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Archive of Articles in the "Russia" Category

The End Of The Castro Era

[ Posted Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 – 16:32 PDT ]

Cuba is about to go through only its second transfer of power since its revolution. For the first time in my lifetime, this will mean a Castro won't be running Cuba. For almost six full decades, Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl ran the island in what amounted to a communist cult of personality. For the first time since the 1950s, Cubans are about to have a government without a Castro in charge. It is the end of an era, in other words.

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Assessing The Raid On Syria

[ Posted Monday, April 16th, 2018 – 18:01 PDT ]

This weekend, the United States, France, and Great Britain launched an airstrike on Syria which involved a little over 100 cruise missiles fired at three targets, all stated to be involved with Syria's chemical weapons program. This was a retaliatory strike, in reaction to a chemical weapons attack the United States claims was launched by Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad. Doing so crossed the American "red line" and thus had to be punished.

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Friday Talking Points [480] -- Unnecessary Immature Potshots

[ Posted Friday, April 13th, 2018 – 18:09 PDT ]

James Comey's long-awaited tell-all book is out (to reviewers) and Republicans from the Oval Office on down are already freaking out. So far, the winner of the "most hilariously ironic attempt at spin" award is unquestionably Kellyanne Conway. Conway, of course, absolutely personifies one of the lyrics from Trump's favorite Rolling Stones song ("You Can't Always Get What You Want"), as she easily could have been the inspiration for the line: "She was practiced at the art of deception." In an article about the White House's reaction to the book, Conway was quoted dismissing the book as "a revisionist view of history" and (even more hilariously) accused Comey of taking "unnecessary immature potshots." The ironic part? The very same article begins with: "President Trump lashed out Friday at former F.B.I. director James B. Comey on Twitter, calling him a 'weak and untruthful slime ball' who deserved to be fired 'for the terrible job he did.' " So Comey's book was full of "unnecessary immature potshots," but calling a former F.B.I. director a "weak and untruthful slime ball" is downright presidential. Got it, Kellyanne. Oh, and there's a bridge in New York City we'd like to sell you, too.

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Getting Closer To Trump By The Day

[ Posted Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 – 16:23 PDT ]

Federal agents just searched the homes and offices of the personal lawyer of the president of the United States. That is an extraordinary thing to say, but then we live in extraordinary times. The search warrant would not have been granted unless probable cause existed that Michael Cohen had participated in a crime. Furthermore, that subpoenas would not be effective in securing proof of this crime or crimes, therefore a no-knock warrant was necessary (in other words, to prevent Cohen from destroying evidence). But make no mistake about it, the real target of this search was Donald Trump himself. Because the federal investigations (plural) are getting closer and closer to Trump by the day.

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Friday Talking Points [479] -- Welcome To The Trump Trade War

[ Posted Friday, April 6th, 2018 – 18:33 PDT ]

First, Donald Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum. Then China reacted with $3 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods (mostly farm goods -- fruit, nuts, and pork). Trump hit back with the threat of tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. The Chinese, not to be outdone, announced that if this happens they'll be slapping their own tariffs on $50 billion in American goods -- most notably, soybeans. Trump then tripled down, announcing further tariffs on $100 billion of Chinese goods. So begins the great Sino-American trade war of 2018. Or, as we like to call it, the Trump trade war. Why not give proper credit where it is due, after all?

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Friday Talking Points [478] -- Seeking Lead Lawyer For Difficult Client

[ Posted Friday, March 30th, 2018 – 17:22 PDT ]

By Trumpian standards, this has been a relatively quiet week. After all, the president only fired a single cabinet secretary, and zero high-ranking aides! Plus, Trump hasn't attacked Stormy Daniels on Twitter even once, after her bombshell interview on 60 Minutes last Sunday. For Trump, this shows some newfound restraint.

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Friday Talking Points [477] -- Read The Bill!

[ Posted Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – 18:00 PDT ]

Add this week in Congress to the enormous mountain of steaming Republican hypocrisy, we suppose. Remember back when Republicans got their knickers in such a big twist over Democrats passing lengthy bills without adequate time for congressmen to understand? When the Affordable Care Act passed, some Republicans even chanted "Read the bill!" in protest during the vote. Those were the days, eh? When Republicans retook Congress, they did so in part on a promise that every bill would have a 72-hour period between when it was released publicly and when the vote would happen, in both chambers of Congress. That statement, as they say in Washington, is no longer operative. The Republican-led Congress just passed a 2,200-plus page omnibus budget bill mere hours after the text was released (the House voted 17 hours after the bill was filed, which fell 55 hours short of their promise). Neither the House nor the Senate got anywhere near three days to read the bill. Which is one more big dump on top of the rest of "GOP Hypocrisy Mountain," raising it to new malodorous heights.

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Friday Talking Points [476] -- "Everybody Fears The Perp Walk"

[ Posted Friday, March 16th, 2018 – 17:06 PDT ]

This week's episode of As The White House Turns opened with a shock -- the handsome Rex was ousted by a tweet! How embarrassing! Then his buddy backed up his story, and he was immediately fired, too. Out West, an official administration spokesman quit in disgust over being asked to blatantly lie to the media. Then Trump's body man was frogmarched off White House grounds, over reports he was a gambler fond of making five-figure bets. By week's end, H. R. was teetering on the brink of extinction as well. Will he be pushed over the edge this weekend? Who will be the next to go? Will it be sleepy-eyed Ben? Or General John? Will Andy be fired mere hours before he can retire with a full pension? Tune in next week to find out! The answers will astound you!

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Friday Talking Points [475] -- Stormy Weather

[ Posted Friday, March 9th, 2018 – 19:00 PST ]

This week, porn star Stormy Daniels sued the president, to nullify the hush agreement between them which resulted in her getting paid $130,000 hush money mere weeks before the 2016 election.

We will now take a pause for everyone to consider exactly what would be happening right now in Washington if this story was exactly the same except for the name "President Barack Obama." Just imagine what the response would have been from congressional Republicans! Especially if the porn star were white.

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Friday Talking Points [474] -- "Trade Wars Are Good!" (As Hope Leaves The Building)

[ Posted Friday, March 2nd, 2018 – 18:18 PST ]

Once again, it is the end of another fun week at the White House. Let's see, we had the president's son-in-law stripped of his top secret security clearance (right as two brand new Jared Kushner scandals were revealed, just as icing on the cake). We had a cabinet member in hot water over buying a $31,000 table for his office, assumably so he could be more comfortable while slashing billions of dollars for poor people. The top North Korea expert at the State Department quit, out of frustration with Trump's incoherent policies. Trump met with the N.R.A., but then seemed to agree with everything Democrats proposed during a meeting on gun control -- after which, the N.R.A. met with Trump again in a desperate move to yank him back to their extreme positions. We had Trump smacking his own attorney general around again, and amusingly learned that Trump sometimes calls him "Mr. Magoo" behind his back. Trump so annoyed the president of Mexico in a phone call that he cancelled a planned meeting with Trump in Washington. We had Russia announce a new nuclear arms race, and Trump announce a new trade war -- apparently because he was so annoyed at all the other bad news that he wanted to create some of his own. After the inevitable pushback, he insisted on Twitter that "Trade wars are good, and easy to win!" Well, we're all about to find out, aren't we? And to cap the week off, one of Trump's closest advisors, Hope Hicks, testified before Congress that her job required her to tell "white lies" to the public on a regular basis. The next day, she announced she was leaving the White House.

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