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Source: (consider it) Thread: Oops - your Trump presidency discussion thread
Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
A new thing, on the "Oops, I did it again" theme: Trump had a previously unreported hour-long meeting with Putin at the G20. I wonder what else they had to talk about, given that their earlier meeting had gone 4 times longer than planned.

This is close enough to some of my interpreting assignments for me to offer an opinion.

On the one hand, it doesn't surprise me too much that an ad hoc meeting was arranged during the course of a larger dinner (source) to discuss (or continue to discuss) some matters that had arisen earlier.

On the other hand, it does surprise me that Trump did not have his own interpreter on hand during the larger dinner at which this private meeting took place (that part of the story appears to need clarification yet) and it surprises me even more that Trump did not enlist his own interpreter for the private meeting. While one is technically enough for such an encounter and I have served in similar capacity on occasion, at this level of diplomacy and given the stakes in US-Russia relations, I would have expected two, one from each side.

The lack of a US interpreter can be seen as conspiracy (nobody else there with Trump) or simply incompetence/hubris (they couldn't be bothered to book one for the evening) but what is for sure is that Trump is a fool for agreeing to the meeting on that basis.

Aside from language considerations, it's really bad psychologically to be going into such a meeting in the minority. One may dismiss the interpreter as just a piece of machinery but that is far from the reality in such settings.

That certainly tells us something about who has the upper hand in the Putin-Trump relationship.

[ 19. July 2017, 05:23: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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simontoad
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# 18096

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Do you think Putin asked Trump for a loyalty pledge?

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Liar, hypocrite, manipulator, thief.

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Eutychus
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No, I think that's tinfoil hat territory.

My most plausible explanation of the circumstances of this meeting is simply that Trump is completely out of his depth, probably believing that he knows how to handle such a situation.

Regardless of the actual status of the relationship between Putin and Trump, there's plenty to be alarmed about right there. His diplomatic corps must be in meltdown.

From personal experience I would add that it's more than likely that in any meeting with this degree of sensitivity, the interpreter will have had a briefing by their client (here, Putin), at the very least covering the key items the client wants to get across and where they want the meeting to go. The client may well ask the interpreter for their take on the meeting afterwards. Moreover, I wouldn't be in the least surprised if Putin's interpreter was also an intelligence officer. To go into such a meeting without a similar person on one's own side is just dumb.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
To go into such a meeting without a similar person on one's own side is just dumb.

I wonder if interpreters can be forced to testify to investigations ongoing in Congress. I have no idea - but if so, maybe it wasn't such a stupid idea to conveniently forget to take one with him.

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arse

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Jane R
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No, it was still stupid. Unless the OOO speaks fluent Russian. How does he know the interpreter was telling him what Putin was really saying? How can he be sure that his own words were accurately translated?

[ 19. July 2017, 08:03: Message edited by: Jane R ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
No, it was still stupid. Unless the OOO speaks fluent Russian. How does he know the interpreter was telling him what Putin was really saying?

Maybe it didn't matter. If the Kremlin interpreter was saying something different to Putin then that's his problem.

Maybe the point here is that the Trump wanted to show that he was listening to the message rather than saying something important.

Of course the optics are bad, but why else would you go to a meeting with a world leader without your own translator?

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arse

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Eutychus
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# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
No, it was still stupid. Unless the OOO speaks fluent Russian. How does he know the interpreter was telling him what Putin was really saying?

Maybe it didn't matter. If the Kremlin interpreter was saying something different to Putin then that's his problem.

Maybe the point here is that the Trump wanted to show that he was listening to the message rather than saying something important.

Doing this kind of thing and doing it well is part of how I make a living. What you're saying is not how any of this works.

quote:
Of course the optics are bad, but why else would you go to a meeting with a world leader without your own translator?
In my view, as stated above, Trump did so because he is too full of hubris to realise that doing so is dumber than dumb.

He thought Putin was offering him a spontaneous chat and was too self-assured and self-important to get appropriate support in place to accompany him.

Like I say, this reveals who has the better handle on the relationship, regardless of tinfoil-hat-territory speculation as to whether Trump is in the pay of Putin. The former is enough to panic any seasoned diplomat. Trump is totally unreliable in international relations.

[ 19. July 2017, 08:16: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Jane R
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mr cheesy:
quote:
Of course the optics are bad, but why else would you go to a meeting with a world leader without your own translator?
Yes, "the optics are bad". That is the point. Further proof, if any were needed, that Ozymandias still fails to grasp the difference between politics and business. In a business deal you can say anything you like in preliminary negotiations and none of it is binding until the lawyers draw up the contracts and everyone signs on the dotted line. Politics doesn't work like that. He's just pissed off every other world leader in the G20 and given his political enemies at home more ammunition. For what? A cosy chat with his best mate? Nobody is going to believe there was nothing more to it than that. If there really was nothing more to it than that, then he's a fool.

Of course, we already knew that...

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Eutychus
From the edge
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Chuckles sovietly...

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Eirenist
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I wonder if Putin offered him a 'great' deal?

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'I think I think, therefore I think I am'

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Doing this kind of thing and doing it well is part of how I make a living. What you're saying is not how any of this works.

I am not disparaging translators, I am trying to see into the mind of Trump beyond just calling him dumb. I'm sure it isn't how things are normally done, that's kind of irrelevant given that Trump seems to do things however he thinks at any given moment.

I appreciate calling him dumb is the easiest way to understand his actions, but I think it might help to think about why he might be doing things. Of course, YMMV.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Politics doesn't work like that. He's just pissed off every other world leader in the G20 and given his political enemies at home more ammunition. For what? A cosy chat with his best mate? Nobody is going to believe there was nothing more to it than that. If there really was nothing more to it than that, then he's a fool.

It looks like he thought that nobody was going to know and therefore it didn't matter. And that when he said it didn't matter, that would end the discussion.

I suspect the more he gets away with doing things like this, the more he is going to be emboldened to do it.

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arse

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la vie en rouge
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This is possibly my favourite youtube video ever.

Sméagol reads Donald Trump’s tweets

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm sure it isn't how things are normally done, that's kind of irrelevant given that Trump seems to do things however he thinks at any given moment.
(...) I think it might help to think about why he might be doing things.

To my mind the whole point is that he does indeed think on his feet with no concern for precedent or protocol.

(As I've said before, his "genius" or cunning is that he is incredibly good at capitalising on whatever mess his on-the-hoof actions have landed him up in - something I have observed in con artists before. This has served him well in business and even in domestic politics, but as Jane R correctly points out, international relations are another ball game entirely).

I've not done interpreting at G20 level, but I have done it at high enough levels to have learned, rather against my own personal instincts and preferences, that there are actually good reasons for protocol, and that breaching it (as the arrangements for this meeting did) is extremely perilous, not just for the person concerned, but for multilateral stability.

Nobody on the American side apart from Trump (not well-known for his reliable reporting) knows anything about what he said to Putin, for an hour. Think about that for a bit.

And just look at the precedent this meeting sets for other countries and their diplomatic relations with the US. The scariest aspect of the Trump presidency for me is his total unpredictability in, and one-man-band approach to, international relations, and the repercussions that might have in the short and long term.

As far as the "why" goes, my preferred explanation of this incident is simply that Trump is too disdainful of anybody else's advice or opinions to realise how foolish he's being. This example speaks to me very powerfully because of my experience in this field - it's probably more telling than Joe public may realise.

The only alternative explanation I can see is that Trump is so in bed with the Russians that he either a) saw them as being so much on the same side as him that the interpreter was effectively neutral in his eyes or b) had no choice but to comply with Putin's one-sided terms for the meeeting, but I think this explanation of his actions is in the realms of fantasy.

Besides, the more mundane explanation is plenty scary enough.

[ 19. July 2017, 08:57: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Jane R
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mr cheesy:
quote:
It looks like he thought that nobody was going to know and therefore it didn't matter.
Somebody always knows (a fact conveniently forgotten by conspiracy theorists, who have failed to realise that if the Moon landings had been faked the Soviet Union would have told the world back in the 60s). The man is a fool.

quote:
And that when he said it didn't matter, that would end the discussion.
He ought to know by now that only his toadies will shut up when he tells them to. Everyone else will go right on pointing and laughing. Still a fool.

quote:
I suspect the more he gets away with doing things like this, the more he is going to be emboldened to do it.
He hasn't got away with it: everybody knows about his 'private' meeting with Putin. However, he seems to be incapable of learning from experience (see above) so he will probably carry on regardless.
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Eutychus
From the edge
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Somebody always knows (a fact conveniently forgotten by conspiracy theorists, who have failed to realise that if the Moon landings had been faked the Soviet Union would have told the world back in the 60s).

A tangent, but can't pass up the opportunity to link to this
quote:
Most Directors would have been content to use a large sound stage, but Kubrick insisted on shooting on location.
(and LVER, loving the Sméagol video!)

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Most Directors would have been content to use a large sound stage, but Kubrick insisted on shooting on location.

Hahaha. That's excellent: the moon landings were faked on the moon!

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arse

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mr cheesy
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It appears that the US has decided to give a terminally ill child citizenship so he can travel for treatment. If this is true, it shows the contempt that the WH has for British legal and medical processes [Frown]

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arse

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
Do you think Putin asked Trump for a loyalty pledge?

The pattern of interactions suggests he got that years ago

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Brenda Clough
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After the tumults of this year (God, has it only been nine months since the election? It feels like an eternity) we here have accepted it. What you see is what you get. There is no inner Donny, no secret master plan, no deep well of cunning that is laying spiderwebs for his foes to tumble into. It's all on the surface, plainly in view, less than a millimeter deep.
It does not even rise to the level of stupidity -- for that you need Rick Perry and the other members of the cabinet. (You've seen the meme, "We can get a better cabinet at Ikea.") It's all impulse, the need of the moment never linking to the need of the next moment. The only root is ego, the self, and even that isn't a deep tap root. There is no point in appealing to Lyin' Don's legacy, or his place in history, or his party. It's as deep as his wallet, the thickness of a Visa card, at the very uttermost.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Bishops Finger
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No secret master plan?

Is Outrage!

[Paranoid]

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
After the tumults of this year (God, has it only been nine months since the election? It feels like an eternity) we here have accepted it. What you see is what you get. There is no inner Donny, no secret master plan, no deep well of cunning that is laying spiderwebs for his foes to tumble into. It's all on the surface, plainly in view, less than a millimeter deep.

I am not convinced. I think we're seeing more and more evidence of a deep, years-long partnership with Russian money-laundering schemes that has culminated in foreign influence over our election. That is a deep, secret-- and insidious-- "master plan" if ever I heard one (not that we haven't done the same to others...) otoh, I doubt very much if he was or is the mastermind behind such plan, and would agree that his grasp of the seriousness of his actions, their consequences, and the current situation appears minimal at best.

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chris stiles
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I think it's stretching credibility to think that of some long game master plan - absent much direct evidence of that in itself.

I think the reality is that Trump ran a family business which centred around property deals and construction - all factors that increase the possibility of corruption of various sorts. I suspect that its impossible to operate for long in Russia - at any sort of scale - without further getting involved in at least low levels of corruption.

Furthermore, it's perfectly possible that Russia tried to manipulate the election - but then it's fairly likely that this isn't the first election they've tried to manipulate, and I have difficulty believing that they suddenly got good and succeeded (equally the US has tried to manipulate Russian elections in the past - at least since the 1990s).

So I don't think it's worth speculating conspiratorially, because it distracts from attempts to build a real case, and long term doesn't do the opposition to the system that led to Trump much good.

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Most Directors would have been content to use a large sound stage, but Kubrick insisted on shooting on location.

Hahaha. That's excellent: the moon landings were faked on the moon!
Well, it did provide a marginal cost savings.
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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
I think the reality is that Trump ran a family business which centred around property deals and construction - all factors that increase the possibility of corruption of various sorts. I suspect that its impossible to operate for long in Russia - at any sort of scale - without further getting involved in at least low levels of corruption.

When you couple this with the fact that Trump has had trouble securing credit from Western banks due to his frequent bankruptcies (Deutsche Bank was the last one willing to extend him loans, and they were starting to get hesitant about it) and that investing in expensive American real estate is a favored method among Russian oligarchs and mobsters for laundering their money, the partnership seems obvious. Of course, having an American president whose fortune is in hock to a foreign dictator (or his close cronies, which amounts to the same thing) is problematic regardless of whether it was part of a long-term plan or merely an opportunistic move taking advantage of an existing situation.

I suspect the old Watergate methodology of "follow the money" will be just as applicable today.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
I think the reality is that Trump ran a family business which centred around property deals and construction - all factors that increase the possibility of corruption of various sorts. I suspect that its impossible to operate for long in Russia - at any sort of scale - without further getting involved in at least low levels of corruption.

When you couple this with the fact that Trump has had trouble securing credit from Western banks due to his frequent bankruptcies (Deutsche Bank was the last one willing to extend him loans, and they were starting to get hesitant about it) and that investing in expensive American real estate is a favored method among Russian oligarchs and mobsters for laundering their money, the partnership seems obvious. Of course, having an American president whose fortune is in hock to a foreign dictator (or his close cronies, which amounts to the same thing) is problematic regardless of whether it was part of a long-term plan or merely an opportunistic move taking advantage of an existing situation.

I suspect the old Watergate methodology of "follow the money" will be just as applicable today.

Not just investing in "some real estate" but specifically several documented examples of Russian oligarchs investing in Trump-owned properties at millions over market value.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
... He thought Putin was offering him a spontaneous chat and was too self-assured and self-important to get appropriate support in place to accompany him......

There's also the possibility that Cheeto-in-Chief thinks that translators are for wussies who can't speak English. If Putin really was a great man, he'd be able to speak English, right? A bigly powerful leader should be able to talk to Cheeto one-on-one, man-to-man. What kind of loser doesn't speak English or needs help to figure out what's going on in a meeting?

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Jane R
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Well, yes, that's possible. Merkel and Macron both speak fluent English. No particular reason why Putin should bother to learn it, though. I've never heard he was fond of Western films.
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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Well, yes, that's possible. Merkel and Macron both speak fluent English. No particular reason why Putin should bother to learn it, though. I've never heard he was fond of Western films.

As far as we know, Putin speaks (in rough order of descending fluency) Russian, German, and English.

I can think of several reasons besides a fondness for Western films why a former KGB agent might have wanted to learn English.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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mr cheesy
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Many years ago, I remember watching a press conference where Yasser Arafat berated the official translator and continued to translate his own speech into English. Of course, YA was a complete arse in many ways.

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that our favourite ex KGB officer understood English. I bet he has all kinds of ploys to put others onto the back foot and gain something on them.

Trump may be a dumbass, but Putin is pretty good at playing these kinds of games IMO

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arse

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Eutychus
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Switching hats from interpreter to prison chaplain for a moment, it is a favourite ploy of non-French inmates to enlist the services of a court interpreter even if they speak reasonable French: it gives you twice as long to consider your answers and/or a chance to hear the question twice.

[ 19. July 2017, 21:12: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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simontoad
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That can back-fire if the witness gets so fired up that they forget that they are supposed to wait for the interpreter. It goes to credibility.

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Liar, hypocrite, manipulator, thief.

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
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trump's only way of operation seems to be 'attack attack'.

Does he really feel so safe in his position that nothing causes him to pause for thought?

Trump is now attacking his own administration, including Jeff Sessions.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
That can back-fire if the witness gets so fired up that they forget that they are supposed to wait for the interpreter.

I imagine Putin has sufficient self control to avoid that - I thought it was relatively common knowledge that his English was relatively fluent.
Posts: 3766 | From: Berkshire | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Jane R
Shipmate
# 331

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Well, I didn't know <Lady Bracknell voice> but I am not COMMON. <\Lady Bracknell voice>

There are other reasons for insisting on speaking through an interpreter besides not knowing the language of your interlocutor. A display of power. A fear of misunderstanding what's being said to you. A desire for support.

[ 20. July 2017, 15:48: Message edited by: Jane R ]

Posts: 3901 | From: Jorvik | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Crœsos
Shipmate
# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
There are other reasons for insisting on speaking through an interpreter besides not knowing the language of your interlocutor. A display of power. A fear of misunderstanding what's being said to you. A desire for support.

. . . The recognition that a professional interpreter might be able to pick up on nuances a fluent but non-native speaker might miss. This is particularly true of idiomatic expressions.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

Posts: 10376 | From: Sardis, Lydia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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This brought out interesting and confusing reactions for me.

Lots of criticism is floating around against Trump for handing Russia the upper hand in Syria. However two wrongs don't make a right.

Russian meddling in Middle-Eastern geopolitics doesn't make it a good idea for the US to meddle, and arming the enemy of my enemy has got the Middle-East more heavily armed and partisan, and less inclined towards actual democracy.

Even if Trump is doing it for completely the wrong reasons, the outcome is one I can agree with. So while two wrongs don't make a right apparently one wrong sometimes can. Confusing.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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This is an excellent character analysis of the incumbent and a free click to boot. It's a pity we have to devote so much energy to analyzing this worthless intellect, when we could be reading good books and thinking about worthwhile people. But Fallows has been a sharp observer for a long time.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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Multiple sources are now reporting that Trump has his lawyers looking into presidential pardoning powers, for his aides, his family, and himself. Mueller is going to look into Trump's finances, which is likely to push Trump toward pressuring Rosenstein to fire him. Pundits have been predicting a full-blown constitutional crisis for months, and now I think we're starting to see what shape that might take.
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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Multiple sources are now reporting that Trump has his lawyers looking into presidential pardoning powers, for his aides, his family, and himself. Mueller is going to look into Trump's finances, which is likely to push Trump toward pressuring Rosenstein to fire him. Pundits have been predicting a full-blown constitutional crisis for months, and now I think we're starting to see what shape that might take.

The shape of a really poor episode of 'The Apprentice'?

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Garden. Room. Walk

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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Bits of this seem relevant:

quote:
A French political scientist, Alain Rouquié, advances the term hegemonic democracy to describe regimes such as Erdoğan’s Turkey. He suggests these are not liberal democracies, because the rights of the minorities and the rule of law are not respected; but neither are they dictatorships as elections are held thus political alternation remains possible...Turkey, therefore, is split down the middle...Turkey has always been a divided nation but the rise of Erdoğan since 2002 has fuelled polarisation in the country. Indeed he has turned polarisation – ethnic, sectarian and cultural – into a political strategy. The opposition seems weak and divided.



[ 21. July 2017, 11:21: Message edited by: mark_in_manchester ]

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Penny S
Shipmate
# 14768

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Does Trump by any chance own any horses? One named Incitatus, for example?

[ 21. July 2017, 11:36: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Jane R
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# 331

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Croesus:
quote:
. . . The recognition that a professional interpreter might be able to pick up on nuances a fluent but non-native speaker might miss. This is particularly true of idiomatic expressions.
...or in other words, fear of misunderstanding what's been said to you?

The First Lady of Japan has demonstrated another reason for using an interpreter...

Posts: 3901 | From: Jorvik | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bishops Finger
Shipmate
# 5430

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A most prudent and sagacious lady. Her English seems rather more articulate and fluent than Trump's.

[Overused]

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

Posts: 8920 | From: With The Glums At The Bus Stop | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
Does Trump by any chance own any horses? One named Incitatus, for example?

He doesn't need them. He has Eric, Don Jr., Ivanka, etc. Want to bet that the next Supreme Court opening that appears dear Jared will step up?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Multiple sources are now reporting that Trump has his lawyers looking into presidential pardoning powers, for his aides, his family, and himself.

"Fun" legal fact: People who have received a pardon cannot refuse to testify on Fifth Amendment grounds, as they face no legal jeopardy for their truthful testimony. They do, however, face legal jeopardy for perjury if they lie or contempt of court if they refuse to answer questions.

Before handing out pardons it's usually wise to parse out who knows what and what damage their unfettered testimony could do to the as-yet unpardoned. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) no one in the Trump administration seems to be able to plan beyond the current news cycle.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

Posts: 10376 | From: Sardis, Lydia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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Maybe a lawyer could answer this question (I will ask my daughter, in law school): isn't asking for a pardon tantamount to an admission of guilt? Clearly if you committed no crime you don't need to be pardoned.
Here is the POST's roundup of the current state of play.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Bishops Finger
Shipmate
# 5430

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[Eek!]
You couldn't make it up.

America, you need to get rid of this incubus. Somehow. And soon.
[Help]

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

Posts: 8920 | From: With The Glums At The Bus Stop | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
romanlion
editorial comment
# 10325

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Maybe a lawyer could answer this question (I will ask my daughter, in law school): isn't asking for a pardon tantamount to an admission of guilt?

I guess that depends on who is getting the pardon.

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"You can't get rich in politics unless you're a crook" - Harry S. Truman

Posts: 1392 | From: White Rose City | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Maybe a lawyer could answer this question (I will ask my daughter, in law school): isn't asking for a pardon tantamount to an admission of guilt? Clearly if you committed no crime you don't need to be pardoned.
Here is the POST's roundup of the current state of play.

I'd say no, it means you think other people think you're guilty, to the point where they might act on it. Begging for a pardon as you're led to the scaffold for a crime you didn't commit isn't an admission of guilt, it's a desire to not be hanged.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

Posts: 63005 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged



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