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Archive of Articles in the "Politicians" Category

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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The Revival Of The Public Option: Medicare For All Who Want It

[ Posted Thursday, April 19th, 2018 – 17:12 PDT ]

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2018 midterm elections. Obamacare ceased being a liability for Democrats, and instead the overall subject of healthcare has now become a liability for the Republicans -- while becoming the Democrats' strongest campaign issue. How times change, eh?

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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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Welcome On Board, John Boehner!

[ Posted Thursday, April 12th, 2018 – 17:23 PDT ]

With just over a week to go before the annual "4/20" celebration of marijuana, former speaker of the House John Boehner just jumped on the legalization bandwagon. This is a rather extraordinary and stunning turn of events, since Boehner was pretty adamant about his opposition to any form of legalization while he was still in office (when he could have actually done some good), but he now says he has evolved on the issue. I, for one, am glad to take him at his word and welcome him on board the pro-legalization bandwagon. The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned.

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Après Ryan, Le Déluge

[ Posted Wednesday, April 11th, 2018 – 16:22 PDT ]

It's been a good week for quoting French kings, it seems -- and it's only mercredi! First there was Donald Trump's petulant response to his private lawyer (and reputed "fixer") getting raided by the feds: "It's an attack on our country, in a true sense." Many compared Trump's equation of his own personal legal troubles with an attack on the country at large to King Louis XIV's famous statement: "L'état, c'est moi." For Louis, this statement (essentially: "I am the state") was in large part true -- but not so much for Donald Trump. Trump (thankfully) is not an absolute monarch, so for him to say a federal investigation of his lawyer is "an attack on our country" is laughable, at best.

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You Are Not Facebook's Customer, You Are Their Product

[ Posted Monday, April 9th, 2018 – 16:19 PDT ]

There's an important distinction to make before Mark Zuckerberg sits down in front of Congress to answer questions about what Facebook is, what they do, and what they've been up to recently (that they really shouldn't have been). As more and more political scandals swirl around Facebook, and as Zuckerberg prepares to answer for his company's actions, both the congressmen who will be questioning him and the public at large need to understand something that has long been somewhat of a rule of thumb in Silicon Valley. Because anyone who uses an online service that is free should stop to consider this fact. You sign up for Facebook (or whatever other service or webpage) and you are not asked for any money. What this means is that you are not their customer, in the traditional sense, instead you are merely their product. You and your data are a commodity which the company monetizes and sells to whomever is willing to pony up some money to see it.

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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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Republicans Getting More Worried About The Blue Wave

[ Posted Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 – 17:13 PDT ]

Another Wednesday, another Democratic win in a special election to celebrate. That's the way it feels, at any rate, hearing the news from Wisconsin, where a liberal judge beat out an N.R.A.-supported conservative by a 12-point margin (56 percent to 44 percent). This follows on the heels of Conor Lamb's victory in Pennsylvania, and the incredible upset of Doug Jones over Roy Moore in Alabama. Throughout much of last year, special elections got Democrats fired up nationwide, only to fall short when the votes were counted (such as Jon Ossoff's painful loss in Georgia). But since November, this tide seems to have turned. Now Democrats are not just posting big gains but actually winning these elections, many in states and districts where they really should be losing big-time. Wisconsin's was the latest of these, although Wisconsin is admittedly more of a purple state than, say, Alabama.

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