you. But as mentioned before, President Trump definitely cares about how others view him.
There's some distinction between character and reputation/perception.
I'm not exactly sure of the best way to model it, but for Trump, the two are tied together. How others perceive him, his reputation, is basically how he measures his own character, in some sense.

So much so that if you openly see him as good and successful, he may literally believe with his heart (and mind) that you, too are good.
As soon as you seriously put a ding in that, even by criticizing an action he took, he'll also turn on his appraisal of you.

And with filter bubbles, people tend to get entrenched in their beliefs and influences around them.
Once he was established and poised on a certain sense of political meta, that "sense" has only gotten deeper for him. He (at least used to) watch Fox News punditry in favor over putting extra processing of unglitzy things like private presidential briefings. And there was a feedback loop among him, his favored media, and his supporters.

Possibly, to him, the policies that win him favor with his preferred media platforms and his supporters become indistinguishable (or commensurate? not sure of best pedantic logic concept here) from what surely must be good policy. The great people of America like him for X!
Surely the opposing Y policies must be terrible policies, that are associated with tearing his legacy down personally. And there's enough reasoning in the voices surrounding him that he believes in the properness of policies X and the dangers of policies Y.

There are subtleties I'm missing, but I do think that mechanism rings especially true for Trump.

[End shittily-written and un-mapped-out response]
 
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It looks like the end of Trump, and I don't just mean his political career. The Trump Organization could also be on the verge of collapse, with New York kicking his organisation out over what happened at the Capitol last week (goodbye Trump Tower), the PGA won't hold events at his golf course and he has been stripped of various honorary degrees at various universities. It looks like that at the moment, anything with the name "Trump" in it is about as popular as winning a Razzie (Trump won a Razzie in 1990 for Worst Supporting Actor).
 
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Gather round, people, I'll tell you a story
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4 more days! 4 more days! We’re almost to the end of this godforsaken era.
I hate to say it, but don't get your hopes up. Obama-era austerity and neoliberalism helped lead to Trump. A return to that headed by someone even more neoliberal than Obama is likely to lead to something even worse.
 
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