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Archive of Articles in the "Privacy" Category

Jeff Sessions Brings Back Highway Robbery

[ Posted Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 – 17:17 PDT ]

That headline sounds like hyperbole or a metaphor, but sadly it is quite literal. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is bringing back a program which steals money and other valuables from people -- often while they're traveling -- and then refuses to give it back unless the victim sues to get it back in federal court. The costs of bringing a federal case often are more than the value of the property stolen, or "seized" as Sessions would put it. This all takes place even though the victim is never charged with any crime. Meaning the only crime here is the highway robbery by the government, even if they pretty it up with the name "asset forfeiture."

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Friday Talking Points [445] -- It's Raining Shoes!

[ Posted Friday, July 14th, 2017 – 17:13 PDT ]

In normal political crises, everyone waits for "the other shoe to drop." The Russia/Trump scandal was upgraded earlier this year (by Senator John McCain) to "a centipede, because there are so many shoes left to drop." We thought that was rather clever, at the time. But we've now entered a whole new realm of scandal -- one where it is simply raining shoes down from the sky. Americans can barely go outside before they are clobbered by a falling workboot. Somebody needs to design a much stronger umbrella to protect public safety, and quick!

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Junior's Smoking Gun

[ Posted Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 – 17:13 PDT ]

Donald Trump's story, up until now, has been that "there was no collusion with Russia" during his campaign. That is now -- as the Nixon White House used to say -- no longer an operative statement. The best they can now claim is that while such collusion was attempted, it ultimately wasn't successful. That's pretty weak, though, and with the shifting nature of the story even that may soon become impossible to claim. We'll have to wait and see where the next smoking gun points, before we find out what Trump's next party line will be.

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Friday Talking Points [444] -- To Insanity And Beyond!

[ Posted Friday, July 7th, 2017 – 16:52 PDT ]

Sometimes, even when reading professional journalism, you have to connect the dots on your own. This week both the president and the vice-president interacted with NASA, and the results were... well... kind of spacey.

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Travel Ban Ruling Mishmash

[ Posted Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 – 16:37 PDT ]

The Supreme Court just issued a ruling on Donald Trump's Muslim ban, and it is something of a political Rorschach test, because how you see it really depends on how you see politics in general. Trump, for instance, is claiming he won a total and sweeping victory. But so can the actual plaintiffs in the case -- the people who sued the Trump administration over the ban. The reason both sides can claim victory is that the ruling was issued on specific legal grounds, not political grounds. And legally, there was something for everyone, in a sort of a grand mishmash of an outcome.

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Friday Talking Points [442] -- Trump Did Not Deny Tapes Exist!

[ Posted Friday, June 23rd, 2017 – 17:26 PDT ]

Every so often, we have a certain reaction to a bit of political news. We then fully expect at least a few other political commentators to have the same reaction, only to be surprised when it seems that nobody else read things the way we did. This is precisely where we find ourselves over President Donald Trump's recent tweets, where he supposedly put the issue to rest of whether secret audio recordings were ever made in his White House. Everybody seems to be buying his spin, and nobody questioned the obvious loophole he left himself. Because if you read what he wrote and take it at face value (not reading more into it than he actually says), Trump still has not answered the question of whether such tapes exist or not. Not even close.

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The (Unrelated) Question I Want Sessions To Answer

[ Posted Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 – 17:08 PDT ]

This is going to be a disappointing column for some, since I'm not really going to get into my thoughts on the testimony Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered up this afternoon to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Before I feel ready to comment on that particular subject, I've got some research into the history of executive privilege to do (and I suspect I am not alone in that, I might add).

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Three Court Cases Worth Noting

[ Posted Monday, June 12th, 2017 – 17:11 PDT ]

There are three separate court cases which are making news today, so I thought it'd be worthwhile to take a quick look at all of them, to see the potential impact they might have. The three cases are in very different stages of completion. One was just filed in federal court. One got a just got a ruling from the Ninth Circuit of Appeals. And one is about to be ruled on by the Supreme Court. So let's take them one at a time.

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Friday Talking Points [440] -- Liar, Liar!

[ Posted Friday, June 9th, 2017 – 17:20 PDT ]

President Donald Trump and former F.B.I. chief James Comey engaged this week in an extended game of "Liar, liar!" Or, more properly: "Liar!" "No, you're a liar!" Yes, it was "Super Bowl" week in Washington, folks!

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The Curious Incident During Comey's Testimony

[ Posted Thursday, June 8th, 2017 – 18:01 PDT ]

On a day chock full of breaking news from Washington, it's rather extraordinary that one of the biggest stories was about something which didn't happen. Not unlike Sherlock Holmes noting the significance of the dog which did not bark in the night, one of the most astonishing things about this morning's congressional testimony by fired F.B.I. director James Comey was that President Donald Trump did not angrily tweet about it while it was happening. Yes, this is precisely where we now find ourselves as a nation -- it's a big story that the president didn't fly off the handle publicly, in reaction to seeing something he didn't like, on television.

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