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Archive of Articles in the "Syria" Category

Friday Talking Points [493] -- Colluding In Plain Sight

[ Posted Friday, July 20th, 2018 – 17:03 PDT ]

President Donald Trump is now openly colluding with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, in everyone's plain sight. That's an astonishing thing to type, but there is simply no other way to put it. Trump is now Putin's ultimate "useful idiot," to resurrect an old Cold War term. The subject of whether the president of the United States has just committed treason is now being seriously discussed. That's where we, as a nation, find ourselves at the present moment.

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Historical Presidential Strength Versus Trump's Weakness On Russia

[ Posted Thursday, July 19th, 2018 – 15:59 PDT ]

President Donald Trump, who never met a superlative he didn't love (when it describes him in glowing terms, of course), claimed after his disastrous performance in Helsinki this week that: "No president ever has been as tough as I have been on Russia." That's a pretty tall order, especially when many others are saying exactly the opposite -- that no American president has ever been as weak as Trump was this week towards Russia. John McCain even offered up his own lyrical superlative to describe what just took place: "No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant."

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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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OK, Now What?

[ Posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018 – 16:56 PDT ]

This is the fourth time in two weeks I've written about Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. And, at this point, I have to admit, I'm completely stumped. I have no idea what is going on, and no idea what to expect next. I suspect I am not alone in this position, either.

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Primaries To Watch

[ Posted Tuesday, May 8th, 2018 – 17:00 PDT ]

We are now exactly six months away from this year's midterm congressional elections. Today, four states are holding their primaries: Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia. This means the 2018 election season can be said to have already begun in earnest. There are two races everyone will be watching tonight, one on each side of the aisle. The Senate GOP primary in West Virginia is the more important of the two, but the Democratic governor's race in Ohio is also going to garner some attention.

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Friday Talking Points [481] -- Dazed And Confused

[ Posted Friday, April 20th, 2018 – 17:23 PDT ]

We don't know why that headline sounded like such a good idea on today, of all days. [Ahem.] But it somehow seemed appropriate when the week began with the Trump White House casually tossing Nikki Haley under the bus. Except, unlike most of the folks now residing down there with her, Haley pushed back on the cover story that she had just somehow "gotten confused."

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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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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 [473] -- Mueller's Busy Week

[ Posted Friday, February 23rd, 2018 – 18:28 PST ]

Bob Mueller has had a busy and productive week. His investigation is intensifying quickly, as it gains speed and moves closer and closer to the inner Trump circle. Just a week ago, Mueller's team dropped an indictment on 13 Russians for meddling in the 2016 election. By Tuesday, a previously-unmentioned lawyer reached a plea deal with Mueller. Yesterday, Mueller filed an indictment with 32 counts against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Today, Gates officially flipped, and pled guilty to two counts against him, conspiracy and lying to federal agents. Not just another #MuellerFriday, in other words, but a full-on #MuellerWeek. No word from President Trump's Twitter account yet (as of this writing), but if last weekend was any preview, it sure ought to be fun to see him flail around for the next few days as the noose gets tighter and tighter around his innermost circle.

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