Archive of Articles in the "Free Speech" Category

Porn Star Sues President

[ Posted Thursday, March 8th, 2018 – 18:01 PST ]

When you sit back and think about it, that is a rather extraordinary headline. Or, at the very least, it should be. These days, though, not so much. In fact, the story of Donald Trump allegedly paying $130,000 hush money -- to a porn star weeks before the election so she would keep quiet about their alleged affair, which took place either while Trump's third wife was pregnant or just after the birth of the baby (or both) -- was largely ignored for the past few months, due to so many other chaotic crises taking place simultaneously within the White House. It will be hard for future historians to grasp, but the story of hush money paid off to a porn star actually struggled to gain traction in the national news. And that is even more extraordinary than the story itself. But then that's life in the Trump era, folks.

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Friday Talking Points [472] -- Infrastructure Week!

[ Posted Friday, February 16th, 2018 – 18:04 PST ]

Before we get to all the rest of the news, here's an interesting anniversary: it has been exactly one year since Trump's last solo press conference. In all the time he's been president, he has held a grand total of precisely one press conference, a month after he was sworn in. So what is he afraid of?

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Friday Talking Points [471] -- Trump's Kim Jong Un Envy

[ Posted Friday, February 9th, 2018 – 18:25 PST ]

There's an old joke in Washington that the press knows how to ask politicians questions that can't be answered in any acceptable way. The classic example, of course, is: "So, Senator, have you stopped beating your wife?" This week, however, the Trump White House has been getting a variant: "So, how long was a wife-beater who couldn't get a security clearance allowed to work for the president, and why?"

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Leader Time

[ Posted Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 – 17:39 PST ]

As I write this, Nancy Pelosi has been speaking for something like seven straight hours on the floor of the House of Representatives. Historians are scurrying to comb through the House archives, and some are already calling it the longest such speech ever delivered on the House floor. It's not technically a filibuster (which only happen in the Senate), instead Pelosi is exploiting a parliamentary loophole known as "leader time" -- which allows party leaders to speak uninterrupted. Minority Leader Pelosi has been doing so since 10:00 in the morning, Eastern time, and so far shows no signs of stepping down.

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Two Presidents, On Treason

[ Posted Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 – 17:42 PST ]

Senator Tammy Duckworth, a woman who lost her legs in service to her country (as a military helicopter pilot, in Iraq), just taught everyone an important history lesson.

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Friday Talking Points [469] -- A Crazed Definition Of Modern Womanhood

[ Posted Friday, January 26th, 2018 – 18:58 PST ]

American women were in the news this week in a big way, on both sides of the political aisle. Last weekend, millions of women took to the streets to protest, once again, Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office. By the end of the week, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri was making headlines for his rather Neanderthal views on, as he put it, "modern womanhood."

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

[ Posted Monday, January 15th, 2018 – 18:26 PST ]

I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when twenty-two million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award in behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice.

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Friday Talking Points [467] -- Our Racist President

[ Posted Friday, January 12th, 2018 – 18:17 PST ]

The mainstream media crossed two cultural lines this week, in reaction to one of the most offensive things any American president has ever been caught saying. The first line crossed was to overrule the censors. Standards and practices can't complain when a word used on the news is a direct quote from the president, after all. That would be censorship of a different (and darker) type. Still, last night we were rather surprised to here a reporter on the evening NBC news broadcast actually use the word "shithole." No bleeping, no asterisks, just: here is what the president called some African countries. On broadcast (i.e., non-cable) television, at 5:30 P.M. (not some late-night broadcast, in other words). That is a first in America, to be sure. The Washington Post used Trump's unexpurgated, unbowdlerized quote in so many headlines today it was tough to keep an accurate count.

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My 2017 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Friday, December 22nd, 2017 – 18:52 PST ]

Sadly, for the first time, we really have to explain our title. It used to be rather self-evident, but then it's been more than a year since The McLaughlin Group went off the air, after the death of host John McLaughlin.

The show was a political chatfest and ran for decades. Regulars such as Clarence Page and Pat Buchanan used to face off every week on all sorts of subjects, but at the end of the year they put on two special awards shows.

Long ago, we decide to write our own suggestions in an homage (which is so much nicer than "in a blatant ripoff of their bit," don't you think?). We've done so for over a decade now (there's a list of links to all of these at the end of this article, for anyone interested in past awards given).

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Friday Talking Points [464] -- Ending GOP Whataboutism

[ Posted Friday, December 8th, 2017 – 18:28 PST ]

In the same week that Time magazine gave its "Person Of The Year" award to the #MeToo movement, three members of Congress resigned because of it. The last week anything similar happened, according to historians, was during the Civil War, over the issue of slavery. On a single day in January of 1861, five senators resigned (as their states seceded from the Union). One historian noted: "If you look over the history of the 20th century in Congress, there just is no comparable event."

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