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Archive of Articles in the "Foreign Policy" Category

The Same Old Shutdown Kabuki

[ Posted Monday, December 17th, 2018 – 18:00 PST ]

The English definition of "Kabuki" reads, in part: "a form of traditional Japanese drama with highly stylized song, mime, and dance, now performed only by male actors, using exaggerated gestures and body movements to express emotions." Other than it being of Japanese origin, and (now that Nancy Pelosi is in a leading role) that bit about only male actors, this describes what we're apparently about to witness in Washington, once again. President Donald Trump is loudly threatening (with exaggerated gestures) to shut the government down if he doesn't get $5 billion for his precious border wall (that Mexico was supposed to have already paid for, of course). But after all the highly-stylized drama, the outcome at this point seems pretty predictable: Democrats are going to hold firm, and Trump -- once again -- won't get his wall money. How exactly we get to that point and how long it takes to get there are really the only open questions at this point. So, everyone got their programs? Then sit back and let the Kabuki drama begin!

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Friday Talking Points -- Done Dirt Cheap!

[ Posted Friday, December 14th, 2018 – 19:14 PST ]

Our title today comes, of course, from former Donald Trump lawyer (and jailbird-to-be) Michael Cohen, who during his sentencing hearing this week said of Donald Trump: "Time and time again, I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds."

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Pelosi Secures Votes To Become Speaker Again

[ Posted Thursday, December 13th, 2018 – 18:28 PST ]

Barring any last-minute plot twists or other surprises, Nancy Pelosi is going to be the next speaker of the House and reclaim the gavel she had to give up eight years ago. She has now secured a clear majority of votes from the total incoming House, meaning it doesn't even matter now whether Democrats who aren't voting for her vote for someone else or just vote "present." This no longer matters, because Pelosi now has the votes to become speaker no matter how the rebels vote.

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The Reality Television Presidency

[ Posted Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 – 18:24 PST ]

President Donald Trump sat down with incoming Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer yesterday, and he kept the cameras rolling to capture the first time the three had met in over a year's time. What ensued was nothing short of The Apprentice: Oval Office. The only real difference being that Trump is now playing the role of the apprentice, still getting up to speed after two years on the job. Pelosi and Schumer, or as Trump likes to call them, "Chuck and Nancy," spent a little over 15 minutes schooling the president on: the outcome of the midterm elections, how Congress works, the legislative process, border security, and (as a bonus) what is true and what is not. Reality television at its finest!

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Trusting House Democrats To Get It Right

[ Posted Monday, December 10th, 2018 – 18:13 PST ]

I can't decide whether this is just more run-of-the-mill Trumpian-era irony or whether it actually rises to the level of Karl Marx's prediction that "history repeats itself as farce." You be the judge.

House Minority Leader-Elect Kevin McCarthy is helpfully trying to give incoming Democrats some friendly advice. He is warning them that they shouldn't bother to spend too much time investigating Donald Trump and Russia's influence over him, after Democrats take power in January. Just to recap that: a guy with the last name of McCarthy is counselling congressional leaders not to investigate American governmental ties to Russia. "Tail-Gunner Joe" must be having a conniption fit down in Hell, one assumes.

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Friday Talking Points -- Mr. Trump's Wild Ride

[ Posted Friday, December 7th, 2018 – 17:44 PST ]

As is now normal, the past week in politics was a pretty wild ride. The stock market went up, then way down, then a bit back up, then way down again -- and that was in a week with only four trading days (Wednesday was a national day of mourning for George H. W. Bush, so the markets were closed). Trump drove much of this confusion, after meeting with the leader of China last weekend to discuss trade. Adding to the confusion was the arrest of the leader of a giant Chinese corporation on Canadian soil at the request of the American Justice Department, and a weaker-than-expected jobs report today.

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Discovery (A Musical Interlude)

[ Posted Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 – 19:21 PST ]

Maybe it's the holiday season, but for whatever reason, today while reading the news I had one of those moments of synchronicity, where a song just pops into your head unbidden, grabs ahold of your psyche and refuses to let go. So I thought I'd share it with everyone.

The story I read which caused this to happen was an update on one of the many federal court cases proceeding against President Donald Trump. It was filed by the attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and it charges Trump and Trump's D.C. hotel (which he has not divested himself of financially) with violating the "emoluments clause" of the Constitution. The update reported that the judge in the case has ruled that the discovery phase will now begin, which will give the attorneys general the power to issue subpoenas to everyone involved, up to and including departments of the federal government.

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Friday Talking Points -- Walking And Chewing Gum

[ Posted Friday, November 30th, 2018 – 17:42 PST ]

Welcome back to Friday Talking Points, after our one-week Thanksgiving break! Hope everyone had a great holiday and didn't eat too much turkey.

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What's Good For GM Is Not Good For Trump

[ Posted Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 – 18:06 PST ]

General Motors just announced several plant closures and over ten thousand layoffs, in a bid to restructure their operations for the future. Americans aren't buying so many sedans any more, so GM is shuttering some plants that make these cars. This includes a plant in Ohio, after President Trump personally promised workers that no factories would be shutting down there. Trump even went further, by personally advising Ohio workers not to sell their houses and move since manufacturing jobs would be such solid future prospects. So the GM announcement came as a rather personal blow to the president.

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Friday Talking Points -- Trump's Temper Tantrum

[ Posted Friday, November 16th, 2018 – 18:43 PST ]

Most Americans, not being political wonks, have largely moved on from the midterm election results. The mainstream media has also largely been ignoring the still-developing story, for two reasons: (1) they really kind of blew it on Election Night, uniformly coming to the wrong conclusion very early in the evening ("the blue wave is not appearing") and so they're now avoiding having to correct their misinterpretation; and (2) there's a recount in Florida again! Woo hoo! Break out the video clips of that poor myopic cross-eyed guy with the magnifying glass -- that's always fun to run, right?

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