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Thread: The strange greatness of Donald Trump

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
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    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

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  2. #12
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    I am not sure posting wide eyed adulation without qualification enhances your credibility when it comes to being able to objectively identify what constitutes wild eyed hissies etc.

    Jim
    Run along, Jim -- go back to your "I hate Trump" threads.
    --- this space intentionally left blank ---

  3. #13
    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
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    Humpf.

    With the Democrats still trying to throw a Hail-Mueller Pass with time out on the scoreboard and with the economy humming, it’s time to confront the central issue: “Has Donald Trump been an awful, OK, or great president?”


    Awful. Just awful. As in, why do supposedly competent professional writers think they can start a piece using a hack-technique like "Ask an outrageous/thought-provoking question." We teach this to kids in eighth grade so they know how to break through writers block and start a piece, teach them to discard it once they've found a good spot for an introduction, and then build on passing through that whole pre-writing strategy without so much as a pause. The writer cannot even claim to be setting up an extended metaphor for the piece in his cliche sports-ball metaphor in the first line because he doesn't ever come back to it. Not. Once. Horrible.

    This introduction gets an F.

    What does an effective first paragraph look like that establishes a debatable thesis? Like the next paragraph:


    The president, unquestionably, is often appalling in his style. His self-aggrandizing, dreadful treatment of opponents and subordinates, public embrace of homicidal dictators, and rambling speaking style draw a portrait of a leader embarrassing to many Americans. He has been vexing to all sides in Washington. Special counsel Robert Mueller added to this picture in his report on the Russia investigation.


    (Unless otherwise stated, all emphasis mine.) This would have been a decent first paragraph. The writer describes several of the issues troubling to a large number of Americans, and it's generally inoffensively written, except for the strange inversion of the final two sentences (surely, the piece would have been better if he had chosen to end on the line "He has been vexing to all Americans).

    The bigger grievance here is the subtype of a trope using the rule of three in the seconded, bolded sentence. Consider the following from TVtropes.org, as a useful explanation of this statement, as described in the entry "Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking"1:

    When listing three or more things, the comedy rule is to not finish strong, but to list some strong examples followed by a very weak example, for the funny. Sometimes this will stick to the Rule of Three, but sometimes a longer list will increase the humor.
    The "Self-aggrandizing, dreadful treatment of opponents and subordinates" and "public embrace of homicidal dictators" are serious enough issues (the "Arson" and "Murder" of the trope). Indicative of the insipid writing, he describes the nations reaction to such as "embarrassment" rather than "moral outrage." But why then throw "rambling speaking style" (the "jaywalking" of the trope) on here? Could the writer not think of anything else serious? Is he stacking the deck with this third pointless inclusion just to have three points? Is he trying to be funny? (Did anyone laugh at any point in this piece? No. No you did not. If you were grading this for humor you'd give it an F--. That's not a real grade, but that's what you'd want to give it.) He's either alluding to the trope, indicating that he doesn't take any of this seriously, or he was writing in a way that is exceptionally clumsy, in which case I'm taking this more seriously than it deserves.


    And yet, over his first two years, he has enjoyed remarkable political, diplomatic, policy and leadership success. I personally don’t care for his style of management and governance, but I think there is a case to be made that he has been a great president.


    If this weren't just a rah-rah piece for the kool-aid drinking set, we would ask for examples of what he thinks are remarkable successes. Some good examples might be making Mexico, rather than U.S. consumers of imported Mexican goods, pay for the wall. Or taxing China's imports, rather than U.S. consumers of imported Chinese goods, in a trade war that everyone knows is easy to win. Or getting North Korea to actually give up its nuclear program. Or pressuring Russia to pull back from it's war in Eastern Ukraine. Yes, I'm being cheeky and selective; however, It's a lesson of rhetoric 101 that if you leave out any portion of your message, your opponent will spackle the crack for you in the worst possible ways.


    When making the case for Trump, you must start in a defensive hole.


    No. If, to quote the first line of this epic train-wreck, "the Democrats [are] still trying to throw a Hail-Mueller Pass with time out on the scoreboard and with the economy humming", then you shouldn't have to start in a hole. This is now self-defeating, given that he has directly contradicted his opening lines. If you're arguing greatness, then argue greatness.


    For example, “immoral” often is a tag hung on him. But his proclivities, especially in regard to women, pale in comparison to Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton, who reportedly turned the White House into a virtual bordello. There is little hint at all of that with the Trump presidency. Similarly, his “immoral” treatment of undocumented immigrants differs little from his predecessors. Finally, he hasn’t blundered into an unnecessary shooting war, many would find immoral.


    I can't decide if this is more of a strawman, or tu quoque (in the hamfisted style of Soviet "whataboutism".)

    It is a strawman in that people, much like myself, who care about moral leadership from our president, have objects to him based on a well-documented history of immorality, a belief that he has not changed, and the reflection that there isn't some magical anti-immorality force-field created by angels and prayer that are breaking his personal habits. That is to say, it is a strawman because we are not merely concerned with his immorality in office, and we remain skeptical of claims that he is a moral paragon now. There is a small victory here in that we no long have to listen to the imbecilic crap from the likes of Falwell and Graham that he is a good man. Conservatives, it appears, are more and more stopping their self-deception.

    It is a tu quoque fallacy in that the hypocrisy of a claimant has no logical bearing on the moral claim of said claimant. Besides, there are enough of us old-line who conservatives repelled by the likes of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Clinton, Boss Tweed, Caligula, Nero, AND Trump. This repeated appeal is argumentam ad nauseum at this point. Folks, saying it over and over again will not make it so.


    In the field of “corruption,” he has been thoroughly investigated and there is nothing to match the smarmy signs of pay-to-play kickbacks alleged in the Clinton State Department.


    The writer throws away a historical moment with yet another tu quoque fallacy, and a single line, no less. It doesn't matter if Clinton was also corrupt. Trump is still corrupt if he is corrupt. I would have left this line out.


    In the field of “dictatorship,” it’s hard to argue that he has suppressed the free press or public criticism, which has been running wild. He certainly couldn’t match the apparent political weaponization of the IRS, the FBI, the CIA and the Justice Department under Barack Obama or match the numerous contempt of Congress charges against many of those officials. To the contrary, Trump has exerted far less of a direct influence over his agency leaders, who often publicly defy him.


    It's hard not to scoff at a paragraph like this. On the one hand, I haven't read much argument that he has stifled a free-press or public criticism. He is certainly tender about it, but no, not stifling. As for the political weaponization of the fourth branch of government, the common complaint from the administration and his supporters has been some kind of shadowy nonsensical "deep-state" which has resisted his efforts to weaponize the functions of government. Thus, he isn't so much laudable for not weaponizing the government as much as being incompetent for not being able to. As for the agency leaders who oten publicly defy him, there is the constant whining and moaning (and subsequent removal by firing or "resignation") about leaders like Sessions, replaced with the sycophantic Barr, who shows no signs of an independent spine. So which is it? Is he allowing people to do their jobs, or trying (and often failing) to make them do the job the way he wants it done?


    “White nationalist”? Nope. There is every indication that he is trying to be president for all the people. His trade policies are designed to benefit middle class, predominantly union, workers. If anything, they undercut big business off-shoring strategies. In addition, the economic and employment data suggest that he has provided more jobs and income opportunity to African Americans, Hispanics and women than any president over the past 40 years. (The argument that the economic trends are an extension of Obama policies is specious — Obama “bought” his results by eroding the financial stability of the country with a Fed-driven, free money, Ponzi scheme. Trump’s results are real and lasting, based on realistic interest rates, investment and private-sector jobs, the real bases for sustained growth.)


    Lol. The Republicans are suddenly the pro-union, anti-off shoring party. Does anyone believe this? Maybe the writer's finally trying some comedy? Is the writer asserting that that this president has not attempted to use the Fed to drive any of his economic policies? Direct quotes2 from the great president suggest not:

    Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has been publicly criticized by President Donald Trump over the central bank’s interest-rate increases in 2018 and continued shrinking of its balance sheet. Trump has said the steps will stifle the economy’s growth.

    Powell has avoided direct comment but has repeatedly stressed the importance of the Fed’s independence from political pressure and its commitment to transparency and accountability to Congress.

    Here’s a timeline of key events and comments:

    May 1
    Fed leaves interest rates unchanged.

    April 30
    Trump calls for a drastic cut in interest rates to boost the already-healthy U.S. economy. “Our Federal Reserve has incessantly lifted interest rates, even though inflation is very low,” he says in a tweet. In a subsequent post, he adds the economy could soar “like a rocket” if the Fed lowered its benchmark rate by a full percentage point and resumed bond purchases.

    April 26
    With the Commerce Department reporting that first-quarter GDP grew at an annualized pace of 3.2 percent, the president says the figure would have been higher if not for the Fed. “If we kept the same interest rates and the same quantitative easing that the previous administration had, that 3.2 would have been much higher.”

    April 14
    Trump tweets: “If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5,000 to 10,000 additional points, and GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%.”

    April 10
    Following a roundtable meeting in San Antonio, Texas, the president says his supporters would prefer a Fed chair who doesn’t raise interest rates.
    This is another appeal to success through incompetence. He wanted to use the same tools Obama used, but couldn't. Pardon me while I pick up my rolled eyes off the floor.


    Trump’s awkward attempt to equate the behavior of the white nationalist thugs who precipitated the Charlottesville carnage with the Antifa thugs who came prepared to inflict violence of their own was off the mark, but it is certainly not a strong case for hanging a “racist” or “white nationalist” label on him — “clumsy” is far more accurate. The left’s attempt to conflate his “nationalism” in his protectionist trade policies with racist “white nationalism” is dishonest and twisted logic.


    To be fair, even his earliest supporters referred to "economic nationalism". The great President has described himself as a nationalist. Lastly, both the great President and his Jr. have retweeted content from white nationalists. Thus, it's not necessarily his critics who have muddied the waters.


    He is divisive.


    This is the first accurate sentence in this essay.


    But so is the unprecedented rejection of the 2016 election by the congressional Democrats and the Rise and Resist movement and the endless criticism from the media. Trump has shown remarkable personal strength in standing up to relentless attacks.


    I'll take issue here with the "unprecedented" here. The sharply partisan ugliness, including rejection of electoral mandates, predates this group of Democrats. At least this time no one's shelling federal forts over it.


    Moving from the defensive to the positive side of the balance sheet, despite all of the attacks and resistance, Trump has accomplished more in two years than his four immediate predecessors accomplished in four to eight years.


    Absurd. Otherwise, don't spend three quarters of the essay in the defensive hole.


    The economy is in the best shape in modern history. New and better trade agreements have been developed with the major economies. Our defense is much stronger, including a stronger and better funded NATO. Our principal adversaries — Russia, China, Iran, North Korea — are more off-balance than they have been in decades. Each of them is tough and ruthless, but they see in Trump someone who understands them and is equally tough in defending his country. And, with the collapse of ObamaCare, Trump has a huge opportunity to advance an effective, market-based approach to American health care coverage and cost control to help everyone.


    I'm not going to parse out all the claims here because I cannot. My knowledge of economic history is not even spotty. It's empty. I will point out that this last sentence is a bit unclear. The market based approach to American health care coverage will control costs? The prices of pharmaceuticals and medical procedures seems to put that to the lie. Is that the market-based approach will help everyone and it will be accomplished by cost controls? Then that's not market based. I can't understand what he means to say here.


    Belying the hysteria of the left, all Americans are moving forward; these are not “sad times,” and there is no “crisis.”

    This raises the central question to be framed in the next election: What should we demand of our president? If we’re looking for dignity, manners, grace and orderliness, Trump is vulnerable. If we’re looking for strong leadership to provide real opportunity for economic advancement for all Americans and a strong defense of America and its interests, then Trump has a claim to greatness over his current opponents and his predecessors.

    The weak field of Democrats presents voters with a virtual Hobson’s choice. It will be interesting to see how they choose.


    This is a strange ending. This reads partially like some kind of campaign speech (Trump! Strong leadership and real opportunity for all Americans!) that has to nevertheless deal with the negatives (not sad times, there is no crisis). If you have to repeat it, I don't feel like he's made the points at all. In the end, so much of this is just mindless repetition of talking points for the faithful. As much as I'm tired of Trump, I'm really tired of editorials that just reiterate what's already been said, as if to guarantee support through inculcation. At some point, if the pieces don't actually add anything new, then it's just clutter.

    fwiw,
    guacamole
    "Down in the lowlands, where the water is deep,
    Hear my cry, hear my shout,
    Save me, save me"

  4. #14
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    I am not sure posting wide eyed adulation without qualification enhances your credibility when it comes to being able to objectively identify what constitutes wild eyed hissies etc.

    Jim
    I am truly impressed by your ability to read the second graf as "wide eyed adulation."
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Maybe that is why I answer your posts in short responses while you split mine up into a million parts and turn your response into a novel.
    Are you trying to say Carpe is verbose?
    --- this space intentionally left blank ---

  6. #16
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I am truly impressed by your ability to read the second graf as "wide eyed adulation."
    But not nearly as impressed as I am at the ability of some to read the content of my more recent posts in other threads as "launching a hate-fest against Trump"


    Jim
    Jorge's trueorigins paper: "...it is known that other volcanic features match what is usually associated with impact craters including ... shatter cones and crystal deformations"

    Planetary Science Institute: "Shatter cones … are found in only two places on Earth, 1) in nuclear test sites and 2) meteorite impact structures. They are formed as a result of the high pressure, high velocity shock wave ...

    maximum pressures from 45 to 200 times greater than found in volcanic events (2->20 Gpa)

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    But not nearly as impressed as I am at the ability of some to read the content of my more recent posts in other threads as "launching a hate-fest against Trump"


    Jim
    walks like it, quacks like it...
    --- this space intentionally left blank ---

  8. #18
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    But not nearly as impressed as I am at the ability of some to read the content of my more recent posts in other threads as "launching a hate-fest against Trump"


    Jim
    I will grant that "launching" is about 2 years in the past at this point....
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

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  9. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
  10. #19
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    walks like it, quacks like it...
    you really need to put down the hatchet and try a fresh look at what you are seeing. It isn't what you think it is.

    Jim
    Jorge's trueorigins paper: "...it is known that other volcanic features match what is usually associated with impact craters including ... shatter cones and crystal deformations"

    Planetary Science Institute: "Shatter cones … are found in only two places on Earth, 1) in nuclear test sites and 2) meteorite impact structures. They are formed as a result of the high pressure, high velocity shock wave ...

    maximum pressures from 45 to 200 times greater than found in volcanic events (2->20 Gpa)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Run along, Jim -- go back to your "I hate Trump" threads.
    I have never understood never trumpers like my friend Jim, and a few members of my family. I wasn't voting for preacher in chief, or dignity incorporated when I chose Trump over Hillary. I was voting for a person I hoped would actually FIGHT for the conservative ideas rather than do what most republicans do, say they are conservative and then go do what the dems want because THAT IS BIPARTISANSHIP!!!. I was so sick of republicans that I took a chance on Trump.

    Never Trumpers often say they are anti-abortion---but won't consider Trump even though he has done more for slowing abortion than any republican I know of. They would rather the party of infanticide (kill em now or kill em later) win the election rather than Trump. In their eyes, Trump is more evil than what would happen if the infanticide party gained control. They seem not to care at all that the most dangerous place in this world for a black child to be, is in the womb.

    Never trumpers say they want jobs for our inner city folk---yet when Trumps economy shows record low unemployment for Blacks, Hispanics and Asians, they still don't like him--call him racist.

    Christian never Trumpers say they want the law followed,---but seem unfazed by millions pouring over the border, breaking our laws with one footstep. And these people do take inner city jobs.


    Christian never Trumpers say that they don't want human trafficking--but they are unwilling to support the man trying to break the power of the cartels who rape and abuse Guatamalan and Honduran women on the trip north and who import foreign sex workers into our country.


    Never Trumpers seem not to realize we live in a fallen world and sometimes it takes a real you know what to fight to fix those problems. Never Trumpers are just a bit too prissy for my taste.
    Last edited by grmorton; 05-08-2019 at 08:10 PM.

  12. Amen MaxVel, Cerebrum123, Sparko, NorrinRadd amen'd this post.

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