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After Trump

One of the most interesting aspects of 2017 so far to me is the radicalization of the Vox set.

The Vox set are usually who come to mind when I think of earnest do-gooders and also “neo-liberals.” They sincerely believed that good government policies could make the lives of the American people better and that these policies would be rewarded by voters on election days. “Neo-liberal” because Vox also believes in the kind of too clever by half policies that are supposed to “nudge” people to better decision making like the health exchanges in the ACA are supposed to get people to shop for new and better insurance every year. They also believed in the spirit of bi-partisanship comity more than any other group.

But instead they are finding that good policies are often not rewarded at the polls. Ezra Klein is dismayed that the Republican Party can be silent about what is in their highly unpopular health-care bill and still have a good chance that the bill will pass. He has gone far enough to declare that Trump’s Presidency is an American crisis.

Matt Yglesias declared that Trump has lost the era of nothing matters politics.

Since taking office, his signature values — showmanship, shamelessness, and corruption — have spread like kudzu in official Washington. It’s now a country where Cabinet secretaries go on television to lie and claim that a $600 billion cut to Medicaid won’t cause anyone to lose coverage. It’s a country where the speaker of the House introduces an amendment to erode protections for patients with preexisting conditions and then immediately tweets that it’s just been “VERIFIED” (by whom?) that the opposite is happening. Republican senators who a couple of months ago were criticizing the House bill’s Medicaid cuts as too harsh are now warming up to a Senate bill whose cuts are even harsher.

The watchwords of Trump-era politics are “LOL nothing matters.” If you’re in a jam, you just lie about it. If you’re caught in an embarrassing situation, you create a new provocation and hope that people move on. Everything is founded, most of all, on the assumption that the basic tribal impulses of negative partisanship will keep everyone on their side, while knowing that gerrymandering means Republicans will win every toss-up election. If you happened to believe that Republicans in office would deliver on their health care promises, well, you might be interested in a degree from Trump University.

There are a few ways to interpret Matt’s observations. Is he saying that the Republicans are heading to massive suicide by ramming through an unpopular bill (albeit they are rolling out the horrible aspects of their health care bill very slowly)? Or is predicting that the Republicans will pass their bill, it will be a disaster including for their base but it won’t matter because of negative partisanship and gerrymandering and Republicans will lie through their teeth? There is evidence that partisanship causes changes in who you find more trustworthy and truthful.

Trump is not going to be around forever and the center-left are not going to be in a minority forever despite how bleak it seems now for us. But I do wonder how any spirit of comity could return to the nation. My own opinions on Republicans are rather low right now. I hear the so-called moderate express doubts and concerns about the more extreme House and Senate proposals but they vote for them anyway because the so-called moderates fear getting a primary challenge from the right and ending up life Eric Cantor. So I did not rejoice when Dean Heller expressed opposition to the AHCA yesterday, I heard his objections as saying “bribe me” to Mitch McConnell. I’m also starting to think that political civility is a chump’s game where the Republicans get to call you “the party of Satan” but then get upset and outraged when heated rhetoric and barbs at sent their way.

So what happens when the Democrats become the majority party again and control Congress and the White House? Do we become the adults in the room and try to get Republicans on board with our bills through numerous amendments and meetings and have them not vote for it anyway? Or do we just say “fuck them” and ignore the Republicans like they are doing to us now? I’m curious about anyone who believes that the best course of action is to reach out to the Republicans especially those of you in the Democratic Party. It seems clear to me that the voting public does not necessarily reward maturity and reaching out despite what we want to believe.

I don’t think the center-left is capable of the wild lies and distortions that Trump is capable of. I think we should remain dedicated to offering good and positive policies. I just don’t think it is worthwhile to bend over backwards to get some Republicans on board anymore or to offer very moderate candidates for positions on the judiciary anymore.

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329 thoughts on “After Trump

  1. ” Is he saying that the Republicans are heading to massive suicide by ramming through an unpopular bill (albeit they are rolling out the horrible aspects of their health care bill very slowly)? Or is predicting that the Republicans will pass their bill, it will be a disaster including for their base but it won’t matter because of negative partisanship and gerrymandering and Republicans will lie through their teeth? ”

    The bill maybe be unpopular, but does that really matter? What matter is whether or not the bill is unpopular with enough voters in the districts of those republicans who voted for it. Theoretically, if the bill screwed over “blue state” voters more than red state voters, Repub congress folks would be safe yes?

    “Or do we just say “fuck them” and ignore the Republicans like they are doing to us now? ” You mean kinda like the ACA? I’d assume this will be the plan going forward for each party.

    “I don’t think the center-left is capable of the wild lies and distortions that Trump is capable of. ” Oh Saul, you idealist. Of course they are. Do we need to quote the litany of lies around the ACA? Do we need to quote the lies around gun control? The lies around our actions in Ukraine, Syria, Libya……

    “I think we should remain dedicated to offering good and positive policies.” Funny thing is that a lot of people don’t think that the policies offered are either “good” for “positive”.

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    • “Or do we just say “fuck them” and ignore the Republicans like they are doing to us now? ”

      You mean kinda like the ACA? I’d assume this will be the plan going forward for each party.

      Both these comments are inaccurate in the same way. The GOP isn’t saying “fuck you” to only liberals/Dems, they’re flipping off the Trump base and they’re own base as well. GOP lawmakers are betting that the electorate’s anti-liberal hatred is greater than GOP hypocrisy, lies and bad policy.

      Similarly, the myth that the Dems rammed thru the ACA without GOP involvement or contribution – I think 50 +/- GOP amendments were included in the bill in addition to the architecture of the bill originating from conservative think-tanks – is a GOP myth originated at the time of the ACA for cynical political purposes and has since become accepted as an article of faith by conservatives and BSDIers.

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      • “The GOP isn’t saying “fuck you” to only liberals/Dems, they’re flipping off the Trump base and they’re own base as well. ” I already addressed that, indirectly, in my comments about being re-elected. Frankly, nothing matters but the results of the next election for each person who votes on the bill.

        “Similarly, the myth that the Dems rammed thru the ACA without GOP involvement or contribution ” Did any Republican vote for the ACA? Perhaps I’m mis remembering, but I seem to recall they didn’t or very few crossed the aisle. So, whether or not the ACA incorporated pieces of some Republican bills isn’t truly relevant.

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        • So, whether or not the ACA incorporated pieces of some Republican bills isn’t truly relevant.

          Well, sure it is. It shows that the processes for the two bills were radically different and that the GOP’s claims about the ACA are false and that their current claims about the BCRA are also false.

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          • What matters is how many republicans voted for it.

            “Or do we just say “fuck them” and ignore the Republicans like they are doing to us now”

            A quick search suggests that the ACA was passed with zero Republican votes. So the dems did say “fuck you” to the republicans and passed a bill along party lines. That’s the specific point I was making. And the only point. Bitch all you want about me pointing out that BSDI, but BOTH SIDES DO IT.

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            • Um, no.

              If Side A says, “We want your support. How can we get it?” and Side B says, “Do these 100 things,” and Side A says, “We’ll do 50,” and Side B says, “Okay,” and then Side B doesn’t support it, they’re the ones being dicks. Especially if Side A had the numbers necessary to make reaching out optional.

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            • A quick search suggests that the ACA was passed with zero Republican votes. So the dems did say “fuck you” to the republicans and passed a bill along party lines.

              This gets to my earlier point, Damon. The bill you’re saying was a fuck you to conservatives included 50 GOP amendments. The vote was party line, but the bill they voted on wasn’t.

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            • Name one major piece of legislation the Democrats have ever–in the history of the country–developed in complete secrecy, unveiled two weeks before a vote, and refused to allow the opposing party to offer amendments on.

              Until then, the BSDI critique is as misplaced now as GOP kvetching will be when the Democrats regain the majority some day and do exactly this new normal.

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              • There was some news on this by one of these “truth evaluation” sites.
                Their opinion was most major legislation is done close to this way.

                Take the ACA for example, yes, we had publicstuff… but fundamentally that was just for show and the actual bill was done in a couple of offices.

                It’s something of a new step to skip all the public fluff and just do it, but it’s a very tiny step.

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                • Take the ACA for example, yes, we had publicstuff… but fundamentally that was just for show and the actual bill was done in a couple of offices.

                  I don’t know what you mean by this, but the ACA had a bunch of committee markups.

                  Yes, all bills are written somewhere in some office, but then they are introduced into a committee, and parts get rewritten. Then another committee, and more rewrites. And again. And maybe a few more times.

                  The actual work of Congress happens first in congressman offices, and then in committees, not on the floor. The stuff on the floor is mostly for show, but bills really do normally get run past a bunch of people in committee, and almost half those people are of the opposing party.

                  Putting a bill, especially a large complicated bill, on the floor without it going through any committee is almost unprecedented(1), at least in non-emergency circumstances.

                  But, then again…that didn’t actually happen. The bill has been pulled.

                  1) Frankly, I’m a bit startled that the Democrats don’t have a way to force it to go through proper channels. Often in organizations operated by these sort of voting bodies, there are standing rules that certain types of things, if first introduced on the floor without going through certain committees, can automatically be referred into those committees just by a motion, and people would have to vote to stop that by overriding that standing rule.

                  But, then again, both houses of Congress’s rules are pre-Robert’s Rule of Order and have a bunch of completely idiotic problems with them because of that.

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            • Nonetheless, Republicans had input on the ACA, and that input was incorporated in the document that eventually became law. That input mattered, for better or worse; pretending otherwise is duplicitous.

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        • As everyone is well aware the GOP tried to do their ’94 act in 2009 all over again; play footsie under the table, then yank support at the last minute pleading for a do-over. The primary difference in 2009 being that the Dem’s, having seen this dog and pony show before, declined to take another kick at that football. The result: to the GOP’s screaming shock and outrage the bill was passed and yes it was passed without any GOP votes in the Senate.

          It’s also on record that the GOP committed in 2009 to vote against anything Obama proposed regardless of the content of it. So it being rammed through without GOP support was the only way it could be done. That said, as Still points out, the GOP had enormous input and say in the bill up to that point. Obama would have cut off on of his arms to get their votes back then.

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        • Frankly, nothing matters but the results of the next election for each person who votes on the bill.

          #ProfilesInCourage

          The point of politics shouldn’t be merely to get reelected, it should be to do good while you’re there. Which is why I’m so effing proud of Pelosi’s work during the early-Obama years.

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          • Actually the job of a congresscritter is to do the work you were “hired” or elected to do…what your constituents want.

            If they want a wall, you vote for a wall, or you convince them that a wall is the wrong course of action.

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            • That’s not very originalist of you. In fact, the founders’ disagreement is the very reason the constitution originally did not have direct election of senators (and why they chose a republican rather than democratic form of government).

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              • Who said I was an Originalist? And that was only for senators. House of Reps are directly elected. So you could say that the senators (originalist mindset) should be doing what the state legislature tells them to do.

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                • correct re: difference between House and Senate. Senate originally is to represent the States, and the House the People. In my opinion, it still ought to be that way, as long as we are still a federation of sovereign states.

                  That said, “doing what your constituents want” is a poor basis for leadership and popularity is a poor proxy for good judgment. Most people do not know enough about complex subjects of policy relevance–health care, climate change, pollution, economic policy, monetary policy, etc.– to have sound opinions on them; weighting their opinions the same as those who spend their lives studying them is foolhardy.

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    • I think the article kind if got it backwards. Geography isn’t the footnote, everything else is. Relative isolation has allowed Canada to control the pace of cultural change and avoid highly publicized government screw ups. Give them something like Merkel’s idiocy with Syrian refugees or the periodic exposures of failed federal policy we have on our southern border and there’d be fuel for the fire.

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      • Sense of national identity improved dramatically over the 50 or so years Canada imported more and more foriegners. The 1st and particularly 2nd generation immigrants tend to have a stronger sense of collective national identity than average in English Canada. It makes sense when you think about it a second, they aren’t here because of an accident of birth, they are here because they choose to be here and had to jump through numerous hoops to make that happen. They’re way more invested.

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        • It’s not that they’re weird. It’s that their version of populism is significantly different from the version you find in Iowa. Their version of populism has full-throated support of single payer, for example.

          When it comes to “who is a guy who I could enjoy a beer with”, is the answer more likely to be Harper or Trudeau?

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          • Well sure, but not even their right wing parties suggest doing away with Single Payer, probably because the party that did would end up a charred smoking corpse on the side of the Trans Canada.

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          • They were the opposite of each other in technocratic/populist methodology. Harper was populist policies coming from a man who presented himself as a technocrat. Trudeau was a populist persona as a front man for technocratic policies.

            We should distinguish a guy who campaigns as popular personality and guy that campaigns as a populist. Trudeau is definately the former but not the later.

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          • The American version of “who is a guy who I could enjoy a beer with” apparently includes a guy who can drink because he’s a drunk and a guy who can’t drink because of his religion.

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            • It’s a stupid criteria.

              If I were hiring a surgeon, I’d prefer a great surgeon who was a cold fish over a gregarious surgeon who was mediocre.

              If I were hiring a plumber, a carpenter, a mechanic, a coder… jeez.

              But when we hire politicians, we suddenly switch to “how would you prefer your maître d’?”

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              • I recall having a beer with a college friend who had gone on to medical school and spent part of his time at the emergency room in Cook County Hospital. He described the most important character trait for a good ER surgeon as arrogance: “Some ER patients die, but not this one, not today.”

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                  • All of the experts agree that an additional properly-placed level-one trauma center in Chicago would lower the murder rate dramatically, perhaps by more than half. Many of the shootings happen in a pretty small area — which happens to be relatively far from the existing trauma centers.

                    That wouldn’t be a unique result. I remember reading a piece about Houston’s first trauma center (opened in the days before they called them that). The then-police chief credited the center with cutting the city’s murder rate in half (with a corresponding increase in attempted murders).

                    Anecdotally, I occasionally fence with an EMT who used to work the Denver area with the highest rate of shootings. I recall him saying once that “if I can keep them alive until we get to Denver Health, those arrogant bastards save almost everyone.”

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                    • It seems to me, that it would be cheaper to hire more cops to patrol the area than to build and staff a level-one trauma center. But then again having more cops patrolling the high crime areas would also be seen as racist by some.

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                      • There have been a number of studies as to what the optimal number of police officers are for any given area, and the results are not encouraging.
                        They suggest that there is no single number which can be applied to all areas, and that the number for one particular area can change over time, and even from one time of day to another.

                        The ineffectiveness of more cops on the streets as a means of reducing crime was the reason the Bush admin. refused to re-authorize the Byrne grants.
                        The matter is exacerbated under the intelligence-led policing model. Today’s police officer needs some space for maneuverability in order to perform at their best.

                        The upshot is that five cops on each block doesn’t do as much to reduce crime as much as one cop over five blocks can.
                        As one sergeant, a 27-year veteran, told me:
                        If you’re doing too much police work, you’re screwing up somewhere.

                        That’s something that stuck with me.
                        And I wish the general public could understand that better:
                        Being a cop isn’t about being a hero.
                        Being a cop is about doing as little actual police work as you have to do.
                        Smart cops figure out ways to reduce the amount of police work they have to do. The other ones don’t make it so long.

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                        • Peellian Principle 9:

                          To recognize always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

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              • It’s a stupid criteria.

                Maybe. The Prez literally has a gun pointed to everyone’s heads. Having him be someone who can relate to you is an effort to make him trustable.

                If I were hiring a surgeon, I’d prefer a great surgeon who was a cold fish over a gregarious surgeon who was mediocre.

                A great surgeon has a track record of being a great surgeon, so figuring out who is great and who is not is easy. The Presidency is a one off.

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              • I agree; i want politicians who’se expertise is making decisions in complicated ambiguous social fields, and who know how to listen to policy experts, and can tell facts from lies. but for that last, you need someone who is in touch with the lives and hearts of the people they represent, who know the lives they live, and who value them. that is what is going on. do you value me and mine? are you my neighbor, or am I just another rung in your ladder to be stepped on?

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      • You need a really broad definition of populism for Justin Trudeau to count as a populist. He did not run on any version of populism and does not use populist rhetoric of any sort. He is a squish liberal and not a firebrand.

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        • As opposed to “technocratic”.

          Appeals to emotion, ideas of national identity, and the like. Not wonky at all. Anti-wonky. Style over substance.

          “Which politician would you like to have a beer with?” as main criteria for which politician would you be most likely to vote for.

          (Now, if you’d like to argue that “populist” *SHOULD* be the opposite of “elite”, I’d have to concede that Trudeau’s background is the opposite of populist.)

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          • the problem is not technocracy, per se, its an entrenched technocracy shielded from the negative consequences of their own mistakes and unable to update their views based on them, i.e. a panglossian technocracy singing praises for the emperor’s fantastic garments.

            people are capable of believing the most impossible things. indeed, sometimes, the more improbable the better.

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  2. Just a heads up, but for people who weren’t paying attention to politics, Barack Obama was President for the previous eight years. I can provide proof along with quotes.

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  3. Or do we just say “fuck them” and ignore the Republicans like they are doing to us now?

    Yes you should. Obama never learned this lesson, as the story to his reaction to attempted Russian influence on the election indicates.

    You’re still going to have the Max Bacchus / Ben Nelson type problem when you get clear Congressional majorities, but those are people where wheeling and dealing makes sense and wI’ll be reciprocated (on stuff like judges)

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    • Hear the sigh loud and clear, but I actually agree with Saul on that point: Trump lies much more than the center left is capable of because Trump lies more than any faction or individual (only McConnell and Cornyn come to mind) is capable of.

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        • Trump doesn’t view them as lies. He calls them “truthful hyperbole” and “exaggerations”. He views them as an essential part of the art of the deal. He said so himself!

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      • Here is the thing, Democrats are perfectly capable with pulling their own legislation if it gets pie in the sky. California State Senators passed an audacious single-payer plan without a funding mechanism that would cost 400 billion dollars. They seemed to think that they would be able to commander money from Medicare, Medcaid, and VA funding despite not having any reasonable way to do so.

        So Jerry Brown and the CA Assembly said this is crazy and numerically impossible and pulled the legislation.

        But now everyone is mad at those evvvilll corporate Dems and their ties to Big Business.

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    • Agree with . Trump lies on a scale not seen in politics as long as I have been alive. He lies so much that it seems inadequate to call them lies. Rather, he has simply chosen to untether himself from reality and use words in a way that is almost wholly metaphoric.

      All politicians lie and have always lied and the center-left is no exception. But “you can keep your health insurance” is a normal political lie, on the order of “no new taxes.” The big difference between now and then is that GHWB didn’t have a whole ecosystem of new media-splainers to come along after the fact and argue that it wasn’t a lie after all. I’m sure some folks on the right-leaning political media tried, but we all just understood that politicians sometimes say dishonest things to get elected or get legislation passed to keep from having to openly call for unpopular policies.

      So yeah, Trump is a whole other animal, but it’s what came right before (not Obama but the political and media environment of the last decade or so) that allowed someone like Trump to come along and snip the last remaining lines that were tethering political discourse to reality.

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      • Not really.

        [He] lies on a scale not seen in politics as long as I have been alive. He lies so much that it seems inadequate to call them lies. Rather, he has simply chosen to untether himself from reality and use words in a way that is almost wholly metaphoric.

        Those words could well have been written about Reagan.
        And the *BIGGEST* difference (i.e., between Trump’s & Reagan’s reset of policy) is one of style.
        And, as far as I can tell, the main criticisms on Obama from the Left are those of his management style.
        GWB too, for that matter.

        The Left is very fashion-conscious.
        It’s all about style.

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      • Rather, he has simply chosen to untether himself from reality and use words in a way that is almost wholly metaphoric.

        The technical term for that is ‘bullshitter’.

        ‘As the Princeton University philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt put it in a famous essay, to lie presumes a kind of awareness of and interest in the truth — and the goal is to convince the audience that the false thing you are saying is in fact true. Trump, more often than not, isn’t interested in convincing anyone of anything. He’s a bullshitter who simply doesn’t care.’
        https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/30/15631710/trump-bullshit

        Lies are intended to make the victim of them believe something untrue, which means that have some sort of logic behind them. The world in which the victim does believe the lie is better for the teller than the world in which the victim knows the truth.

        This is why people do not generally lie about easily disprovable things. The point of a lie is to get someone to believe a false thing, and if they are not going to do that no matter what you said, there’s no sense in lying. (Barring some obscure situations, like legal reasons. No one may believe ‘I don’t remember’, but they can’t prove it.)

        I think everyone has noticed that is not why Trump says untrue thing, but the weird thing is that Trump says untrue things for two others reasons, which is a bit confusing.

        The first is, indeed, ‘bullshitting’. Trump is an improvisational grifter, and operates in the moment, trying to convince people of things for a split second before moving on to the next, one thing after another, and the point is less to get them to believe stuff and more to have unmoored all their objections from reality. It’s Truthiness, but whereas Truthiness used to just fill in for where Truth failed to be on the speaker’s side, it’s entirely Truthiness, where the words are just flapping mouth sounds that make the listener feel correctly, and not intended to convey actual information.

        The second, the more surreal sort of lies that are blatantly obvious and repeated over and over, like the side of his election day crowd, are weirder. They are better understood as part of a dominance performance, in an attempt to prove he can construct your reality for you, to prove he is so powerful that you have to pretend what he says is true, and repeat it even if you know otherwise.

        Often, the first thing will turn into the second thing. He will say the first thing as part of rambling nonsense intended to confuse people, and someone will catch it and go ‘Wait, what? That’s not true!’ and he will tell everyone to defend his obvious made-up nonsense.

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        • I would say it’s something like magicians’ patter except that it’s mostly improvised. If it actually made any sense and managed a modicum of internal consistency, it would be an extraordinary talent.

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          • I think it does have an internal consistency. Unlike lots of other uses of communication (eg, conveying information) Trump’s speech acts are designed to establish dominance over transactional proceedings leading to favorable outcomes for him personally, on his terms. Facts don’t matter. Coherence doesn’t matter. What matters is tipping the structure of zero-sum transactions in his favor by putting his opponents on the defensive. That’s why he’s always attacking Obama and etc. on laughably ridiculous grounds: to get his opponents to defend themselves from the exact same accusations he’s being attacked for. “Obama is the colluder!” “Comey is the leaker!” “My inauguration crowd was the biggest in US history!” It’s a cynical approach to a narrowly perceived zero-sum game where winning doesn’t require strength to overcome your opponent, all it takes is maliciously destroying your opponent unconstrained by a conception of fair play and without any regard to honesty, morality, integrity, truth.

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            • It’s a cynical approach to a narrowly perceived zero-sum game where winning doesn’t require strength to overcome your opponent, all it takes is maliciously destroying your opponent unconstrained by a conception of fair play and without any regard to honesty, morality, integrity, truth.

              The Progressive equivalent is labeling people or policies they don’t like as “racist”.

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  4. Trump is not going to be around forever and the center-left are not going to be in a minority forever despite how bleak it seems now for us.

    Really? That actually seems quite plausible for me. In fact, I’d even say that’s probably the modal outcome. I think the overall alignment of American politics is substantial flux right now. I think the Dem fantasy of a 2006-2008 electoral juggernaut is well within reason. But politically speaking I’d much rather be our team than yours. Our political vulnerabilities are tied to person of Donald Trump. Your team is structurally very weak in a lot of different ways.

    But I do wonder how any spirit of comity could return to the nation.

    But this is an easy question. Accept being a political minority, at least for now, in the spirit of directing your mentality to the best interest of the United States, including the Republican parts of it, demographically speaking. Give up the rhetoric and mentality of resistance.

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      • I can’t read between the lines for this, so let’s just say the Dem base is clearly and obviously motivated with the mentality of resistance, which is having huge adverse and corrosive effects on our political discourse now.

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        • Influential conservative thinkers have written books about liberals titled The Party of Death, and Liberal Fascism, and Demonic. I think conservatives deserve at least a bit of the blame, don’t you?

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          • No. I’m not familiar with Demonic (Ann Coulter?) but at least vaguely familiar with the other two.

            First of all there’s an obvious difference in the severity and immediacy of the issues, ie, the abortion license vs immigration policy (and temporary immigration policy at that).

            But most importantly, today’s feral Left advocacy has no understanding (or worse, intentionally blurs) the distinction between advocacy and rebellion. Even the word resistance hints at that.

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            • resistance?

              resistance ??

              What, beating up protesters, making a scene at some college talk, and all the other shitting actions? That’s not resistance. What that Bernie bro did to the republican on the softball filed. Only that could really be called “resistance” in the truest sense of political resistance.

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              • What you mean it’s not resistance, it’s all resistance, ie intended to sabotage the self-determination of the American people and our processes of governance related to that.

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                • “the self-determination of the American people”

                  I literally LOL.

                  The american people don’t want self determination, or at least the portion that votes. How could they when the continually vote against that and in their actions of what they will tolerate. No, americans are sheep, bleating for more food, lulled by electronic wizardly, believing the lies they are told while they are led to the sheering station.

                  They get what they deserve.

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                  • I agree with that.

                    At first, I thought the Patriot Act was a horrible thing due to the sharp erosion of rights.
                    These days, I’m more inclined to believe the American people are generally undeserving of rights.
                    But that is only a belief.
                    It is undeniable that there is little valuation of rights or esteem for them.
                    Anyone who would maintain a right is held in derision.

                    Let them have what they desire, I say.

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            • Yea, it’s not like conservatives are saying things like:
              “Lib, it’s not about policy. It’s about the fact that you are a bad person, with bad motivations as it relates to the self determination of the American people, and therefore the American people are voting against you.”

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              • It’s a hard needle to thread. I’m not trying to be gratuitously contentious. On the other hand, it’s very important to emphasize that now, in 2017 (as opposed to 1983 or 1996 or some other year), that lib is a moral error.

                There are issues of judgment and perception involved but for the most part they’re not the important ones. Libs today are motivated above all else by the dehumanization of their political and cultural adversaries. Eg, some of them are in political office now, so we get to “resist” them, etc, etc.

                It’s very important to be able to isolate this and reject it, without any kind of rationalization, or yes-butting.

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                • Libs today are motivated above all else by the dehumanization of their political and cultural adversaries. Eg, some of them are in political office now, so we get to “resist” them, etc, etc.

                  See, Koz, at some point, we’ve all just gotten tired of your completely unsupported claims with no evidence at all. Just asserting things is not evidence of them.

                  Eg, some of them are in political office now, so we get to “resist” them, etc, etc.

                  Again, did you live in a vacuum chamber under Obama?

                  As I have pointed out several times, and you have literally never responded to, the right used almost exactly the same terminology with their ‘tea party’ and ‘rebellion’ (And waving a fricking treasonous flag, even in places that have no excuse of ‘heritage’.), and I point out that the right has a nasty habit of waving guns and talking about ‘Second amendment remedies’ while doing this, while the left doesn’t.

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                  • As I have pointed out several times, and you have literally never responded to, the right used almost exactly the same terminology with their ‘tea party’ and ‘rebellion’…..

                    And I have told you, several times, with chapter and verse IIRC about the treatment of President Obama and President Trump have very little parallels.

                    In fact, the most typical lib complaint in that context is that Mitch McConnell said that he was motivated to make President Obama a one-term President.

                    That’s completely different, to the Left activists who can’t admit that Donald Trump is President now.

                    More generally there is a completely different mentality to Tea Partiers and Gadsden Flags and the rest of it, with the Deep State, lib, anti-fascist, etc, etc opposition to Trump today.

                    When the Right finds it’s political opposition intolerable, it looks for ways to evade, or remove themselves from the opposition’s dictats, and in a few cases even resist them. You can say those things are good or bad, but they do not materially affect the legitimacy of the government itself.

                    That’s the exact opposite of what’s going on now. There’s a lot of people on the Left who think that Donald Trump really isn’t the President, Jeff Sessions really isn’t the Attorney General, Neil Gorsuch really isn’t a Justice of the Supreme Court.

                    And that mentality isn’t just out there among Facebook radicals, it’s also festering the squalid little cesspools of our society, who don’t have to circulate in mainstream American opinion, and who have to meaningful accountability: federal judges, professors, deep staters, etc.

                    The upshot is, if you want to be a meaningful participant in American political culture, it’s your obligation to clean that shit up. And the nature of that obligation, and the consequences for ignoring it, are becoming more and more explicit as time goes by.

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                    • In fact, the most typical lib complaint in that context is that Mitch McConnell said that he was motivated to make President Obama a one-term President.

                      That’s completely different, to the Left activists who can’t admit that Donald Trump is President now.

                      It sure is interesting how you are comparing an elected official to ‘activists’.

                      As your memory was wiped in 2016, I will remind you that ‘right activists’ spent 8 years trying to prove that the president wasn’t an American. (In fact, for some reason, I think maybe even a future elected official was part of that, rhymes with ‘Donald Trump’.)

                      More generally there is a completely different mentality to Tea Partiers and Gadsden Flags and the rest of it, with the Deep State, lib, anti-fascist, etc, etc opposition to Trump today.

                      You are really good at asserting that it’s somehow entirely different, yet seem incapable of actually producing any evidence that would lead to that conclusion.

                      And, again, I point out that ‘the deep state’ is something the right has hallucinated. The deep state, before the right decided to pretend it was something else, was a term for some sort of hypothetical pro-conflict intelligence service quasi-conspiracy that sorta made sure we were constantly at war.

                      I have very little opinion on that quasi-conspiracy theory, but that really is what ‘deep state’ used to mean.

                      That doesn’t have the slightest thing to do with the problems that Donald Trump is having with the government. In fact, it appears 90% of the problems he’s having with the government are with his own staff, and the rest appeared when he started behaving in dubious ways around Comey and Comey slowly backed away and started documenting things.

                      There’s a lot of people on the Left who think that Donald Trump really isn’t the President, Jeff Sessions really isn’t the Attorney General, Neil Gorsuch really isn’t a Justice of the Supreme Court.

                      Sigh.

                      Trump: ‘In U.S., 84% Accept Trump as Legitimate President’
                      http://www.gallup.com/poll/197441/accept-trump-legitimate-president.aspx

                      Obama:“Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately won the Presidential election last year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for him?” The overall top-line is legitimately won 62%, ACORN stole it 26%.
                      http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2009/11/acorn.html (And note there’s another 22% missing that ‘are not sure’.)

                      Bush: While seven out of 10 Americans accept Bush as president, 15% say they do not accept Bush as the legitimate president now, but might in the future, and 11% of the public says they will never accept Bush as the legitimate president.
                      http://www.gallup.com/poll/4687/seven-americans-accept-bush-legitimate-president.aspx

                      (Note all those numbers need to be doubled, as basically it’s only the opposition party that disagrees with legitimacy, and the parties are basically half the population.)

                      There are small amounts of both parties that never accept the election results. The Democrats historically have somewhere around 30%, with maybe another 22% on the edge, depending on the year, whereas the Republicans refusers seem to start at 50% and have another 40% somewhat unsure.

                      Or, to look at the math, about 50% of the Democrats, at most, were willing to say they think the president is illegitimate when the election was weirdly decided by the Supreme Court (Which, like it or not, does add some ‘legitimate’ level of doubts of legitimacy on the result.), and, no matter how much the left hates Trump, only 32% are willing to come to that conclusion!

                      Meanwhile almost three-fourths of Republicans were willing to say Obama is maybe illegitimate. 74% of them. 52% were sure he wasn’t legitimate, 22% percent were on the fence.

                      This, BTW, shouldn’t be odd an odd result to someone who just, literally, this very discussion, said that liberal politicians were not Americans, which leads to the rather obvious conclusion that no Democratic president can be legitimate.

                      The upshot is, if you want to be a meaningful participant in American political culture, it’s your obligation to clean that shit up. And the nature of that obligation, and the consequences for ignoring it, are becoming more and more explicit as time goes by.

                      It’s the left’s job to find people on the left who view the current president as illegitimate and somehow magically convince them to stop posting on Facebook.

                      And it was the right’s job, apparently, to find people on the right who view the current president as illegitimate and elect one of them as the next president

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                      • Like this. This particular disgrace was perpetrated by a sitting US Senator even.

                        Listen, no one with any credibility believes that Justice Gorsuch’s confirmation was illegitimate. Sen Merkley’s complaint is not going to affect the business of the Supreme Court at all. But what it can do is forfeit libs’ position as participants in the American modus vivendi.

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                        • I point out the current Republican president spent years attempting to paint the last president as illegitimate, you point to a Democratic Congressman.

                          I’m pretty sure that president trumps Congressman.

                          Or is it because he did that while in office? Well, here you go:
                          http://www.politico.com/blogs/anneschroeder/0709/Chris_Matthews_goes_off_on_Rep_John_Campbell_over_Obamas_birth_certificate_.html

                          That’s just one of them, for the record. I also point out that even after they backed off claiming he was not born in America, they continued, for years, to pander to those people, doing things like introducing bills requiring presidential candidates to turn over their birth certificates. And continued to vaguely talk about how wasn’t really American even if born here.

                          And I also will point out that Merkley’s claim was the politicizing of the court appointment process to the current extent, to block voting on a nomination until the previous President was out of office, and then having to nuke the fillibuster to get the next person in because the opposing party was outraged by that sequence of events, made decisions of the court illegitimate. It had nothing at all to do with President Trump.

                          This is, of course, because the left still operates in a reality-based universe, and understands that Donald Trump was elected via normal procedures, and even there were a lot of lies and outside meddling in the campaign, none of those invalidate any results. And thus, when Democrats are actually polled instead of you just making up stuff, a much higher percentage are willing to admit he’s legitimately president than, for example, they admitted Bush was. (Which, as I said, really does sorta have a question mark over how he got into office, at least the first time. It was, at minimum, unique.)

                          And a larger percentage of Democrats are willing to admit Trump is legitimate president than Republicans were willing to admit Obama was legitimately president, which were almost none, although most seemed to eventually accept he was born in the US and seemed to mean it in some vague metaphorical, aka, racist, sense.

                          You seem to have…completely ignored that fact, despite it utterly destroying your point.

                          The left mostly operates in a reality-based world where we can admit that the other party can legitimately be elected president, and the right does not. (And as I’ve pointed out, you are literally arguing that Democratic politicians are not ‘Americans’, which rather indicates you are infected with the same thought.)

                          Meanwhile, a few people in Congress, (The actual voters do not care) has a reality-based objection to Gorsuch, namely, that that seat was supposed to be Obama’s to fill.

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                          • I don’t think you’re getting my point. I’m not trying to say libs are worse by some subjective standard of nastiness. I could make that argument, I think, but I’m not.

                            What I’m saying is that the lib/Left/deep state Trump-related corruptions are as bad as they are for two reasons that don’t apply to the Right.

                            1. They operate at a completely different level. Birtherism is a great example. Because (forgetting the racial angle for a minute) the Establishment had no patience for it at all.

                            Imagine if you had Senators, sub-Cabinet level executive branch officials, district and appeals judges saying that Obama can’t use his stimulus money to fill potholes until I’m satisfied with his long-form birth certificate. That’s basically what’s been happening with with the Trump Administration.

                            2. At the activist/voter level, lib/Left mindshare is leaving the nationhood of the United States entirely. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing necessarily, except that libs are ever more maniacally trying to control the politics of a polity that they don’t imagine themselves as belonging to.

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                            • Imagine if you had Senators, sub-Cabinet level executive branch officials, district and appeals judges saying that Obama can’t use his stimulus money to fill potholes until I’m satisfied with his long-form birth certificate. That’s basically what’s been happening with with the Trump Administration.

                              Just asserting that ‘sub-Cabinet level executive branch officials, district and appeals judges’ are opposing Trump randomly without any evidence does not mean I am going to accept it as true.

                              I know in the conservative victimization universe it’s taken as a given, you can all invent theories about ‘deep state’ (Which I have pointed out actually is a term to refer to the pro-war military-intelligence complex, and nothing to do with random executive branch people. About the only thing you can hypothetical come up with a conspiracy to place blame on ‘the deep state’ would be, possibly, the Syria strike.) but there is very little evidence of any of those entities opposing Trump.

                              And almost all ‘evidence’ to that regard is because Trump is doing something completely unprecedented in national history, like fucking up the entire air-travel system by telling them not to accept existing visas from people flying into the country, without bothering to actually inform parts of his own government in charge of that, and everyone is scrambling around trying to figure out what is actually happening.

                              Or Trump is just outright lying about things and other parts of the government are like ‘Uh. Well. Here are the true things we are saying.’ because they don’t really know how to operate in a universe in which the Office of the President blatantly lies in ways that contradict what his own government is saying and actual reality. (The weird thing is, it’s not impossible that some of parts of the executive would participate in a lie, although Trump’s own people would need to be installed first. The problem is where Trump just randomly lies and then doesn’t bother to try to get any lower part of the executive branch or other parts of the government on board.)

                              None of this is any of the sort of ‘rebellion’ you imagine is going on, where everyone hates Trump and is working against him. This is the low-level parts of the government attempting to continue operate while the chief executive has been replaced by tornado of chaos and nonsense.

                              The closest we’ve come to actual ‘rebellion’ by non-politicians is some Park Services Twitter feeds, for a couple of hours. (And it turns out those were ex-employees who still had access, IIRC.) That’s been pretty much it.

                              Oh, and a lot of high level White House staff are leaking like sieve, but as I pointed out last time you talked about the deep state….uh, those guys are always described as top level, and they have way more access and knowledge of the President than any civil service member would. Those leakers are, clearly, Trump’s own appointed people.

                              As for Democratic Senators, yes, they are not working with Trump. But I feel I should point out that Republican Senators, indeed, didn’t say Obama couldn’t do things until they were satisfied with his birth certificate…they just kept him from doing things, period.

                              At the activist/voter level, lib/Left mindshare is leaving the nationhood of the United States entirely.

                              …you say, because you have defined liberal as not part of the United States.

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                              • As for Democratic Senators, yes, they are not working with Trump. But I feel I should point out that Republican Senators, indeed, didn’t say Obama couldn’t do things until they were satisfied with his birth certificate…they just kept him from doing things, period.

                                I still don’t think you’re getting it. What libs/Dems/Leftists/deep staters are doing is going down a road to forfeit their position as participants in the American modus vivendi.

                                The wall of text you’ve written in your recent comments, I think you’re wrong on the merits. But most importantly it’s nonresponsive anyway.

                                The things the GOP did in opposition to President Obama were in the context of their participation in the American modus vivendi, even as a minority. The things the Dems are doing against President Trump are in repudiation of their participation in the American modus vivendi.

                                In terms of policy, in terms of cause and effect, it’s very important to consider if these maneuvers are working or not. But in terms of the modus vivendi, it’s not. The votes against Trump’s Cabinet are prima facie evidence of bad faith among the libs, even if as a Senate minority they can’t actually carry the day.

                                Or let’s try another angle. Poli sci types talk about the executive leadership of a country as divided into two roles, the head of state and the head of government. In America, both roles are combined into the same person, the President. In parliamentary systems such as the UK, they are divided between two people, the Queen and the Prime Minister.

                                There is nothing the Republicans ever did that interfered with Mr. Obama’s role as the head of state. In fact, he did quite well at it, which kept some modicum of popularity for him even as his policies became more and more unpopular.

                                It’s equally clear, that the libs and Dems refuse to acknowledge Mr Trump’s role as the head of state, starting from the women’s march the day after he was inaugurated. And they have maneuvered to foment disrespect to Mr Trump and his office as much as possible since then.

                                Or here’s another angle: since the election, libs have, in their own way, been repeating the strategic error of the Hillary campaign. Ie, they perceive that they are the alternative to Mr. Trump’s governance, and therefore they reason that if they can just take down Mr Trump by enough pegs that they’ll be able to take over by default.

                                But the American people aren’t having it, even as they continue to oppose Mr Trump in a vacuum. Ie, even if they are opposed to Mr Trump, they are willing to see him remain in power as long as they have no belief at all in the good faith of his adversaries. Ie, they reject the false choice libs want to force on them.

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                                • The votes against Trump’s Cabinet are prima facie evidence of bad faith among the libs, even if as a Senate minority they can’t actually carry the day.

                                  Whereas failing to put up Obama’s nominee for a vote isn’t bad faith.

                                  I understand fully the concepts you are saying.

                                  I just utterly disagree with them in every possible way.

                                  And I point out that you keep attempting to rewrite your objections. Because I remember when the absolutely horrible thing that Democrats did that broke all political norms used to be ‘passing the ACA’. But you’ve quickly moved passed that for very very obvious and self-serving reasons (Namely, the Republicans are about to do something that really has all the traits that were mostly made up for the ACA.), and rewritten the history as the norm violating when he was elected.

                                  Although you keep running into a lot of problem, because I keep rejecting your vague assertions of conspiracies against Trump by the ‘deep state’ and all those judges that mysteriously became liberals the second Trump took office, instead of what actually happened, namely that Trump did a bunch of really stupid unconstitutional stuff because he doesn’t understand anything about how immigration (or anything) works.

                                  So now you’re sorta reduced to ‘But the Democrats didn’t vote for his cabinet picks’. That’s what you’re hanging the entire universe on, a symbolic vote.

                                  You even had to drop the ‘didn’t vote for his Supreme Court pick’ when I pointed out that technically more Democrats voted for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee than Republicans voted for Obama’s last nominee.

                                  Do you know you’re doing this, I wonder? Are you trying to trick people? (Because you’re not.) Or do the justifications move around just as quickly inside your head?

                                  ‘Liberals are not participating in the United States because they refused to vote to confirm his Cabinet choices.’ That’s it. That’s what you are at this point.

                                  I wonder if I should point out that the Republicans wouldn’t confirm his labor sectary choice, either! Or that DeVos was so unqualified she lost two Republican votes. Or that four of them dropped out because they literally could not bring their finances into conformity with regulations.

                                  Or that when Trump is not constrained by the Senate, we get a a National Security Adviser literally working for a foreign government.

                                  The reason that Cabinet nominees are no longer rubber-stamped is that Cabinet nominees used to be well respected and known members of the president’s party, very thoroughly vetted before hand, with no whiff of scandal, and if there was any sort of scandal, they didn’t stick around to be voted down.

                                  That, uh, changed.

                                  I wonder if I should also point out that Republicans in Congress sat on hundreds of nominees that literally no one had a problem with, for no reason at all, all throughout Obama’s term in office. I’m sure you’ll somehow figure out this is different because it’s the cabinet.

                                  There’s always some reason that what the Demcorats are doing is uniquely evil, and if Republicans ever come along and do the same thing, you’ll just rewrite history where of course that was fine, who ever complained about the Democrats quickly forcing through the ACA over a period of months and a dozen committee markups and Republican amendments and not even a majority approval rating. No one complained about that! That was just normal politics!

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                                  • Whereas failing to put up Obama’s nominee for a vote isn’t bad faith.

                                    That’s right, it’s not.

                                    I understand fully the concepts you are saying.

                                    I just utterly disagree with them in every possible way.

                                    Sigh. No, in spite of your assertions I don’t think you understand. If you took an ideological Turing Test on my comments in this thread, I don’t think you’d pass.

                                    So far, your mentality is as if we’re having a debate over some known proposition, and your role is to refute whatever it is that I’m arguing. And there’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but that’s not what we’re doing, at least not yet. Because among other things if that was what I was doing at least, the first thing I’d note is that I have scoreboard. And I think you’d have to concede that yeah, I do.

                                    Specifically, you’re trying to offer objective rebuttals to a subjective phenomenon, which just doesn’t fit. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t like Republicans for a lot of reasons, some legit and some not, but the one thing the GOP doesn’t have to worry about as that the country thinks that they’re Not Really Americans.

                                    Therefore the idea that it’s ok for the Dems to vote against Justice Gorsuch and Trump’s cabinet because the GOP Senate “pocket vetoed” Merrick Garland doesn’t hold up, as the libs found out to their detriment.

                                    The same with this stuff about “conspiracies”. It could be that you, the Middlebury protestors and the Trilateral Commission met in a windowless room somewhere and made a plan to disrupt and assault Charles Murray. But most likely you didn’t.

                                    But this has little to do with how America sees this, and what America wants. You’re the Left, they’re the Left, the whole bunch of you are Not Really Americans, I can and have and can continue to vote Republican until it stops. This may involve a belief in conspiracies, but doesn’t require it.

                                    This even applies to whatever they’re calling the ACA replacement this month. I’m very wary of what’s going on for exactly the reasons that you mention. I don’t think the American people are going to like this jack-in-a-box idea that health care policy is whatever pop’s out of Mitch McConnell’s office. And most likely it won’t pass.

                                    But if it does, there’s some chance that the Republicans will get away with it even then. And if they do, it will be because they have a reservoir of trust that the Democrats don’t have. And that nobody who voted or would vote Republican felt that they are being shut out because Mitch McConnell short-circuited the process.

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                                    • You continue to mistake the will of people in select parts of the country as the will of the people. Yes, the GOP is winning the game but that game isn’t, “Have the ideas the most people like.” So saying that their wins amount to that is illogical.

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                                      • The 2016 did not prove that the GOP will be governing America for the forseeable future. What it did prove, especially in the context of the 2010 and the 2014 elections that preceded it, is that as demographics currently stand, it has access to a working majority. And therefore, Dems can’t have legitimate governance in America if they concede all of it.

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                                        • “But this has little to do with how America sees this, and what America wants.”

                                          We have no idea what America sees or wants, certainly not based on the 2016 election results.

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                                          • “But this [ie, conspiracies among Leftists] has little to do with how America sees this, and what America wants.”

                                            Good one. Ie, libs/Leftists don’t have to actually be conspiring to visit the sins of one lib on another.

                                            We have no idea what America sees or wants, certainly not based on the 2016 election results.

                                            Au contraire, I think we do, a least a little bit. 2016, combined with 2014 and 2010 lets us know that the GOP has at least the possibility of a working majority. And therefore, the D’s have to peel off at least some of it to be legitimately relevant.

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                                    • So far, your mentality is as if we’re having a debate over some known proposition, and your role is to refute whatever it is that I’m arguing. And there’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but that’s not what we’re doing, at least not yet. Because among other things if that was what I was doing at least, the first thing I’d note is that I have scoreboard. And I think you’d have to concede that yeah, I do.

                                      No, because I have no idea what the hell ‘I have scoreboard’ is supposed to mean.

                                      I suspect you mean you think you are operating the scoreboard, and thus can set it to whatever you want, so you automatically win any argument you are in. (For the record, I do not concede that.)

                                      Normally, I wouldn’t think you were saying something so silly that completely destroys any idea you’re discussing things in good faith, but it’s you, and you just said a lot of very silly things in this post that sorta did just that, so maybe you said one more.

                                      Anyway, everyone else, remember: When you talk to Koz, you’re not actually trying to figure out facts with him. Your role is not to refute him, your role is to agree with him that Democrats are doing bad things, and isn’t it horrible!

                                      These are bad things that he really doesn’t want to explain, because it turns out that Republicans started them or they’re, like, the presidents own administration leaking, or batshit stupid Trump things being shut down, but they’re, like really bad things, promise, especially when you take them as a vague whole instead of actually looking at any of them and comparing them to how things have previously gone.

                                      And so, until the Democrats stop these Bad Things, he and other Republicans not going to…vote for Democrats!

                                      Huh. That’s a rather weird threat. Not really sure it works.

                                      I guess….he and other Republicans considered voting for Democrats, and then made an objective rational choice not to based on Democrat bad behavior? (Despite the fact this bad behavior is now stuff they did under Trump, so, uh, hardly can explain any of their votes except a few special elections, in which Democrats actually made gains. Huh. Weird.)

                                      But, anyway. I’m sure it was a fully rational and informed choice for Republicans, so Democrats should just stop all their-

                                      Specifically, you’re trying to offer objective rebuttals to a subjective phenomenon, which just doesn’t fit. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t like Republicans for a lot of reasons, some legit and some not, but the one thing the GOP doesn’t have to worry about as that the country thinks that they’re Not Really Americans.

                                      -bad…behavior…erm, wait.

                                      So Republicans didn’t make an objective rational choice, but instead just sorta think dumb prejudicial things about half the population?

                                      Oooooo-kay. Not…really sure why you admitted that, but okay.

                                      Guys, I think this really sums up Koz and all you need to know about him and this entire dumbfuck conversation.

                                      In fact, this sum up basically every dumbfuck conversation I end up in with him, where he constantly comes up with newer and nonsensicaller reasons that everything the Democrats are doing is Totally Out Of Bounds, and completely unlikely that thing that Republicans did under Obama.

                                      Except in the end it always boils down to ‘But a lot of Republicans, despite not really disliking the policy issues they push, hate Democrats, including me! And we can’t just have completely stupid reasons for hating Democrats!’.

                                      And I would love to respond to that, but I suspect you would not believe me.

                                      But this has little to do with how America sees this, and what America wants. You’re the Left, they’re the Left, the whole bunch of you are Not Really Americans, I can and have and can continue to vote Republican until it stops.

                                      Remember, folks, it’s the Democrats that are refusing to participate in the political process, not the party that literally thinks the other party has no right to participate in the political process because they are Not Really Americans.

                                      Somehow.

                                      And Koz, I leave this discussion by, once again, pointing out that literally more people voted for Hillary, and their Democratic Representatives (And Senate, but that doesn’t count.), than for Republicans.

                                      And I point out that 30% of people who call themselves Democrats, compared to 26% who call themselves Republicans.

                                      Edit: BTW, I just googled “I have scoreboard” and have essentially no hits on that phrase as itself. In fact, almost all hits are weird quotes of computer output. That isn’t a real phrase. This provides further evidence of my theory that Koz is, in fact, a time traveler who arrived in 2016 from hundreds of years in the future (Where ‘I have scoreboard’ is a phrase, probably meaning ‘I have control of the final outcome’), and has brought himself up to date by reading very inaccurate right-wing websites.

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                                      • No, because I have no idea what the hell ‘I have scoreboard’ is supposed to mean.

                                        I suspect you mean you think you are operating the scoreboard, and thus can set it to whatever you want, so you automatically win any argument you are in. (For the record, I do not concede that.)

                                        No, it’s simpler than that, and I believe it’s a fairly common idiomatic phrase.

                                        That is, that the recent run of events has been in my favor. Trump won, and more recently and topically, Ossoff lost. You may not believe or may not follow my train of thought as it pertains to what we can infer from that, but I think you do have to concede as a simple matter of fact that Ossoff did in fact lose. And furthermore, this might be able to help us reconcile the anger-filled business “blah blah Koz is such a dumbfuck”, hopefully in a better way.

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                                        • No, it’s simpler than that, and I believe it’s a fairly common idiomatic phrase.

                                          Dude, there are 29 hits on “I have scoreboard”
                                          https://www.google.com/search?q=%22I+have+scoreboard%22#q=%22I+have+scoreboard%22&start=20

                                          Whole internet, 29 examples of that phrase. Among the quotes ‘I have scoreboard and netgraph set to tab’ and ‘So far I have: /scoreboard’ and ‘I have scoreboard overlays on layer 1’ and ‘I have Scoreboard and do not notice any plastic facing on it.’ I.e., every example I can figure out is talking about some thing named ‘scoreboard’ that they possess or is a computer function, not a winning score.

                                          I have no idea what phrase you’re thinking of, but it is not ‘I have scoreboard’.

                                          At least not yet. Perhaps it is a very common phrase when you come from.

                                          You may not believe or may not follow my train of thought as it pertains to what we can infer from that, but I think you do have to concede as a simple matter of fact that Ossoff did in fact lose.

                                          That’s you offering an objective rebuttal to a subjective phenomenon, which just doesn’t fit.

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                                      • Oooooo-kay. Not…really sure why you admitted that, but okay.

                                        Again, this is supposed to be pretty simple. The meaning of a persons’ actions, a group of persons’ actions, your actions, libs’ actions, are determine not just by the actions themselves by who the actor is and where they are situated.

                                        President Donald Trump saying that he wants peaceful relations with Russia means something different than if Ronald Reagan saying the same thing, and both of those are different than if Dwight Eisenhower said it.

                                        My sense is, that you are responding to my various complaints about libs and Dems through the lens of your own loyalties to them, with the intent of demonstrating why those loyalties are legitimate. I disagree with that, but that’s not what I’ve been arguing so far.

                                        My point is that that frame of reference is not conclusive. That is a substantially easier proposition to demonstrate, which is one of the reasons why I’m starting there.

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                                      • Remember, folks, it’s the Democrats that are refusing to participate in the political process, not the party that literally thinks the other party has no right to participate in the political process because they are Not Really Americans.

                                        Not at all. There’s two related things going on here. On the one hand, libs are withdrawing from the modus vivendi of American political culture as it’s understood in large parts of America, for example the emphasis on California secession since the election. On the other hand, you have circumstances where at least at some levels libs are not allowed to participate in our political culture, eg, Ossoff.

                                        It’s also a mistake to think that the GOP thinks that libs aren’t allowed to participate in the political process, that’s from me. And even from me, it’s something that I’ve perceived as a nascent phenomenon, it’s something that’s flying under radar now but I expect to get bigger and more explicit as time goes by.

                                        As far as the GOP goes, there’s probably not one in a hundred Republicans who can put this into words as I have in this thread, maybe even one in a thousand. But they can sense it, they can even smell it on the lib, and react accordingly. Again, Ossoff.

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                                        • Not at all. There’s two related things going on here. On the one hand, libs are withdrawing from the modus vivendi of American political culture as it’s understood in large parts of America, for example the emphasis on California secession since the election.

                                          There is literally no emphasis on California secession. That is literally not a thing anymore. It folded two and half months ago after only getting a sixth of the votes it needs.

                                          Additionally, it wasn’t even a ‘liberal’ thing. Of the two backers, one had voted for Trump.

                                          There was a ‘rival group’ that supposedly was going to step in, but they actually mostly changed their purpose and are trying to argue for a national popular vote, the end to gerrymandering, and reorganizing the Senate.

                                          …actually, I can’t even imagine where you were getting news from that there was an emphasis on California secession. At any point in time.

                                          And, every time this is mentioned, I am required to remind people that Alaska literally has a secessionist party. That actually gets votes. That notable Republicans from Alaska have been involved in. Taken quite seriously.

                                          Meanwhile, this non-dead voter initiative was just…some guys who filed paperwork.

                                          But it is, of course, the liberals who are ‘withdrawing’.

                                          As far as the GOP goes, there’s probably not one in a hundred Republicans who can put this into words as I have in this thread, maybe even one in a thousand. But they can sense it, they can even smell it on the lib, and react accordingly. Again, Ossoff.

                                          We have achieved truthiness, I repeat, we have achieved truthiness!

                                          *sounds the alarm*

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                                          • But it is, of course, the liberals who are ‘withdrawing’.

                                            And if I need more evidence, I just ran across this one on the internets today.

                                            But I’m sure it’s all a matter of my imagination.

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                                          • 1) The secessionists in Alaska not taken seriously. Not at all.

                                            2) Koz has thought liberals are the most horrible that ever horribled for as long as he has commented here. What are you expecting?

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                                            • 1) The secessionists in Alaska not taken seriously. Not at all.

                                              On a scale of policy seriousness where 10 represents ‘A major US political party has that as a policy and is trying to implement it’, and 0 is ‘Move the entire US to the moon to escape the mole people’, Alaska secessionism is somewhere around 3 or 4.

                                              Weirdly, it’s only that low not because the party that pushed it is doing badly, it’s actually a very successful third party, it’s that low because the party slowly backed away from it…and then came back, and actually won their petition drive in 2006 to have a vote to demand the Alaska secede from the Union, or, if that wasn’t legally possible, to work towards making it possible.

                                              The Alaskan Supreme court, weirdly, ruled any attempt at secession unconstitutional, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. I can understand secession itself being unconstitutional, but ‘directing the state to work towards it’ (Which if it’s unconstitutional, at either the state or Federal level, would seem to require a constitutional amendment at the correct level) is itself unconstitutional? Huh?

                                              I mean, I completely disagree with what they are trying to do, but that doesn’t magically make their attempts unconstitutional.

                                              But, I mean, they actually got a ballot measure passed, even if the courts decided to ignore it. They’ve been around for almost 70 years. They’ve had disagreements over the policy, they’ve backed away from it, they’ve moved towards it, they’ve elected politicians. There is some level of seriousness there. It’s about two clicks below Libertarianism in likelihood of happening, but it’s not nothing.

                                              California secessionism, meanwhile is probably 1, and only isn’t 0 because it is theoretically possible and has been suggested by human beings in a non-facetious manner. It’s not supported by any party, not even a minor party, and the organization that started the entire thing is dead, and the organization that sorta ‘took over’ has entirely moved away from that to trying to get California more of a vote in the Senate.

                                              (Hilariously, those idiots have somehow managed to pick literally the only goal that is more impossible than a state seceding. A simple US Constitutional amendment, plus perhaps a state constitutional change, could allow states to do secede. It could lay out a process, and states could follow it. But increasing, or rather decreasing which would obviously happened if anyone else increased, the amount of votes a state has in the Senate is literally the only specific thing still remaining in the constitution that cannot be changed by a ‘simple constitutional amendment’!)

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                                      • These are bad things that he really doesn’t want to explain, because it turns out that Republicans started them or they’re, like, the presidents own administration leaking, or batshit stupid Trump things being shut down, but they’re, like really bad things, promise, especially when you take them as a vague whole instead of actually looking at any of them and comparing them to how things have previously gone.

                                        Your arguments along these are wrong on the merits, at least imo, and we’ll get to them to the extent that you and I both have the patience for this.

                                        But first we should agree that just because you believe that your actions or your political allies’ actions don’t necessarily mean what you think they do. Other people can and will ascribe their own meanings to your actions, and those meanings count. Or, if we don’t agree, we should hash out why.

                                        And so, until the Democrats stop these Bad Things, he and other Republicans not going to…vote for Democrats!

                                        It isn’t Republicans who you should be worrying about, it’s Americans. That’s to say, there’s lots of Americans who in recent elections have voted for Republicans or supported Republicans, who aren’t themselves Republican and don’t even necessarily have a high opinion of the party and its people for that matter.

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                                        • But first we should agree that just because you believe that your actions or your political allies’ actions don’t necessarily mean what you think they do. Other people can and will ascribe their own meanings to your actions, and those meanings count.

                                          Oh, I agree with that totally.

                                          You do not.

                                          Because you keep ascribing meanings to the actions of both Democrats and Republicans, and arguing about those.

                                          Here you are, right above, making an objective claim about something that is, at best, a rather hazy and vague interpretation of events:

                                          Imagine if you had Senators, sub-Cabinet level executive branch officials, district and appeals judges saying that Obama can’t use his stimulus money to fill potholes until I’m satisfied with his long-form birth certificate. That’s basically what’s been happening with with the Trump Administration.

                                          ‘That is basically what’s been happening..’

                                          Not ‘The perception upon Republicans is that that is what has been happening…’.

                                          No, you say it really is happening.

                                          I then point out that most of what you claimed there is conspiracy nonsense, because the response to Trump from anyone but politicians is not from ‘leftists’ but pretty much from all levels of the government, because Trump keeps breaking shit and, fundamentally, people in the government want it to work because otherwise their job is very hard.

                                          And the political stuff is just…a normal racketing up of partisanship that has been going on for the past two decades, plus some level of ‘WTF is going on?’ under Trump, often from Republicans. (Again, Trump nominated such a bad choice for Labor and Education that he couldn’t even get the first guy in, and had so many defectors on the latter that he had to resort to the VP casting the tiebreaker.)

                                          And then your big claim that Democrats see the president as illegitimate, I pointed out was pure nonsense because Trump is actually see as the most ‘legitimate’ president of the last three by the opposing party, and the previous Republican president is in second place and he sorta does deserve a bit of an asterisk for the unique process. Meanwhile, Obama, who deserves no asterisk at all, had a supermajority of Republicans unwilling to say ‘Yeah, he’s really president’!

                                          Since I totally disproved all those ‘facts’ that were utterly important, you have now decided to switch to ‘What is important is how it looks to Republicans, facts aren’t important!’

                                          But wait, there’s a better example of this: You literally saying the opposite thing of what you just said:

                                          It’s a hard needle to thread. I’m not trying to be gratuitously contentious. On the other hand, it’s very important to emphasize that now, in 2017 (as opposed to 1983 or 1996 or some other year), that lib is a moral error.

                                          There are issues of judgment and perception involved but for the most part they’re not the important ones. Libs today are motivated above all else by the dehumanization of their political and cultural adversaries. Eg, some of them are in political office now, so we get to “resist” them, etc, etc.

                                          It’s not how people perceive thing, you explain. It’s how liberals are motivated by the wrong thing.

                                          Not that they are perceived to be by Republicans. They factually are motivated by wrong things.

                                          That’s to say, there’s lots of Americans who in recent elections have voted for Republicans or supported Republicans, who aren’t themselves Republican and don’t even necessarily have a high opinion of the party and its people for that matter.

                                          Yeah, fun fact: There’s even more Americans who, in recent elections, have voted for Democrats.

                                          Period.

                                          BTW, I like how you seem to think you can concern troll Democrats in the same discussion that you have constantly attacked Democrats. Yeah, that only works if we legitimately think you have our best interests at heart.

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                                          • BTW, I like how you seem to think you can concern troll Democrats in the same discussion that you have constantly attacked Democrats. Yeah, that only works if we legitimately think you have our best interests at heart.

                                            Well, yeah, yeah I can, though obviously you don’t necessarily have to agree with me or believe me. In fact, I’d even say that I do have your best interest at heart. Though it’s complicated sometimes. Sometimes I mention things that I think are in the best electoral interest of the Democratic Party, eg, if when I write that the Dems would be better off if they voted for Trump’s cabinet and made a big production about how Trump is their President.

                                            In other circumstances, I’m saying that the spiritual motivations of modern American liberals is in a bad state and it’s in your best interest to do something else. And to a large extent I’d rather talk about other things, but over the last few years those other things have become less and less relevant, to the point where we have to deal with the elephant in the room.

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                                          • And the political stuff is just…a normal racketing up of partisanship that has been going on for the past two decades, plus some level of ‘WTF is going on?’ under Trump, often from Republicans. (Again, Trump nominated such a bad choice for Labor and Education that he couldn’t even get the first guy in, and had so many defectors on the latter that he had to resort to the VP casting the tiebreaker.)

                                            Uhhh, no. You’re misperceiving the context that Trump illuminated and operates in. In fact, to a substantial exent he created it.

                                            I mention this because I read an article by Ken Masugi a couple of days ago that goes into it a little deeper. Specifically,

                                            Thus Trump opposes identity politics, not by singling out groups, but instead by showing how an American identity is superior to all others (and especially to divisive sub-groupings of Americans). Trump’s patriotism is what Aristotle called political friendship, a kind of friendship of virtue. It is the unity of purpose, individual and national, that Lincoln described in the Gettysburg Address.

                                            Far from being its enemy, such a “populism” becomes essential to preserve constitutional government, just as clearly as identity politics destroys it. It promotes a higher identity that unites rather than divisive sub-identities that set us against each other. And this is why the political correctness of identity politics is a necessary step to build that enduring faction known as the administrative state. That kind of authoritarianism and anti-constitutionalism is wholly assumed by Clinton. Quite the opposite with Trump.

                                            Ceaser’s characterization of Trump as “post-ideological” misses that Trump is in fact pre-ideological—he thinks in terms of the whole American nation, not in terms of the groups that comprise it. Trump is more like Lincoln at Gettysburg than Madison in Federalist 10.

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                                            • Uhhh, no. You’re misperceiving the context that Trump illuminated and operates in. In fact, to a substantial exent he created it.

                                              And here we have yet another example of Koz just basically making whatever argument he wants at any point, not matter how much it conflicts with previous points.

                                              You see, previously, it was Democrats who ramped up partisanship under Obama with their refusal to work with Republicans on the ACA.

                                              Then it was Democrats who ramped it up under Trump because they couldn’t handle losing.

                                              Now, it appears, it was Trump who created that environment, because some utter bullshit thing I can’t even bother following.

                                              Koz, seriously, every discussion with you is that sort of gibberish, where you just randomly quote anything that you think seems to make whatever point lets you ‘win’ with regard to how bad Democrats are, but you have entirely failed to notice that this web site is, in fact, composed of the same people from post to post, and we actually remember previous things you have claimed, and at this point, in the mere few months you have returned to posting here, you are already speaking utter contradictions.

                                              Because your entire point seems to be posting intellectual sounding arguments to, again, have a reason to criticize Democrats and defend Republicans, and you do not seem to understand that you have absolutely no consistency at all. You take firm positions on things and then, the same discussion, take exactly the opposite position.

                                              And then you quote a guy who, in that very article, defends Watergate. And seems to think identity policies isn’t identity politics if you label the identity you have chosen ‘American’ and all the other identities as not-American. Which is, uh, not how it works.

                                              BTW, just claiming that ‘Trump’s patriotism is what Aristotle called political friendship, a kind of friendship of virtue.’ not only presents no evidence at all…but doesn’t really make a lot of sense. (And is an interesting reference to make for an article that immediately before that complained about ‘intellectual elites’!)

                                              Aristotle did talk about political (Although the best translation probably would be ‘civic’) friendship, and also talked about ‘friendship of virtue’. A friendship of virtue is the highest form of friendship, vs. friends that just shared interest, or friends that were just using each other.

                                              A friendship of virtue is where you want good things to happen to other people regardless of how those things effect you. I.e., it’s literally how we define ‘love’ now, but he calls it a ‘friendship of virtue’.

                                              But friendships of virtue Aristotle, rather explicitly, claimed would, by necessity, be limited in number. Which…seems reasonable to me. You can’t love everyone. And it means trying to lump civic friendship under them is kinda silly! You don’t actually want good things to happen to Americans regardless of how it impacts you. No one loves every American, except God and/or The Machine.

                                              Aristotle’s idea of civic friendship was basically just…community. It has nothing to do with his ideas of ‘friends of virtues’, and those are not that. If they needed classifying, they would probably count as ‘shared interest’ friendships, where the ‘shared interest’ is ‘living in the same community’.

                                              So, in addition to this article misrepresenting what Aristotle means by ‘friends of virtue’, it’s basically just saying ‘Trump’s patriotism is based on a sense of shared community’ in a somewhat wrong and very roundabout pseudo-intellectual way.

                                              Which is assuming a whole bunch of facts not in evidence.

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                                              • You see, previously, it was Democrats who ramped up partisanship under Obama with their refusal to work with Republicans on the ACA.

                                                Not at all. The Republicans’ fortunes were at low tide at that point. Nobody gave a shit about Obama’s partisanship per se. They disapproved of the fact that Obama and the D’s went off on their health care tangent against the priorities of the American people for a plan they didn’t want.

                                                Then it was Democrats who ramped it up under Trump because they couldn’t handle losing.

                                                As it stands today, the D’s problems aren’t that they oppose Trump’s policy initiatives. If that’s what they were doing, they would be in much better shape than they are. They have to express their unwillingness to accept Trump’s existence as President.

                                                Eg, the link I just posted.

                                                It’s one things to think that President Trump is distasteful and I, as lib, disapprove of him for this or that. It’s quite another to expect that distaste has motive power of the mechanics of design to express the self-determination of the American people. That’s where the modus vivendi part comes in, and that’s where, whatever problems the American people have with Donald Trump, it’s still not enough to help the Demos.

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                                              • So, in addition to this article misrepresenting what Aristotle means by ‘friends of virtue’, it’s basically just saying ‘Trump’s patriotism is based on a sense of shared community’ in a somewhat wrong and very roundabout pseudo-intellectual way.

                                                And you’re just being obtuse in this line of thought. It’s clear from context that Masugi is not distinguishing political friendship, from friendship of virtue, in fact in this case he asserts that the former is a kind of the latter. And the reason it is, is precisely because it is not directed toward self-interest (ie, just like you defined it.)

                                                The point of this is very clear. It’s not that Trump represents this or that faction of American politics, though he might, more importantly he credibly represents himself as being above faction (ie representative of America as a whole), and for that he got a lot of support of otherwise apolitical Americans, in spite of his manifest crudeness and vulgarities.

                                                At that level, the D’s have neither the moral authority nor the political leverage to oppose this.

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                                                • And you’re just being obtuse in this line of thought. It’s clear from context that Masugi is not distinguishing political friendship, from friendship of virtue, in fact in this case he asserts that the former is a kind of the latter. And the reason it is, is precisely because it is not directed toward self-interest (ie, just like you defined it.)

                                                  Uh, please pay attention.

                                                  I don’t give a flying fuck what Masugi thinks. I was pointing out that he said that Aristotle/B> thought that civil friendship was a type of friendship of virtue.

                                                  Aristotle, who originated both those terms, did not, in fact, think that.

                                                  Masugi can think whatever moronic thing he wants. He just can’t ascribe those thoughts to Aristotle.

                                                  he might, more importantly he credibly represents himself as being above faction (ie representative of America as a whole), and for that he got a lot of support of otherwise apolitical Americans, in spite of his manifest crudeness and vulgarities.

                                                  And that is the position you have decided to take for the next two minutes until you have picked another one. Why…would I care, at this point? It won’t be your position the second I point out flaws in it, or the second you want to argue anything else.

                                                  And it, I must say, is a particularly nonsensical position. This is the president that couldn’t figure out he was supposed to stop campaigning once he won the election, and switch to being the president of all Americans…and as such didn’t get a honeymoon period. This is the president who immediately started his next campaign. This is the president who (as the article itself mentions) has attacked Americans because of their heritage.

                                                  To believe he’s credibly representing himself as the president of all Americans, and that he’s doing it more than past presidents, takes a particular sort of stupid that is not worth arguing about, a particular level of near-total blindness to the actual behavior and statements of the president himself.

                                                  Maybe Masugi believes that, I don’t know. All I know is there is no point in addressing what you claim to believe, because it will not be the same in the next discussion you have.

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                                                  • And that is the position you have decided to take for the next two minutes until you have picked another one. Why…would I care, at this point? It won’t be your position the second I point out flaws in it, or the second you want to argue anything else.

                                                    No no no no. You’ve tried this gambit a few times now, and it just doesn’t fly. You are either incredibly obtuse or incredibly pedantic, probably the latter though it may be some of both.

                                                    It could be that Masugi misconstrues Aristotle’s work on friendship on the way to making his points about Trump. I haven’t read Aristotle in a long time. It really doesn’t matter, the argument as it pertains to Trump is plenty clear enough. And it should be equally clear that I haven’t meaningfully changed my position on this at all.

                                                    To believe he’s credibly representing himself as the president of all Americans, and that he’s doing it more than past presidents, takes a particular sort of stupid that is not worth arguing about, a particular level of near-total blindness to the actual behavior and statements of the president himself.

                                                    Lib, you should never ever ever ever write anything like this. Trump’s mechanism in this case is not terribly difficult to figure out. And even if it were, it’s laid out clearly enough in the article itself. Specifically, it is populism and the repudiation of political correctness in its current American context that creates the possibility for Trump to credibly represent the American identity as opposed to a particular narrow factional or ideological slice of it.

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                                                    • Specifically, it is populism and the repudiation of political correctness in its current American context that creates the possibility for Trump to credibly represent the American identity as opposed to a particular narrow factional or ideological slice of it.

                                                      If you want assert is that it is possible to represent all Americans by reputing ‘political correctness’, you are wrong, but you are wrong in a sorta dumb general conservative way. Hint: political correctness is really just another way of not being an asshole.

                                                      I know conservatives have invented an entire structure of what political correctness is, and think it needs removing, but that thing doesn’t really exist, and isn’t doing anything to politics at all. It just means you can’t call people ‘homos’ and ‘retards’ anymore, and the n-word is completely off limits. But whatever. That’s not really worth arguing it.

                                                      What is not a reasonable position to take is that Trump is representing all Americans solely because he doesn’t do political correctness…or in fact any sort of non-asshole behavior at all.

                                                      In fact, Trump’s ‘non-partisanship’ is actually allowing him to dismiss parts of America that the GOP never did, or at least never openly did. Republican elected officials always put the party first, which means extending outreach to everyone.

                                                      Trump, who isn’t really a Republican, does not care about the party. The only people he cares about including ‘on his side’ are the people who voted for him.

                                                      But the thing here is that you have presented a theory, and I have presented one, and it should be easy to prove which is true. If Trump is truly representing all Americans, then surely he should be polling well.

                                                      Of course, not only is that not true, it’s not true in exactly the place it would be true if you were right. I.e., there is a period between the election and taking office where a president is supposed to present himself as the leader of ‘All Americans’. Before he starts doing any nasty policy, he’s supposed to slowly rise in the polls be acting like he represents all Americans.

                                                      Trump…did not do that.

                                                      But this is the sort of bullshit you always do. You present a theory based on facts (or, in this case, not even that.), and then when the facts are proven wrong, you just latch on to some completely different theory.

                                                      I remember five minutes ago when you were arguing that Democrats were incredibly partisan and not accepting of the president…and then you turn around and claim that Trump is representing ‘All America’. Well, then he’s not doing a particularly good job, is he?

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                                      • Edit: BTW, I just googled “I have scoreboard” and have essentially no hits on that phrase as itself. In fact, almost all hits are weird quotes of computer output. That isn’t a real phrase. This provides further evidence of my theory that Koz is, in fact, a time traveler who arrived in 2016 from hundreds of years in the future (Where ‘I have scoreboard’ is a phrase, probably meaning ‘I have control of the final outcome’), and has brought himself up to date by reading very inaccurate right-wing websites.

                                        Sigh. This a common enough metaphor, has nothing really to do with politics, and Kazzy who I hope you’ll accept as a lib in good standing, got it perfectly well.

                                        It is an interjection, typically used at or about a sporting event between supporters of one team against supporters of another. Whereas, the supporter of a losing team, making an argument deemed to be irrelevant or superfluous, is met by the retort “Scoreboard!” meaning “You lost, deal”

                                        Eg, a Dolphins fan says, “The Patriots are overrated. If the opposing coaches weren’t incompetent, and League didn’t let them cheat for years, they still might not have any rings.”

                                        “Scoreboard!”

                                        “But but…”

                                        “SCOREBOARD!!!”

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                                    • If you took an ideological Turing Test on my comments in this thread, I don’t think you’d pass.

                                      And I also think it’s worth pointing out that, as far as I can tell, your comments contain no statements of ‘ideology’, in the sense of political theory and policy.

                                      Your comments are about how you (and, you assert, a lot of Americans) feel about Democrats, sometimes presenting some justification for that supposedly feeling, and sometimes not.

                                      In fact, I have almost no idea how you actually feel about any policy whatsoever, because policy is not where you exist. You exist entirely in the realm of feelings.

                                      The closest to policy you get is complaining about the ACA…but that almost entirely is framed in how it was passed, and how harmful you think the method of passing was, and not whether the policy itself was a good idea.

                                      As I have mentioned before, I generally read you as someone who agrees with Democratic policies for most things, and yet for some mysterious reason votes for Republicans, and almost all your political existence is coming up with a justification for that.

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                                      • And I also think it’s worth pointing out that, as far as I can tell, your comments contain no statements of ‘ideology’, in the sense of political theory and policy.

                                        Your comments are about how you (and, you assert, a lot of Americans) feel about Democrats, sometimes presenting some justification for that supposedly feeling, and sometimes not.

                                        You’re reading too much into the word “ideology” in a technical sense. The idea of an Ideological Turing Test comes from Bryan Caplan I think. It says that in order for you to demonstrate that you understand another person’s political argument, you have to be able to argue their case yourself. And you have to do it without disparagement, in fact as an enthusiastic advocate for it.

                                        In any event, you have written that you completely understand my point of view, you simply disagree with it. For my part, I find that to be not credible when I have to explain the concept of scoreboard for you three times.

                                        You are correct, however, to note that my primary argument in this thread is not ideological. It is spiritual, for lack of a better word. That is, the modern American libs choose to alienate themselves from America as the results of elections run against the Democratic Party.

                                        More concretely, this has a lot of manifestations. Of these, the most immediate is that to a substantial extent, the liberal mentality does not hold itself accountable to the mechanics of American self-determination.

                                        These mechanics are substantially determined by the Constitution, and some of them don’t merely go all the way back to the Founding, but were also the animating principles behind it. In any event, the attempts at the undermining of the American people and their capability for self-determination are bad faith in the possibility for governance in America.

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            • It seems like the Dems took the wrong lesson from the Obama years. You don’t shout “Resistance!” You pretend like you’re trying to compromise and then use every parliamentary trick you have to keep anything from happening so only voters who follow the news closely know that you’re grinding the gears.

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              • Absolutely. If I were running things for the D’s they would be in way better shape than they are. The psychological shock of losing to Trump has manifested itself as the need among libs and D’s to maniacally oppose everything associated with Trump, to the maximum extent possible. These are the symptoms of unbalanced people.

                One consequence of that, is that the standards of accountability are very low. People see that everything Trump does is being thwarted at every turn, therefore they’re not expecting him to actually fix anything.

                The D’s would be way better off if they hippie-punched some of their nasties, voted for his Cabinet nominees, dialed down the personal antagonism, and start holding him accountable for this or that. “What’s your plan to defeat ISIS, Mr. President?” etc etc.

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    • Actually, it’s not tied to 45 at all… Every policy plank of the GOP platform has at best plurality support among the populatuon as a whole. As currently constituted, they are extremely fortunate that they aren’t competent at the process of governing – since everything they accomplish will make them less popular.

      They’ve doubled down on firing up the base through visceral hatred of anything liberal – which works well enough, a number of regulars here being object examples. But it’s a strategy for outsiders, the rebels not the empire.

      If the Ds can make the Rs own their own accomplishments, which is not at all certain, they might wish to go back to the days thay could hide behind 45 and his incitements.

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      • Yep. The GOP health care plan is extremely unpopular even with their base but they know they are being ideological true believers and ramming it through as best they can. Possibly. It looks like McConnell is getting enough nos from both “moderates” and far right types that he is going to have a hard time squaring the circle.

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      • we are forgetful creatures. let there be fires in the rivers, let old people die in the streets, let the poor go hungry, the jobless beg on the streets. then people will remember. republican ideas are their own worst enemies.

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    • It’s fascinating since that seems like a total inverse of how it looks to me. Trump got the nomination by taking many of the central GOP policy planks and throwing them on the bonfire. He denounced the GOP’s war adventures, called out Bush as an incompetent failure, promised not to cut entitlement programs, promised to replace the ACA with something that’d do what the ACA did only better and was a walking repudiation of the entire GOP’s stated social policy. The man nominated by a base that flat out disdained the republitarian mindset (though admittedly he doesn’t appear to have any conception of an alternative policy platform).

      And yeah he managed to eke out a win against Clinton based almost entirely on a contest of personalities (with an assist from Comey). Pretty much all the things that sank Clinton were particular to Clinton and thus go away with Clinton. Even if Trump had a coronary and died tomorrow the policy gaps that brought him to power remain.

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      • Trump did start swimming back towards Republican orthodoxy after he won the primary though and has since governed as a more extreme version of a Republican President. The only part of his primary campaign that he kept in tack was his anti-immigration message.

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          • I don’t think “swimming back” is even the right way to put it. It’s not so much that he swings back and forth with the wind and has no positions of his own. It’s that he will literally say the first thing that pops into his head that sounds like it might be a good response to a question without bothering to wonder what it will mean an hour from now.

            He’s rarely taking a position when he does that. He’s just making noise to move the conversation along, away from what he doesn’t want to talk about and toward more general stuff, like how great he is and how great it will be when you close the deal with him.

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      • Trump got the nomination by taking many of the central GOP policy planks and throwing them on the bonfire.

        Exactly. He’s not a conservative. Blinded by ambition and the prospect tax cuts, the Congressional GOP doesn’t realize that.

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        • I still think Trump went for the nomination for two primary reasons:

          1. To get back at Obama for humiliating him in front of national TV; and

          2. Grifting for money and building his personal fortune.

          And what Lee said is true, I don’t know why everyone is still insisting that Trump is not a conservative plutocrat. Why do we focus so much on what someone says instead of what they do? Trump did not drain the swamp and all his actions in office have been standard GOP plutocracy. All of his advisors are Wall Street billionaires or oil executives. He will sign anything that Ryan and McConnell put in front of his desk.

          I think some people on the left can be just as much a mark for listening to what Trump says and taking him at his word even if they did not vote for him.

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          • I don’t know why everyone is still insisting that Trump is not a conservative plutocrat.

            I think it’s because his move to the right derives from political necessity much more than ideological alliance. He realized that McConnell and Ryan wouldn’t allow bipartisan bills to reach the floor, so he’s stuck working with the most reactionary elements in the GOP, tacitly endorsing their policies and trying to sell them as fulfilling campaign promises.

            It’s possible that he’s been running a bait and switch the whole time, but (personally) I don’t believe it. Nothing in his past indicates he’s a conservative ideologue or even a conservative at all, really. He’s a populist. His metric for evaluating a good policy or a good leader is quite literally approval ratings. He says it all the time.

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            • I agree he is not a conservative ideologue like Ryan or the Koch Brothers. But he isn’t a populist either. He is a con man. I doubt he ever thought about politics (or anything beyond himself and money) very long or deeply.

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                • A con man needs a shtick. Trumps is populism. And if he does the shtick well enough he’ll be one in fact as well as posture. He, uh, so far isn’t doing well at that so far.

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                  • Populism got him elected, but governing is another matter. And that’s the con. He sold himself as a deal maker and congress doesn’t work that way. Or foreign policy. Or…

                    But maybe the GOP caves on BCRA and he somehow gets Dems to the table for a bipartisan HC bill. That’d be a win for him, don’t you think?

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                    • Well sure, that’d be a win for the country and a cause for enormous soul searching on the part of the Dems (save health care and provide enormous benefits at the cost of bolstering Trump*). But the GOP is nowhere near that position right now. Maybe after 2018.

                      *Personally I think that they’d take that deal depending on the policy particulars.

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                • Sure Gwen Paltrow and Amanda Chantal Bacon seem to sincerely believe in the woo that they peddle for millions despite the scorn of the Internet and media.* But I think he is a populist second and a con man first. Populism is just the means to end for his con and grift and corruption.

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      • I agree with this quite a bit, but not enough to matter in the context of my earlier comment.

        I do agree the HRC was a uniquely weak Demo candidate and if someone else had gotten the nomination, that Dem would have beat Trump. I do agree that the D’s will be better off for nominating someone else (if in fact they do nominate somebody else, according to some at least she’s running again).

        But as things stand, independent of Trump there is a possibility of a populist/conservative voter coalition, which if it matures, shapes to be the dominant force of American politics for 25 years.

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        • Every time a right winger suggests HRC may run in 2020 I do a quick Google on her to check on the chatter. Yup, still 5:1 right wing sites to maybe liberals talking about the subject. Hillary is done, I say that in sorrow since I think she’d make a great Pres, she had her chance in 2016 and there’s no way she’ll be able to replicate her march to the nomination in 2020. The Party doesn’t owe her anything and she lost to Donald Trump (yes Comey helped but she let herself be in a position where his 3% swing put her under) that’s inexcusable.

          Now I’m sure the GOP -could- forge a new coalition with the populists. To do so I suspect they’d have to, ya know, do things populists would like. Watching them do their normal tax cutting reindeer games I am pretty skeptical that a grand republican populist alliance is in the offing. The current GOP policy platform isn’t just indifferent to populist ends- it’s actively and intensely hostile.

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          • I’ve only seen lefties suggest she run merely because they want to cause right-wingers to stroke with anger. Basically a lot of people on the left have reached the “I welcome their hatred” stage of opposition. These are not necessarily people who liked HRC that much in the first place either. They found her too corporate.

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            • Yeah, that is an example where the Left and the Right ought to be able to come together to tell the feral Left that your anger is unbalanced, unjustified, and unproductive. And that we will stop it.

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              • The far left are no fans of the Clintons. There won’t be much constituency for them there. It’s nonsensical really- there just isn’t a Clinton2020 group left in the party, not on the far left or the center left. I’m certainly not convinced there’s a Clinton2020 movement even within the Clinton camp.

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                • It’s not about the Clintons it’s about the resistance, eg, “I welcome your hatred” from Saul’s interlocutors.

                  I appreciate that it’s going to be difficult for libs to give up the anger juice that propels them to drive the polarization of America, but frankly I don’t feel much sympathy for them.

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                  • And I appreciate that it’s going to be difficult for cons to give up the anger juice that propels them to drive the polarization of America, but frankly I don’t feel much sympathy for them either.

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                      • You’re right, the GOP is the coldly-rational, unemotional party that wants to kick 15 million people off of medicare so that the richest few Americans can keep more of their money.

                        Maybe we can all be Kansas!

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                      • Frankly I think going BSDI actually gives infinitely too much credit to the GOP but we go back a long way so I was gonna throw you that bone. In reality the Dems have been business as usual pretty much since the turn of the millennium. The GOP is the party that has descended into deranged nonsensical anger. Even the Dems in the wake of the Trump victory have been pretty conventional so far.

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          • I guess I was thinking of this.

            In any event, because of Donald Trump we already have a populist/conservative coalition. Now the trick is keeping the coalition without Trump. I think that in the broad sense the coalition is more popular than Trump is, so it can be done. The immediate problem is that too many Trump supporters have put in their trust in Trump over the coalition, which is a mistake imo.

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          • I have growing faith that Ds in general will realize at some point before 2020 that every D electoral winner in the TV era was either under 60 and telegenic, or was sworn in on Air Force One to succeed someone who was.

            So next time – No Clinton (Ms or Mr). No Sanders. No Warren.

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        • But as things stand, independent of Trump there is a possibility of a populist/conservative voter coalition, which if it matures, shapes to be the dominant force of American politics for 25 years.

          And what party, exactly, will they have? Because the Republicans certainly aren’t it.

          The Republicans might sometimes make populist sounding words with their mouths, a strategy that worked as long as they were ‘denied’ the ability to pass laws by the dastardly Democrats.

          Except, not really. The only populist thing they did was their anti-ACA stuff, which did get them elected…which has resulted in them carefully lining up to blow their own lower torso off.

          The Republicans can’t just keep pretending to be populists…while slashing Medicaid and reducing health insurance subsidies. In case you weren’t paying attention, taking down the ACA stopped being ‘populist’, or at least ‘popular’, several months ago.

          And after that they’re about to do tax reform, which will be exactly as harmful to the middle class as it is planned to be. And they’ve never pretended to be populists there…if anything, cutting taxes on the wealthy is exactly the place where they are most out of sync with their base.

          Meanwhile, looking at Trump, they have the opposite problem on some of his ludicrously idiotic ‘populist’ things. The Wall, for example, won’t get built, and I find it rather dubious that Republicans will be able to run on building the Wall after they fail to do it the first time.

          And finally, we have the actual problem with populism: When you win stupid victories that don’t accomplish anything, you don’t become more popular, and now you can’t run on it next time. Aka, Trump’s possible victory in barring some Muslims from the country.

          The whole premise of the idea of populist/conservative voter coalition lasting 25 years is rather silly, in fact. Populism is not any sort of functional basis for a long term voter coalition. It is a useful way to get into power, but then once you do so, you have three possible outcome:

          a) The things you got into power on, you do, and everyone likes those outcomes and you stay in power, not via ‘populism’ but just because you’re a normal party that does things people like! But I think even you have realized that Republican’s positions aren’t popular, so that’s not going to work for the Republicans.

          b) The things you got into power on, you do, and everyone hates those outcomes because it turns out that blind populism is often very dumb. And you get voted out. This is what the Republican party is sorta doing with the ACA.

          c) You reject the promises of how you go into power, aka, a pivot. This can result in a lot of things, sometimes it even works out. This is basically where Trump is going, although it seems likely he’s just doing it because figuring policy out is hard. (Maybe that even would work out for Trump, in a hypothetical universe where his complete unfitness for office didn’t mean he does not understand any of the restraints he is supposed to operate in and isn’t going to get impeached.) But it certainly means you can’t just run as the same populist again, and it probably means that a Republican standing there in 202 saying exactly the same sort of things as Trump is not going to be believed.

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          • And what party, exactly, will they have? Because the Republicans certainly aren’t it.

            Of course they are. See Jon Ossoff, and whatever your theory of that race was that happened to be wrong.

            The reality is, the GOP is the means by which Americans vote for America. That casts a pretty wide net, and a pretty dismal future for those who want to be outside it.

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            • Of course they are. See Jon Ossoff, and whatever your theory of that race was that happened to be wrong.

              Your theory is that Karen Handel ran as a populist?

              Because, uh, she didn’t. I don’t even know how to address that idea because it is so ungrounded in reality, but she didn’t, at all.

              Karen Handel ran on asserting that Ossoff was extremely far left, and that she would repeal the ACA and she would lower taxes. She’s a completely standard Republican candidate. The only slightly off thing about her was she was explicitly pro-Trump, but that doesn’t seem to extend to be any policy of his, except strengthening the military. (Which is, of course, a completely standard Republican claim.)

              But you have already pre-emptitly accuse me of making up stuff about that race, so instead I point to her web site at https://karenhandel.com/issues/ and ask you to point to any policy position that could be called ‘populist’, or even isn’t any 100% ISO standard Republican. A single one.

              You can’t just magically declare that all the positions a major political party has held for years are ‘populist’. That is not what that word means. That is literally the opposite of what that word means. Not only are none of her policies non-mainstream, she didn’t try to pretend they were, she’s not even a faux-populist!

              The reality is, the GOP is the means by which Americans vote for America. That casts a pretty wide net, and a pretty dismal future for those who want to be outside it.

              Remember, everyone, the left saying ‘Not my president’ is completely unacceptable according to Koz, and a cause of major concern.

              Meanwhile, him dismissing all Democratic political candidates as people who ‘want to be outside America’ is perfectly fine, I guess.

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              • Your theory is that Karen Handel ran as a populist?

                Of course not. She ran as an American, and for this race that was good enough.

                I haven’t followed most of what you’ve written about this race, but from what I have seen, it’s about “The judge opened the window for young voters to register here and with ad money there and Indivisible doing this other thing, etc, etc we can finally start to end the Trump agenda and the Trump Presidency.”

                The point is, the voters in that district don’t think that way, that the only thing they should care about in politics is opposing Trump.

                Instead of going down this road over and over, maybe it’s better to starting talking with us, considering and doing the things that we want, and avoiding the further polarization of America.

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                • Of course not. She ran as an American, and for this race that was good enough.

                  No she didn’t. She ran as ‘a Republican’.

                  You stand there and repeatedly say that Democrats are the problem by being mean and refusing to work with Republican, and at literally the same time you assert Democrats are not Americans.

                  You can’t do both of those at the same time. You simply cannot. Not a single person here is on board with that idea. Even other conservatives here think that is insane.

                  The point is, the voters in that district don’t think that way, that the only thing they should care about in politics is opposing Trump.

                  And here is the part where I, like always have to do when talking to you, point that my claim was actually disputing your claim that the Republicans can build some sort of coalition of ‘conservative/populist’ voters and rule for 25 years, and I pointed out that it is literally impossible to keep being elected and get a majority as a ‘populist’, because no ‘populism’ policy can never have a majority, or even a large minority, of government support. People run as populists, and then (if they succeed) change the conventional political wisdom and their position is not populist anymore, it’s just…normal.

                  At which point you introduced Karen Handel, which was, as far as anyone can tell, unrelated to any ‘populism’, as you have just admitted.

                  So to get back to the point, please point to anything that the Republican party is doing that will continue to make it ‘populist’ in the future. Especially without Trump.

                  As I said, the closest thing to populism the Republicans have is ‘repeal the ACA’. And it did, indeed, get them elected, over and over.

                  Of course, doing that is so against political wisdom that when they had the chance to do that, they punted (Because it actually was a really bad idea.) Instead they switched to ‘replace the ACA’, and at this point, with the Senate bill, they’re basically at ‘make the ACA very shitty and repeal the Medicaid expansion very slowly so the voters don’t notice’.

                  Which is, of course, the problem with people who run on really stupid populist ideas get in office enough that they can’t blame other people for failing to do their dumbass promises. Those ideas have to shift.(1)

                  So, anyway, enough about the populist thing they just got elected on. That isn’t going to work in the future, and yet you seem to think they can remain populists.

                  Please point to what populist position you think they will take next.

                  1) As always, when I talk about what people in politics ‘have’ to do, I am implicitly saying ‘Unless they want to become very very unpopular’, and thus I am excluding Trump, who does not understand any of this.

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                  • You stand there and repeatedly say that Democrats are the problem by being mean and refusing to work with Republican, and at literally the same time you assert Democrats are not Americans.

                    That’s right. There’s an idea of a modus vivendi, a mentality of people who may not agree on everything finding some kind of operational agreement for working together, that’s not necessarily enforced directly but still works because the parties involved are invested enough in their mutual relationship.

                    The point being, is that the D’s the libs, some judges, parts of the deep state, etc,. are forfeiting their place in the modus vivendi of the mechanics of American politics.

                    They like to think of themselves as some kind of heroes for standing up the unique horribleness of Donald Trump, the GOP, or whoever. But what I am saying to you is that other people can see that and adapt accordingly, inside the Administration, the maneuvers of the GOP in Congress, or the voters.

                    It’s not really as hard to figure out as you want to imagine.

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                    • The point being, is that the D’s the libs, some judges, parts of the deep state, etc,. are forfeiting their place in the modus vivendi of the mechanics of American politics.

                      That was an unintentionally revealing comment on your part.

                      I suspect you wanted to include examples of elected Democrats failing to work with Republicans, but the problem, and it is a fundamental problem of your entire theory, is the Democrats are not, in fact, doing that.

                      In fact, you keep making grand claims they’re going to do that, and running off and disappearing for a bit when it doesn’t come true.

                      We remember when you were talking about how the Democrats were refusing to confirm people in the Senate, and then…you just sorta went away when it turns out they were not doing that.

                      We remember how you complained that Democrats weren’t going to work with the Republicans on heath care, and then we actually got to that point, and wait a second, everyone can actually see the Republicans refusing to let Democrats participate at all. (They’re barely even letting all the Republicans participate!) Yes, the Democrats have started fighting back about that and delaying things in the Senate, but it’s clearly in response to being locked out of the process by Republicans.

                      So, at this point, your examples of liberals not working with Republicans and fighting them tooth and nail are ‘judges’ and the ‘deep state’.

                      I could actually say a lot about both those stupid claims, in that the judges have been across the politics spectrum, and ‘the deep state’ is actually “people close to Trump, who were hired by him, are leaking like a sieve in because that administration is completely dysfunction and basically everyone there hates Trump and is trying to use him for their own purposes”…which has nothing to do with any supposed ‘deep state’.

                      But I think a more important point against your claim is that it is completely nonsensical to think the voters will hold that against elected Democrats.

                      There’s no one out there saying ‘Man, top administration officials keep leaking horrible information about Trump…I was on the fence before, but I feel that I need to vote for a Republican for Congress in 2018, because that is somehow related, right? Those Democrats in Congress have to have something to do with all those leaks in the White House, right? Herp derp.’

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                      • First of all, whatever happens in health care this month, for good or ill, I’m not blaming the D’s on this one. It’s all on us, for better or worse.

                        As far as the rest of it is concerned, there’s no shortage of examples. In particular, there’s no shortage of examples among the political class, in the resistance inside the executive or judicial branch, or at the activist voter level.

                        The lack of votes for Trump’s cabinet, the lack of votes for Neil Gorsuch, the shooting incident on the baseball fields, the campus riots against Milo, Charles Murray and Heather Mac Donald, the litigation against the travel ban, it’s very clear that libs’ hearts and minds are in the wrong place at all levels of society.

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                        • In particular, there’s no shortage of examples among the political class, in the resistance inside the executive or judicial branch, or at the activist voter level.

                          Weirdly, the voters do not vote for the political class. Or activist voters. Or the judicial branch!

                          They do, technically, vote for the executive branch, at least the head of it, but that actually seems to make even less sense than the things you normally say. Are you asserting the Republicans, because they have elected an incredibly poor leader who cannot keep control of his own people (Yes, despite what people seem to keep implying, most of these leaks are at the level where they basically have to be coming from Trump’s people, not civil servants.), will blame Democrats for that?

                          But, then again, you aren’t talking about leaks, you just keep mentioning ‘the deep state’ and how ‘the executive’ is turned against Trump, and have failed to give any actual examples of that.

                          You’re sorta batting 0 for 4 there.

                          The lack of votes for Trump’s cabinet

                          Oh no! The Democrats have, in absolutely no way at all, impeded things!

                          the lack of votes for Neil Gorsuch,

                          More Democrats voted for Neil Gorsuch than Republicans voted for Merrick Garland, so you don’t really get to pretend that’s something the Democrats started.

                          the shooting incident on the baseball fields

                          I literally typed something in my last post guessing you would mention that, and pointing out that, uh, a Democratic Congresswomen was shot in 2011 by a right wing nutjob, because I knew you would not remember that, because your memory recorded nothing that happened during the Obama administration except ‘They passed a health care bill’.

                          But I said to myself, hey, let’s try giving Koz the benefit of the doubt, and erased it.

                          That was dumb of me.

                          the campus riots against Milo, Charles Murray and Heather Mac Donald

                          Ah, yes, because campuses weren’t protesting speakers before that.

                          the litigation against the travel ban

                          Remember, folks, the ‘liberals’ are villains for standing up to unconstitutional laws.

                          And, yes, I am sure in your mind, Trump has temporarily won that…except he ‘
                          ‘won’ that by basically removing the unconstitutional and illegal parts. (Whch were, to recap: Blocking people with existing visas, trying to restrict immigration in addition to tourism, claiming the right to exclude green card holders.)

                          Yes, there’s something he’s calling the travel ban that is about to go into effect, but it’s basically had all the stuff that was actually objectionable removed, and what is headed to the Supreme Court is basically the ‘restrict travel visas from certain countries’ that pretty much everyone thinks he could have gotten away to start with, or at least he could have gotten away with if he hadn’t stupidly revealed religious animus as a motive for it during the campaign.

                          Whether or not someone can present an unconstitutional justification for an otherwise constitutional executive order at one place, and then later claim they did it for constitutionally-permissible ones latter, is unknown. But even if Trump manages to get away with that, that was a very small part of what he originally tried to do and the lawsuits stopped.

                          it’s very clear that libs’ hearts and minds are in the wrong place at all levels of society.

                          And by ‘wrong place’, you always means ‘a non-conservative place’.

                          As I have mentioned before, no matter how much you likes to pretend the left’s anger and hatred outstrips the right’s, one party nominated a politician who regularly had mobs chanting about imprisoning people, and the other did not.

                          BTW, I think everyone needs to remember, at all times, that according to Koz, every single liberal, in fact, every person that seems to be on their side, is representative of liberals. Someone brings a lawsuit because their wife has been barred from reentering the country? That’s all liberals doing that.

                          I mention that not to argue with it (That is pointless.), but to remind everyone that, in a discussion with Koz, anything any conservative does is entirely representative of conservatives, and something they can control.

                          Lawsuit against cooking a cake for a gay couple? That’s literally some sort of endorsed conservative position. Sean Hannity pushing the Seth Rich conspiracy theory? That’s a conservative position. Milo Yiannopoulos praises underaged sex…hrm.

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                          • Weirdly, the voters do not vote for the political class. Or activist voters. Or the judicial branch!

                            BTW, I think everyone needs to remember, at all times, that according to Koz, every single liberal, in fact, every person that seems to be on their side, is representative of liberals. Someone brings a lawsuit because their wife has been barred from reentering the country? That’s all liberals doing that.

                            Yes, yes, yes, yes lib, now you’re getting warmer. Is our children learning?

                            American absolutely can visit the sins of lib upon Jon Ossoff. It can, it has, it will, it will do it again after it has it done it already.

                            Charles Murray, James Hodgkinson, Berkeley, if you ever want to win a meaningful election, you need to be policing that shit. In fact, you should be doing it anyway.

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                          • Oh no! The Democrats have, in absolutely no way at all, impeded things!

                            To follow up from my last comment, I don’t think you’re getting the direction of things here.

                            It’s just about the policies or the appointments that passed or blocked. It’s about libs forfeiting their place in the American modus vivendi.

                            That’s going to be tough nugget for libs to wrap their heads around so it’s useful to go into a little bit. For at least as long as I’ve been alive (and probably longer than that), Dems have created a mentality that their alienation from the American mainstream is an occasion for compensation for them. That mentality has worked for a long time, that I think it’s hard for libs to imagine that it could actually be another way. But it could.

                            Simply put, libs’ alienation from the American mainstream could simply cause Americans to view libs as having forfeited the participation in the American modus vivendi, and treat them accordingly.

                            Related to that, the opportunity for Dem Senators to vote for Trump’s Cabinet constitutes an obligation for them due to tradition and comity, but more importantly an honor and a privilege as well. Ie, voting for Jeff Sessions isn’t something Dems got to do, it’s something they get to do.

                            Libs’ obligations to the American plurality run deeper than they think.

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                  • And here is the part where I, like always have to do when talking to you, point that my claim was actually disputing your claim that the Republicans can build some sort of coalition of ‘conservative/populist’ voters and rule for 25 years, and I pointed out that it is literally impossible to keep being elected and get a majority as a ‘populist’, because no ‘populism’ policy can never have a majority, or even a large minority, of government support. People run as populists, and then (if they succeed) change the conventional political wisdom and their position is not populist anymore, it’s just…normal.

                    Yeah, about this. There may be something to this in the abstract, but in this context it’s kind of stupid.

                    The is a substantial body of Right-populists voters, previously an underserved market, energized and mobilized by Trump. These voters are politically motivated by good jobs, immigration, trade, and the safety net in a communitarian sense (That last part is important. There might be big policy differences between that and a welfare state based on multiculturalism or bread and circuses but culturally they are much different).

                    In any event, they are a substantial market segment, and if you add them to more conventional conservatives motivated by taxes, abortion and strong defense, you could easily have a winning coalition for a long time.

                    Frankly, the one thing that will break up such a coalition if it does materialize is if the Dem’s fold on multiculturalist identity politics.

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                    • These voters are politically motivated by good jobs, immigration, trade, and the safety net in a communitarian sense

                      A thing they were very motivated by that you mysteriously left out: Better health insurance than Obamacare, or at least better than higher premiums that they think is due to Obamacare.

                      Weird you forget that, considering your theory that, uh, it caused a huge political shift and is the reason that people switched to voting Republican in the first place. Anyway.

                      And the fundamental problem is that the Republicans do not actually have a plan to do any of those things.

                      In fact, they’re going in a backwards direction on both health insurance and the safety net. (I am not exactly sure what part of the safety net you think Republican voters are for, but it’s hard to figure out any part of the safety net they plan to make better or increase. Even stuff that is traditionally middle-class like unemployment insurance.)

                      Meanwhile, it is almost impossible to figure out any way they can make any positive improvements on jobs. Trump might run around making doing stunts and talking about how he saved microscopic amounts of jobs, but that only works for so long.

                      Of course, it’s fairly easy for the government to create jobs, but they’d have to spend money to do so. Which they won’t.

                      And I don’t know what you mean by trade exactly, but any reduction of trade is going to increase prices, making things worse.

                      About the only thing Republicans can actually do anything in the direction their base wants is immigration, and there have been several dumbass promises in idiotic directions they have to untangle before they can start making movement on that.

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                      • Here’s a link I cited to North a few comments ago.

                        There’s definitely some tension in the populist desire for a strong safety net versus what conservatives have typically done or believed for fifty years or whatever.

                        As things stand, it’s easier for the GOP because they are maintaining the safety net instead of expanding it.

                        In any event, it’s not breaking against the GOP for cultural reasons that Edsall describes.

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                        • As things stand, it’s easier for the GOP because they are maintaining the safety net instead of expanding it.

                          Evidence doesn’t support this claim, Koz. The Senate can’t even get their bill outa committee right now (between 5 and 9 defectors depending on when and how you count), and if they do the bill they take to the floor garners 17% support among the electorate. By my lights that means things are hard, really hard, for the GOP right now.

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                          • That’s where it’s worth reading the Edsall link.

                            Basically, the Right-populists have a strong Hayekian streak about them, for lack of a better word.

                            The Right-populists might believe in a strong safety net, but they are also have substantial animosity to the coercive power of the federal government and the D’s are corrupted by their association with the aggrandizement of government.

                            Therefore, even when the GOP fucks up, like they might be doing here, they’re less likely to get burned by it.

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                        • As rebuttal to that article, I point to:
                          http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/01/democrats-new-crossover-voters-romney-clinton-215211

                          As it points out, for all the fetishing of Obama-to-Trump voters, a large amount of people also switched the other way, from Romney-to-Clinton.

                          And I know the somewhat dubious idea that those people will switch back to being Republicans when Trump is gone, but it is equally possible to argue the exact same thing about Clinton, and Clinton won’t be on the ballot in 2020, and Trump will. (Well, presumably.) So, uh, that’s sorta bad for the Republicans there.

                          Likewise, Clinton is not going to be president in 2018, and Trump will. (Again, presumably.) Considering that midterms usually are ‘opposing party expresses their dislike of the president’, that doesn’t look that good for Republicans.

                          Saying ‘Our voters will come back in eight years’ is…not a very strong position to be taking, even if it didn’t also mean ‘…after watching eight years of Trump break things’ or ‘…after watching Trump get impeached’.

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                          • I’m not buyin’ it, for lots of miscellaneous reasons probably not worth the pixels to write down for now. But primarily, this was the data point that GA-6 was supposed to test, and the results weren’t good for your team.

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                            • But primarily, this was the data point that GA-6 was supposed to test, and the results weren’t good for your team.

                              I don’t see how you got that as a result.

                              GA-6 proved that Romney-to-Clinton voters have also mostly stopped voting for other Republicans. Trump won the district by 1.5 points, and Handel won by 3.6.

                              If anything, that proves the opposite thing than you would want it to…that the problems some Republicans have with Trump are resulting in them having problems with the entire party. They are not compartmentalizing Trump in one place and Republicans in the other. The two are instead tied together.

                              GA-06 especially makes this point when you consider this was a special election, where there are supposed to be a Republican boast due to turnout. We don’t really have any way to figure out what the turnout is ‘supposed’ to be in a special election, but if this was a midterm, it should have tilted somewhere 2 to 3 points towards Republicans.

                              So Handel’s ‘slight improvement’ over Trump in reality probably signifies no Republican movement at all. That district is basically voting exactly where it should be voting if it was a 51% Republican/49% Democratic district…it’s voting that in the presidential, and slightly more Republican at specials and midterm.

                              Which while this is technically a ‘win’ for Republicans, it should cause panic considering what those percentages used to be!

                              When Trump’s polling is taken into consideration, this makes things looks pretty bad for the midterms. He’s lost 15 points in net approval since the election, where he (along with Congress) were basically tied. (Congress’s general approval is also crap, but that, weirdly, is always crap and seems to have no bearing on the election.)

                              Of course, GA-06 leaves it as an open question if voters that originally liked Trump but now dislike him also will tie Congressional voting to him. I.e., just because people who originally turned on Trump turned on all the Republicans at that time doesn’t mean that later people who turn on Trump will turn on all Republicans.

                              Except we’ve had other races that did answer that question! And the answer is pretty much yes.

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                              • I don’t see how you got that as a result.

                                It seems pretty easy for me. Through the fall campaign, we could see well enough, at least in outline, who was going to break for Hillary, and who was going to break for the President, relative to prior GOP/Dem elections.

                                But there was an undercurrent, that of course we know Hillary is going to win, no matter what one particular day’s polls were, or what was filling up cable news about the campaign.

                                Then the big shock was that Donald Trump actually was elected President. This created a big wave anger, sadness, revenge, etc., etc, and from there supposedly the reinvigoration of the Demo’s at the activist level.

                                This, combined with the demographic and organizational resources that the Demos already had, was going to wipe away everything before it. This is what the libs sold themselves on. That’s why they mobilized.

                                But, it turns out from GA-6, it’s the same ol same ol. Libs didn’t do Indivisible and send 30 million dollars to Georgia and the rest of it for same ol same ol. But so far at least, that’s what that huge wave of activism has amounted to.

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                          • Saying ‘Our voters will come back in eight years’ is…not a very strong position to be taking, even if it didn’t also mean ‘…after watching eight years of Trump break things’ or ‘…after watching Trump get impeached’.

                            You’re assuming we haven’t already come back.

                            Trump hasn’t started setting up death camps.
                            Trump has taken the job of being President Seriously.
                            Trump has taken his campaign promises Seriously.
                            Trump has taken the Supreme Court seriously.
                            Trump has apparently taken the law seriously, i.e. when the courts have said “No, you can’t”, he’s protested but hasn’t pulled an Andrew Jackson.
                            Trump seems like he’s taking Economic Growth Seriously.
                            Trump seems like he’s taking his coalition seriously.

                            If you ignore his “all Drama, all the time” shtick (and I do), he’s not bad. He’s the President we have, and very much not the one I wanted AND I didn’t vote for him against HRC… but at the moment I’d vote for him against HRC or a generic Dem.

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                            • Trump hasn’t started setting up death camps.

                              I don’t know about that…FEMA still seems to be in operation, and I haven’t heard anything about their death camps closing down. So, logically, they still have to be there. (Mental note: Start trolling Facebook demanding that Trump tell us where the death camps are and that he close them.)

                              Also, I’m pretty sure no one was expecting death camps.

                              Trump has taken the job of being President Seriously.

                              Trump has literally walked out of a signing ceremony without signing the executive orders he was there to sign.

                              He’s also spent a lot of time triumphantly signing executive orders that…just create groups looking into things and don’t actually do anything: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/28/trumps-executive-orders-are-mostly-theater-215081

                              Or, as one snarky article I read in the past put it, Trump is issuing a lot of executive orders that seem to be belatedly trying to get the government to create his campaign platform for him: ‘Hey, you guys, get together and figure a way I can solve the opioid problem.’

                              He also leaves the White House basically every weekend, which is something that I suspect no president has ever done. He’s also apparently working shorter hours that most presidents.

                              He’s failed to learn basic rules and procedures, starting with things like his screw-up-at-every-level first weekend immigration thing. I’m not calling it because it was a bad idea (Which it was), I’m calling it that because he didn’t notify people he needed to notify, he didn’t run it past anyone who could have explained some things and kept it within legally possible bounds and not had disastrous situations at airports, he didn’t invite his party to participate or even give them a heads up, he basically screwed it up in every possible way.

                              He screw up in various ways on his staffing, doing no vetting and not listening to people pointing out problems, which currently are causing investigations. In any administration we weren’t grading on a curve, this would be huge disastrous scandal.

                              But we’re ignoring that scandal because he also has failed, repeatedly to understand, and still doesn’t understand, that he has to let investigations proceed, and not only can he not stop them, attempting to stop them has horrific blowback and interfering with an investigation in some manner is literally the reason for the two in-living memory impeachment and almost impeachment, and is the third rail of the presidency. The president simply cannot do that, period, end of story.

                              I mean, look, I admit I’m not the most objective guy when it comes to Trump. But even when I completely ignore his personality, and his policies, and all the personal and political stuff about him…he’s a completely and utterly incompetent at his job, and seems somewhat lazy and entitled based on the amount of time he’s willing to spend on the job, and he’s had a lot of very major mistakes based on him basically not willing to listen to anyone’s advice or bother to understand the rules of what he is doing.

                              Trump has taken his campaign promises Seriously.

                              So here’s a serious question for you: Do you think he will veto the healthcare bill, assuming it gets to him, on the grounds it cuts Medicaid and he ran against that?

                              Do you think he will threat a veto of the budget if it doesn’t have funding for the Wall?

                              Trump has taken the Supreme Court seriously.

                              Yes, Trump has literally not started a constitutional crisis.

                              *gets out party hats and puts up streamers*

                              Trump has apparently taken the law seriously, i.e. when the courts have said “No, you can’t”, he’s protested but hasn’t pulled an Andrew Jackson.

                              Actually, that Andrew Jackson thing is a myth. Yes, he said it, but he was, IIRC, talking about their court order issued on someone else…who did, indeed, follow it. Jackson never openly defied the Court or any court order.

                              Trump seems like he’s taking Economic Growth Seriously.

                              And yet appears to have nothing to put forward as any sort of plan. Hell, the plan he did have, his dumb privatized infrastructure plan, has gone away and isn’t coming back.

                              Trump seems like he’s taking his coalition seriously.

                              Well, sure. Other than calling their healthcare bill ‘mean’ and giving Democrats a free talking point for no reason.

                              I mean, he’s stopped publicly insulting the Republicans on Twitter, so…woo-hoo?

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                              • The Supreme Court sided with him 9-0. He was right on the law and the 9th or 4th circuits were wrong.

                                In contrast, Obama had the worst record before the Supreme Court of any President since at least 1932, and possibly in US history, winning just 50.5% of cases.

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                                • The Supreme Court sided with him 9-0. He was right on the law and the 9th or 4th circuits were wrong.

                                  Utterly wrong.

                                  Trump’s original travel ban did the following unconstitutional things:

                                  1) Barred people with green cards (Who are ‘US nationals’ under the law and have full constitutional protections and all rights except voting.) from entering the country
                                  2) Violated the rule of law by trying to keep people who had already gotten permission to enter the country (aka, had already been issued a visa) from entering the country
                                  3) Made exceptions to the order for certain religions

                                  Additionally, it did the following thing that was unlawful:
                                  4) restricted immigration by nationality (Well, technically, it just kept them from getting visas, but people who cannot get a visa obviously cannot immigrate.)

                                  Those four things were the reasons the order was immediately blocked from implementation.

                                  It also did the following things that were probably constitutional and legal:
                                  5) Barred refugees from certain countries. This may be a dick move, but is probably entirely legal.
                                  6) Blocked travel visas from certain countries. This is undisputedly legal. Tourist and education and work and other travel visas, in fact, can mostly be issued entirely arbitrarily.
                                  7) Asserted some sort of vague ‘extreme vetting’ on people from certain countries, which is obviously perfectly legal (The State department is entirely in charge of how vetting works anyway!) in the issuing of visas. (But it’s not legal when trying to do it at as they enter the country with an already-issued visa, aka #2. If he wants ‘extreme vetting’, he needs to direct State to vet more before issuing a visa, although he should probably figure out what he means by ‘extreme vetting’ to start with.)

                                  The new travel ban, the one that has partially gone into effect, only has 5-7. Trump isn’t even challenging most of his order being struck down.

                                  And, additionally, #6 and #5 had both been watered down with allowing people who have ‘significant connections’ inside the US to still get a visa to get in.

                                  Note that 5-6 (But not 7, I think.) are currently being challenged on the grounds that Trump, as a candidate, clearly and repeatedly said he would make a ban and the purpose of such a ban would to be keep Muslims out. Basically, the claim is those actions would be constitutional if they just sorta randomly happened, but are obviously illegal when if the laws are targeted at members of a certain religion, and Trump has literally explained that as the purpose of the law.

                                  You want to argue with that logic, feel free, and the Supreme Court has, right now, said that they will not keep the stay in place while that’s decided, and maybe you want to read that as evidence of how they will rule. (But I wouldn’t count on it.)

                                  But Trump’s original travel ban still lays in shattered pieces, no matter what the court says about the new travel ban.

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                                  • I mostly concur with this. I think we’re going to see all Nine Justices say something along the lines of “The President has been given broad discretion by Congress to deal with immigration, but that discretion isn’t unlimited, and the President can neither exceed the scope of the delegation Congress has given him, nor violate the Constitution in his exercise of discretion.”

                                    From there, we’ll see some cleavages on whether particular facets of the Second Travel Ban are unconstitutional or constitutional (with lots of language that dick moves are still dick moves even if they are constitutional), and as to those that are found constitutional, more cleavages on whether they exceed the scope of the Congressional delegation of immigration and naturalization power.

                                    How much of the Second Travel Ban will wind up enforceable at the end of the day? A good amount, but not all of it. Both sides will proclaim victory but as I see it now, and especially after getting a taste on Monday of Gorsuch’s style, it’s pretty clearly going to be a split decision.

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                                    • How much of the Second Travel Ban will wind up enforceable at the end of the day? A good amount, but not all of it.

                                      So if I read that correctly, you think that Trump will be allowed to block refugee and refuse to issue travel visas from majority-Muslim countries despite the fact that he said he was going to make a ‘Muslim ban’ during his campaign? (Because that’s really all that’s left of his travel ban at this point, except the ‘extreme vetting’, which is not only clearly legal, but also blatantly nonsensical bragging that has no real meaning.)

                                      I really don’t know what the precedents are here with executive orders. If a law had been passed and, when it was being passed, the legislature repeatedly claimed it was being passed to harm Muslims, that obviously wouldn’t be allowed, but ‘Muslim ban’ wasn’t really said ‘while the law was being passed’.

                                      OTOH, with laws, only a few people have to talk about that sort of thing, and the entire body’s voting result can be stuck down, even if a lot of the voters said nothing of the sort. Whereas this is, literally, one guy who said those things, and then did it.

                                      Aka, the problematic aspect is a lot more focused (Everyone who did it (aka, Trump.) said they were doing it impermissible reason.), which, in a way, seems to counter the fact it was more displaced in time. (That was said weeks before passage instead of during it.) If that makes sense.

                                      But it does seem to be a valid objection that considering his words would, weirdly, seem to forever bar him from doing something that any other president could do legally. And, as the president, he can’t recuse himself and have someone else decide on it. Does this apply to just his first term? What if Congress put his EO into a law and passed it?

                                      On the…fourth hand (?)…this is a really weird situation. The amount of people who repeatedly promise, in as public a forum as possible, to illegally discriminate against a protected class in impermissible ways, and then make a decision once in office that they admit is the implementation of that, would seem low!

                                      As far as I can tell, the precedent set would be basically ‘Do not promise to do things for impermissible reason when running for office, or you might find it very hard to ever get those things (Regardless of your current reason) past the court when you are actually elected’ which…I sorta like as a precedent. I don’t know how much the court will like it, but it seems pretty good to me.

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                                      • …Trump will be allowed to block refugee and refuse to issue travel visas from majority-Muslim countries…

                                        There are 50 “majority-Muslim countries” (google), Trump’s refugee travel ban is on the ones we’re actively bombing (because their government is close to a failed state and has a terrorism problem) plus Iran (which is an enemy and has state supported terrorism).

                                        Trying to frame “countries we are actively bombing plus Iran” as a security issue is pretty easy. Yes, we can pull his trash-talk campaign speeches into this, but the purpose of doing that appears to be so progressive judges who don’t like Trump’s policy can oppose Trump’s policies.

                                        As far as I can tell, the precedent set would be basically ‘Do not promise to do things for impermissible reason when running for office, or you might find it very hard to ever get those things (Regardless of your current reason) past the court when you are actually elected’ which…I sorta like as a precedent.

                                        You’re assuming a narrow interpretation where liberal courts get to decide what’s impermissible. Let’s try broader examples.

                                        HRC had a history of accepting money which clearly influenced her decisions. As long as we’re making the courts’ telepathic and/or assuming bad faith, could courts assume any/all orders from a President HRC are because she’s being bribed?

                                        Or how about this. If we’re going to assume everything Trump does with majority-Muslim countries is because of anti-Muslim racism and is subject to court orders because muslim is a protected class, why can’t the courts just stop him from dropping bombs over there?

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                                      • There’s no reason to limit what a candidate may say. Under Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753 (1972), a court may not “look behind the curtain” on an immigration order. If the stated reason is valid, the inquiry ends there.

                                        “when the Executive exercises this power negatively on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason, the courts will neither look behind the exercise of that discretion, nor test it by balancing its justification against the First Amendment interests” of the plaintiffs.

                                        The Establishment Clause isn’t even to be considered.

                                        In Lem Moon Sing v US the court held that

                                        The power of Congress to exclude aliens altogether from the United States, or to prescribe the terms and conditions upon which they may come to this country, and to have its declared policy in that respect enforced exclusively through executive officers without judicial intervention, having been settled by previous adjudications, it is now decided that a statute passed in execution of that power is applicable to an alien who has acquired a commercial domicil within the United States but who, having voluntarily left the country, although for a temporary purpose, claims the right under some law or treaty to reenter it.

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                                        • “when the Executive exercises this power negatively on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason, the courts will neither look behind the exercise of that discretion, nor test it by balancing its justification against the First Amendment interests” of the plaintiffs.

                                          Except there’s still a problem there. Several, actually.

                                          First, the reason stated was to ‘give time to conduct a review about terrorism‘, not anything to do with religion. Even if the government can filter non-Americans by religion, that doesn’t mean it can claim to filter them by nationality but actually have the secret intent of filtering them by religion.

                                          But let’s, for the purpose of this discussion, talk about the ‘minority religion’ refugee priority instead, because that actually was a stated reason and religion test, instead of retroactively trying to justify the entire thing under a claim that was explicitly discounted.

                                          Secondly, as I’ve pointed out when talking about that priority, that (And also an outright ban) would require the government deciding who is, and who is not, in what religion.

                                          Just like, in the case you cited, the government had to define what was, and was not, promoting ‘the economic, international, and governmental doctrines of world communism’.

                                          But the problem is that the government is entirely free to define political beliefs, or speech, or anything like that. They can define ‘world communism’ if they want!

                                          They just can’t normally make laws ‘restricting’ those things. You want to assert they can make laws toward immigrants that violate free speech, well, I point out that it is not 1952, a time that was about a decade from the courts being okay with detaining Japanese-Americans who had committed no crime, and I wouldn’t be 100% sure this is still how the court feels about this topic…but let’s just pretend it does.

                                          The problem is that the government can’t define religions. In any manner. They can define ‘communism’, but they can’t define ‘Christianity’. The government cannot say ‘Christians officially believe X, Y, and not Z’. That’s ‘respecting’ a religion.

                                          But, you want to respond, they’d only doing it to ‘non-Americans’, so they can.

                                          Except they’re not. They’re defining religions for everyone…they’re just only using them in rules against non-Americans. It doesn’t matter if the government only intends to apply those definitions to people outside the country…it is taking positions on religions that people hold within this country.

                                          Part of my religion (Everyone’s religion, in fact!) is determining who is following it! I’m not just making that up as some sort of weird ‘religions freedom’ claim, there have been literal wars over claims that different people are or are not following specific religions. This is not some made-up new belief.

                                          So you might stand there and assert that the government has the right to say ‘We can give priorities to Christians’, and maybe, in some non-functional sense, it does have that right, but it can’t use it.

                                          Here’s the hypothetical: A refugee from Libya is trying to enter the country, and the government does some basic religion tests, asks his beliefs, and he truthfully says he considers himself a Christian because he believes certain specific things, and the US government agreed he was Officially a Christian, so he gets prior- hold on a damn minute, repeat that last bit. ‘Officially a Christian’?!

                                          The US government just took an official position that someone is a Christian!

                                          I don’t care who the government does it to, I don’t care why they do it, I don’t care if it harms that person or not, I don’t care if it’s constitutional to do that ‘to them’ or not.

                                          The government IS NOT ALLOWED IN ANY FORM WHATSOEVER to say someone is, or is not, a Christian and doing so is a serious violation of my constitutional rights as a Christian to define my religion as I see fit, and I will haul them into court for it for the harm done to me.

                                          I will demand their definition of Christianity exactly matches mine as a Baptist, with every theological nuance correct as I understand them…and BTW there’s a Catholic standing next to me demanding the same thing.

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                                          • First, the reason stated was to ‘give time to conduct a review about terrorism‘, not anything to do with religion. Even if the government can filter non-Americans by religion, that doesn’t mean it can claim to filter them by nationality but actually have the secret intent of filtering them by religion.

                                            It doesn’t have the secret intent of filtering them by religion or it wouldn’t be limited to just six countries. Muslims from Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, and dozens of other Muslim countries are completely unaffected by the order.

                                            Second, although the order doesn’t filter by religion, it would be perfectly Constitutional for it to do so. Chaldean Christians represent no terrorist threat, nor do Yazidis. If we’re filtering out people based on the threat they represent, there’s no reason not to keep accepting non-Muslims. We don’t have a Buddhist terrorism problem, we have a Muslim terrorism problem. Congress has specifically authorized the President to suspend the arrival of any group, drawn along whatever lines he chooses.

                                            And actually, the government defines who is a Christian all the time. They process their tax status and everything.

                                            Congress is prohibited from enacting any laws respecting (with respect to) an establishment of religion. Those were off limits to the federal government, and so those laws were left to the states with established churches. Some states had established churches until the 1830’s, when the last was disestablished. Such church-state links were opposed by disestablishmentarians, and the disestablishmentarians were opposed by the antidisestablishmentarians. We got one of our longest words from the debate.

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                                            • And actually, the government defines who is a Christian all the time. They process their tax status and everything.

                                              No. The Federal government says what is a church or not for tax purposes, not who is specifically members of what religion.

                                              Defining a church is reasonable constitutional, as long as the government’s rules about what is and is not a church are based in secular grounds and not aimed against specific religions. Which has caused problems a few times with non-traditional religions like Wicca where there is much less structure, but whatever, it usually gets worked out. And Universal Life Church has removed the idiotic ‘must be an ordained minister to marry people’ problem that churches that do not have ‘ministers’ had by ordaining anyone who wants.

                                              Defining what a church is is….mostly workable.

                                              Defining a religion is something else entirely, and completely off limits. What religion beliefs comprise what religion is utterly outside the scope of government.

                                              You want to argue that the government could prioritize the arrival of members of a specific church, sure! I think that’s a stupid idea for a church, but it is probably constitutional, and we have actually based various immigration rules on membership in organizations before.

                                              I mean, technically, actual members of the Nazi party still cannot enter this country. We’ve outright barred non-American members of that organization. Likewise, we’ve often had specific visas easy to get for members of certain aid organizations, like the Red Cross.

                                              But that’s not what Trump’s EO said. It didn’t say anything about members of churches.

                                              It said members of minority religions.

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                                              • Defining a religion is something else entirely, and completely off limits. What religion beliefs comprise what religion is utterly outside the scope of government.

                                                The government has to deal with religious beliefs. If you think the government is violating your religious beliefs, you file a lawsuit. In court, the judge has to determine what your religious beliefs are and how important they are to you, and whether they are fundamental or incidental to your faith. Otherwise the government is denying you due process.

                                                Courts do this all the time. Does forcing a Catholic charity to provide contraception violate the tenets of their faith? The government has to wade in to that. Does outlawing the wearing of a hijab violate the religious rights of Muslims? The government has to wade in to that. Is the Nation of Islam covered under a hijab exemption? Are they really Muslims? The government might have to wade in to that.
                                                Can you quit sending your kid to school by claiming you are Amish? A judge might have to decide whether you are really Amish or just trying to scam the system.

                                                Just like you can’t claim your girlfriend’s non-resident abandoned children as dependents on your taxes, and you can’t claim your string of fake marriages to Filipinos to get them green cards, you can’t claim scads of religious exceptions just because they’ll save you money. So courts have to weigh people’s beliefs.

                                                The government definitely can touch that.

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                                                • In court, the judge has to determine what your religious beliefs are and how important they are to you, and whether they are fundamental or incidental to your faith.

                                                  You know what word weirdly didn’t appear in your post? RELIGION

                                                  The government can look at your religious beliefs, and try to determine how fundamental they are to what you believe.

                                                  What they cannot do is say ‘We have classified you as a Methodist, and Methodists do not believe that about contraceptive, so you are not allowed to claim you believe otherwise.’

                                                  The courts can take a look at your beliefs, and decide how serious or important they are.

                                                  The courts cannot take a look at your religion and decide whether or not you fit within the boundaries of the religion that you can claim to be…in fact, they can’t even write down any such boundaries.

                                                  Your beliefs, even your ‘religious beliefs’, are not the same as your religion.

                                                  I swear, it’s like everyone here is unaware that different words mean different things.

                                                  Trump literally used the sole determination that the government cannot do.

                                                  He could have prioritized people who were members of ‘minority churches’, although I guess technically that would be almost everyone as surely no church is attended by most of the people in a country.

                                                  He could have even, in theory, prioritized people who had ‘minority religious beliefs’, although that seems both exceptionally easy to lie about, and requires the government somehow figuring out what beliefs the vast majority of people in another country have. So it’s impractical, but possibly constitutional.

                                                  Or he could have done the sane thing and just prioritized refugees who were ‘people being prosecuted by others for religious reasons’, which is obviously allowed by law as it is literally part of the refugee law. (So he’s just be putting that as prioritized over ‘being prosecuted for political reasons’ and other reasons.) Note this wouldn’t require the prospective refugee to be a member of any religion, or hold any specific beliefs. It would just required them to be attacked or threatened due to other people’s religious beliefs.

                                                  He instead prioritized members of minority religions. Thus requiring the US to figure out what religion that people are…which is literally the one thing, the only thing, that the US government is forbidden from having an opinion about.

                                                  And, BTW, no, the courts cannot decide if the Nation of Islam is really Muslim or not. But it’s a bit moot, because literally no court would say that ‘Muslims and only Muslims can wear a hijab’. The determination would be off belief, not religion.

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                                                  • So, there’s some law that disparately impacts Catholics and you get all upset that the contraception thing is an infringement on the liberties of Catholics.

                                                    So you sue in federal court.

                                                    The judge asks you if you are a Catholic. You have to prove that you are, to a federal judge, or you don’t have standing. A Methodist cannot sue on behalf of a Catholic in a case where only Catholics are impacted.

                                                    You seem to have some fantasy version of the First Amendment in your head.

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                                                    • The judge asks you if you are a Catholic.

                                                      The judge asks no such thing. The judge asks you how you are impacted, and you explain how this violates your religious beliefs. (Or, rather, you have all this written down when you sue.)

                                                      You do not need, at any point, to explain what religion you are. You can if you want to, but don’t need to.

                                                      Or to put it another way:

                                                      A dedicated Catholic heavily involved in the Church, hell, let’s say it’s the Pope himself, sues the US government because he is required by state law to dispense birth control pills. (The Pope is moonlighting in a US pharmacy.)

                                                      The judge says ‘And this violates your religious beliefs?’

                                                      And the pope says ‘It is forbidden under Catholism, and I am a Catholic.’

                                                      And the judge tilts his head and says ‘That is not actually relevant. Does it violate your religious beliefs.’

                                                      And the Pope hangs his head and says, ‘No. I don’t actually believe in that. I know it is the official position of the church, but I do not personally believe this causes any harm in any real way’.

                                                      Well, tada, case dismissed.

                                                      Meanwhile, the person working next to the Pope is also suing the government for the same reason, and she’s a Wiccan.

                                                      Wicca doesn’t traditionally have any such beliefs about birth control, as far as I know, but she thought long and hard about this and has come to the conclusion that birth control actually is destroying life, which is sacred to her, and she can no longer use it or provide it to people.

                                                      And she explains this to the court, and, wow, she actually has a case.

                                                      It’s nothing to do with the ‘religion’, and everything to do with beliefs. Yes, people often explain their religious beliefs in terms of their religions, assuming the religion is common enough that people will understand that, but that has jackshit to do with the actual law.

                                                      You have to prove that you are, to a federal judge, or you don’t have standing. A Methodist cannot sue on behalf of a Catholic in a case where only Catholics are impacted.

                                                      A Catholic can’t ‘sue on behalf of a Catholic’ either, what the hell are you talking about?

                                                      The people who sue in Federal court, the actual plaintiffs, have to be impacted. You can’t sue just because you’re the same religion as someone impacted.

                                                      You seem to have some fantasy version of the First Amendment in your head.

                                                      You seem to have a fantasy version of how courts work in your head.

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                                                      • While you’re much closer to the mark than on this, particularly as to the Wiccan, I don’t think this hits the bullseye. The Wiccan needs to demonstrate a linkage between the way she practices her religion and what it is the law is asking her to do (or refrain from doing).

                                                        So I think the Pope, assuming he doesn’t personally have a belief that it’s immoral or against God’s teachings to use birth control, nevertheless meets his burden on this element by saying “Catholic doctrine prohibits the use of birth control, and I wish to practice the Catholic religion.”

                                                        Similarly, the Wiccan can say, “My understanding and practice of my religious belief is that birth control actually destroys life, which is intolerable to my religious beliefs.” It doesn’t matter if her interpretation of Wiccan theology is in the minority of what most Wiccans think about the issue; it doesn’t matter whether or not there is some sort of formal, established, generally-accepted set of doctrines that are identified with Wicca, and it doesn’t even matter if in her testimony, the Wiccan never identifies herself as a Wiccan or an adherent of any other religion at all.

                                                        Therein lies the potential for perniciousness: anyone can have any belief at all, as long as they 1) call it religious and 2) it involves doing (or not doing) something in the physical world. As a practical matter, no judge or jury nor likely any attorney will question the sincerity of that asserted belief. That is how literally anyone can seek a Free Exercise/RFRA exemption from literally any law. As the law currently stands, and as it has stood since the Hobby Lobby case gave the RFRA this gloss, there are no apparent limits to this.

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                                                        • Depending on the case, an attorney might well question that belief. Say I’m being sued. My attorney is going to argue that:

                                                          Defense attorney: “She’s not wiccan, as this video footage (exhibit A) will prove, along with texts of her conversations (exhibit B) where she laughs about conning the court.

                                                          She’s not disabled, as this video footage (exhibit C) will prove, where she’s up out of her wheelchair and playing touch football

                                                          She’s not actually a she…

                                                          *goes up to plaintiff and rips her rubber mask off*

                                                          She is actually the late Mr. Carmichael, former museum curator!”

                                                          Mr Charmichael: “Damnit! I’d have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids!”

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                                                          • All of those are exposing that the woman doesn’t actually believe the beliefs she has told the court. Not that she isn’t actually a Wiccan. (I mean, obviously, if the person is lying about their identity it probably means we should assume they were lying about their religious beliefs also, but that’s not the actual legal defect she now has in her claim.)

                                                            The courts can’t produce evidence she doesn’t follow the Wiccan Rede(1) and thus *pulls off mask* she’s not actually a Wiccan!

                                                            Because it literally doesn’t matter…no, that’s not quite right….because it literally is outside of the court’s preview if she is ‘actually’ a Wiccan or not. That concept is not even with the universe of the court.

                                                            Likewise, the courts can’t grab a bunch of other Wiccans and have them testify that’s not really a Wiccan belief. What is ‘really’ the beliefs of the Wicca religion is entirely outside the scope of the court also.

                                                            What matters is that she believes that providing contraceptives violates her strongly held religious beliefs. If she is lying about those beliefs, the courts can call her out on it. The courts can’t call her out on ‘You do not really seem to be a member of the religion you say you are'(2) or ‘That religion does not seem to hold the beliefs you say you have’.

                                                            1) Which is apparently actually a ‘creed’, I have no idea why they call it a ‘rede’, but all religions think up silly names for things all the time, so I can hardly complain.

                                                            2) They can call her out on not being a member of a specific church if she says she’s a member of that specific one, of course. They just can’t assert she’s not a Methodist because she doesn’t belong to the Methodist church and because her stated beliefs do not line up with what other Methodists says.

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                                                        • So I think the Pope, assuming he doesn’t personally have a belief that it’s immoral or against God’s teachings to use birth control, nevertheless meets his burden on this element by saying “Catholic doctrine prohibits the use of birth control, and I wish to practice the Catholic religion.”

                                                          Not really.

                                                          That may be what the Pope says, but what he actually means is ‘I believe Catholic doctrine prohibits the use of birth control, and I wish to practice the Catholic religion.’

                                                          Or, to put it another way, the opposing side could not introduce, as evidence, that Catholic doctrine doesn’t say that. It doesn’t matter what Catholicism ‘really’ says. It matters that he believes that is what Catholicism says, and he wishes to be a good Catholic even if he doesn’t actually think that rule is that important.

                                                          Likewise, the opposing side will not be entering a claim that the Pope is not truly Catholic.

                                                          Therein lies the potential for perniciousness: anyone can have any belief at all, as long as they 1) call it religious and 2) it involves doing (or not doing) something in the physical world. As a practical matter, no judge or jury nor likely any attorney will question the sincerity of that asserted belief.

                                                          Yes, but, again, I’m not talking about ‘belief’.

                                                          A judge or jury might be unlikely to question the sincerity of a belief, yes. In theory, they can, but it’s unlikely.

                                                          What they won’t be questioning, the debate they absolutely cannot enter into, is if the believer’s religion ‘truly’ has that belief as part of it. They can’t argue that Wicca don’t really believe that stuff, and thus a Wiccan should have no objection.

                                                          And they also can’t make the argument that, yes, Catholics might actually believe that, but, by a person’s actions or other beliefs or whatever, that the plaintiff is not really a Catholic.

                                                          I think a lot of people miss the fact that Trump’s idiotic exception had nothing to do with ‘religious belief’. It granted members of specific religions special rights (Specifically, members of minority religions were privileged in visas.)

                                                          This inherently requires the government trying to figure out what religion someone is.

                                                          Not what religious beliefs they have, not even what religion they claim membership in, but the actual religion they are.

                                                          Which requires, as I said, some sort of checklists of what beliefs are in what religions, and some sort of scoring to put people in different religions, officially.

                                                          Question 1) How many deities do you believe in? If the amount is over 99, just put 100. If you believe in multiple deities that are all aspects of a smaller amount of deities, please indicate the smaller amount here and the larger amount in question #10. Non-sentient but omnipotent supernatural forces belong under question #20.

                                                          Question 132) Are the supernatural entities you believe in generally aspect of: (Check all that apply)

                                                          a) an emotional concept, such as love, war, death, etc.
                                                          b) a physical location,
                                                          c) your deceased ancestors
                                                          d) employees of some other being, such as ‘angels’.
                                                          e) neutral visitors from another plane/dimension/underground/outer space
                                                          ….
                                                          gggg) the Stay-Puff marshmellow man
                                                          hhhh) Langoliers

                                                          Question 21942) If you have not answered questions 3013, 3084, 21932, 21933, 21935, 21937, and 21939 affirmatively, but questions 21934, 21936, 21938, 21940, and 21941 negatively, answer no. Otherwise, answer the following question: When Jesus descended to Hell to proclaim the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there, was that to the Bosom of Abraham, in other words, did that result in Moses being admitted to Heaven?

                                                          Thank you for your time. Your refugee application will be run by our panel of religious experts, and we should get back to you in six or seven years to see if you are eligable for ‘minority religion’ priority status.

                                                          Yes, this is completely idiotic and obviously can’t happen, but I’m not the moron that signed the executive order into effect.

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                                                      • If the law impact only one religion, and you’re not a member of that religion, then the law didn’t impact you and you have no standing.

                                                        A Christian woman cannot sue because of a ban on hijabs. She can say she loves the hijab and thinks God is telling her to wear it, but that just makes her weird, not religious, and certainly not holding a fundamental religious belief that requires her to wear a hijab, because Christianity doesn’t include anything about hijabs.

                                                        In fact, the hijab bans have stood up in courts because the Koran doesn’t dictate them either. To make that determination, courts had to look at what the Koran actually says.

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                                                        • In fact, the hijab bans have stood up in courts because the Koran doesn’t dictate them either. To make that determination, courts had to look at what the Koran actually says.

                                                          And this is where we all discover you have confused lawsuits in other countries with this one.

                                                          There are plenty of countries that give specific protections to specific religions. That say ‘If you are a member of Religion X, you can do Y’.

                                                          That’s…not this country, and I bet you can’t find a single court case in the US where what a religion that someone ‘actually’ is even slightly relevant to outcome.

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                                          • Secondly, as I’ve pointed out when talking about that priority, this (And an outright ban) would require the government deciding who is, and who is not, in what religion.

                                            How do your objections not prevent us from helping Jews during the Holocaust? ISIS is targeting “minorities” (i.e. Jews, Christians, etc) for the openly proclaimed purpose of genocide.

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                                            • We couldn’t help the Jews during the Holocaust because our 1924 immigration act was designed to restrict the entry of Jews. The Nazis found it inspirational.

                                              The horrors of WW-II made us wise up, so in 1965 we changed the law.

                                              Trump’s position is that we should continue to take repressed religious minorities, like Jews, Chaldeans, and Yazidis, while trying to make sure we’re not taking in people whose highest goal is killing Jews and enslaving Yazidis.

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                                            • How do your objections not prevent us from helping Jews during the Holocaust?

                                              So your theory of the correct behavior during Holocaust is that the US government should have sat down, made some sort of panel (Perhaps with some Jewish scholars on it), and figured out what beliefs make up the religion of Judaism.

                                              And then it should have applied that religion test to refugees, and only let in refugees that give answers that the government panel has determined are Officially Jewish?

                                              This is how you think things should have worked.

                                              Maybe we could put a special mark on their driver’s licenses, while we’re at it. Or, I know, we could have them wear an armband.

                                              Oh, did I go too far there? Well, it’s because I’m getting really tired of this argument.

                                              A lot of people are arguing very nonsensical things about what the government ‘can’ do WRT religion, and have failed to even vaguely consider what the government would actually be doing if it implemented those things.

                                              The government cannot say ‘You are Jewish’. The government cannot say ‘You are not Jewish’. The idea that people think we should actually give this power to the government is so anti-American I cannot believe people are still arguing for it after I pointed out what people were demanding the government do.

                                              This is not some vague possible-constitutional area like regulating the zoning of churches, or providing recycled tires to their playgrounds, or use a religion charity as part of adoption services that discriminate against gay couples. It’s not some ‘maybe’ issue, which almost always have to do with the legal fiction of churches having a weird position under the law, where the government regulates and interacts with the church as a legal entity, but isn’t allowed to interact with them WRT to religion, and sometimes this is fuzzy.

                                              But this is not ‘churches’. This is ‘religion’. Pure religion. No interaction is allowed at all.

                                              Allowing the US government to define what religions are and who is a member of them is literally the worst violation of the religion freedom clause that could possible exist, mostly because discrimination based on religion suddenly becomes a billion times easier when people can be legally classified into religions!

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                                              • So if the US government cannot define who is a member of what religion, or address anything religious at all, how could a Jew who was denied the right to vote because of his religion sue his state in federal court?

                                                Yes, some states, including New Hampshire, didn’t let Jews vote until after the Civil War. And good luck getting a ruling about being refused a job in banking, law, medicine, or teaching, or suing an Ivy league school about the restrictive Jewish quotas they used, some until the 1970’s.

                                                Nope. No federal court cases possible on that, because the federal courts can’t rule on religious questions. No siree Bob.

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                                                • So if the US government cannot define who is a member of what religion, or address anything religious at all, how could a Jew who was denied the right to vote because of his religion sue his state in federal court?

                                                  I can’t even start to follow the logic there.

                                                  Him being Jewish or not has no bearing on the outcome of the case. His complaint is that the state government classified him as Jewish, and thus barred him from voting.

                                                  He doesn’t want the Federal government to decide he is, or isn’t, Jewish!

                                                  He wants the state government to stop deciding who is Jewish and basing laws on that!

                                                  Now, if he was fighting this under state law, pre-civil-war, before the 1st was Incorporated, he might indeed want the state to change their determination of his status to non-Jewish, and there might be legal checklist that says if he’s Jewish or not.

                                                  Which is…uh…my point. That sort of determination is not constitutional anymore. Pointing out that it used to be, but is no longer, isn’t proving your point, it’s proving mine!

                                                  And good luck getting a ruling about being refused a job in banking, law, medicine, or teaching, or suing an Ivy league school about the restrictive Jewish quotas they used, some until the 1970’s.

                                                  Anti-discrimination laws do not work that way.

                                                  Those laws bar someone from discriminating on the basis of religion, aka, what they thought someone’s religion was. What religion someone ‘actually’ is is completely irrelevant. (Actually in quotes because there is no such thing as someone’s ‘actual’ religion WRT the government.)

                                                  It’s just as illegal if the victim is not actually Jewish, but the discriminator thought he was.

                                                  Now, the victim, if he is Jewish, might just go ahead state he actually is Jewish, because that’s the fastest way to prove the person who discriminated thought he was Jewish.

                                                  I know you’re trying to figure out a way, under my logic, that the statement ‘He believes I am Jewish because I am Jewish!’ would not be allowed in court, thus disproving what I said. But I will point out that determining someone’s religion against their wishes is not the same as just writing down what they voluntarily say, especially when the court is not deciding ‘Is this person really this religion?’ and instead is deciding ‘Did this guy think this other person is this religion?’

                                                  The First Amendment stops Congress from making certain laws, and it also stop the Executive from making those laws if power is delegated there from Congress. It doesn’t, like, crash the court system if someone mentioned something that laws couldn’t be created about.

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                                                  • Him being Jewish or not has no bearing on the outcome of the case. His complaint is that the state government classified him as Jewish, and thus barred him from voting.

                                                    See, you have two completely different cases there. In one, the plaintiff is suing because he has been incorrectly classified as Jewish and he seeks redress, just as biracial people in the old South might file a court case asserting that they are, in fact, white. And a court would rule on that.

                                                    In the second case, he’s challenging the state law that bars Jews from voting, and challenging it with very little to stand on. White male citizens could vote. Are Jews white male citizens? Even now, it depends who you ask. We even had a Supreme Court ruling that high caste Hindus from India are not white, even though they’re Aryan, and thus they weren’t eligible for citizenship until 1947, when we decided to accept a hundred of them.

                                                    Which is…uh…my point. That sort of determination is not constitutional anymore. Pointing out that it used to be, but is no longer, isn’t proving your point, it’s proving mine!.

                                                    What, did the Constitution change when nobody was looking? Which Amendment was added since the 1970’s? I must have missed it.

                                                    The incorporation of the Establishment Clause is iffy, because it is not an individual right, and because it was written specifically to keep Congress from interfering with the churches established by the states. Maryland, for example, was Catholic. New York was Church of England. Massachusetts was Calvinist. Rhode Island allowed just about everybody, including Jews, but sometimes barred Catholics.

                                                    In Elk Grove Unified School District v Neadow, (542 US 1 – 2004), Justice Thomas, concurring, wrote

                                                    I accept that the Free Exercise Clause, which clearly protects an individual right, applies against the States through the Fourteenth Amendment. See Zelman, 536 U. S., at 679, and n. 4 (Thomas, J., concurring). But the Establishment Clause is another matter. The text and history of the Establishment Clause strongly suggest that it is a federalism provision intended to prevent Congress from interfering with state establishments. Thus, unlike the Free Exercise Clause, which does protect an individual right, it makes little sense to incorporate the Establishment Clause.

                                                    Justice Brennan had earlier expressed the same doubts.

                                                    Now Jewish citizens could certainly vote after the 14th and 15th Amendments, but not that it was still perfectly Constitutional to deny high caste Hindus from immigrating to the United States because of their race, just as it would be perfectly Constitutional to restrict immigration based on religion, or pretty much anything else we want to do, such as not letting in people with VD or TB, or only allowing hotties to come here.

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                                                    • See, you have two completely different cases there.

                                                      I have no idea what you think these complete hypothetical cases tell us, but it’s not anything at all.

                                                      It is, currently, unconstitutional for a state to make rules that treat members of different religions differently. And thus, if someone is subject to one of those rules, the correct procedure is to have the entire law overturned.

                                                      This, previous to Incorporation, was not considered unconstitutional for states to do, as you pointed out there were often state religions. So someone classified under those laws could argue they themselves had been misclassiffied, but that was all.

                                                      It used to be considered constitutional for states to make laws like that, but obviously you could still object to their misenforcement of their laws. Then it was no longer considered constitutional.

                                                      I have no idea why you think this as any bearing. Even if you wish to object to Incorporation of the Establishment Clause in the applicability to the states, our discussion is actually about an executive order issued by the United States president!

                                                      The Establishment clause applies to him. And, yes, it says ‘Congress’, which would be relevant if this some inherent power of the presidency, we could argue if it applied to him or not. But Congress wrote a law giving him that power, and Congress, if barred from doing something, cannot delegate that power to someone else and let them do it!

                                                      The incorporation of the Establishment Clause is iffy, because it is not an individual right, and because it was written specifically to keep Congress from interfering with the churches established by the states.

                                                      You realize that the first part of that sentence is actually what I have been saying, right? The Establishment clause is not intended to grant an individual right to people (That is what the Free Exercise part is for.), it is intended to keep the Federal government from creating laws that interact with ‘religions’ in any manner.

                                                      And, yes, at that time it would have included state-sponsored religions. Although I’m actually pretty sure that state religions were basically vestigial when the constitution was signed.

                                                      Many of the supposed ‘state religions’ were basically just statements in the state constitution restricting certain government positions to Protestants or Christians or people who believed in ‘God Almighty’. Unlike how State religions worked elsewhere, they had had no actual official support in any sense from the state government and not only did the state not have any official intersection point with the religion, a lot of state constitutions spent half their ‘official religion’ text talking about how religion officials are barred from holding office in the state government!

                                                      Most of that stuff disappeared without any comment whenever each the state got around to rewriting their constitution. By the time Incorporation happened (or not), there were only four state religions left, but that was basically just a function of when they rewrote their constitution. (New Hampshire has the weird distinction of having ‘state representatives must be protestant’ in their constitution until 1990, and New Hampshire is not some radical hotbed of Christian Dominionists fighting for the right to a state religion, they’re just lazy bums who didn’t rewrite their constitution.)

                                                      So I find it a bit dubious anyone would think their state’s religion ‘needed protection’, but, okay. I’ll go with it. Because the Establishment Clause does protect that.

                                                      The Federal government couldn’t have said ‘State religions are required to include a belief in transubstantiation.’, for example. Without the Establishment clause, it possibly could.

                                                      Although a more realistic worry might be something like the Federal government deciding that Quakers officially do not count as Protestants, and thus (Under a bunch of didn’t state constitutions.) would not be eligible to serve in their government.

                                                      Which, again, is basically my point. The Federal government cannot decide who is, and who is not, within a religion, because the Federal government has to operate in a universe where religions are not ‘things’ in any sense. Think sci-fi techobabble where they are out of phase with each other…the Federal government can see the result of the religion, it can hear people talk about the beliefs of the religion, and the legal fictional person that has incorporated itself to own the building, but the actual religion itself is not a concept under the law.

                                                      Not because it’s an abstract concept…the US government deals with abstract concepts all the time. Real estate ownership, for example, is just an abstract concept, but the US government has talked about it repeatedly and treated the existence of it as an actual fact. Or, for a more weird example, ‘love’, which has been used for the basis of a lot of marriage law rulings.

                                                      But not religion, because religion is something that US law isn’t allowed to ‘respect’…as in, isn’t allowed to recognize it. In reality, it’s less like being out of phrase, and more like literally just pretending it doesn’t exist.

                                                      Sometimes the government has to fake it, like religion is standing directly where it was going to walk and it has to, for ‘no reason at all’, sorta awkwardly walk around it without ‘seeing’ it.

                                                      Sometimes people talk about religion to it, and it, very carefully, repeats back exactly that the person did say those things, which it has absolutely no opinion on.

                                                      But it has to, with absolute precision, pretend that religions are just words people say and have no objective reality at any level, not even an abstract one. Religious beliefs, sure, those exist, and churches, yeah, we have the corporate paperwork right here. But the religion? No.

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                                                      • Well, no wonder you’re so confused. There is absolutely nothing in the Establishment Clause that says the federal government has to pretend religious beliefs don’t really exist, otherwise the Free Exercise clause would be absolutely meaningless and unenforceable.

                                                        The federal government treats religions as real, and we even have treaties that reference religion and religious beliefs, such as the Treaty of Peace and Amity of 1805.

                                                        As the Government of the United States of America, has in itself no character of enmity against the Laws, Religion or Tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any voluntary war or act of hostility against any Mahometan Nation, except in the defence of their just rights to freely navigate the High Seas: It is declared by the contracting parties that no pretext arising from Religious Opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the Harmony existing between the two Nations; And the Consuls and Agents of both Nations respectively, shall have liberty to exercise his Religion in his own house; all slaves of the same Religion shall not be Impeded in going to said Consuls house at hours of Prayer. The Consuls shall have liberty and personal security given them to travel within the Territories of each other, both by land and sea, and shall not be prevented from going on board any Vessel that they may think proper to visit; they shall have likewise the liberty to appoint their own Drogoman and Brokers.

                                                        We are likewise allowed to use religious tests for entry, and the only argument a plaintiff could bring is that he is misclassified. As Mendel makes clear, if the President’s reasoning is valid on its face, no First Amendment considerations will even be looked at, including the Establishment Clause. It is inoperative.

                                                        The Constitutionality of the law granting the President this power was not even challenged by the 4th or the 9th circuits.

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                                                        • There is absolutely nothing in the Establishment Clause that says the federal government has to pretend religious beliefs don’t really exist, otherwise the Free Exercise clause would be absolutely meaningless and unenforceable.

                                                          You keep trying to put ‘beliefs’ in there.

                                                          The Federal government can certainly treat religious beliefs as real things.

                                                          That is not the same as treating religions as real things, which Congress cannot do.

                                                          The federal government treats religions as real, and we even have treaties that reference religion and religious beliefs, such as the Treaty of Peace and Amity of 1805.

                                                          Yes, use an example from 15 years after the 1st amendment was ratified, I’m sure that’s a valid example of how the 1st amendment is understood today.

                                                          But there’s no way to tell if this would have been considered a first amendment violation, because it’s almost impossible to conceive of how anyone would have standing to challenge it!

                                                          A treaty counts as a law for constitutional reasons when ratified, which means that parts of these treaty are (were?) law. Like the 16th article about not making slaves of captured prisoners. That became law when the treaty was ratified by Congress.

                                                          But the thing you quote, the first part, ‘As the Government of the United States of America, has in itself no character of enmity against the Laws, Religion or Tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any voluntary war or act of hostility against any Mahometan Nation, except in the defence of their just rights to freely navigate the High Seas: It is declared by the contracting parties that no pretext arising from Religious Opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the Harmony existing between the two Nations;‘ is not any sort of US law. It puts no demands on anyone, it did not need to be ratified, and it doesn’t count under ‘Congress shall make no law’.(1)

                                                          The actual ‘legal’ part of article 14, after that fluff, is: the Consuls and Agents of both Nations respectively, shall have liberty to exercise his Religion in his own house; all slaves of the same Religion shall not be Impeded in going to said Consuls house at hours of Prayer. [snip sentence that doesn’t mention religion]

                                                          And the problem for your point is…saying someone can ‘exercise his religion’ is not saying that religions exist. It’s not treating the religion as a real thing, it’s treating the ‘exercise’ as a real thing.

                                                          The exercise, the practice, of religion is a real thing. The government fully admits that human beings go places and do specific things for religious reasons. Just like they admit humans have religious beliefs.

                                                          That is not the same as saying what religion someone is, or what the practices of a religion are, or what the beliefs of a religion are.

                                                          Why don’t you try to produce a treaty or law that shows the US actually doing something WRT ‘religion’?

                                                          Again, not religious beliefs, but actual religion. Like saying that it will admit X Christians a year.

                                                          1) Even if it did make a law, it’s hard to see how someone could have any standing under it to sue, so the lack of being struck down by the court hardly proves anything.

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                                                          • Did you know the US has an ambassador to the Holy See, the leadership of the Catholic Church?

                                                            We can do that because although Congress can make no law respecting an establishment of religion, that was in reference to the several states, many of which did have established religions, such as Massachusetts, whose Constitution (authored by John Adams) says:

                                                            Article III. As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of the public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, To promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.

                                                            He took the Massachusetts constitution he’d written as a model for the US Constitution. Same author. Happy with established churches. Doesn’t want the federal government mucking around with the state decisions.

                                                            Established religions get public funding. In Massachusetts, each town got to decide their religion by majority vote, and that religion got tax money to support it.

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                                                            • Did you know the US has an ambassador to the Holy See, the leadership of the Catholic Church?

                                                              The US notably only recognizes the Holy See because it thinks ‘it’ is a nation state. When the Holy See lost all its territory back in the 1870, the US suspended all relationships with it, and only resumed them well after the Holy See was given Vatican City, on the grounds that it technically now fit all qualifications of a nation state.

                                                              However, that is not actually relevant. The Holy See is, legally, an international organization, and the US government can just as easy have an ambassador to it as it has to the UN.

                                                              Again, you have confused the word ‘church’ with ‘religion’. The US government can recognize the Holy See as the leadership of the legal entity that is the Catholic church, and in fact it does. From the embassy website:

                                                              ‘The Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from Vatican City State, a sovereign, independent territory. The Pope is the ruler of both Vatican City State and the Holy See. The Holy See, as the supreme body of government of the Catholic Church, is a sovereign juridical entity under international law. The United States and the Holy See consult and cooperate on international issues of mutual interest, including human rights, peace and conflict prevention, poverty eradication and development, environmental protection, and inter-religious understanding. Since his inauguration, Pope Francis has acted as a global advocate for human dignity and justice, specifically in his emphasis on the moral imperative of ending trafficking in persons and caring for the poor and marginalized. The United States and the Holy See enjoy a positive relationship that serves to amplify a global message of peace, hope, and justice.’

                                                              Notably missing from that is any sort of statement about religion. There is an entity called the Catholic Church, and the Holy See is in charge of it, and, well, that’s all the US seems to know about that mysterious entity it calls the ‘Catholic Church’.

                                                              Is it a religion? Heck, does it even have religious beliefs? Who can tell?!

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                                                              • And, BTW, I know it sounds like I’m nitpicking, but while there being a fuzziness in regards to the right to practice a religion, and the government interaction with religious institutions, and all sorts of vagueness in the law…

                                                                …the US government having to determine who is, and is not, in a specific religion, as Trump’s EO requires, is way way way past that fuzziness.

                                                                As I said, it’s something that if you actually think ‘How would the US government do this?’, you immediately blanch.(1) It’s not what religious beliefs they publicly say they hold that we can test the sincerity of, it’s what ‘religion’ they are, which means the US government has not only has to honestly determine a bunch of people’s (In another country!) religious beliefs (Even private ones, unlike the stuff people are making court cases out of) and how sincerely they hold them, something which is usually a rather longish trial…

                                                                …they then have to figure out what religion those beliefs officially indicate someone is a member of, which means the government needs to categorize all that shit, and draw lines between religions.

                                                                And it also means they need to figure out if various different sects of a religion count as the same religion or not. here are a lot of people who call themselves Muslims being persecuted by people who call themselves Muslims. But they could also correctly be called Shia Muslims and the people persecuting them Sunni Muslims. Or they could be called mainstream Sunni Muslims and the people persecuting them are Wahhabist Sunni Muslims.

                                                                Please, US government, tell me the Official US Stance whether those are the ‘same religion’ or not. Interject yourself directly in matters of religious doctrine, because there can’t possibly be any sort of constitutional rule against that.

                                                                I mean, they’re all foreigners, so have no constitutional protections…oh, wait, I’m informed that there are approximately 8 million US Muslims who presumably do have some sort of right to not have the US government define what beliefs, exactly, their religion is composed of, even if the government just applies those definitions to non-Americans.

                                                                1) Unless you think the US government is just going to take their word for it (And can never dispute their statements.), which just makes his order very very stupid at the intended idea of keeping out ‘terrorists’.

                                                                And, frankly, I think I have made my point about as well as I possibly can about how Trump’s order prioritizing ‘members of a minority religion’ as refugees is about as non-functional as possible and couldn’t possibly be implemented without massive constitutional problems. Because, again, Trump is a total idiot, and neither he, nor whoever wrote that EO (Bannon, I guess.), have any idea how constitutionally freedom of religion works, or where the tripwires are, and they didn’t bother to even vaguely run it by a lawyer.

                                                                And so I’m done here.

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                                                                • However, that is not actually relevant. The Holy See is, legally, an international organization, and the US government can just as easy have an ambassador to it as it has to the UN.

                                                                  That’s true of every church. Not only are they all international, they’re universal!

                                                                  So now you’ve gone from the government not knowing that religions exist to the government can have ambassadors to them.

                                                                  Notably missing from that is any sort of statement about religion. There is an entity called the Catholic Church, and the Holy See is in charge of it, and, well, that’s all the US seems to know about that mysterious entity it calls the ‘Catholic Church’.

                                                                  Do you really think our Presidents have part of their brains removed with a spoon? Do you really think John Kennedy didn’t know what Catholics believe? We know an immense amount about what various Muslim mosques preach – daily. We use informants and send undercover people in to monitor them. Bush would invite other imams to the White House – in their official capacity.

                                                                  …the US government having to determine who is, and is not, in a specific religion, as Trump’s EO requires, is way way way past that fuzziness.

                                                                  Again with the fantasy version of the EO. Trumps order never even uses the word “Muslim”. Not once. It never uses the word “Christian” either. Yet Obama talked about Muslims and Islams all day long. Obama even had EID celebrations in the White House. So apparently your rule, and the 4th and 9th circuit rulings (which were rejected 9-0) only apply to Trump – because reasons.

                                                                  And this just in. US officials can determine who is Muslim and who is Christian with trivial ease. Ten year olds can do the same with a technique called “asking a few questions”.

                                                                  If I start reciting part of the Lord’s Prayer or the doxology, can you reflexively carry on with it? Then you are a Christian, not a Muslim. If I start reciting part of the Islamic call to prayer, can you finish it? It so, you are probably Muslim, not a Christian. Who was Isa? Who was Nuh? Who was Jibril? Who was Yunas? Who is Iblis? Who was Moses? Who was Joseph? Who was Job? Who were Mathew, Paul, Luke, and John?

                                                                  It’s no harder than figuring out who was Russian and who was German in WW-II. The vast panoply of characters and events they carry around in their heads is almost completely different.

                                                                  And again, there’s nothing that says the US government can’t address religion. The First Amendment says merely that Congress can’t pass a law respecting (with respect to) an Establishment of Religion. Unlike much of Europe, the US would not have an established church. There would be no Church of America, no native version of the Church of England. Nor would Congress pass any law disestablishing a state church, such as existed in Massachusetts and many other states. Nor would Congress pass any laws taxing or regulating any established or non-established church.

                                                                  But of course that’s just Congress. The President was left free to use his pen and phone to do whatever he wants. ^_^

                                                                  Perhaps you object to that interpretation, and would argue that the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from respecting an establishment of religion, not just Congress. But if that’s the case, then no Supreme Court ruling could incorporate the Establishment Clause to the states, because the Supreme Court, as a branch of the federal government, can’t touch established churches either. The federal government has to keep completely hands off with respect to establishments of religion, including have a judge trample all over their right to get state funding and market themselves as the official government religion.

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                                                                  • If I start reciting part of the Lord’s Prayer or the doxology, can you reflexively carry on with it?

                                                                    So your idea is that the government will present a general knowledge test, and declare that people have certain knowledge are one religion, and people who do not have certain knowledge are not?

                                                                    First, congrats on randomly picking the worst possible example as the first ‘test’, as not only are there two different versions of the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible (Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4), but also three different translations of those are in common use (Trespasses vs. sins vs. debts.)

                                                                    Hey, what are you going to do to refugees who refuse to recite it in front of people, citing Matthew 6, which says people should pray in secret…and of course, even if a person doesn’t apply that rule generally, they might still have an objection to a fake recital to prove who they are.

                                                                    And, of course, this assumes refugees have weirdly memorized part of the Bible in a non-native language, which is just dumb.

                                                                    Then you are a Christian, not a Muslim.

                                                                    You think people who can recite the Lord’s prayer are how Christianity is defined? Are you on drugs? There’s a lot of disagreement exactly on how to decide who is a Christian or not, but no one, in the entire history of Christianity, has used ‘memorized the Lord’s Prayer’ as the definition!

                                                                    The Lord’s Prayer is basically the ‘sample prayer’ given in the Bible. While most Western denominations use it in some ritualistic manner, not all denominations do…and I have no idea idea if the Eastern-tradition Christianity you find in, duh, the Middle East often recite it.

                                                                    Being able to recite the Lord’s prayer is pretty good evidence you have grown up in a place where the culture is a) Christian, and b) Western.

                                                                    This is all ignoring the rather larger problem that you have now officially said that the Baptists, the Catholics, and the Latter-Day Saints are all the same religion. Yeah, have fun with those lawsuits.

                                                                    It’s no harder than figuring out who was Russian and who was German in WW-II. The vast panoply of characters and events they carry around in their heads is almost completely different.

                                                                    This law isn’t about determining who grew up in the West vs. who grew up in Muslim nations. That is easy.

                                                                    This law is about determining, among people who grew up in Muslim nations, which are Christians. It’s about refugees!

                                                                    Just like non-Christians in America (Like you, I believe.) are familiar with Christian theology despite not being part of it, Christians in Syria are going to be familiar with Muslim theology. Um, duh. It surrounds every part of their life.

                                                                    Now, it is perhaps true that Muslims in Syria would not generally be familiar with Christian theology, whereas Christians would…but a) trying to figure out exactly what sort of generally knowledge a Syrian Nestorian Christian layperson would know is lots of fun for the government to officially lay out, and b) are we literally asserting that Muslims are incapable of learning what Christians believe? I mean, we’re trying to keep out terrorists, right?

                                                                    Furthermore, you seem to have decided this is for sorting out Christians from Muslims.

                                                                    In actuality, the largest ‘minority religion’, in Syria for example, at 11.3%, are Alawites. Alawites, because you certainly don’t know, assert they are Shia Muslims, but other Shia Muslims disagree for some reason I don’t understand. These are not to be confused with Alevism, which is another somehow dubious Shia Muslim classification, or Ismailism, which is the same sort of thing. Meanwhile, there are 3.2% of other (more ‘legitimate’) sorts of Shia Muslims in Syria.

                                                                    But the most fun is perhaps the Druzes. They are only 3.2%, but are dis-proportionally persecuted. And their religion is, uh, weird, in that it seems to steal from basically a bunch of other religions, mostly Islam. But they are generally not considered Muslims (Not even by themselves), except a few people do.

                                                                    And the Druzes are not to be confused with the Yazidis, who are less Islamic in origins and are a sort of weird monotheistic mix of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and while they are almost a microscopic amount of the Syrian population at 0.2%, as you might suspect ISIS hates them and they are a fairly large target, hence refugees.

                                                                    Maybe we can get some sort of ruling from you at this point exactly where you are drawing the lines of ‘a minority religion’….in Syria.

                                                                    I’m sure it will be easy to come up with tests for those groups, and I’m really really sure that no terrorist could ever come up with the correct answers just by, uh, spending a month or so studying them. (Especially since the US has almost none of them so the questions are basically going to be off a script.)

                                                                    And then we can move on to the other countries!

                                                                    But of course that’s just Congress. The President was left free to use his pen and phone to do whatever he wants. ^_^

                                                                    Perhaps you object to that interpretation, and would argue that the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from respecting an establishment of religion, not just Congress.

                                                                    No, I would say that the first amendment also forbids Congress from delegating their powers to another branch of government that then violates the first. And the president’s control of immigration is entirely delegated.

                                                                    The president can do whatever he wants with religion in regard to inherent powers he has. (Well, he’s still subject to the Equal Protection clause, so not really.)

                                                                    But he can’t be told by Congress ‘We have written a law that says you get to decide things’ and then decide them for or against a certain religion. Congress cannot do unconstitutional things merely by saying that another branch of the government can do them.

                                                                    Which is sorta obvious. Congress can’t pass a law saying the president can make a list of disallowed speech and punishments, and then claim ‘Congress shall make no law….abridging the freedom of speech’ doesn’t apply, because they didn’t actually abridge anything or punish any speech at all, they just let the president do it.

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                                                                    • So your idea is that the government will present a general knowledge test, and declare that people have certain knowledge are one religion, and people who do not have certain knowledge are not?

                                                                      Again, if you can’t tell a Christian from a Muslim in ten minutes of questioning, you must not have any familiarity with either religion. Anyone who couldn’t tell who’s who would have to be so stupid that they could go through an entire prayer service without figuring out if they were in a church, a synagogue, or a mosque. It takes willful stupidity not to tell the difference. Admittedly, we do have a lot of hold overs in the State Department who are in fact that stupid.

                                                                      First, congrats on randomly picking the worst possible example as the first ‘test’, as not only are there two different versions of the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible (Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4), but also three different translations of those are in common use (Trespasses vs. sins vs. debts.)

                                                                      Boom! You just outed yourself as a Christian. No Muslim in the history of Islam could have given your reply. They don’t even think Jesus was resurrected. In many Muslim countries they could be arrested for even having a Bible.

                                                                      Why? Because the Koran and the Bible fundamentally disagree on many of the same characters. They both can’t be right.

                                                                      Hey, what are you going to do to refugees who refuse to recite it in front of people, citing Matthew 6, which says people should pray in secret…and of course, even if a person doesn’t apply that rule generally, they might still have an objection to a fake recital to prove who they are.

                                                                      Boom! More obvious Christians. In fact, it’s whittling them down to perhaps Quakers or Mennonites. If a refugee starts arguing predestination or transubstantiation, or any other obscure point of Christian theology, you are talking to a Christian. And then of course there are insults.

                                                                      Two Maronites who had wandered across the Saudi Border were drinking beer when they were caught by the religious police. They protested that as Christians, they were allowed to drink alcohol. The religious police said they were lying, and were really Muslims. The Maronites insisted they were Christians, so the religious police said “Prove it!” The Maronites said, “Okay. F*** Muhammed!”

                                                                      That joke is considered extremely funny over there. But then everybody over there knows exactly what religion everybody in the neighborhood is. That’s because it’s obvious.

                                                                      No, I would say that the first amendment also forbids Congress from delegating their powers to another branch of government that then violates the first. And the president’s control of immigration is entirely delegated.

                                                                      Then that would mean the Constitutionality of the law should have been challenged. Not even the 4th or 9th did that. Congress has made no law respecting an establishment of religion. What they have done is allow the President to limit the entry of foreigners from certain groups if their arrival is not in the US national interest. Obama did just that multiple times. Obama signed into law the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 which singled out Syrians, Iraqis, and people from several other countries. Nobody challenged the law in court. In fact, Obama came up with the list of countries that Trump temporarily banned travel from.

                                                                      And while these court cases have been going on, Trump has been tightening the vetting procedures, bigly.

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                                                                      • Again, if you can’t tell a Christian from a Muslim in ten minutes of questioning, you must not have any familiarity with either religion.

                                                                        Of the six countries in the original travel banned that had priority given to ‘a minority religion’, while all of them do have Christians, exactly one of them appear to have Christians as the largest minority religion. Pretending the ability to distinguish out Christians solves the problem is idiotic.

                                                                        The largest minority religion in Yemen, of course, is Shia Islam. Likewise, the largest minority religion in Iran is Sunni Islam.

                                                                        The ‘largest’ minority religion in Somilia is some sort of animism, practiced mostly by the Bantu ethnic group. Others, to confuse the issue, do some weird mix of Islam and animism. Sudan has ‘African Traditional Religion’ as a religion tied with Christianity. And I already explained about Syria’s largest minority religion being Alawites.

                                                                        But hey, the largest minority religion Liybia is, indeed Christianity.

                                                                        Boom! You just outed yourself as a Christian. No Muslim in the history of Islam could have given your reply.

                                                                        Really? You’re asserting that no Muslim could learn the Lord’s Prayer? Is this akin to how the Fairies in a Midsummer’s Night Dream mentioned how they could hear the churchbells to show they were not demonic?

                                                                        See, here’s the other problem…you keep pretending that this some sort of guessing game, like some sort of murder mystery, where random people might claim thing but can be tripped up.

                                                                        In reality, these are either refugees or, apparently, terrorists. If they are terrorist and lying about their religion, they presumably prepped for that!

                                                                        Which means you can’t just ask a few random question, especially since, as I pointed out, they are from entirely different cultures. You’d have to have religious experts.

                                                                        So, anyway, the government, after asking all sorts of questions about deeply persona beliefs, discovers that…someone claiming to be a Christian doesn’t believe in eternal damnation for the unsaved! But…all Christians do, don’t they? It’s in the Bible…isn’t it? They quickly page through the Bible, trying to figure this out, and there are a few verses that seem to indicate that, but it turns out there are other versions disputing that. So, wait. Have the wrong people been let in this entire time?!

                                                                        Additionally, some of these minority religions are either completely unknown in the US, so people really could just read the Wikipedia page and make up anything (Do you have any idea what you would ask someone claiming to be an Alawites to figure out if he really is one?).

                                                                        Hey, remember that mix of ‘Islam and animism’ I mentioned above? I wonder exactly how many Somilian Bantu are in America, to legitimately recognize another Somilian Bantu. Have fun with that.

                                                                        Or, easiest of all, they can claim they’re the other major sect of Islam. The two parts of Islam have enough general familiarity with each other to be able to recite the doctrine of the other, and obviosuly one of them has to be in the minority. Or in your universe, are the two sects the same religion? That’s an interesting legal determination for the US government to take.

                                                                        And you may think ‘Oh, the government can just ignore people who seem to not be able to recite their supposed religion perfectly, people trying to enter the country do not have constitutional rights anyway’.

                                                                        But I point out, again, the second the government issues some sort of rule that, even if people call themselves Christians, if they don’t believe in X, Y and Z, or if they believe in W, they are not Christians…

                                                                        …a lot of us Christians in America will be firing up the lawsuits, on the grounds the US government cannot dictate our religion’s belief to other people and doing so harms all members of that religion. (And there’s almost a certainly you can find some people calling themselves Christian who do not hold those beliefs, although that isn’t really a barrier anyway…I’m a Baptist, and thus I believe the US government has no right to dictate what is and isn’t correct Christian beliefs even if they randomly happen to match my beliefs letter-prefect.(I don’t think _anyone_ has the right to dictate that, but other people doing it do not harm me.))

                                                                        Then that would mean the Constitutionality of the law should have been challenged. Not even the 4th or 9th did that.

                                                                        That is not how constitutional challenges work.

                                                                        To challenge the constitutionality of a law, you must have been harmed by the government. In fact, ‘laws’ are not challenged…actions of the government are challenged. When we say a law is ‘stuck down’, we’re technically wrong. The law still exists, it is just that the government has been barred from the action that the law is trying to do.

                                                                        If Congress passed that ‘The President can make a list of things you cannot say and fine people for saying them’, and the president didn’t ever do anything, no one could challenge anything.

                                                                        There are all sorts of laws that give the president broad rights, including things that would be clearly unconstitutional. That doesn’t make ‘the law unconstitutional’, it just means the law cannot be used that way.

                                                                        The ‘priority will be given to refugees that are members of a minority religion’ part was only in effect for seven days, and it doesn’t appear to have actually happened.

                                                                        What they have done is allow the President to limit the entry of foreigners from certain groups if their arrival is not in the US national interest

                                                                        You keep skipping around from what we’re actually talking about. We are discussing whether or not prioritizing people from minority religions would be constitutional.

                                                                        You asserted that it would be, and further assert it would be constitutional to ban people based on religion. So you keep wandering back to the entire order, which is being disputed on the grounds it does that.

                                                                        However, the executive branch seems really sure that theory is not correct, because they’re very loudly arguing that they did not discriminate based on religion. Hint: If someone’s lawyers are desperately trying to argue that X is not true, you probably shouldn’t take the position that X being true would be completely fine and the courts would have no problem with it.

                                                                        If the courts allow the new order to stand, it will because they don’t think it discriminates based on religion, not because they do but that’s fine!

                                                                        Meanwhile, the ‘member of a minority religion’ prioritization was removed from the second order, probably because it was blatantly unconstitutional as I said, and it doesn’t seem to have been in effect to actually effect anyone.

                                                                        So will never be tested by the courts.

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                                                                        • You seem to be stuck on reactor grade… something.

                                                                          Here is a quiz. Even wrong answers are okay. The point is to see if the questions even make sense to someone.

                                                                          1) How old was Methesulah when he died?
                                                                          2) Who knocked over the money-changers’ tables at the temple in Jerusalem?
                                                                          3) Who was born in Bethlehem?
                                                                          4) Who was known as the Nazarene?
                                                                          5) What are the four gospels?
                                                                          6) Who was Paul?
                                                                          7) Who was Samson?
                                                                          8) Who provided loaves of bread and fish to a crowd?
                                                                          9) What happened on good Friday?
                                                                          10) What happened to Jesus in the wilderness?
                                                                          11) What was Jesus’s day job?
                                                                          12) Who was the only virgin to have a baby?
                                                                          13) What do we call the name of the last meal Jesus shared with his followers?
                                                                          14) What did Jesus ride into Jerusalem?
                                                                          15) What are some of the ten commandments?

                                                                          Here’s a fairly equivalent quiz about Islam. How this looks to us is probably how the Christian quiz would look to a Muslim.

                                                                          1) Who was Negus?
                                                                          2) Who is Biraq?
                                                                          3) What happened on the 12th day of Rabi’ ul Awwal?
                                                                          4) What is the zabur?
                                                                          5) What is the significance of Makkah al-Mukarramah?
                                                                          6) Who is Hadhrat Abdullah, and when did he die?
                                                                          8) Who is Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib?
                                                                          9) What is al-Masjid an-Nabawi?
                                                                          10) What happened to Isa at the end of his time on Earth?
                                                                          11) What is the Injeel?
                                                                          12) What happened in the cave of Hira?
                                                                          13) Who is Jibril?
                                                                          14) What must you do before worship?
                                                                          15) Who is Khadijah?

                                                                          How did you do on that second one?

                                                                          To challenge the constitutionality of a law, you must have been harmed by the government. In fact, ‘laws’ are not challenged…actions of the government are challenged. When we say a law is ‘stuck down’, we’re technically wrong. The law still exists, it is just that the government has been barred from the action that the law is trying to do.

                                                                          The plaintiffs had to show harm to have their cases heard challenging Trump’s travel ban. Their lawyers did no challenge the Constitutionality of the law granting Trump the power to do what he did.

                                                                          The Supreme Court ruled against the lower courts in a 9-0 decision, and the only dissents were that the Supreme Court should have gone farther because it’s probably that Trump will win every aspect of the case.

                                                                          The United States is allowed to use religious tests for entry. We are allowed to do pretty much anything regarding immigration. Under Mandel courts are not even allowed to consider First Amendment questions if the reason for barring entry looks legitimate on its face. Was the reason given for refusal logically stated as US interests? If so, the court’s job stops there. That is the controlling precedent.

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                                                                          • You are assuming, for some completely unknown reason, that people attempting to sneak into this country would be pretending to be Christians, which is literally the stupidest religion to pretend to be here.

                                                                            Please produce that list on Alawites. Note it is extremely unlikely we’ll be able to find a member of that religion to ask the question, so you’ll need to produce a large enough list that the first guy to get questions can’t just tell the next guy the questions and he can Google them.

                                                                            And then…figure out exactly how to test the Bantus that have, as I said, Islam with animism mixed in.

                                                                            And figure out exactly what you’re going to do to the guy who claims he converts to Christianity a couple of days ago based off a religious tract left by a missionary and has no idea of any of this stuff.

                                                                            Stop pretending that the problem is ‘detecting people who falsely claim to have been Christian all their life’ and if you can do that, you have solved the problem. If terrorists are so dumb they can’t figure out how to lie, we might as well just ask them ‘Are you a terrorist?’ and bar the people who say yes. (Which we actually already do, so problem solved!)

                                                                            The plaintiffs had to show harm to have their cases heard challenging Trump’s travel ban. Their lawyers did no challenge the Constitutionality of the law granting Trump the power to do what he did.

                                                                            You keep talking as if you don’t realize we’re talking about a specific part of Trump’s order, the priorities of prioritizing ‘members of a minority religion’, a part that wasn’t challenged under the first executive order, and isn’t in the second one.

                                                                            No one challenged that part, because the State department didn’t appear to ever do that, and now it no longer active, so no one will challenge it in the future.

                                                                            The United States is allowed to use religious tests for entry.

                                                                            No. Not is is not. The fact you think so does not change that fact, and again I point you to how the president’s lawyers are arguing that the order does not filter based on religion, which means they are aware that arguing he has the right to do so is on dubious grounds.

                                                                            To dissect the first amendment again, and for the last time: With speech, Congress is merely forbidden from preventing speech, and the courts have held that blocking someone from immigrating is not preventing speech. They can keep talking, they just can’t be here.

                                                                            Likewise, Congress is not allowed to prevent the exercise of religion, under which the same logic could mean that keeping people from immigrating is not preventing anything. They can keep practicing their religion, they just can’t be here. And if the first amendment stopped there WRT religion, your logic would be good.

                                                                            But it doesn’t stop there. Under the first amendment, the government is also not allowed to respect an establishment of religion. That has generally been understood to mean the government cannot interact with religions at all. The fictional corporate person called ‘the church’, yes, as long as it’s done in a religiously neutral manner. But the actual religions itself Congress is supposed to keep away from. (And note that ‘Congress’ has not only been held to include things like delegated authority, but even stuff like paying for things. Those are paid immigration agents, paid by laws established by Congress, in fact the entire government agency exists by an act of Congress. And thus they cannot do things that Congress cannot make laws about.)

                                                                            Or, to put it another way…in all of US law, from top to bottom, you will find no point where the US government attempted to define various religions, and is very likely if such a thing got in front of the courts, the courts would strike it down, even if it was not used to enforce anything.

                                                                            In some hypothetical world where the US Congress to assert that the proper Christian belief is that Jesus rose from the dead, or that Mormons were officially not Christians…you are arguing that is constitutional, as long as no one was punished for believing otherwise. This is…uh…a really dumb argument. Those laws would not stand. The courts would leap in there and block them the second someone shows up and say ‘The government is trying to define my religion in opposition to what I believe’.

                                                                            And as it’s unconstitutional to say what beliefs a religion has, it doesn’t matter if it’s hypothetically possible to filter immigrants based on religion. There are not, and cannot be, any ‘religions’ under the law to base those filters on! (Unless the theory is that we’re just going to accept whatever answer they give. Which makes the entire thing pointless.)

                                                                            I.e., the question isn’t ‘Can immigrants be subject to religion tests?’. The question is literally can the government create a religion test, at all, in any form whatsoever, irrespective of who it is applied to or how or if there’s any punishment.

                                                                            And I assert the answer to that question is not only no, but clearly no,and everyone on Trump’s legal team seems to agree because they running like panicked chickens away from the idea that his order did any such thing, and they removed the part of the order that did any religious testing at all.

                                                                            Whether or not Trump’s current EO is constitutional is unsure, but we’re not sure as a matter of fact, not as a matter of law. If it does do religious filtering, it is unconstitutional…we’re just not sure if the courts think it does do that.

                                                                            And with that, I’m done. I’ve stated it as clearly as possible.

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                                                                            • First off, regarding knowing the religion of refugees – we already know that. The government has already been noting what religion they are, and we have been counting how many refugees of various religions have been allowed in. We already had a religious test for entry, and it virtually prohibited the entry of Christians from Iraq and Syria. Although making up about 11% of Syrians and 8% of the population of Iraq, and are expressly targeted by ISIS. Yet the percentage of the area’s Christian refugees allowed into the US is essentially zero. That was the State Department’s policy under Obama. Apparently you have no Constitutional issues with rejecting Christians because of their religion.

                                                                              Thus, your entire argument fails.

                                                                              under the first amendment, the government is also not allowed to respect an establishment of religion. That has generally been understood to mean the government cannot interact with religions at all.

                                                                              The first Amendment doesn’t say “Congress shall make no law respecting a religion.” It says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. An establishment of a religion is a church that’s backed and funded by a government, such as the Church of England or the Church of Norway.

                                                                              The government interacts with religions all the time. Congress even has official chaplains. Imagine that!

                                                                              The idea that the Establishment Clause was incorporated, and thus prevents religions from interacting with government in any way, is dubious and illogical, because the Establishment Clause expressly prohibited the federal government from interfering in the states’ stances regarding religions. The Establishment Clause means the federal government “won’t touch that.” That means the Supreme Court “won’t touch that”. That means the Supreme Court doesn’t have the power to strike down any establishment of religion.

                                                                              States were allowed to have state funded religions, and they maintained those long after the adoption of the Constitution. As the 14th Amendment didn’t specifically say it was repealing part of the First Amendment, indeed completely reversing its meaning, and any reading whereby it did so must be wrong. No court ruling indicated that it might have done so until 1947, almost eighty years after the Amendment was ratified.

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                                                                              • I am no longer talking about your incorrect interpretation of the first amendment, as I have explained that as well as I can. Nor will I be drawn into your discussions about how it should not have been Incorporated, whcih seems completely irrelevant when discussing the actions of the Federal government and immigration. (Although I will point out that your interpration of how things are supposed to work sounds like how I think the second amendment was supposed to work and thus that it shouldn’t have been Incorporated. Weird.)

                                                                                But I will address your brand new claim, and then your brand new conspiracy theory:

                                                                                The government has already been noting what religion they are, and we have been counting how many refugees of various religions have been allowed in.

                                                                                That’s not the US government asking. That’s the UN and NGOs. The US government just sorta ends up with the results when the UN/NGOs finish what they are doing and they say ‘Hey, this guy seems to be a legit refugee, what country will take him?’ and the US government steps forward, gets handed paperwork, and does even more checks. (There’s a reason the process can take months. You first get vetted by NGOs, and then handed to the US via the UN, and then the US runs you through State and Homeland and other parts of itself.)

                                                                                You want to assert that the US should legally erase their religious identification when it’s handed to them, feel free. No one really seems to care. Heck, maybe they do already erase it, because I’m not seeing the stats on the US government site: http://www.wrapsnet.org/admissions-and-arrivals/

                                                                                It’s entirely possible that the stats everyone are using about the religion of refugees admitted into the US are because the UN publishes information on who the US accepts, not because the US keeps track of it.

                                                                                Yet the percentage of the area’s Christian refugees allowed into the US is essentially zero. That was the State Department’s policy under Obama. Apparently you have no Constitutional issues with rejecting Christians because of their religion.

                                                                                This is a right-wing myth. Well, actually, you got the myth slightly wrong, the right-wing claim is actually that Syrian Christians are being barred.

                                                                                This is because, for an example of a country that was included in the first executive order (but not the second) are over 15% of refugees from Iraq are Christian, and the Christian population of Iraq is only 0.8%.

                                                                                But almost no Syria refugees are Christians. Why? Well, it’s not due to any policy reasons, as there are no policies in that regard. And other countries do not seem to be getting Christians from Syria either!

                                                                                In reality, there are two reasons why there do not seem to be hardly any Syria Christian refugees:

                                                                                The first is that Christians generally do not support the rebels at all (As the rebels are all mostly Muslims groups.), so aren’t subject to Assad persecution. Syria Christians, in fact, are sorta being actively courted by Assad in any attempt to frame the revolution against him as entirely Islamist, which also is a way to keep the Russians on his side.

                                                                                If you actually google this topic, you will find a lot of articles that are desperately trying to change Syrian Christian’s minds about this, claiming that Assad is not actually their friend, which I agree with…but, whatever the motives, he is not targetting Christians. They aren’t generally being persecuted by his government…for now. He probably will turn on them as soon as he doesn’t need them…although that does risk Russia’s wrath, so who knows. But he’s not turned on them yet, at least.

                                                                                And that just leaves us with ISIS. But not a lot of Christians live in ISIS-controlled areas, so aren’t subject to ISIS persecution. Here’s a map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Syria#/media/File:Syria_Ethno-religious_composition..jpg

                                                                                Admittedly, that’s from 1976, but the areas are generally correct-ish. The Christians live sorta pressed up against the Alewites, and neither of them want anything to do with ISIS. (The Alewites are a Shia sect, which means the Sunni-Wahhabi based ISIS loathes them, and they’re not even, like, ‘officially-correct’ Shia.) ISIS doesn’t have any sway there.

                                                                                Now, those maps aren’t absolute, of course, I’m sure some Christians did live in ISIS-controlled areas, but they don’t need to claim ‘refugee status’, they can just move somewhere else! I mean, I’m sure the escape from ISIS is harrowing, but they don’t need to flee the country, they can just move into Assad-controlled territory. (A lot of them also seem to be moving to Lebanon, but they can do that just by moving there, not being ‘refugees’.)

                                                                                With regard to the conspiracy theory that Trump and the far right (But I repeat myself) put out that Obama is somehow causing this instead…that cannot possibly be true, as the UN (And various NGOs) are actually in charge of refugees and processing them first, and they says there are almost no Syrian Christian refugee applications. So this can’t possibly be any conspiracy of Obama’s State Department…if it’s a conspiracy, it’s a conspiracy of the UN. Which raises two points:

                                                                                a) Why is the UN only doing it to Syria? Because the Sudan has tons and tons of Christian refugees, and they’re making it through fine.

                                                                                b) How exactly can the Trump administration ‘prioritize’ Christians if there’s a UN/NGO conspiracy not to pass them along to the US (or anyone else) anyway? I mean, if this was actually true, the solution is not to ‘prioritize’ refugee applications we aren’t being handed anyway, the UN needs to stop requiring applicator to have UN or NGO referrals in the first place!

                                                                                And, of course, this conspiracy doesn’t make any sense as several of the NGOs working with the UN are, in fact, Christian organizations, and even more non-refugee aid organizations are Christian that would see the problem even if not involved, and if there actually were a notable amount of Christians being specifically ignored as refugees we would have heard screams of outrage from them (Much like we are hearing screams of outrage when we cut refugee admittance, and how they have been screaming for decades that the refugee system is operating vastly below the capacity it needs to operated.) instead of the only ‘evidence’ of this being statistics. But, that’s using my fancy-pants ‘logic’.

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                                                                                • Obama’s state department spokesman explained why we don’t take Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria, at some length. It was shameful. First, he said that we only take refugee that have gone through the UN process. That’s willful on Obama’s part, because we know Christians can’t go through the UN process because they’ll be attacked in the Muslim-dominated UN run refugee centers. All the Christians over there know this. All the reporters know this.

                                                                                  A competent administration (which Obama’s was not) would have reached out to the places that were taking in Christian refugees, which were Christian churches, and hand out refugee applications there. But Obama didn’t want to accept Christian refugees, so we didn’t do that. We could have done that, but then we’d have to take in Christians, and Obama didn’t want to do that.

                                                                                  The State Department’s second line of argument is that none of the Christians qualify as refugees because they’re not being victimized by a government. That’s true, as long as you don’t count the caliphate as a government, and as long as you don’t think people can be refugees because they’re fleeing from ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, or any of the many Muslim militias who behead Christians.

                                                                                  These are the same kind of people who would make up elaborate legal excuses to make sure Jews ended up in Auschwitz instead of Brooklyn.

                                                                                  So the US policy under Obama, as enforced and implemented, as that we would take Muslim refugees from Syria but not Christian refugees.

                                                                                  And it worked very well. In FY 2016 we took in 12,587 Syrian refugees. 12,486 were Muslims, while only 68 were Christians (16 Catholics, 9 Orthodox, 5 Protestants, and 38 others not specified).

                                                                                  We were much looser with Iraq, and in calendar year 2016 we took in 779 Catholics, 100 Chaldeans, 3 evangelicals, and 3 Greek Orthodox.

                                                                                  How do I know this? By checking the stats published by the Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, Office of Admissions – Refugee Processing Center, that maintains a wildly detailed religious database. They track religions I’ve never heard of.

                                                                                  In 2014 we accepted two Buddhists from Cuba. In 2013 we got a Hindu from Cambodia and three Congolese Mennonites.

                                                                                  If you check the refugee applications, you’ll see that it says we can take refugees based on religion, race, political beliefs, and other things.

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                                                                                  • Obama’s state department spokesman explained why we don’t take Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria, at some length.

                                                                                    Erm, we do take Christian refugees from Iraq. A I mentioned, over 15% of the refugees from Iraq are Christian…which is a bit astonishing from a country that is only 0.8% Christian.

                                                                                    A competent administration (which Obama’s was not) would have reached out to the places that were taking in Christian refugees, which were Christian churches, and hand out refugee applications there.

                                                                                    An even more incompetent administration, meanwhile, would propose setting up ‘prioritization’ of Muslims…in a system that you are claiming does not allow any Muslims in it.

                                                                                    Good thinking!

                                                                                    But Obama didn’t want to accept Christian refugees, so we didn’t do that.

                                                                                    He doesn’t want any Christian refugees, except for the vast amount of refugees we accept from the Congo Which is the largest source of refugees, and 93% of them are Christian.

                                                                                    The State Department’s second line of argument is that none of the Christians qualify as refugees because they’re not being victimized by a government. That’s true, as long as you don’t count the caliphate as a government, and as long as you don’t think people can be refugees because they’re fleeing from ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, or any of the many Muslim militias who behead Christians.

                                                                                    There are basically three areas of Syria:

                                                                                    1) The ‘normal’ parts of Syria (Normal in the system that there are not bands of thugs roaming the streets murdering people.). This area include all the large Christian areas. Refugees…do not come from here.

                                                                                    2) The rebel-strong areas, places Assad is bombing, and occasionally, chemical gassing. People in those ares can claim refugee status, as they are being attacked based on their political beliefs. These areas do not have a lot of Christians in them, or a lot of minority religions in general.

                                                                                    This is where the vast majority of Syrian refugees are coming from. They are Muslim, but they are not fleeing anything because they are Muslim…they are fleeing because they live in areas that rebels are based, and Assad doesn’t particularly mind killing innocent bystanders, as we have seen.

                                                                                    3) The ISIS-controlled areas. This area is a war zone with quasi-government borders, and people generally just get killed by ISIS if they are not happy. They cannot walk out and claim refugee status, not because they would not be granted it, but because they cannot walk out!

                                                                                    Of course, there are always ways to sneak cross such a large border, but the people who do eventually escape would be people who publicly were Sunni Muslim so didn’t get killed at first, but felt threatened that ISIS would eventually take issue with ‘how good a Sunni Muslim’ they were. Everyone else, all the Christians, Shias, and any other non-Sunni Muslims, probably just got shot in the street immediately when ISIS took over. Corpses cannot claim refugee status.

                                                                                    What is actually happening is, in advance of ISIS, Christians anywhere near them are packing up and flying to Lebanon, or moving to the Christian areas. Same with other religious minorities. Muslims might be willing to risk it .vs giving up all their stuff…no one else is.

                                                                                    You are asserting that the State Department is, instead, saying that these people are showing up, but it is denying them refugee status. Please produce evidence of the State Department saying this. 56 Christians actually sounds about right of ‘The US’s share of Christians who got trapped, managed to hide their status, and eventually sneak out’.

                                                                                    By checking the stats published by the Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, Office of Admissions – Refugee Processing Center, that maintains a wildly detailed religious database.

                                                                                    Hey, fun fact….that data actually proves the UN is gathering it, as I said.

                                                                                    Howso? Because they spell it ‘Moslem’. And ‘Suni’.

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                                                                                    • Erm, we do take Christian refugees from Iraq. A I mentioned, over 15% of the refugees from Iraq are Christian…which is a bit astonishing from a country that is only 0.8% Christian.

                                                                                      You must have Christianity confused with Zoroastrianism, because there are a heck of lot more Iraqi Christians than that. Tariq Aziz was Christian. It’s the third most common religion there, and even the far less numerous Yazidis make up 3% of the population.

                                                                                      Hey, fun fact….that data actually proves the UN is gathering it, as I said.

                                                                                      What color is the sky on your world? On this planet it’s blue. Here our State Department tracks the religion of every refugee, no matter where they come from, including ones who never ever met anyone from the UN. That’s how we know we took in two Cuban Buddhists. Cubans don’t go through the UN to get here. In fact, very very few refugees go through the UN to get here.

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                                                                                      • You must have Christianity confused with Zoroastrianism, because there are a heck of lot more Iraqi Christians than that. Tariq Aziz was Christian. It’s the third most common religion there, and even the far less numerous Yazidis make up 3% of the population.

                                                                                        Dude: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Iraq

                                                                                        The Christian population massively dropped in Iraq since 2003, thanks to the invasion, losing about 2/3rds of them due to fleeing. And the country never stabilized enough for them to want to move back before ISIS showed up.

                                                                                        Current estimates put the Christian population at under 500,000, which, is indeed about 0.8% of the population. And almost all the ones remaining have ended up under the protection of the Kurds and have absolutely no reason to flee further.

                                                                                        So, there were plenty of Iraqi Christian refugees, they just already happened. They’ve been moving out of Iraq or into Kurdistan since 2004 or so!

                                                                                        Basically, 99% of Iraqi Christians were either already a refugee and now is living somewhere in America or Australia or something…or they’re an ‘internally displaced person’ in Kurdistan, so none of them are going to show up as new refugees.

                                                                                        Iraqi non-Kurdish religions have literally run out of Christians to persecute.

                                                                                        Cubans don’t go through the UN to get here. In fact, very very few refugees go through the UN to get here.

                                                                                        Pssst…those people who show up on the shore in Florida? They are not refugees…they are asylum seekers. That is not the same thing.

                                                                                        Refugees are people who are approved in advance to come to this country. All refugees show up with paperwork…and they have an organization here to meet them, and a house to live in, and someone to teach them how to fit into this country, and some sort of way they can earn money.

                                                                                        Anyone else? Not a refugee.

                                                                                        The total amount of people from Cuban who immigrated to the US in 2016 were 56,406.

                                                                                        The grand total of Cuban refugees from Cuba in that time people were…432.

                                                                                        And contacting UNHCR is basically way you can become a refugee.

                                                                                        Basically, the way it works is, before the US will even talk to you, there has to be determination that you are, in fact, a refugee, which means they (and everyone else) will point you at the UNHCR, who will say ‘You are now officially a refugee.’ (There are also some NGOs that basically work for the UNHCR that can certify that instead. ) At which point they can talk to different places and try to find someone willing to take them.

                                                                                        I have found exactly two ways to skip the UN or their NGOs. The first is when a blanket determination is issued by the president that ‘Everyone who is fleeing X shall be considered a refugee’, and refugee can then skip the UNHCR if they can produce some evidence they qualify. I can’t seem to find this ever happening, just people talking about how it ‘can’ happen.

                                                                                        Also, apparently, US ambassadors can refer people to the US as refugees personally. Note this different from someone showing up at the embassy of the country that is persecuting them and claiming asylum there because they’re now ‘in the US’. To be a refugee would require someone fleeing to another country (Not the US) and somehow getting the ambassador from the US to that second country to authorize their processing.

                                                                                        Neither of those hypothetical exceptions seem to ever happen. And they would present some weird problems considering that the UN is still normally involved in the process even after the US starts working with the refugees, which means they’d still sorta have to go through the UN anyway or wouldn’t get some help.

                                                                                        So, yes, in reality, all refugees are first processed by the UN.

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                                                                                        • Note this different from someone showing up at the embassy of the country that is persecuting them and claiming asylum there because they’re now ‘in the US’.

                                                                                          I could have sworn I made a footnote to that.

                                                                                          Here is the footnote: That doesn’t work anyway. Embassies are not literally the soil of the country that has them, they are just treated as their soil.

                                                                                          So people cannot claim asylum in an embassy. You are not ‘really’ in that country.

                                                                                          Also, if someone is trying to get asylum in an embassy because they are persecuted by their own government, they are screwed, because embassies are not allowed to transport non-diplomats of a country out of that country against the wishes of their government.

                                                                                          This restriction applies even to citizen of the embassy’s country! I, a US citizen, can’t duck into the US embassy in China while being chased by the Chinese police and try to get the US embassy to airlift me out. The US embassy is not going to do that, because they are not allowed to do that. Granted, they can’t be charged with a crime for it, they’re diplomats, they could stick me in diplomatic pouch and carry me out and China couldn’t legally do anything to them or me…but that sort of shit will get the entire embassy kicked out of the country.

                                                                                          So if they won’t do that for a citizen, they certainly won’t do that for some random asylum seeker. Well, unless relationships have totally broken down between the governments, and the entire damn embassy is leaving, they might take people with them…aka, the evacuation of Saigon.

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                                                                                            • I was thinking of some dissidents who ended up living in the US Embassy in Moscow for several years during the Cold War.

                                                                                              In any event, David pulls this shit all the time, where he confuses his particular recollection on interpretation as actual reality. God forbid you explain him otherwise.

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                                                                                            • Julian Assange?

                                                                                              We were talking about refugees and asylum seekers who are trying to get into the US, and how you can’t do that via an embassy. There is no way to walk into a US embassy that ends up with you on the roles as a legally recognized person granted asylum in the US, at least not officially.

                                                                                              I have no idea what sort of rules Ecuador embassies have. Maybe you can enter them and ask for asylum in Ecuador! Assange did eventually, after a month in the embassy, get real asylum in Educador…except he cannot get there, making that a bit moot. (A problem that all asylum seekers at embassies would would face.)

                                                                                              But we were talking about real asylum in the actual country being granted via an embassy visit, not the absurdly rare situation where people are granted asylum within an embassy, which is a completely different situation. Granting asylum in an embassy is something that the US, in fact no one at all, is supposed to do, and there’s no stated legal process to apply for it.

                                                                                              Diplomatic missions, including embassies, are protected by the law to allow diplomats and their family and staff to operate without threat of the host government. They are not supposed to hold random people or allow random people to operate without threat of the host government! Embassies are also supposed to obey the local law even if staff can’t be arrested for breaking them, so technically, the Ecuadorian embassy is in violation right now.

                                                                                              So Educador is only getting away with it because the UK allowed it. In fact, the UK government openly asserted the right to send police in to arrest Assange:

                                                                                              https://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/aug/16/julian-assange-ecuador-embassy-asylum

                                                                                              The UK didn’t pursue that because the UK, frankly, did not care about Assange enough to do that. And I am not sure about the legality of sending police in. Yes, it seems to violate a treaty, but if the police didn’t actually attempt to arrest any staff or look at diplomatic papers, it is not really any violation of the concept of embassies…and even if it is, what can Ecuador do about it? Withdraw the embassy? That solves the problem!

                                                                                              But if the UK had really wanted Assange, they legally could demand that Ecuador shut down the diplomatic mission and leave, (Which the UK has the perfect right to do.), gone in and arrested Assange while the place legally wasn’t a diplomatic mission (Assuming the Ecuadorians didn’t kick Assange out as they left.), and then invite Ecuador back in the next day.

                                                                                              The entire idea of asylum in an embassy is both somewhat politically dubious to start with, as it’s a violation of the rules that embassies are supposed to follow…and it doesn’t work particularly well if the host county really cares.

                                                                                              But it does, incredibly rarely, happen. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We’ve done it before. At an embassy in China. Until China started getting tetchy about it and we were like ‘Yeah, we don’t really have any legal right to keep doing this’ and made the guy leave.

                                                                                              But…none of this really relevant to the discussion I was having with George. We were talking about refugees and asylum seekers who are trying to get into the US, and how you can’t do that via an embassy. There is no way to walk into a US embassy that ends up with you as a legally recognized refugee granted asylum in the US.

                                                                                              You can’t do that both because we won’t consider it, we won’t consider any asylum requests at all at embassies, which is just be a US law and other countries might do differently….and because we can’t take people out of the country against the wishes of that country, which is true for everyone. (1)

                                                                                              Whether you can get asylum within the embassy and live in it is something else entirely. That’s something that, officially, no one ‘allows’, but countries sometimes do anyway. It’s like a ‘once a decade in the entire world’ thing.

                                                                                              1) OTOH, not all asylum seekers are fleeing their government. Perhaps there could be some religious mob trying to kill the guy, and the government itself is not going to block that person’s removal. So there are ways that granting asylum to people in the embassy and flying them out of the country could make sense, if the persecuting people are not the government. But, again, the US will not do this, by law.(2) Other countries might.

                                                                                              2) The US government, however, will give temporary refugee to people being chased by mobs at embassies. It’s weirdly an actual stated policy. But it’s very temporary, when the mob leaves, you have to leave too.

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                                                                                        • Current estimates put the Christian population at under 500,000, which, is indeed about 0.8% of the population. And almost all the ones remaining have ended up under the protection of the Kurds and have absolutely no reason to flee further.

                                                                                          Current estimates are as high as 1.2 million, perhaps more. And 0.8% of the current population would only be about 280,000, not 500,000. And if they fled to Kurdistan, then they’re still in Iraq. It’s not a separate country yet.

                                                                                          Pssst…those people who show up on the shore in Florida? They are not refugees…they are asylum seekers. That is not the same thing.

                                                                                          Then why is their religion tracked by the US State Department Refugee program? Well that would be because an asylum seeker is a person who has submitted an application under the Convention on the Status of Refugees, whereas a refugee is an asylum seeker whose application has been approved.

                                                                                          You can show up here and ask for asylum, and if we grant it you become a refugee. Russian athletes used to do this all the time. Cuban athletes still do. We admit a lot of Iraqis on the Special Immigrant Visa, as refugees, with no UN involvement at all. That’s how the military gets their Iraqi translators here.

                                                                                          And from the State Department itself

                                                                                          How does the U.S. Government decide who qualifies for refugee status under this program and who doesn’t?

                                                                                          The Department of Homeland Security has the authority to make this decision. Under U.S. law, a refugee must have a well-founded fear of persecution based on one of the five “protected grounds”:

                                                                                          • Religion

                                                                                          The first criteria listed by the US government is religion.
                                                                                          .
                                                                                          That’s because our government can and does admit or not admit people on the basis of religion.

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                                                                                          • Then why is their religion tracked by the US State Department Refugee program?

                                                                                            Did you miss the part where I said it isn’t?

                                                                                            Here is where they keep their stats:
                                                                                            https://www.state.gov/j/prm/releases/statistics/

                                                                                            Follow that link. Click Reports. Look at Cuba refugees in 2016. 432 of them.

                                                                                            You can show up here and ask for asylum, and if we grant it you become a refugee. Russian athletes used to do this all the time. Cuban athletes still do.

                                                                                            *sigh*

                                                                                            The only site that *I* have found, because you seem completely unable to provide any links at all, are entirely listing refugees who come here via the refugee programs, which means they actually filled out UN paperwork, which means the US government didn’t ask their religion.

                                                                                            I have not found anywhere that lists people who have show up and asked for asylum.

                                                                                            Moreover, all this is completely idiotic. As I said at the very start of all this, while I don’t think the US government is the entity asking what religion they are, (And the organization publishing that info is actually a quasi-non-profit operated by State) that is completely irrelevant to my point anyway.

                                                                                            The US government asking that of refugees is not a violation of anyone’s right except refugees, and they don’t have rights before they get here

                                                                                            What I have asserting that the US government questioning someone’s statement about what religion they say they are (Even someone with no rights) is a violation of the rights of other people in that religion.

                                                                                            If it just asks those people and believes them, it is not any sort of issue, anymore than it is an issue to ask what religion people are on the census and just publish those results. (Although Americans have a right not to answer that…as do, I suspect, refugees.)

                                                                                            We admit a lot of Iraqis on the Special Immigrant Visa, as refugees, with no UN involvement at all. That’s how the military gets their Iraqi translators here.

                                                                                            People on Special Immigrant Visa are not refugees, and I don’t know why you think they are.

                                                                                            Refugees, weirdly, do not seem to have any sort of visas in the US. They instead have refugee papers..or maybe those count as a visa (A visa is just government-issued permission to enter the country, and that is government-issued permission.), but it doesn’t seem to be any of the standard visas issued, unlike ‘Special Immigrant Visas’, which are.

                                                                                            Asylum seekers do not need visas, already being in the country. Or at least at the entrance to the country, where if they are allowed in, they presumable would be required to enter immediately, so don’t need paperwork to allow them to enter later.

                                                                                            The first criteria listed by the US government is religion.

                                                                                            No it’s not.

                                                                                            The first criteria listed by the US government is ‘a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion’.

                                                                                            That’s because our government can and does admit or not admit people on the basis of religion.

                                                                                            I can’t even imagine how you still think that is how it works.

                                                                                            The US government admits people because those people will be persecuted based on religion. It does not admit them ‘based on religion’, it is entirely determined by whether or not they will be persecuted. (Well, whether or not their belief they will be persecuted is ‘well-founded’. Refugees don’t have to literally prove something will happen in the future.)

                                                                                            That’s not just the US government, that’s literally the entire premise of refugees. It is entirely based on possibility of persecution for five specific things.

                                                                                            The law, and by the law I mean both US law and international law because the US basically developed the international law so it exactly matches, both make a very clear point that the actual status of those five things is irrelevant. If someone is being persecuted ‘because they are a Christian’ even though they are actually a Muslim, they are still entirely eligible for refugee status.

                                                                                            This is not even slightly up for debate. That is how refugee law is entirely structured and it makes deliberate points of saying that.

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                                                                                            • People on Special Immigrant Visa are not refugees, and I don’t know why you think they are.

                                                                                              Because the State Department says so. According to them, about 20% of refugees come through other channels, not the UN, and according to the State Department, religion is one of the criterion. Also, according to the US government, the religious vetting is extensive, even digging down into what church, mosque, or synagogue people attended, who ran it, and how often the attended, because religion is extremely important.

                                                                                              You seem to have an elaborate fantasy version of what the US government can and can’t do. We can exterminate people on the basis of religion. We can take or refuse refugees on the basis of religion. That’s because religion is real thing. It exists. Many wars are fought over nothing else.

                                                                                              The right to keep and bear arms is inviolate. The federal government can’t even infringe on it, yet the ATF has a book of regulations two inches thick that every gun owner must comply with. The free expression of religion is far more tenuous. The government can’t prohibit the free exercise thereof, but it can infringe all over that freedom or they would’ve said, as they did in the 2nd Amendment, that the government can’t infringe on the free exercise of religion. The 1st Amendment does not say that. That 1st Amendment says the can’t completely prohibit it.

                                                                                              Does Trump’s EO ban the practice of Islam in the US? No, it does not. But given the two inch federal rule book on firearms, on which the government cannot infringe, Trump could have required all US Muslims to start every prayer service with a dedication to Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior, with a bow no less than 3.5 inches from the floor, but not repeated faster than 10 bows per minute, while not wearing a robe carrying any Islamic symbol, and with fleet splayed outwards, with exceptions for people with less than two intact legs.

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                                                                                              • Because the State Department says so. According to them, about 20% of refugees come through other channels, not the UN, and according to the State Department, religion is one of the criterion. Also, according to the US government, the religious vetting is extensive, even digging down into what church, mosque, or synagogue people attended, who ran it, and how often the attended, because religion is extremely important.

                                                                                                Please cite the State Department saying this.

                                                                                                But given the two inch federal rule book on firearms, on which the government cannot infringe, Trump could have required all US Muslims to start every prayer service with a dedication to Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior, with a bow no less than 3.5 inches from the floor, but not repeated faster than 10 bows per minute, while not wearing a robe carrying any Islamic symbol, and with fleet splayed outwards, with exceptions for people with less than two intact legs.

                                                                                                If you think this, you have no idea of any of the court rulings on the first amendment in this country and it is completely pointless to talk to you.

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                                                                                                • The State Department explains their vetting process, and although they take the referrals from the UN, all the questioning is done by US personnel working for either the State Department, the military, DHS, FBI, etc.

                                                                                                  And the US State Department notes and categorizes refugees by religion.

                                                                                                  US State Department report query

                                                                                                  In 2017 we took in 137 Ahmadiyya’s from Pakistan. In 2016 we took in 64 godless atheists.

                                                                                                  The only site that *I* have found, because you seem completely unable to provide any links at all, are entirely listing refugees who come here via the refugee programs, which means they actually filled out UN paperwork, which means the US government didn’t ask their religion.

                                                                                                  During the campaign, Jeb Bush said that US law requires asking religious questions. Even Politifact said it was true. It is required under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

                                                                                                  The State Department even has an Office of Religion.

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                                                                                                  • So you cannot explain why you think that people on Special Immigrant Visas are refugees. Got it.

                                                                                                    And you keep ignoring any distinctions I have made about what the US government can or cannot do under the law.

                                                                                                    So here’s the summary, and I’m done:

                                                                                                    1) The US government cannot demand that Americans identity themselves by religion, or the government assign people religion, or do anything to people based on those assignments. (People can assert religious beliefs under the law as part of their civil rights, and if they do so the courts will check those ‘beliefs’, but the courts will still remain silent on what religion they are or if the religion truly espouses those beliefs.)

                                                                                                    The government can also ask for that information and have it collected voluntary. It can’t require that information or argue with it.

                                                                                                    2) The US government can possibly demand that non-Americans that want things from the government (Such as a visa) tell it their religion. I actually don’t think it requires it, and I’d like to see evidence that the government rejects applications where they refuse to tell, but whatever.

                                                                                                    What the government can’t do is argue with those statement. It cannot say ‘You put down Christian, but you said you regularly attend a mosque and pray to Allah and follow the five pillars of Islam, so we’re asserting you are a Muslim.’

                                                                                                    Note this is different than asserting that applicants have lied about their mosque attendance or their beliefs, which the government can. The government can say ‘You claim to attend this Christian church, but have actually attended this mosque’. That is perfectly fine.

                                                                                                    It can even demand people tell them what mosques they attend, or even delve into their religious beliefs. It couldn’t do that to Americans (At least not without some sort of suspicion of a crime), but it can do that to non-Americans.

                                                                                                    What I am asserting is that the US government cannot forcibly name their religion, or claim they have mislabeled it. Even for non-Americans.

                                                                                                    I say that they can’t do it based on the first amendment straight up, based on the ‘respecting an establishment of religion’, but if you do not find that palatable, be aware that it’s still almost certainly a violation of the first amendment indirectly, because it would harm Americans’ freedom of religion if the US government started trying to define what is, and isn’t, the correct beliefs and behaviors of a specific religion, even if it only applies those rules to non-Americans.

                                                                                                    3) Because the government cannot forcibly name anyone’s religion, or argue with people about what religion they ‘truly’ are, any ‘religion-based determinations’ are completely fucking stupid as a matter of law.

                                                                                                    4) The US government can interact with faith-based organizations within the US as long as it does it in a strictly neutral manner, and those organizations do not promote their faith on the taxpayer dime. They can do the same with organizations outside the US.

                                                                                                    5) The US government mostly can run around having conversations with religious leaders however it wants, inside and outside the US. It sometimes gets a little too religious and some atheist organization sues to be included, and they usually are, but in general the US can talk to whoever it wants, for whatever reason it wants…it’s the ‘doing things’ that it’s restricted from.

                                                                                                    6) The government also cannot demand people pray in certain ways, an idea so idiotic I can’t understand how you think it.

                                                                                                    And there. I am done unless you have something to say about one of those things. Please write the number of which you are disagreeing with.

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                                                                                                    • So you cannot explain why you think that people on Special Immigrant Visas are refugees. Got it.

                                                                                                      Because the State Department says so.

                                                                                                      But beyond that, use your brain. What is a refugee? A person who cannot stay in or return to their home country out of fear of persecution or death. Would this apply to Iraqi interpreters who worked hand-in-hand with US military forces to fight various tribal militias, Al Qaeda in Iraq, al Nusra, and other such forces? Yes it would. Therefore would the interpreters qualify as refugees? Yes they would. Would the government then set up a special program to process Iraq interpreters? Yes it would, so as to encourage more Iraqis to work as interpreters with the US armed forces. Would the US tell the interpreters that they could only gain such protections after going through the vast UN and State Department bureaucracy as if they’d never risked their lives to advance US goals? No they would not.

                                                                                                      Additionally, if Iraqis on the Special Visa program weren’t refugees, why would they freak out about Trump’s first EO? There was 100% agreement that such interpreters were refugees being processed by the State Department.

                                                                                                      And you keep ignoring any distinctions I have made about what the US government can or cannot do under the law.

                                                                                                      That’s because it’s not connected to reality, US court decisions, US law, or long-established procedures. It exists only in your head.

                                                                                                      1) The US government can’t demand much of anything from a citizen. We don’t have to say sh*t. In fact, we have the right to remain silent on virtually all subjects, not just religion. We limited our government like that.

                                                                                                      2) The US government can and does demand that immigrants or refugees answer the question “what is your religion?” They can refuse to answer, and they can say they don’t know, or are atheist. If their religion is irrelevant to their application and status, we can accept that refusal, and that goes into the statistics, too. There is no category for “did not ask.” And if they’re applying for refugee status based on being persecuted because of their religion, and they won’t answer questions about their religion, then it’s “application denied.” A reason for entry must be deemed valid.

                                                                                                      3) The FBI, DHS, US military, and State Department can ask all kinds of religious questions of those seeking entry to the US. We grill people. We might even send them to Gitmo.

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                                                                                                      • Additionally, if Iraqis on the Special Visa program weren’t refugees, why would they freak out about Trump’s first EO?

                                                                                                        Because the EO was written by a moronic gibbon who set it up in such a way that it could stop people who has already been issued a Visa from entering the country, which was what the clusterfuck at the airport was over.

                                                                                                        If there were Iraqis who had Special Immigrant Visas trying to enter the country that weekend, they were blocked, not because they were refugees, but because Trump is a complete moron who doesn’t know how any of this works.

                                                                                                        There was 100% agreement that such interpreters were refugees being processed by the State Department.

                                                                                                        Oh good grief. That article actually pretty clearly explains what is going on if you read between the lines.

                                                                                                        As I have said before, refugees do not appear to have visas, per se. They have their refugee paperwork, which acts like a visa, or perhaps you can argue it really is a visa (A visa is just permission to enter the country), but that’s unrelated to the Special Immigrant Visas being issued to Iraqi interpreters.

                                                                                                        Those people are gaining entry under the immigration system, not the refugee system. They are not met with the local NGOs and provided housing and given a way to find jobs, instead, the US government just gives them money.

                                                                                                        You want to assert that morally they are refugees, go ahead. But they are not legally.

                                                                                                        Since 2014 , since the US has shut down the Special Immigrant Visa(Actually possibly starting before that), it appears that there is a refugee waiver called ‘Direct Access’ for Iraqis who did work with the US have to skip the UN refugee certification. They can apply directly. Those guys are refugees. (And that is why, specifically, that Trump removed Iraq from the list of countries we won’t accept refugees from.)

                                                                                                        None of this is actually important. I was just saying that SIVs are not anything to do with refugees.

                                                                                                        The US government can and does demand that immigrants or refugees answer the question “what is your religion?” They can refuse to answer, and they can say they don’t know, or are atheist. If their religion is irrelevant to their application and status, we can accept that refusal, and that goes into the statistics, too. There is no category for “did not ask.” And if they’re applying for refugee status based on being persecuted because of their religion, and they won’t answer questions about their religion, then it’s “application denied.” A reason for entry must be deemed valid.

                                                                                                        You are sooooo close to being right.

                                                                                                        If they are being persecuted because of their religion, they do not have to state what religion they are…but they do have to explain why people are persecuting them.

                                                                                                        The easiest way for them to do it is to just say ‘Because my religion is X and they do not like X’. That is probably how most people approach the issue, especially considering the culture they are from, where they are officially divided up by religion by the government.

                                                                                                        But they could says ‘They are persecuting me because they believe I am Christian’, and then, if asked if they are Christian or not, say they don’t want to answer that.

                                                                                                        Or even ‘They are persecuting me because they believe I am not a Sunni Muslim’, and they could claim to be a Sunni Muslim also. Or refuse to answer their religion.

                                                                                                        Both of those are entirely valid answers and the US cannot bar people from being a refugee just because they say they are being persecuted for being one religion, but then go on to say they are ‘actually’ another religion, or then refuse to state their religion.

                                                                                                        Refugees just need to produce evidence (To whatever evidence level the process requires), that the people persecuting think there is have some religious disagreement, with them. The fastest say to do that is, obviously, just for them to state they are, in fact, that other religion that the persecutors think they are, and that is probably what happens 99% of the time…but they do not have to do that.

                                                                                                        And this isn’t some weird situation where I’m claiming the first amendment restricts the US government from making determination based on certain questions in refugee process. It would, but those questions aren’t supposed to be determinate, because this is how the refugee process works everywhere, because we designed it. The entire concept of refugees under international law is from the US. Based partially on, as you said, our guilt over turning away Jewish refugees in WWII…which is exactly why we don’t try to determine the actual religion of people.

                                                                                                        Because hypothetically sending outspokenly atheists of Jewish heritage, or Jews who had converted to Christianity but were not ‘believed’ by the Nazis, back to die just because they refused to list their religion as ‘Jewish’ would have been really stupid.

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                                                                                                        • Those people are gaining entry under the immigration system, not the refugee system. They are not met with the local NGOs and provided housing and given a way to find jobs, instead, the US government just gives them money.

                                                                                                          You want to assert that morally they are refugees, go ahead. But they are not legally.

                                                                                                          Wrong again.

                                                                                                          From the State Department report to Congress on the status of the

                                                                                                          Iraqis Associated with the United States

                                                                                                          Under various Priority 2 designations, including those set forth in the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act, employees of the U.S. Government, a U.S. government-funded contractor or grantee, U.S. media or U.S. NGOs working in Iraq, and certain family members of such employees, as well as beneficiaries of approved I-130 (immigrant visa) petitions, are eligible for refugee processing in Iraq.

                                                                                                          We can hand out immigrant visas because they are refugees.

                                                                                                          Both of those are entirely valid answers and the US cannot bar people from being a refugee just because they say they are being persecuted for being one religion, but then go on to say they are ‘actually’ another religion, or then refuse to state their religion.

                                                                                                          Yes, we can deny them entry. Being granted refugee status is a privilege, not a right, and we don’t like being conned. That’s why we have layers and layers of vetting and checks. All it takes to deny one of them entry is a US person at one of those layers saying he doesn’t believe them and thinks they’re lying, and that the information doesn’t check out.

                                                                                                          Because hypothetically sending outspokenly atheists of Jewish heritage, or Jews who had converted to Christianity but were not ‘believed’ by the Nazis, back to die just because they refused to list their religion as ‘Jewish’ would have been really stupid.

                                                                                                          Yes, that would be really stupid, for two reasons. First, nobody who is Jewish is going to claim to be not Jewish because it would result in our refusal to allow them in as Jewish. Second, the Nazis didn’t care who had converted. The problem with Jews wasn’t their religious beliefs, it was that they were a genetically inferior race of human vermin whose existence sucked the lifeblood out of the German people. Their genes were like a cancer infecting the pure Aryan race. They didn’t have to prove they were observant Jews, they just had to show they had ethnic Jewish ancestry. Or at leas they would – if we had accepted Jews.

                                                                                                          But when we set aside special refugee quotas for something like Buddhists fleeing persecution in country X, you can be we make sure that everyone thus admitted is an actual Buddhist, not some Chinese scam artist trying to slip in under the Buddhist quota so they can get into LA and open an import/export business.

                                                                                                          And lastly, how come the IRS won’t grant my Church of Donald J Trump tax exempt status as a 501(3)c? Doesn’t that infringe on my free exercise?

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                                                                                                          • Under various Priority 2 designations, including those set forth in the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act, employees of the U.S. Government, a U.S. government-funded contractor or grantee, U.S. media or U.S. NGOs working in Iraq, and certain family members of such employees, as well as beneficiaries of approved I-130 (immigrant visa) petitions, are eligible for refugee processing in Iraq.

                                                                                                            I don’t know what sort of dumbass googling that is the result of, but you have completely misunderstood this paragraph.

                                                                                                            First, that report was written in 2016, and thus can hardly apply to the Special Immigrant Visa program which ended in 2014.

                                                                                                            But maybe you’re trying to prove that refugees have visas. So you seem to be reading it as saying that people who have approved immigrant visa petitions are eligible for priority refugee processing in Iraq. While the sentence can be read that way, that…doesn’t make any sense at all, and doesn’t prove what you think it does anyway.

                                                                                                            That’s implying that people who already have US visas need to have refugee processing. Whereas, in the real world, people who have an approved US immigration visas need to get on a damn plane and fly to the US. They don’t need to screw around with ‘processing’, they already finished it.

                                                                                                            What that sentence is really trying to do is have ‘as well as beneficiaries of approved I-130 (immigrant visa) petitions’ modify the word before it…’employees’.

                                                                                                            I.e., it is not ‘family members of employees’ or ‘beneficiaries of approved I-130 (immigrant visa) petitions’, it is ‘family members of employees’ or ‘family member of beneficiaries of approved I-130 (immigrant visa) petitions’.

                                                                                                            What this paragraph actually shows is that people who have relatives in the US, and those relatives either were family members of employees (Which would include Special Immigrant Visa from years earlier.) or family members of people who were under a certain type of immigrant visa (Which might also include Special Immigrant Visas, I neither know nor care.) get priority refugee processing.

                                                                                                            It doesn’t say a damn thing about whether those first groups of people were legally refugees, and the groups of people following them, while refugees, cannot possibly be under Special Immigrant Visas, because not only does this not name them as such, but that program ended two years before update was issued!

                                                                                                            Yes, we can deny them entry. Being granted refugee status is a privilege, not a right, and we don’t like being conned. That’s why we have layers and layers of vetting and checks. All it takes to deny one of them entry is a US person at one of those layers saying he doesn’t believe them and thinks they’re lying, and that the information doesn’t check out.

                                                                                                            And, I will repeat again, in very simple obvious terms: The US government is restricted to facts. The US government can deny someone based on factual misstatements in their application, like the fact that they left out that they attended a radical mosque, or even that that they lied about their specific beliefs, that in the past they did promote violence.

                                                                                                            It can also deny someone based entry on those facts, even if they correctly told put them on the application.

                                                                                                            What it cannot do is take the whole of someone’s statements of beliefs and assert that those beliefs make someone a Muslim. Or make them not a Christian. Or whatever.

                                                                                                            You seem to think I am making very broad statements here. But I am actually making an incredibly narrow claim: The US government cannot argue with someone about what they call their own religion nor can they deny entry because they dislike what name that person is giving their religion.

                                                                                                            That’s it. That’s the entirety of my claim. If someone shows up who attends a perfectly respectable non-violent mosque, who has never supported violence in any way, who has stated all those things and they aren’t lying. A person who clearly appears to be a perfectly normal Muslim…

                                                                                                            …and yet asserts they are, in fact, a Zoroastrian: The US government cannot go ‘No. Those beliefs make you a Muslim. Also, you are, apparently, lying on your application, so you are out.’. No. They cannot state what the ‘correct’ beliefs of either Islam or Zoroastrianism are, and label the person either one. They cannot do that because ‘defining religions’ infringes on the religious freedom of their own citizens.

                                                                                                            It’s an incredibly narrow restriction. The US government can ask about relevant religious beliefs. They can ask all about relevant or possibly illegal religious practices. They just cannot, in the end, say which of those are ‘correct’ for which religion. (Or, at least, they cannot do it as a government power for a specific person. It’s Congress who is barred, so the executive can make statements about what religions believe if he wants…he just can’t base any sort of delegated power on the idea that his statements are legally correct. It’s like how the president can call certain speech ‘incredibly offensive’, but that doesn’t mean he can do anything about ‘incredibly offensive speech’.)

                                                                                                            Religious practices are always within government purview, if given a lot of leeway under the law. Religious beliefs are within government purview if you are trying to use them to justify government actions, or for non-Americans trying to get the government to let them in. Religions….are not within government purview.

                                                                                                            Because the US government cannot decide who officially is what religion.

                                                                                                            And it’s a rule Trump just completely ignored in his order about ‘minority religions’, because he literally understands nothing at all about how the government functions.

                                                                                                            And lastly, how come the IRS won’t grant my Church of Donald J Trump tax exempt status as a 501(3)c? Doesn’t that infringe on my free exercise?

                                                                                                            Because you have clearly just made up an example of something you think they wouldn’t do?

                                                                                                            You want to create a church worshiping Donald Trump, you can, and it’s entirely tax exempt, unless that church endorses him as a candidate for political office. (Or unless it’s clearly just a scam to offload income to or make money from, but be aware they’re allowing Scientology, so it’s a pretty high bar.)

                                                                                                            The Church of Donald J Trump can say Trump is God, but it can’t say he should be president. OTOH, be aware that the US government does not actually care about that law anyway.

                                                                                                            You want to assert that your political beliefs require you to endorse him for president from the pulpit, you feel free to sue the government about that.

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                                                              • The Holy See is, legally, an international organization, and the US government can just as easy have an ambassador to it as it has to the UN.

                                                                Yes, the Holy See is in the unique — so far as I know — position of asserting uncontested sovereign ownership of a chunk of ground [1]. Back in the day when I worked on international standards for telecommunications protocols, I dealt very peripherally with the Vatican as a full member of the ITU (they were arguing for the same treatment of a particular standard that I was as a member of the US technical expert group).

                                                                [1] As opposed to the occupied territories on the West Bank where Israel’s Knesset claims both of (a) Israel is not an occupying power and sovereign, which would obligate them to some very expensive infrastructure spending, and (b) there cannot be any other sovereign power. I am so glad that I am not a youngish Israeli politician who would have to deal with this when the oldsters die off.

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                                                                • The Holy See gets an ambassador because Reagan greatly valued the help of Pope John Paul II in undermining the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. It’s the Holy Church’s religious authority that’s important, not the tiny hunk of land with some old buildings on it.

                                                                  The US has one ambassador for Fiji, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Samoa. They have a combined population of 1.3 million. The largest island, Fiji, has a population of 900,000 and the smallest, Tuvalu, has a population of 10,000. None of those countries, by itself, rates a US ambassador.

                                                                  The Holy See, with a population of just 800, does. That’s because it’s an established religion with a very wide reach.

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                                                              • The federal government is allowed to disrespect any establishment of religion. They’re just not allowed to respect one. — The simple man’s guide to the Constitution thingy.

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                                                              • Only to allow the government to show complete disrespect for them by naming Callista Gingrich.

                                                                Someone should check if the appointment was for ‘Callista Gingrich’, or ‘The current holder of the position of Newt Gingrich’s wife’.

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                                    • I heard about an interesting potential problem: the effective duration of the EO will have already expired by the time the case is heard. Any chance the court rejects hearing the case at that point because the EO is no longer operative?

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                                      • I heard about an interesting potential problem: the effective duration of the EO will have already expired by the time the case is heard. Any chance the court rejects hearing the case at that point because the EO is no longer operative?

                                        He changed the date at the last second. No one is actually sure whether or not that should ‘count’…the court is supposedly reviewing what he actually signed, not stuff he signed later.

                                        And it’s actually a bit weirder than that.

                                        The EO was supposed to block things for 90 days while the government did a review of whether or not to allow people from those places.

                                        Weirdly, the government has apparently completely failed to start their review. Why, no one has any idea. I mean, in theory, it’s possible that the administration thought it was somehow stayed under the court order that blocked implementation of the EO, but it wasn’t, and that just seems a really stupid thing to think, and even if it was Trump could always just tell his own staff ‘Study whether or not we need a policy here or not’ unrelated to that court order.

                                        Considering the entire point of the review was to see if the travel ban should be extended or removed, which means either there would be more evidence pro-ban to use in court, or the review would find no purpose for the ban and it would presumably be removed, it actually seems a bit ‘odd’ that they didn’t just do the review.

                                        And as they claimed it was such an emergency situation they needed to stop people from those countries before the review could happen, you’d think the review would be rather high priority, instead of just vanishing!

                                        And there’s even more weirdness on the timing, believe it or not. The Court said they would decided the travel ban in their October court session. The ban just partially went into effect, which means if the 90 day clock just started now, it will expire…a few days before the courts starts reviewing it.

                                        This entire situation is objectively idiotic, even pretending the ban wasn’t stupid. The entire ban was supposed be temporary, lasting solely until the administration could do a bunch of research and come up with something better. And we’re already passed the max point that ‘temporary’ was supposed to exist, and we will have passed it yet again before the courts decide on it!

                                        The sane response to the courts knocking down your temporary, stopgap emergency measure is to forget about them, and quickly do the damn thing those measures were supposed to hold you over until it was finished! Not keep defending those emergency measures in court as time keeps passing!

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                                        • The failure to initiate the security study is pretty substantial evidence, in my mind, that the “temporary” ban is not intended to be actually “temporary,” and the purpose of the ban is something other than “security.”

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                                    • From there, we’ll see some cleavages on whether particular facets of the Second Travel Ban are unconstitutional or constitutional (with lots of language that dick moves are still dick moves even if they are constitutional), and as to those that are found constitutional, more cleavages on whether they exceed the scope of the Congressional delegation of immigration and naturalization power.

                                      That’s entirely possible, maybe even most likely, but I think we have to recognize that there’s at least some chance that Trumps EO’s will be upheld in toto. I think it was Volokh or somebody who noted that Justice Thomas wrote that there was a strong likelihood that Trump’s appeal would be successful on the merits, and significantly, none of the lib Justices bothered to contradict him.

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                                      • That’s entirely possible, maybe even most likely, but I think we have to recognize that there’s at least some chance that Trumps EO’s will be upheld in toto.

                                        It is completely impossible for the courts to do that, because Trump dropped his original executive order and did not try to defend it in court. What is in court now is his second executive order.

                                        And this isn’t really to you, Koz, you’ve barely said anything on this….but I really wish everyone (A lot of people on the right and even some confused people on the left) would stop thinking this is a chance for Trump to ‘prevail’ because they keep confusing the two orders. Trump already lost pretty badly, having entire things he was trying to do wacked down so hard he didn’t even try to defend them, and is now on his second try.

                                        I mean, I already made a little list and everything up there to show people, and yet, everyone seems to think we’re talking about ‘Trump’s travel ban’. To recap for people, here is what has been slapped down, and why: Applying it to green card holders. (Basic constitutional reasons.) Making exception for members of minority religions. (Religious determination cannot be made by government) Applying it to current visa holders. (Basic rule of law and functioning of the government!!) Restricting immigration by country (Control of immigration is not a power delegated to the president by Congress, and also basing it on country of origin is currently barred by law.)

                                        All those, challenged in court, had some court stays based on them…and were removed from the new ban. In fact, the green card thing was so obviously unconstitutional it was sorta removed from the old one!

                                        What Trump has left, in his new order, is some screwing around with the refugee program and the tourist visa program, both of which the president could normally do without any quibble at all! So now the test is if the courts decide his yammering about ‘Muslim bans’ as a candidate thinks that impacts what he can do in that regard.

                                        So those two things probably will survive, as basically the only other option would strip him of some delegated power and that’s a weird place to be. But it’s not any sort of ‘victory’, it’s Trump reducing his executive order until it was eventually contained only probably constitutional things, and…barely getting that through (If he even does) because he announced way too clearly, in front of everyone, he was doing those things for constitutionally impermissible reasons!

                                        (And he was always able to tell the State Department how to vet visas, I don’t think anyone even challenged that in court, although saying the government should EXTREME VET them sounds like he wants people to be vetted by Rob Liefeld comic characters.)

                                        Seriously, people on the right asserting Trump might ‘win’ in the end…is this how desperate you are to claim his failure is a victory? If he gets shot down here, can he issue a third attempt asserting ‘People who openly confess to being members of terrorist organizations to Border Patrol are barred from entry!’, call that his ‘travel ban’, and you guys will herald that passing through the courts unchallenged with ‘At long last, a victory for Trump’s travel ban!’? Trump can basically just keep rewriting an executive order until eventually he manages to not write an unconstitutional one, and that retroactively makes all the protests and court decisions against his previous poorly implemented, and partially unconstitutional, executive orders stupid?

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