Archive of Articles for September, 2019

Attempted Smears Against Whistleblower Are Irrelevant

[ Posted Monday, September 30th, 2019 – 17:23 UTC ]

President Donald Trump and all his coterie of apologists are right now angrily focused on impeaching the credibility of the whistleblower who complained about Trump's call to the new Ukrainian leader. And, yes, "impeaching" is the right word for what they're trying to do. But it's all both meaningless and irrelevant, because the scandal has already moved beyond any questions of bias or credibility of the whistleblower, largely due to the release of both the semi-transcript of the call itself and the whistleblower's complaint. Trump and his minions are, in essence, screaming about how they're going to sue the heck out of the locksmith, while the barn doors hang wide open and all the horses are running willy-nilly across the landscape. At this point, the story is the horses who are running free, not the lock's possible failure.

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Friday Talking Points -- Collusion, Collusion, Collusion!

[ Posted Friday, September 27th, 2019 – 17:22 UTC ]

This has been an extraordinary week, in a presidency chock-full of extraordinary weeks. Call it extra-extraordinary, we suppose. The country went from hearing vague things about Trump stonewalling a congressional committee to full-on impeachment in a matter of hours, it seemed. Or days, at the longest. We went from zero to impeachment in record time, giving Trump a new superlative to brag about: fastest scandal ever.

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The Fastest Scandal Ever

[ Posted Thursday, September 26th, 2019 – 17:00 UTC ]

We all know how much President Donald Trump loves superlatives, most especially when they are used in reference to himself or his presidency. This week added yet another one of these superlatives, since Trump is now at the center of the fastest-progressing political scandal ever. Think about it: a mere two weeks ago, nobody knew anything about it; and now we've seen the public release of a president-to-president phone call's semi-transcript, the public release of the whistleblower's slightly-redacted complaint, testimony on the scandal before both houses of Congress, and the start of impeachment proceedings. To say the past week has been a whirlwind doesn't even begin to accurately describe the blinding pace of the growing scandal.

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'No Quid Pro Quo' Is The New 'No Collusion'

[ Posted Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 – 17:28 UTC ]

One of Donald Trump's presidential heroes is Andrew Jackson. Jackson rose to the presidency in 1828 after his first attempt failed. The centerpiece of his second campaign was to shine a bright light on the "Corrupt Bargain" in the House of Representatives, which named John Quincy Adams president in 1824 even though he had fewer Electoral College votes than Jackson (it was a four-candidate race and none of them got an outright Electoral College majority, which threw the election's decision into the House). I was reminded today of a central quote from Jackson's second campaign where he spoke about what had happened in the 1824 election, because it seems downright appropriate when discussing our current president: "There was cheating, and corruption, and bribery too." At this point, that seems to accurately sum up Trump's 2020 campaign as well.

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Simple, Obvious, And Indefensible

[ Posted Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 – 16:55 UTC ]

Up until today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been the person riding the brakes on the growing calls to impeach President Donald Trump. This is no longer true. Pelosi has now begun the process of Congress attempting to remove a sitting president from office. By waiting this long, though, Pelosi is now absolutely immune from any accusation that she's in any sort of rush to judgment.

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The Third Debate's Effect On The Democratic Polls

[ Posted Monday, September 23rd, 2019 – 17:44 UTC ]

Well, the numbers are in, so it's time to take another look at the Democratic horserace, after the third debate shook things up a bit. There are new polls out at both the national level and in Iowa, the Democratic National Committee just announced the new criteria for the fifth debate (to happen in November), and the field continues to shrink as time goes by. So a lot's been going on out on the hustings.

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Friday Talking Points -- Ukraine-gate? MassiveTrumpCollusion-gate?

[ Posted Friday, September 20th, 2019 – 18:05 UTC ]

We're in the midst of a brand-new breaking scandal -- one that's so new it hasn't even been assigned a "-gate" label yet. Ukraine-gate? Kiev-gate? MassiveTrumpCollusion-gate? As was entirely appropriate, Hillary Clinton had the pithiest tweet of the week: "The president asked a foreign power to help him win an election. Again."

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Moscow Mitch Caves!

[ Posted Thursday, September 19th, 2019 – 16:50 UTC ]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reversed course today and allowed a bill with $250 million in new election security spending to advance. It looks like the "#MoscowMitch" campaign worked, in other words. We got to him, and he finally caved!

It's important to put this issue into some context. While $250 million may sound like a lot of money, in Washington it is absolute peanuts. In terms of the whole federal budget, this is the equivalent of some loose change found in the couch cushions. And not even that much loose change, at that. As the old saying about federal spending goes (a saying so old it was mythically first uttered by a senator who died in 1969): "A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." Given that bar -- again, set in the 1960s when Dr. Evil thought "one mil-li-on dollars" was a lot of dough -- $250 million only adds up to one-eighth of what was considered "real money" over a half-century ago. Like I said, peanuts. This is what Mitch McConnell was fighting so hard to avoid ponying up.

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GOP Leaderless On Gun Safety

[ Posted Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 – 16:39 UTC ]

This was supposed to be the week when President Donald Trump unveiled his preferred plan for gun safety reform. He still might do so tomorrow. But so far, the entire process on the Republican side of the aisle has appeared rudderless and leaderless, due to Trump's ever-increasing vacillations on what he'd be prepared to support. Mitch McConnell has doubled down on this leaderlessness by insisting that he will not move on any bill until Trump expressly signals his support for it. The buck gets passed back and forth like the political hot potato it is. No Republican wants to be the one with his name associated with an anti-gun law, because they all live in terror of the political power of the National Rifle Association -- which isn't going to support any new gun laws at all. Congressional Republicans are looking for Trump to lead the way out of this conundrum, but Trump seems increasingly incapable of doing so.

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Our Fifth Trillion-Dollar Deficit

[ Posted Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 17:03 UTC ]

It was little noticed, but last week the U.S. government admitted that this year's budget deficit has already topped the trillion-dollar mark. And the fiscal year won't be over for another month. This will be only the fifth time in American history that the annual deficit has been over a trillion dollars, and the other four years were all in the depths of the Great Recession. We're supposed to have a good economy right now, but we're running a deficit as if we're in some pretty bad times. Of course, all of this proves how both Donald Trump and the Republicans have been lying to the American public all along, and how Democrats can continue to make the rather easy argument that the only time the nation gets its fiscal house in anything resembling good order is when there's a Democrat in the White House.

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