Archive of Articles in the "The Constitution" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Democrats' Closing Midterm Argument

[ Posted Friday, October 19th, 2018 – 17:18 PDT ]

As usual, there was all sorts of idiocy in the political news last week. But, for a change, we're only going to skim lightly over most of it in an abbreviated weekly roundup, because we've got a special talking points section at the end, where we try our hand at writing a "closing argument" speech for all Democratic congressional candidates to consider using. So there's that to look forward to. Before that, though, let's take a very quick look at the week that was.

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Mob Mentality

[ Posted Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 – 16:48 PDT ]

The word "mob" was first coined circa 1690 A.D., as a shortening of a Latin phrase: "mobile vulgus." The Latin translates roughly as "the moveable common people," although "movable" could have meant "fickle in their opinions" as much as it could have meant actual physical motion. The most succinct translation into English I've seen is "moveable party." This points out the political nature of the term's origins and its continued usage over the centuries.

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SCOTUS Daydreaming

[ Posted Thursday, September 20th, 2018 – 16:53 PDT ]

[Editor's Note: At least once a year, usually during the silly season in August, I indulge in writing a summer daydream article. I am probably "borrowing" this theme from the comic strip Doonesbury, I fully admit, but when the political news is slow and the weather's hot sometimes it's fun to just indulge your inner "what if..." and spin it in a pleasant direction, just for the heck of it. Today, I choose to do so once again, because it would be so supremely justified. And, yes, "supremely" is the only possible term to use, really.]

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Friday Talking Points [499] -- The Constitutional Crisis Is Already Here

[ Posted Friday, September 7th, 2018 – 17:55 PDT ]

As we are occasionally wont to do, today's column will be nothing short of a rant. It just seemed like it was time for one, to us. There were two enormous stories in the world of politics this week: the Supreme Court confirmation hearings in the Senate, and the two bombshells about Trump revealed by Bob Woodward and an anonymous senior member of the Trump administration. All other political stories paled in significance.

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The Call Is Coming From Inside The House!

[ Posted Thursday, September 6th, 2018 – 16:51 PDT ]

That title is a classic horror show moment, so first allow me to properly cite it. In the movie When A Stranger Calls (1979), a frightened and terrified woman is told the threatening calls she's been getting are more than just close to home. The actual quote, from a policeman calling her up, is: "Jill, this is sergeant Sacker. Listen to me. We've traced the call... it's coming from inside the house. Now a squad car's coming over there right now, just get out of that house!" Younger readers may recognize it more from the spoof horror film Scream, which paid homage to the original. The horrific aspect of the line is that the danger is very close at hand, obviously. Which is why it is the perfect quote for the center ring of the Trump circus at this particular moment in time.

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Democrats Need To Keep Fighting Even If Kavanaugh Is Confirmed

[ Posted Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 – 18:18 PDT ]

I'm writing this while watching the Senate confirmation hearing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As usual for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, it is fascinating to watch. However, also as usual, it is likely going to be absolutely meaningless, because Republicans are going to have the votes to confirm him in the end. The [...]

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[ Posted Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 – 17:04 PDT ]

The Washington Post just unveiled a sneak peek at Bob Woodward's upcoming book about the Trump White House, and so far it looks pretty much exactly the same as every other peek inside the Trump White House. Chaos reigns, Donald Trump is patently unfit to hold the office, and his aides do their best to get important things done while refusing to follow the worst of the unbalanced and angry orders from their boss. As Chief of Staff John Kelly is quoted saying, it is "Crazytown."

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Is Manafort About To Flip?

[ Posted Tuesday, August 28th, 2018 – 16:48 PDT ]

Paul Manafort, now an eight-time convicted felon, could be considering cutting a deal with Bob Mueller to avoid his second (and more serious) federal trial. The Wall Street Journal (not exactly a left-wing news source) is reporting that Manafort's team already explored the possibility of such a plea deal during the four-day period when the jury in his first trial was still deliberating. The plea talks broke down and no deal emerged, but the fact that such a discussion took place at all shows that Manafort's legal team knows full well the serious jeopardy their client is in. Today it was also reported that Manafort's second trial will be delayed for one week, at the request of the defense. Could the extra week be to work out a plea deal before the second trial even begins? Speculation is running rampant on that very question.

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Defining Impeachable

[ Posted Monday, August 27th, 2018 – 16:48 PDT ]

Today's question is a purely academic one, for the time being. What constitutes an impeachable offense for a United States president? What rises to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors" and what falls short? The quick (but unsatisfying) answer to that is that anything that a majority of House members find impeachable is impeachable. This still leaves a lot of undefined territory, obviously, but it is indeed the only concrete standard that really exists.

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Elizabeth Warren's Swamp-Draining Bill

[ Posted Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 – 16:26 PDT ]

What with all the guilty pleas and verdicts for felony corruption in the news, it's hard for any other story to break through -- even one about a senator valiantly trying to end some of the most egregious forms of corruption in the nation's capital. Which is a shame, because Senator Elizabeth Warren's new bill deserves more attention than it has been getting -- maybe now more than ever.

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