Archive of Articles for August, 2017

Selling Single-Payer As A Hassle-Free Option

[ Posted Thursday, August 31st, 2017 – 16:44 UTC ]

Senator Kamala Harris is in the news today because she just announced at a town hall that she will be co-sponsoring the single-payer healthcare bill that Senator Bernie Sanders will soon unveil. Harris has previously been lukewarm towards single-payer (according to her critics on the left), so this was seen as a big political step for her to have taken. Read another way, though, it seemed more that Harris is moving with an abundance of caution rather than being in any way against the concept of single-payer healthcare.

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GOP Tax Reform Flim-Flammery

[ Posted Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 – 16:52 UTC ]

President Donald Trump gave a speech today in Missouri, on the subject of tax reform. True to form, it was light on details and contained almost no actual numbers. The entire speech was designed to repackage "trickle-down economics" one more time, and sell it as "populism" to the people who voted for Trump. It remains to be seen how effective this will be, but at least Trump is making the attempt to sell one of his agenda items directly to the populace -- something that was noticeably absent in the fight over repealing and replacing Obamacare. Maybe this time will be different, Team Trump seems to be calculating. Maybe Trump'll be able to sell the tired old GOP idea of: "Let's give your boss a big huge tax cut, and then maybe some shred of it will eventually trickle down to you" to his voters. Republicans seem to have an endless capacity for believing this (and an equally infinite capacity to ignore all the other times when it didn't work out as well for the middle class as promised), so perhaps Trump can get his voters excited about slashing corporate tax rates this time around, too.

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Damned If He Does, Damned If He Doesn't

[ Posted Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 – 16:55 UTC ]

President Donald Trump flew down to Texas today. In doing so, he is following a familiar script: "President tours disaster area, personally gives comfort to the afflicted, promises federal aid." Presidents have done such things for a long time, but the tactical problems with arranging such a trip have created a Catch-22 type of situation. Complaints about the details of Trump's visit have already begun, but the interesting thing is that no matter what he had done there would still be something to complain about. Now, I'm generally not one to feel sorry for Donald Trump (see: everything I've written over the past two years), but in this particular case it really seems that Trump -- or any president in a similar situation, really -- is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

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Distracted Reporting

[ Posted Monday, August 28th, 2017 – 16:31 UTC ]

On Friday, President Donald Trump attempted a trick many previous U.S. presidents have used to good effect, and so far at least it seems to be working out for Trump quite well. The trick is to get sensitive news out late on a Friday, in the hopes that the American public (and the press) will be so distracted by the weekend that the story will have much less impact than it normally would have. Really bad news is usually released right before a three-day holiday weekend, so it'll have even less reach and an even-smaller impact. Trump took this to another level last Friday, by releasing some contentious news right in the midst of the biggest hurricane to hit the U.S. in over a decade.

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Friday Talking Points [450] -- A Ping-Pong Flip-Flop Week

[ Posted Friday, August 25th, 2017 – 17:42 UTC ]

Donald Trump ping-ponged his way from being TelePrompTer Trump to being The Real Unfiltered Trump (and then back again) this week. It started off with a rather amazing flip-flop, as Trump essentially admitted that everything he's ever said or thought about Afghanistan was wrong. Not unlike Arthur Fonzarelli, Trump's mouth couldn't actually form the words "I was wrong," but the admission was still there for all to see.

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Two Big Deadlines Are Fast Approaching

[ Posted Thursday, August 24th, 2017 – 16:27 UTC ]

Next month will be a busy one in Congress, with several crucial pieces of legislation (with looming deadlines) due. So, of course, President Donald Trump chose this particular moment to pick a meaningless fight with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. After all, what better time to antagonize the second-most powerful Republican in Washington?

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Tired Of All The Whining

[ Posted Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 – 16:52 UTC ]

Maybe we all just misheard him. Maybe it was his outer-borough accent. Maybe what candidate Donald Trump really said was:

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Program Note (And Silliness)

[ Posted Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 – 17:17 UTC ]

Sorry, no column today. I was dealing with real-world stuff (automotive) all day, but was successful in the end, so at least it wasn't a day wasted.
Speaking of wasting time (during the political "silly season" month), rather than just a dry program note today (and because this is, after all, the internet), I'd like [...]

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Trump's Not-So-New Afghanistan Strategy

[ Posted Monday, August 21st, 2017 – 19:42 UTC ]

There's a reason why Afghanistan is known as the "graveyard of empires." Ask the Soviets... or Alexander the Great, for that matter. The United States of America's war in Afghanistan has gone on far longer than any other conflict we've ever fought in, and there has been no real end in sight for a long time now.

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Friday Talking Points [449] -- Cleanup On Aisle Trump

[ Posted Friday, August 18th, 2017 – 17:39 UTC ]

Welcome back to Friday Talking Points! Let's see... anything big happen in the two weeks while we were away?

We're kidding, of course. The flood of sewage from Donald Trump's mouth was so pervasive, it was downright impossible to ignore it from anywhere on the planet. So last week we watched in fear as Trump got in a shoving match with Kim Jong Un, and this week we remained agape while Trump told us what he really feels about people who march with swastikas while screaming about Jews -- that they're "very fine people."

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