On Donald Trump’s Contempt For The Rule Of Law And Freedom Of The Press

Donald Trump's open contempt for the Rule of Law and Freedom of the Press should disqualify him from being considered an acceptable candidate for President.

Trump Nixon V

Donald Trump’s rhetoric has become a well-known part of the political landscape in the year since he entered the race for the White House. By now, we’ve all become used to his attacks on  Mexicans, John McCainMegyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, a disabled New York Times reporter, and Muslims, It’s also become standard operating procedure for Trump to attack the press any time they start asking him questions, calling them every imaginable epithet while at the same time using them to advance his interests and his campaign, and all to the cheers of his supporters, who often act more like a crowd out a professional wrestling event looking for blood than a group of voters at a campaign rally. More recently, Trump has turned his attention to attacking the Federal District Court Judge presiding over one of the cases contending that his now defunct “Trump University,” which was never a university of any kind, was basically one big consumer fraud. It started at least a week ago when Trump began referring to the Judge, Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California as a “Mexican” notwithstanding the fact that he was born in Indiana, contending that his ‘Mexican heritage’ created some sort of conflict of interest, and claiming that Curiel is “biased” and “unfair.”  In retrospect, it’s clear that Trump’s attacks were related to Judge Curiel’s decision to authorize the release of documents related to the ongoing lawsuit, documents that clearly show the extent to which Trump’s so-called “University” was little more than a fraudulent marketing scheme.

All of this has led legal scholars on both sides of the aisle to wonder what kind of impact a President Trump could have on Constitutional government, the First Amendment, and the Rule of Law:

WASHINGTON — Donald J. Trump’s blustery attacks on the press, complaints about the judicial system and bold claims of presidential power collectively sketch out a constitutional worldview that shows contempt for the First Amendment, the separation of powers and the rule of law, legal experts across the political spectrum say.

Even as much of the Republican political establishment lines up behind its presumptive nominee, many conservative and libertarian legal scholars warn that electing Mr. Trump is a recipe for a constitutional crisis.

“Who knows what Donald Trump with a pen and phone would do?” asked Ilya Shapiro, a lawyer with the libertarian Cato Institute.

With five months to go before Election Day, Mr. Trump has already said he would “loosen” libel laws to make it easier to sue news organizations. He has threatened to sic federal regulators on his critics. He has encouraged rough treatment of demonstrators.

His proposal to bar Muslims from entry into the country tests the Constitution’s guarantees of religious freedom, due process and equal protection.

And, in what was a tipping point for some, he attacked Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of the Federal District Court in San Diego, who is overseeing two class actions against Trump University.

Mr. Trump accused the judge of bias, falsely said he was Mexican and seemed to issue a threat.

“They ought to look into Judge Curiel, because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace,” Mr. Trump said. “O.K.? But we will come back in November. Wouldn’t that be wild if I am president and come back and do a civil case?”

David Post, a retired law professor who now writes for the Volokh Conspiracy, a conservative-leaning law blog, said those comments had crossed a line.

“This is how authoritarianism starts, with a president who does not respect the judiciary,” Mr. Post said. “You can criticize the judicial system, you can criticize individual cases, you can criticize individual judges. But the president has to be clear that the law is the law and that he enforces the law. That is his constitutional obligation.”

“If he is signaling that that is not his position, that’s a very serious constitutional problem,” Mr. Post said.

Beyond the attack on judicial independence is a broader question of Mr. Trump’s commitment to the separation of powers and to the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. Randy E. Barnett, a law professor at Georgetown and an architect of the first major challenge to President Obama’s health care law, said he had grave doubts on both fronts.

“You would like a president with some idea about constitutional limits on presidential powers, on congressional powers, on federal powers,” Professor Barnett said, “and I doubt he has any awareness of such limits.”

(…)

“I don’t think he cares about separation of powers at all,” said Richard Epstein, a fellow at the Hoover Institution who also teaches at New York University and the University of Chicago.

“I don’t think he cares about separation of powers at all,” said Richard Epstein, a fellow at the Hoover Institution who also teaches at New York University and the University of Chicago.

Mr. Trump has boasted that he will use Mr. Obama’s actions as precedent for his own expansive assertions of executive power.

“He’s led the way, to be honest with you,” he said in January on “Meet the Press,” referring to Mr. Obama’s program to spare millions of immigrants in the country unlawfully from deportation. “But I’m going to use them much better, and they’re going to serve a much better purpose than what he’s done.”

But Mr. Post said there was a difference between Mr. Obama’s view of executive power and that of Mr. Trump. “Whatever you think of Obama’s position on immigration, he is willing to submit to the courts,” he said. “There is no suggestion that he will disobey if the courts rule against him.”

Several law professors said they were less sure about Mr. Trump, citing the actions of another populist, President Andrew Jackson, who refused to enforce an 1832 Supreme Court decision arising from a clash between Georgia and the Cherokee Nation.

“I can easily see a situation in which he would take the Andrew Jackson line,” Professor Epstein said, referring to a probably apocryphal comment attributed to Jackson about Chief Justice John Marshall: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.”

Given Trump’s rhetoric, it’s easy to see why the concerns of these legal scholars is completely justified. In Donald Trump’s world, it seems as though there would be no limits on his power as President and that he wouldn’t necessarily feel constrained by the law, the limits of the Constitution, or the prerogatives of the other branches of government. If something stood in the way of getting his agenda passed, he comes across as a man who would simply ignore it, and if either Congress or the Courts said that he couldn’t do something it’s easy to see him simply ignoring them and doing as he wished. As Professor Somin notes above, President Obama has run afoul of the courts a few times during his Presidency, most recently with respect to his executive action on immigration, but his Administration has never taken the position that it would refuse to comply with a court’s ruling that his action was not authorized by law or the Constitution.

Other legal scholars said they were worried about Mr. Trump’s commitment to the First Amendment. He has taken particular aim at The Washington Post and its owner, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.

“He owns Amazon,” Mr. Trump said in February. “He wants political influence so Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And believe me, if I become president, oh do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.”

More generally, Mr. Trump has discussed revising libel laws to make it easier to sue over critical coverage.

“I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Mr. Trump said in February. “We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”

On one hand, Mr. Trump seemed to misunderstand the scope of presidential power. Libel is a state-law tort constrained by First Amendment principles, and a president’s views do not figure in its application.

On the other hand, said Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, Mr. Trump’s comments betrayed a troubling disregard for free expression.

“There are very few serious constitutional thinkers who believe public figures should be able to use libel as indiscriminately as Trump seems to think they should,” Professor Somin said. “He poses a serious threat to the press and the First Amendment.”

Every President of recent memory has pushed back against the media when they felt reporters were going too far, of course, but few have reacted in the manner that Trump has to even benign criticism or questions regarding seemingly legitimate issues. When Megyn Kelly asked him questions regarding some of this past comments about women, he attacked her personally on a repeated basis. When a reporter for Univision sought to question him about his immigration policies, he had him physically, and rather violently, removed from a press briefing. Most recently, when reporters continued to press his campaign on the status of money he claimed to have raised for veterans at an event in February, Trump used the occasion to attack the media for even daring to ask questions. Not since Richard Nixon has there been a President or candidate for President who has displayed such open hostility toward the media, and it raises serious questions about exactly how committed a President Trump would be to the First Amendment and to the values of freedom of expression it embodies.

Based both on his rhetoric and his actions, Donald Trump gives the impression of being a President who sees himself as  unconstrained by the law or the other branches of Government in the tradition of Jackson or Richard Nixon, both of whom set off Constitutional crises from which it took the nation years to recover. As in the case of those two previous Presidents, he would likely justify his actions by appealing to the same populist, anti-establishment rhetoric that has fueled his campaign from the start. The difference is that, this time, he would be President of the United States and his rhetoric would be tied to action that could do real damage to the Rule of Law and to the Constitution. Furthermore, unlike any of his predecessors, Trump seems to have command over a mob of supporters that would rush to his defense even when he was clearly wrong. This is why the arguments that equate Trump to the European far right, and even to fascists and authoritarians of the past, are completely on the mark. Either Donald Trump is lying to his supporters or he is the kind of man who cannot be trusted with political power even in a Constitutionally limited democratic republic. Under the circumstances, it would be foolish for anyone to believe that this is all a big con on Trump’s part, and much safer to assume that he quite simply cannot be trusted with political power.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    @ Doug. Yup. Are you ready to put your full support behind the nominee of the Democratic party so that we can prevent this avoidable disaster for our country?

  2. Facebones says:

    Trump reacted to Hillary Clinton’s speech (where she tore him a new one, and said he was far to unstable and thin skinned to be trusted with presidential levers of power) by saying:

    “i’m not thin skinned! I’m the opposite of thin skinned!”

    This may be the least self aware statement ever spoken.

    I’m not too worried about Trump winning. Hillary, Obama, Biden, and Warren will spend the summer and autumn gleefully needling him and causing him to explode in fits of rage.

  3. Facebones says:

    Also encouraging: The media is now fact checking him in real time. (At least at CNN, until that chyron operator gets fired.)

  4. anjin-san says:

    @Facebones:

    Hillary did indeed eviscerate: Trump yesterday…

  5. Blue Galangal says:

    And the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Texas built a good case against Trump U(?) but were told not to pursue it. Similar rumblings about Florida. Texas’ excuse? “We shut him down and ran him out of town, what more did you want us to do?” I dunno, maybe help some of those people get their money back?

    We do live in interesting times, where being active in the Republican Party gets you a pass on being prosecuted for outright fraud to the tunes of millions of dollars.

    Greg Abbott’s top consumer attorneys built a $5.4M case against Donald Trump, but it never happened

  6. CSK says:

    It’s not just that Trump doesn’t believe in the separation of powers; it’s that he has no grasp nor understanding of the concept itself. Literally. He doesn’t know what presidents can and can’t do, and shows no inclination to learn..

  7. Moosebreath says:

    @Facebones:

    “Trump reacted to Hillary Clinton’s speech (where she tore him a new one, and said he was far to unstable and thin skinned to be trusted with presidential levers of power) by saying:

    “i’m not thin skinned! I’m the opposite of thin skinned!”

    This may be the least self aware statement ever spoken.”

    This. I also loved Trump responding with his usual twitter insults, until Hillary noted his proclivity for twitter insults, and then going radio silent.

  8. CSK says:

    @Facebones:

    Yes. For someone who prides himself on being a supreme deal-maker, he can be jerked around very easily.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    Donald Trump’s open contempt for the Rule of Law and Freedom of the Press should disqualify him from being considered an acceptable candidate for President.

    Well, those things and a host of other things.
    I’ve taken to telling people who support him that if they really think Donald Trump should be the President of the United States, then they have serious mental health issues and should seek professional help.

  10. steve s says:

    The same people who want a ninth investigation to scour Hillary’s email arrangement for technical improprieties are nominating Donald Trump for president of the united states.

    “The Stupid Party” label doesn’t go far enough.

  11. stonetools says:

    Either Donald Trump is lying to his supporters or he is the kind of man who cannot be trusted with political power even in a Constitutionally limited democratic republic. Under the circumstances, it would be foolish for anyone to believe that this is all a big con on Trump’s part, and much safer to assume that he quite simply cannot be trusted with political power.

    If you are a rational, patriotic American, it is your duty to vote in a way so as to keep Donald Trump from becoming President. It’s that simple.

  12. al-Alameda says:

    It started at least a week ago when Trump began referring to the Judge, Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California as a “Mexican” notwithstanding the fact that he was born in Indiana, contending that his ‘Mexican heritage’ created some sort of conflict of interest, and claiming that Curiel is “biased” and “unfair.” In retrospect, it’s clear that Trump’s attacks were related to Judge Curiel’s decision to authorize the release of documents related to the ongoing lawsuit, documents that clearly show the extent to which Trump’s so-called “University” was little more than a fraudulent marketing scheme.

    Basically, the above paragraph tells us all we know to know in order to vote up or down on Trump.

    It’s a perfect Litmus Test: a “Yes” vote tells us that those people have given up on dignity, sensibility and intelligence, and sharp objects should be kept out of their reach, A “No” vote tells us that, although the alternative candidates may not be optimal, they’re just not going to vote for a grease ball real estate developer/sales man/ con man.

  13. humanoid.panda says:

    @al-Alameda: But you forget: according to Jenos, Trump is not a racist. He just opposes Mexicans who deign to sit in judgement of a White man.

  14. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Which is why Russia, China, and North Korea are grinning ear to ear at the prospect of Donald Trump as POTUS.

    He’s extremely easy to manipulate.

  15. rachel says:

    @CSK: Which is why Putin and Kim Jong Un hope to have him in the White House.

  16. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Oh, absolutely. All they’ll have to do is tell him what long fingers he has.

  17. Facebones says:

    @CSK: “Mr. President! We received a diplomatic cable from North Korea!”

    “What’s it say?”

    “I heard that the president of South Korea said you have tiny little baby hands and a tiny little-”

    “NUKE SEOUL NOW!!”

  18. anjin-san says:

    @Facebones:

    “i’m not thin skinned! I’m the opposite of thin skinned!”

    It’s noteworthy that Hillary seems to have no problem getting Trump on the defensive, and my sense is that playing defense is not his strong suite.

    The big problem with Bernie is that I don’t see him holding his own in a brawl with Trump. We know Hillary can dish it out, and we know she can take it. Watching her speak is also a reminder that she is pretty fricking smart as well.

  19. Mikey says:

    Trump’s rhetoric is what it is, it’s representative of him–blustery, authoritarian, simplistic. It doesn’t really worry me in and of itself. We’ve had plenty of simplistic people in American politics (to say the least).

    The actually worrisome part is the millions of people who listen to him say this stuff and go, “Yep, that’s the guy I want in the Oval Office!”

  20. Jenos Idanian says:

    What should really be scaring you folks is that Trump would be building on 8 years of Obama precedents for bypassing Congress and ignoring the whole checks and balances thing. Trump will have access to the same bureaucracy, the same power to issue Executive Orders, the power to unilaterally rewrite laws on the fly, and a host of other things that a lot of us have been decrying for the last seven years.

    Won’t it be fun if President Trump were to order the IRS to stop collecting capital gains taxes in excess of, say, 10%? After all, we have the precedent of Obama ordering ICE to not enforce immigration laws.

    And let’s see if any cities decide to declare themselves “sanctuary cities” for people refusing to pay income taxes higher than 10%. We got a precedent for that, too.

    Professor Reynolds has been saying that the one thing guaranteed to get liberals once again concerned about such quaint notions as checks and balances and the like would be another Republican president. And he was right.

    Too late, crybabies. You chose the form of your destructor. And it’s YUUUUUGE.

  21. Jen says:

    @Blue Galangal: And Donald subsequently made substantial contributions to Abbott’s and Bondi’s campaigns.

    Gee, I wonder what happened there?

  22. Bokonon says:

    @Mikey: The actually worrisome part is the millions of people who listen to him say this stuff and go, “Yep, that’s the guy I want in the Oval Office!”

    You nailed it. That group would now include the GOP’s establishment (who are now publicly, abjectly signing on to support Trump. They are simultaneously sending senior people to meet with the USA’s critical allies to reassure them that Trump won’t be so bad, and that the GOP has got things under control. Good luck with that.

    And here is the problem. You can’t adopt someone and reject them simultaneously. The GOP now owns this.

    And even if Trump fails this coming fall, and gets defeated in the Presidential election, this isn’t going to be a one-time problem. We will still have to deal with the ugly policies and practices that Trump has now mainstreamed … including the GOP’s surrender to it. There are going to be lots and lots of other Trumps coming, at all levels of government.

  23. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So what you are trying to say is that you are – difficult as it is to believe – getting even stupider…

  24. CB says:

    @anjin-san:

    History clearly began in 2009.

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    If you’re considering attending a Trump event, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

    1) There will likely be a riot from anti-Trumpers. (This will be a Vox-approved riot.)

    2) If it’s anything like San Jose or DePaul University, you can count on the police or the assigned security guards to protect you from the mob.

    3) Think carefully about whether you want to attend, and if you want to provide for your own physical safety.

  26. CSK says:

    @Facebones:

    Oh, I think he’d take to Twitter to announce his intent to annihilate North Korea, don’t you?

    “Lyin’ Loser Kim says I have short fingers. Everyone knows I have very long, elegant fingers. Nuke Seoul. Sad!”

  27. anjin-san says:

    @CB:

    It’s interesting to note that Jenos seems to be ok with the idea of an end to democracy in America, because it will…. drum roll…. piss off liberals!

  28. sherparick says:

    There are a lot of people who see Trump’s authoritarianism as a feature, not a bug, just as their parents and grandparents saw Nixon (and Reagan) as just putting all down the hippies and defending white people from the “Negro.”

    I would note that until recently, Andrew Jackson, was considered one of the “best” and “strongest” American Presidents, certainly between Jefferson and Lincoln in American History. Which should tell you something about the how the warp and woof of White Supremacy shaped the United States and its privileged majority for most of its history. Jackson’s treatment of Native Americans and his “expansive” use of the Federal Government to defend slavery on the principle of “white people equality” was part of what became the Governing ideology of the United States from Jackson to the 1960s, and represents what Trump means about making “America Great Again (for white people).” See http://www.amazon.com/Road-Disunion-Vol-Secessionists-1776-1854/dp/0195072596/ref=pd_sim_14_2?ie=UTF8&dpID=515zQ0QAKTL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR106%2C160_&refRID=1F3146CFP4Z5AP8YSN3R and https://sustainableatlantaga.com/2015/04/02/remembering-the-time-andrew-jackson-decided-to-ignore-the-supreme-court-in-the-name-of-georgias-right-to-cherokee-land/

    Jackson left office in March of 1837 with a hand picked successor taking his place and his party controlling the levers of political power in the country for a generation until the contradiction of ideals and despotism blew it up in 1860. If there was a Constitutional Crisis, Jackson for good and ill won it at the time.

  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    Correction: you can count on the assigned security and the police to NOT protect you from the mob. Milo Yiannapoulos was required to have paid security on hand at DePaul, and they did nothing to stop the mob from taking over. And in San Jose, the police did nothing to protect the Trump supporters from that mob.

    Once can be accidental. Twice can be coincidental. But I feel fairly comfortable in saying that there will be more anti-Trump riots at Trump events, and the authorities will not protect the Trump supporters.

    So they may end up having to protect themselves.

  30. steve s says:

    We know trump is an idiot, and a coward, a trust-fund conman, and Super Insecure. Honestly, the big question i’m pondering right now is, will he even make it to the convention in 6 weeks? He seems to be coming apart at the seams. I guarantee you Mitt Romney is paying close attention.

  31. Lit3Bolt says:

    Trump would willingly sell US military secrets to Putin just for a dinner and a date.

    If he ever does become President, the rule of law would absolutely break down as his administration would be a dumpster fire just like his campaign. The markets would crash because nothing destroys a rate of return like not knowing what the hell is going on, or if the US is going to default on its debt. The Republicans in Congress would address this crisis by helpfully outlawing abortion and homosexuality, and then act befuddled at why the stock market kept tanking.

  32. Jen says:

    @steve s: I’ve been wondering that myself.

    This whole thing has not gone as he had planned, and the new and elevated scrutiny he’s receiving is trashing his brand–which is the whole reason he got into this in the first place. How much brand damage is he willing to accept before he pulls the plug?

  33. steve s says:

    @Jen: He’s losing business. Golf Tournaments. Hispanic and African American GOP staffers are quitting. The situation with the judge. Telling the GOP that btw i don’t have the money to run a national campaign…Paul Ryan reluctantly endorses him then has to distance himself the next day

    I don’t think this situation will make it til November.

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Won’t it be fun if President Trump were to order the IRS to stop collecting capital gains taxes in excess of, say, 10%?

    Yes…because his tax plan leaves us $12T down on revenue over ten years…so why not more?
    You get more stupid with every single comment…which is astounding considering where you start from.
    Free-loader…if people don’t pay taxes…how are you going to free-load when there is no system to free-load on?

  35. grumpy realist says:

    @Bokonon: It’s amazing how the Republican party doesn’t understand how the world works.

    Risk? Markets get jittery and collapse very easily, especially if you have a lunatic of a POTUS running around threatening to default on the US debt, pull us out of NATO (I’m sure Putin loves that) and says he wants to get into a trade war with China.

    Our international allies get even more jittery and will be a) looking for someone else to provide protection b) ways to shield their economies from shenanigans with the U.S. dollar. (Expect to see a new currency block to arise based off the Swiss franc.)

    And the Republicans think that they can “control” Trump? Only if they keep him in a straitjacket 24 hours/day and slap duct tape over his mouth.

  36. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    After all, we have the precedent of Obama ordering ICE to not enforce immigration laws.

    Actually I believe that they were told to prioritize enforcement, placing emphasis on immigration violators who are dangerous or otherwise performing criminal actions in contrast with the 16 year old high school honors student with no criminal background.

    /sigh/ …. don’t know why I waste my time with you

  37. EddieInCA says:

    There is an interesting dynamic at play that I’ve noticed recently. I believe that the negative severity of any Trump action is directly correlated to how few people log on to defend the action. Usually, most negative Trump stories bring out John, Jenos, Bill, and a few others showing up to defend Trump. If it’s something relatively minor and “Trumpian”, there are alot of posts justifying and defending Trump’s actions.

    But you can tell how badly the action was to Trump’s possible election by how few people post defending him.

    Interesting……

  38. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton isn’t the biggest fan of free speech either. Recall her concession speech in New Hampshire:

    And let’s remember, Citizens United, one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our country’s history, was actually a case about a right-wing attack on me and my campaign. A right-wing organization took aim at me and ended up damaging our entire democracy. So, yes, you’re not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me.

    There’s certainly legitimate reasons to oppose the Citizen’s United ruling. That it allowed people to criticize Hillary Clinton unpunished is not one of them. That she considers that the biggest problem with the ruling is telling.

    And of course, it’s amusing the commenters who were all “eh, everyone breaks the law, this is no big deal” about the e-mail server issue are suddenly calling for the fainting couch in terms over Trump’s disregard for the rule of law.

    It’s because all of you, Trump and Clinton supporters alike, don’t actually care about free speech, rule of law, or anything else beside your team winning in November. And so we get this endless kabuki theater.

  39. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Blue Galangal: i’m ambivalent about the “helping some of the people he cheated to get their money back” part. With only $5.4 million dollars in the pool, the result of a class action suit (which this would turn into) would be that lawyers would get about $5.4 million in legal fees and the people he cheated would get a coupon good for a free Trump University course.

  40. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:
  41. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @anjin-san: [short drum roll/rimshot/cymbal splash]

  42. An Interested Party says:

    The same people who want a ninth investigation to scour Hillary’s email arrangement for technical improprieties are nominating Donald Trump for president of the united states.

    Now there is a great campaign commercial…it would show quite the contrast…

    What should really be scaring you folks is that Trump would be building on 8 years of Obama precedents for bypassing Congress and ignoring the whole checks and balances thing.

    No need to worry because he’s not going to win…

  43. Blue Galangal says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: No, this is indeed true, and I suppose $5.4M is a drop in the bucket to Trump, but it would have been nice to see him have to a) lose in court and b) pay a fine larger than most of us will ever see in our lifetimes. Real justice would have been if he was forced to refund the money to the actual people he charged ($425,000? really?). I mean, clearly someone in the Texas AG’s office knows who these people are.

    According to the documents, 267 Texans paid more than $425,000 to attend Trump University’s three-day seminar, 39 purchased Trump’s “Gold Elite” package of additional classes and other perks costing $35,000 each, and 150 others spent more than $826,000 on other goods and services.

  44. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton isn’t the biggest fan of free speech either

    OK, so false equivalency alert. Exactly when did Hillary Clinton attack an individual judge or the judicial system as a whole?

    There’s certainly legitimate reasons to oppose the Citizen’s United ruling. That it allowed people to criticize Hillary Clinton unpunished is not one of them. That she considers that the biggest problem with the ruling is telling.

    Except she doesn’t say that. In the very next sentence she talks about its effect on campaign finance.This is an obvious attempt to twist her words into saying something she did not.

    And of course, it’s amusing the commenters who were all “eh, everyone breaks the law, this is no big deal” about the e-mail server issue are suddenly calling for the fainting couch in terms over Trump’s disregard for the rule of law.

    Calling BS. Every Clinton defender I’ve read says she did something wrong (Indeed, she has apologized for it, as Clinton attackers seem to forget). We just don’t think what she did is History’s Greatest Crime, equivalent to the Holocaust or the Trail of Tears. Certainly, we don’t think it disqualifies her to be President, which is what Clinton attackers seem to be saying.

    It’s because all of you, Trump and Clinton supporters alike, don’t actually care about free speech, rule of law, or anything else beside your team winning in November. And so we get this endless kabuki theater.

    Aw, GTFOH. I’m sick of you libertarian independents and your insufferable moral superiority. Tell you what. If you can’t distinguish between a racist, misogynistic demagogue who directly threatened the judicial system and a left-of-center politician who committed a mere violation of federal department communication policy, then don’t vote. You’re not up to the job.

  45. @stonetools:

    I’m sick of you libertarian independents and your insufferable moral superiority.

    What has two thumbs and doesn’t care?

  46. MarkedMan says:

    Off topic: The discussion above about how Trump’s rantings, racist and otherwise, are affecting his business brings me back to the financial puzzle – has Trump’s numerous bankruptcies and his time spent on an allowance meted out by his creditors made him a miser, despite being a billionaire? Or is he actually worth much much less (an order of magnitude? two orders of magnitude?) and is actually having cash flow problems. It makes me think that we need to understand his Trump Number (TM). This is what his $250M inheritance would be worth in today’s dollars, and how his wealth compares to that. It’s a truism that the first generation (Trump’s father) creates the wealth, the second generation maintains it (Trump), and the third generation blows it. So for Trump to be able to claim at least second generation mediocrity he should be worth at least $250M x whatever inflation multiplier applies. My guess is that he doesn’t make that goal. I’m not even sure he is truly worth $250M in today’s dollars. You know someone is stretching it when they say their name alone is worth $3B dollars. And getting involved in bottled water? What’s that net him? $50K a year? Why is a supposed $10Billionaire spending more than 1 minute on $50K?

  47. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    What has two thumbs…?

    Almost everyone? Plus apes, monkeys, lemurs, racoons, and well other things…

    Or is the “two thumbs, doesn’t care” some internet meme that I’ve totally missed out on?

  48. Jenos Idanian says:

    @EddieInCA: I believe that the negative severity of any Trump action is directly correlated to how few people log on to defend the action. Usually, most negative Trump stories bring out John, Jenos, Bill, and a few others showing up to defend Trump.

    I’m usually very careful to not defend Trump, but point out the lies mistaken information put out by the anti-Trump nuts. And, also, to point out that what Trump says is often quite well precedented by Obama, Clinton, or other prominent Democrats.

    I’ll repeat my earlier opinion: I think Clinton and Trump could both be huge disasters for this country. I figure Trump’s about 90% likely to be a 10 Magnitude disaster, while Clinton is a 99% likelihood to be a 9 Magnitude disaster. So while I think Trump could be a bigger disaster, I think Clinton is more likely to be a disaster. So right now, I’m voting for Trump — but I’m not committing myself, because the election’s still five months away.

    But I’ll repeat my observation: in today’s America, if you say things that progressives find tremendously offensive, you can expect to provoke violence. And you can further expect the authorities to not act to protect you from the progressives and their violent wrath.

    So you have three choices: don’t say things that they don’t like, say things that they don’t like and accept your beating, or say things they don’t like and be prepared to defend yourself.

  49. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    What has two thumbs and doesn’t care?

    Not dragons-they don’t have thumbs!

    I’m sure that response sounded much more devastating in your head when you typed it.

  50. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Sure, I got it. Trump’s audience full of thugs who repeatedly beat up anybody with opposing views are the real victims.

    You should totally head over to Reddit and check out /r/The_Donald – they don’t allow contrarian points of view there – it’s All-Donald, All-the-Time. You’d fit right in.

  51. Jenos Idanian says:

    @MarkedMan: I think what’s being tried is the old “what has two thumbs and doesn’t care?” (points thumbs to self) “This guy!”

    It’s a very tired and very stupid cliche.

  52. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Tony W: Let’s see. People who attempt to disrupt Trump’s events don’t get the Bernie Sanders treatment (allowed to take over the mic and hijack the event for their own goals), but instead get the bum’s rush and shown the door.

    So a fair, logical, and moral response involves sucker-punches, thrown objects like bottles and eggs, and death threats against people who have the sheer gall to show up at a Trump event, wear Trump gear, and say things the mob doesn’t like.

    What kind of idiot thinks the actions of these mobs, who couple their violence with waving Mexican flags and burning American flags, actually hurt Trump’s campaign? Every single riot like this is another free Trump ad. All he has to do is run the video of his supporters being beaten and pelted by American flag-burning rioters, and ask America “do you want to help these savages win?”

  53. Tyrell says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Some of the news reports that some of the trouble makers are not necessarily protesting Trump. There is an element that is there to assault the police ! Leaders of the Democrat party have condemned these attacks. Rock throwing, fires set, police injured, property damaged, innocent people injured !
    The images of the US flag being burned are disgusting! Someone is sick ! Anyone who does that needs to be arrested and locked up on the spot ! These groups are subversive radicals and are dangerous ! The F.B.I. and Department of Justice need to investigate !

  54. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    Dude. Seriously. Maybe a couple of soothing alcoholic beverages. Or a joint if that’s your thing. Just chill a little, huh?

  55. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: I can’t tell if Tyrell is genuinely hysterical or just trying to mock one side here, but I (shudder) am echoing your sentiment.

  56. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Blue Galangal: I agree, all of the things you suggest would be nice (and a good tort system might be able to make it so, at least in some cases), but those things are not what happens.

  57. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them,” Trump said. “Just knock the hell — I promise you, I’ll pay the legal fees.”

    And thus the stage is set…….
    Can’t unring that bell

  58. Tyrell says:

    @michael reynolds: I will agree and drink one to that. It was a rough day.

  59. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Unfortunately for you, HRC has a point. The Republicans, in going after the Clintons and Obama, have dangerously eroded the standards of republican (small r) rule that allow this nation to function.

    Look, is Clinton our dream candidate? Hell to the N-O. But the reason we keep bringing up the way Dems have been treated by the Republicans and Corporate media is perfectly valid, because they basically ignore Republican scandals while Democrats are impeached or subjected to specious SCOTUS witch hunts against their legislation.

    Newt Gingrich could rape a woman in his office and nobody would care in the Village. Bill Clinton gets a blowjob from and intern and it’s suddenly impeachment-worthy?

    And everyone huffing about “Well, Republicans being corrupt is no defense,” screw you. It’s totally a defense if every white male client is allowed to get away with murder but every black male client gets the death penalty. And Democrats, disproportionately by Republicans, Libertarians, and their corporate PR shills, get the death penalty while Republican contradictions and lies and maleficence and treason and boy-rape and double wetsuit sexcapades get swept into the memory hole, never to be mentioned again, like they never happened.

    Funny how everyone remembers Chappaquiddick and Lewinsky but forgets Watergate and Iran-Contra, huh? Gee, must be because Democrats are just that bad! Nope, no false equivalence going on here! Boy, I was sure outraged by the Bush Email Deletion scandal! That got wall to wall coverage for weeks, months, years! Total FBI investigations and everything!

    LOL, not.

  60. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them,” Trump said. “Just knock the hell — I promise you, I’ll pay the legal fees.”

    So, if you see someone starting to act violently, stop them. If you see something, do something.

    So, if I were to to go to a Hillary event with a bag of tomatoes, that’d be just fine?

    Trump, by telling people to stand up against violence, “set the stage” for people getting sucker-punched and egged and threatened?

    As usual, left-wing violence is no big deal, because it’s provoked by right-wingers doing something legal, but done by people who aren’t left-wing, so it’s all OK.

    Leftists seem to have no agency. They simply can’t be held responsible for their actions, because at the root they’re merely reacting to right-wing provocations.

    So, let’s put them in charge of all the things! They’ll be wonderful, as long as no right-wingers can be found to provoke them into being unreasonable.

    The simplest way to make sure that never happens is to make sure they never see, or hear, or even hear about any right-wingers ever…

  61. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    As usual, left-wing violence is no big deal, because it’s provoked by right-wingers doing something legal, but done by people who aren’t left-wing, so it’s all OK.

    Let it go, dude. The way Trump’s been running his campaign almost guarantees violence. Pick a conservative next time, not a know-nothing radical with a big mouth.

  62. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: I’ve said before, Trump is the perfect candidate for people who have no idea what the president does. And that includes Trump.

  63. gVOR08 says:

    James, I seem to be able to comment again. Thank you.

  64. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I figure Trump’s about 90% likely to be a 10 Magnitude disaster, while Clinton is a 99% likelihood to be a 9 Magnitude disaster.

    Yeah, we get that. We also get that there’s no actual evidence or reasoning behind your Hillary estimate; “you figure” or “you reckon” only in the most metaphorical of senses. (Still haven’t taken up the challenge regarding listing her worst downsides, then ranking Trump on the same factors…)

    It’s nice of you to quantify your blind prejudice for us, but not particularly suasive.

  65. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Think carefully about whether you want to attend, and if you want to provide for your own physical safety.

    Jenos, you’re like fracking Trump. He never quite says anything clearly either. Are you saying people should take guns to Trump rallies, yes or no?

  66. @Lit3Bolt:

    Boy, I was sure outraged by the Bush Email Deletion scandal! That got wall to wall coverage for weeks, months, years! Total FBI investigations and everything!

    Which is precisely my point. In 2007, all the Democrats were OUTRAGED and all the Republicans were “this isn’t a big deal, it’s all political!” And in 2016, all the Republicans are OUTRAGED and all the Democrats are “this isn’t a big deal, it’s a political”. Because none of you on either side actually gives a shit about any of it. It’s purely whether things benefit your tribe or the other tribe, and everything beyond that is just “we’ve always been at war with Eastasia” post hoc rationalization BS that won’t mean a thing tomorrow if it’s suddenly no longer political useful.

  67. Pch101 says:

    At this point, “qualified Republican” is an oxymoron. The question these days is not if they are inept and contemptuous of decency, but how much.

    Trump didn’t invent this nonsense, it just used to belong to Dixiecrats. Same mentality, different brand.

  68. Tyrell says:

    @Jenos Idanian: It’s not my fault. It is that convenience store coffee !

  69. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Sadly for you, this doesn’t become more convincing in the repetition of it. I’ll remind every one again that a Democratic Inspector General investigated the Democratic presidential presumptive nominee, and came out with this critical report. Meanwhile under this same Democratic administration, the FBI is investigating the Democratic nominee.

    What the h3ck did the Republican Inspector General and the Republican-administered FBI do in 2007? Did the Republican majority Congress investigate Powell’s email procedures ever?

    Take your time in answering these questions. I’ll wait.

  70. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So, if you see someone starting to act violently, stop them. If you see something, do something.

    Trump did not request his supporters to just “do something”, he told them to escalate from what they perceived as potential violence to actual criminal assault, and further more that he’d pay to their legal costs to defend.

    Remember his actual words, not what you’d have wished those words to be.

    “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them,” Trump said. “Just knock the hell — I promise you, I’ll pay the legal fees.”

    “getting ready” … you imagine that someone is about to do something
    “knock the crap” … perform actual violence

    The appropriate suggestion would be to “do something”….. like get security to handle it.

    /sign/ another 2 minutes wasted with you

  71. Tony W says:

    Trump’s fear of a free press is manifest through his sophomoric and simple-minded attacks, but the fear is simply continuing a strong Conservative tradition of suppressing independent thought. Conservatives readily admit this – “ditto-head” is long the self-ascribed moniker for Rush Limbaugh’s disciples.

    I submit that the violence that Trump clearly incites, and in which the left-leaning protesters willingly participate, is rooted in fear, as all violence is.

    Conservatives deeply fear change, they like things as they are. Some fear change because it means losing their power position. Others fear change because of a simple lack of confidence in their ability to navigate and be successful in a world that they increasingly don’t understand. Nevertheless, this is the unifying thread of the unholy three-legged stool of conservatism – the religious, the wealthy and the racists.

    Liberalism can certainly be extreme too, but it’s rooted in a genuine, if sometimes naive, attempt to help ordinary people – particularly the downtrodden and oppressed. Liberals have deep fears too – we particularly fear strongmen who are irrational and unpredictable, and who promise to undo years of hard-won progress against the powerful.

    Nihilistic tendencies within the Republican party will destroy the country they portend to preserve. Liberals must be careful not to overreach, and I think Hillary Clinton, like the current president, understands this completely.

  72. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: “Getting ready” — “That guy’s reaching into a bag, and he’s taking something out, and he’s winding up to throw something…”

    As far as for “like get security to handle it,” we saw at DePaul what “security” will do — nothing. We saw in San Jose what the police will do — nothing.

    In San Jose, the mayor — the boss of the police — said that it was the Trump people’s fault.

    When the people who are supposed to be responsible for confronting the mobs actually start doing their jobs, then I’ll stop mentioning how they aren’t doing their jobs. Fair enough?

  73. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:
  74. @stonetools:

    So what’s your point? Republicans got away with breaking the law so now it’s okay if Democrats do too? The fact Republicans kept getting away with stuff like this during the Bush administration is why I stopped voting for Republicans. But, you still happily support Democrats. Because party loyalty is your only real principle.

  75. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    I will agree and drink one to that. It was a rough day.

    We all have ’em, brother.

  76. steve s says:

    At this point, “qualified Republican” is an oxymoron. The question these days is not if they are inept and contemptuous of decency, but how much.

    Trump didn’t invent this nonsense, it just used to belong to Dixiecrats. Same mentality, different brand.

    Mika was on joe this week saying “why is ryan endorsing trump? why is he selling out? Ryan has principles and integrity.”

    Uh, you’re close to a real insight here Mika….

  77. steve s says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Excellent False Equivalency.

  78. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Dude, you are intentionally trying to miss the point. Let me reiterate, for the benefit of the open minded. The Democratically appointed Inspector General investigated and reported on clinton, and the Democratically led FBI is continuing to investigate her. Now, not much will come of it, because frankly she didn’t DO much, but she is being held responsibly the Democrats to the limit of what the law allows. The Republicans in the same scenario did nothing to hold its bad actors responsible.
    Now you glide past all this because you want to get to a position where you can smugly say , “The Democrats and Republications are all the same, so I’ll vote for neither”, thus absolving you of any potential liability for the President Trump. But hey, we see you.

  79. grumpy realist says:

    So who’s our Leni Riefenstahl?

    This whole Trump thing reminds of the comment about history repeating itself as farce.

  80. @stonetools:

    From Wikipedia:

    Involved administration officials who resigned

    Alberto Gonzales, United States Attorney General, former White House Counsel
    Kyle Sampson, Chief of Staff to the Attorney General
    Michael A. Battle, Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys
    Michael Elston, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General
    Monica Goodling, Justice Department’s liaison to the White House
    William W. Mercer, U.S. Attorney, Acting Associate Attorney General (retains position as U.S. Attorney in Montana)
    Sara Taylor, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Political Affairs
    Paul McNulty, Deputy Attorney General
    Harriet Miers, former White House Counsel (resigned prior to publicity surrounding the controversy, effective January 31, 2007)
    Karl Rove, White House Deputy Chief of Staff
    Bradley Schlozman, Director Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys; former Acting Assistant Attorney General for, and later Principal Deputy Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division; former interim U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri

    Name me the senior Obama administration officials who were forced to resign over the Clinton e-mail scandal? Oh, but someone wrote a report. And Clinton apologized! Hooray for accountability!

  81. steve s says:

    jim newell, slate:

    Saying what’s plainly obvious—that Hillary Clinton, despites all her flaws, is by a million degrees more qualified to serve as president than Donald Trump just on a simple get-us-through-the-day level—is a dangerous admission for conservative opinion writers like Kristol. They have spent decades selling magazine subscriptions by arguing that Hillary Clinton, a center-left technocrat, is the lowest specimen of life in galactic history. How could they ever admit that she’s preferable to Trump? It wouldn’t be easy. That’s how you know it would be a principled stand.

    The real contest, given the system we have, not the system we wish we had, is between Clinton and Trump. “I’m gonna vote for pointless irrelevant third-party candidate x” is just trying to make cowardice appear principled. Suck it up, have enough integrity to vote Clinton, and be done with it.

  82. steve s says:

    @Stormy Dragon: All those people resigned over the 30 million emails the GOP deleted? Wow! oh wait that’s completely bogus and you’re not fooling anyone.

  83. @stonetools:

    “The Democrats and Republications are all the same, so I’ll vote for neither”, thus absolving you of any potential liability for the President Trump. But hey, we see you.

    And we finally get down to it. The only legitimate vote ever is a vote for a Democrat. Only wreckers and kulaks withhold their support from the party.

  84. Pch101 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Hillary Clinton has already resigned from the State Department. Would you like her to resign again?

  85. Loviatar says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So Stormy based upon your philosophy, which one of these pieces of legislation would you like a President Donald Trump to sign first.

    —–

    Barack Obama: Vetoed legislation

    SJ Res 22 – EPA rule: An attack on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act.
    HR 3762 – ACA repeal: An attempt (#47 I believe) to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood.
    SJ Res 23 – EPA rule: An attack on the Environmental Protection Agency that would overturn carbon pollution standards that are critical to protecting against climate change.
    SJ Res 24 – EPA rule: An attack on the Environmental Protection Agency that would overturn the Clean Power Plan, which is critical to protecting against climate change.
    HR 1735 – NDAA: Budget busting increase in defense spending by using “a separate account for wartime operations that is immune to the spending limits.
    SJ Res 8 – NLRB rule: An attack on the National Labor Relations Board and private sector union elections.
    S 1 – Keystone XL Pipeline: An attempt by Congress to circumvent longstanding processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest — including our security, safety, and environment.
    HR 3808 – An attack on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by reducing consumer protections, including those for mortgages.
    HJ Res 64 – Continuing Appropriations: The enactment of H.R. 3326 (Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010, Public Law 111-118), has rendered H.J.Res. 64 unnecessary.

    —-

    I’m coming to the realization that as much as I fear what Donald Trump would do as president, I should fear much more what he would allow a stupid, evil Republican Congress to do were he president.

  86. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The only legitimate vote ever is a vote for a Democrat.

    You can’t possibly be that stupid; we’ve seen plenty of contrary evidence.

    The only legitimate vote THIS YEAR is a vote AGAINST TRUMP. Even if that means voting for Hillary god-help-us Clinton. Is that clear enough?

  87. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It’s a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

    Yeah, I’d prefer to not have to vote for Hillary. But when the alternative is Trump? Dude, think of it as political triage.

  88. humanoid.panda says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    And we finally get down to it. The only legitimate vote ever is a vote for a Democrat. Only wreckers and kulaks withhold their support from the party.

    Well, yes: when the other candidate is Donald Trump, the only moral vote is for a Democrat, for president at least. In a similar way, when the senile, reactionary puppet of aristcratic oligarchs Hindenburg ran against Hitler in 1932, the only ethical vote was for Hindenburg.

    And sure- Trump is not Hitler (except for the part when he gets access to nuclear codes), but HRC is not Hindenburg either.

  89. Rafer Janders says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Name me the senior Obama administration officials who were forced to resign over the Clinton e-mail scandal?

    Whatever Hillary Clinton did or didn’t do, it’s pretty clear by now that it was not illegal. Deleting 30 million pieces of email from the Bush regime archives, however, was. Just because you’re too stupid to understand that A does not equal B does not mean the rest of us are.

  90. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    That’s quite a life you have there buddy. Hiding under your bed whimpering and hoping to see some video of dead liberals in the streets. It must be really cool being you…

  91. @humanoid.panda:

    I see the current situation less as 1920s Germany and more as 1940s Ukraine. Do you fight for Stalin or Hitler?

    If you can help it, you don’t fight for either, you just try to keep your head down and stay out of the way.

  92. Bruce Henry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Still, your “see how many Bush officials resigned because of the email deletions!” claim is bogus. Most of those officials resigned because of other scandals, and the fact that the emails were deleted just made investigations into what they had done more difficult. This is not equivalent to the Clinton situation.

  93. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    l’m afraid the Bush email scandal doesn’t support your point.
    First, the Bush email scandal overlay a much the greater scandal -the dismissal of eight US attorneys for purely political purposes. That’s a much bigger issue that violation of State Department email policy. It goes directly to the issue of whether the executive can fairly administer justice.

    The controversy surrounding the U.S. Attorneys dismissals was often linked to elections or voter-fraud issues. Allegations were that some of the U.S. Attorneys were dismissed for failing to instigate investigations damaging to Democratic politicians, or for failing to more aggressively pursue voter-fraud cases.[3][35] Such allegations were made by some of the dismissed U.S. Attorneys themselves to suggest reasons they may have been dismissed.[36] The background to the allegations is the recent tendency for elections in parts of the United States to be very close; an election outcome can be affected by an announced investigation of a politician. It is explicit policy of the Department of Justice to avoid bringing voter-related cases during an election for this reason.[37] By 2006, the pursuit of voter fraud cases was an acknowledged political strategy of the Republican Party, although most had little substance.[38] The use of U.S. Attorneys for partisan purposes is highly improper, particularly given the strong non-partisan traditions of the U.S. Attorneys. In September 2008, the Inspector General for the Department of Justice concluded that some of the dismissals were motivated by the refusal of some of the U.S. Attorneys to prosecute voter fraud cases during the 2006 election cycle.[9]

    That’s not even comparing apples to oranges-it’s comparing apples to elephants. Senior officials should have resigned over that.
    Secondly, the investigation of the these issues was begun by Democratic Congressional committees, acting on tips from private organizations. So it was”nt Republicans holding Republicans accountable.

  94. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I see the current situation less as 1920s Germany and more as 1940s Ukraine. Do you fight for Stalin or Hitler?

    If you can help it, you don’t fight for either, you just try to keep your head down and stay out of the way.

    Dude, if you can’t do the historical analogy thing right, don’t. In that analogy, Clinton would be closer to FDR , anyway. But just don’t.
    Let’s restate the choice in plain English once again.

    between a racist, misogynistic demagogue who directly threatened the judicial system and a left-of-center politician who committed a mere violation of federal department communication policy,

    If that’s the choice, the decision should be simple for rational people. And, no, the better moral choice is not to “hunker down.”
    Note even in your absurd analogy, the majority of Ukrainians fought for Stalin, since lack of freedom was better than annihilation.

  95. Tyrell says:

    @Loviatar: The Keystone pipeline – I certainly hope that we don’t see $4 /gal gas again. It has been creeping up while everyone’s attention has been diverted to “bathrooms”. $4 gas will have people in the streets begging for Keystone and whatever else they can do – “just drill” !
    The “affordable health care act” – it is not affordable for millions of Americans. And just wait until next year when double digit rate increases hit the people on Obama care. Some of the insurance companies are dropping out of it.
    A lot of people had to go to the president’s ramshackle health plan when their own health plans were pulled out from under them by the government. So what did they get ? A plan with less coverage, higher rates, higher deductibles and co-pays !
    And what happened to those millions of young, healthy people who were going to sign up, Mr. President ?
    And all those EPA regulations concerning “carbon” ? Just ask your local utility company why your rates keep going up and all these sneaky little “fees” keep showing up. Our power bill now looks like our old cable bill used to – funny numbers ! Or as one person put it – “has more hidden costs and tricks than a car salesman’s closing sheet !”
    “If you like your insurance plan you can keep it” President Obama

  96. Pch101 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I see the current situation less as 1920s Germany and more as 1940s Ukraine. Do you fight for Stalin or Hitler?

    This pushes Godwin to a whole new level.

  97. rachel says:

    Alberto Gonzales: Donald Trump deserves a fair judge like any ‘child molester’ or ‘rapist’

    True, but if I were Trump, I’d still ask Gonzales to stop helping me.

  98. @Pch101:

    This pushes Godwin to a whole new level.

    See, loyal party member humanoid.panda brings up the Hitler comparison, no one says a word and he gets +6 points. Non-party member responds to him, and suddenly everyone is shocked, SHOCKED, that someone would bring it up.

  99. @stonetools:

    Note even in your absurd analogy, the majority of Ukrainians fought for Stalin, since lack of freedom was better than annihilation.

    I wonder if the victims of the Holodomdor agree?

  100. Pch101 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’m not sure what passes for knowledge on your planet, but on mine, Clinton is not comparable to either Hitler or Stalin. Reliance on that metaphor does you no favors, as it makes you appear to be unhinged.

    Trump’s calls for violence, his wholesale attacks on ethnic groups, and his stigmatizing of a minority religious faith really do bear some resemblance to a certain dead German dude and the thug tactics of the SA. This is the sort of message that was conveyed in Nazi propaganda such as “The Eternal Jew.”

    Nazi analogies are usually inappropriate in American politics, but this really is one of those rare exceptions. Not even Ted Cruz, Ron Paul, et. al. have taken things that far.

  101. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Maybe you and Todd should go off and form a new political party devoted entirely to celebrating your own purity. I’d make a sizable contribution, as long as you promised to found it somewhere far, far away. Meanwhile in the real world, there’s real work to do.

  102. DrDaveT says:

    @Pch101:

    Nazi analogies are usually inappropriate in American politics, but this really is one of those rare exceptions.

    You’re making the classic mistake of appealing to facts in an argument with a GOP supporter. They rejected the idea of objective reality a long time ago, and consider all “appeals to fact” to be just a rhetorical device, akin to asking people to “think of the children”.

    You can see this in the absurd risk assessments associated with a HRC presidency. You can only get to a “better the risks associated with Trump than the certainties associated with Clinton” position by completely ignoring the vast preponderance of the evidence. It’s like deciding to drive a nail using TNT, because with a hammer you tend to hit your finger too often.

    Inside the bubble, yes, any analogy to WW2-era fascists is equivalent.

  103. Loviatar says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Stormy you haven’t answered my question, which one of these pieces of legislation would you like a President Donald Trump to sign first.

    Barack Obama: Vetoed legislation

    —–

    @Tyrell:

    You’re the stupid part of the stupid, evil Republican party so you could have saved some pixels as we knew what your answer would be.

  104. An Interested Party says:

    I see the current situation less as 1920s Germany and more as 1940s Ukraine. Do you fight for Stalin or Hitler?

    Well hell, if we really want to use WWII analogies, Clinton is FDR having to fight a two-front war, with a racist xenophobe on her right and a kamikaze dead ender on her left…

  105. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell:

    A lot of people had to go to the president’s ramshackle health plan when their own health plans were pulled out from under them by the government. So what did they get ? A plan with less coverage, higher rates, higher deductibles and co-pays !

    I can only speak for my situation but here goes: (Note, I live in a state where we have a working state health care exchange system, so my experience may be different from places like Kansas.)

    My last employer plan/ ACA
    Coverage: $100,000 lifetime coverage cap/ $10,000 max cost to me/no coverage cap
    Major medical: 50% co-pay with above cap/ Included in $10,000 max with 10% copay
    Copay: $15 and 25% on lab work $15 doctor $0-8 for labs
    Deductible: $1000 (but only 100k total available)/ $ 1000 but included in copays
    Prescriptions $25/mail order $40 at drug store/ $10-15 depending on product
    Cost of coverage: Employer paid 100% of $250/mo/ $85 of $785 total cost w/o subsidy
    (Employees with families paid $100/mo to add kids/ (I would not have coverage at all w/o ACA)
    from a weekly salary of $1200-1500/mo average.)

    As I noted above, I can only speak for me, but I’m pretty happy with how ACA turned out for me.

  106. MarkedMan says:

    There may be no better example of the double standard James holds Hillary to than the following from the Wiki article mentioned above:

    The administration officials had been using a private Internet domain, called gwb43.com, owned by and hosted on an email server run by the Republican National Committee,[6] for various communications of unknown content or purpose. The domain name is an abbreviation for “George W. Bush, 43rd” President of the United States. The server came public when it was discovered that J. Scott Jennings, the White House’s deputy director of political affairs, was using a gwb43.com email address to discuss the firing of the U.S. attorney for Arkansas.[7] Communications by federal employees were also found on georgewbush.com (registered to “Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc.”[8]) and rnchq.org (registered to “Republican National Committee”[9]), but, unlike these two servers, gwb43.com has no Web server connected to it — it is used only for email.[10]

    So Bush sets up a private email server through an explicitly political entity and administration officials use it to discuss at least 21 million emails worth of government policy. Were any classified? We will never know because when it came out, they “lost” 21 million emails. Permanently. No investigation, no one of any significance so much as reprimanded.

    On the other hand, Hillary sets up her own email server used exclusively by her. Like all SoS, she uses completely different systems for secure communication. When she is asked for the emails she turns them over. Which, by the way is what her predecessors did, as well as numerous other department heads in many state and federal administrations. They don’t turn emails from their private account over unless they are asked. Again, that is the case with every single one of her predecessors since personal email became a thing.

    And to James, the first does not even merit a hand waving justification, is not even worthy of an acknowledgement that it happened. While the second is an example of a character flaw so deep that only the willfully blind can’t see it.

  107. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    My experience (on the Ohio exchange) is the same. The specifics are a bit different, but better coverage for less premium (no subsidy) as contrasted with 2015 on a national group policy with my employer.

    Will it stay that way in the future? Who knows, however the same was always true about my employer sponsored plan – we never knew from one year to the next what the employer’s plan would cost.

  108. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Blue Galangal:
    Considering Trump’s public (and race based) attack on the Judge, I’m all the more convinced that he is more concerned with his Trump Brand then he is with running an effective campaign for POTUS.

  109. anjin-san says:

    A lot of people had to go to the president’s ramshackle health plan when their own health plans were pulled out from under them by the government. So what did they get ? A plan with less coverage, higher rates, higher deductibles and co-pays !

    Hmm. I was on of the people who got cancelled after ACA was implemented. I got another plan that cost 2% more, and it was a somewhat better plan.