The Cuckoo Coup

In a sane country it wouldn’t have even been a contest, but we live in Freedomland. A quarter of a million people are dead, killed by a plague the incumbent treated as a political opportunity rather than a threat to national health. The infection rate and the Dow Jones are soaring, even as Main Street is collapsing. Despite all that, the election was so close it took four days to get a clear result. That’s OK, it could have been worse. At least, in the end, the challenger beat the incumbent—never an easy trick for that office—and did it by six million votes. He even …

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The Longest Tuesday

“I want to thank the American people for their tremendous support,” said a grim-faced President Donald J. Trump to a group of maskless sycophants packed into the East Room of the White House early on Wednesday morning for another in an extended series of illegal campaign events on government property. “Millions and millions of people voted for us tonight…,” Trump observed, conveniently ignoring the fact that several million more had voted against him. “…and a very sad group of people,” he went on, “is trying to disenfranchise that group of people and we won’t stand for it.” Here, yet again, in attempting to report what …

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Unleashed

This fortnight certainly got off to a rousing start. Based on their scrutiny of his tax returns for the past two decades, a team of ten reporters for the New York Times demonstrated that Donald J. Trump has, after a six-pack of bankruptcies, finally stumbled onto a business model that works for him: “turning his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway’s new back rooms, where public and private business mix and special interests reign.” After reading “The Swamp That Trump Built”—only the most recent in a long line of exposés which once might have been sufficient to trigger incarceration—an irate George Washington rose from …

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Every Day, In Every Way

Like many Americans, we have been struggling. Authoritarian gibberish has an anesthetizing effect on some, but we are not among them. The pandemic has forced us to eschew newsprint. That deprivation, we have found, is less like kicking a drug habit than it is like having a limb amputated—or all of them. We will go on, of course. At our age—having recently begun our 265th year—we can imagine no other course. For the record, though, these conditions are intolerable; reader, forgive us, please, for kicking against our stall. Perhaps we’re being predictable, but we lay the responsibility for this predicament on someone we’ll call, for …

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No Justice Department, No Peace

Over the past few years we have been slowly developing a plan to sort this country out by exercising more fully our rights under the First Amendment. Too slowly, it seems—it’s starting to look like we need a Plan B. Before we get to that, though—and before we get hauled off to the hoosegow—we want to explain how Plan A was to have worked. Let’s begin with a couple of basic facts about newspapers—small newspapers. In our case, a very old small newspaper, but the principles cited here apply to upstarts just as well. Printing eight-page tabloid newspapers is incredibly cheap. We know—we’ve been doing …

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Vote Twice, Test Never

Seven weeks from Tuesday, the 2020 Presidential campaign will end. Polling stations will close, and the real fun will begin.* We lucky Americans, we happy multitudes, trained for more than half a century by nearly-anonymous benefactors carefully crafting the slime oozin’ out from our TV sets, have come to expect a dramatic election night full of brightly colored maps and lively gesticulations combining to form an arc of rising expectations, leading to a dramatic wee-hour climax. Let us hope and pray that the current cadre of showrunners—funny how the Framers left them out of the Constitution—are up to the challenge on this occasion. If they …

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