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Archive of Articles in the "Iran" Category

My 2018 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Friday, December 28th, 2018 – 19:12 PST ]

Welcome back to the second part of our year-end awards column! For those who may have missed it, check out Part 1 from last week to see the awards we've already handed out.

But since these columns are always not only monstrously but downright scroll-bar-defyingly long, let's just dive right back into the 2018 McLaughlin awards, shall we?

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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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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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Democrats Need To Campaign More On Judicial Picks

[ Posted Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 – 17:21 PDT ]

Gerald R. Ford once famously pointed out that the practical definition of what constituted grounds for impeaching a president (since it is only vaguely defined in the Constitution itself) consisted of whatever a majority of the House of Representatives decided were valid grounds for impeachment (Ford, on the House floor, before he became Nixon's vice president: "The only honest answer is that an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history"). Likewise, it almost appears self-evident that defining what is constitutional and what is not can be similarly reduced to whatever a majority of the Supreme Court decides is constitutional, at the present time. Dred Scott was constitutional -- right up until it wasn't -- because a Supreme Court had determined it was. It took a shift of opinion on the highest court to reverse this. Again, this should all be pretty obvious to even the most causal observer of American history. Which is why, in fact, the conservative movement has focused so intently on the judicial branch for the past three decades and more. This began at the height of the anti-abortion movement during Ronald Reagan's time in office, and it continues today on the right side of the spectrum. But for some unfathomable reason, liberals have never matched this level of political fervor about judicial appointments. But now the stakes are higher than ever.

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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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Friday Talking Points [487] -- Trump Hands Democrats Enormous Midterm Gift

[ Posted Friday, June 8th, 2018 – 18:08 PDT ]

As usual, there was a whole lot of political news this week, as President Trump continues to flail his way around the world in multiple unhinged ways. But this week, our eye was caught by the story that the Trump Justice Department has announced it is now conspiring to hand Democrats the midterm elections. Maybe Trump should appoint a special prosecutor to look into or something?

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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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Friday Talking Points [485] -- "If You Change Your Mind..."

[ Posted Friday, May 25th, 2018 – 17:22 PDT ]

We've always been planning a meeting with Eastasia. What's that? Oh, wait... we've never been planning a meeting with Eastasia. Any suggestion of such a meeting has been tossed down the memory hole -- along with the commemorative coins we prematurely minted to celebrate it.

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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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