Andrew O'Hehir

A nationwide police riot: Our lawless, authoritarian police show their true colors

America is on fire. We are all confused and in pain. If no one exactly foresaw the national explosion of outrage that followed the vicious police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, none of us can claim it comes as a total surprise. We were already at a moment of crisis in the United States, and have been there for the last four years, if not longer.

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Pete Buttigieg's rise is a mirage — but the road ahead looks murky for Democrats

It's obviously asinine to proclaim that the Democratic presidential campaign has reached a turning point in the middle of February, after one disputed election that involved about 175,000 voters and will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. But on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, with its long history of launching some presidential contenders and sending others to their doom, that's exactly where we are.

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A great artist is someone who captures the deranged spirit of his time. MAGA propaganda painter Jon McNaughton is the real deal

If I tell you that Jon McNaughton, the pro-Trump propaganda artist whose lurid, overwrought, literal-yet-symbolic and strangely compelling works have been reproduced in thousands if not millions of social media posts, is the most important painter of our time — perhaps the only important painter of our time — what exactly do I mean by that?

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The Adderall rumors are back. But amphetamines can’t explain Trump — or America

So what do you think: Is Donald Trump on drugs? It's a question that has hovered around this president since well before he took office, and cropped up all over again — at least on the internet — after Trump's address to the nation following the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the subsequent Iranian missile attack on a U.S. base in Iraq.

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Trump normalizers: You own this disaster now

If consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, as Emerson famously observed, then maybe Donald Trump really is the "stable genius" he has proclaimed himself. Certainly our president's vanity and narcissism are such that he'd enjoy seeing himself on Emerson's list of the great and misunderstood giants of history: "Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh." At least, Trump might appreciate that if he knew who even half those people were. Or if he could read.

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Why was Trump's impeachment so unsatisfying? Because we're all lying to ourselves — and we know it

Nothing captured the peculiar character of Donald Trump’s impeachment quite like the images we saw right after the votes concluded last Wednesday night, when members of Congress milled around on the House floor taking pictures of the scene with their cellphones. On one level, it was an understandable reaction, one we’ve all felt on a smaller scale: I’m a part of this supposedly historic moment; might as well capture it for Instagram. I might have done the same thing, had I by some grotesque misfortune been elected to Congress.

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UK voters face a stark left-right choice that will finally decide Brexit ⁠— and shape the future

Precisely as Donald Trump is being impeached by the U.S. Congress, British voters go to the polls on Thursday in a history-shaping national election, the U.K.’s third in less than five years. It has numerous echoes and resonances of the forthcoming U.S. presidential election, starting with the charismatic but abominable incumbent prime minister, Boris Johnson, who resembles Trump translated into Upper-Class Twit. But the differences are also striking, none more so than the fact that despite the enormous stakes in this election, in which Johnson’s Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have vowed to take the nation in dramatically different directions, the entire campaign has been confined to six weeks.

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Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard throw down, round 2: But this Democratic debate solved nothing

Maybe this was exactly what the Democrats needed at the end of an explosive day of testimony in the impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill: a relatively frictionless debate which adequately made the point that virtually all of the 10 candidates assembled on stage in Atlanta — we can agree to disagree on the precise number! — would be better at presidenting than You Know Who.

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Republicans weaponize nihilism and destroy reality in their defense of Trump

Watching the incoherent, 52 Pickup-style performance of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday — which seemed less calculated to defend President Trump for his obvious crimes than to convince onlookers that President Trump is a fictional character, crimes are not crimes and that nothing, strictly speaking, can be said to exist at all — I was reminded of two things. Neither of them was directly relevant, but that’s where we are.

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Impeachment in the hall of mirrors: This isn't about Democrats vs. Republicans. It's about whether our democratic institutions have any mojo left

With startling suddenness, the political and moral climate in Washington has shifted over the past few weeks. President Trump now faces the imminent threat of impeachment, apparently over a single blatant act of extortion, even though Democrats had previously decided it wasn’t worth trying to hold him to account for an extensive list of offenses. Why in God’s name is this happening now?

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Robert Mueller vs. the insane Republican caucus: Did we survive?

What did we learn from the seemingly endless hours of Robert Mueller’s testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, in which the man for whom the term "lantern-jawed" was invented listened mournfully to numerous congressional monologues and tersely agreed with restatements of things he had already said in his report? Mostly things we should have known already, I suppose — but I don’t want to sound world-weary or act as if the experience was meaningless, in the manner of political observers who’ve seen it all. It wasn’t meaningless, and every day in the unfolding adventure of Donald Trump’s presidency brings us things (very often terrible things) we haven’t seen before.

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How NYC in the Central Park Five years shaped history: Before Giuliani became Trump's flunky, he was his role model

Running on a platform of overt racial division and culture-war politics — and aggressively demonizing the most vulnerable members of society — a white male Republican wins a hotly disputed election, in defiance of all conventional wisdom and a rapidly diversifying electorate. He replaces the first black man to hold the office, vowing to turn back to clock to an idealized past.

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We consistently pretend the government functions within some approximate distance of its original design. Our so-called democracy says otherwise.

After a week when Donald Trump’s push toward authoritarian rule appeared to accelerate dramatically, talk of impeachment is everywhere. Trump’s apparent or obvious “high crimes and misdemeanors” are without number, like the stars in heaven or the sands upon the Red Sea shore. Those who despise him can pick from an abundant café menu of possible reasons to impeach. If I’ve finally and belatedly come around to favoring impeachment — which I’ve long viewed as a futile and puritanical exercise — it’s not exactly for the same reasons as MSNBC viewers steeped in the paranoid (or at least paranoia-inducing) arcana of the Mueller report.

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Bad week for truth: Bannon, Venezuela coup and Biden's 'electability'

Democracy dies in darkness, or so the self-congratulatory motto atop the Washington Post’s home page tells us. But democracy can die of other things too, including laziness and ground-in conventional wisdom and a rising tide of propagandistic bullshit. This has been one of those weeks when all those impulses are on display in the mainstream media, alongside the laudable intention to let some sunlight into the dark places.

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How a new propaganda genre has reshaped politics (or not)

As you may have heard, former Vice President Joe Biden jumped into the 2020 presidential race toward the end of April, ending what felt like several years of his not-very-suspenseful superannuated Prince Hamlet act. Biden’s official announcement came in the form of a deeply strange video, only slightly less awkward than the earlier one in which he promised not to get quite so snuggly with women he didn’t know, while stopping well short of admitting he’d ever done anything wrong. (It’s already clear this will be the inspiring theme of Biden 2020: Let’s leave the past behind us! Except for the part about that ex-president you guys were into! Who is totally returning my calls BTW!)

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Julian Assange and the future of democracy: His arrest was an authoritarian masterstroke — exposing intense confusion and hypocrisy on the anti-Trump left

Over the past couple of years, I’ve occasionally invoked the term “World War IV” to describe the internal conflict -- at once social, cultural and political -- that has virtually paralyzed most of the major Western democracies. It’s a concept first developed by the late Jean Baudrillard in 2002, when he observed (correctly) that what began with 9/11 was not a war between the West and the Islamic world -- a pair of meaningless abstractions in any case -- but a self-destructive war within the Western world itself, "the emergence of a radical antagonism" at the heart of the democratic-capitalist order.

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2020 Festival of Hate: A campaign like no other starts too early and too hot

Over the last few weeks, America has experienced the unofficial beginning of the 2020 presidential campaign. This is distressingly and depressingly early, to be sure, but may in some sense be a sign of democratic renewal: This part of the campaign used to occur in private, at cocktail parties in Manhattan and Beverly Hills. It has not been an edifying spectacle. Electoral politics is always intensely competitive, of course, in terms of ideology, personality and semiotics. There’s nothing new about that. And the similarity between a presidential candidate’s campaign announcement and a new product launch isn’t new either, and didn’t start with What’s His Name and the golden escalator. (A history-shaping, and intelligence-crushing, event that did not occur until June of 2015, let us note.)

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