Our Year of Living Dangerously


The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 film set in Indonesia in 1965, during the lead-up to a violent military coup. It stars Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver,

Welcome to 2018 and our democracy’s own, very different year of living dangerously. Congressional Republicans increasingly cave to Donald Trump, in ways political scientists identify with how democracies die. Our creeping institutional decay includes moves to potentially prosecute the president’s perceived enemies: the Clintons over a matter for which they were already exonerated and a respected former British intelligence officer who wrote a damaging dossier about Trump. Read more of this post

Learning from Japan: Guns, Kids and the Price of Freedom

Now, from the Wishful Thinking Department: In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, a great Washington Post piece on the four-month process for getting a gun in Japan. It details the many steps designed to weed out loons and irresponsible louts from wielding lethal weapons. One upshot? “In 2015, there were more than 13,000 non-suicide gun deaths in the United States; in Japan, there was only one.”

Of course, it would be ludicrous to propose that process in the United States, given our vast political, historical and cultural differences. To cite just one, so many kids grow up with guns in America – though, then again, so many never get to grow up as they kill themselves or other kids along the way. Read more of this post

We’re Sitting Ducks: Learning from Europe About Electoral Integrity

Image result for voting machine photos


As reported in today’s New York Times, Putin’s 2016 election interference may have been even more pernicious than previously reported. Even short of intentionally causing miscounts, electronic shenanigans could have made it tougher for voters to vote, forcing many to turn away on Election Day. The problems in parts of North Carolina and other states might simply have been software glitches. But as the article emphasizes, the news emerges against a backdrop of troubling inattention by local, state and federal officials to the issue – and in fact, their resistance to addressing it at all. Read more of this post

Trumps and Sharks: Consider the Sources

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You’ve probably read about Donald Trump Jr.’s June 9, 2016 meeting to discuss Russian orphans sanctions collusion with his dad’s campaign. If you want a good summary of why this is so important, see this Nicholas Kristof column.

Here’s one aspect that could become increasingly crucial: Consider the sources.

As Josh Marshall points out at his superb Talking Points Memo mega-blog, the New York Times cited five White House advisers – not law enforcement officials or other outside actors – as sources for its groundbreaking article on the meeting. He accordingly wonders whether the leaks for the story spring from the many splits within President Trump’s inner circle. The Washington Post points out that Trump aides are themselves pondering that possibility: Read more of this post

Media Nonsense and Trump’s Perpetual Potential Pivot

Bless you, S.E. Cupp!

This conservative commentator and Donald Trump critic had the sense to say what I’ve been thinking for months: The continual media mania over whether Trump will “pivot” away from his scorched earth approach to campaigning – to instead adopt a more moderate tone and more sensible proposals – is ridiculous and irresponsible.

Posting at CNN.com on Monday, Cupp recapped how, after over a year of journalists wondering whether Trump is “ever going to become a smart, serious and disciplined candidate,” the recent upheavals in his campaign have them all aflutter again about whether he’ll finally reset his campaign in a positive way. Read more of this post

Donald Trump Is Having a Meltdown Today. No, Really. He Is.

This is amazing. Donald Trump is having a meltdown in front of the whole country. Via an interview that’s the basis of  the lead article at The Washington Post website right now, he’s picking fights with the leaders of the Republican Party.

Check out this passage concerning John McCain:

On Monday, McCain, a Vietnam war hero, issued a lengthy statement denouncing Trump for his comments about the Khan family. Asked about McCain’s rebuke, Trump said, “I haven’t endorsed John McCain. Read more of this post

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