Mort Report is a labor of love by old-style correspondents with lifetimes on the road and young ones with fresh eyes. Our philosophy is simple: we report at first hand with analysis based on non-alternative fact, not opinion. If we get something wrong, we fix it.
TOURTOUR, France — Rockets' red glare, bursting in air, lit up faces of awe-struck kids waving candles in paper bags on sticks. Parents stashed wine bottles to ooh and ahh at lights cascading down the old church tower. Fireworks here, up close and personal, are spectacular.
Afterward, this hilltop Provence village drank and danced late into the night. Visitors retrieved cars parked every which way under roadside sycamores, without a glance from the few indulgent cops. The next day, every TV blared the parade in Paris.
The jets, wingtips almost touching, trailed blue, white, red low over the Champs-Elysées. As always, the Foreign Legion Pioneers stole the show: bearded bruisers in buffalo-hide aprons gripping axes, not guns. Since 1831, they have cleared the way for commandos quelling mayhem in far-flung corners of empire.
Emmanuel Macron stood as tall as a short guy can in an open jeep, flanked by the Garde Republicaine in gleaming silver helmets on horses. His honored guest was Angela Merkel, leader of Germany, which invaded France twice in the last century.
Last year's invitee, an American president who wanted his own show of military might at home, missed the point. Troops and tanks are just the backdrop to a family affair that fetes what Charles de Gaulle called une certaine idée de la France.
That certain idea seems secure on Bastille Day, with its echoes of Victor Hugo: “France, France, without you the world would be alone.” But the country so many of us outsiders love and hate with equal passion is fast morphing into something else.
PARIS - I've struggled not to say this, even to myself, but Democrats stand a growing chance of condemning the world to Donald Trump's impossible dream: a greed-based oligarchy in America with authoritarian rule bent on stamping out truth.
Too many Americans see democracy as a spectator sport, and they obsess on inside baseball - domestic issues - rather than real-world crises. If candidates continue to snipe over details, the worst president ever could win by default.
In Hong Kong, two million people just jammed the streets, some facing 10 years in prison for storming government headquarters, to force concessions from China. That is as if 90 million people marched on Congress and the White House.
In the United States, half of eligible voters don't even bother to cast ballots. Among those who do, Republicans rally behind the party choice, no matter who it is. They share ideology. Democrats are prone to stay home if not inspired by a candidate.
“If this doesn't change, it doesn't matter who the candidate is,” author Max Brooks observed recently on Bill Maher's Real Time. “If we don't come together now, we're dead.”
America is now beyond politics. An unhinged megalomaniac thwarts a global effort to keep Earth habitable, and he fans conflict that could trigger unstoppable war. At his elbow, John Bolton outdoes Peter Sellers as Doctor Strangelove. Yet the last Democrat debate, a choreographed pageant extravaganza, ignored the outside world.