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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The Sordid Path to Nomination

Let’s see now…which of this fortnight’s top news stories shall we rant about in this issue… …the alleged President saying that “We are going to win four more years. And then after that we’ll go for another four years, because they spied on my campaign.”? …the House candidate who accused the Obama administration of using the MS-13 gang to commit murders—without losing her backing from the GOP? …the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the Paul Manafort’s business relationship with a Russian intelligence agent? …the investigation by a Congressional committee into efforts by top appointees to destroy the Postal Service? …the alleged President saying “we …

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Cancelling Eternity

If a kid takes a swing at your mailbox with his Louisville Slugger, 18 U.S. Code § 1705 says he could get three years in the hoosegow and a quarter-million dollar fine. Louis DeJoy, on the other hand—our new Postmaster General—is sabotaging the whole dang U.S. Postal Service. If he succeeds he’ll get a lifetime pass at a string of tacky golf courses, and God only knows what other rewards and emoluments. DeJoy’s petty grifts are the least of our problems, though. Let him have that solid gold toilet Maurizio Cattelan made for Trump, for all we care. What’s worrying us are the consequences of what …

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