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Archive of Articles in the "Privacy" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Republicans Show Their True Colors

[ Posted Friday, January 27th, 2023 – 17:58 UTC ]

President Joe Biden gave a speech this week on the state of the American economy. On his watch, the economy has greatly improved as we all dug ourselves out of the pandemic recession together. So Biden deserves a victory lap. He also used the speech to draw a stark comparison between Democrats responsibly steering the economy and Republicans who apparently are salivating at the prospect of blowing it all up.

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The Plot Thickens

[ Posted Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 – 16:35 UTC ]

This is all what should have happened last August. Also, at this point it's hard not to think: "Who's next? Jimmy Carter? Dan Quayle?" In fact, it's hard for me not to picture in my head right now the image of Attorney General Merrick Garland standing on a stage behind Oprah Winfrey, who is yelling into her microphone: "You get a special counsel... and you get a special counsel!... and YOU get a special counsel!!!"

This was my initial (and admittedly, rather giddy) reaction when the news broke that Mike Pence also had some classified documents in his possession, long after he should have turned them over to the National Archives. This complicates an already-complicated storyline, since Pence is now the third ex-president or ex-vice-president to have seemingly walked off with classified documents stuffed in a box with all the other papers they took with them when leaving office. And then nobody ever looked in the boxes until now -- at least in the cases of former Vice President Mike Pence and current President (but former Vice President and Senator, from when the documents were reportedly dated) Joe Biden. In the case of former President Donald Trump, the boxes at least should have been looked into, since he had already received and answered a subpoena for all documents marked classified.

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Friday Talking Points -- Biden's First Two Years

[ Posted Friday, January 20th, 2023 – 18:27 UTC ]

Two years ago today, Joseph Robinette Biden Junior was sworn in as the nation's 46th president. So how is he doing at his job? His approval rating in public opinion polls has generally improved since the midterm elections, hitting numbers he hasn't seen in a year. But those numbers are still south of 45 percent (on average), which is fairly common for a first-term president but certainly nothing to brag about.

Biden has had some notable successes as president, and some notable rocky patches as well. He entered office as the COVID-19 vaccines were becoming widely and freely available, and things seemed rosy on this front for his first year, only to get a lot grimmer as the Omicron strain hit much harder than any of the previous variants of the virus. All of a sudden we weren't done with COVID-19 and life didn't return to normal as expected. But since then, the virus has become almost an afterthought and didn't matter much to voters in the midterms (even though it had been predicted that it would be a major issue).

Biden's legislative accomplishments are more impressive than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson. True, Biden did have a Democratic Senate and House to work with, but both of those had historically-slender majorities -- L.B.J., for instance, had as many as 68 Democratic senators to work with. Biden only had 50 -- including two who loved the media spotlight so much they didn't care if they torpedoed Biden's agenda in major ways. Biden also managed to pass some major bills with bipartisan support, which is almost miraculous, these days.

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The Republican Party Is Now Officially Amoral

[ Posted Wednesday, January 18th, 2023 – 16:51 UTC ]

Jerry Falwell must be spinning in his grave. For those that don't remember the era, in the 1980s, Falwell was at the forefront of the movement to instill his brand of Christianity into American politics, which at the time mostly meant influencing conservatives and Republicans. This was far enough back when "conservative" and "Republican" weren't as 100 percent interchangeable as they are today, I should point out. Falwell created his own group and called it the "Moral Majority" -- a name meant to highlight what he (obviously) believed was an amoral minority who had become too powerful in American politics. Moralism and being holier-than-thou were the watchwords of the day. Republicans would use all sorts of moral issues (today we'd call them "culture war" issues) as a big wedge to shame Democratic liberals and get more Republicans elected to office. This was long before the moralistic frenzy surrounding Bill Clinton -- that all came later. This is also what laid the groundwork for Republicans painting themselves as taking the moral high road while Democrats collapsed into degenerate "secular humanism." Those days, quite obviously, are gone. Because today's Republican Party is about as amoral as can be imagined -- far beyond the caricature of the godless liberals Falwell painted back in the day. Today's Republicans simply do not care one whit about morals -- any morals at all, it seems.

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Biden Needs To Speak

[ Posted Tuesday, January 17th, 2023 – 16:46 UTC ]

President Biden is a good politician in many ways, but there is one area where he can be rather weak at times -- reacting quickly to developing events. Something major happens, the news media makes a big deal out of it, and then the White House takes an interminable amount of time to react -- even when they were warned ahead of time. The most obvious example of this was the Dobbs Supreme Court decision which overturned Roe v. Wade. Not only was the decision expected, but it had been telegraphed a month earlier by a leaked opinion draft (a rarity for the Supreme Court). But even given this head-start, the Biden administration was slow to react and took days before even deciding upon any real course of action. Currently, Biden is slow-walking his reaction to the scandal of classified documents being found at his former workplace and home. And so far, the drip-drip-drip of news has been met with a very weak and inadequate response from the White House.

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Friday Talking Points -- Joe's Garage

[ Posted Friday, January 13th, 2023 – 17:43 UTC ]

With apologies to Frank Zappa, this week's big political story might be summed up as coming from "Joe's garage." But we'll get to all of that in a moment, down in the awards section (it shouldn't be any mystery which one he's going to get). First, though, let's take a look at the other momentous things that happened during the past week.

This column, of course, measures weeks from Friday afternoon to Friday afternoon. As we were writing last week, the House of Representatives was still deadlocked over who would become the next speaker. This continued far into the night, until Kevin McCarthy finally emerged victorious. Weakened, bloodied, diminished... but finally victorious.

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The Big Difference

[ Posted Thursday, January 12th, 2023 – 16:55 UTC ]

Attorney General Merrick Garland has now announced the appointment of a special counsel to look into President Joe Biden's apparent mishandling of classified documents. This bombshell hit the political world earlier today and everyone has been furiously reacting ever since. Personally, when we first heard the news (earlier in the week) that an organization that Biden created (after he left office as Barack Obama's vice president) had turned over classified documents to the National Archives, we took a "wait and see" approach to writing about it. Now that the other shoe has dropped in a dramatic way, though, it's time for some reactions.

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My 2022 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Friday, December 23rd, 2022 – 19:51 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second of our year-end awards columns! And if you missed it last Friday, go check out [Part 1] as well.

As always, this is long. Horrendously long. Insanely long. It takes a lot of stamina to read all the way to the end. You have been duly warned! But because it is so long, we certainly don't want to add any more here at the start, so let's just dive in, shall we?

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Trump's Taxes To Be Released

[ Posted Tuesday, December 20th, 2022 – 18:06 UTC ]

As I write this, the news is just coming in from the House Ways and Means Committee -- Donald Trump's tax returns will be sent to the full House, meaning they will become public record.

I've been waiting all day to hear the outcome, and reading arguments both for and against this release in the media. And I have to say, the arguments for keeping Trump's tax returns private don't seem very convincing.

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My 2022 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Friday, December 16th, 2022 – 18:45 UTC ]

Welcome to the first installment of our year-end awards!

As always, we must begin with a stern warning: this is an incredibly long article. So long you likely won't make it to the end, at least not in one sitting. It is, as it always is, a marathon not a sprint.

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