ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles for February, 2018

Friday Talking Points [473] -- Mueller's Busy Week

[ Posted Friday, February 23rd, 2018 – 18:28 PST ]

Bob Mueller has had a busy and productive week. His investigation is intensifying quickly, as it gains speed and moves closer and closer to the inner Trump circle. Just a week ago, Mueller's team dropped an indictment on 13 Russians for meddling in the 2016 election. By Tuesday, a previously-unmentioned lawyer reached a plea deal with Mueller. Yesterday, Mueller filed an indictment with 32 counts against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Today, Gates officially flipped, and pled guilty to two counts against him, conspiracy and lying to federal agents. Not just another #MuellerFriday, in other words, but a full-on #MuellerWeek. No word from President Trump's Twitter account yet (as of this writing), but if last weekend was any preview, it sure ought to be fun to see him flail around for the next few days as the noose gets tighter and tighter around his innermost circle.

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From The Archives -- No Silver Bullet

[ Posted Thursday, February 22nd, 2018 – 17:08 PST ]

The article below was written a few weeks after the Sandy Hook massacre of innocents in Newtown, Connecticut. I'm running it again today both because nothing much has changed since then, but also because I think it is a fairly realistic examination of what gun control laws can be expected to do, and what they cannot.

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Advice For The Florida Teen Activists

[ Posted Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 – 18:56 PST ]

In the aftermath of the horrific slaughter at a Florida high school, the survivors of the massacre have moved onto center stage in the American political debate in a big way. This has happened with astonishing swiftness and with astonishing breadth. Television news producers are falling all over themselves to book the spokespeople for the teens, they've already tried their hand at lobbying (on the state legislator level), they've staged protests, they've come up with a plan for nationwide events to take place next month, and their nascent movement has already attracted millions of dollars of pledges from liberal celebrities. That is an immensely impressive list, especially considering it all took place in the time span of a single week. These kids have achieved more in one week's time than many advocacy groups have ever achieved from years of effort.

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Slaying The Gerrymander

[ Posted Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 – 17:49 PST ]

The "Gerry-Mander," originally, was a flying lizard -- or, one might say, a dragon. In March of 1812, the Boston Gazette published a cartoon based on a district the governor at the time (Elbridge Gerry) had approved. The cartoonist thought it looked like a salamander, drew the winged lizard, and thus introduced the word "gerrymander" to the politician lexicon. In current American politics, a wide group of citizens are now girding their loins and seeking to slay the gerrymander dragon, once and for all.

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Presidential Mythmaking

[ Posted Monday, February 19th, 2018 – 18:23 PST ]

Since it's fun to do, and since today's a good day for it, let's take a look at one particular moment in American history. A Republican president sits in the White House. His very presence terrifies liberals, who consider him an intellectual lightweight (and even that's being polite) and not up to the job in any way. He cares more for his television presence than actual policy matters, it seems. Both the president and his wife seem elitist to the core and disdainful of reining in their excesses after moving to the White House. He is seen as a total puppet, and the only question members of the media have to explore is who the puppetmaster pulling his strings currently is. He packed his White House with his buddies, and they spend a lot of time fighting with Washington insiders. The rest of the world is horrified that we elected such a man president. There are even rumors that his campaign cut a deal with a tyrannical foreign government in order to help him get elected. In fact, there are very real fears he could start a nuclear war at any time, since his foreign policy is both erratic and belligerent. About the only thing he can get done in Congress is to pass a massive tax cut. That's what the prevailing opinion was at the time, inside the Beltway. His name? Ronald Reagan.

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Friday Talking Points [472] -- Infrastructure Week!

[ Posted Friday, February 16th, 2018 – 18:04 PST ]

Before we get to all the rest of the news, here's an interesting anniversary: it has been exactly one year since Trump's last solo press conference. In all the time he's been president, he has held a grand total of precisely one press conference, a month after he was sworn in. So what is he afraid of?

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DACA Bills Fail In Senate

[ Posted Thursday, February 15th, 2018 – 17:24 PST ]

The best chance to save DACA failed today in the Senate. Three more Republican votes would have been necessary for it to have had a chance, even though it did prove to be the most bipartisan plan out there with anywhere near the support needed to pass the Senate. What happens next is uncertain, although "Congress takes yet another week off with a serious deadline staring them in the face" would probably be a safe guess.

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What About All The Others In The White House Without Permanent Security Clearances?

[ Posted Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 – 17:55 PST ]

Donald Trump's White House is, once again, making a bad news story worse by the day. That's quite an accomplishment this time around, since the bad news story was pretty bad to begin with -- the White House having to fire two accused wife-beaters in the same week. But all the missteps and lies told since then have only served to make things much worse, to the point where the entire White House security clearance process itself is now under a microscope. This raises all kinds of questions that Trump really should have tried to avoid, such as why his son-in-law still only has a temporary security clearance, and indeed how many other White House staffers haven't been cleared yet. But if you take a wider view, as many are now beginning to do, you'd have to conclude that any president influences his entire administration, or (to put it more colorfully) the fish rots from the head.

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Trump's Record-Setting Burn Rate

[ Posted Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 – 18:26 PST ]

The conventional wisdom in Washington is that President Donald Trump, unlike his television persona, actually has a hard time firing people. He reportedly doesn't like such personal confrontation, which can lead him to keep people on long past when they should have been let go. The current episode with Rob Porter and David Sorensen seemed to confirm this view. But whether Trump personally enjoys saying "You're fired!" or not, he is setting records for having higher turnover in top White House jobs than his predecessors.

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Trump Budget Has No Fairy-Tale Ending

[ Posted Monday, February 12th, 2018 – 18:16 PST ]

The Trump administration released its budget proposal today, and it is nothing more than a bad joke. Or a badly-written fairy tale, perhaps. Like most presidential budget requests, it is going to wind up bearing little resemblance to reality -- that's almost a given -- but even at its most fantastical, they couldn't make the numbers magically add up. Rapunzel lets her hair down, but it turns out to be fifteen feet short of the ground. Sad!

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