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  #21  
Old 06 September 2018, 09:15 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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The BBC thinks it could be Pence.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45435813

But I think if Brad says it's Pence, well that proves it.
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  #22  
Old 06 September 2018, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
It references not using the 25th Amendment so as not to cause a "constitutional crisis."
How is it not a "constitutional crisis" to have the functions of the Presidency be taken over, covertly, by persons who are not the President?

(If it's proven to be true, of course.)

It may well have happened before -- I think Wilson was the case I was thinking of. But that was during a time when it was quietly agreed by a lot of people not to make such things public. This is about as public as it's possible to get.

As others have said, that's what the 25th is for. If they haven't guts enough to use it, that's a problem. But 'whenever the President's staff disagrees with him badly enough they should do what they want instead of what he wants' [ETA: that's not meant to be a quote, of course] is a terrible precedent, however tempting it is to agree with in this case.

Last edited by thorny locust; 06 September 2018 at 09:32 PM.
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  #23  
Old 06 September 2018, 09:28 PM
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Points in favor of the Pence theory:
  • He's the one most justified (if only slightly) to act in this improper manner.
  • As for why he remains anonymous: He certainly would be the one with the most to lose if he came forward. And if he were revealed to be the author, he might be pressured out, leaving the big orange one free to select a new VP - and God knows who that would be. Then when the current President is forced out, he'd be replaced by someone much worse than Pence.
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  #24  
Old 06 September 2018, 09:34 PM
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E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
 
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He also obviously has the most to gain from Trump's removal (by whatever method). And he can't be just plain fired; he'd have to be impeached.

Conceivably, he has sounded out other cabinet members on the 25th Amendment idea, and found not enough support -- or, since Trump would unquestionably contest it, he figures he'd never get 2/3rds of both houses of Congress to approve (probably true, without a gross medical reason). So maybe he's trying to steer things towards impeachment.

Just making the case; don't necessarily believe it.
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  #25  
Old 06 September 2018, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
The BBC thinks it could be Pence.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45435813

But I think if Brad says it's Pence, well that proves it.
I don't know of any software that can reliably point to who wrote what. And they way the BBC writes about this makes me assume whatever software they chose isn't very reliable. Yeah, it could be Pence, but a lot of the evidence their mentioning sounds even worse than "lodestar". Just to take one example, the passive voice.
Quote:
Government statements very rarely use the passive voice, and tend to prefer using the active voice instead - there are only a handful examples of the former being used over the past few weeks.
I'm not sure how many a "handful" is supposed to be, but...huh? Yeah, I know, there's that stupid writing advice "avoid the passive" but even people who pretend to follow it fail pretty badly because the passive is useful. The usual figure is that 13% of clauses in English writing are passive,. Even if government writing cuts that figure in half, then 6.5% of all government statements in the past week are passive, and that's surely more than a handful of examples. (By the way, George Orwell used it about 20% of the time in Politics and the English Language, where he cautions you to avoid using it when the active will do. That essay regularly gets taught in schools.)

Quote:
However, the author of the column does use the passive voice, a few times:

"Although he was elected as a Republican" instead of "Although the American people elected him as a Republican"
The passive is just obviously more natural there. The focus is on Trump, not on the American people.
Quote:
"We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility"
If you want to use "we" as the subject of both clauses, the passive it is.
Quote:
"occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back"
Again, a perfectly reasonable way (grammatically and otherwise) to describe Trump's decisions. People phrase things like this all the time, and without any evidence that government officials studiously avoid the passive, I'd say lodestar is still the closest thing to evidence there is that it's Pence. And lodestar is kinda flimsy.
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  #26  
Old 06 September 2018, 09:47 PM
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Trump wouldn't have to fire or get Pence impeached, he'd simply exclude him from meetings and refuse to have any dealings with him. There are fixed duties of the Vice President (created in the Constitution or by law) but those are limited and most of them have little to do with daily dealings with the President. And even if Trump tries to block Pence's Constitutional or legal power, the only thing that would stop him would be the threat (minimal if at all) of impeachment for violating the Constitution or the law.
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  #27  
Old 06 September 2018, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
But I think if Brad says it's Pence, well that proves it.
The thing that would conclusively prove it is if Trump tweets that it's not true.
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  #28  
Old 06 September 2018, 10:08 PM
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Read This!

I heard Trump wrote it himself.
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  #29  
Old 06 September 2018, 10:11 PM
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‘The Onion’ Has Chosen To Publish An Anonymous Op-Ed From Two Sources Close To Trump Who Think Their Dad Is The Best President Ever
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  #30  
Old 06 September 2018, 10:21 PM
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The spelling and penmanship are too good to be Eric's...
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  #31  
Old 06 September 2018, 11:52 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
I heard Trump wrote it himself.
He doesn't have the vocabulary.
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  #32  
Old 07 September 2018, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
The person who wrote the op-ed is a coward who knows he is going down on the wrong side of history and is trying to have an out. If the writer and his like minded friends truly believe this, they should say it straight out and either submit to Congress that he is unfit, or openly go before Congress and plead for impeachment (both would ultimately require 2/3rds of the Senate to agree, because Trump would dispute the finding).

I actually think much less of Trump's cabinet than before, and that is hard to do.
That's my general view. If you had any spine at all, OpEd writer, you would have put your name to it, the consequences be damned. You're not worthy of cleaning the skidmarks off Daniel Ellsberg's underwear.

Though I remain all towards all these people who are shocked, shocked that Trump is doing the stuff he spent the Neverending Election Cycle from Hell saying he'd do. I've come to wonder if Donald Trump is some kind of shitty Rorschach blot with his followers seeing whatever they wanted to see. And by shitty, I do mean both in the figurative (as in Trump is terrible, therefore the blot is terrible), but also in the literal sense in that the blot is actually made of shit.
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  #33  
Old 07 September 2018, 02:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
He doesn't have the vocabulary.
He's also not clever enough to come up with something like this.
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  #34  
Old 07 September 2018, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
I've come to wonder if Donald Trump is some kind of shitty Rorschach blot with his followers seeing whatever they wanted to see.
His word salad style of speech is exactly that. If you read a transcript it's mostly fragmentary thoughts, slogans, random griping, bragging, and insults. Very little information. Plus he's a compulsive liar, so whatever information he does manage to convey he can contradict the next day with impunity. His followers will pick whichever mutually contradictory position they'd prefer, and explain away why the time he said the opposite wasn't what he really meant. It's like nails on chalkboard to most educated people who actually listen to him, but his followers read between the lines and take away messages that he doesn't quite say. And they all take a slightly different message away according to their personal inclinations, because in that situation the message is as much about the listener as the speaker.

Given his base, the more direct comparison is not to a Rorschach blot, but the Bible. It contradicts itself and says a lot of stuff that its followers totally ignore, but that just gives them more material to pick over and choose the parts that kind of say something that suits their prejudices. It doesn't have to really make sense, they just need an authority figure to guide them through whatever their social circle deems the proper interpretation.
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  #35  
Old 07 September 2018, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I don't know of any software that can reliably point to who wrote what. And they way the BBC writes about this makes me assume whatever software they chose isn't very reliable. Yeah, it could be Pence, but a lot of the evidence their mentioning sounds even worse than "lodestar". Just to take one example, the passive voice.
The sentence lengths are more convincing to me than that part about the passive voice. That's something you'd have to be trying consciously to match, and it would be harder than just dropping in an unusual word that he's known to use. Not to say that it's proof, or that somebody still couldn't have been consciously trying to imitate Pence's style. But if they were trying to imitate it, they've gone beyond the obvious.

(eta) And I'm not sure how serious Brad was, or how serious people are being in agreement, but I think Brad is probably going to be pretty good at spotting the styles of different writers, so if he thinks it's Pence then I do take that as a point in favour of the idea...! It's harder to match somebody's style subtly and convincingly than it is to write an obvious parody of it. Trump's own tweets don't even have a consistent style these days.
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  #36  
Old 07 September 2018, 12:16 PM
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Working in the administration, I know quite a lot of people who regularily write speeches, letters and other papers for politicians. Most of the texts that are published under a politician's name or said by them in a public speech haven't been written by themselves (at least alone). Especially when you work for the same politician again and again, you learn to write in a stile he or she likes and uses him/herself.

If the writer of the NYT piece is somebody working for the administration in the second or third row, tasked with preparing texts for certain first level politicians, he or she might be able to imitate the stile of one of them quite well, or might even fall into the stile involuntarily when writing.
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  #37  
Old 07 September 2018, 12:30 PM
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I just read an article on CNN where they speculated that it is almost certainly not a second or third row person because people at the Times know who it is and they would not have accepted such a piece, anonymously from anyone, but his top advisers.
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  #38  
Old 07 September 2018, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Plus he's a compulsive liar, so whatever information he does manage to convey he can contradict the next day with impunity.
Never mind the next day, sometimes in the same paragraph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
might even fall into the stile
That gave me an entirely different image than I expect you intended. [link in quote is my addition]

myself for nitpicking
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  #39  
Old 07 September 2018, 02:06 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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IIRC, analysis of writing style is how the unibomber was caught.
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  #40  
Old 07 September 2018, 02:51 PM
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I think actually the Unabomber was turned in by family members. I think they did recognize particular phrases in the writing, but it wasn't what's usually meant by writing style analysis.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/unabomber-...ry?id=36845028

Quote:
Patrik recognized familiar sounding ideas in the manuscript from letters her husband David Kaczynski had received from his older brother Ted, including a 23-page essay in which he raged against the modern world. In the essay, Ted wrote phrases such as, "Technology has already made it impossible for us to live as physically independent beings." [ . . . ]
"I thought I was going to read the first page of this, turn to Linda and say, 'See, I told you so.' But on an emotional level, it just sounded like my brother's voice. You know, it sounded like the way he argued, the way he talked, the way he expressed an idea," said David Kaczynski.
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