BREAKING: Is Donald J. Trump maybe crazy or nuts?

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

"Don't ask, don't tell," scribes advise:
Once again, people are wondering about the mental health of our current president.

Over the weekend, Jonathan Chait offered a useful post which touched upon this topic. As he started, he compared a former well-known historical figure to our own current leader, Donald J. Trump:
CHAIT (3/17/18): A history professor of mine once attempted to explain to our class why Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, when the virtual impossibility of a land invasion of a country as vast as Russia was already well known in 1941. The answer, he concluded, was that Hitler was put on earth to invade Russia. His loathing of Bolshevism, his twisted Darwinian mania for the acquisition of land and resources, and his fixation with his own military genius all led him to a decision that was both inevitable and impossible.

This is a good way to think about President Trump’s approach toward the Robert Mueller investigation.
Chait recalled a crazy, self-destructive decision by Adolf Hitler. According to Chait, this manifestly crazy decision resulted from a "twisted mania" on Hitler's part. Also, from his "fixation with his own genius."

"Twisted manias" and "fixations with genius" don't sound like markers of good mental health. In the case of this former world leader, they led to a manifestly crazy, self-destructive act.

According to Chait, this famous historical event gives us a way to think about Trump. It seems to us that Chait's right.

Key point! As Chait continues, he quickly says that he's "not drawing any moral parallel between" these two world leaders. "Trump is not a Nazi or a fascist," Chait also says.

You can judge that last claim yourselves, but Chait is directing us to a key point. Donald J. Trump, the American president, may not be mentally well.

Could Trump be involved in some form of "mental illness?" As he continues his post, Chair refers to Trump's "demonstrated pathologies," even to "his madness."

He says that Trump's recent behavior "displays a reckless disregard for even his own self-preservation." We don't know if that is true, but Chait's making a basic point:

Donald J. Trump, the American president, may be "mentally ill," or something like it. This calls to mind some peculiar advice we all got at the start of the year.

This advice came from several quarters. We'll concentrate on just two, beginning with a post by Josh Marshall.

On January 6, Marshall wrote a post in which he said we shouldn't attempt to discuss Trump's mental health. In the course of his post, he said that Trump is "frequently either frighteningly out of touch with reality or sufficiently pathological in his lying that it is impossible to tell." And yet, headline included, he started off like this:
MARSHALL (1/6/18): Is President Trump Mentally Ill? It Doesn’t Matter

We are now back on to the feverish debate about whether or not Donald Trump is mentally ill or suffering from the onset of dementia. The most important thing to know about this debate is that it simply doesn’t matter. Diagnoses are something for trained professionals and even they are challenged to make them without a proper in-person examination. But again, it doesn’t matter.
According to Marshall, it doesn't matter if Trump is mentally ill. According to Marshall, we'll learn nothing from a discussion of that possibility that we can't learn just as well by seeing the things Trump does.

We thought that argument was somewhat nuts. But five days later, the New York Times editorial board pretty much borrowed his stuff:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (1/11/18): Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Is Donald Trump mentally fit to be president of the United States? It's an understandable question, and it's also beside the point.

Understandable because Mr. Trump's behavior in office—impulsive, erratic, dishonest, childish, crude—is so alarming, and so far from what Americans expect in their chief executive, that it cries out for a deeper explanation.

It's beside the point not because a president's mental capacity doesn't matter, nor because we should blindly accept our leaders' declarations of their own stability, let alone genius. Rather, we don't need a medical degree or a psychiatric diagnosis to tell us what is wrong with Mr. Trump. It's obvious to anyone who listens to him speak, reads his tweets and sees the effects of his behavior...
The board went on and on from there, arguing that we shouldn't waste our time discussing this topic. If memory serves, other pundits weighed in at this time, expressing the same point of view.

We never got around to discussing these posts at the time; this omission has bugged us ever since. Chait's renewed concern about Trump's mental health called these past essays to mind.

You can read those two posts for yourselves. For ourselves, we think the argument they make is very weak, but also quite familiar.

Introducing psychiatry into politics would of course be perilous. Any such discussion would have to be undertaken with great care, not a strong suit of our press corps.

That said, the idea that we could learn nothing from such a discussion strikes us as slightly insane. Sadly, it also seems familiar, in this familiar way:

Again and again, our discourse seems to built around the rolling refusal to discuss important topics. We don't discuss major policy matters. We don't discuss the work of the press.

At the start of the year, we were now told that we shouldn't discuss the state of the president's mental health. He seems to be nuts, the pundits said. But what more can we learn beyond that?

In recent decades, our society has featured two dueling bromides. Within the press corps, "See something, say something" tends to lose out. "Don't ask, don't tell" tends to prevail.

BREAKING: Rachel Maddow gets it right!

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

Also, was Clifford threatened?
Last Thursday evening, a loud, sustained cheer went up from the Analyst Viewing Facility.

Because it was during the 9 PM Eastern hour, we were somewhat puzzled. When we hurried into the cavernous hall, we were pleased to learn that an unnamed major cable news had very much gotten it right, even as she was getting it somewhat wrong:
MADDOW (3/15/18): We have some breaking news about the lawsuit between the adult film actress who is suing the president.

This is a thing you get to say in 2018, but I still admit it feels weird to be talking about the president and the adult film actress.
"Credit where due," the cheering analysts lustily said. Even as the cable star called attention to herself and to her own alleged feelings, she referred to Clifford as an "adult film actress," not as a "porn star."

We agreed with the youngsters' assessment of this description. As we left their spartan quarter, their cheering continued behind us.

Is there really anything "wrong" with calling Clifford a "porn star?" On a journalistic basis, we'd say there possibly is.

The designation is quite exciting—but that's what could be wrong with it, journalistically speaking. Referring to Clifford as a "porn star" may tend to generate a bit more heat than light.

Maddow chose to go with a different description. In our view, she got it right.

Granted, everyone else is doing it. On Sunday morning, this headline appeared atop page A6 of our Washington Post:
Airing of porn star's story halted in 2011
The day before, the Post had run this headline on page A6:
Lawyer: Porn star liable for millions
In the Washington Post, as in most cable precincts, Clifford is a "porn star," full stop. Where possible, we'd go with Maddow's designation, or with some other description.

We now come to a new, extremely smokin' hot topic. We refer to the exciting claim made by Clifford's lawyer last Friday—the claim that Clifford "was physically threatened to stay silent about what she knew about Donald Trump."

Michael Avenatti made that claim last Friday morning while speaking with Chris Cuomo on CNN. Earlier that morning, he had made a similar, much fuzzier claim while being interviewed on Morning Joe, in one of the patently stage-managed interviews for which the inexcusable program is becoming famous.

(To watch that stage-managed "interview," you can just click here. Move ahead to minute 9 to see how stage-managing works.)

Even when he spoke with Cuomo, Avenatti refused to say if the threat had come from Donald J. Trump or even from someone close to Trump.

Earlier, Mika had flopped and floundered about in the wake of Avenatti's response to her stage-managed question. Avenatti wouldn't even say if someone had "pointed a gun at" his client, one of the possibilities Mika had excitingly conjured for him.

Has Stephanie Clifford been physically threatened? We have no idea! Tomorrow, though, we'll help you remember some of the greatest such claims from the past, including the exciting claim—a claim which was later proven false—which almost got Cody Shearer killed.

Exciting claims of physical threats are common in these cases. They often emerge from stage-managed interviews, like the inexcusable Hardball session which created the (flatly false) claim which almost got Shearer killed.

People like Mika and Joe play along. It's the way this destructive game is played as the American project continues to go down.

Except at the occasional rogue site, you aren't allowed to hear about such matters. What occurs in the press corps stays in the press corps—and that's especially true when the exciting claims are made on behalf of "porn stars," the favorite species of humanity known to our "cable news actors."

Tomorrow: The claim was extremely exciting—and it was totally false. After it almost got Shearer killed, it was sent to the memory hole.

(This is the way these people work. You aren't encouraged to know that.)

FEMINIST HERO: Stephanie Clifford's #MeToo story!

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

Part 1—Perhaps too dumb to prevail:
When Donald J. Trump fires Robert Mueller, will the center hold? Will the center push back, reinforcing American norms?

The chances are good that it won't. The chances are good that we will learn, at that time, that our basic expectations and norms are "lost, stolen and strayed"—that our presumptive norms have been reinvented, changed for all time, purloined.

Investigations will come to a halt. The Congress will grumble, but fail to act. Either that, or Donald J. Trump will finally start his war—and yes, this really could occur, no matter what the Princeton professor says, based on his predictive models!

Such as it was, our civilization will have ceased to exist. In large part, the reason will lie with Us.

By "Us," we mean us Over Here in our liberal tents, where a simple truth prevails—given the way our standards and our norms have evolved, we may simply be too dumb to survive or prevail.

The sharks will always devour the lambs—or they'll pay the wolves to do it for them. It seems to us that our piteous bleating can already be heard.

However well-intentioned we may be, just how dumb are we the liberals at this point in time? How ill-equipped for the fight?

Alas! The spectacular dumbness of this liberal era was put on painful display this weekend. It was put on display in an essay at Salon—an essay which defines Stephanie Clifford as a "feminist hero."

Is Stephanie Clifford a feminist hero? Everything is possible! Also, it all depends on what the meaning of"feminst hero" may be!

That said, it's amazingly hard to see how any clear-thinking liberal or progressive would want to see Clifford in those terms—in the terms which blare from the headline on the new piece at Salon:
Stormy Daniels is a feminist hero
And we owe it to her to give her the respect she deserves in her fight to break her silence
Please understand. We aren't saying that Clifford should be frog-marched into the country side for years of re-education. (Though we might recommend that type of assistance for her lawyer, Mark Avenatti.)

We aren't saying that Stephanie Clifford should go to prison for her current conduct. As far as we know, there's no justification for that.

We aren't even saying that Stephanie Clifford should be publicly attacked for doing something "wrong," although it seems to us, as a private judgment, that she has perhaps done many things which aren't especially admirable and may just plain be destructive and wrong.

We're not saying that Stephanie Clifford should be dunked in an Essex County pond. We're saying it takes a very soft head to think that she's a "feminist hero," or to offer this account, as seen in Salon, of her current exertions:
Why has the feminist left been slow to embrace her? Why is there still a mocking undertone when we talk about her? Is it because she’s a Republican? A stripper and adult film star? Is it because of her campy Make America Horny Again tour? Maybe it’s because she allegedly had consensual sex with Trump, an act that’s unthinkable to so many of us? But she was 27, and it was 2006 when the alleged tryst happened. As Clifford’s friend/assistant Kayla Paige said to Rolling Stone, ”Who hasn't gone and f**ked someone we regret?”

The bigger question is a rhetorical one: Should any of that matter when a woman wants to share her #MeToo story?
For what it's worth, Kayla Paige may be a very nice person. The Rolling Stone piece in which she's quoted suggests that she may also be extremely unwise—that she certainly isn't someone from whom the liberal world should take direction, unless we really have decided that we plans to let Donald Trump win.

The Rolling Stone piece in which Paige is quoted is a rather sad production. In its headline, it too refers to Clifford as a "hero."

That said, even Rolling Stone—the mag which blew the whistle on UVa's mistreatment of Jackie on its way to stupidly losing its shirt—isn't dumb enough yet to refer to Clifford as a feminist hero.

Beyond that, why on earth would anyone think that Clifford is trying to share "a #MeToo story?" If you'll permit a moment of sanity, this is the story in question:
Step one: In 2006, Clifford engaged in a sexual affair with a newly married man whose wife had just given birth to a baby boy. There's nothing illegal about that.

That said, we'll assume that Clifford hadn't yet achieved the status of "feminist hero."

Step two: Five years later, Clifford apparently tried to sell her story about this affair to a tabloid magazine. For a payment of $15,000, the feminist hero was willing to tell the story about her exciting affair with the father of the child who was now five years old.

According to this report in yesterday's Washington Post, Clifford abandoned her attempt to score the 15 grand under threat of a lawsuit. Was the disappointed Clifford a "feminist hero" yet?

Step three: By 2016, the man with whom she had the affair was a much more significant personage. If we might borrow Salon's transcription, Clifford was therefore now offered $130,000 to shut the f**k up about her exciting affair.

Clifford's payday was much larger than the one she'd originally sought! Consensually, she took the cash. Did this make her a "feminist hero?" Was she some sort of feminist yet?

Step four: By 2018, Clifford had decided that she wanted to "share her story" in public after all. A cynic would say that her potential payoff had exponentially risen by now, though that would be speculation.

At any rate, Clifford now began to look for a way to escape the earlier cash deal she had made. That's where the story stands now.
We're not saying that Clifford has done anything illegal. We're not even saying she's necessarily done something "wrong."

That said, we now reach today's basic question. That question goes something like this:

At what point in this seamy, back-alley affair did Stephanie Clifford become a "feminist hero?" Even more strikingly, when did her story—a story of f**cking, indifference to others and material greed—turn into a #MeToo affair?

We're so old that we can remember when the #MeToo movement was dedicated to stories of sexual harassment and outright criminal assault. Truth to tell, this takes us all the way back to some time last week!

That's what #MeToo stories were once said to be. When did this back-alley tale of chasing the money turn into a "feminist" #MeToo affair?

There's really no way to be polite about the piece which appeared at Salon. Realists, though, may want to say this about that:

Over the course of the past fifteen years, our emerging, new-world liberal culture has become monstrously dumb, spectacularly clueless.

We've moved from decades of liberal silence to a new regime of liberal dumbness. Everyone can see how dumb we routinely are—everyone except us.

This spectacular dumbness is a key tool as the deranged and disordered Donald J. Trump reshapes the norms of our civilization. Every time we showcase our tribal dumbness, we add one more link to our chain.

Again and again and again and again, we liberals have turned out to be just very dumb. We're self-impressed and impressively clueless. We've been like this for a while, following on a previous era of spectacular silence.

This fact has become painfully clear over the past fifteen years. Donald J. Trump has ridden our Dumb all the way to where he is. For example, to the brink of a possible war—and yes, it really could happen.

All this week, we'll be exploring the claim that Stehanie Clifford is a "feminist hero" who's bravely trying to tell her "#MeToo story." When a tribe or a movement has become so dumb that it can swallow notions like that. then it's just as Professor Brown once said:

There may come a time when the secret agreements are gone, when a civilization may end.

Lincoln put it differently last night in a vivid dreamlike appearance. "The mystic chords of memory" are being ripped out, he morosely alleged.

Tomorrow: For starters, a visit to Rolling Stone

BREAKING: This is where the discourse goes!


Brooke Baldwin, report to the madhouse:
Yesterday's biggest event may have been what Barry McCaffrey said.

According to Brian Williams, McCaffrey "was the youngest and most heavily decorated four-star general in the history of the U.S. Army." He was also commander in chief of Southern Command, then later a U.S. drug czar.

McCaffrey is a major figure. Here's what he said on Twitter:

"Reluctantly, I have concluded that President Trump is a serious threat to U.S. national security. He is refusing to protect vital U.S. interests from active Russian attacks. It is apparent that he is, for some unknown reason, under the sway of Mr. Putin."

Considering who McCaffrey is, that's a remarkable statement. For that reason, Lawrence started last evening's Last Word program interviewing McCaffrey by phone.

This would have been an opportunity to flesh out McCaffrey's powerful statement, producing more fodder for public rumination about Trump's proto-treasonous conduct. But uh-oh! At 10:03 PM Eastern, before McCaffrey could finish his first statement to Lawrence, Lawrence threw him under the bus, and he never was heard from again.

Uh-oh! Jeff Sessions had just fired Andrew McCabe; Lawrence dumped McCaffrey mid-sentencefor instant discussion of about that. Presumably, this decision, which was overtly rude, was made by Lawrence's producers. They couldn't afford to show even modest respect to McCaffrey before they turned to this even newer news.

We would have liked to hear McCaffrey's analysis, then hear about the firing. Presumably, producers thought they might lose three or four viewers to CNN, so Lawrence cut McCaffrey off in mid-sentence and never mentioned him again.

So it goes when cable stars are committed to ratings and to The Chase. That said, what happenes when "cable news" commits itself to a sexual chase? For a glimpse of where that lunacy leads, consider what happened yesterday on CNN, on Brooke Baldwin's 3 PM program.

Baldwin started her closing, ten-minute segment with a "bombshell allegation." According to this allegation, Stephanie Clifford has been threatened with physical harm by someone connected to Trump. Or something like that!

Is this allegation actually true? Like you, Brooke Baldwin has no idea. But she spent large chunks of her hour talking about the allegation, then introduced her final set of guests in the following manner:
BALDWIN (3/16/18): With me now, Rick Wilson, Republican strategist, and Paris Dennard, CNN political commentator and member of the Trump advisory board.

Gentlemen, let's get to it, starting with all things Stormy.
Let's "start with all things Stormy!" This is where our discourse goes when we let these massively-paid prehumans start discussing allegations of (gasp!) consensual sex.

(To watch the whole segment, click this.)

In fact, Baldwin started and ended "with all things Stormy;" she discussed nothing else. Wilson, who's put on the air because he's unhinged and quite profane, was quickly saying this:

"I think we have to also think about Melania's prenup with him. There may be a money equation there as well that puts him at some risk."

Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! According to Wilson, we may have to talk about Melania's prenup! There will be no avoiding this task!

This is where American discourse goes when untethered crackpots are put on the air to discuss consensual sex. As this lengthy segment proceeded, we got an unvarnished look at where the discourse goes when cable suits instruct people like Baldwin to let the boys mix it up.

Dennard suggested we maybe shouldn't be discussing alleged consensual sex from the year 2006. At this point, Wilson interrupted, offering these thoughtful words:
WILSON: Donald Trump has a long pattern, a long pattern of engagement with a variety of women to whom he is not married. Michael Cohen has long been out there doing these NDAs for these various women that Trump was involved with sexually and in other capacities. This is something that is a long pattern of behavior.

Now, are you telling me that Republicans have never once brought up the fact that Bill Clinton screwed his way through Arkansas? No. They did it all the time. It wasn't because it was before he was president that makes a difference. It's that he did it at all.
Wilson is upset by the idea that Donald J. Trump has "a long pattern of engagement with a variety of women to whom he is not married."

It isn't clear why Wilson thinks this qualifies as his business. That said, he still seems to be upset by the thought that Bill Clinton allegedly "screwed his way through Arkansas."

According to Wilson, because Republicans constantly talked about Clinton's alleged prodigious screwing, we should also talk about Donald J. Trump's adventures in conceptual sex. These are the thoughts that seize control of the discourse when we let these disordered children discuss consensual sex.

Wilson was upset by Dennard's suggestions that we shouldn't go there. Soon, he was expressing his concern in this thoughtful manner:
WILSON: If your standard is that low, if your standard is that low, and you're OK with him screwing porn stars, if you're OK with him screwing porn stars, just say the words, "I'm OK with Donald Trump screwing porn stars."

Can you say that for me, Paris?
Wilson wanted to hear Paris talk dirty! The thoughtful analyst wanted to hear him say this:

"I'm OK with Donald Trump screwing porn stars."

From there, Wilson began talking over the top of Dennard. The battle went on at some length, with Baldwin occasionally pretending that she wanted the boys to stop.

Baldwin was thoroughly faux throughout, no doubt behaving as instructed. Eventually, Wilson further expressed himself in the thoughtful ways shown below:
WILSON: You're defending Donald Trump screwing a porn star. It's OK. Embrace it. Say it Paris. Just say it. Just say, "I love that Donald Trump screwed a porn star.

You can just say it. You can just say it.

BALDWIN: Guys, no personal insults. No personal insults, please.


BALDWIN: Go ahead, Rick. I know you want to jump in. Go ahead.

WILSON: You know, the argument that Donald Trump's lifelong pattern of infidelity, adultery, shattering every vow of every one of his marriages, by his own admission, and the fact that Donald Trump screwed a porn star—

I don't think Melania Trump is going to be more embarrassed by what Michael Cohen or Stormy Daniels has to say than by the fact that, a few months after she had a kid, her husband was screwing a porn star.

And that's what you're saying is OK. I get it. You accept that. That's part of your moral framework. That's part of your moral landscape. Good for you!


WILSON: You have said it's part of your moral landscape it's OK for Donald Trump to screw a porn star—it's OK for Donald Trump to screw a porn star if he's just not the president.

DENNARD: Keep saying it more and more. Keep saying it more and more. Get it out. Get it out of your system. We all know that's what you want to say.
Plainly, Dennard was right about that. Wilson did want to say, again and again, that Donald J. Trump had "screwed a porn star."

He said it again and again and again; he enjoys both the verb and the noun. Sadly, there was no sign that the exercise was "getting it out of his system," or that any such exorcism could ever occur.

Wilson wanted to say it again and again. And not only that—CNN wanted him to say it again and again. And yes, this is where the discourse goes when corporate suits decide they want to let the children discuss consensual sex.

We're going to offer these points:

First point:
Actually yes—it is OK for Trump to "screw a porn star." It isn't any of Wilson's business, nor is it any of ours.

Second point: It would also be OK if Trump "screwed" someone who wan't a "porn star." Clifford's profession seems to trouble Wilson. So it goes with disordered minds.

Third point: This is where the discourse goes when the press corps decides, as it did in 1987, that it wants to discuss consensual sex. Soon, they're discussing nothing else. That's because they're secretly overpaid corporate clowns who care about nothing else.

Inevitably, the discourse goes up in flames when the children give themselves license to do that. Consider what we learned on page A3 of today's hard-copy New York Times.

Yesterday's New York Times was full of actual news. But what did subscribers want to discuss? Below, you see what we learned on today's reimagined A3:
The Conversation


2) Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr's Wife, Files for Divorce
On Facebook, the news of the president's son and daughter-in-law breaking up drew more than 4,400 comments on Facebook, many of which speculated that the Trumps' decision to opt for an uncontested divorce might signal that the split is a ploy to transfer family assets to Mrs. Trump in case of legal trouble for Mr. Trump.
Of all the reports across yesterday's Times, that's what Times readers were gabbing about. In a manner drawn straight outta Salem Village and the nearby fictional Peyton Place, they "speculated" about what "might" explain this announcement of this divorce.

The Times itself is such a rag that it responded to this display by spreading their gossip further.

This is who and what we are. Left on our own, as in Lord of the Flies, this is all we are. This is where our discourse goes when we turn our empty selves loose.

Baldwin played the fool yesterday, just as the bosses instructed. This is where the discourse goes when we start chasing Gary Hart.

Who the $%^&@# is Rick Wilson: CNN puts Wilson on the air because he behaves like that. Believe it or not, here's how the conversation started when Ana Marie Cox interviewed Wilson, two years back, for the Sunday New York Times:
COX (3/24/16): You’ve gained lots of fans on the left thanks to your vicious descriptions of Trump and his supporters. Once, on MSNBC, you called his base ‘‘childless single men who masturbate to anime.’’ That was in reference to the alt-right part of his base.

WILSON: I wish I could take credit for it being a broader smear. If one is going to insult a group of people who think that Trump is their own private postmodern Hitler, one ought to be specific.

COX: You also tweeted at Ann Coulter, asking if Trump ‘‘pays more for anal.’’ What do you think it is about Trump that drives the conversation toward sexualized language?
No, really! Cox wanted to know what it is about Donald J. Trump that makes Wilson behave as he does!

Cox, of course, is the person who went on the Maddow Show night after night back in April 2009 dropping all the "teabagger" dick jokes on Tea Party heads while Rachel pretended, night after night, to be shocked and embarrassed.

Yesterday, Baldwin was cast in that old Maddow role. This is the way we prehumans behave when the suits decide it's time to start chasing Gary Hart.

BREAKING: What kind of school would you say this is?

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018

The struggle to keep claims alive:
Suppose your third- or fourth-grade child was attending a public school whose demographics looked like this:
Demographics of Public School A:
White kids: 35 percent
Black kids: 25 percent
Hispanic kids: 25 percent
Asian-American kids: 10 percent
Others: 5 percent
Suppose your neighborhood school looked like that. Would it even enter your head that your child had been forced to attend a "segregated school?"

In recent years, we attended schoolwide spelling bees, on two occasions, in a school whose demographics resembled those of Public School A. We didn't think we were in a segregated school. Given what we saw going on in that school, we thought we'd died and gone to heaven.

Imagine something else. Imagine that someone waved a magic wand and created a nationwide regime in which, to borrow from Garrison Keillor, the public schools were all exactly average.

According to the NCES, your child's school would now look like this:
Demographics of Public School B:
White kids: 48.1 percent
Black kids: 15.8 percent
Hispanic kids: 26.8 percent
Asian-American kids: 5.5 percent
Others: 3.8 percent
Suppose you were the parent of a black son or daughter. Would your child be better off in Public School B? How much better off?

Also this: Would your child be better off after the school creates "gifted" or "accelerated" programs, likely tilting the demographic blend within specific classrooms?

If your child would be better off in Public School B, we'll also ask you this. Would you be inclined to say that Public School A was a segregated school, while Public School B was not? Those are the findings which would result from the academic regime we considered in yesterday's post.

Would that thought ever have entered your head?

The demographics of Public School B exaclt match the demographics of the nationwide public school population as of September 2017. If someone waved a magic wand, we could have a nation of schools where, in terms of demographics, the schools were all exactly alike.

In the real world, this would never be possible, due to nationwide residential patterns. That said, we're still asking you to ponder the overpowering liberal academic desire to outfit ourselves with the ability to complain, in highly dramatic ways, about the number of kids attending "segregated schools."

Would you apply that badly fraught term to a school like Public School A? When we visited a similar school, we thought we'd died and gone to heaven.

Did we simply fail to see that it was still 1955 in that school? Also, what makes us liberals long to retain our most eye-catching claims?

Another segregated school: Consider a possible Public School C. Its demographics look like this:
Demographics of Public School C:
White kids: 33.3 percent
Black kids: 33.3 percent
Hispanic kids: 33.3 percent
That's a "segregated school" too! Would that thought have entered your head, but for The Atlantic?

We very much need to talk about the quality of our public schools. On the few occasions when we do, do we need to talk like that?

For people inclined to think in jokes: Try to work with something like this:

In the old days, it was George Wallace who said, "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Now it's the year 2018, and the people who say that are Us!

WHEN STORMY MET NOBBY: Norman O. Brown saw the saga coming!

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018

Epilogue—How civilizations end:
On the brighter side, Morning Joe has now completed a full three weeks in its quieter, gentler new mode.

The program's standard screeching and yelling have plainly been set aside. We'd love to know who made the decision to lower the decibel level on the insider chatterbox program.

More sadly, this doesn't mean that the insider program has gotten a whole lot smarter. This morning, the program began with Mika making a foolish remark about this era of Stephanie Clifford, an era which has given rise to the ongoing "Stormy saga."

At this time, we can't share those initial remarks; they may become available later. That said, Mika soon returned to the topic during the program's first half hour, authoring these remarks:
BRZEZINSKI (3/16/18): Of course, from all that international intrigue, now to the presidential porn star, Stormy.

There are new developments on Stormy Daniels' 60 Minutes appearance. Two sources tell the Washington Post that CBS will air her interview with Anderson Cooper on March 25.

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing the former porn star, Michael Avenatti, says six other women have come forward with stories that are, quote, "strikingly similar" to his client's.

He says at least two of them have nondisclosure agreements, but admits he has not yet vetted their stories to a great degree.
Mika continued from there with her remarks about "the presidential porn star, Stormy"—and yes, that's the way she said it! Stephanie Clifford is now "the presidential porn star, Stormy." No last name required!

Let's set that small oddity to the side. We were struck, as we'd been struck at the start of the program, by Mika's key revelation:

The porn star's lawyer was saying that six other women had come forward with stories strikingly similar to hers!

Pure heaven! If their similar stories pan out, we can now discuss seven women who have had fully consensual sex, at some time in the past, with President Donald J. Trump.

This is what people like Mika want. They want to sit around all day talking about people who say they've had consensual sex with some targeted politician.

People like Mika have been pushing this project for the past 31 years, dating to the bright Democratic front-runner whose campaign and career they destroyed. Despite the massive harm they've done, they want to continue their project today. Truth to tell, it's the only thing these manifest droogs want to talk about.

Could this possibly be, as Professor Norman O. Brown once mused, the place where our society and our civilization possibly reach their end?

We'll get to Professor Brown below. For now, let's establish a few basic points:

First point: The "presidential porn star, Stormy" hasn't been alleging sexual harassment or sexual assault. She's been saying that she engaged in consensual sex in 2006. More than once!

Second point: We can't imagine why any sane or decent person would want to talk about this. We especially can't imagine that when we consider the chain of destruction these prior discussions have left in their wake.

Third point: Mika is eager to talk about this; so are Josh and Digby. So are a wide range of mainstream journalists, some of whom are skilled at inventing concerns to justify the use of their long, Salem Village-style noses. It isn't the consensual sex, it's the cover-up!

Fourth point: In the past 31 years, these discussions have done enormous harm to progressive interests. To cite one minor example, people are dead all over the world because these discussions took place. That said, it's perfectly clear that leading liberals don't really care about those dead people and never much did, except as a temporary way to seek partisan advantage.

Fifth point: Michael Cohen should be awarded his nation's top civilian honors for trying to shut Clifford up. Almost surely, Clifford isn't a freedom fighter. How hard can it be to see that?

We return to our main point:

Decent people don't go around discussing other people's affairs. Intelligent people don't try to mire our public discourse in such deadbeat discussions.

Observant people understand that these discussions have caused immeasurable harm since being waved into existence in 1987. Decent people keep their big long noses out of other people's affairs.

They don't go on TV, in front of millions of people, and discuss the ways other people have been consensually "shtupping." They don't play sexy-time audiotape of other people's phone calls again and again.

That's what decent and intelligent people don't do. Then again, there's us.

Here's a basic anthropological point about creatures like us. Given the way our brains are wired, once you let us start talking about other people's consensual sex, we'll end up discussing nothing else.

In the realm of upper-end journalism, the children are constantly seeking excuses to avoid matters of substance. If you let them start discussing (consensual) sex, they'll simply never stop.

Thanks to a certain money-grubbing porn star, the children have been stampeding of late concerning Trump and sex. Despite the fact that it bores them silly, they very much want to discuss this matter. They hope to discuss nothing else.

As this stampede began gathering steam, the ghostly visage of Norman O. Brown began to murder our sleep. That one passage he wrote kept invading our dreams. It dates to 1960.

Who the heck was Norman O. Brown? Technically, he was a Wesleyan classics professor, but in 1959, he became very hot with a searching, slightly mad book, Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History.

In May 1960, he went viral behind his commencement address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Columbia. His obscure, slightly mad address was titled "Apocalypse: The Place of Mystery in the Life of the Mind." One year later, in its May 1961 issue, Harper's magazine published the full text of the address.

You can read the full text here.
Did Paddy Chayefsky borrow from this when he invented Howard Beale, "mad prophet of the airwaves?"

We don't know how to answer that. But by now, there was no turning back.

In 1966, Brown published another slightly mad book, Love's Body. By this time, he was a major star among the emerging 60s generation.

The always observant Camille Paglia has called Love's Body "one of the most famous and influential books of my college years." We recall the era the very same way! Also this:

"Reading Brown was a little like taking drugs, only it was more likely to lead to tenure," the sociologist Alan Wolfe wrote in The New Republic in 1991. Or so it said in this lengthy New York Times obituary of Brown in 2002.

As best we can tell, Brown remained a significant figure in academic circles, but he faded from popular culture. In the past dozen years, we've often thought of that one obscure passage from that one Phi Beta Kappa address.

We can't quite say what Brown was talking about in the bulk of that famous address. But at one point, he uttered the words shown below—and those words, which we can't explain, occasionally murder our sleep.

We don't really know what the heck he was talking about. But he was describing a process through which societies and civilizations reach their end in exhaustion, then roll over and die:
BROWN (5/31/60): The sociologist Simmel sees showing and hiding, secrecy and publicity, as two poles, like yin and yang, between which societies oscillate in their historical development. I sometimes think I see that societies originate in the discovery of some secret, some mystery; and end in exhaustion when there is no longer any secret, when the mystery has been divulged, that is to say profaned...And so there comes a time—I believe we are in such a time—when civilization has to be renewed by the discovery of some new mysteries, by the undemocratic but sovereign power of the imagination, by the undemocratic power which makes poets the unacknowledged legislators of all mankind, the power which makes all things new.

The power which makes all things new is magic. What our time needs is mystery; what our time needs is magic. Who would not say that only a miracle can save us?
Truly, we have no idea what Brown was talking about in that speech, which you can read here, or even in that passage. But for some reason, that image—the image of a civilization reaching its end in a state of exhaustion—has occasionally troubled our dreams in the past dozen years.

When you see people like Mika seeking the chance to discuss Donald's shtupping, can your inner mind not imagine the possibility that our society, and its civilization, are now walking off into the jungle to die?

Darlings, how delicious! Mika sits on the air each morning beside the employer she started shtupping at some point in the past ten years. Almost surely, she was still married to her former husband when all the consensual shtupping began. Indeed, in the female empowerment books she kept writing for Harvey to hide behind, she kept talking about the amazingly wonderful marriage she was enjoying thanks to her wonderful husband. Plus, her fabulous genes!

As she was writing these books for Harvey, she was presumably consensually shtupping Joe! Who can say how many others might come forward with similar stories? Is it possibly time for her to for her to discuss all the fully consensual shtuppinng she herself has excitingly done?

Nicolle Wallace's hour-long show was a rollicking clown car last Friday. All the children lounged about, telling us how much they disapproved of Donald's (consensual) shtupping.

They laughed and partied and frolicked and played. ("This is why you watch.") Eventually, Confessore issued a warning. For ourselves, we thought of what happened long ago when Norman O. Brown, the man called Nobby, may have seen all this on the way.
Did Nobby met the presidential porn star, Stormy, in his own troubled dreams? We can't be sure, but Donald J. Trump now controls our nukes, and Joe and Mika kissed his ascot all through the first year of his campaign.

Then they made a sudden flip. What that in mind, shouldn't responsible journalists push them about their shtupping?

Their man, who's nuttier by the day, may very well destroy the world. On the way to the end of our civilization, shouldn't all the prehuman corporate tools get to have some fun?

A possible public works project: If every American adult threw one dollar into the pot, we could raise $200 million to persuade Stephanie Clifford to stop talking again.

From there, we could maybe discuss Donald Trump's coming war. Until the next distraction occurs! At which point we'll discuss it!