The Trump Show

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion,” said Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “but not his own facts.”

No, wait. It was James Schlesinger. In 1973.

We looked it up.

That’s a thing we do, looking it up. You think you know something, but not really, you just heard it somewhere, and maybe you heard it wrong. And maybe sources today aren’t dependably authoritative the way they used to be, but you can use your judgment whether to accept the Wikiquote discussion as sufficient, or follow the links to see whether Schlesinger really was quoted saying that in a Senate Intelligence Committee document.

Ain’t that hard, really. Not if facts matter to you. Not if reality matters to you.

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Bedbugs & Broomsticks

You’re forgiven — hell, blessed — if you don’t know of Bret Stephens, or all the chatter about him this week. God knows there’s plenty of real shit going down, and Bret Stephens is the least of our troubles, no more consequential than, well, an insect.

But he is, for that reason, a welcome distraction, a moment of comic relief as the world unravels. We’d rather have a standup than a string quartet on the Titanic.

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The Running of the Bullshit

Our guest columnist is CNBC.

10 am, Friday, August 23

BREAKING: Fed chair Powell in Jackson Hole speech: No ‘rulebook’ on trade, pledges the Fed will ‘act as appropriate’ to sustain the economy

10:07 am

Stocks jump to session highs & Dow turns positive after Powell’s Jackson Hole speech

10:43 am

Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 now all in positive territory after Powell speech

10:45 am

BREAKING: After Fed chair’s Jackson Hole speech, Trump tweets: “Who is our bigger enemy, Jay [Powell] or Chairman Xi?”

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The Week Ahead

Time was when a week meant something.

You could plan for it, a week. You could go into Monday with some clue where you’d be by Friday. Sure, things happen, the usual muddle, but you could plan for that too, the expectation of a few twists and turns, nothing major, nothing out of the ordinary.

Weeks were ordinary. Months were ordinary, more or less. Even a year could go by, not much different than the last.

We don’t remember the last time anything felt ordinary.

Take Greenland.

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The Prison Guard in the Cell with a Rope

First off: Yay.

We have no interest in capital punishment. No faith in it, really. As administered, there’s no justice in it — statistically, guess who’s executed disproportionately — and much cruelty, especially with states freestyling their lethal cocktails in recent years. There’s also no certainty to it — innocents die — and then, if you’d like to get into some geeky theoretical chatter about The State, we’re there for it.

But we’re no gentle pacifist. Sometimes you just wanna fry the bastard. But state executions are problematic in theory and application, so you settle for the justice that’s otherwise available and appropriate under law.

Unless some asshole wants to spend long, painful minutes asphyxiating himself while dangling from the ceiling, in which case, y’know, sometimes shit takes care of itself.


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It always arrives with the force of a hurricane.

Trump provokes. America reacts.

Every time.

Without fail.

It’s happening right now. Trump provoked. Something about Baltimore. But it wasn’t really about Baltimore. It was about the black congressman representing Baltimore. It was about the black people living in Baltimore.

But it wasn’t even about that.

It was about black people.

That was the provocation.

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We Blew It All Up

“The Sixties were an aberration,” he told me.

We were sitting in his office. He was a fortyish school-district superintendent. I was a 23-year-old reporter.

It was 1982. He knew what he was talking about. I didn’t.

The Sixties were an aberration.

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