Orange is the new President

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Mo
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Mo » 08 Aug 2018, 05:14

This is the worst Marvel crossover event ever.

https://www.propublica.org/article/ike- ... -of-the-va
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

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Painboy
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Painboy » 08 Aug 2018, 14:14

Mo wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 05:14
This is the worst Marvel crossover event ever.

https://www.propublica.org/article/ike- ... -of-the-va
I hate the way that article is written. Everything is written in this shady conspiracy tone when most of this is banal government sausage making.

Also I'm not sure if it's possible to fuck up the VA anymore than it already is.

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Mo
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Mo » 09 Aug 2018, 06:11

Painboy wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 14:14
Mo wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 05:14
This is the worst Marvel crossover event ever.

https://www.propublica.org/article/ike- ... -of-the-va
I hate the way that article is written. Everything is written in this shady conspiracy tone when most of this is banal government sausage making.

Also I'm not sure if it's possible to fuck up the VA anymore than it already is.
How normal is it for random external folks, with no expertise, to be calling the shots to the Cabinet Secretary? Sometimes you'll have industry folks who have the ear of the secretary, but it strikes me as a bit odd to have them calling the shots to and over the head of the cabinet secretary.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Highway
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Highway » 09 Aug 2018, 07:08

That's how you get The Best People, Mo.
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2018, 11:53

Did Cabinet Secretaries have to answer to Obama's golfing buddies? Or W.'s cycling partners? Clinton's buddies that he went to the strip club with? Papa Bush's yachting buddies?
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Shem » 09 Aug 2018, 12:13

thoreau wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 11:53
Did Cabinet Secretaries have to answer to Obama's golfing buddies? Or W.'s cycling partners? Clinton's buddies that he went to the strip club with? Papa Bush's yachting buddies?
It might be several steps beyond anything that's happened before, but cynicism means never having say "that's fucked, yo."
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Painboy
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Painboy » 09 Aug 2018, 13:08

Mo wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 06:11
Painboy wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 14:14
Mo wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 05:14
This is the worst Marvel crossover event ever.

https://www.propublica.org/article/ike- ... -of-the-va
I hate the way that article is written. Everything is written in this shady conspiracy tone when most of this is banal government sausage making.

Also I'm not sure if it's possible to fuck up the VA anymore than it already is.
How normal is it for random external folks, with no expertise, to be calling the shots to the Cabinet Secretary? Sometimes you'll have industry folks who have the ear of the secretary, but it strikes me as a bit odd to have them calling the shots to and over the head of the cabinet secretary.
Influencial people influence things. How they effect that influence is really the only variable. It's obviously a little weird the way it's being handled but then Trump has his own bizarre way of doing things.

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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Warren » 09 Aug 2018, 13:29

Painboy wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 13:08
Mo wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 06:11
Painboy wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 14:14
Mo wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 05:14
This is the worst Marvel crossover event ever.

https://www.propublica.org/article/ike- ... -of-the-va
I hate the way that article is written. Everything is written in this shady conspiracy tone when most of this is banal government sausage making.

Also I'm not sure if it's possible to fuck up the VA anymore than it already is.
How normal is it for random external folks, with no expertise, to be calling the shots to the Cabinet Secretary? Sometimes you'll have industry folks who have the ear of the secretary, but it strikes me as a bit odd to have them calling the shots to and over the head of the cabinet secretary.
Influencial people influence things. How they effect that influence is really the only variable. It's obviously a little weird the way it's being handled but then Trump has his own bizarre way of doing things.
Just so. The process is different. The results are business as usual.
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2018, 13:59

Every President has informal advisors. The problem with Trump is that he often relies on them more than he relies on the people with actual job titles, and people reporting to them. That leads to chaos. No organization can or should run 100% by the most painstaking interpretation of the org chart, but there are good reasons to try to stay closer to it rather than farther from it.

This is a shitty way to run an organization.

I think what you guys are objecting to is the feeling that there's something sinister. Well, look, we can all type out the words "I do not consider this a conspiracy like on TV or whatever" if that will help reassure you that nobody is paranoid or anything. But one needn't be Alex Jones to think that it's really bad when substantial influence is in the hands of people who can't be held accountable for what goes wrong and don't actually have a connection to what's happening in the organization. However disconnected the people at the top of the organization are, their golfing buddies (or, worse, their boss's golfing buddies) are usually even farther from the facts on the ground. You don't need to think that these evil CEOs are secretly preparing some comic book villain experiment in VA clinics to think that authority, accountability, and information flows need to be carefully aligned.

In fact, maybe that's part of why conspiracy theories have so much cultural power, because we've developed taboos against influence by people without job titles. It just fucks shit up. If this means that occasionally a few tropes get dragged in, well, we can all type out "We do not think this is like conspiracies on TV" as many times as you deem necessary, but it doesn't change the fact that Trump shouldn't be putting so much clout in the hands of his golf buddies.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by JasonL » 09 Aug 2018, 14:59

The noise on all sides makes it hard, but I try to maintain categories like :

A) trump policies that are uniquely awful (trade war, immigration)

B) trump policies that are awful but more of the same (Syria, wars in general)

C) trump behaviors / comments that are awful in a new way (good people on both sides, grab by naughty bits, bizarre tweets of a million sorts, they send us rapists, etc)

D) trump behaviors / comments that represent a mainstream view of some demo or were reasonably common practice but which are being treated as newly awful

There’s so much C it’s hard to parse ... ok fine ... it’s hard to parse the D.

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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2018, 15:13

I think that Trump's blurring of lines between his personal associates and people who matter in government is more of the same but taken farther than usual. It's not just Jared and Ivanka, it's people with no job title who matter more than Cabinet Secretaries. It's him using "You could meet world leaders!" as a selling point for Mar Lago memberships. There's always been a certain amount of this, and since it's hard to draw a hard line and say "We need to be in this part of the gray rather than that part" the aspiration was always to err on the side of less rather than more, but he's pissing on that and just going as far as he wants.

It isn't as cruel as separating families, as loathsome as as "Some of those Nazis were very fine people", or as economically ruinous as the trade wars, but it's still going to wreak havoc and make it hard for his successor's Cabinet to get things back in reasonable order.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Jennifer » 09 Aug 2018, 15:19

Painboy wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 13:08
Influencial people influence things. How they effect that influence is really the only variable. It's obviously a little weird the way it's being handled but then Trump has his own bizarre way of doing things.
But having "influence" is not the same thing as having actual "power," and Truump's blurring of that line is setting yet another bad precedent.

If you are personal friends with the POTUS -- whoever the current POTUS is -- it IS to be expected you'd have some influence, as all people have a degree of influence on their friends: you might say "Hey, POTUS ol' pal, regarding this mess with the VA, have you considered trying [whatever]?" And maybe your POTUS friend will think "Hmm, yeah, Painboy had a pretty good idea there." But the POTUS (or whoever he appointed to lead the VA; I don't know the actual power structure of that organization) is the one with the power to take your suggestion and make it into an actual rule for the VA to follow. (And at least in theory, this power is offset by having to take responsibility if that suggestion turns out badly.) That is quite different from if you, Painboy, friend of the POTUS but not any sort of VA official, were allowed to simply give orders to the head of the VA yourself, and have VA employees be expected to actually obey you.
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Painboy » 09 Aug 2018, 16:50

Jennifer wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 15:19
Painboy wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 13:08
Influencial people influence things. How they effect that influence is really the only variable. It's obviously a little weird the way it's being handled but then Trump has his own bizarre way of doing things.
But having "influence" is not the same thing as having actual "power," and Truump's blurring of that line is setting yet another bad precedent.

If you are personal friends with the POTUS -- whoever the current POTUS is -- it IS to be expected you'd have some influence, as all people have a degree of influence on their friends: you might say "Hey, POTUS ol' pal, regarding this mess with the VA, have you considered trying [whatever]?" And maybe your POTUS friend will think "Hmm, yeah, Painboy had a pretty good idea there." But the POTUS (or whoever he appointed to lead the VA; I don't know the actual power structure of that organization) is the one with the power to take your suggestion and make it into an actual rule for the VA to follow. (And at least in theory, this power is offset by having to take responsibility if that suggestion turns out badly.) That is quite different from if you, Painboy, friend of the POTUS but not any sort of VA official, were allowed to simply give orders to the head of the VA yourself, and have VA employees be expected to actually obey you.
I see very little difference in "Trump said to do this" vs. someone Trump put in charge saying "I as his representative is saying do this."

Trump runs his administration more like a mob boss. It certainly looks bad, and clearly it's not very efficient and often a chaotic mess, but that's just how he likes to do things. It's idiotic but I don't see it being criminal or some kind of shadowy cabal.

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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Jennifer » 09 Aug 2018, 16:54

Painboy wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 16:50

I see very little difference in "Trump said to do this" vs. someone Trump put in charge saying "I as his representative is saying do this."
Because you overlooked Problematic Option Three: "I'm just some guy who is not formally part of the VA, is not encumbered by the limits and responsibilities of someone formally part of the VA, yet I am telling VA employees 'do this' and they have to." That's what's going on now.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2018, 17:02

What does "shadowy" even mean? Why do we consider deviations from the usual flowchart "shadowy"? Maybe because we are social animals adapted for coordinated activity, so we have taboos against deviations from the hierarchy?

And there's a huge difference "The person that Trump put in charge, under his legal authority, said to do this" and "Trump's golf buddy said to do this." In the first case, the guy saying to do it has obligations regarding retention of records, FOIA, auditing, etc. People who don't do what he said can be disciplined because there was a lawful instruction from a supervisor. And he (supposedly) has means for obtaining information relevant to decision-making. In the second case, the guy saying to do it is not subject to scrutiny and has no actual authority. If somebody follows his instructions it's very fuzzy as to what sort of disciplinary action could or should be taken if the shit hit the fan. And sharing information with him via unofficial channels could have all sorts of disciplinary implications if more procedure-oriented people ever got involved.

Maybe these problems are precisely the reasons why people perceive it as "shadowy" when unofficial advisors wield substantial power. Maybe this is why we have taboos about it. Maybe this is why people don't trust those sorts of arrangements. "Shadowy" is just a word for "suspicious things not done in the open."

And, if it will help, I will say that this is certainly different from the cabals one sees on TV. For starters, it's undoubtedly much more boring. That doesn't make it any more sound or commendable, and I wouldn't want to be the guy stuck carrying out a project initiated on dubious authority. No, I doubt I'd be chased by ninja assassins or whatever happens on TV, but there'd be plenty of perfectly boring things that are wrong with it, things that could hurt a career if the shit hit the fan.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2018, 17:04

This is what Trump has reduced me to: I'm now defending the leaders of bureaucratic organizations. Because however shitty I think bureaucracies are when it comes to information problems and principal-agent problems, the boss's golf buddy is even worse.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
--Shem

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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2018, 17:14

Suppose my Dean's gym buddy started giving department chairs instructions on budgetary matters. After we're done stipulating that this isn't at all like something we've seen on TV, can we agree that the department chairs would be wise to document the hell out of it and send the records to whatever authority can intervene? Or would we just shrug and say "Eh, that's how the Dean does things, and it certainly isn't shadowy like stuff on TV?"
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Aug 2018, 17:41

thoreau wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 17:04
This is what Trump has reduced me to: I'm now defending the leaders of bureaucratic organizations. Because however shitty I think bureaucracies are when it comes to information problems and principal-agent problems, the boss's golf buddy is even worse.
We can't fire or impeach golfing buddies.
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Mo » 09 Aug 2018, 18:20

Painboy wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 15:19
Painboy wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 13:08
Influencial people influence things. How they effect that influence is really the only variable. It's obviously a little weird the way it's being handled but then Trump has his own bizarre way of doing things.
But having "influence" is not the same thing as having actual "power," and Truump's blurring of that line is setting yet another bad precedent.

If you are personal friends with the POTUS -- whoever the current POTUS is -- it IS to be expected you'd have some influence, as all people have a degree of influence on their friends: you might say "Hey, POTUS ol' pal, regarding this mess with the VA, have you considered trying [whatever]?" And maybe your POTUS friend will think "Hmm, yeah, Painboy had a pretty good idea there." But the POTUS (or whoever he appointed to lead the VA; I don't know the actual power structure of that organization) is the one with the power to take your suggestion and make it into an actual rule for the VA to follow. (And at least in theory, this power is offset by having to take responsibility if that suggestion turns out badly.) That is quite different from if you, Painboy, friend of the POTUS but not any sort of VA official, were allowed to simply give orders to the head of the VA yourself, and have VA employees be expected to actually obey you.
I see very little difference in "Trump said to do this" vs. someone Trump put in charge saying "I as his representative is saying do this."

Trump runs his administration more like a mob boss. It certainly looks bad, and clearly it's not very efficient and often a chaotic mess, but that's just how he likes to do things. It's idiotic but I don't see it being criminal or some kind of shadowy cabal.
#1 is quite different from #2 in that there’s zero accountability for #2 if the representative is outside the normal chain of command/accountability stream. My buddy giving me management advice and me taking it when I go to work is very different than my buddy emailing my directs and telling them what to do and my directs checking with my buddy for guidance on how to act. Particularly if my buddy has potential conflicts of interest. Partially because having someone out of the chain of command absolves me of colorable responsibility if things go tits up. Also, when you start throwing FOIA in there, my drinking buddy has no obligations for transparency. Presidents have long had kitchen cabinets, but at the end of the day things went through the appropriate channels. And when they didn’t, they were justifiably controversies around it.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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thoreau
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2018, 18:33

And if some influential guy REALLY wants to be in the process, government agencies have all sorts of advisory panels and whatnot. The President could appoint him to one of those, so there's at least some record-keeping, and some official authorization for him to be looking at certain internal documents or getting agency people to talk to him.

If this stuff looks "shadowy", if it pings on our radar of impropriety, it's because we have powerful taboos around this stuff in both the public and private sectors. Now, maybe, at some point, somebody, somewhere will use a word from a TV show to describe rich and influential men meeting privately with the President to direct the workings of a government agency, and we can all lambast the person who dared to use that Hollywood word, but that doesn't change the fact that there are damn good reasons why people regard these arrangements with deep suspicion.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Kolohe » 09 Aug 2018, 23:31

Painboy wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 16:50

Trump runs his administration more like a mob boss. It certainly looks bad, and clearly it's not very efficient and often a chaotic mess, but that's just how he likes to do things. It's idiotic but I don't see it being criminal or some kind of shadowy cabal.
Maybe its different for the high poobahs, but in the trenches, not following The Process will get you in trouble (and sometimes legal trouble) more than any actualy decisions you make or actions you take.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex

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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Aresen » 09 Aug 2018, 23:58

Eric the .5b wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 17:41
thoreau wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 17:04
This is what Trump has reduced me to: I'm now defending the leaders of bureaucratic organizations. Because however shitty I think bureaucracies are when it comes to information problems and principal-agent problems, the boss's golf buddy is even worse.
We can't fire or impeach golfing buddies.
Colonel Mustard with a five-iron in the caddyshack.
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Aresen » 10 Aug 2018, 00:05

In other news from the house of orange, Trump seems intent on his Space Force

I'd like to suggest "Major Tom" as the official song.
If Trump supporters wanted a tough guy, why did they elect such a whiny bitch? - Mo

Those who know history are doomed to deja vu. - the innominate one

Never bring a knife to a joke fight" - dhex

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Mo
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Mo » 10 Aug 2018, 01:59

This is the sort of design chops you get when you have an ideology that alienates gay people.

his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Shem
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Re: Orange is the new President

Post by Shem » 10 Aug 2018, 14:00

Kolohe wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 23:31
Painboy wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 16:50

Trump runs his administration more like a mob boss. It certainly looks bad, and clearly it's not very efficient and often a chaotic mess, but that's just how he likes to do things. It's idiotic but I don't see it being criminal or some kind of shadowy cabal.
Maybe its different for the high poobahs, but in the trenches, not following The Process will get you in trouble (and sometimes legal trouble) more than any actualy decisions you make or actions you take.
That's why bureaucracies make people want to tear their hair out. It's like a math class; if I don't show my work, the fact that I got the right answer doesn't mean anything. That's good for accountability, but bad for speed
"VOTE SHEMOCRACY! You will only have to do it once!" -Loyalty Officer Aresen

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