Republicans Betting the Farm

New Hampshire’s Republicans have spoken. On Primary Day, September 13th, their voters picked, for both Congressional districts and for the Senate, the Trumpiest candidate on the ballot. Summer this year seemed to suddenly flip into fall. So it is with our politics. Our primary elections come late, dictating only a brief season for the general election. In a little over six weeks we should know how this all turns out. That assumes, of course, that our civic wheels stay on the rails laid down by law and custom. Here in the newsroom, making assumptions comes naturally; we are, after all, entering out 267th year in …

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The Self-Exonerating Tyrant

A 2013 glossary of military slang defines a “self-licking ice cream cone” as a “military doctrine or political process that appears to exist in order to justify its own existence, often producing irrelevant indicators of its own success. For example, continually releasing figures on the amount of Taliban weapons seized, as if there were a finite supply of such weapons. While seizing the weapons, soldiers raid Afghan villages, enraging the residents and legitimizing the Taliban’s cause.” Military historian Norman Friedman coined the term to describe certain weapons systems during the Gulf War of 1991-1992. Astute readers, though, will readily see that it could accurately have …

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A Fascist By Any Other Name…

Is it ever appropriate for a newspaper to state that a fascist is a fascist? If so, when? If not, why not? These questions have been plaguing us of late. Perhaps more recent editions of the Associated Press Stylebook hold the answer. Alas, our copy was published in November of 1990—midway through the “kinder, gentler” George Herbert [Hoover] Bush administration. House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich had just teamed up with pollster Frank Luntz to distribute a memo to members of the Republican Party. Titled, “Language, a Key Mechanism of Control,” a key passage in that memo read: “The [vocabulary] list is divided into two sections: …

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S.S. America: “SOS”

According to the Admiral, there’s a reason competent captains insist on always keeping their vessels ship-shape. It’s not some petit bourgeois urge to impress passengers. Nor is it necessarily the reflection of an inner authoritarian need to control the crew’s every waking moment. It’s just a fundamental safety principle, put into practice. Because sooner or later, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, something is inevitably going to go wrong. If your systems are all in order, then you fix the problem and move on. If one system is jury-rigged when another goes haywire, you will soon be fully occupied just trying to …

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Is What’s Past Prologue?

It’s a great time to be alive. No, seriously—it is. How can we say that? Well, have you considered the alternative? We spend much of Monday, when we should have been writing, getting cardiovascular exercise. How many reps? We lost track. Mounting the stairs of our editorial tower, closing the windows against the deluge, opening them again to relieve the heat, then closing them again as endless waves of violent weather rolled through town. We’re not complaining, mind you. It could have been worse. Just ask our new neighbor. He recently moved into a formerly-shabby little house which is now a realtor’s “hidden gem”—allegedly worth …

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Permanently Endangered

Just when we thought the Supreme Court had done all the damage it could in one session, it decided to kill off more of us. Yes, we know, this is getting monotonous. We Ranted about the Court just last fortnight, and now here we go again. We are so sorry—sorrier than we can say. When the Court rules, though, that the EPA cannot regulate poisonous emissions from coal-fired electrical power plants, we can hardly be expected to remain silent. Air pollution currently causes one out of every six deaths, scientists say. Apparently that’s not enough. Having attended neither Harvard nor Yale, we have no idea …

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