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Assassination With Style Points

  Remember Evgeny Prigozhin? Founder of the Wagner Group? His plane blown out of the sky by Putin, just last summer? It was a sensational story at the time. I wrote about it myself, here and here . But despite all the coverage, a particularly chilling detail seems to have eluded everyone but my friend Dennis, who shared with me a remarkable insight that has haunted me ever since: Putin didn’t just want Prigozhin dead. He wanted Prigozhin to think about it, all the way down to the ground. Expert analysis of the crash supports this, though nobody talks about it. It’s clear that a bomb was on the plane, and that it blew one of the wings off. Which apparently left the fuselage intact. Which presumably left Prigozhin strapped in his seat, wide awake, with a little more than a minute to contemplate both his political missteps and the meaning of life. Who knows what his thought process might’ve been, but I’m guessing he thought, even if just for a few of those pre
Recent posts

What Could Be Worse than the Dobbs Decision?

  I’ve tried to be a bit more optimistic in my posts of late. I’ve focused on the evidence — of which there’s plenty — that maybe Trump and the Republican party are driving themselves, as opposed to us, off a cliff. The politics of preserving democracy have indeed been somewhat encouraging, especially when one considers the virtually unbeaten record of Democrats in every election since the fall of Roe v. Wade . I’d like nothing more than to give up the gloom-and-doom thing on a permanent basis. But not today. Today, once again, I have to bum us all out. I have to tell you about one of those boring and esoteric legal issues that tend to slip right by us, but which, in this case, carries a level of threat arguably more alarming even than the tanking of Roe . Once again, the Supreme Court is up to no good, and it has nothing to do with the criminality of Donald Trump. One of the decisions they’re cooking up for this June could dwarf the Dobbs decision, both in

To the GOP, Immigration is the New Abortion

  To understand the current non-action on immigration, one need look no further than the Republican stance on abortion, before and after the fall of Roe v. Wade. I’ve said many times that abortion was always a winning issue for Republicans, but only as long as it stayed legal. For decades, they were able to paint Democrats as baby-killers, seizing what they thought of as the moral high ground, safe in the knowledge that abortion was here to stay. Or so they thought. It was a great scam while it lasted. They were able to create a legion of single-issue voters, gullible rubes who lived for the day Roe would be overturned. And as long as Republicans could keep waving that shiny object, the rube vote was assured forever. It was okay to promise the end of Roe, but they must never, under any circumstances, deliver it. Of course, the Supreme Court had other ideas. And quite predictably, the minute Roe was overturned, abortion became the GOP’s worst nightmare. It went i

Is Nikki Haley Working on a Take-Down of Trump?

  Every now and then I like to engage in a bit of speculation. Not prediction, mind you, but something hopefully less presumptuous. In this case, I’ve been musing about Nikki Haley’s path forward, if she has one. Not whether she’ll win the nomination, which is unlikely. I’m more interested in her potential as an irritant, as a person ideally positioned to tamper with Trump’s fragile psyche. She now has the unmistakable opportunity to attack Trump from inside the Fox media bubble, something few have been able to do. Haley just might be the focus of a novel strategy that does two things at once: It holds the door open for the slim chance she has of winning the nomination this summer, while at the same time, it lays the groundwork for a 2028 run at the presidency. Given the debased state of today’s Republican party, this is surely as good a strategy as any, though it risks doing more for Joe Biden than for her. More on this later. For now, let’s presume that ther

The Mainstream Media Continues to Disappoint

  Since I began this blog in 2020, one of my obsessions has been the culpability of the press in our current political predicament. Given the stakes we face this year, I feel we all need to be reminded that these mainstream news organizations are necessary, but not sufficient. Accordingly, I am revisiting this piece, which I wrote last May, because it’s particularly illustrative of the problem, especially in its depiction of The Washington Post’s shameful spinning of the final Durham Report.   The awkward term "both-siderism" has, at long last, stepped into the limelight, thanks to the graceful gravitas of CNN icon Christiane Amanpour (full disclosure: our dog used to play with her dog). In one brilliant commencement address , to the Columbia School of Journalism, she dope-slapped her own profession and, indeed, her own boss, both of whom richly deserved it. That takes guts, not to mention a reputation for integrity. Both of which she has in abundance.

Between Now and Labor Day, It’s All Mostly Noise

  This year, it will be really hard to separate the signal from the noise. Between the day-to-day hunger for breaking news and the controversy required to feed it, the noise will be deafening and the signal faint. It will be up to us to tease out the real from the fake, the relevant from the immaterial, the rational from the make-believe. We won’t get much help from the press, who are busy working the noise for all the eyeballs they can grab. But those of us who pay attention would do well to remember that most voters won’t be thinking about any of this until September. Most voters will go into this election underinformed, misinformed, and disinformed about almost everything — as always — but most of that won’t start taking hold until Labor Day. When they finally tune in, I think — or hope — they’ll have perceived, albeit dimly, some sense of what’s at stake. They can’t help but notice that the differences between the candidates — and between their parties — a

How the Media Makes Good News Feel Bad

  Economics is not everybody’s favorite subject. That sentence alone could send readers running for the exits. Not that they don’t think economics is important, just that it’s too arcane to get their brains around, and too boring to want to try. Sort of like epidemiology. But in a year as consequential as this one, it’s worth paying attention to economics, at least tangentially. Because as the election approaches, a deluge of both misinformation (another word for ‘wrong’) and disinformation (another word for ‘lying’) will be competing for our attention. Both parties will be trying to leverage the economy to their advantage — Democrats by touting it, Republicans by trashing it. The most pain-free way I know to follow economic issues — and their effects on politics — is to read Paul Krugman in The New York Times. Few Nobel Prize winners are as adept as he at making complex subject matter readily digestible to mere mortals. I do not hold him responsible for the si