Trump Campaign Is So Pathetic It Claims CNN Poll Is Defamatory; Demands Retraction

from the not-how-it-works,-chief dept

We've seen all sorts of crazy defamation claims over the past few years, but this may be the dumbest. You may have heard that our thin-skinned President is very unhappy about various polls showing that the American public isn't much interested in buying what he's selling. He even hired a pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, with a notoriously terrible record to come up with new polls after seeing more polls that don't reflect the reality he'd like. Which, of course, is his prerogative. It's easier to hide from the truth if you can make up lies to surround yourself with.

The only problem: the other stuff is still out there. And so the Trump Campaign took things up a notch, sending CNN a letter demanding it retract the poll and apologize. CNN reported on this, but didn't share the full letter. In what can only be described as a self-own, a legal adviser to the Trump Campaign, Jenna Ellis, decided to publish the letter she had sent to CNN. She claimed she was posting the full thing on Twitter because CNN's reporting was an "attempt to skew the narrative."

Except... the letter itself makes the story look even worse. The CNN article did only quote parts of the letter, the silly claims "it's a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President" but left out the insane legal threat that the poll was defamatory. Yes, the poll. Defamatory. A poll? Defamatory. That is not how any of this works. But, from the letter:

The poll is intentionally false, defamatory and misleading, and designed to harm the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. campaign.

You are officially on notice of this dispute and therefore are required to undertake steps to affirmatively preserve, and not delete, any and all physical and electronic documents, materials, information, and data that pertain in any way to the June 8, 2020 poll, including without limitation all emails, text messages, instant messages (IMs/DMs), letters and memoranda, articles, and social media postings (including all drafts as well as final version of all written communications), as well as other types of written, physical and digital materials, including handwritten notes, typerwritten notes, summaries, charts, receipts, audio recordings, video recordings, photographs, telephone call logs, calendar entries of al [sic] types, financial data and information, etc. that pertain in any way or might otherwise be relevant or related to the foregoing matters. All sources of documents, materials, information, and data should be preserved, including without limitation, physical files, electronic files, computer servers, email servers, backup tapes, cloud storage, personal computers, hard drives, smart phones, tablets, and other types of storage devices including external drives, thumb drives, zip drives, disks and DVDs. Failure to affirmatively preserve such documents and materials could result in severe sanctions imposted [sic] by a court which could include, among other remedies, monetary sanctions, evidentiary sanctions, issue sanctions and/or the striking of answer and entry of default judgment.

Yup, CNN. Make sure you retain those zip drives. What is this, 1996?

Anyway, a poll is not defamatory. By definition. And, of course, sending such a bogus defamation threat letter, full of that lawyerly garbage, all it's really done is call that much more attention to just how badly Trump appears to doing right now, according to public perception.

Meanwhile, once the campaign published its letter, CNN decided to publish its response, written by the amazingly named General Counsel of CNN, David Vigilante:

To my knowledge, this is the first time in its 40 year history that CNN has been threatened with legal action because an American politician or campaign did not like CNN's polling results.

To the extent we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past, they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for a free and independent media.

CNN is well aware of the reputation of John McLaughlin and McLaughlin & Associates. In 2014 his firm famously reports that Eric Cantor was leading his primary challenger Dave Brat by 34 points only to lose by 11 points - a 45 point swing. The firm currently has a C/D rating from FiveThirtyEight.

In any event, McLaughlin was able to evaluate and criticize CNN's most recent poll because CNN is transparent and publishes its methodology along with its polling results. Because of this, McLaughlin was free to publish his own critique of CNN's analysis and share his criticisms across the U.S. media landscape. That's how free speech works. It's the American way.

Your letter is factually and legally baseless. It is yet another bad faith attempt by the campaign to threaten litigation to muzzle speech it does not want voters to read or hear. Your allegations and demands are rejected in their entirety.

Yes, but how do you really feel?

Somehow, I get the feeling that a federal anti-SLAPP law is unlikely under the current President.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, defamation, donald trump, free speech, jenna ellis, joe biden, john mclaughlin, polls, trump campaign
Companies: cnn


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  • identicon
    Preserdent Trump, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:00am

    BUT HER EMAILS!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:11am

    . The CNN article did only quote parts of the letter, the silly claims "it's a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President" but left out the insane legal threat that the poll was defamatory

    So the letter is claiming campaigning against somebody is illegal (because I believe if your running a campaign you're entire purpose is to steal moment and enthusiasm for your opponents)?

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  • identicon
    Agammamon, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:15am

    Christ, Trump. The election is yours to lose. You barely have to do anything because all the Democrats could come up with is Biden.

    Hair-sniffing, 'super-predators', 'I've been in politics for 50 years and all this shit happening right now is because of policies I've supported or pushed' Biden.

    All Trump has to do is stop punching himself in the dick and the White House is his for another 4 years.

    But he can. not. stop.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      Nah. The worst Biden has is nothing compared to Trump. Hair-sniffing vs grabbing pussies. 1 sexual assault accusations vs 20+ sexual assault accusations, including children. Biden wasn't friends with Epstein.

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    • icon
      crade (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:06pm

      Re:

      Biden is pretty weak sauce alright but he isn't close to bad enough to lose to Trump after his first term showing.

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      • identicon
        Agammamon, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:11pm

        Re: Re:

        My sources are all biased but . . . you'd have to be pretty desperate to elect a President who will basically have to immediately turn things over to the VP.

        His cognitive decline is getting bad. We slammed Johnson for his 'what is Aleppo' moment but I've seen videos where Biden can't finish sentences. This doesn't seem to be a 'oh look, Hillary had a seizure' moment. It actually seems serious.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          My question: Is this really cognitive decline, or was he always like that. He's always seemed like a bit of a doorstop to me.

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        • icon
          crade (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "you'd have to be pretty desperate"
          Somehow I don't think that will be an issue.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 2:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          you'd have to be pretty desperate

          Oh, no worries there. The situation is pretty damned desperate.

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        • icon
          radix4801 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 2:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          you'd have to be pretty desperate to elect a President who will basically have to immediately turn things over to the VP. His cognitive decline is getting bad.

          I'd rather elect someone whose cognitive decline forces him to abdicate than re-elect someone whose cognitive absence prevents him from doing so.

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          His cognitive decline is getting bad. We slammed Johnson for his 'what is Aleppo' moment but I've seen videos where Biden can't finish sentences.

          1. You will probably never see me defend Biden on much of anything, as I think he is absolutely terrible, but I'd beware of the "videos where Biden can't finish sentences." Having seen a few of those myself -- almost all of which are passed around among a certain echochamber -- the details all remain the same. They tend to be taken out of context, showing just very short clips. If you filmed everything I (or you) said, you'd run into those kinds of moments here or there also. Last week I was explaining an idea I had for an article and my mind blanked on like the key word that the entire article was about. It happens. It's not "cognitive decline."

          2. You could just as easily find dozens or more clips of the current President having moments like this that can be turned into evidence of cognitive decline. Hell, some have done that:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE9BXkQ-SRc
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfOQBY5BrUA

          1. Separatel y, this article is pretty interesting and moving, and suggests that many of Biden's verbal flubs are a result of his stutter: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/joe-biden-stutter-profile/602401/

          I think you need to judge someone on their overall policies. Not out of context clips of them flubbing words here or there. Like, I honestly don't care that Trump makes all those verbal flubs either. I care about his insane policy choices. Focus on that, not the narrative out of a few verbal tics.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No one has shown me any evidence that Biden's policies won't be a continuation of what the executive branch did while he was Obama's VP, and I have plenty reasons to believe they will be, so why in christ's name should I vote for him?

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            • icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I didn't say you should.

              But, honestly, you act as if the option in a vacuum is "is Biden good or is Biden bad" and there's kind of a whole big piece of the puzzle you're missing. But, you do you.

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            • icon
              Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Your choices will be Trump, Biden or Third Party. Since you're considering Biden (even if negatively) you must not like Trump either. So the next question to answer is who will the Third Party vote help/hurt more (at this point I don't see a Third Party win, though that is not entirely impossible)?

              I don't know the answer yet, and may never. It may be how close the polls are, or how close the Electoral College counts are, which means a state by state analysis that is actually accurate and that those who are appointed to the Electoral College actually follow the mandate of their state (which apparently they are not required to). Oh my, what a system!

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Hmm...but that's not how I see it. I can write in anyone who I want, so actually I have approximately 7.8 billion other choices, and an additional one, which is not to vote at all, which is what I'm leaning towards.

                But, honestly, you act as if the option in a vacuum is "is Biden good or is Biden bad" and there's kind of a whole big piece of the puzzle you're missing. But, you do you.

                Ok, so you're making the "lesser of two evils" argument, which has been around about as long as the two-party system has. Problem is, the two-party system is broken, and so is that argument. The fact that your candidate is slightly not as bad as the incumbent doesn't give me any more of a reason to vote for him, especially when both, including your guy in your own words, are terrible.

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                • icon
                  Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 5:16pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Any one of those 7.8 billion other choices (it is actually less than 350 million as the rest are not eligible to be president, and neither are all of those 350 million, but I digress) would be a Third Party vote.

                  The point is that if you, for example, hate Trump more than Biden not voting or voting third party gives one less vote for Biden and makes Trump (to a very small degree, but compound that by like thinkers) more likely to win. Reverse that if you feel the other way. Some say Third Party votes are a waste, but they are wrong. They help one candidate or the other by not making, OK lets call it the lesser of two evils, more liable to win.

                  I don't like either of these two, but they are who have been presented to us by the duopolistic party system that we have, which is why I advocate for getting rid of political party's. The founding fathers debated having party's, some for and some against, and as someone else pointed out the other day Washington did not belong to a party when elected and remonstrated against them in his farewell address. Until that is fixed our choice is to abdicate our vote to the party system that is stacked against us, or participate in a way that insures the least bad, while at the same time working to make the system better, which means getting rid of political parties and taking money out of politics...for a start.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 5:47pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    The Citizens United decision occured in 2010, which was not too long ago - so I would not say we are moving in the direction of taking money out of politics. This will NEVER be fixed as long as we participate in a way that ensures the the least bad. How can anyone say with certaintly that the system is getting better, not worse? People are more hostile toward their neighbors than ever, there is a complete lack of trust and good faith among US citizens towards each other. I understand that not voting or voting third party will give the person I hate more a better chance of being elected, but the truth is I don't hate Biden or Trump, I just think neither is qualified, and neither has good intentions, so it will be physically very difficult to bring myself to vote for either of them.

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                    • icon
                      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 5:59pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I don't think reform will be easy. Citizens United can be fixed by Congress, and one easy way to do that is government pays for all election related activities. They could easily take 1% away from the intelligence agencies and the military (the military could stand to cut many of their development programs, give the soldiers a raise and not miss that 1%) and pay for all of those election related activities, including advertising. It won't happen until we, the voters, make clear to our elected representatives that their jobs depend upon election reform in sufficient numbers to make them realize we are serious, which in and of itself won't be easy.

                      And I agree, it is not that I like or dislike either candidate as a person (though Trump is making that really difficult) neither one is qualified to be the elected leader of a very small debating club, let alone the nation.

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                      • icon
                        Eldakka (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:08pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        and one easy way to do that is government pays for all election related activities. They could easily take 1% away from the intelligence agencies and the military (the military could stand to cut many of their development programs, give the soldiers a raise and not miss that 1%) and pay for all of those election related activities, including advertising.

                        And who decides where that money goes, what balance of advertising is for one candidate versus another?

                        In the current situation, with only 2 viable candidates, Biden and Trump, how is the money split? 50/50? 60/40? 90/10 (incumbent vs challenger)? Who decides where the money gets spent and what proportion goes into what messaging?

                        What if another cadidate pops up now, say Bloomberg decides to throw his hat in the ring again. Will the split now be 33/33/33 for the three candidates? He's a billionaire, will that impact the split? What about the money already spent, if it was 50/50, and half of that has been spent, does that mean the remaining money is split such that overall they'll get 33% each, but that means from this point onwards Bloomberg would get 66% of the remaining funds and the other two would get 16.5% each for the remaing run up to the election so the final overall split is 33% each? What if a fourth person joins in? Or another dozen? What if someone joins in to just get their hands on the money (e.g. the movie "The Distinguished Gentleman"), who determines if they are a genuine candidate to get a share of the election money or not?

                        I really can't see how this'd work in any fair, non-corrupt, non-partisan, balanced, practical way.

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                        • icon
                          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 5:30am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Well, I have some ideas about how to go about this, some of which are fairly elaborate. But in the interest of simplicity let's try this (for example).

                          Have a nomination day, one year and one month n advance of the election. At this point anybody can toss their hat in the ring (self nominate), along with their platform (part of the elaborate plan had the electorate 'elect' a platform upon which all candidates ran). The platforms and a questionnaire filled out by nominees is posted on a website, and published in newspapers, no other advertising allowed.

                          Then, one year prior to the election, a primary is held. Using whatever system is deemed best, but hopefully not the one we currently have, the field is winnowed to, well lets say a dozen or so.

                          These final 12 become eligible for the advertising (or better still let's call it campaign) money which is evenly split. No other money is allowed so that even a homeless person with no trust fund could do this. They get to choose what to do with the money, but every nickle is accountable, and some guidelines could be created. That homeless person might need to buy a suit or two, but in general the money should be spent of campaigning, and nothing else.

                          I am fairly sure that some additional details would need to be worked out. but there's an outline of something that might work. If you see a problem with this, please, use your imagination and tell us how to fix that.

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                        • identicon
                          Rocky, 13 Jun 2020 @ 6:59am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Some countries who do this, they pay out proportionally to the amount of members a party has. Problem solved.

                          But what if a party have multiple candidates? Well, then they are SOL if they can't decide which one to support.

                          But that's bad some say. No, it actually means that a party can't encompass all viewpoints from the candidates which can mean that a candidate exits and starts his own party taking with him members from the original party (and money). This helps mitigate the problem with a few entrenched parties having a de facto monopoly on "presidential" candidates, plus it makes it harder for one party to have sole majority.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 3:31pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          How about NO CANDIDATES get any money, they each get a specific amount of TV time and ads (they can not buy more, and any attempt to influence this by say, creating an incident that generates press, like a car accident, to then speak to the media, would disqualify them from the position).

                          Candidates also get a specific amount of posters that can be placed, a web site that they can modify and post to as they see fit, but they can't advertise or further publicize their website, and they are all basically: www.position.candidate#.pol or something similar. They are all listed on the candidates policy page, where their public policy intentions are made clear and documented (anyone not attempting to make the policy positions they took come forth, would be dropped from the position, say a typical government probationary period, you don't cut the mustard, you don't get the job.

                          Similar methods (other than handing out money) could be developed to make any campaign available to any number of candidates, who all have to have a 1 page policy summary of their positions and goals while they are in office. They don't meet the goals in a reasonable time, they lose the job, and the 2nd runner up is offered the position (rinse and repeat).

                          Although the old axiom holds true, those that seek power are often not capable of properly wielding it, other than for their own ends.

                          So a more dramatic method would be an annual drawing, where qualified individuals (based on education, training, etc) would be 'drafted' into public office for a set position and salary. They would be given the positions desired goals and asked to review them and draft their own goals for while in office. We may have a lot more 'social justice warriors' used in the positive, making small but meaningful improvements to politics while they have the chance.

                          I mean the Politicians are supposed to be serving us, not the almighty dollar, and the only way to change that is to take all the money out of politics where it's really going to waste. How much has been spent on politics in the last 10 years? 10 Billion, 50 Billion, 100 trillion (add up everything from the po-dunk city races to the Presidential campaigns... all that money was wasted, what do we have for it NOW other than a bunch of lying blow hards who will do anything to get another dollar).

                          Now what kind of issues would we have with the current Pandemic if that money had been put into Education, Training, Manufacturing necessary supplies and drugs (not just the ones with 5000% profit margins, but the ones needed to keep people from dying right now today...) how big of a dent would 100 Trillion put in the current Pandemic response (assuming we had a leader capable of responding and not starting another fight or avoiding the issue... Under my method, Trump would have been canned in the first 6 months, before he even made it out of his probationary period).

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 5:54pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    And, I can still vote for whoever I want, it doesn't matter if they are elligible for the presidency or not. I can write in whoever I want, whoever I think is qualified, and that won't be a "third party" vote, it will be a vote for whoever I think is the best fit. If you advocate for the abolition of the party system then why are you stuck in that mindset?

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                    • icon
                      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 6:15pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Again, as I said above:

                      "Some say Third Party votes are a waste, but they are wrong. They help one candidate or the other by not making, OK lets call it the lesser of two evils, more liable to win."

                      I wish there was an election reform third party with enough sensible ideas to get behind, and included banning political party's. I could get behind that. Unfortunately most third party organizations are just a subset of one of the recent iterations of Republican or Democrat with some very small differentiation, and most people are too focused on issues closely related to themselves to look at the big picture. As I said the other day:

                      "Thinking about the political spectrum I imagined a line between each and every distinction. Unfortunately, that created a solid bar as even closely held base ideologies often disagree on some point or another creating yet another subset."

                      Democrats and Republicans have reversed their basic ideologies a number of times, each, which in the end, for me, they stand for nothing except themselves. I want a government that stands for the people, not a party or some other ideology.

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                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 3:31pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      In this case, “third party vote” means “vote for someone other than the two nominees from the two dominant parties in American politics”. Just because you’re voting for them because you think they’re the best fit doesn’t mean your vote isn’t also a third party vote.

                      Also, even if we lived in a country where party didn’t matter with regards to electability, what possible good could it do to vote for someone who, according to the US Constitution, is not eligible to serve as President anyways? I mean, you could do it, but what would be the point?

                      As for abolishing the current party system, to the extent that’s feasible, it’s a very long-term goal, while the 2020 election is in less than half a year. Trump is causing immediate and long-term harm now and shows no signs of stopping while he’s in office.

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                      • icon
                        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 4:21pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        As an addendum to the no party concept, it has to be in the legislatures as well. No more majority leader or minority leader, no more chair of the committee goes to the party in power. These things will have to be worked out in other ways.

                        The Speaker of the House get elected, but from the entirety of the representatives. The Senate still gets stuck with the Vice-President. If there are other ways that party membership influences the conduct of Congress, they need to be eradicated as well.

                        With that under way, we can start working on state legislatures to install the same principles.

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                        • icon
                          That One Guy (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 6:15pm

                          Can't legislate away human nature

                          US political parties are certainly a problem(or source of them anyway), but unless you want to take a wild leap into dictatorship territory by forbidding social groups you can't really get rid of them, as if you disband the current parties then it's only a matter of time before people start grouping up according to their political positions and preferences, and those groups getting bigger as more people join until you're right back to political parties, albeit ones with new names.

                          Humans are social creatures with a tendency to create groups based upon shared interests and/or traits, and one of the essentially inevitable results of that is political parties. While it would certainly be difficult if you want to limit the damage they can cause the focus therefore should be on finding some way to spread them out so that more members have power in them, and it's not so concentrated at the top.

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                          • icon
                            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Jun 2020 @ 6:59am

                            Re: Can't legislate away human nature

                            I don't disagree with you, groups will form and may even become active toward their particular bent. My point is to remove the power we have given the party's that currently exist. They get to pick who will be nominated. They hold conventions with arcane rules that decide who will actually run. They get to establish a majority and minority in our federal legislative bodies, who then controls much of what happens in that body. Don't get me wrong, I want there to be a conflict of ideas in deliberative bodies. What I don't want is someone who by dint of having been a member of the majority who then got selected to lead to decide which bill will or won't make it to the floor, for partisan reasons.

                            Get rid of any rules that allow a party to make a decision for the rest of us. Comb through all the rules in the House and Senate and excise any rule that mentions, refers to, or has an opportunity to give power to one faction in their membership over another (and by faction I don't mean the committees which should form and then elect a leader from within that group). By allowing self nomination and holding a primary where every voter gets to decide which candidates move forward. Not R's picking R's or D's picking D's, but every voter has an opportunity to express their opinion on every candidate at the primary level as well as the actual election. It also eliminates the potential for 'party line' voting, which won't stop people from selecting candidates who think like them and making those selections, it prevents voters from selecting those candidates the party controls who were therefore allowed to run.

                            By removing money (candidate personal money or financial support) from the equation, every otherwise qualified citizen can run for office. This won't stop people from speaking out, maybe even corporations (though I think a Congressional fix for Citizens United is something we seriously need, as well as paid lobbying reform) but under the current system, the party's control a lot of money and select where it goes. Someone in this thread suggested 'don't give them money, give them advertising space/time and posters'. While that is not a terrible idea, there still needs to be a way for candidates to 'get out and press the flesh'. That same person wanted to control candidates behavior in such a way that they 'could not' create a new incident that gave one candidate more press face time than others. That, I am afraid is out of our control.

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                            • icon
                              That One Guy (profile), 14 Jun 2020 @ 11:29am

                              Re: Re: Can't legislate away human nature

                              I believe I can see what you're getting at, and I agree with a good amount of it, the problem as I see it would be the execution, as even without parties like-minded people are going to group up and work towards common goals, and simply disbanding parties could actually pose a problem in some cases where currently(like the FCC for example) there are requirements for certain numbers of each party, and without those you could just fill the entire agency with people of similar mindsets.

                              Breaking up parties and making things more individual does sound like an interesting concept, my concern is that it might not effectively be possible due to human nature, that even if you remove the official party label you'd still get basically the same result. Still, something to tinker with and fine tune I suppose, as it's not like there aren't plenty of problems in the current system in dire need of fixing and part of that is coming up with better alternatives.

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                              • icon
                                Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Jun 2020 @ 12:02pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Can't legislate away human nature

                                Your point about the FCC is a good one, I am not sure how one could go about ensuring ideological diversity in such a situation, perhaps by election from Congress, after the defanging of the party's there, or a lottery. The idea of a draft from people that have expressed an aversion to power, but that might well have similar issues.

                                Something to be examined, for certain.

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                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2020 @ 12:19pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Can't legislate away human nature

                                  Do what most of the rest of the world does, treat senior jobs as regular jobs using regular appointment methods. Also where a political tie is required, an elected politician is appointed as a secretary to the agency, but the actual leaders remain in place until they resign or retire. That get rid of the big problem with US agencies, the leaders are short term political appointees, under what is a patronage system, and have an eye out for a job when they lose the patronange and are replaced.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Jun 2020 @ 2:47am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "Some say Third Party votes are a waste, but they are wrong. They help one candidate or the other by not making, OK lets call it the lesser of two evils, more liable to win."

                    That's not an honest argument. The reality is that it helps neither side if you vote blank. But the argument that "If you vote for none of the above, Hitler wins!!!" has become, by now, an article of faith in US politics.

                    Naturally, since if there's one thing both parties can agree on it's that when the citizenry votes for the third option they're both done for. Up until they realize that a significant proportion of the voters are now swing votes up for grabs none of them will really make any effort higher than the absolute minimum needed to present the least objectionable choice.

                    No, voting for the third choice won't help you keep candidate A out of office. But that shouldn't be, and must not be what a presidential election is about.
                    Because when you go to cast your ballot, if you've already accepted as normal that you must give your seal of approval to the guy you believe to be the smaller crook rather than the guy you want to endorse...then that's just you doing your part to ensure four years down the road you'll be facing even worse choices.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 6:10pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I am confused as to why you refer to Biden as my "guy"? I am not endorsing anyone nor telling anyone who to vote for.

                  Ok, so you're making the "lesser of two evils" argument,

                  I'm not, but you seem very insistent on putting words in my mouth. You did in your first comment and in this one.

                  The fact that your candidate is slightly not as bad as the incumbent doesn't give me any more of a reason to vote for him

                  This may be true. But it also does not give you any reason not to vote for him either, so you're not making a point here other than a cynical one.

                  especially when both, including your guy in your own words, are terrible.

                  Enjoy your logical fallacy world with the satisfaction that you want to look too cool for everyone. Must be very satisfying.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  techflaws (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 5:24am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  and an additional one, which is not to vote at all, which is what
                  I'm leaning towards.

                  Which is actively supporting the liar in chief. I hope you're proud for sticking it to the man.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 11:10am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Only if they would normally vote for the other party.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Jun 2020 @ 3:03am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "Which is actively supporting the liar in chief. I hope you're proud for sticking it to the man."

                    Fallacy. It's ironic that both parties have spent the last century trying to convince everyone that a vote for someone other than the presented two options is automatically a vote for the worst choice. It's become an article of faith which to the rest of the world just looks weird.

                    I hold the other view. If you hold your nose and cast your vote for the least objectionable choice - which still happens to be a guy you wouldn't trust enough to invite to your home - then what you have in reality voted is for the system to remain the same.

                    At some point you either break that deadlock by voting FOR someone or you'll end up holding your nose in every election just to vote AGAINST the other guy.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              David, 13 Jun 2020 @ 6:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              After Trump, we'd have dreamt of a continuation of what the executive branch did while Biden was Obama's VP.

              I mean, it was a decline compared to before (particularly compared to the Clinton era). But it went off the cliff under Trump. The collusion of the Department of Justice with Trump's personal agenda alone is making a mockery of the division of powers.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 5:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          We slammed Johnson for his 'what is Aleppo' moment but I've
          seen videos where Biden can't finish sentences

          Apart from the fact that even a rambling village idiot would do far less harm to the country('s reputation) than another 4 years of covfefe, I really can't be bothered to link to all the videos where the yello Chetoo is too confused to finish sentences (which happens ALL the time).

          Instead I'll link to Sam Harris' rendition of the pussy ass bitch President's "thought process". Enjoy!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yBGE80covk#t=4m51s

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 4:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Apart from the fact that even a rambling village idiot would do far less harm to the country('s reputation) than another 4 years of covfefe..."

            If it was only the rambling village idiot then fine. Trouble is Biden has made his entire career out of being a patsy.

            So the election really stands between Trump and the MPAA. Biden'll just be the one signing the executive orders, not the one writing them.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          McGyver (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Biden’s “cognitive decline” is nothing compared to trump’s best days at the peak of his youth...
          trump’s cognitive decline began in fourth grade... for fuck sake, the dipshit said minutemen “stormed the airports and rammed the ramparts”... What the fuck does that even mean?
          He’s so goddamn ignorant he can’t even string together a few words without it devolving into a shitty mess...
          That’s not even senility... go back and listen to him on Howard Stern or interviews in the 90s or 80s... he was just as dumb then, the only difference was he didn’t get to be on TV constantly to blatantly display his stupidity for the world to see, so it was less obvious.
          Regardless, anyone would have to be pretty fucking stupid, desperate and racist to re-elect a pathetic ignorant conman who does nothing but rage tweet all day while doing everything he can to stir up hatred and fear.
          Give me a senile Biden any day over that goddamn hateful imbecile trump.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 14 Jun 2020 @ 12:37pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          but I've seen videos where Biden can't finish sentences.

          Frankly, I've seen a lot of videos where Trump would have been better off not finishing sentences. And a whole lot where the assemblage of buzzwords had no recognizable connection to English grammar anyway.

          I prefer a president who notices when stuff goes wrong instead of doubling down. Even if it's just when making a speech.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 4:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "...you'd have to be pretty desperate to elect a President who will basically have to immediately turn things over to the VP."

          Well, this is Biden though. He's been like that for most of his career. That's why the DNC appointed him to be the counterweight of the young dynamic Obama. Biden can be relied on to never move on his own and in fact gets confused when he isn't prepped on what to say and do.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      freakanatcha (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 7:27am

      Re: Another fatso fail

      I like presidents that don't believe Lincoln's results are "questionable"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 7:35am

      All Trump has to do is stop punching himself in the dick and the White House is his for another 4 years.

      But he can. not. stop.

      And all Biden has to do is shut up and let Trump keep punching himself in the dick. Like an old saying goes: Never interrupt an enemy who is actively destroying themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2020 @ 10:59am

      Re:

      Agammamon, well said.

      Between Biden and now open and blatant and loud support from the DNC to violent rioters, looters, and arsonists … all Trump has to do is put his ego in check for another few months.

      But even if he doesn't stop being a blowhard, nothing the Democrats do will prevent Trump advocates from putting up billboards and signs around polling places with the dozens of photos of Biden enthusiastically molesting children in public and sometimes in front of the kids' (cowardly) fathers* . That alone is enough to guarantee a Democrat loss.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:17am

    Well, this was her chance:

    In what can only be described as a self-own, a legal adviser to the Trump Campaign, Jenna Ellis, decided to publish the letter she had sent to CNN.

    other types of storage devices including external drives, thumb drives, zip drives, disks and DVDs.

    She's written up this thing in highschool, and now was her time to publish what she considers, most likely correctly, to be the highlight of her career.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 1:30am

      Re: Well, this was her chance:

      publish what she considers, most likely correctly, to be the highlight of her career.

      Well, it cannot much help her career that what we have is a scan instead of a clean print-to-PDF. And that it was a fuzzy scan only makes it worse.

      Unless the lack of machineability was a career-protective decision, of course.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:20am

    but what about the apology?

    Why not apologize: "we are sorry that you do not understand our constitution, reality, or how your performance is hurting how the country's citizens see you as a leader."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:28am

    Defamatory Polls

    Why can't a poll be defamatory? A scientific poll asking "do you prefer X/Y", yeah, can't imagine how.

    But a manipulated push poll (gee, I wonder who uses those a lot..), why not?

    Example:
    Poll question: Did X stop beating their spouse? Y/N
    Poll results: 100% believe X beat their spouse.

    Wouldn't that be defamatory?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Khym Chanur (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:50am

      Re: Defamatory Polls

      If a push poll was defamatory for what its questions stated/implied, it would defamatory regardless of the results. The demand letter seems to be saying that the results are what's defamatory.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:56am

      Re: Defamatory Polls

      No, it isn’t. Biased or not, that doesn’t make it defamatory. After all, there isn’t anything technically false about the statement from the results.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Defamatory Polls

      Just stop talking. You've already embarrassed yourself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Koby (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:09pm

      Re: Defamatory Polls

      Most of these polls suffer from oversampling problems, the same problem that led to the 2016 election shock. While I doubt that you can sue to force a candidate poll to discontinue use of a method which has produced questionable results in the past, and so it doesn't reach the level necessary to qualify for defamation, these polls do seem kind of shady.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Khym Chanur (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:16pm

        Re: Re: Defamatory Polls

        Even if poll results were a straight up lie, would it legally be defamation? It wouldn't be a lie about anything that the subjects of the poll did (or didn't) do.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 8:22am

        Re: Re: Defamatory Polls

        Koby,

        The polling average gave Trump a roughly 1 in 3 chance of being elected. A 1 in 3 chance happening should not be a shock - it should happen roughly one time in 3 (not exactly rare). The shock was not caused by the polling, it was caused by wishful thinking amongst many who should have known better.

        It is also worth noting that those who though Hilary would win a popular majority were correct, she did win the popular vote by some two million votes. Too many forgot that the electoral college does not count the popular vote.

        Blaming the election shock on polling methods is misguided. Blaming it on elitist arrogance in certain quarters that should have been able to realize the flaw in their own thinking is not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:41pm

      Re: Defamatory Polls

      Because of the first amendment. Presidents CANNOT control peoples free speech UNLESS that free speech is giving out military secrets in time of war.

      And even then this has to go via the Senate and Congress to assure no 1st amendment violations.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:43am

    Dear Ms. Ellis,

    Attached is a letter that we received on June 9, 2020. I feel that you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters.

    Very Truly Yours,

    D.C. Vigilante"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:54am

    If he does not like the CNN poll he should just make his own poll showing how popular he is with the voters, he could call it The Alternative Poll.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:57am

    New cow, same pile..

    Anyone ready to start a New party, or look for another one??
    We only need 20% of the population to Bypass these 2 groups.

    last election was 55%(?) of the USA Voted
    15% were republican
    15% were Democrat
    20-25% were not associated to either party.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:09pm

      Re: New cow, same pile..

      The founding fathers didn't like or want political parties. Why should we? What is wrong with everyone just thinking for themselves?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: New cow, same pile..

        OR,
        as was done Over 150 years ago...
        PAY for themselves..NO corp backing..

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sumgai (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 1:03pm

        Re: Re: New cow, same pile..

        What is wrong with everyone just thinking for themselves?

        That would require the development of critical thinking, something that's been frowned upon by politicians for generations. For reassurance of that little factoid, consider H.L. Mecken's quote from 1920:

        "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

        That prediction came to pass just 96 years later. Also, Mencken had much more to say on politics, I suggest that you search him out.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 3:42am

          Re: Re: Re: New cow, same pile..

          "the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire"

          Except in this case, it is not the desire of the people but rather the corporations that led us to this place. More gaslighting

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bhull242 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:01pm

    In addition to the zip drives, do they not know that DVDs are disks? If by “disks” they just mean CDs, then what about floppy discs and Blu-Rays?

    But seriously, why include zip drives? Why not add in audio- and videocassettes, maybe even 8-tracks or tape reels, while they’re at it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:50pm

    How would that side put it, 'Chill out snowflake'?

    I gotta say, you'd think at some point that Trump would hit rock bottom, that he would find the ultimate way of showing just what a petulant child he is, and yet somehow he always finds a way to dig even deeper, to top his previous tantrum.

    'You're not allowed to report how people think of me when it's negative' is a seriously pathetic and childish response in addition to being an attack on the first amendment, and stands as yet another example of how thin-skinned and quick to lash out he is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 1:26pm

      Re: How would that side put it, 'Chill out snowflake'?

      I gotta say, you'd think at some point that Trump would hit rock bottom,

      That will be when he loses the election, and refuses to accept the result, and declares it invalid because people voted against him, when he told them to vote for him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 7:16am

        Re: Re: How would that side put it, 'Chill out snowflake'?

        Right, just like last time, when Hillary won.

        He's going to do it again, that Rascal!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 8:53am

          Re: Re: Re: How would that side put it, 'Chill out snowflake'?

          Hey Bob, how is Baghdad this time of year?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 6:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: How would that side put it, 'Chill out snowflake'?

          If Trump's win is such a slamdunk why do you act like you break out in a rash every time it's suggested that he might not?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 9:17am

        Re: Re: How would that side put it, 'Chill out snowflake'?

        I would love to never see this, but a lower bottom would be if he lost the "election", and declared it invalid, ... for his '3rd' term.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2020 @ 11:12am

        Re: Re: How would that side put it, 'Chill out snowflake'?

        Do people actually, truly, honestly think Biden has even a chance of winning this election? I understand someone lying and putting a brave face on an unwinnable fight … but are there people who actually think Biden is going to somehow win?

        Because if, after several weeks of seeing lawless barbarians burning down cities and assaulting people and mass mob violence on an unprecedented scale in cities all across the country, and the Democrats endorsing it , Trump is going to win in a landslide. Seeing the Democrats supporting violent savages is going to lead to record numbers of Republicans voting.

        If you think otherwise, you are absolutely clueless as to how real Americans think or (more likely) just how many real Americans are left in this country. This going to be a landslide.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:19pm

    "I like not this news

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:54pm

    "this may be the dumbest"

    Consider the source.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 9:02am

    Most of Trumps ludicrous outbursts are to distract the news cycle from failings of leadership or provide cover for unsavory actions. This is no different. Record unemployment, worsening pandemic, police brutality, and so many more... these are real issues that this nonsense is taking air away from.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2020 @ 11:18am

      Re:

      Techdirt is an amazing echo chamber.

      If you think real Americans interpret cops treating criminals with less than kid gloves as "police brutality", or if you think real Americans don't know that whatever pandemic may or may not be happening is not the fault of the president but instead our lax immigration and travel policies, you don't know many real Americans.

      This is Kael's “I can't believe Nixon won. I don't know anyone who voted for him.” all over again. That was almost 50 years ago and the left still hasn't learned this lesson.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    FissionChip, 14 Jun 2020 @ 4:29am

    How?

    How does this have anything to do with tech? This site is great in some ways but then it devolves into braindead mainstream articles like this and I just don't get the reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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