Archive of Articles for April, 2023

Friday Talking Points -- Biden Launches His Re-Election Campaign

[ Posted Friday, April 28th, 2023 – 18:37 UTC ]

This is the big White House Correspondents Dinner weekend, but somehow our invitation was either lost in the mail or otherwise overlooked. So we'll have to watch the clips later, like everyone else.

This was a pretty momentous week in politics, as President Joe Biden announced his re-election bid, Donald Trump's rape court case got underway, and Kevin McCarthy was actually able to corral his various factions to vote for a bill that Democrats will use as fodder in the upcoming congressional campaigns. So let's get right to it all, shall we?

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Cancel Culture Is Alive And Well On The Right

[ Posted Thursday, April 27th, 2023 – 16:16 UTC ]

Remember when conservatives decried "cancel culture"? It wasn't actually that long ago that they regularly did so. The phrase originally meant, essentially: paying a price for offensive behavior. Anyone (usually celebrities) caught saying anything deemed beyond the pale was subject to harsh criticism (usually online) and efforts were made to ostracize or shun them -- which usually included pressuring their employers to fire them or otherwise exacting an economic price from the offender. Republicans, led by Donald Trump and others, began denouncing such efforts as somehow being unacceptible, under the very Trumpian ideal that nobody should ever have to pay a price for anything, no matter how offensive. Hadn't Trump shrugged off multiple scandals that would have destroyed any previous politician and gotten elected anyway? So everyone else should be just as free to offend anyone they pleased without ever having to answer for the offense in any way.

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America Might Get The Repeat Election Few Want To See

[ Posted Wednesday, April 26th, 2023 – 15:08 UTC ]

Unless things change in a major way, America seems headed for a repeat election in 2024. President Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, while Donald Trump will carry the banner for the Republicans. There are plenty of interesting things about such a rematch (such as the fact that Trump will be the first ex-president to run again in a very long time), but the most interesting thing currently is that most of the public simply does not want to see this rematch. They would prefer a different matchup, for various reasons. But they may get Biden-versus-Trump anyway.

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Freedom Versus Apocalyptic Hellscape

[ Posted Tuesday, April 25th, 2023 – 17:13 UTC ]

President Joe Biden announced his bid for re-election today, releasing a three-minute video in which he explains why he's running. As the ad makes clear, Biden will be running on one basic concept: freedom. He's in favor of it, and in favor of Americans having more of it. The Republican Party countered with a 30-second ad of their own, in which they present an apocalyptic vision of what a second Biden term would be like. No, that is not hyperbole or an exaggeration. The only other possible word to use is "dystopian." They have outdone themselves in the fearmongering department (where they regularly excel). Since the GOP doesn't have a nominee yet, they are restricted only to offering up criticism of Biden (whether real or, in this case, entirely imagined), perhaps hoping that their eventual nominee will offer up some sort of positive vision of their own (which doesn't exactly seem likely, but hey, it could happen, I suppose). Since Biden is almost certainly going to skate to the Democratic nomination unopposed (or "unopposed by any Democrat the voters would actually nominate," to be technically accurate), this means that for at least the rest of this calendar year, it may stay a contest between: "Freedom," and: "Be afraid, be very afraid!"

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A Cable News Type Of Week

[ Posted Monday, April 24th, 2023 – 15:58 UTC ]

It looks like it's going to be a very cable news sort of week this week. Today two prominent cable news personalities lost their jobs, for different reasons. Most of the astonishment this generated in the media world is likely to be overshadowed tomorrow by two developments in the presidential race. President Joe Biden is rumored to have picked tomorrow to formally announce his candidacy for re-election -- four years to the day after he announced last time. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is going to go on trial in New York -- which could prove to be the first of many times he'll have to defend himself in court. So it's going to be a pretty momentous week all around on cable news, that's my guess at any rate.

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Friday Talking Points -- Fox On The Run

[ Posted Friday, April 21st, 2023 – 17:53 UTC ]

We admit using that subtitle dates us in a way, since we are indeed old enough to remember the popular song of the same name -- but we couldn't resist, since this week started out with Fox News caving at the last possible moment as a civil defamation trial was set to begin against them. First the trial was delayed a day and then came the bombshell news that Fox had settled with Dominion Voting Systems for a jaw-dropping $787.5 million. To state the patently obvious, you don't settle a case you fully expect to win. Fox knew it was in danger of not just losing the case (Dominion had sued for $1.6 billion, a little more than twice what Fox settled for) but having the network's dirty laundry exposed in even more painful fashion than it already had been (through releases of internal communications between executives and network personalities that were already embarrassing enough). Fox was indeed on the run, to the tune of over three-quarters of a billion dollars.

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Maybe Peddling Lies Isn't Such A Hot Business Model

[ Posted Thursday, April 20th, 2023 – 16:25 UTC ]

There have been two legal developments this week which might go a long way toward proving that creating a business model out of peddling lies to unsuspecting people is maybe not the best plan of action -- unless, of course, your name happens to be Donald Trump. Trump is the king of all election-denying grifters, and so far nobody's scratched his Teflon coating -- although even Trump may eventually have to face some sort of music for monetizing falsehoods. One of the things the special counsel investigating Trump is reportedly looking into is how Trump made pitches to donors big and small between the 2020 election and January 6th. Trump raised a lot of money promising that it would be used to fight to "Stop The Steal," but he never actually created such a fund. But for the time being at least, Trump has been able to skate away from any consequences for gaslighting his supporters. This is now no longer true for others who jumped on the stolen-election bandwagon. Both Fox News and Mike Lindell are now having to pay for their lies, and this could just be the start of both of them -- and others -- having to cough up to pay for the damage they have done.

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McCarthy Releases Wish List

[ Posted Wednesday, April 19th, 2023 – 15:55 UTC ]

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has finally made his opening bid, in the showdown with President Joe Biden (and the Democratic Senate) over raising the nation's debt ceiling. Today McCarthy released a proposal he thinks he will get 218 Republican votes and actually pass the House. It remains to be seen whether that's even true or not -- a vote won't be held until at least next week, and to say that not everyone in the GOP caucus is on board yet is an understatement. But at least he's finally put some numbers down on paper for all to see.

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McCarthy Tries To Herd His GOP Cats

[ Posted Tuesday, April 18th, 2023 – 16:21 UTC ]

After their first 100 days in power, the cracks are beginning to show in the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Speaker Kevin McCarthy is going to try to pass a bill with a bare-bones summary of a budget within the next few weeks, but at this point no bill has actually been written and no GOP consensus has emerged about what that bill should (or shouldn't) contain. It is still unclear whether any plan is going to get the 218 votes to pass. Factionalism within the Republican conference is a tough hurdle to get over, what with the razor-thin majority McCarthy has to work with. But the debt ceiling looms, so it is now "put up or shut up" time for McCarthy's Republicans.

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The Judiciary Committee Conundrum

[ Posted Monday, April 17th, 2023 – 15:41 UTC ]

We may get to a crossroads this week over the situation Senator Dianne Feinstein's absence in Washington has created. But that's not the same thing as the problem actually being resolved, which could take longer. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly going to call for a vote on temporarily replacing Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee, while still allowing her to keep her Senate seat. Not having Feinstein in Washington impacts the Democrats' ability to round up enough votes -- but not in a critical way -- for Senate floor votes. Not having Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee, however, has meant the halt of Biden judicial nominees getting expedited committee votes to move their nominations to the floor. That is a much more serious matter.

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