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Archive of Articles in the "Economics" Category

Friday Talking Points [489] -- Ranting About Trump's Cruelty

[ Posted Friday, June 22nd, 2018 – 18:20 PDT ]

For a change, we're not going to have much to say in this introduction. The reason is that the talking points section is taken up by a lengthy rant this week, because it seemed timely to offer one up. It is a rare week of the Trump presidency where there is really only one overriding issue in the political world to comment on, but this was indeed that kind of week.

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Trump Blinks

[ Posted Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 – 17:42 PDT ]

Today, Donald Trump signed an executive order to end his own policy of forcing the separation of children from families seeking asylum in America, because his initial position had become so untenable (indeed, downright unbelievable) that his political allies were fleeing like rats from a sinking ship. By this afternoon, there were plenty of other metaphors flying fast and thick: Trump blinked; he waved the white flag; he surrendered; he caved; he backed down; he threw in the towel; he bent to reality. Whichever you choose, the underlying reality is the same: President Donald Trump, in a rare occurrence, was forced today to take an action that proves both he and his aides have been flat-out lying to the American public for days on end. There's just no other way to look at it, and in fact it may be unprecedented for Trump. He's been telling anyone who would listen that he alone could not do anything, and that his hands were tied -- Congress would need to act. Now he has proved himself wrong on that front. He acted, which means he could have done so at any point if he truly had cared about the issue at all. What forced him to act was the overwhelmingly negative and relentless coverage he was receiving in the media, and the flight of his allies in the Republican Party. Today, this all became too much for Trump, so he did what he could have done all along, thus putting the lie to his voluminous statements to the contrary.

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Friday Talking Points [488] -- Suffer The Little Children

[ Posted Friday, June 15th, 2018 – 18:20 PDT ]

Fox News unwittingly (how else?) spoke a deep truth this week. Or perhaps a deep fantasy -- it's tough to tell, coming from Fox anchors. As President Trump descended the stairs from Air Force One in Singapore, Fox And Friends gushed: "This is history. Regardless of what happens in that meeting between the two dictators, what we are seeing right now -- this is history." Um... how many dictators was that, again? The host later tried to walk back her unintentional gaffe, but is it really all that far off the mark?

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Blame Canada!

[ Posted Monday, June 11th, 2018 – 16:29 PDT ]

Donald Trump has apparently decided to take the advice of that impressive fount of political wisdom, South Park. It's hard to come to any other conclusion, really, when you recall that one of the songs from their first big movie (a song nominated for an Academy Award, no less) was titled: "Blame Canada." President Trump was obviously inspired by the lyrics: "With all their beady little eyes / And flapping heads so full of lies," when he began his tweetstorm against Justin Trudeau after Trump left the G-7 meeting early.

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Trump Decides To Wing It -- What Could Go Wrong With That?

[ Posted Thursday, June 7th, 2018 – 17:04 PDT ]

President Trump is the ultimate off-the-cuff guy. He has no problem just winging it, on just about any subject under the sun. This week alone, Trump falsely accused Canadians of burning down the White House (they didn't, the British did, over 200 years ago) and reportedly flirted with the idea of just pardoning himself to get rid of all the pesky investigations. He's also decided there will be no formal process for any presidential pardons, other than "a celebrity asks me for one for somebody." Hey, it worked for both Sly Stallone and Kim Kardashian, so why not others? Today, two stories appeared which aren't exactly surprising, but still raised a few eyebrows. The first is that Trump has apparently decided that he doesn't really need a whole lot of briefing for his summit meeting with Kim Jong Un, and that all he really needs is the right "attitude." What could possibly go wrong with that plan? We'll see, next Tuesday, one assumes. But the second report was much more detailed, about a briefing supposedly on disaster preparedness that Trump just got from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, because hurricane season has just begun. Someone present recorded the meeting and leaked the recording to the Washington Post and CNN. So far, only excerpts have been released, but it is sincerely to be hoped that a full transcript will eventually become available, so we can all bask in the splendor of a president unchained.

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Supreme Court Takes The Cake

[ Posted Monday, June 4th, 2018 – 16:40 PDT ]

Today, the Supreme Court punted. Or, to be more properly seasonal, they ruled that a runner didn't touch second base so they invalidated his home run. The case before them was Masterpiece Cakeshop versus Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a test case that dealt with the limits of the freedom of religion and the state's right to regulate commerce to assure equal treatment under the law for all. However, the ruling did not directly address that weighty constitutional issue, but rather ruled that the state behaved improperly in its decision-making process. They didn't rule on the decision itself, in other words, but rather how it was arrived at. This is the big reason why the ruling was not another 5-4 decision, but rather 7-2. If the high court had ruled on the actual question before them, no matter how they ruled it most probably would have been another close 5-4 split.

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Friday Talking Points [486] -- Hurricane-Force Lies

[ Posted Friday, June 1st, 2018 – 17:11 PDT ]

It was another rollicking week in the world of politics, which is admittedly not saying much in the era of Trump. It was revealed this week that the death toll on Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria was not just higher than had been officially reported, but at least seventy times higher, and in fact was more than twice as high as the death toll from Hurricane Katrina. You'd think this would be a gigantic media story, but (sadly) you would be wrong. Just like everything else about the devastation, most certainly including the media's treatment of it, this bombshell report was largely ignored this week. No wonder Puerto Ricans feel like second-class citizens, when they keep getting second-class treatment like this.

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Listen To The Candidates, Not The Beltway Cocktail Party Chatter

[ Posted Thursday, May 17th, 2018 – 17:20 PDT ]

Mainstream media political pundits are often accused of focusing too much on "the horserace" aspect of elections, to the detriment of the actual issues being fought over in the race. It's so much easier to just watch the polls go up and down (and bang out an article about it) than it is to do a deep dive into what candidates are actually running on. At the most, the pundits will critique candidate television ads, always with an eye on how they are affecting the polls.

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Reviewing Trump's Foreign Policy Moves

[ Posted Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 – 17:19 PDT ]

Quixotic. Peripatetic. Mercurial. These are all ten-dollar words which could describe Donald Trump's approach to foreign policy matters. A less-fancy term might be "totally incoherent." Trump stands for nothing, has a situational approach to any individual foreign policy issue, and doesn't seem all that conversant with important details -- all of which add up to a foreign policy that his own foreign policy advisors can't predict. They are continually being caught by surprise by some off-the-cuff Trump tweet or statement, and regularly scramble to provide some sort of backup to whatever bee Trump currently has in his bonnet. It's Nixon's madman theory writ large, because even Trump's own White House has no earthly idea what he'll do or say next. At least Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were on the same page in their madman gambit, but Trump doesn't seem to be sharing his thoughts with anyone within his administration.

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Friday Talking Points [484] -- House GOP Is Revolting!

[ Posted Friday, May 11th, 2018 – 18:03 PDT ]

Before we get to all the Trumpy news of the week, we had to headline what is going on in Paul Ryan's House, since it hasn't been getting enough attention yet. Because the House Republicans are revolting!

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