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Archive of Articles in the "News" Category

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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McConnell's Big Gamble

[ Posted Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 – 15:26 PDT ]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is about to make a big legislative throw of the dice tomorrow, when he (finally) unveils the super-secret Senate Republican healthcare bill not only to the public, but also to the rest of his own caucus. It's a pretty big gamble for McConnell, since he has no way of knowing if he's got the votes to pass it or not. Either way -- whether successful or not -- McConnell says the effort will be over by the Independence Day holiday. Either they pass the bill, or the Senate will just move on to other agenda items.

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Deserved Or Not, Georgia House Race Will Have Consequences

[ Posted Monday, June 19th, 2017 – 16:21 PDT ]

After tomorrow night's special House election results in the sixth congressional district in Georgia ("GA-6") are known, there will be a bumper crop of political commentary attempting to explain "what it all means going forward." No matter what the outcome, dire consequences will be predicted for one side of the aisle or the other. Sweeping conclusions will be drawn and confident predictions made by pundits far and wide. In the end the GA-6 election may deserve all of this attention, but then again there's an equal chance that it may not. But deserved or not, there will be real political consequences in the medium-term, as one party or the other may radically shift its campaign strategy for the 2018 midterms based on tomorrow night's results. So it will wind up being a consequential election, even if all of the fulminating about "what it all means" turns out to be incorrect.

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Friday Talking Points [441] -- Happy Birthday, Mr. President

[ Posted Friday, June 16th, 2017 – 17:00 PDT ]

President Donald J. Trump turned 71 years old this week. He held a party and invited all his cabinet members, who were all allowed to sing his praises in a manner one reporter summed up as: "honestly this is like a scene from the Third World." The internet, of course, had a field day afterwards. But it's pretty easy to understand why Trump felt the need to hold a public ass-kissing event to celebrate. After all, pretty much all of his other birthday presents were stinkers.

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Condemning Terrorism

[ Posted Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 – 16:56 PDT ]

Today, there was a terrorist attack at a Virginia baseball field. That's a pretty simple sentence, but so far I haven't seen a whole lot of media reports which start by so clearly identifying what just took place. But the word cannot be shied away from in this fashion, because what just took place was indeed terrorism. The only other possible term would be "guerrilla warfare against the United States," but that doesn't really seem to fit a lone individual.

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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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Trump's Polling Remarkably Flat

[ Posted Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 – 17:25 PDT ]

That'd have to be my sum-up of Trump's polling numbers since the last time I looked at them. Trump has lost roughly a point in job approval, and has lowered his own floor to 39 percent from 40 percent. But once the initial slide happened, Trump has had one of the most stable polling periods he's ever seen -- his polls for the past few weeks are almost perfectly flat, with both his job approval number and his job disapproval rating falling within a range of a single point for the whole time. For Trump, that's an achievement.

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Let Trump Be Trump, Kellyanne

[ Posted Monday, June 5th, 2017 – 15:25 PDT ]

Kellyanne Conway is right -- the media obsesses over presidential tweets from Donald Trump. What she fails to understand, though, is that there's a very good reason for this obsession. Trump tweets make news because they are newsworthy. If Trump tweets were bland and boring repetitions of White House policy, pre-vetted by the communications team, then it's likely nobody would pay any attention to them. But they're not. They are, as one interviewer pointed out to Kellyanne this morning, Trump's preferred method of communication to the American public. And what he's got to say makes news because nobody else in the administration can speak for Trump.

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