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This is the Lowest Point of Donald Trump’s Presidency

People call falling stock markets bear markets. Unless your society is going to collapse, a possibility perhaps worth considering, all bear markets eventually end. Indeed, that is the best time to buy stocks—when they have gone as low as they can go and a new bull market

There is a risk in trying to identify that point though. People are often early. It is a task referred to depressingly often as catching.a falling knife. The metaphor is so sticky because it is so right. It is difficult and dangerous to attempt.

I think this difficulty applies equally well to our topic.

That said, August 25, 2017 marks the moral low point of Donald Trump’s presidency.

It’s difficult to get across concisely how terrible ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio is. In his zeal to remove Hispanics from Arizona, he used his power to literally facilitate sex crimes against children:

In the shift to full-time immigration enforcement, Giblin and I found that the sheriff’s police work faltered across the board in its mission to protect the citizens of Maricopa County. Detectives shelved dozens of sex crime cases without investigating them. By Arpaio’s own admission, the number of uninvestigated sex crime cases eventually swelled to more than 400. Many of the victims were children.

Imagine hating Hispanic people enough that you would rather send a police officer to round up a random Hispanic rather than going after people who have committed sex crimes against children.

Imagine after ignoring these crimes then finding enough funding and time to send a deputy to Hawaii to investigate Obama’s birth certificate that you already declared a forgery.

Imagine running a jail that holds people that haven’t been convicted of any crime—not even of violating immigration laws—and proudly calling it a concentration camp.

Imagine being so self-satisfied in the righteousness of your cruelty against prisoners that you kill their babies.

Imagine arresting reporters who say things you don’t like, paying a $3.75 million settlement with other people’s money, and nevertheless repeatedly insisting you are the good guy.

Imagine staging an attempted murder of yourself and imprisoning the man you accused for four years and then settling the resulting lawsuit for $1.1 million of taxpayer money in addition to whatever insurance would cover.

Imagine your county needing to allocate “$23.8 million for costs associated with complying with a federal court’s orders in [a] civil rights lawsuit” against you.

Imagine repeatedly winning re-election after all that.

Arpaio photo

Image by Gage Skidmore

Sheriff Arpaio might very well be the worst person in America, and he’s Donald Trump’s buddy.

Nevertheless, don’t think this move was unpopular. Arpaio and Trump alike were known quantities. They won because of who they are and how they act, not despite it. The people went along with full knowledge of what they were doing. In Arpaio’s case, he had a full police department eager to carry out his orders. I have searched but have been unable to find a single instance of a police officer under his command express reticence at imposing what was eventually ruled as cruel and unusual punishment and unconstitutional policing tactics.

This is what the people have knowingly wrought.


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Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1. ...more →

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161 thoughts on “This is the Lowest Point of Donald Trump’s Presidency

        • He doesn’t have to do much for a hurricane, that is what FEMA is for. He just has to okay the resources others ask for.

          Dude, Trump has managed to fail at _Happy New Years_ message.

          The idea that there is something that Trump cannot fail at is illogical. Trump can fail at _anything_ he puts his mind to.

          Trump is like that meme of Homer Simpson pouring milk on cornflakes and it catches on fire. Except then he says something pretty racist and throw the burning cornflakes at the media, and then blames some random person for it all. Then his staff content that was all an accident, then he says no, he meant to do all of it.

          I keep saying this, and I will keep saying it until he is out of office: Trump is deeply, deeply, deeply stupid. I don’t want to play ‘guess the IQ’, I don’t think most people understand how IQ even works or what it means, and I have no idea if it’s dementia or if he’s always been this way…but Trump is clearly barely functional as a _person_, much less a President.

          He could easily screw an emergency response up. _Bush_ screwed it up by simply not paying attention, and Bush was not, in fact, an idiot.

          Does anyone think Trump cares the slightest bit about emergency response? Anyone remember the last hurricane, where Trump brought _Play-Doh_ for people?

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    • ‘So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since he took office, every single day of his administration has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see him, that’s on the lowest point of his presidency.’

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  1. I’m sort of surprised that people are surprised at this. This is bog standard Trump. Arapio is terrible and Trump likely feels a connection with him based on being an old cranky viscous, and maybe even the R word, guy who was tough on crime.

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    • How much is it Trump actually liking him and how much is Trump knowing how much his opponents dislike him?

      Do you think Trump is even aware of any of this stuff? Or just sees a guy who agrees with him on one issue being the target of “liberals” and defaulting to assuming he’s a victim?

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          • I think it’s worse than that. I think that he’s engaging in the equivalent of “fighting words” on a political level, hoping to elicit a response that can then be condemned (or, I suppose, waved in the faces of the opposition demanding that they read a litany of what they don’t approve of).

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      • He gave the pardon on a Friday afternoon, classic time to do something when there is less news coverage and with a big hurricane/news event happening. He did this at a time that will minimize news coverage. That doesn’t sound like he was just trying to piss off liberals and Latinos though both groups are rightly angry. If this was just spite he would do it to get more coverage so he gets to piss off more people. This was dumped to get less coverage which says to me this is about affinity for the SOB. He gets to use his power to help a guy he likes and respects and thinks was a good tough on crime guy.

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        • That may be his staff’s doing.

          Trump is stuck in the “Any coverage is good coverage” mode of the C-list celebrity. He’s not the sort to think of media in the terms of “buying what I did” but instead of “telling everyone how great I did”.

          If I had to lay money on it, I’d say he decided he was gonna issue the pardon come hell or high water, the same with the transgender ban, and members of his staff managed to negotiate out the timing.

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            • Too much at once. They might have been able to low-ball one thing. Two high profile decisions AND the whining Nazi who loves to go on TV?

              Again, at best you have a semi-competent staff stuck working for an incompetent. Any other President, facing that much crap, would have rolled them out over a few months.

              Doing all of that during a hurricane (“Good luck Texas” the f*cker)? He might as well have put a spotlight to it.

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            • I’m becoming less convinced that the Friday news dump is an actual thing anymore, with continuous internet feeds and with weekend news show that can push things into production almost instantly.

              Though there is in all likelyhood still some sort of cycle, as the people that follow continous Internet news, the people that watch weekend news shows, the people that watch M-F daytime cable news, and those that watch M-F nighttime cable news are all different from each other (esp the last two)

              And of course, Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin aren’t putting anything out on their radio platforms for about another 40 hours or so from now.

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      • Do you think Trump is even aware of any of this stuff?

        It really depends how much it’s played on Fox and how much information about this his handlers have fed him.

        It’s sorta interesting that he’s just decided to leap into ‘Full on racist’ with both feet, instead of slowly easing into it.

        Or just sees a guy who agrees with him on one issue being the target of “liberals” and defaulting to assuming he’s a victim?

        Trump thinks that any white guy who loses in court is automatically a hero and probably only lost due to Mexican judges.

        You know, like him.

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      • If Trump can frame this as being about “law and order”, this becomes an argument about “whose side are you on?”

        Do you support police or do you support the criminals?

        And that’s a fight that Trump can win.

        If we want Arpaio to die in jail, the Arizona State Government is the best bet at this point.
        Trump’s ability to pardon does not extend to state convictions. Only Federal.

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        • Arpaio violated the Constitution and failed to pursue violent criminals. Framing him as being about Law and Order requires a whole bunch of mental gymnastics. Folks are capable of making those moves, but let’s not pretend that isn’t what’s going on.

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          • let’s not pretend that isn’t what’s going on

            I don’t believe it is what’s going on. I believe it’s a combination of fan-service and a signal to anyone involved in the Russia investigation that they won’t do jail time. The latter being far more important to Trump (who, let’s be honest, almost certainly DGAF about Arpaio unless it benefits Trump to do so).

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    • Viscous?

      I don’t know how much people are surprised but you can be unsurprised and still outraged.

      Though this is how Trump acts when cornered, he will just throw more and more red meat at the base and it will be bloodier.

      Perhaps I am much more cynical than my friends and associates though. The Reactionary Right will always be with us. There was, is and will always be a hardcore xenophobic branch in American politics.

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        • See, that’s a group that I don’t understand. They supported him. But why? My best theory (which isn’t actually mine but a friends) is that _Apprentice_ was carefully crafted by its producers to make Trump look like a very tolerant and racially friendly person. All the non-disclosures were used to hide his worst tendencies, and if he said anything racist on camera, they just edited it out, or reshot.

          So one could form an impression of him as not being a racist jerk.

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          • DoctorJay,
            Republican latinos have been called wetbacks and told to go back to Mexico…
            by republican protestors.

            [note to mods: I’m not censoring this word. Should I? I believe it’s a slur. Difficult to discuss slurs without actually using them.]

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            • It is a slur, and there is room in the policy to discuss slurs when you are clearly not actually using them, but trying to discuss them. Where actual words are blocked from use, it is because one or more people repeatedly used that word to the point where it was too much work for the moderators to have to keep re-establishing that they weren’t kosher for use.

              That said, you could have made the point without using the slur yourself. Something to consider for next time.

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  2. I thought Trump hit the low point with his response to Charlottesville. Arapaio is him hitting the bottom of the hole & cracking out the dynamite.

    I fully expect him to keep blasting until he hits magma.

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    • The “Hold my beer” Presidency. Although that sounds like he plans this.

      He’s an unmanageable, rage filled impulse machine locked into the C-list celebrity mindset and can’t understand why the media doesn’t treat him like they used to.

      The pardon and the transgender ban and his return to the Wall and his rallies are all attempts to get popular again, generate the love and attention he wants.

      There’s like…no plan, not from the top. It’s just impulses and an unguided desire for adulation and anger that the rules are different and he doesn’t know why, all being shoved by a staff trying to get things done, trying to tamp down the damage.

      It will never get better. It will never hit rock bottom. This pardon is Trump, just like the Access Hollywood tape was Trump. This is who he is, who he’s always been, and who he will continue to be. He does not have it in him to act differently, nor any desire to try.

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    • That Antipodes Map site that was making the rounds the other day – what’s on the literal opposite side of the Earth from DC? (Or Manhattan, i don’t know where he’s spending most of his time these days).

      I think he’s gonna keep going until we can mine the molten iron core at the center of the Earth. To make American steel or something.

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  3. How will this play out? Here’s my prediction for a 2020 campaign speech.

    The pardon was the right thing to do, but not the politically correct thing to do. Arpaio was in the politicians’ cross hairs for years for his anti-corruption zeal. Corrupt politicians, and they are corrupt, can’t stand an anti-corruption crusader.

    So they ordered the sheriff to stop enforcing the law, and he refused. So they convicted him of contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order, an order that deserved contempt.

    Joe insisted on arresting illegal aliens, the heirs and enforcers of Christopher Columbus’s legacy of racism, brutality, slavery, drug trafficking, rape, and genocide, a legacy so toxic that even Democrats are looking to tear down monuments to Columbus, the namesake of our nation’s capitol. These illegals include some bad hombres, flooding into this country to exploit the weak and vulnerable.

    In the rush to rip down statues of Confederate soldiers, Democrats denounce racism and slavery, yet demand tolerance for people who still have 350,000 slaves, more than when Mexicans were working Africans to death in silver mines and sugar plantations. The murder rate in Mexico is out of control, as countless criminal cartels slaughter people to maintain their control over the population. That control depends on being able to ship massive quantities of narcotics to Maricopo and other US counties, using threats, intimidation, and bribery to stop people like Joe from stopping them. They succeeded in finding a judge and prosecutor craven enough to put Joe in jail, but Trump, who’s building a wall, by the way, stopped them.

    We need to support people who side with regular Americans, instead of supporting the corrupt career politicians who enable the Mexican drug cartels, the narco assassins, the human traffickers, the sex slavers, and the La Raza thugs intent on invasion and domination of our long suffering communities.

    When enforcing US law to protect Americans is a transgressive act of courage, a political sea change is needed. Trump is that change. He protects and defends those who put their lives on the line to protect the people. He’s opposed by craven politicians and corrupt tyrants in black robes who are intent on letting rapists, slavers, thieves, and cartel hit men run free in our communities. We must choose a side. I’m choosing mine.

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    • So… I’m assuming everything you wrote after the first should be in quotation marks or something right? Because that’s what you believe the gist of Trump’s speech would be on the matter, yes?

      I mean it’s insane baseless almost mental free association blather but I can almost imagine Trump saying it. I can’t imagine that even a significant fraction of the GOP are insane or deranged enough to accept it. Even the GOP isn’t that crazy.

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      • Blather like that is why Trump is President. As Scott Adam’s said, he’s a master persuader. He tapped into a narrative that normal Americans identify with.

        Meanwhile, liberals are stuck with divisive identity politics. Question asked: Is Identity Liberalism Killing the Democrat Party?

        Snippet:

        Propelled by America’s colleges and universities—which, Lilla observes, have replaced political clubs and shop floors as the incubators of liberal political leaders—identity liberalism has abandoned the political mission of bringing fellow citizens together in favor of the evangelical one of extracting professions of faith and punishing heretics, apostates, and infidels.

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        • George Turner:
          Blather like that is why Trump is President.As Scott Adam’s said, he’s a master persuader.He tapped into a narrative that normal Americans identify with.

          I’m a normal American, and I identify with neither Trump or his merry band of pathetic apologists.

          Does that make me not normal? (hint: it was a rhetorical question…not interested in an answer).

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        • What do you mean by “normal American,” [redacted]? What do they look like? Do they only look like you? What are their beliefs? Only the same as yours? Where do they live? Only in places that meet your moral and aesthetic approval?

          Just say it out loud [redacted].

          (I redacted the unnecessary insults and left everything else, as a fair response. But Saul, you can ask the questions without the random name-calling. – Maribou)

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          • Normal Americans are “the normals”, as distinguished from “the coastal elites”. It’s a term currently being used.

            And it’s important, because as was said early in the campaign, Trump tapped into the number one issue in America, political correctness. The press and the elites are doubling down on the drive to label everything he says, and everything supporters say, as hate speech. That’s suicide for Democrats, as shown in a recent poll. Washington Times story

            Is the nation switching from the land of the free and the home of the brave — to the land of the silent, and the home of the reluctant? Citizens are wary of speaking their minds, a new poll suggests. Many Americans are opting to stay quiet in an intensified culture of political correctness fostered by activism and often biased media coverage.

            “Few Americans think they have true freedom of speech today and think the country is too politically correct,” reports a new Rasmussen Reports survey.
            It reveals that just 28 percent of Americans believe that they have think Americans “have true freedom of speech today.”

            A hefty majority — 66 percent — believe that they must “be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.”

            The 28% matches rather closely with the 27% who think the Confederate monuments should be removed.

            The activists and their virtue signalling allies are going to bury the Democrat party, and the pollsters likely won’t see it coming because political correctness means people won’t answer other polls honestly. They won’t say how they really feel until they’re facing the ballot box.

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    • George,
      When my friend’s friends were dying in Mexico, fighting against the fucking government, you didn’t have jack shit to say.
      So leave your words for the crows. I call bullshit that you know a damn thing about Mexico.

      The American slaveowner I know voted for Trump. (Save the Slaves! Want a link? They’re currently a lot more in danger from the Mexican government than from their chosen work. Because in this sick sad world, children would rather be slaves than live in ICE detention. Can’t blame them)

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  4. We need to support people who side with regular Americans, instead of supporting the corrupt career politicians who enable the Mexican drug cartels, the narco assassins, the human traffickers, the sex slavers, and the La Raza thugs intent on invasion and domination of our long suffering communities.

    I don’t get it. What earthly reason could possibly exist for this to be a desirable outcome for them?

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    • What did European politicians get for throwing the door open to millions of African and Middle Eastern migrants? They get to engage in more virtue signalling while bringing destruction and chaos to their communities. They’re for “diversity” and understanding and putting racism behind us, and all those good things. But living in their safely gated communities, they don’t have to deal with the downsides. They can just shake their heads and cluck their tongues when “bad luck” hits the regular folks who voted for them, and then they get to go lay some flowers and engage in a new round of healing and togetherness.

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      • What did European politicians get for throwing the door open to millions of African and Middle Eastern migrants?

        I really, really, hate this meme. People like that keep repeating it either forget, or pretend they don’t know, what really happened.

        No one threw the doors open. Nobody “invited” anyone. Millions of refugees literally appeared in raft boats in the costs of Greece and Italy or in the Turkish- Bulgarian border. These were the options available:

        1- Shoot the rafts from European Navies vessels, and let the drowned corpses wash on the Turkish beaches as a warning

        2- Put them in permanent refugee camps like Palestians of yore, and Hope hunger and Central European winters will take care of the problem. Refugee camps were indeed created, and we all saw, except apparently , the images of masses of refugees in freezing temperatures, looking over the hastily installed barbed wire on the Serbian-Hungarian border.

        3- Bribe the Turkish government to take care of the refugees in Turkish soil (actually, the EU did this)

        4- Accept the fact that the refugees were there and try to incorporate them as best as possible, hoping that the political situation that initiated the migrations will solve itself at some point in the future, when a large part of them will probably want to go back home.

        The EU government, chose Option #4. Since and some others disagree with it, I’m eager to know the option those members of the commentariat would have chosen instead. And no, not starting the Civil War in Syria – which actually means not invading Iraq, is not an option unless you are the new Dr. Who.

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        • Oh, so all those Africans, Syrians, Afghans, and people from throughout the Middle East just up and decided, all at once, to move to Europe? Do you really believe “Millions of refugees literally appeared” on Europe’s doorstep, after a century of literally not appearing there?

          Why did so few refugees go to Europe in 2014 and earlier?

          What changed, and why are so many refugees naming their children “Angela”?

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          • Oh, so all those Africans, Syrians, Afghans, and people from throughout the Middle East just up and decided, all at once, to move to Europe? Do you really believe “Millions of refugees literally appeared” on Europe’s doorstep, after a century of literally not appearing there?

            Yes.

            If you know otherwise, please show me the invitation from the EU leaders to come, an invitation that predates the mass migration.

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          • What changed was a massive civil war in Syria, and the regime established by ISIS in Syrian territory, which many felt made their towns unlivable. Seriously, something like a third of Syria’s population has up and left it. Maybe more at this point.

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          • The correct answer is that the Dublin agreement on refugee processing was showing some cracks in 2014, (Greece was pissed at Germany) and then in the summer of 2015 Angela Merkel said her country would take in an unlimited number of refugees.

            Asylum applications in 1st quarter 2012, also showing all of 2011. 2011 was the Libyan war. Qaddafi died in 2011. Benghazi happened in 2012. They Syrian civil war started in 2012. It produced refugees for years, but they stayed in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon.

            In 2012, Asylum applications were running at about 25,000 per month from all countries, or about 300,000 a year.

            Asylum applications to the EU in 2013 and 2014 (PDF) with charts and graphs. The 2014 upswing was applications for Germany, Italy, and Sweden.

            So years after the Libyan civil war, and years after the Syrian Civil war had started raging, and after the fall of Mosul (in the summer of 2014), there still isn’t a tidal wave of refugees into Europe, though some pressure was building.

            In 2014 there were 562,680 applications for refugee status, up from the 300,000 in earlier years. But less than 180,000 of those were from Libya, Iraq, and Aghanistan. Then in 2015, the Angela Merkel said Germany would accept an unlimited number of refugees.

            Der Spiegel looks back at the 14 days that changed German history

            Der Spiegel’s “before” is especially relevant. When Merkel decided to let them in, it started a chain reaction. People started moving. Why rot in a third world hole when you can just move to Europe and get on government assistance?

            Applications jumped from 562,680 in 2014 to 1,257,030 in 2015 and 1,204,280 in 2016. Data from Eurostat.

            Note that Europe had been getting 300,000 refugee applications per year from all countries, including the active war zones of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan. After the doors were thrown open they’re getting 600,000 refugee applications from countries that aren’t Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan, and those applications aren’t being filed in remote embassies, they’re being filed in European capitals.

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            • After the doors were thrown open they’re getting 600,000 refugee applications from countries that aren’t Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan, and those applications aren’t being filed in remote embassies, they’re being filed in European capitals.

              I guess if 700,000 more refugees arrived at European capitals (more likely at refugee processing centers in borders and ports) in 2015, it’s because European politicians decided that their navies should not shoot the refugee rafts while at sea.

              Which I guess was indeed your preferred solution.

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  5. “85 Year Old Man Pardoned After Doing Time For Minor Crime”

    As much as I think Arpaio* is an A-hole, I think up above is on the right track. The left has had it out for him as long as I can remember, and contempt of court is such a minor thing to hang the hats of the judicial system on. And there has been enough talk about older prisoners being of no harm that this seems just like petty, vindictive behavior at the best reading. I can’t see this as moving the needle.

    *Is Arpaio Hispanic? I never really thought about it until now.

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    • I think that a government official being punished for exceeding his powers is a small step towards limited government. And another government official removing the punishment while applauding the illegal acts is a large step away from it.

      The party of small government, with a few notable exceptions (Amash, McCain, Jeb!), seems not to give a shit. Shocking.

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      • I think that a government official being punished for exceeding his powers is a small step towards limited government. And another government official removing the punishment while applauding the illegal acts is a large step away from it.

        It is amazing how much the right has brainwashed people to think ‘large government’==’oppressive government’, and ‘small government’==’freedom’.

        Anyone who objectively looks at the behavior of Arpaio will conclude that that man is an oppressive menace to freedom.

        He arrested reporters on trumped-up charges who wrote about him. He created and framed someone for an assassination plot against himself so he would get elected. He has illegally searched city government buildings that demanded he stop harassing their citizens, and arrested their employees.

        I am not repeating allegations, I am repeating FINDINGS OF THE COURTS. He has lost those cases, and was forced to pay. (Or, rather, the county was.)

        He also, in case it’s not clear, has arrested a lot of American citizens until they could prove they were citizens. Again, he actually lost a court case over this, and then refused to stop to the point he was arrested and convicted of a crime. I know that doesn’t seem to count because they’re Hispanic, but you’d think some of this stuff would count for Republicans.

        Oh, and he’s basically just murdered people in his jail due to lack of various care. Innocent people who had not been convicted of a crime. Because of how poorly run and documented the place was, and how much his own staff are part of the same criminal conspiracy, we’ll never get to the bottom of any of this, but 157 people died in his prison, with a nearly-impossible 24% due to ‘suicide’ and another half of the deaths not having any explained cause.

        There was flat-out, straight-up, murder of people going on.

        That’s in addition to, you know, the times his people were sued for literally murdering people, like Brian Crenshaw and Ernest “Marty” Atencio and a dozen other times.

        Maricopa County under Sheriff Arpaio is literally is the most oppressive behavior of the government in America I HAVE EVER SEEN in the modern day. They arrest people for opposing them and the beat people to death. This is literally their behavior. I am not exaggerating, I am repeating THINGS THE COURTS HAVE SAID THEY WERE DOING.

        It is something that should outrage anyone who cares about ‘government oppression’.

        The second anyone defends Arpaio, bzzzt, they can no longer, at any point in the future, claim to care about ‘stopping government oppression’ as a justification why we need for ‘smaller government’. They clearly do not give a flying fuck about government oppression, at all. That justification is permanently off-limits to them.

        And, importantly for my point, he’s done it with a normal sheriff’s department’s budget, demonstrating what total nonsense the justification for ‘smaller government’ was to start with.

        Although, of course, this fact is a bit meaningless for his defenders, because, as I said, they are no longer allowed to use that justification at all. This is just for Republicans who are honestly repelled by government oppression and hence are repelled by Arpaio…even they have to admit that it seems pretty clear that government oppression can happen at any reasonable budget level, so using that to trying to justify less spending doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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        • All government is oppressive to a degree. That’s its nature. It’s a dangerous instrument, like fire.

          Arpaio was focused on enforcing the law. One of my friends got to spend three or four days in Arpaio’s tent prison because he still owed Michigan a $5 processing fee on a $1000 traffic ticket that he’d paid off years earlier. Now that’s law enforcement! Those processing fees are important. Without them government would break down and anarchy would ensue. Pay your fees, people, or rot in a pink jump suit in a bug infested tent city filled with criminals looking to steal your bologna sandwich.

          He has illegally searched city government buildings that demanded he stop harassing their citizens, and arrested their employees.

          I’m guessing that was related to illegals.

          8 U.S. Code § 1324, (a)(1)(A)(iii)

          Any person who knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;

          shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

          Do you know how many government officials we could toss in jail on that one if a sheriff chose to enforce it?

          …we’ll never get to the bottom of any of this, but 157 people died in his prison, with a nearly-impossible 24% due to ‘suicide’ and another half of the deaths not having any explained cause.

          Joe was sheriff for almost a quarter century, so that works out to about six deaths a year, on average three unexplained, and about three suicides every two years. That seems pretty normal to me.

          And Joe hired the highest percentage of Hispanic deputies in all of Arizona. Hispanics don’t come from the heritage of Anglo-American common law and individual liberties. They don’t even have a heritage of an adversarial legal system.

          The way the legal systems south of the border used to work (it started changing a bit in the 1990’s) was the the police arrest you and take your stuff. Then a prosecutor hands a sealed dossier and list of charges to a judge, who then decides on your guilt and your sentence. None of it was done in public. Needless to say, this meant people in Latin American weren’t big on law and order, because justice and rights weren’t in the gears.

          If you fill up a sheriff’s department with Hispanics you could expect law enforcement to become like Sonora’s or Sinaloa’s. But despite that, Sheriff Arpaio kept things on a pretty even keel. Abuses were limited. Law enforcement wouldn’t take whole neighborhoods out into the desert and shoot them in the back of the head, as happened in other places down south with heavily Hispanic police departments like [add list of Latin American countries and delete the few that haven’t had that happen]

          They come from an inquisitional legal system. They say nobody expects the Spanish inquisition. Well, without Joe perhaps they should.

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          • Basing an argument on the premise that the tendency to be corrupt and abuse justice is a racial characteristic is really close to the line of “stuff we don’t hold up for debate around here,” . Making sweeping claims about Hispanic-Americans based on how other countries work and the history of the Spanish justice system only holds up if you assume that race is the determining element of culture, and you’d best not be assuming that here.

            I’d recommend dropping this line of argument sooner rather later.

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            • Hispanics aren’t a race, so they can’t have racial characteristics. A lot of Mexicans are German. Vincente Fox, the Mexican President during the W Bush years, had his family change their name from Fuchs when they moved from Germany to Cincinnati. There are parts of Brazil that speak German instead of Portuguese, not that Brazilians are Hispanic.

              And of course most Mexicans are Native Americans. But even then, the diversity among aboriginal Mexican DNA is huge. Two native Mexican groups separated by just a hundred or so miles can have more genetic distance between them than between a Ukrainian and a Korean.

              What they have in common was a language and governmental systems derived from Spain, which may seem somewhat odd because Spain itself isn’t Hispanic, but that’s where history says they all started from.

              Oh, and that last part was humor.

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              • I’d recommend you drop this line of argument. And the jokes about this line of argument. The specific problem I called you on isn’t with discussing the historical effects of Spain’s judicial system on its colonies, it’s with claiming that the (purportedly) high number of Hispanic Americans in an American county sheriff’s department are the real reason what happened there happened. You know exactly what the leap there is, and it’s not up for debate on this website, and it’s a leap you’ve made before in other contexts.

                Stop. As an editor and a moderator, I’m telling you. Stop making this argument.

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          • Do you know how many government officials we could toss in jail on that one if a sheriff chose to enforce it?

            The allegations are not that the government hired illegal workers. The allegations are that a contracted cleaning company hired illegal workers.

            Under what logic you think this should result in a raid on a government building, I do not know.

            Additionally, none of the people arrested at city hall were, in fact, in the country illegally. (The company was, indeed, hiring illegal workers, something confirmed with a perfectly reasonable *search warrant on the company*.)

            Please note this was in response to the Mesa city government, being fed up with Arpaio’s people *illegally threatening* Arpaio protesters (as his people had done other places.), physically barracked the protesters from the sheriff’s deputies.

            A government had to go so far as to say ‘You *sheriff deputies* are no longer allowed to interact with these peaceful protesters who have gotten permits from the city, because *you keep threatening them*.’

            Joe was sheriff for almost a quarter century, so that works out to about six deaths a year, on average three unexplained, and about three suicides every two years. That seems pretty normal to me.

            Except those are just the numbers reported. And not even reported by the Sheriff’s office, which will not report any death at all. (Despite, of course, this being in violation of the law.) This is just the number guessed by the ME.

            There are people known to have died at the jail who have been omitted.

            And Joe hired the highest percentage of Hispanic deputies in all of Arizona. Hispanics don’t come from the heritage of Anglo-American common law and individual liberties. They don’t even have a heritage of an adversarial legal system.

            Weirdly, George appeared not realize that Hispanics might, in fact, have a heritage of generations of *being Americans*. In fact, as this is *Texas*, it’s entirely possible that their families have been Americans literally as long as any non-Hispanic Texans have been Americans, i.e., they became Americans when Texas joined America.

            Moreover, even weirder, he seems to think it’s okay to profile and torture Hispanics as long as you hire some Hispanics. Pretty sure that’s not how it works.

            But despite that, Sheriff Arpaio kept things on a pretty even keel. Abuses were limited. Law enforcement wouldn’t take whole neighborhoods out into the desert and shoot them in the back of the head

            So there’s the threshold for George. Anything *less* than that is okay.

            George, I am really tired of all the tribal bullshit by ‘conservatives’ here, the utter inconsistencies in what they say, and how everything they say seems entirely based in what political party someone is.

            So, word of warning, I will be responding, in the future, when you whine about how poor conservative speakers are being ‘oppressed’ by universities, with how you defended a man who operated a government that *literally illegally impressed reporters and politicians who said bad things about him*. (Don Stapley, Michael Lacey, Jim Larkin, all of whom won multi-million dollar lawsuits.)

            Hey, I’m going to admit a secret, right here. A failing of myself: Sometimes, when someone on the left does something horrible, something I’ve attacked the right for, I can’t seem to find it in myself to attack them very much. For example, I am aware that I should be madder at Obama WRT his drone attacks, but I find it hard to attack him for that, mostly because he did so many other things right.

            But you know what I do at that point? I just sorta…back away and hope we all forget about it. I don’t leap in and defend them full-throated, weirdly.

            This is because I have a *standard* I hold people to, I have an actual *belief system* about how the government and people and everyone should behave…and while sometimes I am not as vocal in condemnation as I should be when partisanship comes into it, I at least have enough ethics to not fucking *defend monsters* simply because they are wearing the same party label as me.

            Arpaio is a monster. Someone who tortures people under the color of the law. Someone who is *textbook government oppression*. Someone who *broke the law*, in fact, *violated the constitutional rights* of people. Someone who has been sued *thousands* of times and had to pay out *tens of millions* of dollars because of his illegal shit.

            And half the ‘conservatives’, the ones screaming about ‘freeeduuuum’ and ‘gubberment oppression’, are rock hard for him because he’s a Republican and doing it to mostly Hispanics.

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            • Given that I just told George he was making beyond the pale statements, I get why you are reacting as though he’s making beyond the pale statements. I’d rather you didn’t state speculation about his motives as facts but I get why you did. And 90 percent or more of your comment is entirely within bounds.

              That said, couching your expressions of frustration in sweeping generalization insults, particularly those that are traditionally used in homophobic contexts (talking about how males are “rock hard” for some other male when that isn’t, at all, what you actually mean) is not actually helping anything. Please don’t.

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              • That said, couching your expressions of frustration in sweeping generalization insults, particularly those that are traditionally used in homophobic contexts (talking about how males are “rock hard” for some other male when that isn’t, at all, what you actually mean) is not actually helping anything. Please don’t.

                I can see how that can be read as homophobic. I sometimes forget that implying that a man is attracted to another man is often read as an insult. I will try to phrase things better in the future.

                I was trying to insult the conservatives defending Arpaio by saying they are aroused by someone who is a *monster*, not ‘insult’ them by saying they are aroused by a *man*, which isn’t any sort of insult in my mind…but is indeed an insult in a lot of people’s mind if I’m talking about male conservatives. So I’ll watch that.

                However, I didn’t limit anything to just male conservatives, and I don’t know why you thought I did(1), but I think you missing that removed a lot of the obvious humorous intent from my comment, as my statement would include Arpaio-defending conservative women in the erection-having category…which makes my comment much more obviously satirical.(2)

                But that was, perhaps, less obvious than I intended, and it is possible to read my statement as homophobic, so I failed there, and will try to phrase things better in the future. (At least until we live in a world where saying that a man is attracted to another male isn’t some horrible insult.)

                1) Unless you thought that’s what I meant by ‘half’, but as I clarified, I just meant the ‘half’ of the ‘conservatives’ out there defending him. Which is, yes, randomly rounded, but if anything it’s low.

                2) Which is, quite possibly, a slightly transphobic joke, perhaps. But not really.

                As for the rest, I’m not sure what sweeping generalizations you’re talking about. Are you talking about me talking about tribal behavior by ‘conservatives’ here? There’s a reason I put the word ‘conservative’ in quotes, specifically to make it clear I wasn’t talking about all the conservatives here, but only the ‘conservatives’ who had no ideology at all besides ‘Always side with Republicans’. (As I very specifically said.)

                Defining two groups of mutually-exclusive people (Conservatives who are consistent and those who are not.) is not a generalization. A generalization would be saying _other_ things about the groups.

                I.e., it’s a generalization to group bad drivers in one group, and good drivers in another, and say that the first group are, for example, taller. That would be a generalization.

                But if I say the first group is composed of bad drivers…that’s not a generalization.That’s literally the grouping. I’m not ascribing possibly-incorrect traits to a group, I’m stating how the groups were divided to start with.

                Same with me creating ‘ideologically-consistent conservatives’ and ‘ideologically-inconsistent-to-the-extend-of-even-defending-Arpaio conservatives’ groups. Defining those groups isn’t a generalization. It’s just set theory. Saying _anything else_ about them would be a generalization, but…I didn’t do that? (I said I was _tired_ of the second group, I guess.)

                The only ‘generalization’ I made was to put George in the ideologically-inconsistent bucket. But that’s not a generalization…that’s me making a statement about George specifically.

                And I’m pretty certain that ‘You are completely inconsistent in your political ideology, with your position being entirely based on what side of the political spectrum we’re talking about.’ is well within the bounds of statements we can make here about posters. I mean, yes, it’s technically an insult, but it’s well within bounds. (Weirdly, I’m not sure George would think of it as an insult.)

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                • “‘You are completely inconsistent in your political ideology, with your position being entirely based on what side of the political spectrum we’re talking about.’ ” is within bounds, or at least well within usual practice at the moment and not something I would have responded to with a moderator hat on.

                  What you actually said – that one particular sentence at least – isn’t. It was not, actually, clear from context what putting ‘conservatives’ in quotes meant. It wasn’t clear until just now who you were or weren’t attacking among the self-identified conservative commenters.

                  And thinking it was funny/satirical doesn’t make it more within bounds.

                  As for the “rock hard” thing, it’s not so much that I was led to think you are homophobic (I assume you are not), as that it’s uncivil to throw around anything that *mostly* gets used by homophobes and misogynists, as a generalized insult. It’s uncivil to claim that people are sexually aroused *as an insult*, regardless of the target, not solely or even primarily because of how the person(s) you are attacking might feel about it, but because it’s creepy to throw around those kinds of attacks. Regardless of the target or the provocation, all it does is contribute a particular “locker room” mentality that was all too prevalent in my high school (and, literally, used by people who beat up people who were gay or friends with gay people, and who also treated women like dirt), but shouldn’t be prevalent here. (Actually not prevalent in many actual locker rooms, either, of course.)

                  I’m not explaining all this because I think it’s the most egregious thing going on in the thread – it isn’t – but because I want you to understand why I’m warning you off that kind of attack.

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                  • Okay, I can see all that.

                    So to be clear, I should stay away that sort of locker room talk, which make sense and is easy enough. That is not somewhere I normally go anyway, I was just finding the Arpaio defenders (Here and other places) who claim to be ‘conservative’ very absurd and I was trying to convey how absurd they were. But I will find other absurd imagery instead.

                    And also, instead of saying ‘conservative’, I should say…fake conservative, or conservative-in-name-only?

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                    • “instead of saying ‘conservative’, I should say…fake conservative, or conservative-in-name-only?”

                      Maybe you should say the names of the people you’re actually talking about, instead of “well, YOU know who I mean, I’m talking about THOSE kind of people.”

                      Like, if you’re gonna call people out, call people out. There is not a vast horde of commentors here on this website defending Arpaio. There are…two? Three?

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                      • @DensityDuck has a very good point. “The handful of fake conservatives here and the slew I’ve seen elsewhere” would’ve been fine as well. Either of your suggestions would’ve been a lot clearer and I probably wouldn’t have noticed it.

                        Calling someone out honestly and without resorting to insulting the person vs their inconsistency is not a problem, doing so by name is actually more civil than otherwise when you’re talking about a handful of people.

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                      • Like, if you’re gonna call people out, call people out. There is not a vast horde of commentors here on this website defending Arpaio. There are…two? Three?

                        I think perhaps people have mixed together my two statements about
                        fake conservatives. One of them was about posters *here*, and the other was just in general.

                        One of them, the first thing, is me getting annoyed at the tribal nonsense _here_, the literal IOIYAR that fake conservatives _here_ seem to do, like we have no memory at all and can’t remember them having the exact opposite opinion when the parties were the other way around. Uh, yes, we can.

                        This is not just about Arpaio. There is another poster I do much the same thing to, although his inconsistencies are more politically strategic than ideological. And some others I’m going to start calling out. And, no, I’m not calling out people who are not here.

                        Weirdly, the only other ‘conservative’ (And that’s in quotes because I’m not sure he even considers himself one, not because he’s ‘fake’.) I see here defending Arpaio is , who isn’t really being ideologically inconsistent…I mean, as far as I can tell, he’s never claimed to have any sort of ideology.

                        The *other* paragraph, the last one, the one that went too far, was me talking about fake conservatives _in general_ who are defending Arpaio. There’s George here, but I was mainly talking about the fake conservatives out in the world.

                        Like the moronic fake conservative Ann Coulter, and others like her, people whose articles I was reading at the time but don’t recall now. And all the idiots on Facebook whose only ideology is ‘If the left doesn’t like it, it must be good’.

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                        • Should I say thanks? I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve defended arpiao, as much as I’ve called BS on some of the allegations. Generally I think that if a federal judge tells you to do something, you probably should do it as they don’t like being ignored.

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  6. aaron david:
    “85 Year Old Man Pardoned After Doing Time For Minor Crime”

    As much as I think Arpaio* is an A-hole, I think Turner up above is on the right track. The left has had it out for him as long as I can remember, and contempt of court is such a minor thing to hang the hats of the judicial system on. And there has been enough talk about older prisoners being of no harm that this seems just like petty, vindictive behavior at the best reading. I can’t see this as moving the needle.

    *Is Arpaio Hispanic? I never really thought about it until now.

    It is interesting how conservatives tend to think of contempt of court as being a minor thing. We had it in the UK with some conservative MPs who went to jail for it.

    In fact, it is in many ways the greatest crime. It is a crime against the rule of law. And without the rule of law, one can’t have a functioning justice system.

    And dont no truescotsman on this. Sheriff Arpaio got reelected. And republicans overwhelmingly suppirt Trump.

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    • Well, first of all, not a conservative (just a former Dem.)

      Second, it isn’t what I may think of it, or you for that matter, its what the public at large will think of it. As I said, Arpaio is prime grade A-hole, but if the public think that original charge is ramped up BS, then this is really just ramped up BS, no matter what the leftentariat et at thinks.

      By the way, how am I false Scoting this?

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      • I wasnt saying you were a conservstivr. You didnt make a comment about your own beliefs, you said you thought the public would see it as unimportant. I agree, at least for the important section of the electorate – conservatives currentlybbacking Trump who might be persuaded to change their support. I agree conservatives dont seem big on the rule of law and this pardoning is unlikely to move the needle.

        The scotsman thing wasnt aimed at you either. I am just generslly tired of the thing i hear from the minority (about 1 in 6?) of US conservstives opposed to Trump that Trumpism isnt conservatism. While that might be true for some abstract version of conservatism , US actual conservatives are overwhelmingly pro-Trump, so descriptively US conservatism is Trumpism.

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        • OK, got you.

          And for what it is worth, I agree with you. And it is a big part of why I left the D’s. They were no longer moving in the same direction as me, so, as the minority I stopped calling myself that. And started looking at other parties more seriously.

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      • You keep saying the first line but I see very little evidence for it.

        What I see is that you feel so abandoned by the Democratic Party that anything that pusses them off is good to you. So there is no reflection on Apario causing Maricopa County to shell out 45 million for violations of civil liberties. You just see someone who pissed of Dems so he must be good.

        The man called his tent city a “concentration camp.” He ignored sex crimes so he could devot resources to racist fear mongering. His own deputies botched prostitution investigations by having some fun first and being caught on camera. He was found guilty by a deeply conservative Bush II appointee.

        Yet he pisses of liberals so he must be good.

        You are a conservative in effect if not intent. You are just like many libertarians and see the R brand as damaged and don’t want the association.

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        • He ignored sex crimes so he could devot resources to racist fear mongering.

          OMG, the sheriff apportioned his finite resources as he saw fit. But you and Vikram don’t like his choice so you lie about what he did. Oh and by the way, did you ever find any evidence that Trump is a racist?

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          • Claiming that the OP and/or other commenters are lying, particularly when you seem to mostly disagree about their framing rather than their substantive facts, is not civil behavior. Please desist.

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          • If Saul or Vikram has any proof that ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio “used his power to literally facilitate sex crimes against children” or ” ignored sex crimes so he could devot [sic] resources to racist fear mongering” I’d like to see it. If not, then it’s an unsubstantiated allegation or a lie.

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            • 1) Vikram presented his proofs. Disagreeing about whether proofs are valid does not equal no proofs being offered.
              2) Saying, “If x, then either a or b,” does not actually justify asserting b from a logical point of view and it doesn’t provide a loophole to the commenting policy either.

              Stop.

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              • Vikram linked to an article that didn’t support his accusation. If your “proof” doesn’t support your claim it might as well not exist. If all i need to do you “prove” my point is link to a random article, i can easily do that from now on. Saying that someone facilitated sex crimes against kids is a serious accusation and should be supported with substantive evidence not some BS liberal hit piece.

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                • See, nothing in this comment is a problem (even if I don’t agree with you that Vikram didn’t offer valid proof- it’s fine that I don’t). Saying that people in this community are lying when they aren’t lying is a problem. It’s fairly straightforward.

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                  • Where is the proof that Sheriff Arpaio facilitated sex crimes against kids? I mean real proof not someone’s tortured interpretation of resource allocation. If that is the new standards then my local police department is guilty of facilitating rapists b/c they have a backlog of untested rape kits.

                    Okay, if folks can say things that aren’t true or aren’t supported by any facts but i can’t call them out on it, that’s fine. Just as long as i know what the standard is.

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                    • You can’t call them liars or say they’re lying, no. You can say they didn’t provide real proof, disagree with them about whether those things are true, and explain why you believe they aren’t true, which you just did without it being a problem.

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    • Over here, judges have almost unlimited power over the courtroom. The judge could have sent Arpaio to jail indefinitely for wearing the a cuff link she regarded as disrespectful. It’s a weird hole in our system. In the courtroom, they are God. The only thing keeping them in check is the opinion of other courts, who are also God in their own courtrooms. It generally works unless someone is targeted with absolutely no chance of getting a jury to convict, but that’s where the flaw shows up.

      In the US, the ultimate power is not the federal, state, or local government. The power rests with 12 pseudo-random citizens. Knowing that no twelve citizens of Maricopa county would convict Arpaio of anything, the court reverted to their unchecked power over the courtroom, a power in which they can send someone to jail for any reason, and forever, under the charge of contempt. There are occasions where such power is necessary and warranted, such as when someone refuses to honor a contract of deed, and such people can stay in prison until they fulfill what they agreed to hand over, but it does leave judges with the potential for abuse.

      When a judge does abuse such powers, the President’s pardon power is an obvious remedy.

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      • I want to make sure I’m clear on your position here, .

        You’re saying that indefinite imprisonment for contract violations is okay, but indefinite imprisonment for a law enforcement official abusing his power isn’t (in spite of that whole “oath to uphold the laws of the United States of America).

        You are furthermore implying that Presidential pardon in the second case isn’t only okay, it’s laudable.

        You are finally implying that all this hangs together in this specific case, due to:

        * Joe was being imprisoned “indefinitely”
        * Joe was not abusing his authority (here you’d need to do some lifting other than asserting)

        If I’m misstating your case, feel free to correct me.

        If I’m not, can you further explicate how Joe was being imprisoned “indefinitely”, given that he hadn’t been sentenced yet, and/or how any/all of the links that Vikram posted don’t represent an abuse of authority.

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  7. That said, August 25, 2017 marks the moral low point of Donald Trump’s presidency.

    Bart: This is the worst day of my life.

    Homer: The worst day of your life so far.

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  8. aaron david:
    “85 Year Old Man Pardoned After Doing Time For Minor Crime”

    I wish to point out that it is not true that Arpaio spent even one second in jail for his crime.

    In fact, Arpaio had not even been sentenced yet.
    There is a non-trivial chance he would not have been assessed jail time and would have had to pay a fine instead.
    It is an interesting question as to why Trump felt the urgency to issue the pardon at this point as opposed to waiting for the sentencing.

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    • It is an interesting question as to why Trump felt the urgency to issue the pardon at this point as opposed to waiting for the sentencing.

      If I were President, and wanted to make political points by pardoning an 85-year-old man who appears (in many pictures, at least) to be substantially overweight, I wouldn’t delay either.

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    • I speculated that it could be too deflect from whatever goes wrong in handling Hurricane Harvey which is an epic disaster right now.

      But someone else pointed out that you can look at it the other way, concentrating on Harvey would deflect from the dismissal of Gorka and the pardon of Arpaio. With Trump, there is probably only chaos and id.

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        • There’s nowhere for them to evacuate to. Our refugee processing centers are full up with illegals, and the EU shelters are filled with Middle Eastern and African refugees.

          The West doesn’t have room for more refugees, much less two million more boat people. And make no mistake, Houston is now full of boat people.

          Trump is trying to cut the number of refugees we’re allowing in from six unstable countries, which would free up some space for Texans, but his orders were struck down in circuit court, and those decisions were upheld on appeal. So if anyone is to blame for the people of Houston being stuck, it’s anti-Trumpers.

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          • George,
            Of course the west has room for more refugees. Australia has zillions of acres.

            (redacted for being an insult – Maribou)

            (redacted because it isn’t Texans’ fault George was using them as his counterexample – Maribou)

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    • Because he’s signalling his willingness to disregard pardon norms to those who are swept up in the Russia investigation. Obviously his plan was to announce it at the rally for the double-credit, but when someone told him he couldn’t, he felt the need to do it very quickly to show that he wasn’t letting anyone stop him from doing the pardon.

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  9. Look at this

    103 comments as of my typing over two days on a minor Trump subject–and that’s just on this site alone.

    I’d venture to say that, other than maybe Obama, this much ink hasn’t been used to write about a president ever. (someone feel free to do the math). Look what you people did. You elected a money printing machine for social media, news media, etc.

    Kudos. I’m enjoying the ride.

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    • I don’t view this as a “minor Trump moment”
      Arpaio’s offense was a direct defiance of the judiciary.
      Trump’s pardon was reinforcing this defiance.

      I know I am naive, but in my grade school civics classes I was taught that our system of government was based on three coequal branches of government

      Trump and Arpaio seem to have no respect for the judiciary. I think that is a major issue and one that concerns me a lot.

      If the judiciary is devalued then the rule of law is devalued and we are left with authoritarians in the executive whether it’s a Sheriff or a President deciding what the law is.

      I consider myself a conservative old man who is mystified someone could be enjoying the decay of our society.

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      • I think it’s a minor moment. Stack it against North Korea, the shut down of the gov’t over the wall funding, the add’l troops in Afghanistan, the “Charlottesville Incident”. I think those are much more “major” than this. Note, I’m not arguing that the Arpaio thing is inconsequential, just when it’s put alongside the things I mentioned, it’s not AS important as them.

        “I was taught that our system of government was based on three coequal branches of government” So was I. Then I realized that hand’t been the case for decades.

        “Trump and Arpaio seem to have no respect for the judiciary. I think that is a major issue and one that concerns me a lot.” Agreed, but, again, that’s been eroding away for decades.

        “I consider myself a conservative old man who is mystified someone could be enjoying the decay of our society.” I was were you are a while ago, although I’m not a conservative. Then I realized that, to use a metaphor, we’re in a car that’s heading towards a cliff. What does it matter if the speed of the car is 120 MPH or 90 MPH? Better to enjoy the ride.

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          • If those men want to change things, then they should “step up” and ask themselves what they are prepared to do and how far are they willing to go, to fix the problems. Me, I think their efforts will turn to ash, but I’ll not hinder them, unless that plan involves enslaving me further.

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        • I think it’s a minor moment. Stack it against North Korea, the shut down of the gov’t over the wall funding, the add’l troops in Afghanistan, the “Charlottesville Incident”. I think those are much more “major” than this. Note, I’m not arguing that the Arpaio thing is inconsequential, just when it’s put alongside the things I mentioned, it’s not AS important as them.

          Yes, but things that help at peeling away Trump’s support from hold-their-nose-but-put-up-with-him-anyway conservatives is going to get him out of office faster.

          And getting this incredibly unfit person out of office should really be everyone’s goal at the moment, and then we can go back to arguing over non-apocalyptic politics.

          Pointing out that he has no respect for the judiciary or any sort of legal process at all is something that (correctly) recalibrates how Republicans in Congress think he will act when cornered, changing how they deal with him, building in firewalls and reordering priorities.

          There’s a lot of stuff that _should_ be out-of-bounds that Trump somehow got in bounds, and just as much stuff that slowly got in bounds over the last few decades that shouldn’t have been due to Congress slowly abdicating all its responsibilities to the President.

          But somehow ‘Actually deferring to the judiciary’ is apparently _still_ required by Congress, or at least they pretend it is. If Arpaio’s pardon is the straw that can break the camel’s back, let’s keep screaming about the stupid straw, no matter how minor it is.

          And I’m not entirely sure that pardon is minor…I’m still slightly convinced that a part of it was signaling to Trump associates under investigation that he was willing to pardon them…if they didn’t turn on him. (The only reason I hesitate to think this is true is that I do not think Trump is smart enough to ‘signal’ like this without announcing it to the world on Twitter the next day.)

          But, bright side: While it certainly hasn’t been ‘worth it’, Trump’s mere existence is eventually going to change quite a few things that have slowly become problematic over the decades.(1) It turns out we _can’t_ assume the president is some sort of rational and sane person! I’m surprised the AUMF lasted this long.

          1) I kinda hope Congress goes along with my idea of ‘standing impeachable offenses’. Where they issue, and keep updated, a joint Congressional Resolution of things they agree they will impeach the president over, stuff like failing to divest before taking office(2) and obstruction of justice and (Recently added…Trump keeps coming up with new breaking of norms.) pardoning people outside the normal judiciary channels and stuff Trump hasn’t managed to do (yet) like lying to Congress.

          The President is not subject to laws while in office, he is subject to the arbitrary judgement of Congress…and I say they should lay out what *they* expect in advance. Formally. ‘Here are the official rules of being President, and if you break them, we will impeach you.’

          This wouldn’t change anything in how impeachment works, but it would make it much less obviously partisan. Instead of someone in Congress saying ‘I allege the president has done these things, which I think are impeachable acts’, they would be saying ‘I allege the president has done these things, which we all _previously agreed_ were impeachable acts in this resolution we passed.’.

          The trick is making the list things that really should be impeachable instead of just throwing everything in there. The broader the list, the easier it is to argue it is overly broad. I would argue it should be limited to ‘abuse of the office’ and, I guess, ‘outright felonies’.

          2) It would be nice if Congress would remember they can impeach the president _before_ he takes office, which as I argued Trump should have been he did, as he was clearly not intending to comply with the emoluments clause in any manner whatsoever. There should have been a hard deadline, where Congress said ‘Divest yourself, or alternately present us a plan as to how this will work that we approve by January 1st, or we are impeaching you _at that point_ and you will never take office.’

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          • “Yes, but things that help at peeling away Trump’s support from hold-their-nose-but-put-up-with-him-anyway conservatives is going to get him out of office faster.”

            I’m not seeing any rumbling in the Republican ranks about impeachment. Hell, I’m not hearing a lot about ANY grumbling. Now, I’m not following this closely, but hell, I’d expect NPR, NPR! to have something on that.

            I’ll agree with you that a lot of stuff got in bounds in prior admins. Hell, congress needs to step up and do their own job instead of foisting it onto the admin. This is, in part, what I was talking about in my car over the cliff reference. Other than the Left, I’m not seeing a ground swell or elite swell of “trump removal”. I wouldn’t see much of the rights dissatisfaction since I live in a “liberal utopia” anyway…..

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            • Remember the eternal question “What Is Best In Life?”

              There are several schools of thought for the answer. For example, some people are fond of the “Open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair” school of thought. Others are fond of the whole “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, hear the lamentations of the women” thing.

              If you interpret the editorializing of otherwise perfectly neutral media personalities as “lamentations”, there are measures by which Trump is succeeding. Like, exceeding expectations, succeeding.

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          • Anyone who was still holding their nose and putting up with Trump on August 24, is probably an Arpaio fan. They shrugged at the pussy grabbing. They’re constitutional absolutists when the conversation is about the second amendment, but their mindset can turn on a dime to figure the emoluments clause is optional. They were maybe miffed but not entirely put off by the Nazi apologia.

            These are the folks who kept re-electing Arpaio after it was entirely clear he was breaking the law. They liked his lawbreaking just fine. The one thing Republicans in Congress are nervous of doing, because of these folks, is showing respect for the judiciary or any sort of legal process at all.

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            • I think that it’s more that the debate isn’t about Trump or Arpaio or the Nazis or Antifa or whathaveyou at all.

              It’s the Anti-Trumps vs. The Anti-Anti-Trumps. The Anti-Arpaios vs. the Anti-Anti-Arpaios. The Antifa vs. the Anti-Antifa.

              You see this game played in the form
              “DENOUNCE NAZIS!”
              “I denounce both Nazis and Antifa.”
              “I SAID TO DENOUNCE NAZIS!”
              “I am. I denounce both Nazis and Antifa.”
              “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST DENOUNCE NAZIS?!? DO YOU SECRETLY SUPPORT THEM?!?”

              At the same time, everybody is taking turns yelling “HOLD MY BEER” when it comes to being outraged and embracing a purity spiral.

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              • Like, *THIS* just came out. Trump is awful, right? Did you see how he was handling Texas? He gave a speech and opened with “what a great crowd!” or something like that. Did you see Meliana’s shoes? Tacky! Hold my beer and check out my political cartoon mocking Houstonians!

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              • I’m sure there’s some of that.

                I just think that as “low points of his career” go – trying to interfere in Arpaio’s prosecution, and when that failed, pardoning him before he was so much as sentenced, doesn’t even twitch the needle on the gauge.

                Arpaio was popular enough in Texas to keep on getting re-elected for something like a quarter century. And his popularity was precisely because of his brazenly cruel and often illegal actions, and the gusto with which he promoted them.

                By Trump’s standards (i.e. defining an air ball as ‘taking two days to say anything at all, then equivocating on condemning actual swastika waving Nazis’), this was a slam dunk. It wasn’t close to the lowest point in his career. It probably wasn’t even the lowest point in his Friday.

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            • Anyone who was still holding their nose and putting up with Trump on August 24, is probably an Arpaio fan.

              There is exactly one group of people that need convincing to remove Trump:

              Congress.

              I seriously doubt they are a fan of this.

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            • Anyone who’s still holding their nose and putting up with Trump at this point, is probably an Arpaio fan.

              This is pretty similar to saying everyone who votes for Trump must be a racist. I doubt it leads to a clear view of reality. You miss things when you tell people what their opinions are and why.

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              • For a given definition of racism, the above was absolutely true (i.e. sufficiently indifferent to active racial animosity that other considerations outweighed it). As long as you stipulate to that definition of racism, it’s not even arguable – no “probably” needed.

                In this case, maybe I’m wrong – hence my “probably” – maybe the contingent of people who liked Trump on 24 August but didn’t on 26 August would be large enough to surprise me. Maybe. So far though, the only people I’ve read arguing that pardoning Arpaio was some kind of unforgivable Rubicon, would on 24 August have simply brought up something else as the already previously crossed Rubicon.

                Do you know anyone whose mind was changed by the pardon?

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                • For a given definition of racism, the above was absolutely true (i.e. sufficiently indifferent to active racial animosity that other considerations outweighed it).

                  It should be awkward to accuse people who voted for Obama of racism because they wouldn’t support HRC. “Racist” seems to mean “whatever the Dems don’t like”, and at some point all the cries of “wolf” lose their meaning.

                  Do you know anyone whose mind was changed by the pardon?

                  Around here it was a non-event. I barely know who Arpaio is (some cop out West who ends up in the news because… he made his prisoners wear pink?)

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          • You can’t beat something with nothing.

            What is it that the Dems intend to do to make my life better? More central planning? More anti-growth “fight inequality” policies? As far as I can tell, the Dems are mostly about stopping the 300 or so Nazis who threaten America and promoting a political/economic landscape where *ism and identity politics run the show.

            As long as Trump is the only one promoting Growth policies, then he gets a pass on being Trump. Everything else is a sideshow.

            Trump likes being a lightning rod, he likes engaging in these ugly **** throwing contests, he likes provoking people, he likes attention, and yeah, all the rest. None of that befits a President but whatever.

            The Dems still think if they can just show how ugly Trump is, they’ll win by default. As long as it’s about Trump being Trump then that’s not a conversation you can win, because everyone already knows he’s Trump.

            We’re going to see the Dems strongly oppose tax reform, “because Trump”. That it’s strongly pro-growth won’t matter because they’re anti-growth. As long as that’s where the Dems are, I’ll hold my nose and vote for Trump (well, next time I will. Last time I didn’t because I overestimated just how bad he’d be).

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            • We’re going to see the Dems strongly oppose tax reform, “because Trump”. That it’s strongly pro-growth won’t matter because they’re anti-growth. As long as that’s where the Dems are, I’ll hold my nose and vote for Trump (well, next time I will. Last time I didn’t because I overestimated just how bad he’d be).

              We’re going to see the Dems strongly oppose tax reform because the ‘tax reform’ will be thinly veiled cuts on the rich, and either a) increases taxes on the poor, or b) increases deficits. Most people have stopped falling for the idea that just cutting taxes on the rich is ‘pro-growth’.

              And the Dems will oppose it on those grounds, on the grounds it is merely a tax cut for the rich and harmful for everyone else, and none of their opposition will be anything to do with Trump, just like the Dems opposed the ACA repeal on the grounds all the opposing plans were completely idiotic, the plan to just break it and replace it later was even more idiotic, and they barely brought Trump into it at all.

              This is, of course, assuming the Republicans ever get some sort of ‘tax reform’ plan together at all.

              It is entirely possible that the Republicans, facing _again_ the point where they have to somehow figure out how their decades of lying rhetoric where they promise sunshine and puppies has to somehow turn into justification of their extremely unpopular and harmful _actual_ policies, will punt, just like they did on repealing the ACA. Or at least enough of them will punt. (Probably different people will dislike option (a) vs (b), with some sort of idiotic compromise proposal that promises to only _halfway_ harm people and only _halfway_ increase the deficit.)

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              • We’re going to see the Dems strongly oppose tax reform because the ‘tax reform’ will be thinly veiled cuts on the rich, and either a) increases taxes on the poor, or b) increases deficits. Most people have stopped falling for the idea that just cutting taxes on the rich is ‘pro-growth’.

                The evil rich make a wonderful rhetorical opponent, I’m sure we’ll hear a lot about them. But missing from your response was useful Dem suggestions on what would be better.

                I get that they’re going to oppose the GOP. We have an inhumanly complex tax code which forces companies to flee us for other countries overseas. Is that seriously the best we can do? Is the actual claim that it’s not a problem, not creating distortions, etc?

                So, again, you can’t beat something with nothing. The claim is that GOP plan will be sub-optimal, unless you’re claiming tax reform isn’t needed, what is the Dem plan?

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                • They do make a wonderful rhetorical opponent. Just listen to President Trump: ““The people I care most about are the middle-income people in this country, who have gotten screwed,” Mr. Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, reiterating that he wants to bring down the corporate tax rate to 15%. “And if there’s upward revision it’s going to be on high-income people.”…

                  “I have wealthy friends that say to me, ‘I don’t mind paying more tax,’ ” the president said.

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                  • “I have wealthy friends that say to me, ‘I don’t mind paying more tax,’ ” the president said.

                    In one of the other posts I’ve put up today, I point out that people lie. :)

                    Look at Warren Buffet. For all his talk about how he’d be fine with more taxes on himself, if you look at the kind of taxes he’s talked about, they’d have almost no effect on him and much effect on his competitors.

                    Similarly I expect whatever tax reform goes through, The Trump Foundation (?) will magically be one of the winners.

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