Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/4/2018: Baseball Lies, A Presidential High Crime, And A Judge Makes A Panty Raid


Wake Up!

1 Fake history, baseball style. Broadcasts of Red Sox games from Fenway Park in Boston refer to “the Pesky Pole,” the official name of the tall, yellow foul pole in right field. It is named in honer of the late Johnny Pesky, who also is honored in a statue outside the park—it featured him and his team mates and longtime friends, Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr. Pesky, with a couple of brief interruptions,was a Red Sox lifer, beginning with his 1942 rookie season, and ending with his death several years ago as an honorary coach. In between, he was Sox minor league manager, the big team’s manager, a hitting coach and a broadcaster.

The Pesky Pole got its name because the notoriously power-free shortstop reputedly hit several of the few he managed to slug in his career by knocking a pitch  around the marker, which arose from  what is now the shortest foul line in baseball. The  low Fenway right field fence veers sharply out from there to over 400 feet, so such homers are considered, and indeed are, lucky flukes. During his brief and undistinguished tenure as a Red Sox radio color man, former Red Sox pitching ace Mel Parnell repeatedly told the story about how Johnny won a game for Mel in 1948 with a pole-shot. This tale led directly to the team officially naming the pole on September 27, 2006, on Pesky’s 87th birthday, with a commemorative plaque placed at its base and everything.

Afterwards, and not before, someone actually checked the game records. Pesky never hit the home run  described by Parnell. He only hit six home runs in Fenway at all, and nobody knows how many hit the pole, looped around the pole, or even went to right field. (Pop-ups hit by Punch-and-Judy hitting shortstops sometimes landed in the screen over the left field wall for home runs, as the cursed Bucky Dent can attest.) Nevertheless, the fake history is in place: the Pesky Pole is named that because Johnny Pesky hit a famous home run off of it, or was famous for looping cheap homers around it, or something.

Baseball excels at creating fake history, the most notable being represented by the locale of its Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York. When the museum was envisioned, the accepted story about the game’s origin was the Union general Abner Doubleday invented the sport in 1839 and organized the first game in Cooperstown. After the construction was underway,  research suggested that everything about the Doubleday tale was rumor and myth, but baseball and the museum’s management, in one of the all-time classic examples of adopting the philosophy of the newspaper editor in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence,” went to great lengths to keep the original story before the public. Eventually some hard evidence surfaced suggesting that the game was invented by Alexander Cartwright, who was eventually inducted into the Hall as the game’s creator, while Doubleday is not. Nonetheless, the myth survives. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, for example,  said in 2010 that “I really believe that Abner Doubleday is the ‘Father of Baseball.'” This is the equivalent of saying that one believes in the Easter Bunny.

Selig was later inducted into the Hall of Fame.

2.Believe it or Not! I would support impeaching  President Trump for his tweeting attacks against Amazon. This is such an abuse of Presidential power that it demands at least a Congressional reprimand or sanction. Amazon lost $53 billion in market value in the wake of the tweets, meaning that investors, retirees, and ordinary Americans lost wealth as well. It is unconscionable for a President of the United States to deliberately target a company, just as it is wrong for a President to punch down at a private citizen, but the consequences of doing what Trump has done to Amazon is far, far worse. The Wall Street Journal suggested in an editorial that if the attack on Amazon was politically motivated because Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, impeachment would be justified. Yes, that would be even worse, but it is not an essential element of this “high crime.” The President of the United States must not abuse his power by intentionally harming lawful businesses.

The foolish resistance is so focused on trying to impeach Trump based on exotic laws and imaginary conspiracies that it doesn’t see the real thing when it’s right in front of its face, and the anti-Trump media has so destroyed its credibility by embracing ridiculous impeachment theories that a valid one will just look like more of the same.

3. Now THIS is an unethical judge! Also one sick SOB…District Court Judge Robert Cicale of Suffolk County New York has been charged with  entering his neighbor’s home and stealing her underwear. Judge Cicale is charged with burglary in the second degree. The 49-year-old married father of three broke into the neighbor’s home last week and took her underwear from a bedroom hamper.

“Obviously, this case is highly disturbing. This is an individual who swore to uphold the law and violated it in a very serious way,” said the prosecutor in the case. “The message here, both from the Suffolk County Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, is that no one is above the law.”

No, the message is that we have to choose our judges more carefully. The DAs says the judge has admitted to stealing underwear in the past. He has these urges.

I presume his judging days are over. Please.


163 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/4/2018: Baseball Lies, A Presidential High Crime, And A Judge Makes A Panty Raid

  1. 2) good gosh …$53 million?

    Yep that requires a minimum of censure. But isn’t the $53 mil loss just moral luck? The attacks themselves should stand on their own as egregious.

      • I eagerly await the giddy response of the knee jerk get-Trump-at-all-costs-for-any-reason crowd to crow about you being “one of us! one of us!” when in reality, you’ve reached your conclusion based on reason and objectivity and therefore could never be ranked as “one of us! one of us!”.

        As Steve mentions with “the boy who cries wolf”…I don’t think I will take anyone seriously who advocates impeachment of Trump on the Amazon fiasco who also has been part of the get-Trump-because-he’s-breathing crowd since day one.

        But if Congress doesn’t censure the President at a minimum, then as Democrats have lost any chance of me ever voting for them for the rest of my life, Republicans will pretty much be one step away from a similar life-time ban.

        • Congress won’t do boo. The GOP is in enough trouble going into the mid-term elections, and the Democrats smell blood, but they know an attack like that would be an overreach.

        • What if, say, one has been heavily critical of Trump for the past year while acknowledging that Democrats shouldn’t vote to impeach him over any one thing yet, but is also glad to see Jack say he would favor impeachment over this? How seriously would you take such a handsome fellow?

          • Not sure.

            Define “heavily critical”. I’ve seen alot of heavy criticism that has simultaneously been peppered with loads of baseless attacks that while the “critic” insists is just criticism, literally everyone else making the attacks considers grounds to get rid of Trump. Which is fine, except for the whole “baseless” part.

            It’s hard to take anyone seriously when they’ve grabbed onto *anything* to attack Trump, even if some of those anythings happen to be justified.

          • I hope you don’t think I’m trying to play “stump a chump”, I really don’t know the statistics here:

            How often do litigants win when merely accusing “disparagement” or is it something that doesn’t win often if damages haven’t occurred that become evidence?

      • Jack Marshall wrote, “Sure—damages are frequently moral luck. They are still evidence of how dangerous and reckless conduct is, however.”

        Isn’t that pushing consequentialism a little bit.

        Legally isn’t the act either a high crime or misdemeanor or it’s not.

  2. I don’t understand the urge to steal underwear, or for that matter any item of clothing. This judge is way too young to have participated in panty raids.

  3. Love the inside baseball.

    Wait did you just say, “I would support impeaching President Trump for his tweeting attacks against Amazon”?

    I happen to agree, and for the reasons you state, but was surprised nonetheless.

      • I hope it isn’t the case for charles, but in my experience, most Leftwingers consider even the slightest defense of Trump (even in instances where Trump *groan* deserves the defense) to be all-in for Trump.

        • Based on my Facebook exchanges, including a lawyer I took the rare step of defriending after she attributed one analysis to my “following Breitbart,” I can confirm that. I doubt that many so accused have the online record I do of being anything BUT “all in” for Trump. It’s all virtue signalling on social media, and people are afraid to be fair or honest.

          Look at what happened to me on NPR. The usually rational host e-mailed me that she thought I was making excuses for Trump when I just used him as an example of how accusations of sexual misconduct could be manufactured.

      • Good question. I guess it’s because I think there is more than one reason to impeach him – two others in particular – and I personally think this is the least of the three. Yet you had not mentioned the other two. Hence I had not expected you to chime in on this one (though I do agree).

        For what it’s worth, my view of the other two reasons are:

        1. Character. He is an inveterate, habitual, instinctive liar. All presidents tell lies, but this is industrial-strength, endangering the very concept of truth.

        2. Competence. If you read Michael Lewis’s telling of what he’s done at Energy, or others’ telling of what he did at State, you see a tale of utter disrespect for competence. Which of course flows from the top.

        I recognize that impeachment is ultimately a political process, and hence not to be trifled with. Of the three historical instances – Johnson, Nixon, Clinton – my understanding is that Nixon was the clearest-cut case – and lets not forget, many people resisted his impeachment (and some still do). So we should tread lightly.

        That said, I think those two cases are extreme enough to warrant impeachment. Your inclusion of “abuse of power” makes the grade too, but I have to wonder – if that was ALL that he had done, I’m not sure even I would consider it impeachable. But context matters.

        • “He is an inveterate, habitual, instinctive liar.”

          Since this bothers you severely, I assume you took the high road in 2016 and did not vote for *either* mainstream candidate, and simultaneously would be calling for the removal of HRC if she had been elected.

          If this is, indeed, your standard.

          • Michael, HRC had her lies, to be sure.

            But NOTHING on this scale. NOTHING. There is truly no comparison with Trump’s scale of lying. Not with Hillary, not with any of the candidates.

            Not to mention my other reason – competence. Hands down she was more competent than this President.

            • :Not to mention my other reason – competence. Hands down she was more competent than this President.

              Based on what, exactly?

              Note that Trump HAS gotten his agenda passed in many particulars. Also note that Hillary has nothing of note in her entire career.

              I am willing to be schooled otherwise, charles

              • “Based on what, exactly?”

                Based on her being a US Senator, a Secretary of State, plus 8 years of more-than-up-close exposure to national politics while in the White House.

                Don’t get me wrong, she was a deeply flawed candidate, for many reasons – but sheer competence wasn’t one of them. She was smart, educated and experienced in foreign policy, social policy, military and intelligence.

                Few candidates for President had that much resume credentials. Again – don’t hear me wrong – that doesn’t make her a great candidate, nor would it have made her a great President. But on the issue of sheer competence, she had it all over a 6-times-bankrupt NY real estate and reality TV star. Even Ronald Reagan had years of governorship under his belt.

                • I dispute that just being in the room made Hillary competent. Just having jobs handed to her did not make her pay attention… as we have seen by the spectacular failures of her time in office, every time she was in office. Her best accomplishment is she married a competent politician.

                  Russian reset button? Private email server? How about the (lack of) security measures taken to protect our Libyan embassy?

                  Hillary is a member of the political elite Establishment class, and as such simply coasted through without leading.

                  • She was more than just “in the room.”

                    Former NH governor and US Senator Judd Gregg said, ““I found her to be easy to work with, smart and willing to reach agreement on complicated issues.”

                    Oregon GOP Senator Gordon Smith “recalled her regular attendance at hearings of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which he chaired. “It’s a B-level committee at which usually I and the ranking member were the only ones who showed up,” he recalls. “Hillary showed up regularly and was prepared and made important contributions.”

                    “Thomas M. Reynolds, who was a Republican representative for a swath of western New York during Clinton’s time in the Senate, remembers their working relationship fondly. “She has the skill set and the ability to be more of a dealmaker than what I’ve seen from President Obama,” he says.”

                    All these quotes and more from a 2016 web page titled
                    As a Senator, Hillary Clinton Got Along With the GOP. Could She Do So as President?

                    Elsewhere, in The Guardian:

                    “David Miliband, who as UK foreign secretary overlapped with Clinton for her first 16 months at secretary of state, called her “the best listener in politics” and argued that her mix of personal skills and beliefs defy easy categorisation.”


                    “She did an extraordinarily good job of making the world like America again,” a former senior European diplomat said. “She was sky high in terms of popularity and air miles, but we all knew at the time that the tricky policy issues were still there. When Kerry came charging in, trying to settle all these issues, it was a reminder that she had rather stayed above the fray.”

                    • None of which tell of anything she accomplished

                      She was pleasant to work with?

                      Establishment Elite quotes don’t hold any water in fly over country. They lie and enrich themselves, and can change what they support three times before supper.

                    • SW, if you won’t take quotes from former Republican members of congress, just because they were quoted in MSM sources, we can’t have much of a conversation.

                  • I am not partisan, charles. The GOPe and Democrats are the same: all the new Aristocracy, there to get rich on the backs of those who elected them. Differences are Kabuki theater, there to grandstand for their low information constituents.

                    Conservative GOP examples have been run out of power, and are few and far between.

                • I think the topic is pointless and irrelevant by now, but let’s not mix up credentials and competence. Hillary has not shown any special competence in any of her roles. She became a political liability as First Lady: by my lights, she gets an Incompetent in the job. It’s pretty difficult to be an incompetent US Senator, though by her own stated standards, she botched her most important vote–FOR the Iraq War–and never authored any major legislation of note. She was an incompetent SOS by many objective stanadrds, I’d say: Libya was a fiasco, and the e-mail handling was inexcusable. I don’t know how anyone can call “competence” one of her strong-points.

                  Leadership, as I have noted here before, is a weirdly utilitarian thing to judge. If the army wins, you are a good leader. If the play is a hit on Broadway, you are a successful director. There are too many ways to judge what is good or bad for the country to count or rank. Competent policies administered incompetently? Incompetent policies administered competently? Trump’s style and management methods violate most traditional ideas of management competence, but if the nation thrives, whatever that means, the accusation that he was an incompetent President will ring pretty hollow. I rank Obama an incompetent leader because he just wasn’t successful at achieving his own stated goals, and the nation did NOT thrive.

                  On the credentials matter, I know I compared Hillary’s to other Presidential candidates as part pf proving that “Few candidates for President had that much resume credentials” is in the same class as saying that Obama had no scandals or American don’t elect the same party Presidents three terms in a row. in fact, I think I have to add it to my list of statements I vow to rebut every time I see them.

                  The most relevant credential a candidate for the office can hold is elected executive office. No, First Lady doesn’t and shouldn’t count. Military leadership is also a significant credential for POTUS, as is running any high level business. Hillary’s sole credential in the same ballpark is SOS, a big agency. LOTS of LOSING candidates were SOSs, including William Jennings Bryan and Henry Clay. Objectively, Hillary relevant resume falls short of both Bushes (especially HW), her husband, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, LBJ (VP is a major cred), Ike, Truman (by the time he ran, he had been POTUS for three years) FDR, Hoover, Coolidge, Wilson, Taft ( Solicitor General, civilian governor of the Philippines, Secretary of War), TR, of course) and McKinley, who was, unlike Clinton, a chair of a power committee in Congress and a Governor for five years. That takes us to 1896…that’s far enough to make the case. One can quibble over a few of these, but it doesn’t matter.

                  I don’t know who started saying she had more resume creds than most Presidents—it was probably her—and the news media dutifully repeated it as fact. It’s just not true, though. She had more resume items than some great ones–Lincoln, notably. But the statement doesn’t hold up.

        • Has anyone ever been impeached for lacking character and competence, charles? Granted, a strong argument could be made that Trump is more deficient in both than any other president…but I think it would set a bad precedent to impeach a president for his personality traits rather than specific actions. I don’t think it would be illegal to impeach Trump over these flaws; “high crimes and misdemeanors” has never been legally defined, because it hasn’t needed to be, and until the Supreme Court rules that it means actual crimes, I think it means whatever the majority of Congress wants it to mean. If I didn’t think this would have any effect on the future other than to remove Trump, I’d support impeaching him over his lack of character and competence. But I fear how it may be used against other, better presidents in the future if we set that precedent, so I think we should wait until Trump is caught red-handed doing something illegal. (I honestly can’t believe that hasn’t happened yet.)

          I am a bit surprised that Jack has picked this as his impeachment breaking point, partly because it’s so similar to what Trump has done since the campaign and during his entire presidency–attack individuals and businesses and target them for destruction. Personally, I don’t know if this one is impeachable. I think my closest calls for impeachment would be…

          1) The travel ban. This executive order violated the law and caused immediate chaos at airports around the country, arguably making us less safe in the aftermath, because that’s what happens when you ignore the State Department and the Pentagon and instead allow racist bloggers to craft policy. Before anyone says it was upheld by the Supreme Court, no, it wasn’t; it was allowed to take effect, but they have not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the law. It also only approved a much narrower restriction then the original; only residents of the banned countries with no bona fide relationship to the U.S. were banned, meaning most residents of those countries who would have reason to come here in the first place can still do so. That’s a far cry from the original ban, which banned everyone from those countries from coming here, and I hardly see how it can be called a victory when the majority of those Trump originally tried to ban could not actually be banned.

          The order violates the INA, which says the government cannot discriminate in the issuance of a VISA based on nationality, which the order obviously did; a future court ruling may decide that the president’s authority overrides that law, but in the meantime, the law stands and the EO is in violation of it.

          Furthermore, we know the president’s motivation and the motivation of his staff who helped write the law was anti-Muslim bias, because they were clear about that during the campaign. Trump’s original campaign suggestion to ban all Muslim immigration casts an inescapable pall over the order.

          I don’t think any president could be impeached by passing any order that violates existing law, or that is based in bigotry, or that creates immediate chaos in our nation while harming our alliances with other nations, or which is passed without any backing from policy experts in the government…but when you stack it all together like that, I think it comes closer to an impeachable offense than anything else Trump has done.

          2) Trump’s pattern of casting doubt on the government’s assessment of Russian meddling while attacking those in charge of the investigations. One or two comments would have been one thing, but to have a leader of our nation constantly belittle the CIA, FBI, NSA, and individuals therein while praising the hostile foreign power they’re investigating harms our nation and its interests. A country can’t function with leadership like that.

          3) Trump’s pattern of baselessly accusing his political rivals of illegal activity. Again, a democracy can’t function this way. Trump accused his predecessor of wiretapping him, with zero evidence and seemingly zero understanding of the connection between what actually occurred and what he was claiming. This seriously calls his judgment into question. In addition, for the president to use his bully pulpit to accuse individuals of crimes is a gross abuse of his authority.

          I’m probably leaving some big ones out–one thing Trump uses to his advantage is that he does so many ridiculous things so often that it becomes hard to remember even some of the bigger ones–but for now I think these three come the closest to impeachable offenses. I still do not favor impeachment at the moment because of the precedent it would set, even as I recognize that we would have more stable leadership under Mike Pence than under Trump.

          • Messed up the bolding there.

            Also meant to add that the best case for impeachment would be if we found undeniable proof that Trump approved of Russian election meddling, or that he was repaying Russia for their meddling due to an established quid pro quo or due to konpromat the Russian government has on Trump. Aside from actual proof such as an e-mail documenting a quid pro quo, I think the existence of the “pee tape,” if confirmed, would be sufficient to prove the kompromat theory—Trump was informed of the allegation regarding this tape in June of 2016, and it would be hard to argue that he didn’t continue to push a pro-Russia policy in the months after that, including during his presidency. Further, it would be hard to argue that he was not letting this attempt at blackmail influence his policy choices regarding Russia. It would also be so embarrassing on a purely “ick” level that I’d hope he’d step down from that alone, even without factoring in the kompromat angle. I think even Republicans would move to impeach after something like that.

            But those are unlikely circumstances.

          • Those are all non-starters, and classic examples of criminalizing policy and politics.

            1. The travel ban? Ridiculous. This is an area of very broad Presidential discretion, and the court rulings on it were partisan and bad law. A President can’t be impeached because an executive order is overturned. Obama’s order on illegal immigration was a genuine over-reach, but noone sane called it impeachable.

            2. The President has a right to defend himself from a nakedly political hit job, because he’s protecting the office as well. The Russian witch hunt to assuage Hillary’s ego is a terrible precedent and Trump cannot be criticized for anything he has done or said in response—certainly not impeached. We can revisit this when the IG’s report comes out on the FBI’s misconduct.

            3. That’s hilarious. No one has been baselessly accused of illegal activity more than Trump.

            • Well, that was a nice feeling while it lasted.

              Those are all non-starters, and classic examples of criminalizing policy and politics.

              I didn’t suggest criminalizing anything.

              1. The travel ban? Ridiculous. This is an area of very broad Presidential discretion, and the court rulings on it were partisan and bad law. A President can’t be impeached because an executive order is overturned.

              I didn’t suggest that either.

              Obama’s order on illegal immigration was a genuine over-reach, but noone sane called it impeachable.

              Let me just repeat this part of my comment…

              I don’t think any president could be impeached by passing any order that violates existing law, or that is based in bigotry, or that creates immediate chaos in our nation while harming our alliances with other nations, or which is passed without any backing from policy experts in the government…but when you stack it all together like that, I think it comes closer to an impeachable offense than anything else Trump has done.

              I’d add on top of that stack the fact that it was a broadly restrictive law that was passed for no apparent safety reason simply to rile up a bigoted component of the president’s base, but you wouldn’t hear it.

              2. The President has a right to defend himself from a nakedly political hit job, because he’s protecting the office as well. The Russian witch hunt to assuage Hillary’s ego

              Now this is partisan spin. You know as well as I do that the Russia investigation encompasses more than just Trump. Even before Trump’s own campaign was revealed to be a part of it, he disparaged the idea that Russia meddled at all and attacked the agencies who made that conclusion.

              The investigation into Trump’s campaign started under Comey, who can’t credibly be accused of merely trying to salvage Clinton’s reputation–he’s the one who revealed her e-mails were still being investigated a week before the election, which caused die-hard liberals to label him a Trump supporter. (I criticized them for this at the time.) Comey made several mistakes, including that one, but it’s clear to me he was seeking the truth as objectively as possible.

              Trump cannot be criticized for anything he has done or said in response

              Now I know you don’t believe THAT. If he “can’t be criticized” for anything he’s done or said in response, you’re saying he’s responded ethically and intelligently. You would have slammed Jeff Sessions for recusing himself, then publicly badger him to do your bidding and suggest he’s doing a terrible job any time he fails? You’d fire McCabe via tweet? You’d tweet constantly about your enemies in the intelligence community? Of course you wouldn’t. Which means you know there is plenty to criticize about Trump’s response here, even if you are under the mistaken belief that the investigation is a mere “witch hunt.”

              —certainly not impeached.

              It’s a failure of leadership. The president cannot be seen publicly feuding with his own staff and the intelligence community, especially when they are investigating him. You know the proper response here–say you are fully cooperating with the investigation but that you are confident of your innocence. Say that once, not daily, because that makes you look defensive and weak. You know this. You also know that weak and destructive leaders have a duty to step down, or they should be removed. Impeachment is that removal process for presidents.

              We don’t know what is impeachable right now, because all we have are extremely vague words in the Constitution that have never been interpreted by a court, and a very limited sample size of precedence. Beyond that we have scholarly interpretations of those words, many of which run counter to your belief that impeachment requires criminal activity. I’m not even disagreeing with the idea that we should wait until criminal activity is revealed to impeach Trump; just that we don’t yet know if that is constitutionally required.

              3. That’s hilarious. No one has been baselessly accused of illegal activity more than Trump.

              But not by another president, which is the standard under discussion.

            • Honest question: wasn’t Clinton impeached for lying about something that wasn’t even a crime? Doesn’t that suggest that “high crimes and misdemeanors” are pretty much what Congress chooses to say they are?

              I’m with everyone here in saying that’s pretty tricky business, but still, isn’t it true that impeachment is ultimately, fundamentally a political decision? And if so, how can any of those issues be particularly off the table?

              • In fairness, Charles, the lie *itself* was illegal, since it was under oath.

                Of course it would probably be very easy to manipulate Trump into lying under oath the same way the right did for Clinton.

                I do agree with your larger point that impeachment is a political calculus at this point, and there is no set-in-stone rule that it must be based on illegal conduct. That may be the correct interpretation of the Constitution, but it isn’t a settled question. Odds on it getting settled during this presidency?

                • Agreed, all lies are equally illegal. Though in some moral calculus, a lie about a crime would seem worse than a lie about a BJ.

                  In any case, I agree with you that the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” is not about to get settled in this Presidency.

                    • Jack Marshall wrote, “It’s the violation of the oath that is the crime, not the lie itself.”

                      That is not fully understood by way too many people. It doesn’t matter how small a lie is when testifying under oath.

                      P.S. Knowing how Trump easily goes off the cuff, President Trump should take the advice of his personal attorney’s and not testify in the Russia investigation. It think the recent statements that Trump is not a criminal target of the Mueller’s investigation is bait trying to suck Trump into testifying under oath. I do not trust anything about the Russia investigation anymore, it’s clear to me that it IS a witch hunt.

                    • P.S. Knowing how Trump easily goes off the cuff, President Trump should take the advice of his personal attorney’s and not testify in the Russia investigation.

                      On this we agree. Popehat has been making a point of this a lot, urging the president to not testify as it would obviously put him in danger of lying under oath.

                      I am not as good a person as Popehat, so I hope Trump testifies.

                    • Chris wrote, “I hope Trump testifies.”

                      This is a character difference between you and I. I wouldn’t want any President to testify under the witch hunting conditions we’re witnessing, where you actually want this President to throw himself to the wolves and testify simply because of your hate for the man in the office.

                    • I don’t think it’s reflective of poor character to hope that a president of poor character gets caught telling a lie under oath. Perhaps he should stop lying so much.

                    • And no, it isn’t because of my “hate for the man in office,” it’s because of my love for this country, and my awareness that we will be better off the second he is out of office. I don’t support unethical means of removing him. My hope that he testifies under oath isn’t unethical–I’m not his lawyer. If he testifies under oath and gets caught in a lie, that’s on him. And yes, it was on Clinton too.

              • Clinton was impeached for lying under oath while serving as President. That will get any lawyer disbarred, anywhere. If you are too dishonest to practice law, you are obviously too dishonest to be President of the United States. He lied in a proceeding involving impeachable conduct as Governor. Then he obstructed a grand jury, and actively impeded an investigation. He also violated his own sexual harassment law, that he signed himself.

    • charlesgreen wrote, “I happen to agree, and for the reasons you state, but was surprised nonetheless.”

      You being surprised is a bit telling. I don’t think you are giving credit where credit is due.

  4. #2 You make a really good argument; however, I think this is floating around the borderline for being an impeachable offense. I do think something must be done to punish the President but I’m really not quite sure what.

    I do know this; for the sake of the office of the President of the United States, and to preserve whatever good will the United States of America has left in the world, and for the good of the American people in general, President Trump’s twitter account needs to go dead silent for the remainder of his time in office. It’s obvious that Donald Trump is an internet troll and I think the three branches of government need to get together to put a stop to his trolling behavior.

  5. On number two;

    I agree… In principle…. But I have no idea how on Earth Democrats are supposed to do anything about it. Like you said earlier, the losses incurred are moral luck, it’s the underlying behavior that’s an issue. And how many politicians have targeted individual brands of firearms? Called out Banks by name? Investment firms? Talked about individual video game franchises as being the cause for real life violence? Declared they won’t eat at Chik-fli-a because the CEO supported prop 8? I don’t know what device Democrats fall back on that isn’t immediately crippled under the weight of it’s own hypocrisy.

    • Don’t legislators have a slightly different standard here?

      I mean inevitably, any governmental action taken against any particular corporation or industry would start in the Legislature, and nothing like that could actually start without specific legislators commenting on what they consider to be misbehavior by particular companies or industries.

      • I didn’t think that was the distinction here…. But that might be me misreading this. If that’s the distinction we’re trying to make, that the president is a completely different animal than legislators, that a president shouldn’t even make comments on industries…. Then I think I’ll retract my support, even in principle. I don’t see how the presidency can even function with those kinds of hobbling standards put on it.

        • No doubt I don’t think the President must be *silent* on these matters. I think though that Trump’s particular comments are substantively different than any President making passing commentary on industries.

            • I was hoping to explore a continuum on which lay “Presidential Commentary Regarding Companies and Industries”…with one end being No commentary and another end being Commentary with significant market impact (positive OR negative).

              Somewhere on there would lie points like “the coal industry creates alot of pollution, we should consider regulations” or “those corporations sure look alot like they may be in violation of such-and-such a regulation or such-and-such an anti-trust law…we’ll investigate”.

              But I’ll have to be summary about this. My head is spinning after the past few days on that jobsite.

              To me it seems like the issues of Trump’s tweets have a quantity AND a quality aspect. Individually, I would see one of the particular Amazon tweets as Trump being Trump. But what? Half a dozen… most of them projecting onto Amazon the blame for what (if even true) would likely be the result of USPS inefficiencies…not Amazon’s use of the USPS. The blame worded in a manner that sounds like Amazon is behaving unethically.

              None of the tweets a cautionary alert that an investigation of wrong-doing may be in the future.

              The tweets don’t seem like initial commentary of an executive working through a legal framework to pursue possible violations of laws or regulations…but rather of outright concluding that wrongdoing has occurred.

              That amounts to a substantive attack and in quantity.

              My gut tells me that this places Trump’s tweets on the continuum a bit farther past the point where commentary aimed at a specific company or industry by the president is ok.

  6. 2. The real issue is the typical knee-jerk reaction that has become the standard for Wall Street. The reality is this whole issue will have minimal impact and AMZN will quickly recoup any losses. When oil was “King” a few years back a camel could fart and futures would go up 10%.

        • Just saying that this is nothing new, and (once again) when Trump does what Obama did, it was okay for Obama because…

          Trump takes what other Presidents did and pushes the envelope. This is not good, nor am I saying he gets a pass because they did it, too.

          So do you own that Obama was a disaster as a President, in your new objective way of life, valky?

          • If a Trump appointee hijacked an airplane and flew off one step ahead of the law, arguments that Obama flew in airplanes all the time would not move me. No mention of Obama would move me for the simple reason that he’s not the subject of this conversation. Bringing him in stinks of desperation.

            • valkygrrl wrote, “No mention of Obama would move me for the simple reason that he’s not the subject of this conversation. Bringing him in stinks of desperation.”

              What really stinks of desperation is you attacking the messenger because there is reasonable appearance of an equivalency that could set up a precedence.

        • valkygrrl wrote, “Deflect! Deflect!”

          That’s attack the messenger nonsense right there. No valkygrrl it wasn’t a deflection it was presenting a likely precedence.

          valkygrrl wrote, “Someone accused dear leader. Blame a Clinton or an Obama!”

          No valkygrrl he didn’t “blame” Clinton or Obama, he presented what appeared to be an equivalency.

          I had the impression you were some kind of a lawyer.

  7. Amazon has a $600 Billion contract with the CIA.
    Amazon is Heavily Subsidized through the Post Office.
    From my perspective that makes Amazon a vassal of the Taxpayer and POTUS represents us.
    Nevermind Bezos uses Amazon’s wealth to prop up the Washington Compost.
    I suggest anyone with Tech stocks…SELL.
    He is going after them all.
    And I am CHEERING!

    • How in the world can you believe the lie that “Amazon is heavily subsidized through the Post Office?”

      Here’s the key to who’s subsidizing whom: If Amazon switched 100% to FedEx, the winners would be FedEx. Amazon would probably be able to negotiate the same or close volume discounts they get with the PO. The Big Lower would be the USPS.

      You are buying the White House absurdity that somehow the PO is selling below cost. The simple test for that is a thought experiment: what would happen if Amazon pulled out? The PO would sure as hell make LESS money, not more.

      Volume discounts for your bibggest customer are the way of business in every industry I know of. This is nothing short of that.

    • Julieta Rienstra wrote, “Amazon has a $600 Billion contract with the CIA.”

      Irrelevant and so what? Amazon is in the business of providing a service and make money, so what if one of their customers is a government agency.

      Julieta Rienstra wrote, “Amazon has a $600 Billion contract with the CIA.
      Amazon is Heavily Subsidized through the Post Office.
      From my perspective that makes Amazon a vassal of the Taxpayer and POTUS represents us.
      Nevermind Bezos uses Amazon’s wealth to prop up the Washington Compost.
      I suggest anyone with Tech stocks…SELL.
      He is going after them all.
      And I am CHEERING!”

      Julieta Rienstra wrote, “Amazon is Heavily Subsidized through the Post Office. From my perspective that makes Amazon a vassal of the Taxpayer…”

      This is partisan spin and absolute nonsense. The USPS provides a service and Amazon is a purchaser of that service. Purchases services at a lower cost than is “advertised” in the retail market is called making a good deal for your business and is not subsidizing. If the USPS is actually loosing money in the deal it’s literally their own damn fault. I suspect the USPS is not actually loosing money in the deal, they just aren’t making what they could have had they made a different deal. Personally, I think the postal service should only use regular postal carriers Monday, Wednesday, and Friday except in cases where the sender has paid for next day packages, that would likely save them billions of dollars.”

      Julieta Rienstra wrote, “Nevermind Bezos uses Amazon’s wealth to prop up the Washington Compost.”

      What the heck is this supposed to mean?

      Julieta Rienstra wrote, “And I am CHEERING!”

      I’m sure everyone is going to take stock market advice from a commenter on a blog that appears to be trolling with nonsense spin.

      Julieta Rienstra wrote, “And I am CHEERING!”

      So you’re actually “CHEERING” that companies, investors, and the average Joe could be loosing (combined) billions of dollars and maybe jobs? Julieta, your acting like an asshole.

      • I would rather be an Asshole than an Asshat.
        So typical.

        Your description of purchasing only applies when it is not a governmental entity. Otherwise, when the taxpayer gets screwed in favor of cronies, it is called a SUBSIDY. I love watching Leftists do their mental contortions. I thought you all hated the 1% and Big Bad Corporations.

        I Care that Amazon is in bed with the corruptocrats over at the CIA.
        I don’t care that you don’t.

        I also couldn’t care less if anyone takes my advice.
        But if you don’t, you cannot say you weren’t warned when you lose your shirt after Trump knocks Amazon and all the other tech overlords down. They were extremely stupid to think they could get away with their censorship. Watch…Zuck is next to step down. He can go visit with Eric Schmidt and his robot army.

        I am absolutely going to LOVE it when you all get Red Pilled HARD.
        My guess is that poor little snowflakes are going to lose their minds.
        EVERYTHING you idiots “Believe” to be True is BS.
        It truly Amazes me how gullible and stupid our population is.

            • Yep.
              You sound exactly like a Leftist.
              Don’t care how you “self identify”.
              Case in point…you didn’t bother to research anything I posted.
              You just Decreed it “nonsense”
              JUST LIKE A LEFTIST.

              • Julieta,
                Did you know that Correlation ≠ Causation? Oops, that would require you to think beyond your own partisan bias.

                By the way genius; your anti-business rhetoric is similar to a Progressive, so if I used your logic then you are a Progressive.

                  • Julieta wrote, “Bored with you.”

                    I suppose critical thinking is well beyond your intellectual capabilities and could be boring and Heaven forbid that you should ever be board. Let’s see if we can help you with that personal problem. I could try to dumb down my replies for you if you think that would help drag you out of your trolling doldrums.

                  • Julieta Rienstra is a very unique name. I’m curious; are you the one and only Julieta Rienstra that publicly wrote the following on Facebook for the whole world to see?

                    That’s something an irrational moron would write and it’s part of the reason that leftist political hacks label Conservatives as deplorable.

                    • Still holds
                      And hate Cuckservatives even more.
                      Come on there are Way better posts on my timeline than that!
                      Find the one where I give the litany of reasons why I do.

                      You cannot hold yourself out as an “intellectual” when you refuse to look at information begore passing judgement on said information.

                      Too bad this isn’t FacistBook.
                      I could just block you.

                    • You could just not post. Personally I would miss you and I am serious. May not agree but I enjoy passion, being frisky, and entertaining.

                    • Julieta Rienstra wrote, “And hate Cuckservatives even more.”

                      That’s some serious sophomoric nonsense there. Didn’t you ever grow up?

                      Julieta Rienstra wrote, “You cannot hold yourself out as an “intellectual”…”

                      I never did that. You’re misrepresenting what I’ve said; big surprise.

                      Julieta Rienstra wrote, “when you refuse to look at information before passing judgement on said information.”

                      I did check out your information and it didn’t change my opinion of what you wrote one bit. Maybe you should go back and actually read everything I wrote; I took the time to quote every word of yours that I was addressing and then address that specifically. Try reading for comprehension.

                      Julieta Rienstra wrote, “Too bad this isn’t FacistBook. I could just block you.”

                      You can block me simply by not reading what I write, but alas, you’re now too obsessed with attacking me like an eighth grader on the schoolyard. Heck I get to occupy space in the brains of obsessed stupid people all the time, and no one charges me any rent to do so.

                    • Note: “Cuckservative” is the kind of hyper-partisan insult I don’t favor or permit here, along with Repugs, progs, Libtards, and similar words. I’m not crazy about LOL either. A friendly warning.

                      Don’t make me come back there…

  8. We have evidence that Obama used his executive powers and bully pulpit to attack and depress stock values in certain industries, coal being one, which his close friends and business associates then bought for a song.

    Look up Marty Nesbitt’s Vistria Group

  9. “We have evidence…”

    Before getting all McCarthy-ish on us, can you point to some of that evidence? Where did Obama use his bully pulpit to “attack and depress stock values”?

    Ideally something that compares with Trump’s prime time televised and twitter attack this week, and the consequent multi-$billion measurable attack on Amazon of this week.

    I note by the way that Nesbitt founded Vistria Group after Obama left office. So whatever “attack” you can cite is going to be pretty temporally removed from whatever assets Vistria bought.

    Let’s see some of that “evidence.” (And by the way, who is ‘we’?)

    • “I note by the way that Nesbitt founded Vistria Group after Obama left office. So whatever “attack” you can cite is going to be pretty temporally removed from whatever assets Vistria bought.

      According to Bloomberg, Nesbitt founded his company in 2013.

      Ideally something that compares with Trump’s prime time televised and twitter attack this week, and the consequent multi-$billion measurable attack on Amazon of this week.

      I never claimed it was the same: I have said in this thread that Trump takes thing further than others have, and that is not good. I am just saying this is not new.

      Do a little research, charles. Try the sale of the University of Phoenix, for one.

      Here is the tactic, from :

      Obama would publicly announce his intentions to implementa regulation that if implemented would cripple or close Business XYZ. XYZ’s stock would tank, devaluing the company by as much as 97%. Obama’s buddies would rush in and buy up the company for pennies on the dollar. Obama would announce publicly that he had reconsidered and was abandoning the regulation. XYZ’s stock would instantly skyrocket, making Obama’s friends many millions of dollars. A cut of the profit would find its way to the Obama Foundation.

      This would be insider trading if I did it.

      • By the way, the GOP is as guilty of this as anyone, at least the Elite Establishment is. My point is that national politicians do this, and many of them profit from it. Trump making any money from trashing Amazon?

        Not that I would be surprised.

        • I do not understand this thought process. If you obtain power, say at cabinet-level, you’ve been trusted with the ability to set, if not all, much of the policy for a segment of the government. You get to use your judgement and you get to impose your vision. You have power. And someone would abnegate that for filthy lucre?


          Money is everywhere. Once you have enough to cover the basics of living in our society. anything more serves no purpose except what you can do with it. Buy 100 cars you’ll never drive? Why? See if you can get enough zeros in your bank account to force the bank to update their software? Why? There’s really only one use piles of cash can be put to. Bending the world to your will.

          Elon Musk’s will is that we make more and better spaceships. Jimmy Carter’s is that Guinea Worm be eradicated and that so many people be spared suffering from it. Mine is to sit on a throne and order those who displease me sent to the mines, uh I mean, feed….. hungry people, that’s it, no heads on spikes.

          Why take money in exchange for the only thing money’s good for?

            • charlesgreen wrote, “Uh oh, somebody principled snuck in here…”

              So Charles, those who think like Capitalist are unprincipled and those who think like Communists are principled?


          • valkygrrl wrote “Money is everywhere. Once you have enough to cover the basics of living in our society. anything more serves no purpose except what you can do with it. Buy 100 cars you’ll never drive? Why? See if you can get enough zeros in your bank account to force the bank to update their software? Why? There’s really only one use piles of cash can be put to. Bending the world to your will.”

            You’re sounding anti-capitalist and like a communist.

            • Those words don’t mean what you think they mean.

              I did not advocate against private entities owning the means of production.

              • valkygrrl wrote, “Those words don’t mean what you think they mean.”

                Are you really that stupid or just blind to the underlying currents of your own rhetoric? Never mind, idiot.

                • Zoltar, calling people ‘idiots’ is not useful. It’s uncivil.

                  It’s also unwarranted in this case, as she made a perfectly good point; you called her a communist, and she correctly pointed out that, by the common definition of “communist,” she is anything but.

                  • charlesgreen wrote, “calling people ‘idiots’ is not useful.”

                    That’s cute; also that’s not always correct Charles, sometimes it rings their intellectual bell and causes them to not say things like an idiot again. Now if you had written “calling people ‘idiots’ is mean” I would agree with you.

                    charlesgreen wrote, “It’s also unwarranted in this case, as she made a perfectly good point; you called her a communist, and she correctly pointed out that, by the common definition of “communist,” she is anything but.”

                    1. Point of fact: I did not call her a communist! I wrote that she is “sounding… like”.

                    2. Am I to understand that valkygrrl believe that the ONLY thing defining what a communist sounds like is “advocating against private entities owning the means of production” and you support that notion? Really Richard?

                    3. I did notice that you are not arguing with me saying that she was “sounding anti-capitalist”.

                    • Zoltar, the proper thing to do would be to show that valky is wrong about her definition of communism, not call her stupid for believing in a fairly widely accepted definition of it.

                    • Chris wrote, “Zoltar, the proper thing to do would be to show that valky is wrong about her definition of communism, not call her stupid for believing in a fairly widely accepted definition of it.”

                      I have to tell you this way too often, read for comprehension – all of it!

              • Money is a great tool when applied properly. I spent a lifetime accumulating wealth for my own personal enjoyment (reward) and for generations of security in my family. I am also a “giver” who donates both time and money to local charities. The key is anyone can do it.

                  • 4H. My wife and I ran clubs for several years. Scouts – boy and girl – we were both troop leaders. Two local food banks – use to volunteer on one. Our local library. Two local sports organizations – I coached Little League for years. Veterans, INC. in Worcester. I have a son who is 100% military disabled and they helped considerably. I also financially contribute to local police and fire departments. Add in various school programs. I am semi-active in Trustees of Reservations, WildLands Trust, Audubon, and serve on a local Town Forest Committee. I occasionally help with time and material for Habitat for Humanity. As you can see most of where I direct time and money is local, but there are a few national organizations I support. I also have one crazy trait that I have posted on this site before. I NEVER take a charitable tax deduction. Just a little quirk.

                    • Suppose you were given a large input into the budget for and the ability to set policy and regulations in your state for rural after school programs. You could choose state lands to make available for use and what if any rate is charged for that use, the criteria for monetary grants within your budget, negotiate with universities for possible credit based on participation in said programs, etc. You could in making your choices, consult with anyone willing to speak to you.

                      You like 4H, you know those people, you probably know about problems they run into and you generally want to make life a little bit better for the kids and teens that get involved. You can streamline things, throw out a dumb rule, tighten up another that’s being abused and generally make the system work, by your standards, better.

                      You’ve said you’re financially secure. You don’t actually need more money.

                      So would you trade that power away to further fatten your bank account?

                    • For 10 years I ran the alternative program for the middle school system (three schools) in a local community. I also worked an tutored in the high school version for the program so I am quite aware of the needs.

                      As far as land use I have been involved (or implicated) in a few of the multiple purchases of land for protection and recreational use. Usually, this is a cooperative venture by DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation), local or national organizations (I left out Rails to Trails), Department of Wildlife Management and anyone else you can tap into. The parameters for usage are clearly defined. In some instances restrictive especially with the state Wild Life Management Dept. – I have had a few rounds with those folks. However, most areas are relatively open and if the professional staff is available they are supportive and giving of time.

                      Many of the lands mentioned above also have programs available for youths. Usually, the fees are rather high since you have an appeal to the upper middle class. Just look at Moose Hill in Sharon, Ma. for example. But this all ties into what I wrote in my first paragraph.

                      How can you get kids with no money to participate? You ask, beg, and appeal. You can write grants. Money was actually never an issue -, especially for recreational issues. I could generate a substantial list of local companies that through the years gave time and money when asked.

                      My bank account (stock portfolio) grows without me having to make any Sophie Choices. I can and do make small changes that have nothing to do with my ledger.

                    • Let me add that you sound like a kind and compassionate person and for what little it’s worth I’m proud of you for being able to look outward when your son’s disability could easily turn your inward.

                      And for the even less that it’s worth I’m thankful to him. Not for being hurt obviously, but for taking the risk for those of us who couldn’t or wouldn’t. Don’t tell him though, I have a reputation as an evil bitch to maintain.

                    • I have a daughter, two sisters, and a wife – I know first hand about “evil bitches.” Being a male and naturally perfect we never have any of those problems.

                    • You completely avoided the question. I offered the ability to set the policies you choose.or take a bribe (which you will get away with) and allow different policies to be set.

                    • Why would I take a bribe? I think you see enough from by background where that option is just foolish. I would only set policy with a consensus group.

                    • Thank you, you’ve now agreed with me.

                      Given the choice between making policy and being given money, you’d choose making the best, in your estimation, policy that you can.

                      Warning, Zoltar Speaks! might now think you’re a filthy communist.

                    • Zoltar already believes that based on my position on gun control. What you presented is a hypothetical and those are always difficult to deal with. We had a discussion on that about a month ago on crisis situations. You really don’t know how you would react unless you’ve experienced it and a few of us presented our experiences.

                    • Rick McNair wrote, “Zoltar already believes that based on my position on gun control.”

                      What I do believe Rick is that your claim is a false misrepresentation of my beliefs.

                      I just looked back at our conversations and I could only find one exchange between you and I about “gun control” and I never once used the word communist, communism or anything remotely similar; in fact the only ideological label I used for your views was Progressive. Please direct me to a conversation of ours where I somehow led you to think that I believe you’re a communist or retract your false claim.

                    • Rick M. wrote, “That was in jest, Zoltar!”

                      When there is no way of accurately determining if something is meant “in jest” it’s taken for exactly what it says.

                      55. The Joke Excuse, or “I was only kidding!” This is a common backtracking strategy when someone has been caught making a hurtful, unfair, false or otherwise unethical statement.

                      Rick M. wrote, “You and I differ greatly on that stand-alone issue.”

                      We sure do and it’s fine to disagree.

                    • But, seriously, Zoltar I blame it all on Jack! Yep…pass the buck. Blame the host. Normally I would have placed a verboten three letters to signify my “humor” in the response. Maybe an icon if I knew how to do it?

                    • Rick M. wrote, “Normally I would have placed a verboten three letters to signify my “humor” in the response. Maybe an icon if I knew how to do it?”

                      If you use a ; followed by a ) you get… 😉
                      If you use a : followed by a ) you get… 🙂
                      If you use a : followed by a ( you get… 😦

                      When I’m just kidding around I make sure I use… 😉

                      I hope this helps.

                    • valkygrrl wrote, “Warning, Zoltar Speaks! might now think you’re a filthy communist.”

                      Give it a rest valkygrrl; I did not say you were a communist nor do I “think” you are a communist. You are intentionally misrepresenting me and your implication is false.

                      What the hell is wrong with Progressives? I’m CONSTANTLY confronted with Progressives that falsely misrepresent those they oppose. Misrepresenting your opposition in a discussion is unethical and it shows a sincere lack of intelligence; it’s illogical and immature argumentation. Is misrepresentations the only tool in a Progressives’ rhetorical toolbox or is it just the go-to unethical smearing tool? I’m sick and tired of Progressives bull shit argumentation.

      • Presidents have attacked industries, as when TR went after monopolies. Obama made a bad mistake pointing to a mining company, but that was in the context of legally questionable conduct that was already in the news. Obama and Trump have attacked news organizations by name, also wrong, but Presidents have no power to harm the news media, and it is understood that such attacks are political. CNN stock doesn’t dive because of Trump, and Fox’s didn’t fall because of Obama.

        I am looking, but so far I’ve not found anything like Trump’s statements about Amazon. The closest would be Jackson’s war with the Bank of the United States, but it was a quasi government entity.

        • Saw Chris M.’s comment after I wrote this. Yes, I’d agree that Obama’s direct attack on the Kochs is the closest to Trump’s Amazon tweets, not all that close, and short of the abuse of power line, but probably close enough to stifle the impeachment argument.

        • . Obama and Trump have attacked news organizations by name, also wrong, but Presidents have no power to harm the news media, and it is understood that such attacks are political. CNN stock doesn’t dive because of Trump, and Fox’s didn’t fall because of Obama.

          I’m glad I read this before commenting; I was about to ask how Trump’s attacks on Amazon differ from his typical attacks on news agencies, but this answers my question.

          What of the NFL? Could it be argued that Trump has had an effect on their ratings through his attacks?

            • It could be argued, but the President standing up for the National Anthem gets a pass.

              Not when “standing up for the National Anthem” involves calling a private citizen a “son of a bitch” and demanding he be fired.

              I don’t think this we should impeach him for this. I think Trump should step down.

              • No individual was named as a “SOB,” and the President did not “demand” that they be fired by saying that they should be. No question, he should have stayed out of that stupid controversy. But we don’t impeach Presidents over intemperate words involving foolish trivia, nor should we.

                • No individual was named as a “SOB,”

                  I had to look this up because I could have sworn it was about Kaepernick specifically. Instead, I see that he called all kneeling players sons of bitches. How is that better?

                  Google also revealed a story I had totally missed back in March, in which Trump also called Chuck Todd a “sleeping son of a bitch.”

                  and the President did not “demand” that they be fired by saying that they should be.

                  He demanded their firing in the same way that angry protesters demanded their firing.

                  No question, he should have stayed out of that stupid controversy. But we don’t impeach Presidents over intemperate words involving foolish trivia, nor should we.

                  Yes, that’s what I said.

  10. SW mea culpa on the date: I saw 2013 also and had a brain fart, thinking that was post Obama Of course it wasn’t, you’re right.

    But as to the rest? says of LibertyUnyielding that it is extreme right and “This is a borderline questionable source. (11/18/2016)”

    In fairness to your point, Politico also makes your point, albeit in slightly less inflammatory ways:

    So, questionable? Yes, I cede the point. But back to the original point Jack made, you didn’t see Obama publicly driving down the price of Univeristy of Phoenix on Twitter.

    • Yes, I wish someone would break Trump’s thumbs as well! Password protect his Twitter account, run a cell jammer at the White House, whatever it takes to stop the posting!

      Twitter could be used (and has been on several occasions) by a POTUS to circumvent the MSM. I believe that Trump’s lack of restraint and a filter has swamped that good, making it a net negative.

  11. Jack: I would like to point you to this in 2015.

    “When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s a problem,” Obama said at the summit. “That’s not the American way.”

    “Josh Earnest said the exchange illustrates the kind of president Obama set out to be.”

    “This is exactly why the president ran for office, it’s why he ran for this office, is that for too long, we saw the oil and gas industry exert significant pressure on politicians in Washington, D.C.,” he said. And when Obama fights that influence, “the special interests, including the millionaires and billionaires that have benefited from that paralysis, start to squeal. And I guess in this case, at least one billionaire special interest benefactor chose to squeal to a Politico reporter.”

    This type of rhetoric does not include Obama officials publically stating (incorrectly and improperly) that one of the Koch brothers paid no income taxes. (

    Is it only an abuse of power when referencing specific individuals? Does it matter if you say the 1% don’t pay their fair share or is it an abuse of power only if you identify them by name?

    I will concur with the Koch brothers that it is beneath the dignity of the president to go after a specific individual, but to suggest that it amounts to even a misdemeanor abuse of power is a stretch. If calling out a specific firm is an impeachable offense then why was there no call to impeach Obama when he routinely criticized and mocked Koch Industries, Fox News and others that did not line up with full throated support of his agenda.

    But , Obama was not the first to chastise “punch down” on a business person. Who can forget the trust buster himself Teddy Roosevelt. JP Morgan was singled out for bad behavior.

    “This was the core of Theodore Roosevelt’s leadership. He boiled everything down to a case of right versus wrong and good versus bad. If a trust controlled an entire industry but provided good service at reasonable rates, it was a “good” trust to be left alone. Only the “bad” trusts that jacked up rates and exploited consumers would come under attack. Who would decide the difference between right and wrong? The occupant of the White House trusted only himself to make this decision in the interests of the people.” (

    I do not know for sure if the $1.50 per package subsidy is correct but I do know that it is possible that our postal system may be investing in improved parcel handling capabilities for the benefit of Amazon whose full costs are not totally by the users- be they Amazon or UPS. If in fact postal facilities are operating on the ascending slope of the long-run Average Total Cost function with too large facilities simply to benefit a few firms we are operating inefficiently and subsidizing those businesses. Such inefficiency is made worse if the negotiated rate with the large firm does not absorb the total costs of production and the unfunded costs are shifted to taxpayers or other smaller customers.

    I also know that in our pursuit of promoting job creation, government favors giving subsidies to the large and powerful singular firm over providing small much needed advantages to many small firms that by virtue of their size cannot employ monopsony power in the labor market later on. All large firms manipulate government officials to achieve their own ends.

    As you know many states including Maryland engaged in a bidding war for Amazon HQ East. I believe MD put together a $4B package of tax abatements to secure a promise from Amazon to locate in MD. If we assume the new HQ would employ 3,000 workers – which is projected- that amounts to $1.33M per employee. Someone other than Amazon will have to make that up. Economic development officials offer these subsidies using the rationalization that if we don’t another location will and because “elephant hunting” yields significantly greater press coverage than many ribbon cuttings of much smaller firms. This is often politically motivated and stands in stark contrast to the diversity we demand in our own investment portfolios to mitigate risk. History is replete with ample evidence that when the subsidies end the firms seek new locales and new subsides. This does not happen when our focus is on helping many smaller firms go from 10 to 50 to 100 to 200 employees.

    We should be concerned not that Amazon is lowering prices through efficiency or even subsidies. We should be very concerned about what Amazon could do once it is so sufficiently embedded in our economic activities that new entrants have virtually no chance at surviving and that current policy is ignoring or is unable to effectively understand and predict future decision making by an all powerful firm. We still cling to archaic views of measuring market power. Even as early as 1955 economists could show the limitations of the same indices of monopoly power or attempts to monopolize we use today. See: .

    I am concerned about Amazon’s growing clout in our modern economy. Its reach extends far beyond simple retail. It is a leading player in distribution of media, SAS, and cloud storage. We scoff at the notion that some firm become so integrated in our daily lives that it alone has the power to dictate how we will live, what we can read, what we can eat, what products we can buy, or even when we have outlived our usefulness. We also scoffed at the idea that every home needed a computer.

    • I learned something about pricing below cost, price gouging, the legal definitions of dumping and so forth many years ago from supporting a cost accounting expert witness

      He pointed out to me that you can easily get lost in assigning marginal costs, allocated costs and the like, when it comes to determinging profitability of a product line, customer, or facility.

      The case came up in the context of an antitrust suit against the dominant morning/evening paper in a major metro area. The internal documents of the paper itself showed the evening paper turning a loss. This was insisted up on as damning evidence by the lawyer for the weekly papers in the metro area.

      The cost accounting prof, perfectly capable of understanding what fully allocated cost systems are measuring, made the eminently sensible argument that it was all really very simple: If the company ceased to produce the evening paper, would they gain money, or lose money?

      That made it crystal clear. With no volume to spread over the virtually all-fixed costs of the printing press and most of the press room, there was no doubt that the afternoon paper made a positive net contribution to profit.

      In the Amazon case, the same is easy: would the USPS be better off, or worse off, if Amazon packed up and sent all its business to FedEx and UPS? You don’t have to be a cost accountant to know the answer to that one (though they did have a Yale B-school prof on CNBC today saying this): there is no way that the USPS would benefit from that. As he put it, “the USPS needs Amazon a heckuva lot more than Amazon needs the USPS.”

      There are valid, interesting, and scary things about the rise of Amazon. They have to do with market power, and the dislocation and disruption of many businesses and employees. What they DON’T have much to do with is any “subsidy” by the USPS.

      • Not so fast there, Charles. Leave it to a cost accountant to miss the forest for the trees, but he’s entirely excluding opportunity cost.

        For each route the USPS takes on, it will incur a chunk of fixed costs and a chunk of variable costs. Generally, fixed costs would include benefits for the driver, depreciation on the assets, maybe insurance costs, safety training, etc. Variable costs would include driver pay, fuel/operating costs, and vehicle maintenance. How much each marginal customer adds to variable costs will differ significantly, based on customer location and route density. Hence, accurately costing the addition of one more customer to a route is nigh impossible, because route density is a significant driver of profitability per route, and each customer is a unique set of costs. However, you cannot discount the opportunity costs associated with picking up a very large, low margin customer like Amazon.

        Were they to lose Amazon, they’d probably lose a number of routes, but overall density would decrease significantly, and the loss in costs probably wouldn’t offset the loss in revenue. However, were they to fill these newly less dense routes with higher margin customers, they could very easily end up better off, net income, than they were with Amazon.

        Obviously, there’s a lot of conjecture here, but it’s not so clear cut as you seem to think it is.

        • One key to your error lies in this quote:
          “were they to fill these newly less dense routes with higher margin customers…”

          First of all, who are these “higher margin customers” yearning to be served? Most of them are flocking to other online deliverers, who can negotiate their own volume discounts

          Second, and perhaps more importantly, you can’t just analyze fixed and variable costs at the route level. You have to take into account the system-wide costs, which are far more fixed than variable. Those are the truck fleet, the various distribution depots, the machinery at those depots, and the various support staff (scheduling, finance, various admin).

          Almost none of those costs disappear with lower-volume routes. So not only do I doubt these unicorn-like mythical “higher margin customers” would materialize, they would have to recoup system-wide fixed costs, not just the ones associated with route structure – and those system-wide costs are much more fixed, and in aggregate, probably more substantial to boot.

          • You’re doubting that higher margin customers exist, when the discussion is whether the post office is even making a profit at the current price point.

            There will always be different markets looking for different priorities in the products they consume. You speak as though high margin, low volume niches do not exist. Or that every customer cares enough to seek out the best value in every transaction they make.

            No unicorns here. For every Amazon with its millions of packages daily, there are hundreds of thousands of online businesses and people who cannot command the volume discounts that Amazon does.

            There is no such thing as a fixed cost. Yes, in the short term, certain costs are fixed, so a quick decrease in density could definitely cause immediate problems. But as Chris outlines below, it’s only a short term problem.

            Regardless, volume is a very tough way to grow the bottom line. Especially in a highly competitive market.

      • Charles, it is true that if price exceeds average variable cost then there will be a contribution to short run fixed costs. The assumption for the short run is that capital assets are fixed and cannot be changed. In the long run all assets are variable. This means the scale of opetation can change. If the firm is operating at a capacity exceeding minimum long run efficient scale then it makes sense to reduce the scale of opetation by selling off assets and reducing the workforce.

        None of us know if the postal service is operating at an efficient volume level without doing a deep dive into the weeds. We do know that 1st class postage sales is down due to digital communications. Much of the volume is 3rd class bulk mail. Rather than shrink the size of operations postal management decided to fill the void with parcel delivery in direct competition with private carriers. The question therefore is daily mail delivery necessary? Could we deal with essential postal needs with smaller facilities and personnel?

        What you and your cost accountant expert are evaluating is the short run management decisions not the long run economic ones.

  12. There is nothing wrong, much less anything impeachable, about the President making valid, policy-based attacks that target specific companies, even though the attacks may “suppress the companies’ stock values.” Attacks on Standard Oil were justified, even though stockholders in Standard Oil may have suffered. Trump’s comments about Amazon are fair. In any case, there is no reason to think that his remarks were intended to drive down Amazon’s stock price and very little reason to think that they will cause any particular harm to Amazon or its stock.

    Trump’s recent tweets have made three points about Amazon, all of which he has made many times before: (1) Amazon benefits from a sales tax loophole that unfairly costs states money and disadvantages brick-and-mortar retailers, (2) Jeff Bezos uses the Washington Post to lobby for the continuation of this advantage and (3) the US Postal Service undercharges Amazon and should negotiate higher rates.

    Trump has been making the first two points since at least 2015. He made them repeatedly during his campaign in tweets, in interviews and in speeches. Here’s the earliest reference that I found:

    Trump has continued to make both points since he became president. Here’s just one example: His Treasury Department has been studying the sales tax issue for over a year,, and his Justice Department last month filed an amicus brief in South Dakota v. Wayfair, a case currently before the Supreme Court, arguing that the Court should close the sales tax loophole that benefits Amazon and other online retailers.

    Trump has been making the third point (about USPS rates) since at least December last year.

    None of those previous statements and actions by Trump and his administration caused Amazon’s stock price to fall. Trump could not have expected that thisweek’s tweets, repeating exactly the same points that he has made many times before, would have any effect on Amazon’s stock price.

    Moreover, Trump’s tweets haven’t made any threats against Amazon and he doesn’t seem to have any intention of taking any unilateral action to hurt Amazon. To the extent that his tweets may have affected Amazon’s stock price, they most likely did that by drawing investors’ attention belatedly to genuine issues regarding Amazon’s business model, in particular the possibilities that the Supreme Court might actually close Amazon’s sales tax loophole and that the USPS might actually negotiate a better deal with Amazon. If his tweets have pointed out concerns that investors previously hadn’t given proper weight, then he has done a valuable service for the markets. If these concerns turn out to be unjustified, then Amazon’s stock price will soon recover and Trump’s tweets will have done no harm.

    But it’s not even clear that his tweets have been responsible at all for Amazon’s stock fluctuations. Stocks in the tech sector have fallen dramatically in the past month. Amazon’s stock hasn’t fallen more than the sector in general over that period. Online retailers have been hit particularly hard, but Amazon’s stock has fallen much less than other online retailers. Overstock, for example, has fallen more than 40% in the past month compared to less than 8% for Amazon.

    It has pleased Jeff Bezos and Trump’s enemies to claim that Trump’s positions on sales taxes and USPS rates are motivated by his hatred of the Washington Post, and Trump, as is his wont, has personalized the issue by attacking Bezos by name. But there’s no evidence that personal animus rather than policy beliefs are his motivation. The Washington Post article that I linked to, written after his first three tweets about Amazon in 2015, noted that, “The first three tweets seem to come out of nowhere. There appears to be no obvious provocation from The Post or Bezos — or any sort of story that would set Trump off.” And it is not true that Trump has been just Bezos-bashing. He has given valid reasons for his positions on these issues, and those reasons are consistent with the broader themes that he has consistently struck since he started running for president.

    (1) Regarding the sales tax issue, Trump has claimed that the current sales tax loophole costs local and state governments money and harms local, brick-and-mortar retailers. This is consistent with his larger theme that local heartland businesses are being destroyed by ill-conceived policies that benefit a handful of coastal elites. In his campaign rallies, he used Amazon as only one of his many examples of how this is being done.

    And Trump’s claims are true. There is no question that the current sales tax loophole costs local and state governments significant tax revenue. The GAO has estimated the lost revenues at $8 billion to $13 billion. The state and local governments affected by the loophole certainly think that the amounts involved are significant. Amicus briefs agreeing with Trump’s position were filed in the Wayfair case by 41 states, two territories and the District of Columbia; by the Multistate Tax Commission and the Federal of Tax Administrators, which collectively represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the cities of New York and Philadelphia; and by many other organizations representing state and local government officials and employees, including the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State Governments, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, US Conference of Mayors, International City/County Management Association, International Municipal Lawyers Association, Government Finance Officers Association, National Public Labor Relations Association, International Public Management Association for Human Resources, National Association of State Treasurers, National School Boards Association, School Superintendents Association, National Association of Elementary School Principal and Association of School Business Officials.

    There is also no question that the current sales tax loophole disadvantages local, brick-and-mortar retailers, and at least some experts agree with Trump that the disadvantage is significant. The retailers themselves certainly think so. Dozens of retailers and trade associations have filed amicus briefs agreeing with Trump.

    In fact, the sales tax issue is one that, until Trump began pushing it, had been more a Democratic issue than a Republican one. The Wall Street Journal has been vocal for many years in support of the loophole, as have other conservative organs. Several bills have been introduced in Congress to revoke the loophole, but they consistently have been shelved by the votes of Republicans, joined by Democrats from states that do not charge sales taxes.

    If the Supreme Court rules in favor of closing Amazon’s loophole (as I think is likely, given various remarks that certain justices, particularly Kennedy and Gorsuch, have made about the relevant precedents) and Trump’s tweets forestall Congress from yielding to the inevitable, intensive lobbying effort by Amazon to reinstate it, then Trump will have done the country a service.

    (2) Trump claims that Bezos uses the Washington Post to lobby Congress and regulators. Who can deny that? Of course, that’s what Bezos uses it for. It loses money. He didn’t buy it as an investment in its own right. He bought it so he could make his voice heard in DC.

    I’ve never agreed with Jack that it’s always wrong for a President to “punch down” at a private citizen. I think it’s often appropriate for the President to call out malefactors by name. And when a “private citizen” happens to be the world’s richest man and own the world’s first- or second-most influential newspaper, I think “punching down” is scarcely a fair description. Was Teddy Roosevelt “punching down” at John D. Rockefeller?

    Personally, I think Trump’s use of Bezos has been rather well-calculated. The “3-D chess” explanation of why he keeps attacking Bezos by name goes like this: Heartland retailers are suffering at the hands of online retailers. One reason is that online retailers have an unfair tax advantage. The ethical and fair thing to do would be to eliminate the tax loophole. But any proposal to do so will be countered by opponents who will tell voters that “Trump is trying to make you pay more for your purchases from Amazon.” The rational, policy-centered answer to this argument is that local and state governments need to raise taxes somehow and if voters don’t pay sales taxes on their purchases from Amazon, they will just have to pay the same amount of taxes in some other way, either by raising sales taxes even higher for brick-and-mortar retailers or by raising other taxes. But that statement has no emotional resonance at all and, though true, will fall completely flat with voters. The answer that will resonate emotionally with voters is that “Jeff Bezos is an arrogant, spoiled jackass who shaves his head and stuffs his pockets with money that ought to be going to the states, local school boards and local mom-and-pop retailers.” This statement is also true and, unlike the policy-centered answer, might actually persuade voters to support the wise policy of closing the tax loophole.

    (3) Trump claims that the USPS can and should negotiate higher rates with Amazon. This is consistent with his larger theme that he is the president who is best qualified to negotiate better deals with everybody about everything. Trump is unquestionably right that the USPS should negotiate the most favorable rates that it can get, and if he is also right that the current deal with Amazon is lousy, then the USPS should certainly try to negotiate a better one. I don’t know whether he’s right or not, but experience suggests that the USPS is probably not as good at negotiations as its for-profit competitors such as UPS and Fed Ex. (If you read Trump’s tweets and his spoken remarks, you’ll notice that his complaints about postal rates have been couched as attacks on the USPS’s leadership for being lousy negotiators, not just as attacks on Amazon for getting a great deal — just as his attacks on the Chinese trade deal have been couched as attacks on Obama for negotiating a lousy deal, coupled with grudging admiration of the Chinese for being such superior negotiators.) And in fact, at least one stock market analyst who follows the shipping industry has estimated that the USPS charges Amazon only half as much per package as UPS and Fed Ex do. I don’t know whether that’s because the USPS has negotiated a worse deal than UPS and Fed Ex or because the USPS provides worse service. But if the President can use his influence to negotiate better rates for the USPS, thus eliminating a de facto subsidy of Amazon by the USPS, that would save money for American taxpayers, decrease another unfair advantage that Amazon has gained over brick-and-mortar retailers, and be an entirely a proper use of his office.

    • But there’s no evidence that personal animus rather than policy beliefs are his motivation.

      Except for the fact that personal animus rather than policy beliefs are Trump’s motivation in most things that he does.

  13. Are bad behavior, poor decision making, and questionable hirings by a former president ever an excuse for the same for a sitting president? Seems the office has an extensive history to draw upon to provide a reasonable framework for decision making and expectations.

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