US Politics 

Hi, All,

I have genuinely high hopes for a productive conversation here on QOTO.

Putting aside the base hatred of things that are different (e.g., I hate President Obama because he has Black Skin; I hate President Trump because he has Orange Skin; I hate President Clinton because he is a Cisgendered horndog; I hate President Trump because he is a Cisgendered horndog...)

Is there a basis for all of the personality bashing other than the Left hates the Right and the Right hates the Left?

Is it naive to advocate for a Political Process that discusses policy affecting those being represented or do we simply invent technology that permits policy to be decided by determining who shouts the loudest?

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US Politics 

@williamlweaver re: Basis? Much of it has to do with political identity. We're wet-wired to hate out-groups and defend in-groups regardless of right/wrong.

re: advocating policy: IMHO we need to take an evidence based approach but that directly clashes with with the above. Until we find a practical solution to the above, I'll support your advocacy. That probably makes me naive though :)

US Politics 

@williamlweaver I beleive and hope that if you keep the caliber of your discussion to this level you will find we can have pretty productive conversations here.

Of course when people are less respectful it just tends to get you ignored. So even then I'd say as a community we do a pretty good job reaching across the aisle.

I always try to lurk on this sort of stuff just to help keep the maturity level maxed out, but rarely do I need to interject in that regard.

Great post, keep it up! :thums_up_parrot:

US Politics 


Thanks for the kudos and a great community!

I am receiving awesome, productive responses to this post.

Being a newbie, is there a prefered method for continuing the conversation as a thread, or should I respond to each poster individually?

Thanks! =]

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@williamlweaver If you reply to the last comment it usually includes the names of everyone int he thread. By doing this you can engage the whole group rather than individuals.

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@williamlweaver Ad hominem attacks are nothing new, even if they remain a terrible method to debate.

Something we've had short conversations about here on already is tribalism- which, most certainly, factors into the partisanship you see in modern politics.

Add into that the ability for one to screen their media so they only see and hear what they want to see and hear, coupled with a news media that has largely abandoned neutral journalistic principles and you have a situation where the ignorant are controlled on across the whole spectrum.

The scary thing is that even people who aren't ignorant can be fooled by these methods, simply because they may not be actively aware of the above.

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@williamlweaver There were some issues last election where Trump and Clinton agreed, and both sides were using the issue as a wedge issue. It was ludicrous.

I think this relates to something @freemo posted earlier - everyone seems themselves as doing what's right. But when the other side isn't just wrong/mistaken but EVIL, then there's no reason to engage in discussion of issues with them. If anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi, and you don't engage in discussions with Nazis, you punch them physically or by bashing their personality.

@secondjon @freemo @williamlweaver - overcome "other" with force... fundamental attribution error (dispositionism) vs situationism.

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@williamlweaver obama has ruined us with "free" healthcare. If you didn't want it you still paid with a fine. That is socialism at it's finest. Forced to pay up.

US Politics 


How familiar are you with wikileaks?

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@williamlweaver Some of the hatred of Trump from the left is that he is majestically narcissistic, obscenely greedy, blatantly racist, and a pathological liar.

All politicians certainly spin things in their direction. Some lie to cover up their crimes. Trump lies for no reason about things that nobody else cares about: his inauguration was the biggest ever, the Boy Scouts praised him for his speech, Obama was born in Kenya, Muslims were cheering in New York after 9/11. Some of his lies, notably that he won the popular vote but a bunch of foreigners voted illegally, are fantastically dangerous to our democracy.

It's hard to have a debate when the other side rejects basic, demonstrable facts and just makes stuff up.

Yes, we on the left think the GOP's policies are monstrous, but Trump as a person takes things to a whole new level. That's why a popular protest sign has been "Don't Normalize This".

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@peterdrake @williamlweaver (Is this too long? I bounce around a few ideas here didn't want to flood with several posts.. )

β€’ It's sometimes hard to take seriously - the link to wapo referenced the statement that collusion is not a crime, which they listed as a lie or misleading even though they said his statement is true, and they're reading in motives rather than reporting on the facts of what's true or false.

β€’ My concern with "don't normalize this" is that it might mean "don't normalize that it's okay for someone to disagree with my opinion", which I suspect is far more "fantastically dangerous to our democracy" than Trump's stupidly untrue boasts to puff himself up.

β€’ I have a theory around how the president speaks/acts, which is not based around being true or even genuine, but about triggering a certain reaction in others that advances his agenda: positive reactions in his rally-attenders while over the top negative from his perceived opponents (who are often people on his own team), which then adds to the perception that they're irrationally out to get him. When someone is manipulating you this way I think you have to rise above to not play the role the person is planning on you to play, but I haven't seen much of that.

β€’ I'd much rather talk ideas and policies than personalities. Donald makes this very difficult as he's constantly interrupting with his wild statements or personality, which keeps turning the conversation away from the substantive.

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@SecondJon @williamlweaver

No, they didn't say his statement is true. They said, "He's playing games with words. Conspiracy to defraud the government is certainly a crime." The crime may not be named "collusion", but what he's accused of is a crime.

Do you disagree with the characterization of Trump as a pathological liar, or at least someone who makes far more patently untrue statements than a typical politician?

I'm sure we'll get to policies eventually, but my issue here is that it's hard to have a debate with someone who has no interest in truth.

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@peterdrake The president said that collusion is not a crime, and the site didn't say that was a lie. But they file it as a lie.

Instead, they read into motivations rather than whether his words were true or not, and insult what they guess his motives are. I suppose they were saying: He's play games with words - the game goes like this: Say something that's true, BUT something that if you just use different words is NOT true!

Logic like...
1. "Conspiracy to defraud the government" is a crime.
2. Trump didn't say otherwise.
3. BUT if he HAD said otherwise, that would have been a lie.
4. If we edit his true statement about collusion to actually be about conspiracy to defraud the government, then we've created a lie - so even though he didn't say the lie, we mark this as a lie.

I think it's especially important to be honest when you're trying to call someone out for dishonesty. And this just seems dishonest.

I'm not qualified to diagnose someone as pathological nor have I done any kind of comparison between lying liars to see who lies most. You can see my earlier post about what I think about his communication methods being de-coupled from truth.


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@SecondJon @williamlweaver They didn't say the collusion statement was a "lie", they said it was "false or misleading". Clearly his intent was to say, "What I'm accused of isn't a crime." This is misleading. Do you believe otherwise?

Let's not litigate each one of these. There are plenty where there's no wiggle room -- Trump is just flat out contradicting observable facts. One very direct example:

β€œI got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.” This is not true (which the White House later admitted) and there's no conceivable way he didn't know this.

PolitiFact does a better job than WaPo at rating degrees of dishonesty/inaccuracy. Here are their "Pants on Fire" statements from Trump:

Trump seems to be constantly fabricating numbers and saying "I never said..." things we have video of him saying.

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I wonder if you missed my initial comments on the disconnect between how trump communicates and the truth. You won't find me defending the current or past presidents about being truthful.

As for the question of don't I agree with someone on Trumps inner intent when he said the truth but actually intended to lie, I'm not at good at divining intent in others. I wonder if guessing someone's intent reflects our own halo effect and self confirmation bias than the person's actual intent. This would explain how the never trumpers and the always trumpers see such different things in his motives.

I'm not sure we often truly know our own intents. I wonder if looking at the consequences of a person's actions are better things to judge than guessing at their intent. Or maybe we should seek to march the road of good intentions and see where it leads.

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@SecondJon @williamlweaver Would it be fair to summarize your previous comments as, "He's just saying these things to rile people up?"

Regardless of why he's constantly saying demonstrably false things, I think it's relevant to @williamlweaver's original question about discussing policy: it's impossible to debate someone who doesn't come to the table in good faith. How can I make an argument or compare evidence with someone who's just going to make stuff up?

I am, of course, not asserting that nobody on the left has ever said anything untrue. I am saying that the amount happening on each side, especially from political leaders, is far from symmetrical.

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My current theory is that it's a bit more complex than just trying to rile people up. It almost seems like he's able to get maybe even a very specific response from his target audience. Even the wapo page that calls that truthful statement a deception based on what the author guessed his intent was. It's discrediting to the fact checker. With stuff like this, the anti president media appears to call everything he says a lie, even when it's obviously objectively true, so then some people who see this are less likely to believe the claim when he really does say something of substance untrue. I'm just giving this as an example of my theory that DT solicits a response that he can use to his advantage. It's not being a genius or having a complex strategy worked out, but if true, would be a skill of some kind, either developed or inherent. Or be could just be bumbling through, he certainly does seem to know how to distract from good news with bad. I haven't figured him out, just trying out the theory.

I agree that it's hard to engage productively with someone who doesn't come to the table in good faith. But no one is asking you to engage with the president; can't we all engage productively here in good faith, if we're excellent to each other?

Surely just because a figurehead of the "other" side seems to be a lying scumbag isn't a reason to never engage with ideas that differ from one's own.

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@SecondJon @peterdrake

I totally agree with your assessment in your third bullet point:

"Enrage your Opponent so they react emotionally, not logically, and the opportunities for a win increase"

Sort of like hustling a game of pool -- "I don't even know which side of the stick to hold. But I do know that I am the greatest and your Mama is ugly. How much to you want to wager?

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@williamlweaver @SecondJon @peterdrake

"Enrage your Opponent so they react emotionally, not logically, and the opportunities for a win increase"

This has direct ties back to tribalism/political identity issue. Partisanship has become a game where the objective is to become the winner, not to seek out the best policies with the best outcomes for the populous.

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@SecondJon @AnonByNature


Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

I will accept your assessments of "majestically narcissistic, obscenely greedy, blatantly racist, and a pathological liar" at face value.

My question: Do you think these objectively vile human traits are being celebrated and amplified throughout the Trump Administration and converted into Policy (as they would during an Imperial Autocratic system of government)?

It is my honest belief that the outrageous buffoonery of President Trump is red meat to occupy his detractors while his pro-business, pro-individual, pro-rule of law administration executes a course correction from the Progressivism of previous administrations.

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@williamlweaver @SecondJon @AnonByNature

Yes. His press secretaries regularly double-down on his bald-faced lies. He has certainly enacted policies consistent with his lies, racism, and rejection of dissent, like his voter fraud commission and his child-separation policy.

I don't see how his position that he is immune to prosecution is consistent with "rule of law".

Of course, I think previous administrations have been insufficiently progressive.

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@peterdrake @SecondJon @AnonByNature

*Child-Separation Policy* - something that should be vigorously debated. But I don't think this policy was enforced out of personal racism of the President.

Progressive: Lots of Rules, Lots of Exceptions

Conservative: Few Rules, Few Exceptions

Progressive: There should be executive-level exceptions for the unintended consequences of bad law

Conservative: There should be legislative-level corrections to the bad law to remove unintended consequences

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@peterdrake I may be wrong - a few things as I understand them:

β€’ Repeating the president's statements and positions (true or not) is the sad job of a press secretary. I think the current and previous presidents had patterns of speaking falsehoods and all their press secretaries have been responsible for doubling down on these.

β€’ I had read that the "child-separation" policy was for purposes to vet people and potentially stop child trafficking was not a new policy with this president, but pre-dated him.

β€’ Rejection of dissent isn't new with him either, but seemed prevalent under the previous admin, and many many others. It doesn't seem he's done anything to stop dissent, he just argues back. Dissent seems to be thriving at this time.

@williamlweaver @AnonByNature

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@SecondJon @williamlweaver @AnonByNature By "rejection of dissent" I mean his oft-repeated assertion that the press is the enemy of the people.

The left certainly hate Fox News (who have little more attachment to facts than Trump), and I imagine the right hates places like the Huffington Post. That's one thing. To imagine that CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. are all conspiring against him smacks of mental illness. To assert that a criticism of Trump is an attack on America is autocratic, anti-democratic, and extremely dangerous.

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@williamlweaver @SecondJon @AnonByNature @peterdrake

The interesting thing that I've observed is that conservatives seems to focus most on the left's reaction to his 'buffoonery' but not the broader reaction to his 'course corrections'.

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