Archive of Articles for July, 2019

Throwdown In Motown (Part 1)

[ Posted Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 – 16:39 UTC ]

Last night was indeed a throwdown in the Motor City, with 10 Democrats sparring on one stage. My overall impression of the first round of the second debates was that this was, in many ways, the debate that I've been personally itching to see for at least four years now. It was a direct confrontation between the "moderate" or "centrist" wing of the Democratic Party versus the "progressive" or "Democratic" wing of the party. It rarely descended into personalities, and instead remained a purely ideological battle of different visions for how to lead both Democrats and the entire country into the future. We almost got such a debate last time, with Bernie mixing it up with Hillary, but there was far too much personality getting in the way of the purely ideological debate. Also, both the country and the Democratic Party have moved significantly since 2016, so the ground for this debate has shifted.

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"States' Rights" On Elections Cuts Both Ways

[ Posted Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 – 16:08 UTC ]

The way Mitch McConnell sees it, he's taking a bold stance against the federalization of elections in America. The way everyone else sees it, he's refusing to allow any bills dealing with beefing up the security of America's elections from going forward, thus becoming what was called during the Red Scare and the Cold War a "useful idiot" for Moscow -- because by his refusal to act, he is furthering the ability of Vladimir Putin to attack our elections once again. But while this is a fascinating exercise in political theater all around, today's news shows without a shadow of a doubt that the supposed Republican reverence for "states' rights" when it comes to conducting elections evaporates instantly when one of those states does something with which they do not agree. This has always been the case, really, when it comes to right-wing support for the concept of states' rights.

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Second Debate Prep

[ Posted Monday, July 29th, 2019 – 16:10 UTC ]

The second round of Democratic presidential debates begins tomorrow night. CNN will host two nights, with 10 candidates randomly drawn for each night. The lineups are more interesting than the last time around, at least to me, so it should make for some interesting television to watch. Added to the excitement is the prospect for many of the candidates on stage that this may be the last time they get to appear at such an event. With little to lose, the minor candidates may be making a lot more noise, in other words.

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Friday Talking Points -- #MoscowMitch

[ Posted Friday, July 26th, 2019 – 17:47 UTC ]

We're going to wait until the talking points to fully delve into the catchy hashtag #MoscowMitch, because we feel the point being made is an important one that may just get a whole lot more attention over the next month or so (if the Democrats are capable of following through, that is -- always an open question). Suffice it to say for now that Mitch McConnell is taking an absolutely indefensible stand by essentially aiding and abetting America's enemies.

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Program Note

[ Posted Thursday, July 25th, 2019 – 18:51 UTC ]

Due to a sudden and unexpected wedding, there will be no column today, sorry. One of my oldest and best friends decided to tie the knot unexpectedly, so my presence was required elsewhere. Congratulations to the happy couple! My apologies for the interruption in service, and fresh columns will resume tomorrow.
-- Chris [...]

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Is It Really True That "No One Is Above The Law"?

[ Posted Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 – 17:09 UTC ]

While plenty of others have plenty of other things to say today about Robert Mueller's testimony in front of two House committees, what struck me the most was a rather large unanswered question. Indeed, it was hard to actually avoid thinking about the concept, because in the first hearing most of the Democrats finished their five minutes with some form of the following declaration: "No one is above the law," sometimes adding: "...not even a president" and sometimes just leaving it implied. But does this phrase have any real-world meaning or is it just so much sanctimonious nonsense?

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A Budget For Everyone To Hate

[ Posted Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 – 16:29 UTC ]

It's one of those rare weeks where things may actually get done in Congress, as they all prepare to flee Washington for their usual monthlong August vacation. While Bob Mueller's made-for-TV testimony tomorrow is currently dominating the news, behind the scenes a rather momentous deal was just cut between Nancy Pelosi and the White House. A budget deal has been reached which will last until well after the 2020 election cycle is done. This two-year agreement will avoid defaulting on the national debt by raising the debt ceiling until 2021, and will also provide the framework not only for this year's budget bills but also for next year's as well. This will hopefully avoid most of the usual histrionics surrounding the budget, because nobody really wants a fiscal cliff or a government shutdown during an election year.

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A Handy Campaign Slogan To Defeat Donald Trump

[ Posted Monday, July 22nd, 2019 – 16:10 UTC ]

I realize that we are still in the midst of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, but today I'd like to leap forward to present a very simple (and, to me, obvious) strategy for whomever secures the Democratic nomination and has to take on Donald Trump in next year's general election. Because I think I've come up with an all-encompassing campaign slogan that will stand the test of both time and Trump. It cuts to the very heart of the argument that a Democrat -- any Democrat, in fact -- would be miles better than what we've got now. Picture the presidential nominee repeating at every rally next summer the following line: "Do we really want this for the next four years?!?"

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Friday Talking Points -- GOP Puts The Dog Whistles Away

[ Posted Friday, July 19th, 2019 – 17:24 UTC ]

Obviously, Donald Trump dominated the news this week, by going full-on racist. The Republican Party's reliance on "dog whistles" on racial issues is now no longer necessary, since the leader of the party has given everyone a green light to just go right ahead and publicly scream racist invective as loudly as possible. That was such a big story that it swamped all the other political news.

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Fighting The King Of Distraction

[ Posted Thursday, July 18th, 2019 – 16:39 UTC ]

The draw for the second round of Democratic debates is happening soon (by the time you read this it may have already happened, in fact). CNN has hyped this event almost as much as the debates themselves, and it certainly will (quite literally) set the stage for both nights of debate, as the 20 candidates who have qualified are somehow quasi-randomly divided up. The lineups will be important for all the candidates' chances of standing out from the crowd, but it is important even in this fairly early stage of the nomination race to keep our focus on the main goal: beating Donald Trump next November. And that -- as over 16 failed Republican candidates can attest to -- will be no easy feat. How do you beat Trump on the playing field he has chosen to run his campaign from?

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