On March 3, US president Donald Trump spoke (via telephone) with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, chief of the Taliban's Doha diplomatic office and signer, on behalf of his organization, of the recently-concluded Afghanistan "peace deal."

"The direct contact between an American president and a top Taliban leader would once have been unthinkable," writes Michael Crowley at the New York Times.

Writing at the Florida Politics blog, AG Gancarski reports on three sales-tax "holiday" bills working their way through the state's legislature. Two of the bills would lengthen existing holidays on school supplies and storm-preparedness products. The third would expand the holiday habit to hunting and fishing items.

According to selected members of the "US intelligence community" ("selected" for their loyalty to, and willingness to promote the line of, the Democratic Party establishment), Vladimir Putin and the Russian government just love them some Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Can't get enough of 'em. If November is a Trump/Sanders shoot-out, the Kremlin wins either way.

Back in 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump promised that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall. Turns out Mexico wasn't interested, so Trump eventually resorted to declaring fake emergencies and illegally misappropriating money from the military budget.

As a political junkie, I get lots of e-mail pleas from politicians and political advocacy groups. Today, I got one from US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Well, not exactly. That's what the "from" header said, but the message was signed "Team AOC" and delivered via Daily Kos.

On January 15, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. According to the US Constitution, that makes the ERA part of "the supreme law of the land."

In early 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump pronounced himself "neutral" in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. He also expressed pessimism that a deal between the two sides was even possible: "I have friends of mine that are tremendous business-people, that are really great negotiators, [and] they say it's not doable."

Nicholas Sarwark is father to four pre-teen children. In his response to the State of the Union, delivered on behalf of the Libertarian Party (which he serves as national chair), he mentions that each of them are in debt to the tune of $70,633. "Not because we gave them credit cards to go buy cars," he explains, but "because politicians in Washington have a credit card called the national debt."

As I write this, US president Donald Trump has yet to deliver his 2020 State of the Union address. For two reasons, we don't have to wait for that speech, or for the Democratic response, to discuss the state of the union.

First, we know that he'll say what presidents always say (the state of the union is strong, etc, because of his policies) and that the Democratic response will be the standard opposition party response (the state of the union would be better if we were in charge).

The main Democratic impeachment charge against US president Donald Trump is simple: Trump attempted to pressure and/or bribe the president of Ukraine to investigate a political opponent (Joe Biden), House impeachment managers say, both for corrupt motives (to win re-election) and in violation of the law (by withholding congressionally appropriated aid).

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