Marty Kaplan

Understanding Trump Voters Is Good - But Voting Against Kleptocracy Is Better

I was wondering if I was reading too much into the near-convergence of Sen. John McCain’s funeral; Labor Day, the traditional kickoff of the campaign season; and Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish holidays of repentance and renewal.

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The Resistance Needs to Tell Better Stories in the Face of Trump's Circus Politics

I recently returned from a Trump fast. It was actually a news fast, but since the news these days is pretty much all Trump all the time, a Trump detox is what it turned out to be.

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Is There Such A Thing As Evil - And Is Trump It?

Is Donald J. Trump a liar? Yes, at this point it seems safe to say that he regularly tells intentional untruths. So, is Donald Trump evil?

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We Need Local News Sources to Protect Democracy - Corporate Owners Are Destroying Them

I don’t know if Timothy Burke is going to save journalism, let alone democracy, but the spooky video he made for Deadspin at the end of March racked up 30 million views within a week and got the country gasping at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s fake anti-fake-news campaign.

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It’s Not Cambridge Analytica We Need to Worry About, It’s Our Minds

The Cambridge Analytica furor, like the uproar over Russian penetration of Facebook that preceded it, has painted a bullseye on Mark Zuckerberg.

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If the Response to the Parkland Shooting Made You More Hopeful, You’re Not Wrong

I never imagined I’d hear first lady Melania Trump channel Norman Lear. On the other hand, I never imagined I’d hear “first lady Melania Trump,” so clearly anything is possible.

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Of God, Dice And Fatal Car Accidents

It was the second time I noticed a news story about a fatal crash of a church group that I had the uneasy feeling there was a pattern.

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This UFO Changes Everything

"Look at that thing, dude!” One hundred miles off the coast of San Diego, two Navy fighter pilots on a Super Hornets training mission spot a whitish, oval-shaped aircraft of some kind flying on an unearthly trajectory at crazy speeds. You can hear their astonishment on the 2004 recording.

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Clarence Thomas Must Resign

Utah Republican Orrin Hatch called “bullcrap” on Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown last week. The Senate Finance Committee lion tore into Brown for “spewing” that the Republican tax plan to transfer a trillion dollars to the rich was in reality a Republican tax plan to transfer a trillion dollars to the rich.

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Harvey Weinstein Is a Sexual Abuser - Can We Still Watch His Movies?

Bad people can make and love good art. Can good people love bad people’s art?

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Why America Is Desperately Trying to Understand the Vegas Shooter's Motives

Means, motive, opportunity. For detectives, nailing down those is the perp trifecta.

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Our Country Has Gotten So Scary, I Don't Think I Can Live in Denial Anymore

Denial just ain’t what it used to be. Maybe it’s just me, but as recent news has delivered one gut punch after another, I'm feeling like magical thinking has lost its mojo.

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This Is Your Brain on Trump: Why I Can't Help Calling His Supporters the Fools That They Objectively Are

Do you ever find yourself wondering what the story is with those thrilled faces behind Donald Trump at his rallies?

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We Are Under Surplus Trump Stress: What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves?

In the contest between crisis and calm, oy has an edge over om. Case in point: Just as I was giving meditation another try to take my mind off Donald Trump, the North Korea fire-and-fury horror show broke out, and Trump’s itchy finger on the locked and loaded nuclear trigger made my strategy for sanity look awfully iffy.

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How Long Will Trump's New Right-Hand Man Last? Place Your Bets

John F. Kelly’s front-stabbing Donald Trump’s new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci only hours after Trump named the four-star Marine general his chief of staff was a sublime first move. But unlike Ivanka or Jared Kushner, Trump isn’t Dad to Kelly. How long can it be before Kelly’s service doesn’t pleasure the president anymore?

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Will Mike Pence Pardon Donald Trump?

“Thank you, Mr. President,” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted July 15, celebrating the one-year anniversary of candidate Donald Trump naming him to the 2016 ticket. Will ex-president Trump get to say the same thing to Pence when the new president pardons him?

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New Poll Reveals the First Word That Comes to Mind When Americans Think of Trump

“What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?”

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If Senate Republicans Think They Can Smooth Over the Devastating Health Care Bill With a Handsome Face, They're Mistaken

John Thune is the most handsome man in the U.S. Senate. With his square jaw, gleaming smile and cowboy tan, the 6’4” South Dakota Republican’s rugged good looks are antipodal to the mien of majority leader Mitch McConnell, whom Jon Stewart has definitively established is Yertle the Turtle’s doppelgänger. If the human brain’s positive bias toward attractive people didn’t cue me to infer that Thune is a great guy, a real straight shooter, I’d be as outraged by the assault on Americans’ health that Thune and his co-conspirators are currently waging, and by the subversion of American democracy they’re using to ram it through, as I am when its public face is McConnell’s.

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Muslim, Jewish, Christian: The Problem Is That Trump 'Tolerance' Treats Every Belief as Equally Meaningless

Post-truth POTUS turns out to be perfect casting for tackling the One True Religion problem.

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He Was Tackling the Opioid Crisis Head On: Then Trump Fired Him

At least I got to thank him for his service, while he was still serving.

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This Passover, I'm Setting Myself Free From Technology

The people, the food and the storytelling are what I love most about the Passover seder I go to, but I also really like the updates to the ritual. We spill drops of wine as we name the ten Biblical plagues, but we count off ten modern plagues as well, like hunger and terrorism. Traditional symbols are on the table, like horseradish for the bitterness of slavery and salt water for tears, but there’s also an orange, an innovation from the 1970s, standing for feminism and against homophobia. (An orange? Seriously? There’s a story.)

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What Happens to a Country Whose Leader Can't Say 'I'm Sorry'

“I blame myself—it was my fault, and I take full responsibility for it,” Donald Trump never said, not once in his entire life.

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Has Truth Itself Gone Extinct in the Trump Era?

Let’s give it up for truth. C’mon, a nice hand. It gave us a lot of good years.

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I Know How You Feel: Beat Up, Battened Down, Fetal, Furious - But There’s Nothing Wrong With You; It’s Him

Remember when we couldn’t wait to say good riddance to 2016? We’d had it with that abusive spouse of an election year. We were sick of the emotional rollercoaster. We needed an armistice, a breather. We were desperate to rise from the political sewer to the shining city on the hill.

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Trump's Torture Policy Is Already Operating in Washington

President Trump feels waterboarding works.

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Why I'm Skipping the Inauguration

Many people are saying they won’t be watching the inauguration on TV.

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The Media Spent the Election Teaching Americans How to Love a Dictator - What Will They Do With Him in Office?

For a majority of Americans, feeling traumatized and terrified are reasonable responses to the words "President-elect Donald Trump." But even if his inauguration marks the demise of the star-spangled mythos we grew up on, being catatonic is no way to spend the next four years, especially if we're lucky enough to survive, oh, a nuclear war. But acceptance of Trump—acceptance is the last of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of dealing with death—is hardly chicken soup for our souls. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, Trump: That can’t be the best we can do. 

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Do CIA Revelations Mean Trump Will Be Putin's Puppet?

In 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson, a man named John A. Stormer self-published a book called None Dare Call It Treason. It accused America’s left-leaning elites of paving the way for a Soviet victory in the Cold War. The book sold seven million copies, but Johnson crushed Goldwater in the election.

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Trump's Quiet Pick for Legal Adviser Shows He's Dead Set on Nuking Our Democracy

When Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College, most post-mortems faulted Democrats for failing to empathize with the anger and abandonment non-coastal Americans are feeling. But last week, when Donald Trump sucked up to the (previously dishonest, subsequently gem-like) New York Times, flip-flopping six times in an hour-long interview, I wondered whether his backtracking might be causing some of his supporters to feel abandoned. If they are, I empathize with their incipient buyer’s remorse. I imagine they must feel a bit like Bernie Madoff’s investors did, after realizing they’d been conned.

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The Prostate Presidency

In her Clinton wardrobe and hair, accompanying herself on the piano, Kate McKinnon’s cold open of the Saturday Night Live after Election Day was a dirge for the loss of Leonard Cohen, for the loss of Hillary Clinton and for the lost Americans now struggling for hope and direction.

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