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Archive of Articles in the "China" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Snowflake-In-Chief Not Person Of The Year, Sorry

[ Posted Friday, December 13th, 2019 – 18:17 UTC ]

And so we come to the close of the most momentous week in Washington of the year. In one week's time, we've seen articles of impeachment move to the floor of the House of Representatives, an agreement between House Democrats and the White House to move forward on the U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement, a truce declared in the budget battles (that had threatened to shut down the government once again), Democrats agreeing to the creation of the "Space Force" in exchange for paid family leave for federal workers, a tentative trade cease-fire declared with China, the Senate unanimously backing up the overwhelming vote in the House to declare the Armenian genocide for what it was, the release of an inspector general's report that totally debunked most of the conspiracy theories about the initiation of the counterintelligence operation at the edges of the 2016 Trump campaign, President Trump being forced to pay a $2 million fine for misuse of his own charitable foundation, and the House passing a landmark bill to fight the greed of drug companies by finally using the federal government's buying power to force lower prices on prescription medication. Again: all of these rather large things happened in a single week.

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Friday Talking Points -- And Here We Are

[ Posted Friday, November 22nd, 2019 – 19:30 UTC ]

That title comes from Fiona Hill's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment hearings this week. When Hill confronted Gordon Sondland over the quid pro quo Trump was forcing Ukraine into, she angrily told him: "This is all going to blow up." To which she added, to the congressmen questioning her: "And here we are."

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Friday Talking Points -- See You In The 'Burbs, Baby!

[ Posted Friday, November 8th, 2019 – 18:56 UTC ]

Republicans, it seems, are just never satisfied. First, they howled for a full House vote on impeachment. When the Democrats gave them one, they were not happy for some unfathomable reason. Then they demanded the end to "secret hearings" with no public transcripts. This week, Democrats began releasing all the transcripts to the public. When the first two were released, Republicans complained that the transcripts released were "cherry-picked." By week's end, all the major transcripts were released, putting the lie to this notion. Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham, in a snit, said that he wouldn't be reading the transcripts, for some unfathomable reason. Next week, public hearings will begin. So of course now Republicans are decrying the very idea of public hearings, for some unfathomable reason (President Trump: "They shouldn't be having public hearings."). It's almost as if Republicans don't care what they're complaining about as long as they get to complain about something. Hey, it's easier than trying to defend the indefensible, we suppose.

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The Trump Doctrine

[ Posted Thursday, October 17th, 2019 – 16:37 UTC ]

As I read the breaking news that Turkey has now agreed to a five-day ceasefire of its invasion into Syria, I couldn't help but think that this is yet another example of what might be called the Trump Doctrine. Unlike other presidential doctrines, however, this one works just as easily on domestic affairs as it does on foreign affairs. It's really nothing short of Trump's modus operandi, writ large.

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New Rule: No Repeat Debate Questions

[ Posted Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 – 16:29 UTC ]

I have a proposal for a new rule for the Democratic presidential debate moderators, going forward: no repeat questions should be allowed. It's a pretty simple idea, really. The moderators would be barred from asking the candidates questions that have already been asked in previous debates. After all, there are plenty of other subjects that have yet to be talked about, so why should voters be subjected to these re-run debate segments, over and over again?

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Friday Talking Points -- As The Clown Car Empties

[ Posted Friday, October 11th, 2019 – 17:22 UTC ]

The amusing thing about a circus clown car is, of course, that just when you think that itty-bitty car couldn't possibly vomit forth any more clowns... a few more climb out. That's what this week's news of the arrest of two "clients" of Rudy Giuliani (Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman) as they were attempting to flee the country certainly felt like.

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Should Pelosi Hold Impeachment Inquiry Vote?

[ Posted Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 17:20 UTC ]

The biggest question Nancy Pelosi will face next week, when the House of Representatives gets back from yet another multiweek vacation, will be whether or not to hold a full floor vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry that has already begun in various House committees. There are arguments to be made both pro and con on the issue, and so far Pelosi has been resisting the pressure to hold such a vote. President Donald Trump upped the stakes on this decision by claiming in a White House letter that he's not going to comply with any subpoena or request for interviews or documents until the House holds such a vote. But it's still an open question whether he would do so even with a floor vote for the impeachment inquiry, because if he stays true to form then he'll just manufacture another specious argument for why he is continuing to stonewall Congress.

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Pelosi Should Force Republicans To Vote On Presidential Ethics Bills

[ Posted Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 – 16:57 UTC ]

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is sure getting a lot of advice from the punditocracy right now. Mostly, over the last few days, this has focused on the question of whether she should or should not hold an impeachment inquiry vote on the House floor. I'm going to ignore that issue today (perhaps to be revisited in a later column) because I feel there are other strategy ideas worth exploring, as the Democrats chart their course through the choppy waters of impeachment.

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Xi, Who Pays The Piper, Calls The Tune

[ Posted Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 – 17:10 UTC ]

I don't think I've ever used this column to comment on the world of basketball, but there's always a first time for everything. The National Basketball Association is currently struggling with a conflict between free speech and making piles of money in China. It is a struggle that many American corporations have faced before, and it boils down to one basic fact: if you want China's money, then you have to play by their rules, period. Chairman Xi is paying the piper, so he gets to call the tune. The concept is clear, and nobody's forcing any company to do business with China, but if any American company does want to tap into their billion-person market, then they've got to follow the Chinese rules for doing business there. And most of those rules are antithetical to democratic norms, which makes perfect sense because China is an authoritarian state.

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Friday Talking Points -- Quid, Meet Quo

[ Posted Friday, October 4th, 2019 – 16:30 UTC ]

The impeachment whirlwind shows no signs of slowing down, and in fact each day brings more and more evidence that President Donald Trump is using American foreign policy as his own personal opposition research to undermine his Democratic political opponents. Which, of course, is an eminently impeachable offense.

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