Happy New Year's Eve from New Orleans, where our family has gotten together for the Sugar Bowl (Anders is a freshman at Alabama). Thank you for the year of a lifetime. Times Square forecast is 16° at 6 p.m.; 12° at midnight.
Situational awareness: At least 81 reporters were killed doing their jobs this year — the lowest number in a decade, down from 93 in 2016. But the International Federation of Journalists tells AP that violence against media soared: "[I]mpunity for the killings, harassment, attacks and threats against independent journalism was running at epidemic levels."
Two weeks of insight ... Axios CEO Jim VandeHei and I bring AM readers our year-end thoughts on the topics that matter most ...
A new world order is unfolding — one no longer clearly dominated by America and its values.
That might seem hyperbolic, but it's not. The world is pulsing with several currents that put the America-dominated order at risk and on the decline. Ian Bremmer — founder and president of Eurasia Group, and one of the smartest analysts of global trends — calls this a "geopolitical recession."
Bremmer on why this matters: "We are facing at least a period of five or 10 years where there is going to be a profound absence of global leadership, and that's going to lead to a lot more conflict."
Counterpoint: Trump is showing moral leadership and speaking out against the theocratic regime in Iran — something Obama avoided doing in his determined pursuit of a nuclear deal. But the world is fractured on this issue. The Europeans are not with us.
Be smart: For all the chaos and catastrophe of this epic year, the national and global economies are in a rare synchronized recovery, and the world hasn't faced the kind of transcendent crisis it could next year: a Middle East conflagration, a terrorist spectacular, or a hot confrontation on the Korean Peninsula or in the South China Sea.
As pro-reform protests grew to tens of thousands and spread across Iran, the repressive, authoritarian government is warning of an "iron fist" response, and threatened access to social media:
Why it matters, via CNN: "The largest public display of discontent in Iran since the 2009 Green Movement has brought ... a scene ... unfathomable a decade ago — protesters challenging the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
President Trump repeatedly tweeted support for the Iranian demonstrators:
Vice President Pence (@VP) joined him: "@POTUS & I stand w/ peaceful protestors in Iran who are speaking out for freedom & we condemn the arrests of innocents. The time has come for the regime in Tehran to end terrorist activities, corruption, & their disregard for human rights. #IranProtests."
Josh Darnell, 31, of Londonderry, N.H., surprises Rachel Raske, 27, of Lowell, Mass., with a proposal in Tuckerman's Ravine, N.H., on the southeastern side of Mount Washington, on the same day the temperature dropped to -34 at at the summit. The two had hiked there before. She said yes.
"Trump has made a significant down payment on his campaign pledge to shrink the federal bureaucracy," the WashPost reports in its lead story:
The N.Y. Times lead story reports that while some Trump campaign alumni pooh-pooh the influence of George Papadopoulos, who was the first to plead guilty in the Mueller probe, interviews and previously undisclosed emails "show that he stayed influential throughout the campaign'':
The article also reports that a Papadopoulos indiscretion "answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?"
Peter Baker puts on his historian's cap for today's installment of the N.Y. Times series, "Trump's Way" ... "A Year of Reinventing the Presidency ... Under Trump, a Once Unimaginable Presidency Becomes Reality":
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly: "I'm not put on earth to control him ... But I have been put on earth to make this staff work better and make sure this president, whether you voted for him or not, is fully informed before he makes a decision. And I think we achieved that."Kelly on POTUS: "He remains fairly unconventional ... But as I point out, he now is fully briefed on the issues and the pluses and minuses, pros and cons."Ron Klain, a White House official under Clinton and Obama: "It's a presidency of one person ... That's really kind of a stunning thing. There is no Trump doctrine. There is no Trump plan. There is no Trumpism. There's just Trump."Peter notes that Trump has referred to his targets as "crazy," "psycho," "short and fat," "crooked," "totally inept," "a joke," "dumb as a rock," "disgusting," "puppet," "weak and out of control," "sleazy," "wacky," "totally unhinged," "incompetent," "lightweight" and "the dumbest man on television." (BTW, that was CNN's Don Lemon, and Trump often watches.) N.Y. Times Upshot has a living list, last updated Dec. 24, "The 410 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List." ("Insults since Mr. Trump became president are highlighted in yellow; the most recent updates are slightly darker.")
(Especially) Worth the $6 to buy the print N.Y. Times today ... Includes a special section, "A Look Back at 2017": "New York Times editors compiled some of the year's most riveting articles. Revisit the news that shaped 2017 and see highlights of our visual reporting."
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... David Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director, referring to Ibrahim Hassan al-Asirion, a notorious bomb maker for Al Qaeda in Yemen, who remains at large (from front-page story, "U.S. Pounds Al Qaeda in Yemen, But Barely Dents Risk of Attack"):
"Still the world's most dangerous man."
Reliving 2017 in 30 images ... TIME's "Person of the Year" cover featured a group portrait of "The Silence Breakers":
Banned words ... Northern Michigan's Lake Superior State University today released its 43rd annual "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness" (via AP):