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Archive of Articles in the "Privacy" Category

Maybe Now Congress Will Act On Marijuana Banking Reform?

[ Posted Monday, August 20th, 2018 – 17:16 PDT ]

Over two decades after California legalized medical marijuana (becoming the first of many states to do so), Congress has still refused to act in any way to admit the fact that the times they are a-changin' on marijuana law. Six years after Colorado and Washington became the first two states to outright legalize recreational use for adults, Congress still refuses to act. In the meantime, marijuana has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry, and as with every other multibillion-dollar industry (especially agricultural ones -- remember all those "Got Milk?" ads?), it has begun spending money on lobbying politicians. So far it's a relative drop in the bucket -- total marijuana lobbying this year is only a relatively paltry million dollars -- but one story today may eventually have a ripple effect that (hopefully) will end with Congress admitting the new reality of the existence of the state-legal marijuana industry. In a way, it's a sad commentary on our political system, where as we all know money talks quite loudly. But that's a discussion for another day, really. The system is what it is, and if in some way it spurs the otherwise-somnolent legislators into doing the right thing for once, then that at least will be a desirable outcome.

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Has Michael Cohen Already Flipped On Trump?

[ Posted Monday, July 9th, 2018 – 15:16 PDT ]

Last week, there was much speculation among politics-watchers over whether Michael Cohen was possibly on the brink of flipping on Donald Trump. This would be big news, of course, since Cohen himself regularly described himself as "Trump's fixer," meaning he probably knows where a whole lot of metaphorical bodies were buried from the Trump organization's various antics and shenanigans over the past decade or so. One week later, I can't help but wonder if that point has already passed. Perhaps the question now isn't whether Cohen will flip sometime soon -- but whether he already has.

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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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"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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Friday Talking Points [488] -- Suffer The Little Children

[ Posted Friday, June 15th, 2018 – 18:20 PDT ]

Fox News unwittingly (how else?) spoke a deep truth this week. Or perhaps a deep fantasy -- it's tough to tell, coming from Fox anchors. As President Trump descended the stairs from Air Force One in Singapore, Fox And Friends gushed: "This is history. Regardless of what happens in that meeting between the two dictators, what we are seeing right now -- this is history." Um... how many dictators was that, again? The host later tried to walk back her unintentional gaffe, but is it really all that far off the mark?

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