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#2852 Apr 21 2017 at 11:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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I've heard suggestions that he wants to run for governor and doesn't want to be tied to this shitshow.
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#2853 Apr 24 2017 at 7:38 AM Rating: Decent
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Border states don't want it, Mexico won't pay for it, no one here wants to pay for it, and now there's a 50/50 chance it'll shut down the government next week.
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#2854 Apr 24 2017 at 9:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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That's a shame. Was waiting to hear more justification of why we need a giant wall built through the desert in the middle of nowhere. Those stories are always excellent.

Smiley: popcorn
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#2855 Apr 24 2017 at 10:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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From what I read in passing last week, not a single House rep whose district would house the wall supports its construction.
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#2856 Apr 24 2017 at 4:05 PM Rating: Good
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Gosh, it's almost like the whole thing was a stupid idea.
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#2857 Apr 24 2017 at 7:22 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Not sure if you're being tongue in cheek, but are you saying that it's perfectly ok and normal for our intelligence services to spy on a presidential candidate and team, you know, just to make sure they aren't bad people or something? By that reasoning, shouldn't Clinton and her team *also* have been spied on?
Yes I'd consider that normal, and yes I'd assume Clinton likely has been given the same treatment at some point too, along with many relatives and any notable social contacts. It's basic risk assessment. You need to know who they're talking to and who are the concerns if information is inadvertently leaked.


I disagree. The determination of who is elected president is a purely political decision. The last thing a democracy needs is a secret cabal of intelligence officers gathering information on potential leaders and choosing which ones meet their criteria. That's a recipe for abuse. Which is why it's not allowed in a free society.

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You can't really turn someone away from the presidential office because they're a security risk, the best you can hope for is to at least be aware of where problems might occur, and where that information may end up going if it does get out.


So you can't actually use whatever information you gather in any sort of legal manner, but you can "be aware of where problems might occur"? What does that even mean? And who would be the arbiter of this knowledge and when/where/how to use it? I'm having a hard time seeing a distinction between this and "collecting information for later political uses". Which is what I've been saying was the motivation for this all along. The fact that we've already seen a leak of this data used to crash one member of Trump's cabinet's career, I think it's fair to say that purpose was exactly why the data was collected, and exactly why Rice has the names unmasked.

What other use could there be for collecting and preserving data about the Trump transition team? You can't actually use it legally, right? I mean, Trump's going to be president at that point, and he'll be the boss of the intelligence services at that point. The only value to doing this is to grab up what you can and then move it (leak it) outside the range of control of the guy who's going to be taking power in a few months. And that's very very very illegal. Not to mention extremely problematic from a political power perspective.

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If you're asking why this isn't an issue with the Clintons this year, I'd point out they've been around for a long time and are likely a pretty well understood problem at this point, and are probably more used to working with the intelligence community too. Whereas Trump is fresh on the scene and more of an unknown. Add in that he has a large number of social contacts and family members that are foreign nationals and I'm sure he kept the intelligence community very busy in the run-up to the election. A wire tap at some point being part of that doesn't seem at all far fetched.


It's completely far fetched. And, as far as I know, completely unheard of. Let me remind you that the entire motivation behind Watergate was a desire for the sitting president's campaign to learn information (dirt) about the other party during a presidential election. How does that differ from what you're talking about here? At the risk of repeating myself, this is actually worse, since actual official national security resources were used (abused?) to do the spying, while in Watergate the collection itself was done by off books operatives. There was illegal breaking and entering going on, but not actual abuse of government resources. I'd argue the latter is far far worse, and much more concerning. We all know that hiring a couple of off duty spies to break into someone's office and steal some files is illegal from the start. But if we accept the idea of using our official spying apparatus to do what amounts to the same thing? That's a huge problem.

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I'm under the assumption that the intelligence agencies would keep the President up to date on matters related to national security, yes. Pretty sure that's in the job description. The idea they'd want the president to give his blessing on a plan to wire tap someone as important as a Presidential candidate from a major party also seems pretty prudent; basic CYA if you will.


Who's the "they" in that paragraph though? You're acting as though our intelligence services, in the course of their normal operations, came across suspicious conversations between members of the Trump campaign and/or transition team, flagged it, and the passed it up to the White House (presumably out of concern for doing exactly what I just talked about and being aware of how problematic that might be), and Obama's folks, out of some sense of sheer duty to country, reluctantly agreed to let them follow up on the investigation. That's not how it happened. The "they" in this case, seems to be the Obama White House. Specifically Susan Rice (although we don't know if she was the only one). While we do know that there was one case of one guy semi-connected to the Trump campaign who was flagged for conversations by UK intelligence services like a year and a half before the election (as in, back in like 2014 I think), that fact was completely ignored by the White House until much later. And as far as we know, there was no follow up on the original collections (except as political fodder after the fact ).

It was only after Trump became the leader in the GOP primary that suddenly there appeared a huge interest in spying on his campaign. And then, after he won the election, that spying continued against his transition team. That is pretty transparently political. This wasn't folks in the NSA coming to the President with concerns about Trump and his people. This was the Democrats needed to find some dirt to attack Trump with, and Obama providing the means to obtain it by opening up whatever incidental intelligence had been obtained along the way for potential future political use.

And yeah, that's problematic. It's not something that's ever happened before. Of it is was, it was done so secretly that no one knew about it (which seems unlikely, given that for the dirt to work, it has to be "leaked" from an otherwise legitimate intelligence source, and that's never happened in a situation like this before).

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Don't think collusion with Russia by Trump himself is even the concern, but there's enough people around him that have ties to other countries, including Russia, that they're going to want to know what those people know. In this case I'd wager the wire taps likely weren't even about Trump, but given Trump Tower is where many contacts were happening, it'd make sense to have eyes and ears there.


Again though, and wrapping this back to the beginning, it's not their job to do this. It really isn't. It's the political process that handles this. In every election, there is dirt that gets flung around. Speculations are made. Tons of them. It's all left in the political arena though. People make claims. Other people counter those claims. Somewhere in that mess, voters make a decision and vote. It's kinda messy, but that's democracy for ya (Ok, a republic, but whatever).

Have you ever, in your life, heard of our intelligence services being used to essentially check to see if some rumor about a candidate is true? Ever? Did Bush order the CIA and NSA to look into the speculation that Obama might be a secret Muslim plotting to destroy the US from within? No. And if he had, it's pretty certain we'd have learned about it (on the front page of the NYT in all likelihood). Those sorts of allegations are left to the political arena. Some are given weight, some aren't.

And yes, even if the concern was some of the people working with Trump, that's his job to deal with. He gets to decide who his advisers and staff and cabinet will be. And for the appointed positions, the US senate has this whole confirmation process they go through as well. That's how these decisions are made. We don't make them by having the outgoing president point his intelligence services as the incoming one, and try to find stuff that can be used against that incoming guy's people.

It's not his job to do this. It wasn't his job during the campaign. It definitely wasn't his job during the transition. That's what a transition is about.

I'll point out again that even if Trump was personally caught talking to Putin about plans to do <whatever> that's not illegal. It's policy. He's elected president. He gets to have those conversations, and his people are part of that as well. We can't have a secret political police spying on our leaders and making sure they're only talking to the people they want them to, and only saying the things they want them to say. Because then we don't have a democracy anymore. We'd have a cabal of folks running everything and just using the political figures as puppets for public display and legitimacy.

And I hope we all don't want that. Right?

Edited, Apr 24th 2017 6:55pm by gbaji
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#2858 Apr 24 2017 at 7:39 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:

From what I read in passing last week, not a single House rep whose district would house the wall supports its construction.


If you read in more than just passing, you'd have learned that 6 out of the 9 House districts on the border are represented by Democrats, who (shocker) all oppose the wall, as do the 4 out of 8 Senators of the states involved. The 3 GOP House Reps don't so much oppose the building of a wall, as they think that it wont be enough by itself and are asking for more border security and enforcement. The same sentiment is echoed to varying degrees by the 4 GOP Senators as well.

It's a statement that is technically true, and I'm sure makes for a great sound bite, but doesn't really mean what is implied.


And frankly, I'm in agreement with those GOP members. I've said for years that if you're going to build up a wall (which btw, can mean more than just a physical structure, but includes any measure designed to stop and catch people trying to cross the border illegally), you also need to put in place immigration reforms, specifically to our visa programs, so as to adjust to the legitimate need for border crossing. And yes, you also need to put in place better enforcement for dealing with those who slip past that first line (and, I suppose, those who cross legally and then overstay their visas). Also, the folks on the border are screaming for help dealing with existing Mexican cartels and quite correctly don't believe that just building a physical wall will do anything about that problem.

But yeah, Trump is going for a lowest common denominator "solution". I get it from a political perspective, but I totally don't see this as anything close to a complete immigration policy. Kinda what you get when you elect a populist though.
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#2859 Apr 24 2017 at 7:52 PM Rating: Decent
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Kuwoobie wrote:
Gosh, it's almost like the whole thing was a stupid idea.


It's not a stupid idea. In the same way that having walls and a locked door on your house isn't a stupid idea. It's just not sufficient by itself in an environment where there are a large number of people who really really want to get in and are willing to break through, over and under said protections to do so.

Sadly. And I really mean this, it's actually easier to just run on "build a wall", and probably easier to win that issue, than to tackle the much more complex and politically charged issue of immigration reform and visa changes which are really the bigger issue that needs to be solved. I'll put on my conservative hat (which looks suspiciously like Smiley: tinfoilhat in this case), and suggest that Dems are actually less opposed to the idea of just building a big border wall than to actual immigration reform. The latter might actually solve many of our problems, and they'd lose a victim class to use for political gain for themselves. On the flip side, mere talk about a wall can be used as political fodder, and the building of a wall itself promotes wonderful imagery that can be used for political purposes (Dems just love their victims).

So we get a freaking wall. Because for one side, it's the only thing they can actually get done to satisfy their base, and for the other, it's the only thing they'll allow to keep their base. And for everyone else, it's the one thing that both sides can jump on and be super emotional about. Which, sadly, is what drives far too much of our politics these days.

Edited, Apr 24th 2017 6:59pm by gbaji
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#2860 Apr 24 2017 at 8:35 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Kuwoobie wrote:
Gosh, it's almost like the whole thing was a stupid idea.


It's not a stupid idea. In the same way that having walls and a locked door on your house isn't a stupid idea. It's just not sufficient by itself in an environment where there are a large number of people who really really want to get in and are willing to break through, over and under said protections to do so.


I just... I can't even. I can't. Someone else.
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#2861 Apr 24 2017 at 8:40 PM Rating: Decent
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Kuwoobie wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Kuwoobie wrote:
Gosh, it's almost like the whole thing was a stupid idea.


It's not a stupid idea. In the same way that having walls and a locked door on your house isn't a stupid idea. It's just not sufficient by itself in an environment where there are a large number of people who really really want to get in and are willing to break through, over and under said protections to do so.


I just... I can't even. I can't. Someone else.


That's a nearly textbook example of an emotional response. Now try using logic and reason. Let's start with the basic starting position that a nation has the right, and arguably even the requirement, to control who enters its borders and go from there (or if you don't agree with that, explain how on earth that's ever going to work).

Just sputtering loudly isn't terribly convincing.
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#2862 Apr 24 2017 at 9:01 PM Rating: Good
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Except you already admitted that it won't work. It won't work. It is not practical or useful in any way, shape or form. I don't care what its intentions are. It is a waste of time and resources and should not even be a topic of discussion. It is the kind of thing that literally comes right out of a ******* Saturday morning cartoon.
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#2863 Apr 24 2017 at 11:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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Are we back to Gbaji pretending that the Democrats aren't the one group that actually put forth and passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the past, I dunno, couple decades? That's nice.
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#2864 Apr 25 2017 at 12:30 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
There was illegal breaking and entering going on, but not actual abuse of government resources.


wiki wrote:
Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by the Nixon administration, an impeachment process against the president that led to articles of impeachment,[2] and the resignation of Nixon. The scandal also resulted in the indictment of 69 people, with trials or pleas resulting in 48 being found guilty, many of whom were Nixon's top administration officials.


I must say, when you're wrong...you go all out.




inb4 "I just meant the burglars!!!!"
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#2865 Apr 25 2017 at 8:13 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Are we back to Gbaji pretending
How can we be back to something that never ended?
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#2866 Apr 25 2017 at 8:33 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Let me remind you that the entire motivation behind Watergate was a desire for the sitting president's campaign to learn information (dirt) about the other party during a presidential election. How does that differ from what you're talking about here?

Because monitoring possible foreign interference in our elections is more than "dirt". It's bizarre that you'd need that explained.
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#2867 Apr 25 2017 at 10:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Not sure if you're being tongue in cheek, but are you saying that it's perfectly ok and normal for our intelligence services to spy on a presidential candidate and team, you know, just to make sure they aren't bad people or something? By that reasoning, shouldn't Clinton and her team *also* have been spied on?
Yes I'd consider that normal, and yes I'd assume Clinton likely has been given the same treatment at some point too, along with many relatives and any notable social contacts. It's basic risk assessment. You need to know who they're talking to and who are the concerns if information is inadvertently leaked.


I disagree. The determination of who is elected president is a purely political decision. The last thing a democracy needs is a secret cabal of intelligence officers gathering information on potential leaders and choosing which ones meet their criteria. That's a recipe for abuse. Which is why it's not allowed in a free society.
Um I didn't say they chose leaders that met criteria. In fact I specifically said the opposite, that the intelligence services don't get to choose the leaders (well at least any more than anyone else with a single vote Smiley: rolleyes), so the smart thing to do is risk assessment instead.

gbaji wrote:
So you can't actually use whatever information you gather in any sort of legal manner, but you can "be aware of where problems might occur"? What does that even mean? And who would be the arbiter of this knowledge and when/where/how to use it? I'm having a hard time seeing a distinction between this and "collecting information for later political uses".
Nobody is going to sit here and say it's impossible for information to be misused, but surprisingly there are legitimate uses for intelligence outside of political means. It's hardly the height of the cold war, but countries still routinely spy on each other, and you still have to protect sensitive information.

gbaji wrote:
What other use could there be for collecting and preserving data about the Trump transition team? You can't actually use it legally, right?
What do you mean by "use it legally?" There's usually a fairly large margin for acting in the interest of national security. Hence the reason Trump's immigration restrictions actually have a chance in court, once they get past the hurdle of justifying the harm to the states against the potential national security threats.

gbaji wrote:
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If you're asking why this isn't an issue with the Clintons this year, I'd point out they've been around for a long time and are likely a pretty well understood problem at this point, and are probably more used to working with the intelligence community too. Whereas Trump is fresh on the scene and more of an unknown. Add in that he has a large number of social contacts and family members that are foreign nationals and I'm sure he kept the intelligence community very busy in the run-up to the election. A wire tap at some point being part of that doesn't seem at all far fetched.
It's completely far fetched. And, as far as I know, completely unheard of.
Um, if you are a person with access to top secret information you are followed closely. Information is collected on you, along with notable social contacts and family, any social contacts have to be reported, etc. Stuff like that is part of what makes incidents like Snowden such a rare occurrence. Why would the president and his family be considered an exception this? Maybe there's some argument for executive privilege? Can't imagine that gets you entirely off the hook...

gbaji wrote:
It was only after Trump became the leader in the GOP primary that suddenly there appeared a huge interest in spying on his campaign. And then, after he won the election, that spying continued against his transition team.
So he only became of heightened interest to intelligence personnel when it appeared he might be granted access to classified information? Wow, color me surprised.

gbaji wrote:
Again though, and wrapping this back to the beginning, it's not their job to do this. It really isn't.
Since when is counter-espionage not part of the job description of our intelligence services? Smiley: dubious

gbaji wrote:
I'll point out again that even if Trump was personally caught talking to Putin about plans to do <whatever> that's not illegal.
Um, yes it is, or potentially is at least. Not once he becomes President of course, but normal citizens are not allowed to do diplomacy on behalf of the United States.

gbaji wrote:
We can't have a secret political police spying on our leaders and making sure they're only talking to the people they want them to, and only saying the things they want them to say. Because then we don't have a democracy anymore.
Believe it or not there's people that have loyalty to the country itself and not to the various smaller subsets of the population that go on bickering about abortions and taxes and racism and such.

gbaji wrote:
We'd have a cabal of folks running everything and just using the political figures as puppets for public display and legitimacy.
When's the last time the people got to have an election that had two candidates focusing primarily on matters of national security and not superficial domestic fluff? Smiley: tinfoilhat

Smiley: rolleyes

Edited, Apr 25th 2017 10:23am by someproteinguy
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#2868 Apr 25 2017 at 1:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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And it is officially dead now it seems.

Maybe later we'll get to see how amazing and beautiful an enormous pile of concrete can be, but not this fiscal year.
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#2869 Apr 26 2017 at 7:47 AM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
And it's officially dead now it seems
Nothing can stop The Wall!

San Francisco judge ruled against and halted the implementation of an executive order targeting "sanctuary" cities. In turn, 45 blamed the wrong people for it on Twitter.
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#2870 Apr 26 2017 at 8:42 AM Rating: Excellent
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I mean that's what Twitter is for right? I'll give him the benefit of a doubt and assume he's just trying to fit in with all the cool kids. Peer pressure gets the best of everyone sometimes.
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#2871 Apr 26 2017 at 6:15 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Let me remind you that the entire motivation behind Watergate was a desire for the sitting president's campaign to learn information (dirt) about the other party during a presidential election. How does that differ from what you're talking about here?

Because monitoring possible foreign interference in our elections is more than "dirt". It's bizarre that you'd need that explained.


What's bizarre is that you actually buy that as anything other than a flimsy excuse for them to target collected conversations of Trump campaign and transition folks and then... wait for it... look for dirt.

At the risk of repeating myself (so many times!), the whole point of FISA (and the need for it) was to prevent the government from using "national defense" as an excuse to spy on their political enemies or for personal gain, or frankly whatever abusive purposes one might desire. It was passed in direct response to Nixon's abuse of government surveillance. Your willingness to just accept that if they say it was for national defense it must mean that it really was is kinda frightening.

And yeah, I'll repeat this again. If the parties involved were reversed, and it was a Republican president spying on the campaign and then transition team of a Democratic presidential candidate (and then president-elect) there's no way in **** you'd be defending the administration's actions. Period. And you'd never in a million years accept the claim that it was done for national defense, or to prevent foreign tampering with the election, or frankly any other excuse. You'd see them for exactly what they would be: Excuses to spy on the other party and attempt to use whatever you find for political advantage.
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#2872 Apr 26 2017 at 6:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
What's bizarre is that you actually buy that as anything other than a flimsy excuse for them to target collected conversations of Trump campaign and transition folks and then... wait for it... look for dirt

Your ham-handed Appeal to Emotion is noted but strangely I'm not convinced to buy into conspiracy theories just because the foil-hatted guy says "You're believing the lies, man!"

Oh, my! And a "You know if it was reversed you'd...!!!!!!!" as well? Why, this must be my lucky day if I was collecting pathetic arguing tactics.
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#2873 Apr 26 2017 at 6:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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Speaking of "You know if it was reversed...", North Carolina DA declines to prosecute woman who admits to vote fraud, saying that her illegally casting a ballot for Trump in her mother's name was her mother's dying wish.

Edited, Apr 26th 2017 7:41pm by Jophiel
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#2874 Apr 26 2017 at 9:32 PM Rating: Good
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Wah wah trump got spied on by intelligence apparatus, but why are you mad that you are being spied on? Do you have something to hide?
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#2875 Apr 26 2017 at 9:36 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
Um I didn't say they chose leaders that met criteria. In fact I specifically said the opposite, that the intelligence services don't get to choose the leaders (well at least any more than anyone else with a single vote Smiley: rolleyes), so the smart thing to do is risk assessment instead.


No. The correct thing is for our intelligence services to stay the heck out of our political processes. The potential for abuse is so massive that it's best to just not go there. And I think you're being naive if you think this was applied equally and that Clinton was also surveilled as some kind of SOP by our intelligence services. Let's not forget that she was under active investigation by the FBI for that whole private email server thing, and I'm reasonably certain that they still did not obtain a FISA warrant and engage in surveillance of her or anyone on her team.

Don't you think we'd have known about it if she was? Remember the immediate response by everyone in the media when Trump claimed that he was spied upon? It was laughed at as a completely ridiculous thing that would simply never be done. Sheer tinfoil hat territory to think that our government would do that. And now you're trying to suggest that it's normal and reasonable? That's an amazing turn around. it's not normal. It's not reasonable. It's the kind of thing that authoritarian regimes do to keep in power and to prevent their political enemies from taking that power. The suggestion that Trump was surveilled by our intelligence agencies during his campaign and transition was laughed away as fringe conspiracy theory precisely because the default assumption is that our government doesn't do that kind of thing.

Quote:
Nobody is going to sit here and say it's impossible for information to be misused, but surprisingly there are legitimate uses for intelligence outside of political means. It's hardly the height of the cold war, but countries still routinely spy on each other, and you still have to protect sensitive information.


Yes, there are legitimate uses for intelligence outside of political purposes. Um... But spying on a candidate for presidents team is not one of them. It's impossible for that *not* to be political. Even if the motivations by those doing it are pure and whatnot, the impact of anything you find is going to be political in nature, right?

I'll ask again: What was the purpose of the spying? What did those doing it hope to find, or think they would find? Is there any answer to that question that doesn't include some negative ramifications for said candidate's political future? So Trump was such a national security threat that he was not surveilled until he became the frontrunner GOP candidate for president? His supposed secret deals with Russia were not a problem, but now were? Why? The only answer is political.


Quote:
What do you mean by "use it legally?" There's usually a fairly large margin for acting in the interest of national security. Hence the reason Trump's immigration restrictions actually have a chance in court, once they get past the hurdle of justifying the harm to the states against the potential national security threats.


I mean exactly that. What could they have legally done? The man won the election. He was the president elect at the time in question (during the transition). I've asked this question several times and no one has yet answered it. What could he or anyone on his team have actually said during the transition to the Russians that would constitute an illegal act? Barring handing over like secret access codes or something, I can't think of anything. Certainly, any discussions at that point become policy discussions, not treason. As I mentioned earlier, Trump could call Putin up directly and discuss selling Alaska back and that's not treason, and it's not illegal. He's the president-elect.

There is no national security interest because the president determines what national security interests are. If he wants to hand over all our military bases around the world to Russia, he can do that. Whether we want a president with that plan to go through with it is a political discussion, not a legal one (and I'm reasonably certain there's some Senate say in that sort of thing as well).

Was the FBI seriously going to start arresting members of Trump's future cabinet? I'm serious here. I'm not seeing any purpose to even going there except political ones.

Quote:
Um, if you are a person with access to top secret information you are followed closely. Information is collected on you, along with notable social contacts and family, any social contacts have to be reported, etc. Stuff like that is part of what makes incidents like Snowden such a rare occurrence. Why would the president and his family be considered an exception this? Maybe there's some argument for executive privilege? Can't imagine that gets you entirely off the hook...


There's a massive difference between followed closely and being spied upon without your knowledge. And yes, there is exactly the concept of executive privilege. It exists so that the president and his advisers and staff can float ideas and arguments (and counters to those) without fear that everything they say will be used against them in some way (er, political way of course). Again, it's just too easy for that kind of information to be selectively leaked to the media.

Quote:
So he only became of heightened interest to intelligence personnel when it appeared he might be granted access to classified information? Wow, color me surprised.


They do standard security checks and vetting of those granted said clearances. They don't engage in covert surveillance as part of that process. And that still doesn't explain the whole unmasking bit. I have never heard of this ever being done to a presidential candidate's team, much less a president-elects transition team before. This is not normal. That's the part you need to understand. It's not only not normal, it's darn near unthinkable. You'd have to have massive evidence of some terrible conspiracy to do harm to the US to justify something like this. And "harm to the US" can't be "I think his policies will be bad". You'd have to have something like Trump or someone on his staff plotting to use their new found power to expand their international drug trafficking, gun running, and child pornography ring or something.

I've not seen nor heard anything to suggest that is the case though. What I've seen and heard are vague statements like "they had conversations with ...", or "did business with ...", and a bunch of other things that just aren't that unusual. Where's the fire? I'm still waiting for anything concrete to come along, but all we have are speculations and innuendo. That's not good enough. The bar for this kind of thing should be incredibly high.

Quote:
Since when is counter-espionage not part of the job description of our intelligence services? Smiley: dubious


When it's not counter-espionage? When it's abundantly obvious that the primary objective has nothing to do with national security, but rather has to do with political gains? The answer to your question is in the reason why we mask US persons from the intelligence in the first place. We do that so that they can engage in their job of counter-espionage without infringing the rights of US people. The act of unmasking them means you are targeting them. Doing that to members of a president-elects transition team is pretty obviously political.

Quote:
Um, yes it is, or potentially is at least. Not once he becomes President of course, but normal citizens are not allowed to do diplomacy on behalf of the United States.


And? Are you going to arrest him? Let's imagine that Trump calls up Putin during the transition and talks with him about the idea of selling Alaska back to Russia. What exactly do you think would or could happen legally? Nothing, right? That's the point. Any action by police or military or whatever would constitute a coup at that point, and hurl us into a constitutional crisis. It's not going to happen.

Again, this is all policy and politics. You can make hay about it, say it's a breach of protocol or whatever. But no one seriously is going to try to arrest the president-elect, nor any of his staff. Not for merely having a conversation, at least. But those things can be used as political fodder, right?

Quote:
Believe it or not there's people that have loyalty to the country itself and not to the various smaller subsets of the population that go on bickering about abortions and taxes and racism and such.


Yes, there are. And there are also a lot of people who will abuse power that they have. To blindly trust that those with the power to spy on you are going to use that power fairly and correct is naive. Again, this is precisely why we passed FISA in the first place.

It's why our intelligence services are supposed to be non-political. Unfortunately, the previous president seemed to relish using supposedly non-political agencies for political reasons. The IRS is not supposed to allow the political alignment of organizations to influence their non-profit status application process. But they did. The FBI isn't supposed to operate a gun running operation designed to ensure that a ton of illegal guns walk across the border, increasing the number of shootings there, and allowing the president and others in his party to use the "violence on our border" as a lever to push their gun control agenda. But they apparently did. The CIA isn't supposed to alter intelligence reports to remove references to existing anti-American organizations operating in Libya and replace them with references to an offensive video. But somehow that exact thing happened somewhere between the regional intelligence sources and the briefing handed to White House staff.

I'm sorry, but in that context, I have no problem at all believing that the spying on the Trump campaign and transition team was done deliberately and for political reasons.


Edited, Apr 26th 2017 8:38pm by gbaji

Edited, Apr 26th 2017 8:46pm by gbaji
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#2876 Apr 26 2017 at 11:39 PM Rating: Good
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No. The correct thing is for our intelligence services to stay the heck out of our political processes.


What's even the point of having an intelligence service then?
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#2877 Apr 27 2017 at 8:18 AM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
Speaking of "You know if it was reversed...",
You dumb liberal. He says "if" it were reversed, not "when it actually is reversed."
Timelordwho wrote:
What's even the point of having an intelligence service then?
Someone has to read emails.
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#2878 Apr 27 2017 at 8:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
I'm sorry, but in that context, I have no problem at all believing that the spying on the Trump campaign and transition team was done deliberately and for political reasons.
Yeah this is going to have to be an agree to disagree kind of thing. Usually I can find some amount of common ground or understanding in your responses, but in this case there's just one heck of a gap. Way too many assumptions you have that I just flat out think are wrong, and I'd imagine the feeling is mutual.

gbaji wrote:
They do standard security checks and vetting of those granted said clearances. They don't engage in covert surveillance as part of that process.
Smiley: dubious

Timelordwho wrote:
Quote:
No. The correct thing is for our intelligence services to stay the heck out of our political processes.


What's even the point of having an intelligence service then?
Which is actually a question of mine as well in that case. If we can't stop a spy from gaining access to top secret information simply because he's part of a politician's support team there's a serious threat to country that's left unchecked.

Edited, Apr 27th 2017 7:30am by someproteinguy
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#2879 Apr 27 2017 at 5:56 PM Rating: Decent
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Timelordwho wrote:
Quote:
No. The correct thing is for our intelligence services to stay the heck out of our political processes.


What's even the point of having an intelligence service then?


Um... To spy on foreign operatives? Terrorists? Was that a trick question?

You're not seriously suggesting that the point of having an intelligence service is to be used by the party in charge of the executive branch to dig up dirt on political opponents so as to maintain their party's power, do you? Cause that seems awfully like exactly the sort of "abuse of power" that FISA was passed to prevent.

Edited, Apr 27th 2017 5:00pm by gbaji
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#2880 Apr 27 2017 at 6:26 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
I'm sorry, but in that context, I have no problem at all believing that the spying on the Trump campaign and transition team was done deliberately and for political reasons.
Yeah this is going to have to be an agree to disagree kind of thing. Usually I can find some amount of common ground or understanding in your responses, but in this case there's just one heck of a gap. Way too many assumptions you have that I just flat out think are wrong, and I'd imagine the feeling is mutual.


I don't think you're flat out wrong, I just disagree with the attributed motivations for the actions in question. And to be honest, it's not really about what I believe is true or not true. Obviously, neither of us knows what facts and data the government was operating on, and in all probability we will never know those things. My issue is that we should always be concerned with this sort of thing, and always be suspicious that those in power may be abusing said power. My primary concern was with a position by many that is absolutely dependent on blind assumption that our government would never abuse its power in this way. I was particularly concerned by an earlier post that basically echoed the concept that "if you're under investigation/surveillance, you must be guilty". That just screams "wrong" to me.

Remember. I'm not the one screaming for some massive investigation or anything. I'm responding to those who are doing so, under the aforementioned assumption that since Obama's administration spied on Trump's campaign and transition team, they must have had a legitimate, non-political, reason for doing so, and thus we should continue investigating to "get to the truth". Um... What if they did just spy on them to dig up political dirt? What if there was never any actual justification for the spying?

We can't know which is true. So my point is that we should not operate as though we assume one is true and the other false. And yes, I'm balancing that (and admittedly biasing it a bit) with past behaviors of the Obama administration, and their abuse of other supposedly non-partisan departments for very direct and obvious political purposes. If there wasn't a record of them doing this sort of thing, I'd be more inclined to trust that maybe there really was something legitimate for them to look at. But there is said record, and thus I'm more leaning in the other direction.

Quote:
gbaji wrote:
They do standard security checks and vetting of those granted said clearances. They don't engage in covert surveillance as part of that process.
Smiley: dubious


In the absence of any sort of official statement from any government official that unmasking the identities of presidential transition team members in order to sift through any conversations which may have occurred between them and a foreign person and picked up as "incidental surveillance" by our intelligence services is perfectly normal and routine, I'm going to err on the side of "no, that's not normal". I guess what I don't get is why you seem so willing to assume it's normal, despite no evidence of this happening in the past. You'd think that every single incoming administration would complain about this, right? Or, if it really was normal, then when Trump made the claim that he was surveilled by the Obama administration, instead of a wall of denial and mocking over such an outrageous conspiratorial claim, wouldn't someone have just said something like "it's SOP to examine all conversations incoming members have had with foreign persons as part of our normal vetting process, to ensure that they meet the high standards of blah blah blah".

They didn't do that. They denied it at first. So it sounds like they realized that it looked "bad" for them to have been doing that, right? Which kinda suggests, quite strongly, that this isn't normal.

Quote:
Which is actually a question of mine as well in that case. If we can't stop a spy from gaining access to top secret information simply because he's part of a politician's support team there's a serious threat to country that's left unchecked.


Because you have to first start with strong evidence that the person in question actually is a spy and *then* go looking at his conversations. You don't look at the conversations of a list of people to see if any of them are spies. That's called a "fishing expedition", and we have a very long list of court rulings that such kinds of surveillance is illegal and unconstitutional.

We do have this thing called due process. You know that pesky 4th amendment? It's there for a reason and this is it. And yeah, it's doubly troubling when this is done in the political arena, because it doesn't just infringe the rights of that one person, but can be used (abused) to effectively infringe the rights of the voting public by unfairly targeting those who won an election but are disliked by the party currently in power (which seems to be the case here).
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#2881 Apr 27 2017 at 10:16 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji, several posts back wrote:
I have no problem at all believing that the spying on the Trump campaign and transition team was done deliberately and for political reasons.


gbaji wrote:
And yeah, it's doubly troubling when this is done in the political arena, because it doesn't just infringe the rights of that one person, but can be used (abused) to effectively infringe the rights of the voting public by unfairly targeting those who won an election but are disliked by the party currently in power (which seems to be the case here).
One of these things is not like the other.

You swing from "OH! Them Dems absolutely did this!" to "seems to be the case". It's stuff like this which we keep pointing out as examples of your inconsistency that you claim you never do.

Just trying to help you see what you're doing. I'd hate for you to continue to embarrass youself like that.
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#2882 Apr 28 2017 at 2:06 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Timelordwho wrote:
Quote:
No. The correct thing is for our intelligence services to stay the heck out of our political processes.


What's even the point of having an intelligence service then?


Um... To spy on foreign operatives? Terrorists? Was that a trick question?

You're not seriously suggesting that the point of having an intelligence service is to be used by the party in charge of the executive branch to dig up dirt on political opponents so as to maintain their party's power, do you? Cause that seems awfully like exactly the sort of "abuse of power" that FISA was passed to prevent.

Edited, Apr 27th 2017 5:00pm by gbaji


Sorry, to be clear, I was making a joke, because that's exactly what the intelligence service has been used for; a tool to control foreign politics, and to shift the domestic agenda to get people to vote the right way. Abuse of power would not be surprising, as it was the foundational reason for several of the agencies.
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#2883 Apr 28 2017 at 7:49 AM Rating: Decent
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gbaji wrote:
Because you have to first start with strong evidence that the person in question actually is a spy and *then* go looking at his conversations.
They have to look at the person's linkedin profile first to see if they're spies.
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#2884 Apr 28 2017 at 9:58 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
They didn't do that. They denied it at first. So it sounds like they realized that it looked "bad" for them to have been doing that, right? Which kinda suggests, quite strongly, that this isn't normal.
TBH it seems like they were just completely caught off guard by it. Really am kind of curious how the wire-tap got discovered, or if they told Trump about it at some point and he didn't take it well, or what. Trump tweeting about something like this is the most surprising thing to me out of everything that's happened.

gbaji wrote:
Quote:
Which is actually a question of mine as well in that case. If we can't stop a spy from gaining access to top secret information simply because he's part of a politician's support team there's a serious threat to country that's left unchecked.
Because you have to first start with strong evidence that the person in question actually is a spy and *then* go looking at his conversations.
This is pretty much what I'm assuming happened.

They got a tip from their foreign friends. Then they did basic stuff, a decent amount of which any private investigator could probably do: looked up what they could publicity about them, followed them around with a camera, checked contacts, probably requested information from the Trump campaign to fill in some gaps, etc (these are also many of the same things I'd assume they're doing to everyone noteworthy, would have done to the Clintons and their notable contacts, etc). In the course of doing that they noticed some things that were weird, informed the president, got a judge to sign off on doing more, and proceeded with the follow-up. If they did receive the initial tip 2(?) years ago, that's plenty of time to build a case for a judge.

gbaji wrote:
Um... What if they did just spy on them to dig up political dirt? What if there was never any actual justification for the spying?
Then that's bad; but I'm still not convinced a political conspiracy is necessary to explain something that could have easily come about by routine means.

Edited, Apr 28th 2017 9:13am by someproteinguy
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#2885 Apr 28 2017 at 7:21 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
You're not seriously suggesting that the point of having an intelligence service is to be used by the party in charge of the executive branch to dig up dirt on political opponents so as to maintain their party's power, do you?
Da, comrade.
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#2886 Apr 30 2017 at 9:36 AM Rating: Good
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Link

On his first 100 days:
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He blamed the constitutional checks and balances built in to US governance. “It’s a very rough system,” he said. “It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.”
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#2887 May 01 2017 at 7:19 AM Rating: Decent
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I guess it'll be a while before we win so much we'll be sick of it.

Which would be a welcome change of pace from just being sick of it.
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#2888 May 01 2017 at 7:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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We're winning so much that Trump is running ads to explain how we're winning.
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#2889 May 01 2017 at 8:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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Maybe might have a budget. Also:

Quote:
White House proposals to cut popular programmes - such as funding medical research and community development grants - were rejected.
Smiley: yippee

Everyone around here will be breathing a lot easier this week, assuming this goes through as planned. Slowly warming up to having Trump as President since most of his stupid ideas aren't going anywhere. If he can continue like this, being generally inept and powerless, I might just vote for him in 4 years. Smiley: lol

Edited, May 1st 2017 7:17am by someproteinguy
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#2890 May 01 2017 at 8:17 AM Rating: Decent
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"I'm going to do so many great things in my first hundred days that you're going to be sick of it all and it's a ridiculous standard that I don't care about and here's a million dollar commercial about how much I don't care about it."
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#2891 May 01 2017 at 9:53 AM Rating: Good
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trump thinks Andrew Jackson would have prevented the Civil War. Really? http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/331349-trump-why-was-there-the-civil-war Caution Autoplay is one when you load the page.

Quote:
President Trump during an interview that airs Monday questioned why the country had a Civil War and suggested former President Andrew Jackson could have prevented it had he served later.
"I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later you wouldn't have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart," Trump said during an interview with the Washington Examiner's Salena Zito.

"He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, 'There's no reason for this.'"

Jackson, the nation's seventh president, died in 1845. The Civil War began in 1861.

The president further questioned why the country could not have solved the Civil War.

"People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?" Trump said during the edition of "Main Street Meets the Beltway" scheduled to air on SiriusXM.

"People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"
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#2892 May 01 2017 at 10:10 AM Rating: Good
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ElneClare wrote:
article wrote:
"He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart,"
Tell that to the Cherokee.
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#2893 May 01 2017 at 11:14 AM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
ElneClare wrote:
article wrote:
"He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart,"
Tell that to the Cherokee.


I almost would get a premium membership again, just to rate you up, right now.

As someone who lived with Jonwin's knowledge of the Civil War and had to listen to him constantly give talks about Maryland and the Civil War, I am flabbergasted at how stupid 45 is.

Also Jackson almost stated the Civil War when he threaten to send troops to S.C.
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#2894 May 01 2017 at 3:48 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm pretty sure that was a reference to the Nullification Crisis, although since he just learned about it he didn't do a very good job of explaining it.

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#2895 May 01 2017 at 5:41 PM Rating: Decent
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The Civil War, the Palestinian-Israel conflict...there's no reason why these things had to happen.
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#2896 May 02 2017 at 7:48 AM Rating: Decent
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A lot of things didn't have to happen.
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#2897 May 02 2017 at 9:22 AM Rating: Excellent
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Well you have to pass the time somehow. No one likes sitting in the hut all day just waiting for the lions to attack.
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#2898 May 02 2017 at 6:02 PM Rating: Decent
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Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji, several posts back wrote:
I have no problem at all believing that the spying on the Trump campaign and transition team was done deliberately and for political reasons.


gbaji wrote:
And yeah, it's doubly troubling when this is done in the political arena, because it doesn't just infringe the rights of that one person, but can be used (abused) to effectively infringe the rights of the voting public by unfairly targeting those who won an election but are disliked by the party currently in power (which seems to be the case here).
One of these things is not like the other.


Yes. One of them is me saying what I think was done. The other is a speculation about the specific reason it was done. It's the difference between saying "I'm positive that guy robbed the bank", and "It seems as though he was trying to pay off his gambling debts with the money".

Quote:
You swing from "OH! Them Dems absolutely did this!" to "seems to be the case". It's stuff like this which we keep pointing out as examples of your inconsistency that you claim you never do.


You're looking way too hard to try to find inconsistencies. Why not spend a fraction of the time getting what I'm saying, and then responding to that, instead of nit picking?

Quote:
Just trying to help you see what you're doing.


You're not trying to help. You're trying to avoid discussing what I'm saying by responding to everything other than the actual point.

Quote:
I'd hate for you to continue to embarrass youself like that.


Lol.
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#2899 May 02 2017 at 6:36 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
They didn't do that. They denied it at first. So it sounds like they realized that it looked "bad" for them to have been doing that, right? Which kinda suggests, quite strongly, that this isn't normal.
TBH it seems like they were just completely caught off guard by it.


Sure. But it wasn't just the Obama administration folks. It was also the news media. The prevailing response to Trumps claim was that it was a ridiculous conspiratorial thing, because of course, no US president would actually do this to an incoming president during the transition. It's unthinkable! Unconstitutional. Probably totally illegal. And certainly unethical.

And then, when it turned out that this is precisely what was done, suddenly... silence. Or, the narrative changed from "there's no way that could happen", to "there's nothing unusual about this happening", or "well, if it happened, there must have been a good reason". All of which I find to be wishful thinking after the fact. The first and pretty universal reaction was that this was something that should not be done. Period. It was only after it was discovered that this wasn't just some unfounded rumors floating around some fringe conservative sites, but had actually happened, that the excuses started flowing.

So yeah. I find that problematic. It's a somewhat obvious and extreme partisan circling of wagons IMO.

Quote:
Really am kind of curious how the wire-tap got discovered, or if they told Trump about it at some point and he didn't take it well, or what. Trump tweeting about something like this is the most surprising thing to me out of everything that's happened.


Honestly? I'm not sure that those who did it even thought about the ramifications of it. Again, maybe I'm biased (hah maybe!), but I've seen a pattern of the Obama administration using supposedly non-political agencies of the government for political reasons, sometimes quite blatantly. I think they just assumed they could do this because they've gotten away with it so many times already. And frankly, the reaction when it came out that they did spy on the Trump team kinda supports that idea.

If you're confident that the media will side with you if something like this comes out, you're a lot more likely to just go ahead and do it. It's possible that they honestly thought they'd find something so bad that they could maybe 'undo' the election results (dunno, seems absurd, but so is the action itself). Maybe when they didn't find any kind of clear smoking gun they could present to the public, much less our legal system, they scrambled to keep what they could for potential later political use? Again, it's hard to say what they were thinking.

But this is the same group of people (same freaking person in fact) who thought they could just make up a story about an offensive video causing the Benghazi attack and that no one would figure it out. So yeah, "thinking things through" doesn't seem to be a strong suit here. I think they just go so used to skirting the rules for whatever gain they could get that it likely didn't even occur to them that this might just be crossing the line politically speaking.

Quote:
They got a tip from their foreign friends.


About one person, who was only tangentially connected to the campaign, and I believe not at all connected to the transition.

Quote:
Then they did basic stuff, a decent amount of which any private investigator could probably do: looked up what they could publicity about them, followed them around with a camera, checked contacts, probably requested information from the Trump campaign to fill in some gaps, etc (these are also many of the same things I'd assume they're doing to everyone noteworthy, would have done to the Clintons and their notable contacts, etc).


They did none of that. They ignored the "tip" for a couple years. It was only when Trump became the GOP frontrunner that suddenly they decided this was important. It looks a lot more like the cart leading the horse to me.

Quote:
In the course of doing that they noticed some things that were weird, informed the president, got a judge to sign off on doing more, and proceeded with the follow-up. If they did receive the initial tip 2(?) years ago, that's plenty of time to build a case for a judge.


Again though, they did nothing at all for the first couple years after the tip. And it was only one person. They didn't investigate that one person. They investigated a number of people in the campaign, seemingly entire based on a politically drive speculative narrative about "connections and collusion with Russia". There is literally zero evidence, other than simply doing business in the country, that Trump has any such relationship with Russia though. That's the problem here. As far as we can tell from our own external view of the timeline, the government didn't start taking action on this at all, until *after* the political narrative started. And that was driven, not from intelligence sources, but political opposition sources.

I suppose it's possible that we may someday get a clearer picture of what happened, but so far, it certainly looks like the Obama administration basically jumped in with the intelligence apparatus as a means of helping the Clinton campaign beat Trump by trying to find any information that could prop up the existing political narrative. I see nothing to indicate that there was any sort of investigation of Trump or his people prior to the campaign, so it's a bit suspicious for it to start then.

Quote:
gbaji wrote:
Um... What if they did just spy on them to dig up political dirt? What if there was never any actual justification for the spying?
Then that's bad; but I'm still not convinced a political conspiracy is necessary to explain something that could have easily come about by routine means.


That seems like an amazing coincidence though. An unbelievable coincidence IMO. A political conspiracy isn't necessary to explain it, but given the timing? It's the most likely explanation.
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#2900 May 02 2017 at 7:16 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Why not spend a fraction of the time getting what I'm saying, and then responding to that, instead of nit picking?
Quit writing in such a way as to allow you to jump from one side of the fence to the other when you wish to back-pedal or distance yourself from bullsh1t "facts".


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#2901 May 02 2017 at 8:06 PM Rating: Decent
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Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Why not spend a fraction of the time getting what I'm saying, and then responding to that, instead of nit picking?
Quit writing in such a way as to allow you to jump from one side of the fence to the other when you wish to back-pedal or distance yourself from bullsh1t "facts".


I'm not going to go back and re-read every single thing I've previously posted in a given thread, so as to make sure I don't use a slightly different adjective when describing something somewhat similar to something I previously described. You get that this is what you are doing, right? You're scanning through the thread, and trying to find discrepancies in my word choice and then use that in some kind of silly "gotcha!" response.

It doesn't matter if I said "I think this definitely happened", and later "It seems like this is what happened", and even later "it's possible that this is what happened". None of that matters, unless you're really looking for something to talk about other than "what happened". How about, instead of obsessing about word choice, you actually, maybe, think about the subject itself? We can debate probabilities if you want, but that's really not the issue.

The issue is that we have two competing narratives:

1. Trump and/or his team is secretly in league with the Russians and are putting their interests above those of the US, and in return the Russians helped Trump during the campaign by leaking information stolen from the DNC servers. The Obama administration, out of concern about this potential collusion, and the impact it may have on the election, engaged the intelligence services to spy on Trump's team to find out what was going on. They kept this surveillance secret out of a national security need.

2. Trump is not in league the Russians, isn't putting their interests above the US, and any leaks of information from the DNC were done by a separate party with no collusion with Trump. The Obama administration, seeing an opportunity to take advantage of rumors about collusion during the campaign, used that as an excuse to engage the intelligence services to spy on Trump's team to see if they could dig up dirt that could be used during the campaign (or during his term once he won). They kept this surveillance secret because they knew it would look bad politically if people knew they were doing this.


I happen to think that option 2 is the more likely explanation. For a number of reasons, which I've already explained. And yeah, at least part of that stems from the initial attempt to deny that they were spying in the first place. If you honestly really thought there was a massive national security interest at stake, wouldn't you be up front with it? Wouldn't you openly engage in investigation? I mean, we're talking about assuming the Obama administration really believed that Trump was some kind of Manchurian Candidate here. You'd think they'd do everything they could to expose such a thing, right? And if they had found something, they'd have made sure to release it, very publicly, and very loudly, *before* the election.

That didn't happen though, did it? No one knew that this was going on. Which points to "digging up dirt" as a far more likely explanation. Given that the one and only use of this intelligence gathering and unmasking was the leak about the conversation Flynn had with the Russian Ambassador, there's an example of this data already being used in this manner. That leak was illegal. According to Rice, unmasking is commonly done, and only a small circle of people supposedly had access to the unmasked info (in theory, just Rice herself and whomever she shared that information with). Um... Which puts us with two conclusions: Either more people had the authority to request unmasked intelligence data (and did so), or she shared the unmasked data (either leaked it herself directly, or shared it with someone who did, either one of which is incredibly questionable).

It's not even about whether Flynn did anything wrong (as far as I know, he didn't break any laws though). Someone did break the law with the leak. The only people who could have leaked it would have had to have had access to the unmasked data. So who did it? First obvious answer is Rice, or someone very close to her. And yeah, it was obviously done for political reasons.

So we can proceed down the path that assumes that the purpose to which this information has already been used was the reason it was collected in the first place, or speculate some other completely different reason, for which we have no actual evidence to believe. Well, unless we take the word of the folks who gathered up the intelligence in unmasked form, right?

There's a point where belief gets strained. The Obama administration position on this is well past that now.

Edited, May 2nd 2017 7:54pm by gbaji
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