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Archive of Articles in the "Iran" Category

Friday Talking Points [448] -- Rogue Elephants!

[ Posted Friday, August 4th, 2017 – 17:39 PDT ]

As time goes by, more and more elephants in Washington seem to be going rogue. By this, we mean that resistance to Donald Trump is growing... within the Republican Party. Just last week, three GOP senators (Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain) denied Trump his sought-after "repeal and replace Obamacare" bill. Senator David Perdue from Georgia summed it up as: "We had three chairmen who went rogue on the Republican caucus and cost us this vote." Since then, other elephants have been going rogue at an increasing rate.

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Congress Unifies... Against Trump

[ Posted Thursday, August 3rd, 2017 – 17:23 PDT ]

President Donald Trump finally got a major piece of legislation to sign. However, he wasn't too thrilled about it and I doubt he'll be bragging much about it in the future. Because while it could be called a rather stunning bipartisan congressional victory, it certainly wasn't any sort of political victory for Trump. Unless you count "unifying Congress... against Trump," which I kind of doubt he would.

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Friday Talking Points [447] -- Donald Trump, Loser

[ Posted Friday, July 28th, 2017 – 17:17 PDT ]

It was just another week in Trumpland, folks. By that we mean more scandalous behavior and bumbling incompetence packed into one single week than most White House administrations show during an entire term of office. The week really began with the news last Friday that Sean Spicer had decided to quit, upon hearing that Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci was to be his new boss. The week ended (the news is breaking even as we write this) that Trump is sacking his chief of staff, Reince Priebus. During the week, Trump also tried his darndest to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to quit in frustration, while rumors appeared that Rex Tillerson is planning his "Rexit" as well. For good measure, Mooch fired an underling of his, and then just threatened to fire his entire department if he couldn't figure out who was doing all the leaking. In other words, it's getting kind of crowded beneath the Trump bus, as more and more people are casually thrown under it (and as the wheels begin to come off entirely). Just another wacky week at the Trump White House, in other words. Maybe Reince got tired of all the winning?

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Post-ISIS Strategy Needed In Both Iraq And Syria

[ Posted Monday, July 10th, 2017 – 17:54 PDT ]

Within days, the Iraqi city of Mosul will be declared completely liberated from the Islamic State. Within weeks (a few months, at most), the battle for Raqqa in Syria will also be over, driving the Islamic State from their biggest strongholds within their self-proclaimed caliphate. Much will be made of these two victories on American television, no doubt. Both victories were long-planned and hard-fought, so the celebrations will indeed be well-earned. Today it was reported that the celebrations in Mosul have already begun. But the fall of Mosul and Raqqa mean that the fight against the Islamic State will have truly entered its end stage, in both Iraq and Syria. What Americans should be asking during this period is what are we going to do after the Islamic State becomes truly stateless? A military and diplomatic strategy needs to be in place when this happens, and so far few in Washington seem to want to address it.

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Travel Ban Ruling Mishmash

[ Posted Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 – 16:37 PDT ]

The Supreme Court just issued a ruling on Donald Trump's Muslim ban, and it is something of a political Rorschach test, because how you see it really depends on how you see politics in general. Trump, for instance, is claiming he won a total and sweeping victory. But so can the actual plaintiffs in the case -- the people who sued the Trump administration over the ban. The reason both sides can claim victory is that the ruling was issued on specific legal grounds, not political grounds. And legally, there was something for everyone, in a sort of a grand mishmash of an outcome.

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Friday Talking Points [441] -- Happy Birthday, Mr. President

[ Posted Friday, June 16th, 2017 – 17:00 PDT ]

President Donald J. Trump turned 71 years old this week. He held a party and invited all his cabinet members, who were all allowed to sing his praises in a manner one reporter summed up as: "honestly this is like a scene from the Third World." The internet, of course, had a field day afterwards. But it's pretty easy to understand why Trump felt the need to hold a public ass-kissing event to celebrate. After all, pretty much all of his other birthday presents were stinkers.

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Senate Votes To Take Power Away From Trump

[ Posted Thursday, June 15th, 2017 – 16:42 PDT ]

With a near-unanimous vote, the Senate just issued a rather strong rebuke to President Donald Trump, telling him that they simply do not trust him to handle sanctions against Russia. If the bill clears the House with a similar overwhelming majority, then Congress will assume control over America's foreign policy towards Russia and leave both the president and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with a very limited ability to change the situation. That's a pretty stunning rebuke to a sitting president. Especially by a Congress controlled by his own party.

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Three Court Cases Worth Noting

[ Posted Monday, June 12th, 2017 – 17:11 PDT ]

There are three separate court cases which are making news today, so I thought it'd be worthwhile to take a quick look at all of them, to see the potential impact they might have. The three cases are in very different stages of completion. One was just filed in federal court. One got a just got a ruling from the Ninth Circuit of Appeals. And one is about to be ruled on by the Supreme Court. So let's take them one at a time.

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Islamic State's State Nearing An End

[ Posted Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 – 17:06 PDT ]

The Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) always differed from other radical Islamist movements in their willingness to create a "caliphate," or a geographical state of their own. At their strongest, they swept through large portions of Iraq and Syria, taking over and holding territory that at one point reached almost to the outskirts of Baghdad. But we are now at the point where the end is in sight for the group's territorial holdings. The opponents of the Islamic State have been rolling back their borders and soon will liberate all of the Islamic State's territory. The aftermath, both for the Islamic State and for the territories involved, is going to be even more complicated than the fighting has so far been. But it's now time to consider what will happen when the Islamic State no longer has a state.

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From The Archives -- The How-Many-Years' War

[ Posted Monday, May 29th, 2017 – 17:10 PDT ]

Being in the midst of history sometimes mean events are not seen in the "big picture" view that historians often later take, when looking back at the period. Case in point: what will America's ongoing war eventually be known as? To date, we've been at war since October 2001, or a mind-boggling period of 15 years. This war was initially called "The Global War On Terror" by the Bush administration, which lumped in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq with all the skirmishes in various other North African and Middle East countries. The Obama administration has dropped the term, but they've never really replaced it with anything else. But what I wonder this Memorial Day is what it will be called in the future. Right now, it'd be the "Fifteen Years' War" -- but few expect all conflicts will end by the time the next president is sworn in, so eventually that number will likely be higher.

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