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Archive of Articles in the "Populism" Category

Friday Talking Points [491] -- FART Act, Pruitt Out

[ Posted Friday, July 6th, 2018 – 16:55 PDT ]

We are (of course) not drawing any onomatopoetic comparisons to Scott Pruitt's last name with that title -- perish the thought! -- because it is merely a reference to two political stories which bookended this week. That's all. Ahem.
We begin with a little history. Benjamin Franklin was a funny guy, and was [...]

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Friday Talking Points [490] -- Full Court Press

[ Posted Friday, June 29th, 2018 – 17:04 PDT ]

Liberals had a very bad week at the Supreme Court last week. There's no denying it. Almost all of the final decisions of the year went against them, and that was before the news of Justice Anthony Kennedy's impending retirement hit Washington like a bombshell. Fears that President Donald Trump will pick an ultra-conservative to replace him mean that bedrock decisions such as Roe v. Wade are now hanging in the balance. Democrats are vowing to fight hard against the next justice's confirmation, but this is quite likely a fight they are going to lose.

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Progressives Have A Good Primary Night

[ Posted Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 – 16:31 PDT ]

I realize there is bigger news from the Supreme Court today, but since I wrote about them yesterday I'm not going to address Anthony Kennedy's retirement yet. Instead, I'd like to focus today on the latest round of primary election results, specifically from New York, Maryland, and Colorado. Because some big news was made within the Democratic Party last night.

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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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"Zero Tolerance" Legal And Political Fallout Will Continue

[ Posted Monday, June 25th, 2018 – 17:15 PDT ]

President Trump probably thought that a decisive move from him would end all the fuss over his "zero tolerance" policy on immigration. He signed an executive order, therefore the problem would thus go away. But this isn't how things work in the real world, where the fallout is going to continue for the foreseeable future. There will be two major arenas where this is going to play out: in the courtroom, and on the political stage.

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Friday Talking Points [489] -- Ranting About Trump's Cruelty

[ Posted Friday, June 22nd, 2018 – 18:20 PDT ]

For a change, we're not going to have much to say in this introduction. The reason is that the talking points section is taken up by a lengthy rant this week, because it seemed timely to offer one up. It is a rare week of the Trump presidency where there is really only one overriding issue in the political world to comment on, but this was indeed that kind of week.

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GOP's Glorious Immigration Week Lurches Along

[ Posted Thursday, June 21st, 2018 – 16:18 PDT ]

Well, we're almost to the end of the glorious Republican Immigration Reform Week. That was the original plan, at any rate -- Paul Ryan's House was supposed to pass an immigration reform bill containing all four pillars of Trump's stated immigration goals, and then the bill would then be sent over to the Senate, where Democrats would block it. This was supposed to give political cover for House Republicans on the midterm campaign trail, allowing them to claim "We tried to fix the problem!" all the while knowing that the entire thing was nothing short of a pointless political stunt.

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Trump Blinks

[ Posted Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 – 17:42 PDT ]

Today, Donald Trump signed an executive order to end his own policy of forcing the separation of children from families seeking asylum in America, because his initial position had become so untenable (indeed, downright unbelievable) that his political allies were fleeing like rats from a sinking ship. By this afternoon, there were plenty of other metaphors flying fast and thick: Trump blinked; he waved the white flag; he surrendered; he caved; he backed down; he threw in the towel; he bent to reality. Whichever you choose, the underlying reality is the same: President Donald Trump, in a rare occurrence, was forced today to take an action that proves both he and his aides have been flat-out lying to the American public for days on end. There's just no other way to look at it, and in fact it may be unprecedented for Trump. He's been telling anyone who would listen that he alone could not do anything, and that his hands were tied -- Congress would need to act. Now he has proved himself wrong on that front. He acted, which means he could have done so at any point if he truly had cared about the issue at all. What forced him to act was the overwhelmingly negative and relentless coverage he was receiving in the media, and the flight of his allies in the Republican Party. Today, this all became too much for Trump, so he did what he could have done all along, thus putting the lie to his voluminous statements to the contrary.

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Can House Republicans Explain Political Reality To Trump?

[ Posted Tuesday, June 19th, 2018 – 15:58 PDT ]

I would sincerely love to be a fly on the wall at tonight's summit meeting between President Donald Trump and the House Republicans. By the time you read this, the meeting will likely either be underway or already over, so it remains to be seen how much of what goes on will leak out. Indeed, one hopes for a surreptitious recording to be made public, but one doesn't always get what one hopes for (alas!). But no matter how many of the details leak, I'd be willing to bet that the meeting will be described as "a spirited discussion" by someone in attendance. The phrase will likely become unavoidable, really.

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Dianne Feinstein Leads The Way With "Keep Families Together Act"

[ Posted Monday, June 18th, 2018 – 15:56 PDT ]

Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill in the Senate which would end Donald Trump's cruel policy of separating children from their parents at the border. You might not have heard of this bill, which is in itself a messaging failure of both Feinstein and the rest of the Democrats. Feinstein did not appear on any of the Sunday political shows (at least, that I am aware of), and neither most of the media nor her fellow Democrats who did appear yesterday seem to have been aware of Feinstein's bill. The bill is S.3036, or the "Keep Families Together Act." As of this writing, all the Democrats in the Senate have signed on as cosponsors, but not a single Republican has yet done so.

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