Conflicts of interest and transparency

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Greta
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Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Greta » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:27 pm

Pampered and protected leaders of groups have always made decisions knowing that it's only others who will be personally affected, while their families remain comfortable.

Donald Trump has stacked his cabinet with climate deniers and Exxon executives. He plans to stimulate the fossil fuel industry at the expense of sustainability. There is much complaint about the costs of sustainability and the sacrifices we would have to make. In other words, we don't want to sacrifice our lifestyles now for the sake of our children and their children. (Sorry kids, you're on your own).

The Don has a major investment and personal involvement in the North Dakota pipeline project. Now that's he's president, the conflict of interest is obvious. It's strange and unprecedented that DT can simply hand his businesses to his offspring and pretend there's no more conflict. Constitutional lawyers have noted the inadequacy of Trump's separation of his businesses form his public role.

Further, Trump did not show his tax returns. This has set a precedent. Now there are no longer anywhere near the same conflict of interest and transparency standards for the role of president - arguably not much more than for a public servant on an average wage. No future presidential aspirant need declare their financial affairs or deal with conflicts of interest. The standard is set.

Trump may not be the dictator some think he'll turn out to be, but this precedent opens the way for unaccountable leadership and possible dictatorships in the future. Trump must be forced to properly divest his investments and provide his tax returns for scrutiny, if not for his own accountability, for the accountability within the system.

Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:42 pm

Greta wrote:Pampered and protected leaders of groups have always made decisions knowing that it's only others who will be personally affected, while their families remain comfortable.

Donald Trump has stacked his cabinet with climate deniers and Exxon executives. He plans to stimulate the fossil fuel industry at the expense of sustainability. There is much complaint about the costs of sustainability and the sacrifices we would have to make. In other words, we don't want to sacrifice our lifestyles now for the sake of our children and their children. (Sorry kids, you're on your own).

The Don has a major investment and personal involvement in the North Dakota pipeline project. Now that's he's president, the conflict of interest is obvious. It's strange and unprecedented that DT can simply hand his businesses to his offspring and pretend there's no more conflict. Constitutional lawyers have noted the inadequacy of Trump's separation of his businesses form his public role.

Further, Trump did not show his tax returns. This has set a precedent. Now there are no longer anywhere near the same conflict of interest and transparency standards for the role of president - arguably not much more than for a public servant on an average wage. No future presidential aspirant need declare their financial affairs or deal with conflicts of interest. The standard is set.

Trump may not be the dictator some think he'll turn out to be, but this precedent opens the way for unaccountable leadership and possible dictatorships in the future. Trump must be forced to properly divest his investments and provide his tax returns for scrutiny, if not for his own accountability, for the accountability within the system.
To mention, unless you cut off all means of communication with DT, I don't see what good it'll do to divest him of his businesses.

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Greta
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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Greta » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:23 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:To mention, unless you cut off all means of communication with DT, I don't see what good it'll do to divest him of his businesses.
If he sells off to a competitor then he won't have an interest (aside from possible vendettas).

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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:25 am

Greta wrote:
Philosophy Explorer wrote:To mention, unless you cut off all means of communication with DT, I don't see what good it'll do to divest him of his businesses.
If he sells off to a competitor then he won't have an interest (aside from possible vendettas).
That's a mighty big if.

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Greta
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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Greta » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:59 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Greta wrote:
Philosophy Explorer wrote:To mention, unless you cut off all means of communication with DT, I don't see what good it'll do to divest him of his businesses.
If he sells off to a competitor then he won't have an interest (aside from possible vendettas).
That's a mighty big if.
Only if forced, and that seems unlikely.

It's fascinating to watch the dynamics of a democracy transitioning to an authoritarian state before our eyes. There's still a long way to go, of course. Still, there was a time when I would have thought it impossible that a society like the US could become an authoritarian state like Russia and China but I can now see a path and trajectory.

Maybe it's inevitable in the modern world that nations with large populations become authoritarian states with slightly accountable leaders propped up by powerful institutions that inevitably form in populous societies? When this happens, individuals not supported by institutions are vulnerable.

wtf
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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by wtf » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:38 am

Greta wrote: It's fascinating to watch the dynamics of a democracy transitioning to an authoritarian state before our eyes.
Do you mean Obama governing by "pen and phone" and not even bothering to try to get legislation through Congress? Or authorizing massive spying and cybersurveillance of questionable Constitutionality?

I can't imagine what you mean with respect to Trump. All the Dems and a good number of the GOPs in Congress oppose him. How is he going to be able to get anything done at all?

Sure he can troll the left with his tweets, but how do you see him ruling as an authoritarian? Maybe with a pen and phone, but Obama set that precedent.

What do you mean exactly? I hear this a lot, but I can't understand it. I agree with you that he talks like an authoritarian, but what has he actually done? Let's wait and see.

One thing he did during the campaign was call out Jeb on his brother's war, and call out the GOP warmongers on their wars. To me that sounded like a breath of fresh air. Hillary was the warmonger.

So I am taking a wait and see attitude. Sure Trump blusters a lot. He also opposes the neocon maniacs, of which Hillary was a leading example. If Trump blunders into more futile wars, I'll be the first one to call him on it. But it was Hillary who voted for the war in Iraq, blundered into Libya, then blundered into Syria. When Trump called out Washington over their stupid wars, it was a ray of hope for those of us who oppose the endless wars of Bush and Obama.

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Greta
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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Greta » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:03 am

wtf wrote:
Greta wrote: It's fascinating to watch the dynamics of a democracy transitioning to an authoritarian state before our eyes.
Do you mean Obama governing by "pen and phone" and not even bothering to try to get legislation through Congress? Or authorizing massive spying and cybersurveillance of questionable Constitutionality?
Yes, Obama was part of the dynamic I'd mentioned in my post as regards countries with large populations.
wtf wrote:I can't imagine what you mean with respect to Trump.
"Imagine?". Don't be disingenuous. You know very well that I stated clearly and exactly the problem - thumbing his nose at normal presidential accountability. Lack of accountability is a feature of authoritarian leadership.

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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by wtf » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:24 am

Greta wrote: Yes, Obama was part of the dynamic I'd mentioned in my post as regards countries with large populations.
I appreciate that. Obama ran roughshod over the Constitution. In fact one can argue that the best thing about having a GOP president is that the left will finally wake up and object to the wars and the violations of civil liberties.
Greta wrote: "Imagine?". Don't be disingenuous. You know very well that I stated clearly and exactly the problem - thumbing his nose at normal presidential accountability. Lack of accountability is a feature of authoritarian leadership.
Not being disingenuous. I am as concerned as you at Trump's authoritarian personality. But with half the country and much if not most of Congress against him, it's just as likely he's going to be in for a shock when he finds out he can't get his way.

I'm willing to distinguish between what he actually does, which so far has been nothing; and his rhetoric, which triggers many on the left but to me seems more like bluster and trolling. I'm simply willing to wait and see what he does and call him out on it. Many Dems are calling him out on things he hasn't actually done yet. With Trump that's a mistake, since he doesn't mean half the stuff that comes out of his mouth. He's part performance artist and all negotiator. He says things to keep his opposition off balance.

Let's see what he actually does, and stop overreacting to what we think he's going to do. After all, for most of his career he was a pragmatic NYC liberal and a friend of Bill and Hill. If he rode the right wing to the White House, I predict they're going to be disappointed.

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Greta
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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Greta » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:57 am

wtf wrote:I am as concerned as you at Trump's authoritarian personality. But with half the country and much if not most of Congress against him, it's just as likely he's going to be in for a shock when he finds out he can't get his way.
I don't care about Trump's rhetoric or personality, though it is a concern that his speeches have fared so poorly with fact check organisations (and with my own BS-meter).

Still, my issue is with him is his refusal to seriously deal with his obvious conflicts of interest and his refusal to present his tax returns for scrutiny. Doesn't the President HAVE to deal with these issues? If not, that suggests a loophole in existing laws, and it won't be in Trump's interests to close them.

Generally, the greater the government authority and control, the less the accountability - because they don't have to be accountable. Who is going to enforce it? I'm not sure that this method would work either: https://www.thenation.com/article/heres ... conflicts/

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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by wtf » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:14 am

Greta wrote: Still, my issue is with him is his refusal to seriously deal with his obvious conflicts of interest and his refusal to present his tax returns for scrutiny. Doesn't the President HAVE to deal with these issues? If not, that suggests a loophole in existing laws, and it won't be in Trump's interests to close them.
Oh I see. I find I don't care about those. I don't care if he gets rich. He's already rich.

I do care when he bullies private companies. That's not good economics.

I don't care a whit about his personal issues. I agree with the left's worst characterizations of him in that regard. I just don't care. I am far more concerned with what he actually does in office.

I was having this convo about the tax returns with someone. I say I don't care about his tax returns. Why? Well, what is your endgame? He shows his taxes, he's been hiding something terrible. He's forced to resign. Mike Spence becomes president.

I say that's worse. Spence is a genuine social conservative. Trump only plays one on tv. People are letting their Trump Derangement Syndrome get the better of their common sense. There are way worse people than Trump. Ted Cruz for one. Trump did us all a favor defeating Cruz. And Cruz would have crushed Hillary. He's a very strong politician and genuinely wants to turn the US into a Christian theocracy.

Trump doesn't. He lets the right think he does. That's how he became president.

People read Trump wrong. He's a pragmatic NYC liberal. You watch. I predict six months from now you will see what I mean. The social cons will be disappointed and the liberals will be surprised. If not I'll be the first to admit it.

In conclusion you do NOT want to make Mike Pence president, hence you do NOT care about Trump's taxes. Because there's simply no point to it. Pence is weak, his presidency would enable Cruz and the other social cons in Congress. You don't want that and I don't either.

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Greta
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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Greta » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:47 am

wtf wrote:I was having this convo about the tax returns with someone. I say I don't care about his tax returns. Why? Well, what is your endgame? He shows his taxes, he's been hiding something terrible. He's forced to resign. Mike Spence becomes president.

I say that's worse.
Shit. I forgot about that. God yes, point conceded ... may The Don last his term :lol:

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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Walker » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:52 am

:lol:

The change quickly appears.

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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:50 pm

Greta wrote:Further, Trump did not show his tax returns. This has set a precedent. Now there are no longer anywhere near the same conflict of interest and transparency standards for the role of president - arguably not much more than for a public servant on an average wage. No future presidential aspirant need declare their financial affairs or deal with conflicts of interest. The standard is set.

Trump may not be the dictator some think he'll turn out to be, but this precedent opens the way for unaccountable leadership and possible dictatorships in the future. Trump must be forced to properly divest his investments and provide his tax returns for scrutiny, if not for his own accountability, for the accountability within the system.
That's a comparatively recent norm and not a law. JFK didn't produce any tax returns. The first guy to do so turned out to be a crook anyway.

The brazen indecency of this current US president may be a little grotty, but it isn't something to really be confused with the actual authoritarian rulers who are able to subvert democracies wholesale. In countries like Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Turkey the rulers have been able to shut down or else confiscate and grant ownership to their buddies of every TV station, radio outlet or newspaper that annoys them. They can do this because over time they are able to buy or replace every judge on their supreme court or else appoint so many henchmen to those organisations that no decent justice remains. For the most part these actions start with emergency powers seized in a crisis.

None of that is plausible in the US. You can't change how many Supreme Court ~justices there are, and you can't just appoint any old idiot you like even under emergency powers. Seizing media outlets is unconstitutional and even if you stack the that court you cannot get a blatantly unconstitutional case heard there without going through multiple other circuits that the president can neither stack nor intimidate.

It is astonishing that such a an absurd object has gained the presidency at all, but even the president doesn't get access to the essential dictator's toolkit. I'm sure he will find plenty of harm to do with the powers he he has available. But ultimately those are very limited. Trump will either have to impress the shit out of everyone with a display of competent and measured judgment that seems way beyond his talents, or else he will be a lame duck already by the middle of his only term in office. After which you will presumably all agree to pretend he never happened.

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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by bobevenson » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:38 pm

Greta wrote:Donald Trump has stacked his cabinet with climate deniers and Exxon executives. He plans to stimulate the fossil fuel industry at the expense of sustainability.
First of all, it's not a question of denying climate change. Climate change has been going on since the beginning of time. The question is what is causing any recent change. That question has not been satisfactorily answered, certainly not by left-wing, liberal scientists who are part of socialist academia. And even if it is proven to be the result of human activity, it is pointless for the U.S. to take any action at all if it can't force the rest of the world to do the same thing.

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Re: Conflicts of interest and transparency

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:45 pm

bobevenson wrote:
Greta wrote:Donald Trump has stacked his cabinet with climate deniers and Exxon executives. He plans to stimulate the fossil fuel industry at the expense of sustainability.
First of all, it's not a question of denying climate change. Climate change has been going on since the beginning of time. The question is what is causing any recent change. That question has not been satisfactorily answered, certainly not by left-wing, liberal scientists who are part of socialist academia. And even if it is proven to be the result of human activity, it is pointless for the U.S. to take any action at all if it can't force the rest of the world to do the same thing.
It's always been the US dragging its feet, on this issue whilst being the biggest user of fossil fuels per capita of any country in the world.
Now it is walking backwards.

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