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Author Topic: Politics: 2016 Lame Duck and 2017 New Administration  (Read 103796 times)
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Chocolate Shake Man
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« Reply #150 on: December 02, 2016, 08:38:15 AM »

Based on how well he ran his campaign, his persuasion skills and his negotiating skills. For a man with no political experience, he passed the job interview with flying colours and surprised many people. I believe he'll continue to do so. It's all very fluid.

SinisterSmile, I'm curious on your thoughts on a recent development. Trump has had his first chance since being elected to put his "persuasion skills and negotiating skills" to work in his negotiations with Carrier. And as far as I'm concerned, he failed. Contrary to his assertions, Carrier is sending jobs to Mexico and are also now getting a tax break upwards of 7 million dollars. What are your thoughts?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 08:40:05 AM by Chocolate Shake Man » Logged
B.E.
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« Reply #151 on: December 05, 2016, 05:07:57 PM »

Apparently, Trump received a phone call from China Taiwan...any thoughts?

Seems like an interesting issue. I stumbled upon these interviews which were conducted in the autumn of 2001.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/china/experts/taiwan.html

The Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson lost me here..."no one in the world is more eager than China to find a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question. We have always advocated peaceful reunification on the principle of one China, two systems...this is our basic principle and it has remained unchanged" Question: Why do you not renounce your use of force against Taiwan? "It is just because we want to solve the Taiwan question peacefully that we cannot give up the use of force. If we give up the use of force, that will only make a peaceful solution impossible. For instance, if the Taiwan separatists declare Taiwan independent, then how do we react? ..."
« Last Edit: December 05, 2016, 05:09:33 PM by B.E. » Logged
the captain
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« Reply #152 on: December 05, 2016, 05:25:29 PM »

I actually think that answer is a political reality, at least of the realpolitik sort. The threat of force is an important bargaining chip in negotiation, even if you have no interest whatsoever in using it. (I'm not speaking for China's actual motivations, here. Just the theory more generally speaking.) To me, this is like a mild or one-sided version of threat of mutual destruction that the USA and USSR had throughout the Cold War.

We want X.

We could destroy [or in other examples at least harm] you.

Now ... back to "we want X..."
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« Reply #153 on: December 05, 2016, 05:52:30 PM »

Oh, I agree. In regard to the quote I posted, I suppose I was hoping to find a more reasonable or nuanced stance from China. For me, in addition to being 'lost' (in the sense that I was not persuaded), I was disturbingly amused. But I'm not well informed or, admittedly, even aware of the situation prior to all the news coverage. Do you see One China as anything other than a charade? If not, is China not embarrassed? Will they ever let go? Taiwanese people don't identify with the People's Republic (or even China, with increasing numbers). I understand that China is very serious about unifying the country, that it's no joke to them, and that the US wouldn't want to be (or feel) responsible for an attack on Taiwan, but does that preclude the United States' position from ever changing? Is it simply a case of the US valuing their relationship with China more than Taiwan (understandable considering what you outlined).
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Emily
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« Reply #154 on: December 05, 2016, 08:45:36 PM »

There are separatist groups in many countries, including in the US. There are hundreds around the world. In the US we had a war to keep a separatist group from leaving. When we talk about separatists groups in countries we don't like the government of, we talk of the "right to self-determination." That right disappears when we talk of separatist groups within countries we do like the government of - then they are right-wing or left-wing radicals or terrorists.
I don't really feel it's appropriate for the US to weigh in on the rights or lack thereof of separatist groups in other countries.
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B.E.
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« Reply #155 on: December 06, 2016, 12:01:20 AM »

There are separatist groups in many countries, including in the US. There are hundreds around the world. In the US we had a war to keep a separatist group from leaving. When we talk about separatists groups in countries we don't like the government of, we talk of the "right to self-determination." That right disappears when we talk of separatist groups within countries we do like the government of - then they are right-wing or left-wing radicals or terrorists.
I don't really feel it's appropriate for the US to weigh in on the rights or lack thereof of separatist groups in other countries.

I agree with this, except that it doesn't appear Taiwan is simply a group of people. If it weren't for certain countries weighing in on the sovereignty of Taiwan, it would (presumably) be recognized as an independent country. The US civil war resulted in the union remaining intact. The PRC never conquered Taiwan. They have been two separate states (with their own governments) ever since. It's too bad they were both so insistent on claiming otherwise during the '50s-70s. That generation is long gone now.

Getting back to the Trump news coverage, well, it's just a shame to me that communication is vilified. Forget the US, China, Taiwan, Trump...why should it be news that two world leaders are communicating? If anything, it should only be news if they refuse to communicate! That would just be unreasonable IMO...ideally speaking, of course.
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Emily
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« Reply #156 on: December 06, 2016, 05:10:06 AM »

There are separatist groups in many countries, including in the US. There are hundreds around the world. In the US we had a war to keep a separatist group from leaving. When we talk about separatists groups in countries we don't like the government of, we talk of the "right to self-determination." That right disappears when we talk of separatist groups within countries we do like the government of - then they are right-wing or left-wing radicals or terrorists.
I don't really feel it's appropriate for the US to weigh in on the rights or lack thereof of separatist groups in other countries.

I agree with this, except that it doesn't appear Taiwan is simply a group of people.  If it weren't for certain countries weighing in on the sovereignty of Taiwan, it would (presumably) be recognized as an independent country.
So if more countries recognized it as a country, more countries would recognize it as a country?

 The US civil war resulted in the union remaining intact. The PRC never conquered Taiwan. They have been two separate states (with their own governments) ever since. It's too bad they were both so insistent on claiming otherwise during the '50s-70s. That generation is long gone now.

In this post and the one above you imply that it's a given that Taiwan should be recognized. So when a dictator is overthrown, let's say Mussolini or Somoza, if they aren't hunted down and killed, but instead find an outpost where they park with an armed force and some followers, is it a given that the world should recognize that outpost as a country? 
Of if I found a government and no one 'conquers' me for 50 years, does that mean I get to be my own country?
When you get involved with defining who should be a country using logic or ethics, you get into an irresolvable quagmire. Every opinion on this matter that claims to be based on logic or ethics resolves ultimately with "'everyone should be their own country" or "whoever in the world has the strongest military gets to decide what country everyone belongs to." Everything in between involves choosing based on personal preferences. Who is recognized is therefore based on the subjective and realpolitik guesses of the recognizer. Unless one agrees that everyone is their own country, there are no ethics involved. Evidently Trump guesses he can 'win' something from shaking up the status quo.
Getting back to the Trump news coverage, well, it's just a shame to me that communication is vilified. Forget the US, China, Taiwan, Trump...why should it be news that two world leaders are communicating? If anything, it should only be news if they refuse to communicate! That would just be unreasonable IMO...ideally speaking, of course.
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the captain
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« Reply #157 on: December 06, 2016, 05:18:00 AM »

I don't know enough about the region or its history to comment on China and Taiwan. But I do think, as Emily said, we tend to be hypocritical about who should be a country ... and there may well be no non-hypocritical answer. Reality seems to be that whoever wants to be one and is militarily capable of maintaining their status as one--or increasingly, who has others willing and able to defend them--gets to be one. But nation-states are truly artificial things. The idea that some defined "people" exist on some nation-state-appropriate level and have a shared will is kind of ridiculous.
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« Reply #158 on: December 06, 2016, 07:36:52 AM »

There are separatist groups in many countries, including in the US. There are hundreds around the world. In the US we had a war to keep a separatist group from leaving. When we talk about separatists groups in countries we don't like the government of, we talk of the "right to self-determination." That right disappears when we talk of separatist groups within countries we do like the government of - then they are right-wing or left-wing radicals or terrorists.
I don't really feel it's appropriate for the US to weigh in on the rights or lack thereof of separatist groups in other countries.

I agree with this, except that it doesn't appear Taiwan is simply a group of people.  If it weren't for certain countries weighing in on the sovereignty of Taiwan, it would (presumably) be recognized as an independent country.
So if more countries recognized it as a country, more countries would recognize it as a country?
LOL I was afraid you'd hit me with that! I was trying to address the underlying issue...what is a country, exactly? Is its existence entirely dependent on recognition by certain other countries?...while also squaring that with the notion that it’s inappropriate for countries to weigh in on such rights.     *I expand on this below

I don't know enough about the region or its history to comment on China and Taiwan. But I do think, as Emily said, we tend to be hypocritical about who should be a country ... and there may well be no non-hypocritical answer. Reality seems to be that whoever wants to be one and is militarily capable of maintaining their status as one--or increasingly, who has others willing and able to defend them--gets to be one.

Right. Surely, this is true. And it’s probably not of much importance to dwell on any other definition of a country. I don't necessarily believe that a country can exist if its not recognized. I'm just pondering it.

The idea that some defined "people" exist on some nation-state-appropriate level and have a shared will is kind of ridiculous.

If I understand you correctly, this was a distinction I was trying to make. Taiwan appears to be more than a nation of people who share common customs and worldview (who are otherwise ruled and governed by another state).

In this post and the one above you imply that it's a given that Taiwan should be recognized. So when a dictator is overthrown, let's say Mussolini or Somoza, if they aren't hunted down and killed, but instead find an outpost where they park with an armed force and some followers, is it a given that the world should recognize that outpost as a country?  
Of if I found a government and no one 'conquers' me for 50 years, does that mean I get to be my own country?
When you get involved with defining who should be a country using logic or ethics, you get into an irresolvable quagmire. Every opinion on this matter that claims to be based on logic or ethics resolves ultimately with "'everyone should be their own country" or "whoever in the world has the strongest military gets to decide what country everyone belongs to." Everything in between involves choosing based on personal preferences. Who is recognized is therefore based on the subjective and realpolitik guesses of the recognizer. Unless one agrees that everyone is their own country, there are no ethics involved.

I guess it comes down to constitutive or declarative theory of statehood. Not that I'm familiar with these terms, but recognition by others is a key distinction. I don't think my thoughts have much to do with ethics (though sure I'm biased against "communist" China on some level), just that I question the legitimacy of "you are what we say you are because we say you are". In that sense I suppose I'm looking for an objective truth, but I'll admit to not fully understanding your point about logic/ethics as it pertains to this situation. Now, not everyone adopts the PRC's view on this. Some countries still recognize the ROC of controlling all of China. Does that make it so? The US (and many other "major" countries) supported the ROC as a member of the UN and acknowledged them as controlling all of China. This went on for decades. And now for decades the UN (with STRONG opposition from the PRC) won't allow them to rejoin. The thing that distinguishes this for me is that the PRC does not rule Taiwan, and what's more, they never have. For your first example... depends on the size of the outpost Grin. Sounds like a country in the making. The China/Taiwan situation is odd because it was never settled and both just claimed to control all of China for many years, when neither functionally did. As to your second example...if you can find some territory to claim, I suppose you are a country in the making. I guess in reality it just comes down to if you're recognized by other countries as such. But not just any country, important ones.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 07:42:09 AM by B.E. » Logged
the captain
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« Reply #159 on: December 06, 2016, 07:49:12 AM »

The idea that some defined "people" exist on some nation-state-appropriate level and have a shared will is kind of ridiculous.

If I understand you correctly, this was a distinction I was trying to make. Taiwan appears to be more than a nation of people who share common customs and worldview (who are otherwise ruled and governed by another state).


Yeah, I think you understand me correctly. But to mess with any semblance of coherence I might have presented, allow me to start babbling. It seems that people often recognize some inherent naturalness of a nation, but the artificiality of a state. I'm increasingly wondering whether a nation is a natural thing, either, or is just another artificial idea. Usually the idea is (as you say) that some ethnic group sharing culture is a nation, and over the past couple centuries, those have tended to be the same boundaries for their states. The nation-state.

But really, those boundaries of nation seem as artificial as the boundaries of state to me. One could slice and dice a nation just like one can slice and dice a congressional district in gerrymandering. Even when we say "but the people in [X boundaries] voted to be [in/out]," that is only relevant if the boundaries of those voted are first accepted as the appropriate boundaries.

That could be a really dumb train of thought I've not really worked through. But it's something that has occasionally crossed my mind in the past few years, especially with Russia's Eastern European adventures, ISIS, and other boundary-smashing exercises.
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« Reply #160 on: December 06, 2016, 08:29:31 AM »

My point is that there is no objective truth that can be generally applied. Each situation is in some way different and no one can make a declarative statement about what they think defines a country or what should be a country and have it logically stick unless their definition is 'each person is a country' or 'countries are defined by force'. Your post above seems to be relying on 'if some group or person controls an area by force, that area is a country and the controllers are the government.'
Is that your definition? That is indeed a way of looking at it. What would you say re: Tibet, Eastern Europe during the Cold War, areas controlled by ISIS and rebel groups throughout the world, in Colombia, say? Is Colombia really two countries we? Do you consider the Civil War of the US not a civil war but an invasion of the south, one country, by the north, another country?

Captain - fully agree re: "natural" nations. Populations can be sliced and diced as many ways as there are people.
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the captain
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« Reply #161 on: December 06, 2016, 10:00:45 AM »

"Military needs more money, military needs more money..." say nearly all U.S. politicians.

Or not.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/pentagon-buries-evidence-of-125-billion-in-bureaucratic-waste/2016/12/05/e0668c76-9af6-11e6-a0ed-ab0774c1eaa5_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-banner-main_pentagon-0655pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.ed526dc746db
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« Reply #162 on: December 06, 2016, 10:27:40 AM »

Wonder if he's going to try to get gov't to pay to use his private jet instead of cancelled AF1
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the captain
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« Reply #163 on: December 06, 2016, 10:36:02 AM »

I saw the headline but haven't even read in detail about the AF1 stuff. Where are they in the process? Is cancellation even a realistic option? (Not to mention he has no authority for another six weeks.) If $x billion has been spent or contractually guaranteed, there may not be all that much to be said or done about it. I have previously heard--Slate Political Gabfest, maybe?--speculation that he may have wanted to use his own jet, though. That was prior to any mention of the new AF1 contract.
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« Reply #164 on: December 06, 2016, 12:02:58 PM »

The contract is pretty new and hasn't accrued costs yet. The majority of the 4 billion is apparently not for Boeing - that's the project budget ( 2.9 B) and procurement (1 B); so Boeing's contract would be a portion of the 1 B for procurement of 2 very advanced planes. I have no knowledge of how that compares to other sophisticated planes and whether the Pres. should have it at all is a whole 'nother conversation.  
The gov't paid to use Trump's plane and space in Trump Tower for sec. service during campaign. Looks like gov't will rent space in Trump Tower as long as his wife and son remain there...
But he just really damaged Boeing with a false implication about their business. Most of the cost is for Pentagon engineering, etc. see your above post.

Yes, purely speculation about whether this plane stuff is related, unlike the factual Pizzagate.
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the captain
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« Reply #165 on: December 06, 2016, 03:35:22 PM »

I can't even say anything about the whole pizza thing without getting pretty angry now that shots have been fired. (Actually I was already pretty angry.)

If indeed Mr. Trump intends to keep his own jet(s?), one wonders the cost of retrofitting them with the necessary technology for security and communications. And what happens to them in 4 (or, nonexistent God forbid, Cool years. On that general idea, as Emily noted, we'll be paying to safeguard Trump Tower. Presumably we'll also be paying to protect an assortment of buildings around the world with the man's name on them (even if he doesn't have jack sh*t to do with them other than the name and cash he collects for it). (I cannot imagine how he even could, much less whether or how he will, remove himself from his brand ... especially since his brand is only his name, not anything he does or makes, since he does nothing well and makes nothing at all.)
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« Reply #166 on: December 06, 2016, 03:37:21 PM »

Drain the swamp :Bob Dole is a paid lobbyist for Taiwan and has been hosting meetings between Taiwanese officials and Trump for months.
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« Reply #167 on: December 06, 2016, 03:46:21 PM »

Drain the swamp :Bob Dole is a paid lobbyist for Taiwan and has been hosting meetings between Taiwanese officials and Trump for months.

I had just heard today that Dole helped coordinate the infamous call. Nothing drains the swamp quite so much as involving someone who was almost never out of office from 1950-1996 and who has been a "consultant" as well as special counsel for a major corporate law firm (Alston & Bird).
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« Reply #168 on: December 06, 2016, 04:49:30 PM »

General Flynn is more like General Ripper!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #169 on: December 06, 2016, 07:47:36 PM »

Your post above seems to be relying on 'if some group or person controls an area by force, that area is a country and the controllers are the government.' Is that your definition? That is indeed a way of looking at it. What would you say re: Tibet, Eastern Europe during the Cold War, areas controlled by ISIS and rebel groups throughout the world, in Colombia, say? Is Colombia really two countries we? Do you consider the Civil War of the US not a civil war but an invasion of the south, one country, by the north, another country?

That's a large part of it, yes. My criteria for a country would be 1) permanent population 2) defined territory 3) government with domestic sovereignty

This definition is very similar to The Montevideo Convention definition, with the exception of adding the phrase “domestic sovereignty”. I chose that to denote de facto control over a state exercised by an authority organized within the state. De jure sovereignty in the absence of actual control would not be sufficient. Countries must not be dependent on or subjected to the rule of other states. Furthermore, I don’t think recognition in and of itself determines the existence of a country.

My posts have been written from this perspective. I should have outlined my thoughts, but I hadn’t formed them yet, nor do I consider them complete. Also, you may notice that I’ve left out: 4) capacity to enter into relations with other states. It seems redundant (or unnecessary?) to me, but that could just be my ignorance. If it’s necessary to add that, to make sense of my position, then please do so.

As for your examples, well, if any of those situations had met my definition, then, yes, they should have been considered a country. I know very little about some of these situations, but I’ll try…Tibet? I couldn’t say, but perhaps condition #3 would not be met? Hong Kong, for instance, while quite independent of China, still depends on China for its military force and its highest political position is appointed by the PRC. The USSR exerted significant influence over numerous Eastern European countries. So called “puppet states” would not meet condition #3.  I’m not sure if the situation in Colombia meets any of these conditions. Granted, my knowledge of Colombia consists of a quick skim of Wikipedia, but I read about numerous political groups fighting different causes over a 50 year civil war. I found a map indicating the “presence” of one of the groups, but I’m not sure condition #2 could be met, nor #3. ISIS could conceivably meet my definition in the future, as with any other group. Theoretically, during conflict, I imagine the boundaries of a territory shifting as actual control shifts, but in practice the territory must be settled (which typically won't happen until the fighting ends). As for the US civil war, states seceded and formed the Confederacy. At that moment did they meet my definition? Possibly, yes. Had they won the war, absolutely they would have formed a new country. At which time, the illegality of the succession (from the North's point of view) would be irrelevant. Instead, the states were reinstated into the union and no amount of Confederate flag bumper stickers will change the fact that the driver of the car is a citizen of the USA.

Emily, just to be clear, what is your position? Do you think Taiwan meets my definition, but not yours? As you are a proponent of the constitutive theory of statehood? If so, what combination of recognition is adequate? You mentioned Tibet. Mongolia recognized Tibet, yet Tibet was not considered a country.
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« Reply #170 on: December 07, 2016, 10:13:55 AM »

Rep. Ellison has said he'd step down from his House seat if named DNC chair. That's nice but it also means MN's newest Rep would have lowest seniority in Congress when s/he is elected in 17: we'd lose all the seniority Ellison has obtained in his dozen or so years. Seniority matters as it affects committee appointments, as well as just good old-fashioned relationships and trust (if anyone in Congress has such things anymore).
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« Reply #171 on: December 07, 2016, 02:49:57 PM »

The Oklahoma AG, who doesn't even believe climate change is a real thing (much less that humans have any role in it) and who has railed against environmental regulations particularly as they affect the oil industry, is going to be named to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Will a pacifist lead Defense? Perhaps a convicted felon to lead Justice? It's just absurd.
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« Reply #172 on: December 07, 2016, 03:03:36 PM »

Help me Captain! Tongue
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« Reply #173 on: December 07, 2016, 03:04:54 PM »

Linda McMahon (yes, the former CEO of WWE and wife of Vince McMahon) was named to Trump's cabinet today as "small business administrator". I guess because nothing says "small business" like a billion dollar publicly-traded company.
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« Reply #174 on: December 07, 2016, 03:05:49 PM »

I would rather it be Vince! Grin
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