The Size of Trump Obstruction

Posted by  $  FredTheViking 1 month, 1 week ago to Humor
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The time has come to talk about the size of Trump's Obstruction of Justice.
SOURCE URL: https://www.theassholeblog.com/small-trump/


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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month ago
    I go with AG Barr's assessment. The President turned over a million and a half documents to Mueller's team; made all the White House staff available for interviews, no exceptions; claimed executive privilege not once. Did he complain, out of frustration, that he wanted to fire Mueller and Rosenstein? Yes, as would have any innocent man so pilloried. No obstruction, by the widest sense of the term.

    Compare that to Shrillary, who destroyed 33,000 subpoenaed emails, wiped her server clean, destroyed her cell phones and laptops with hammers. Unquestionably obstruction of justice, yet no charges brought. The excuse for not pursuing such charges was that there was no crime, and therefore no obstruction of justice. However, the finding of no crime required rewriting the laws regarding gross negligence in protection of classified material, inserting a need to find "intent" that does not exist.
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    • Posted by term2 1 month ago
      I am not so sure that I even think that "obstruction" should be a crime. Its up to the prosecutor to prove a person committed a crime. I dont think the defendant should even contribute anything to this process
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  • Posted by  $  mminnick 1 month, 1 week ago
    A layer friend of mine (criminal law) told me the following:
    "If there is "NO CRIME there can be NO OBSTRUCTION"
    I do not believe there was a crime identified or charged. So according to my friend there can be no obstruction. In this case the sixe of President Trumps obstruction = 0.00
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    • Posted by term2 1 month ago
      exactly. of course they would argue that there would have been a conviction on a crime IF there hadnt been some sort of obstruction.. In this case collusion with russia to get dirt on an opposing candidate is NOT a crime in the frist place.
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    • Posted by  $  1 month ago
      Let me refer to circuit guy comments. As he lay out the Obstruction of Justice charge well.

      In response to your comment, I would point out one can commit Obstruction of Justice even if there is no crime to cover up. If you read the Mueller report... you will find examples.
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      • Posted by  $  mminnick 1 month ago
        I read the report. If even one of those "events" had truly been obstruction do you think that crew would have let it slide? NBL. They would have jumped all over it. Mueller would have at the least said they found obstruction but couldn't indict or charge a sitting President. that would have given the House all they needed for impeachment hearings to start. Now we are going through the travesty of the hearings trying to get Mueller to say soothing he withdrew after the 9 1/2 minute mumble fest.
        I don't think he will willingly go through another retraction of statements like he had to do.
        He may be getting senile but he's not there yet.
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    • -2
      Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 1 week ago
      "I do not believe there was a crime identified or charged."
      Is this true? Couldn't someone obstruct justice by successfully destroying evidence? In this scenario, there would be enough evidence to prove obstruction but not the alleged crime the destroyed evidence may have pointed to?.
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      • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
        "Obstruction of justice" is a legal term pertaining to impeding the administration of justice under the law. It is now being re-packaged as a political concept meaning to object in any way, including the use of one's own legal rights, to try to thwart the Democrats' political agenda. "Obstruction of justice" does not mean obstruction of collectivist 'social justice'.

        The Mueller "investigation" was not charged with investigating a crime. It was instituted as a fishing expedition against Trump, in the name of Russian "colluuuusion" (which isn't a crime either, no matter it is pronounced), because the instigators, including anti-Trump officials in the FBI, believed that Trump must be guilty of something.

        They didn't believe it possible that such a person could win an election against the establishment because they think they are so superior in so many ways, and know that the system is rigged on their behalf against outsiders. Ergo, they concluded that Trump must have committed a "crime" to get elected.

        They conducted an "investigation" not into a crime, but a person, believing that if they only looked enough they would find a crime which in turn could be leveraged to force Trump out of office, which was the intent from the beginning. That is the mentality of a kangaroo court, not "administration of justice", and not the way the American system of justice is supposed to work. We investigate known crimes for which there is at least plausible evidence that they exist, not as a of putting someone away you want to "get" from the outset because you consider your political enemies to be criminals by nature.

        The Mueller squad was itself of dubious Constitutionality. It was not established under statute -- the law authorizing politically "independent" special prosecutors expired long ago -- and Mueller was appointed with de facto powers greater than those held by Constitutional officers for which Senate confirmation is required. No crime was specified for investigation, only an open ended personal investigation in search of criminality.

        Mueller proceeded to hire politically motivated anti-Trump activists, including Clinton campaign activists, who shared the real goal of the kangaroo investigation. This included the infamous Andrew Weissmann known for unethical prosecutorial tactics.

        Despite the strong-arm tactics in its "investigation" the Mueller organization could find no crime, let alone criminal guilt, probable cause, or proof.

        The Mueller organization proceed to write a prosecutorial "report" indicting by innuendo, including employing Weissman's overly broad redefinition of "obstruction of justice" already rejected by the Supreme Court with its 9-0 overturning of Weissmann's prosecutorial conviction of the Arthur Anderson accounting firm in the Enron case.

        They had no legal case and knew it, but cast their "recommendations" into the political arena, begging Congress to pursue impeachment in order to keep the game going for the original intended political purpose of forcing Trump out of office. In that deliberate switch in the audience and intent for the report they exceeded their authority to report back to the Attorney General on the feasibility of specific prosecution for indictable crimes committed, if any.

        Part of the politics of the ongoing political flim flam of treating a prosecutor's "report" as if it were an independent investigation with an objective conclusion, to be politically accepted and acted on.

        A prosecutor makes a "case" for his prosecution. He is not the judge and does not make a judicial determination. Under a legitimate legal proceeding the defendant is also allowed under the law to make his case and there is an argument before the court. The biased, politically oriented Mueller "report" does not do that and is not the "last word". It even deliberately left out exculpatory evidence in its selective "quoting" and reinterpreting of witness statements in its overtly political appeals.

        Yet we are to believe that the hysterical accusations have been objectively established in a "report" by independent scholars only interested in objective law, not a prosecutor looking something to prosecute, and not a prosecutor's organization with a political intent.

        Even with that strategy, all they had left for their promotion was the vague, politically-redefined "obstruction of justice" accusation condemning Trump for daring to employ his own rights as a citizen, and presidential authorities, in speaking out against the corruption.

        Without the "investigation" that Trump and many others denounced for what it was, there could be no possibility of obstruction of justice -- it's another attempt at a "process crime" created by the investigators themselves -- and there is still no evidence of a crime to investigate or to "obstruct" under the legal meaning of that term.

        The Mueller organization and its supporters still cannot believe that Trump committed no crimes to win the election, just as they still can't face the fact that he did win. They believe, and we are expected to believe, that Trump must have done something to destroy or hide evidence of his "guilt", and so the game continues. They have no evidence of Trump destroying evidence, but their feelings are all they need, and we are all constantly badgered to feel the same under their dark conspiracy theory that did not survive their own "investigation".

        Such is the nature of the politically-inspired "obstruction of justice" accusations that we are now told to take at face value. Objective people do not jump onto such hysterical band wagons.
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        • Posted by PeterSmith 1 month ago
          What makes this so much more appalling is that this entire "investigation" happened under the auspices of the Trump administration.
          Think of the sheer level of incompetence at politics that it takes to let something like that happen.
          Can you ever imagine something like that happening if Obama or Hillary were in office?
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          • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
            It was put in place as a result of holdovers continuing an "investigation" begun under the Obama administration, a lot of Democrat political strategy and organizing, and the complicity of establishment Republicans, all fanned and propagandized by the establishment left in the media.

            The final blow was the political incompetence of Sessions, who should not have been appointed Attorney General, in allowing himself to be needless pressured into recusing himself and turning power in the Justice Dept over to the anti-Trump coward Rosenstein, together with the irony that the anti-establishment new president didn't yet understand what was happening and what to do about it

            They deliberately and cynically hit him hard, fast and unethically right at the beginning. Only one example of that was Comey's acknowledgement of how he moved in fast to "interview" Flynn with no legal representation, boasting that he exploited the fact that the new administration was till getting organized, and admitting he knew he wouldn't get away with that at any other time and in any other administration. They want power and they mean it. This kind of coup isn't the country we used to know.

            It has been remarked recently that if the more experienced and professional Barr had been the Attorney General from the beginning then the Mueller investigation, aka, Weissman coupe, would likely have been head off because of the weak link in Sessions.

            Trained socialist mafia under Obama and Hillary not only caused it, by the nature of their own cynical power mongering and allies in the media they would have easily prevented it from being done to them even if any Republicans were able and willing to try subverting the election. Remember that it was the Hillary campaign that paid to spike the "evidence" given to the FBI from the beginning.

            So it's more than a matter of incompetence at politics. The game was rigged by shear statist evil against a group that thought it is all played by the rules. It was not the only such result of corruption in the Obama administration aided by establishment Republicans.
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        • Posted by TheRealBill 1 month ago
          "The biased, politically oriented Mueller "report" does not do that and is not the "last word". It even deliberately left out exculpatory evidence in its selective "quoting" and reinterpreting of witness statements in its overtly political appeals."

          And yet still managed, despite itself, to demonstrate time and again how what was investigated lacked evidence, and often was nothing but exculpatory. There was a couple of times when reading it through the first time I thought "aha, now they have someth- wait they just explained why this is not OoJ as well".
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      • Posted by  $  Solver 1 month ago
        Accusations and what-ifs. In America we have something called burden of proof.
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        • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
          "In America we have something called burden of proof."
          I'm not following. Does this mean if you cannot prove a criminal act, you there cannot be obstruction of justice? I could see it working that way to prevent prosecutors and police from tricking suspects into obstructing justice.
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          • Posted by  $  Solver 1 month ago
            Is obstruction of justice legal?
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            • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 1 month ago
              It's a very concerning concept. Let's take Michael Flynn's obstruction of justice. He was incoming national security advisor. Obama had imposed some sanctions and it looked like Russia was going to retaliate. Instead of coming in with a 'food fight' in progress, he reached out to the the Russian Ambassador, apparently hinting that the Trump administration might have a different approach and maybe they should wait.

              This was recorded by the "Russian collusion" investigation and when the FBI came and asked him about it he told them he hadn't. The question in my mind is what business the FBI had asking about diplomatic overtures of the incoming administration? There is no reason to consider it a crime (no one has EVER been convicted under the Logan Act).

              We all understand that perjury is a crime and if you are "under oath" you are alerted to be honest in your comments. But Obstruction of Justice covers any discussion. The FBI agents interviewing Flynn (with the wiretaps in hand) made a point of being casual about the discussion to attempt to get him to "Obstruct them". And really, if they knew the contents of the call how did him not confirming it "Obstruct" anything?

              Obstruction of Justice is one of those crimes that they can be pretty much guaranteed to get you for if you talk long enough. You don't even have to lie, they can just disagree and say that what you said was a lie.
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              • Posted by TheRealBill 1 month ago
                IIRC, the Flynn charge was "lying to the FBI", and the claim for Trump was OoJ. Lying to the FBI is not the same as perjury. The OoJ part w/Flynn we've already hashed out - insufficient evidence to support two of the three conditions required for a valid charge.

                "The FBI agents interviewing Flynn (with the wiretaps in hand) made a point of being casual about the discussion to attempt to get him to "Obstruct them". And really, if they knew the contents of the call how did him not confirming it "Obstruct" anything?"

                Change perjury to "lying to the FBI" and you're spot on. Perjury has requirements that lying to the FBI does not. Perjury, for example, requires intent to lie or conceal, as well as material relevance.
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                • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 1 month ago
                  I didn't say perjury, I said obstruction of justice. You don't have to be under oath to be charged with that.

                  But you are correct, what he was actually charged with was Title 18 1001 (a)(2) which makes it a crime to lie to a government agent about virtually anything. They don't even have to be investigating a crime.

                  (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
                  (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
                  (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
                  (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

                  Which is actually much worse than obstruction of justice which actually requires an investigation.
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            • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
              "Is obstruction of justice legal?
              I always thought of it a "technical" crime, but now that I think about it more calling it a technicality just means I don't fully get why it's a crime. In my mind it's like failing to file an important form.
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              • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
                Real obstruction of justice, in the legal sense, not today's political meaning, means someone actively going out of his way to try to impede, disrupt or prevent the administration of justice under a legal investigation or court process. More legal details here https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/obstr...

                In that form obstruction is legally a crime because it obstructs protection against an underlying crime. Much law enforcement today is not for the protection of the rights of the individual, but obstruction remains illegal.
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month ago
        In the case against President Trump, there was no evidence to destroy, nor was there any indication that anything had been tampered with. All subpoenaed documents were handed over, and all witnesses subpoenaed testified. Only if you imagine there must have been some item of evidence that had been so well hidden that no one suspected it even existed can you apply your destruction/tampering/hiding evidence case. The very weak charges of obstruction are based solely on statements the President made out of frustration, and on which he took no action.
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      • Posted by TheRealBill 1 month ago
        "Is this true? "

        Yes.

        The Mueller report makes repeated statements that there was no underlying crime identified or able to be charged. It lays out a timeline that clearly shows that at no time were they even considering Obstruction until Trump fired Comey - something the report also demonstrates is itself not obstruction of justice.

        "Couldn't someone obstruct justice by successfully destroying evidence? In this scenario, there would be enough evidence to prove obstruction but not the alleged crime the destroyed evidence may have pointed to?"

        No. You're make the predefined assumption there was a crime for which there is evidence to destroy. This is not how proper investigation and law enforcement works. This is where the "no crime, no obstruction" assertion comes from. If there is no crime, there is no evidence to destroy or hide. If there is no crime, thus no evidence to destroy, how do you charge someone with destruction of evidence?

        That said, there is a loose and vague description which says you can obstruct in spite of no actual crime. However, the bar is set much higher - as admitted by Mueller's report. As the report laid out, there are three absolutely critical aspects to a proper charge of obstruction.

        1. There has to be an "obstructive act",
        2. There has to be a "nexus" (ie. a direct and incontrovertible connection) between the act, and
        3. A corrupt intent to obstruct.

        If any of those fail, there is no legal charge of obstruction possible. The Mueller report repeatedly shows that in every case they investigated, they lacked the necessary trifecta. Every. Single. Case. Note that a crime being committed is not listed in that criteria. Thus the lack of an original crime is, indeed, irrelevant.

        I detailed much of the report in https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post... so I won't repeat it here. However, lets run with your alleged scenario.

        If there is no crime, there is no evidence to destroy, thus this does preclude - in your scenario - the act of "destroying evidence" to be an obstructive act. Thus right off the bat the lack of a crime means that whatever was destroyed was not an obstructive act, thus failing the first criteria. But lets step away from the destruction of evidence example because the lack of a crime automatically eliminates it from the realm of possibility. Let us look at Trump firing Comey.

        Trump firing Comey is not an obstructive act, for several reasons. We can even assume there is a crime in there somewhere Trump could theoretically be wanting to hide. The act was no obstructive because 1) Comes repeatedly told Trump he was not being investigated 2) Trump fired him because he wouldn't tell that to the public, and 3) Trump explicitly told him to keep investigating the possible Russia interference even if it meant people in his campaign.

        Because there was no investigation for him to obstruct, there was no nexus. Because Trump explicitly told him to keep investigating, we have evidence that there was no act that could even be considered obstruction. Because the reason for firing was not to corruptly stop an investigation or impede it, the act of firing can not be deemed corrupt.

        Finally, as I detailed in that thread I referenced above, there has to a reasonable expectation that the an action would naturally lead to the alleged result. Trump could literally gone to the Secretary of the Department of Education, said he wanted Comey out to prevent him from investigating Trump for a crime he committed, instructed her to fire Comey, and it would fail the tests Mueller's report correctly outlines. Why? Because there is no reasonable way that would have resulted in the outcome expressed.

        Similarly, on a much broader scale, a defendant pulling the fire alarm on their way to the court, or a person if interest pulling the fire alarm on their way into the precinct (or even when the police enter their building) is not obstruction because there is no reasonable expectation that the former leads to producing the outcome. On that grounds as well, even the firing of Comey fails the test.

        Even more deeply let us assume a crime happened, and evidence was destroyed. Do we have obstruction? Not yet. The person doing it had to do it with corrupt intent. This is the underlying reason there is so much behind the "no crime == no obstruction". How do you prove a corrupt intent if there was nothing to cover up? That has to be a very high bar. How would you prove murder if the "victim" is still alive?

        So your second question is answered: "nope".
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  • Posted by GaryL 1 month ago
    Obstruction of Justice in and of itself is strictly in the eye of the beholder. The MSM, Liberals, Democrats and Trump haters all have never accepted that Trump is our President fair and square. Actually they will never accept a Republican President no matter who he/she might be. The only elections democrats agree with are those they win and I think it will be a long time before we allow a democrat socialist to ever occupy the WH again. These people are bat$hitcrazy.
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    • Posted by term2 1 month ago
      Time for a splitup of the country is some way. Its totally divided anyway
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      • Posted by TheRealBill 1 month ago
        I think there is a case to be made for this on different grounds. It is still something I'm reasoning through, but the gist of it is that just from a basic standpoint we are too large. The combination of size and geographical diversity is too much for a functioning representative government.

        By geographical diversity I mean the vast functional differences between region. Ignore the political difference and even just look at the social and economic differences between, lets say NYC,NY and even Austin, TX.

        The economic differences alone preclude the ability to set any national policy that adequately considers and covers both of these two. Even is "trivial" as minimum wage can't be resolved - it is far cheaper to live in Austin than NY for starters. Housing costs (rent) alone are often more than double in NY compared to Austin (ATX). For purchasing it is 2-3 times as much - and that is comparing on an apartment basis, not even the house market.

        The median 3BR, 2Bath home price in Austin is around 325k - and as someone who has shopped in that area that is a rather nice property level, too. In Manhattan that'll be around 2 million. And I'd put money on that Austin house being significantly larger. Food costs run 60-80% more expensive in NYC vs. ATX. Virtually every metric is higher in NYC than ATX. No minimum wage set to ATX levels will come near being enough in NYC. Any minimum wage based on NYC will be a princely amount in ATX and cause massive shocks to the economy - and not good ones, either.

        Conversely, tax rates based on NYC would annihilate ATX families, and ATX rates would starve the NYC government (lets assume that to be a bad one just to play nice, here. ;) ). Any government covering those areas that went beyond the absolute bare bones functionality would look nothing like today, and very much like the kind in the early 1800s - when it had so little power and influence over the lives of the populace that people valued sitting on a porch with some tea or lemonade over shlepping down to somewhere to vote for some schmoe who could neither help nor hinder you.

        We know beyond reasonable doubt that the human brain is wired for small group societies, not large ones. When a small group of smaller groups spread out over a large territory and no illusion of proximity because of things like going from coast to coast physical in less than a day or talking with someone anywhere in the country - or indeed in the world - immediately, we could manage it fine.

        People often describe this as the world getting proverbially smaller. I used to as well, but I am leaning more and more toward a different phrasing: the world isn't getting smaller, our perceived individual world, and our individual reach, is getting larger. When it'd take a week to contact someone two states away, you mostly didn't care what they did. When you feel like they are (or they physically are) on the other side of a thin wall, you suddenly find you care much more.

        There might be a way to diminish this by combining a more stringent, layered federalist setup (one which is continued further down, ie. fed -> sate, state -> county, county -> city style) with strict limitations on population density and district size, but that is probably less likely than splitting us up into smaller jurisdictions. Yet I find it to be more likely to be effective.

        I'm not sure at what set of ratios or numbers we reach the tipping point toward collectivism, but I'm confident it is there. In a similar vein it has been pointed out that when it came to seeing women as equals, it was never the rough and ready areas where women stood shoulder to shoulder with men out on the ranch or farm that had a problem with it - indeed they were letting women own property, vote, and run for office even before the country was founded. Even more pointedly, the last places to allow women the privilege to vote were the high density places where women didn't do the hard work.

        I know of one time and area in history where this problem was avoided despite the density. The pre-Civil War not-so-wild West. Honestly the details we have of that era and area was one of the most shocking revelations from history to me.

        The federal government had a small military presence, but it was only there in case there was trouble between the citizens and the local indians that were not able to be handled by them - and intervention of that style was exceedingly rare prior to the Civil War. I've only been able to find a few recorded incidents, which orders of magnitude more places where peaceful coexistence was the norm - ad virtually, if not all, took place under Lincoln.

        So absent the federal government, what did they do? In a sense the broke up the government. There was no regional government monopoly. You had various legal entities with their own laws and system. If you were part of it, which was voluntary (you could choose another and "switch") you were under that jurisdiction. If you got into a conflict with someone in a different jurisdiction, the systems of each, if they had not already established an inter-system mechanism would hash it out. If you didn't like the result you could try to get into a different one and try again, but that wasn't assured.

        It sounds absolutely bonkers, I know. And we even have a word for it, one that I was absolutely against because I believed it unworkable until I discovered that history. But before I note it, I want to address one more aspect of the above system: you could be kicked out of a jurisdiction.

        This wasn't a physical thing, but more a no longer covered thing. This was bad. This was very bad for you. Think of it like a very real and immediate excommunication from a church. This put you "outside of the law". It meant that you had no law protecting you. You could kill someone "outside of the law" and suffer no penalty because they had no protection.

        This put significant pressure to behave, and if you did get kicked out to try like hell to find some group to let you in. You did not want to be an "outlaw".

        Further, and tying that back into the topic of splitting up a large nation, groups could split or dissolve by vote or choice. If enough of you didn't like a decision of your cattleman's association you could band together and form a new one, and enter it to an agreement, much like treaties, with the previous one or with new ones. There are no recorded incidents that I have found (and boy have I tried!) of this involving violence or bloodshed.

        When crime sprees would get out of hand, these various jurisdictions would band together, raise a temporary posse, put down the spree, and disband. We have the records demonstrating this in what are now large cities in California. Mostly these events were very short-lived as they were highly effective.

        What was this system? They didn't call it this at the time, but we could now, and some well researched historians have done so: anarcho-capitalism.

        There was no central authority, associations were voluntary, dissolvable, and privately created, while often being centered on an economic activity such as mining, farming, ranching, etc.. There was a "market for law", and the competition one would expect. They were based on individual freedom and private property.

        Even in the more communal or business partnership style associations where there was "collective use property", the property remained under private ownership and authority. Government was as minimal is it could be. There was no standing police force in the vast majority of associations, no standing courts, and often no lawyers. Sometimes there were even barred by law. That is a sentiment I suspect many of us could get behind, even some of my lawyer friends.

        But notice the key distinction there: there was a market and competition for law and order, privately run and managed, with geographical overlap. Each "government" was pretty small and, the tendency of cattleman's associations to use hired guns for final resolution where they felt they had no choice, largely non-coercive. Internally there had to be some, sure. But you were free to appeal, and ultimately free to take your own property and go somewhere else if they'd have you. Crime was shockingly low as well.

        That pretty much started coming to an end as Lincoln began trying to establish more central control, and ended absolutely with the Civil War's ending. In many places murder was recorded as very rare - sometimes you'd go years without one - while in the more dense areas back east, it was commonplace. As the federal government went for total control they'd send out lawyers and police to "protect" the frontier families from "killers" - to places that had never had a murder. In every such case I've seen, murders followed. This was even reported on and recorded contemporaneously.

        So it may also be the case that being divided isn't a problem, but perhaps not being divided enough could be. Ultimately, it is looking to me more and more that we've exceeded our political carrying capacity, to coin a phrase.
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        • Posted by term2 1 month ago
          I think you are on to something that indicates the USA should be treated as individual states with a loose association for defense and free movement of goods and people among the states. Federal powers should be severely limited.
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          • Posted by TheRealBill 1 month ago
            The original and early states had exactly that. The powers of the federal government were so minimal that it didn't matter that the vast majority of the country couldn't vote because they didn't care.

            I've done experiments where I list off what the federal government did/could do back then and asked people if that was all it did, would they care about voting for its representation? Almost universally, even among hard progressives, the answer has "no, why bother?".

            I've even managed to use that as a window for some of the hardliners on bigger government to explain how that makes life more political which, for the rank and file of even progressive democrats, they don't really like everything being political. The converts have been small in number, but resilient in their new understanding. The insane screeching on the left has helped my case more and more this last couple of years.
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        • Posted by Lucky 1 month ago
          TheRealBill A thoughtful essay, thanks, I agree with most of it.

          Question are-
          how to change back when the original federal system is being merged into a unitary government?
          Is there a best size for a State, by area or population or what?
          Is a confederation better than a federation?

          There is an principle called subsidiarity where decisions are made at the lowest/local level. If that principle were used the type of government- unitary, confederation, federal, becomes less important.
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          • Posted by TheRealBill 1 month ago
            Thanks, Lucky. I try. :)

            "how to change back when the original federal system is being merged into a unitary government?"

            I don't know, and wish I did. If we look at it historically (I do a lot of this for some really out there ideas), it doesn't look good. Short of a technical dictatorship or monarchy, the few cases of it happening it took actual, armed revolution. No country in known history has every had it as long as we did and slipped as far down as slowly as we have, so precedent is hard to see.

            Basically, there is only one way I see being even semi-realistic that does't involve armed revolt, secession, or catastrophic collapse: leave and start over. Historically when we've hit points similar to what we have now, we've moved away to places where there was no functional governmental jurisdiction and built anew, usually incorporating the lessons learned. From the family to the village, then to city-states, to nations, to "new" continents, we've always used that as our pressure valve.

            But we've pretty much run out of room here. That leaves us few options, excluding natural disasters.

            1) We "grow out of it"
            2) Armed "resetting"
            3) Leave the planet

            I have very little confidence in #1. If it did happen it would likely take many generations and be fought by collectivists. For option #2, I'm not highly confident in that either. Not only do I find that the least desirable, I think it even less likely given the distribution of density and districts.

            Under #2 I'd include secession, as it is merely going on at a smaller scale. For example if Texas said "nope, we're out lets get back to basics". I include it under "armed" because historically states pulling out of the union have required armed action. I can imagine "Texit", but I just don't see it happening. Even if it did, Brexit (which is a small step in that direction) is still being fought after three years. But even with Brexit it is a very small step.

            This leaves item #3: leave the planet. This is the most "realistic" in my view because a) it matches up with what we've done historically, and can be done arguably easier than the other two. From a technical perspective as someone who has spent decades on the subject (complete with many, many blind alleys and wrong turns), it is nowhere near as hard as we think it is. Hard, yes, but that adds to the chance of success because it works to preclude "soft" entitled people. Shared adversity is an incredible equalizer.

            But back to Earth,the best shot at a peaceful rollback would really need to be highly localized - below the state level. It also depends on the local laws. In Montana, as I recall, counties have the legal authority to dissolve cities as they are hierarchically superior to them. However, I suspect that this method would have a tendency to push toward secession when it is successful inside the state and the obvious detriment of the federal overreach became more obvious and resented.

            "Is there a best size for a State, by area or population or what?"

            I've long sought that answer, and it eludes me. I think the factor of density comes into play heavily for many reasons. It may be one of the leading factors overall, hence my doubts about a reversal. Data on size of cities and towns is fairly easy to come by, but density is often only publushed/calculated for large ones. You'd have to get that as well as a way to quantify political results that lead collectivist. Then you'd need to track those over time, as well as raw size and population to see if there is a "breakpoint" in there. We might be able to get a reasonable proxy of the political aspect by using registered voters where party affiliation is part of it.

            Interestingly there is a site that does a "best 10 cities for (liberal | moderate | conservative) voters". The largest one for conservatives was 50k, and still not densely populated. Bear in mind conservative/liberal is a proxy here as there is no way to get the better details at that scale. As a seriously wide-ass guess I cold support a supposition that cities above 10,000 people per square mile have a very strong tilt toward stronger government. Sort the cities by pop/mi2 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of... and eyeballing them puts the vast majority of them in that category. Again, off the cuff there.

            Similarly some off the cuff guesstimates can be made looking at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_... and sorting the counties by size. I would put most of the ones on the left in the more likely to be for more government category than the ones on the right. Note that I'm using the term "county" slightly generically as a political division, that role isn't always called the same thing.

            Also with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_... it would be neat to combine the political angle with that data. Eyeballing it with my rather limited knowledge of those counties, the ones I do know about about follow the pattern. County level is more difficult than city level due to two main factors: sometimes cities spread across county lines and most counties in the country are "red" - by a large margin. If electors were based on current counties, Democrats would not be able to get elected to POTUS without all but becoming Republicans. For example Trump won 84% of all ~3100 counties, while Hillary won 88% of the 100 largest.

            "Is a confederation better than a federation? "

            Possibly. It would depend on the details.

            "There is an principle called subsidiarity where decisions are made at the lowest/local level. If that principle were used the type of government- unitary, confederation, federal, becomes less important."

            Yes, and this is key to my vision. To explain the earlier references better this is how it'd work.

            Take the structure of the government as defined before Senators were voted in. Executive elected by electors from each state, Senate represents and selected by the state governments, and House by the people in the jurisdiction. Now apply that recursively. For Texas that'd mean the Governor chosen by electors from each county, a Senate chosen by county governments, and a House where members represent at the county level and are voted in by the people in the county. You can then apply that at the city level (replacing the city council) though it may not be of value in smaller cities - and where that boundary lies is variable and unknown.

            However, I think that doing that at the federal, state, and county level would be sufficient. You would need more explicit language expressing that all power is reserved to the smallest level first and shrinks as it rises in the hierarchy. Reinforcing that with money I'd apply my preference for hierarchical payment. The only direct taxation would be allowed by the smallest unit. Imagine that the federal government had no direct tax authority, but instead took their expenditures and apportioned them to the states by population.

            Thus if your state is 15% of the country's population, it gets a bill for 15% of the expenditures - no ifs, ands, or buts. You carry that down the next step which, in the example above, means the state government go Texas would divvy up its expenditures, including the bill from the federal government, among its counties by population. The counties can then decide how to collect that revenue.

            This would have some rather interesting and, I think, corrective effects. You could directly rate elected officials on the change of that unit's share of the bill, for example. If the county wants to use income tax for it, so be it. Perhaps a different county can do better using sales, or even property taxes. Or maybe they charge for services at a rate high enough to cover their share. Regardless, it lets the people closest to each other make the best decision for them, and to be more able to change course if needs be.

            I think that would also put a downward pressure on costs because it exposes us directly to those costs, whereas currently they are all hidden. They are outright hidden, but also buried in the sheer size of the federal expenditures.

            Most of us don't really understand big numbers of things; such as just how much a 3 trillion dollar expenditure total is. So it floats on by us. But if you can break that down into smaller chunks we can grasp, we can not only feel like we can understand, we can understand.

            Anyway, this is probably long enough already. ;) I guess if I were to plan a way to caw out way back, this would be it. But I don't really know how we'd get to the above other than in a new land.
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      • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
        How do you propose to "split up the country", house by house in neighborhood by neighborhood? There are people supporting the false alternative spread across the country in all states, with the worst premises spreading everywhere.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
        "Time for a splitup of the country is some way. Its totally divided anyway"
        If the government were strictly limited in power and spending, it wouldn't matter. I don't know a practical way it could happen, but it seems like limiting government gets at the root cause more than creating separate governments.
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        • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
          Yes, splitting up statist governments into competing statism solves nothing, even if it could be done. Limiting government power is precisely what is not being advocated now on both sides of the false alternative in Washington and the voters who put them there.
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  • Posted by CaptainKirk 1 month ago
    First, ASKING about a case is NOT obstruction.
    Especially when you know the core facts.

    But I think trump was forced to do this to IDENTIFY the deep state actors.

    AND OMG It is deep. I think I would say 80% of the DOJ is corrupt and 90% of the FBI Top Brass should be behind bars.

    The challenge is that NO OTHER PRESIDENT had the COURAGE to force the Deep State to identify themselves.

    According to Q/Others: Mike Flynn got in, pushed a few top secret White Hats (who recovered the deleted Strozk/Page texts), who are tracking/keeping/linking everything...

    And then Trump just has to let this play out, and ignore the optics. EVERY OTHER President has been afraid of SOMETHING (usually their past).

    I actually believe Trump was given a heads up 20 years ago to keep everything squeaky clean so that he could go down as the guy who brought them down.

    I think Trump was FORCED to bring his family in to his Presidency, because he could not trust ANYONE (Not Rince, Not Sessions, Not Comey, NOBODY).

    I do not believe Trump obstructed justice in ASKING about Flynn or Firing Comey.

    I think Comey, Mueller, and the guy who signed off for sessions were CONFLICTED and should NEVER have been involved the way they were.
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  • Posted by Russpilot 1 month ago
    My only question is as such, is there any way that you can obstruct justice when the investigation is begun on unlawful FISA information.
    The only laws I saw that were broken were on the side of the so called investigation.
    Illegal surveillance, illegal warrants issued by one of the most secretive courts in the land. And on and on.
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  • Posted by ycandrea 1 month ago
    I hope you are joking because that article was ridiculously lame. President Trump is and has been from the beginning an innocent man. President Clinton was and is anything but innocent. There is no comparison. And President Trump let the so-called investigation run it's course.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 month ago
    I have a problem debating this subject, when there is such disparity between what is a inappropriate/illegal between this administration and the last one, or essentially R's vs D's.

    One cannot get excited about this, without being more upset about The Clinton Foundation, Hillary's emails, the IRS persecuting non-profits, et al...unless one is just biased and seeking a question to support their answer.
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  • Posted by GaryL 1 month ago
    If POTUS didn't do his tweets and openly bash those who seriously need bashing the MSM would never report any of the positive results and certainly nothing negative coming from the opposite side. They absolutely hate Twitter because they can't control it and bury the stories that don't support their twisted agenda.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 month, 1 week ago
    The "lack" of Size Matters. billy bob's obstruction is only large under an electron microscope at max magnification...remember in Deliverance, as the dueling banjos played, it was billy bob that was squealing like a pig! Oh...and the "guy" behind him?... was hiltery!!!
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  • -4
    Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 1 week ago
    I have not followed it closely, but it feels like a technicality to me. It seems like President Trump was investigated for crimes and in the process of trying to defend himself he may have obstructed justice.

    On one hand, I think this makes him look guilty, but OTOH I think he attention and being in a political fight. So maybe he just acted guilty. In either case, the obstruction claim feels like a technicality to me.

    IMHO President Trump is a disgrace to the US for his clownishness, naked bigotry, and authoritarian impulses. It would be nice if it turned out he committed a serious crime. To my non-expert understanding, the authorities thoroughly investigated him and found only technicalities.
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    • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 1 month ago
      The strongest of the "obstruction of justice" charges is that he tried to fire Mueller. The problem with this argument is that what happened is that he told McGhan to make the case to Rosenstein,that Mueller had a conflict of interest and should not be the special counsel.

      Since McGhan was White House counsel and had no authority to fire the Special Counsel, this was not an attempt to do so.

      Had Trump actually wanted to fire the Special Counsel as Nixon famously wanted to fire Archibold Cox, he would have given an order directly to Rosenstein. Saying someone has a conflict of interest is making an argument, not issuing a directive.

      And, of course, Mueller certainly looks like he has a conflict of interest. He's a long time associate of Comey and hired a bunch of Democratic donors including someone who was at Hillary's 'victory' party. He probably shouldn't have been selected in the first place.
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      • -2
        Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
        I do not agree that Muller and Comey were acting politically, but I come to a similar end conclusion. I think they did a thorough investigation and didn't find anything except some possible technicalities. I'm not knowledgeable enough to understand the nature of the alleged obstruction, and until I learn more I see it as a something minor. I do not understand why anyone outside that world (i.e. people involved with the case) would care one way or the other.
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        • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month ago
          Comey completely misrepresented what the law says about gross negligence regarding the protection of classified material in Clinton's email case. As an Air Force security official I investigated several situations under this law, and "intent" was never required to prove that someone was careless to an extreme in protecting classified material. The only explanation for Comey misrepresenting the law was to protect the Democrat presidential candidate from indictment, which was very much a political act.

          Mueller packed the investigative team with people who were Hillary supporters. The question has to be did he pack it this way to make sure no bias in favor of Trump was involved that could cover up evidence, or did he pack it this way to try to insure a case against the president? The fact that in spite of the bias of the investigators, they could find no evidence of collusion with the Russians is glaring support that the whole thing was phony from the outset.
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        • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
          Their "investigation" did not find even "technicalities". Real legal obstruction of justice is more than a technicality when it really occurs. The accusations against Trump for "obstruction" are entirely political, which is why the Mueller organization and its supporters care so much.
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    • Posted by mccannon01 1 month ago
      Alleging obstruction doesn't mean there actually is any. Just like alleging "clownishness, naked bigotry, and authoritarian impulses" by constantly repeating the words doesn't mean there is any. Although "clownishness" can be interpreted as having a good sense of humor and a satirical bite now and then, which I'd agree Trump has.
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      • -3
        Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
        Obstruction of justice is not related to President Trump's disgraceful public persona. In my post above, I call obstruction of justice in this case a "technicality".
        The public persona is another matter. It's an embarrassment to the US. It would be dangerous if there were malevolence behind it, but I suspect getting attention by getting people fired up is an end unto itself for President Trump. It's like Peter Keating wanting the housekeeper to react when Keating was rude to him. Keating wasn't seeking any dream of his own and using the housekeeper as a tool. Getting a reaction from people was is existence that somehow formed, probably thanks to his mother, in the absence of any selfish (in the Rand sense) desires of his own.
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        • Posted by mccannon01 1 month ago
          "...disgraceful persona..." and "It's an embarrassment to the US." No it isn't! The only people that falsely call it an embarrassment are those who want to control the US president/presidency and Trump won't let them. The left wants the US to genuflect and kiss the asses of America's enemies and detractors and prostrate herself to the whims of their dictates like Obama did. The left would rather slap around America's citizens to loot them and spread America's wealth around the world, but Trump would rather tell them to "kiss America's ass". Look at the leftist media as in they are not interested in what Trump, as a duly elected President, is going to do on behalf of America, they want to TELL HIM what to do on behalf of themselves just like the Neo Communists. Look at the crowd of Stalin's useful idiots in London with the "baby Trump balloon" acting like fools. It wasn't Trump that was the embarrassment, it was the demonstrating idiots.

          Edit add: I did not down vote you.
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          • -3
            Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
            I do not understand this. It sounds like crazy talk. Part of it may be I have not followed it: I had never heard of a "baby Trump balloon". I just searched it and got a picture. My searching for "neo-communist", a word I had never heard, returns references to a Soviet political party in the 70s and a 00s movement for communism that despite its name sounds like the same old communism.

            None of this has anything to do with President Trump's racist clown show. Other groups,e.g. neo-communists, are not responsible for his nasty, attention-seeking ways.
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            • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 1 month ago
              It is not racist to criticize someone for their opinions or their actions. It's only if you criticize them for the color of their skin. (We'll leave aside the fact that race really is an artificial construct for now).

              So, who does Trump criticize because of the color of their skin?

              Why do you call him a racist?
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              • -5
                Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
                "Why do you call him a racist?"
                He says confusing things that sound racist. It leaves open the legitimate possibility that he's just incoherent and meant something else. But that fact that he is slow to disavow racist supporters moves him solidly into racism. I have more respect for racists who wrongly believe the races are different are open about their incorrect beliefs than I do those who coyly make people uncomfortable and then say because their words were unclear you cannot prove they were racist.
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                • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 1 month ago
                  Perhaps the confusion lies in your mind. I certainly don't find anything he says as a "confusing thing that sounds racist". He never makes a statement that talks about a racial group.

                  This "disavow" racists is nonsense, he has done so repeatedly. If you are public figure lots of weird kooks will support you intermingled in the normal group. You have no obligation to spend your time disavowing them -- unless they become prominent.
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                • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
                  When do Democrats denounce their own racist members and supporters?

                  No one in public office is a racist simply because there are racists who support him either mistakenly or for different reasons than racism. Elections are won by votes, not political correctness scores. No one running for office is obligated to run around denouncing his own votes regardless of the reasons they are cast. All he can do is make his own position clear (which Trump's emotionalism does not do).

                  The Democrat ethnicity mongers are racists directly because of their own obsession with race, which in turn is why they won't denounce their racist supporters who realize that and like it.

                  Trump is no racist, but is inept at defending his own positions, let alone American individualism that he does not hold himself or understanding. But he at least has some sense of remnants of an American sense of life. His rejecting racist totalitarians like Och and her "squad" does not make Trump a racist or sound like a "coy" racist.

                  Even sincere racists do not deserve "respect".
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                  • Posted by  $  Solver 1 month ago
                    This is why the left has made up a their own special woke definition of “racism” which they constantly preach to their followers and loudly demand everyone use.
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                    • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
                      Replacing valid concepts with invalid ones prevents rational thought for those who go along. In this culture they are increasingly corrupting the language to do just that.
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                • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 month ago
                  "That could've been my son" was racist and irresponsible.

                  Trump says silly stuff, but not sure I ever heard something that was racist...twisted to be racist, sure.
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                  • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
                    "If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon" was said by Obama, and that is the least of it from the Democrats now. You're right that there is no evidence that Trump is racist in any way, only opposed to the ethnicity-left, for which they lash out with the "racist" epithet against him.
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            • Posted by  $  Solver 1 month ago
              Since when does criticizing people promoting ideologies that offend other people been actually racist? Racism is not some ideological package deal.
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              • -2
                Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
                "Since when"
                I reject the premise the offensive racism are the same.
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                • Posted by  $  Solver 1 month ago
                  Sorry, but I just don’t understand the meaning of your sentence.
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                  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
                    Sorry. I omitted words, so it made no sense. I meant to write: "I reject the premise that offensive ideologies and racism are the same."
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                    • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
                      Offensive ideologies of all kinds are not racism. That is the point. The left is obsessed with race and accuses everyone of "racism" without basis, including Trump. They want him to be racist, along with everyone else who won't endorse their egalitarian nihilism of totalitarian forced equality within a tribe.
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                    • Posted by  $  Solver 1 month ago
                      Judging and criticizing bad people, bad ideas and bad ideologies is what President Trump openly does. He does not criticize their race or the color of their skin although he may criticize the place they came from.
                      Not the way I would handle things but not racist either.
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        • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
          The left wants Trump's public persona to be an embarrassment because he's not one of them. They show no such concern about the likes of Maxine Waters and many others in their own ranks.

          Trump's anti-intellectualism and emotional, contradictory thinking are not good for this country. He's the last gasp of those Pragmatists who happen to oppose the left. But the articulate "impressive-sounding" establishment intellectuals and politicians are far worse than mere "embarrassment".

          Trump is no empty, selfless Peter Keating. He didn't leave his lush lifestyle of wealth and success just to get public attention in politics. He is not stupid, and seems to genuinely care about the country and some remnants of the American sense of life. He is a temporary place-holder, keeping out the likes of the Clinton socialist mafia for now, but is squandering his position because he doesn't know how to intellectually defend against it and does not understand fully what is right himself.
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    • Posted by  $  exceller 1 month ago
      "IMHO President Trump is a disgrace to the US for his clownishness, naked bigotry, and authoritarian impulses. It would be nice if it turned out he committed a serious crime. To my non-expert understanding, the authorities thoroughly investigated him and found only technicalities. "

      Really, now?

      You have learned the mantra of the left well.

      You don't have one single point of evidence the president committed any crime.

      You simply can't stand him b/c he loves this country and wants to reinstate at least some of the greatness it has been known for before Clinton and Obama did their best to destroy it.

      You made your stance clear on these pages by siding with Omar and her terrorist views.

      You would be a character in AR's novel that is responsible for driving the country to the ground.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
        "You don't have one single point of evidence the president committed any crime."
        That was sort of my point. I completely reject all this nonsense of about siding with people. I find it to be precisely the opposite of what I take away from Ayn Rand's books.
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    • Posted by ewv 1 month ago
      The "obstruction" accusation and the rest don't rise to the level of even a legal technicality. They have no legal basis at all. Trump's politically fighting back against them only makes him "look guilty" to those who think opposing the Democrats is by nature guilty and should be made illegal.

      How can it be "nice if it turned out he committed a serious crime"? Not liking him is not a justification for wanting him to be a criminal as way to force him out of office. And what would it accomplish? Do you want them to use these tactics to next force Pence as his successor out of office and then stop at Pelosi?
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