Nicholas Kristof visits the Dalits!


Teaching American history: Go figure!

Somehow, Nicholas Kristof decided to run for governor of Oregon (his home state) without checking to see if he was eligible to do so under Oregon law.

It turned out that he wasn't! As evidenced by his column in today's New York Times, Oregon's loss was the journalistic world's gain.

Kristof writes from Tilonia, India. He isn't frisking the latest minutia concerning the round-the-clock effort to throw you-know-who in jail.

Instead, he's describing an attempt to create a better world for some good, decent people who deserve one. At the start of his column, he introduces to the kind of person who will never be mentioned on our self-impressed blue tribe's repulsive multimillionaure cable.

Headline included, he describes a good, decent person:

Can’t Read? Here’s a ‘Barefoot College’ for You.

TILONIA, India — It’s the Harvard of rural India, minus wingtips or heels: a 50-year-old institution called Barefoot College that offers lessons for empowering people worldwide. Maybe even in America.

Barefoot College does empowerment as well as any institution I’ve ever seen, and here’s what that looks like in the rural state of Rajasthan: An illiterate woman named Chota Devi who never attended a day of school is hunched over a circuit board, carefully using color-coded instructions to solder resistors and diodes into place.

Chota, who has no idea how old she is, is a Dalit, those at the bottom of the caste system once known as untouchables, and from a particularly low-ranking group called the Valmiki who often cleaned human waste.

“I will have more knowledge than my husband,” Chota noted slyly. When she goes home, villagers now call her “Madam.” It’s partly a joke, partly a show of respect.

Chota is a good, decent person. According to Kristof, she has five children, none of whom are currently attending school, but she wants that to change.

“I’m working with women who know how to read and write, so now I want my children to learn as well,” Kristof quotes her saying. You will never hear about people like this from our own blue tribe's millionaire hacks.

Chota is a Dalit, Kristof says. The leading authority on the topic offers this overview:

Dalit (from Sanskrit: meaning "broken/scattered"), also previously known as untouchable, is the lowest stratum of the castes in India. Dalits were excluded from the four-fold varna system of Hinduism and were seen as forming a fifth varna, also known by the name of Panchama. Dalits now profess various religious beliefs, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Islam. Scheduled Castes is the official term for Dalits as per the Constitution of India.

The term Dalit is a self-applied concept for those called the "untouchables" and others that were outside of the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy. Economist and reformer B. R. Ambedkar (1891–1956) said that untouchability came into Indian society around 400 CE, due to the struggle for supremacy between Buddhism and Brahmanism (an ancient term for Brahmanical Hinduism)...

In the late 1880s, the Marathi word 'Dalit' was used by Mahatma Jotiba Phule for the outcasts and Untouchables who were oppressed and broken in the Hindu society. Dalit is a vernacular form of the Sanskrit... In Classical Sanskrit, this means "divided, split, broken, scattered."

Untouchability came into Indian society around the year 400. In our view, such facts should be an inherent part of teaching our brutal American history to our American public school kids at an appropriate age.

Our nation's brutal racial history is one part of the frequently brutal human history which has prevailed around the world since the dawn of time. To wit:

In this morning's New York Times, Troy Closson profiles a bunch of kids at Brooklyn Tech who are taking the College Board's Advanced Placement course in African American studies. The good, decent kids in that high school class deserve to know the global context of the brutal American history they're currently learning about.

Those good, decent kids will instantly know how to care about "the wretched of the earth." Kids like them are decent and good. They will want to be told about this.

Along the way, they will learn that the suffering inflicted on the American group with which they identify was part of a much wider human moral problem. You must resolve not to be this way, a trusted teacher may tell them.

Kids like them will understand the meaning of this larger lesson. On the other hand, you will never hear about any of this on the clown-like corporate "cable news" channel devoted to pimping the Storylines which please our own self-impressed tribe.

Let's save those good, decent kids from us and from our wretched instincts! Let's teach them about our world's history. We can guarantee that they'll care.

"We in America could learn from this approach in rural India," Kristof writes near the end of his column about Barefoot College. "The United States as well must do better providing training in technical skills to people who have been left behind."

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Even within our infallible tribe, our instincts aren't always the best.

HACKS LIKE US: Morning Joe recites, then recites some more!


This is the garbage we've chosen: Should Donald J. Trump be charged with a crime with respect to those payments to Stormy Daniels?

Imaginably, it could depend on what he actually did! For example, did he write off those "legal fees" on his tax returns, thereby defrauding the state and federal governments out of some cold, hard cash?

We have no idea if he did that! If he did, that would start to look like a recognizable crime, unlike the less recognizable crimes with which it has recently seemed that he was about to be charged.

Concerning those less recognizable crimes, Charles Coleman went rogue last night. 

By his own admission, Coleman is "a seasoned civil rights attorney and legal analyst [who] has quickly emerged as one of one of strongest thought leaders and modern voices in today's conversation on race, law, culture, politics, social justice, and civil rights. "

Coleman is also an MSNBC legal analyst. Inevitably, he's a graduate of Harvard Law School—and he's frequently seen on MSNBC's primetime TV shows.

Coleman is a good, decent person. Last night, on The Last Word, he briefly went rogue, saying this:

COLEMAN (3/22/23): I will be very honest and candid, although it is unpopular and many people may not necessarily want to hear it...

[Later today, we'll be able to complete the transcript of Coleman's remarks. For reasons which seem to be perfectly obvious, MSNBC no longer provides transcripts of its TV shows.]

In this statement, Coleman echoed the recent column by the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus, a graduate of Harvard Law School. As we noted yesterday morning, Marcus said she was somewhat concerned by the route Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg seemed to be taking.

In fact, several people within our blue tribe have voiced discomfort with the possible direction being taken by Bragg.  As Andrew Weissman noted last night immediately after Coleman spoke, we'll have to wait for Bragg's final action before we can assess what he has and hasn't done. 

As for now, it may be that Trump has committed a recognizable crime in this matter. But it may also be that he hasn't.

Maybe he has—but maybe he hasn't! Of course, as everyone surely knows by now, that isn't the way cable works.

Blue cable belongs to Hacks Like Us—to people who tell us the stories our blue tribe likes to hear.

These "hacks" appear on our TV shows, fracturing known facts and elementary logic. In yesterday morning's report, we described one such performance—the absurd performance which unfolded Tuesday night on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront.

Blue tribe legal expert Ryan Goodman was eager to show that nothing could possibly be wrong with any possible indictment of Donald J. Trump up in Gotham.  People get criminally charged for conduct like Trump's all the time, the expert seemed to be saying. 

According to Goodman, one couple was recently charged with a crime for defrauding their insurance company out of something like three thousand dollars! That doesn't seem to resemble anything Trump is known to have done in the Daniels case, but Erin Burnett simply gazed all about as Goodman expounded, thus letting the lesson unfold.

Did Goodman's performance make any sense? We can't say that it did.

He offered four examples of regular people who have been criminally charged for a false business filing. But none of these cases seemed anything like what Trump is known to have done.

In such ways, the stupidification of modern discourse advances apace on our own tribe's TV shows. And sure enough! Eleven hours later, in yesterday morning's 6 o'clock hour, the gentleman known as Morning Joe began to recite.

Scarborough teased his recitation at 6:03 A.M. Judging from appearances, producers had directed him to the four events Goodman had cited the night before. 

Thanks to the work of The Internet Archive, you can watch him deliver the 6:03 tease and the rest of the mormning's remarks. The tease went exactly like this:

SCARBOROUGH (3/22/23): You hear one lie after another coming from Republicans who get in front of microphones and say, "Nobody gets charged with this. There's no way he'd be charged with this except for the fact that he's Trump and they hate Donald Trump and they're going after Donald Trump."

My gosh, Mika, we're going to be showing some examples coming up of how this statute has been used, this felony statute has been used for as small an item as a couch! Somebody shopping and bringing back actually goods that they didn't pay for, and getting store credit for them, getting caught for that, a couple of thousand bucks, and they get charged with this felony. 

And so somehow lying about $130,000 to pay off a porn star, them saying this is much ado about nothing, when people are getting charged with this same thing for a couch and for a couple of thousand dollars of store credit? They're lying! But of course, that's not a shock!

So it went in the 6:03 tease.

At this extremely early hour, Joe seemed to have two of Goodman's cases mixed up in his head. He wasn't confused about Storyline, in which 1) only Republicans have voiced concern about this pending matter in Gotham; and in which 2) by obvious rule of law, the Republicans have been "lying."

Joe did seem to be confused about two of these cases. In fact, the three thousand dollars was the amount the larcenous couple had scammed from their insurance company for the couch they lost in the fire. The larcenous store credit at Lord & Taylor was for an unnamed amount.

No matter! Joe returned to this script at 6:08 A.M. By now, he had a full-sized graphic which listed three of Goodman's cases from the night before. 

"I want to get back to the Republican lie, the main Republican lie right now," the cable star thoughtfully said. As Lawrence O'Donnell has endlessly taught us, repeating the L-word is powerful!

With the graphic to work from, Joe was now able to rattle some facts about the handful of cases at issue. These cases involved baldly larcenous conduct—larcenous conduct which didn't seem to resemble Donald J. Trump's:

SCARBOROUGH: Let's give you some details on people who were charged with what Trump may be charged with...

Here's some examples:

A married couple charged for, quote, attempting to recover the cash value of various items of property that were lost in a house fire. They claimed $5,000 for a leather couch they had purchased for $1,900. You see that?

In fact, everyone could see that now, in part because he now had the graphic to work from. For the record, Joe was performing for Mika at this time, but also for a pair of sidekicks and for three other guests. 

Needless to say, none of these players said a word about the sheer stupidity of Joe's repeated presentation. Blue tribe "cable news" is built upon this baldly corrupt arrangement.

Joe ran through his puzzling examples at 6:08 A.M. His principal point seemed to be this:

$130,000 is more than $3,000.

His arithmetic was correct. But in the one case he had cited, an insurance company was being scammed out of that $3,000. An obvious theft had occurred.

No one was scammed out of any money when Stormy Daniels was handed her cash. Meanwhile, everyone agrees that payments of this kind are not illegal in and of themselves.

Joe ran through his examples during his 6:08 recitation. He ran through them again at 6:13 when he introduced an additional guest. Blue tribe viewers got to hear the recitation all over again.

This new guest was Dave Aronberg, state's attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida. Despite the importance of his public office, Aronberg can be counted on to go along with these recitations of distorted approved tribal script. 

Uh-oh! On this occasion, even Aronberg felt forced to acknowledge that he himself had been "a little bit critical" about the Gotham venture.

Instantly, though, he recovered and established his worth. The state's attorney said this:

ARONBERG (3/22/23): As far as this case, you know, I know a lot of people are saying it's small ball, and you know I've been a little bit critical, thinking maybe this isn't the one that should go first. It's the fourth out of four out there of the cases swirling around Donald Trump.

But that doesn't mean it's a weak case. The hush money payment is what sent Michael Cohen to federal prison.

"The hush money payment is what sent Michael Cohen to federal prison?" We reviewed the role played by that mandated statement in Monday afternoon's report:

As Aronberg knows, Cohen pled guilty to a total of eight (8) federal crimes. His role in the payments to Daniels was involved in only one or two of those charges, and those charges were never put to the test in front of an actual jury.

That said, the people who perform on blue tribe cable will always say what Aronberg said—that Cohen was sent to federal prison because of the hush money matter, full stop. 

This embellishment makes the story sound better to blue tribe ears. Presumably, pleasing misstatements of this type bring viewers back for more.

Starting at 6:03 yesterday morning, Scarborough played the tribal fool, as he now frequently does. He was ably assisted by Mika's occasional two-word bursts of agreement.

He had been equipped with script which came live and direct from the previous evening's gong-show on CNN. Today, you can see his early recitations thanks to the Internet Archive.

As Scarborough staged his recitations, he tried to say the words "porn star" as many times as possible. None of his sidekicks and none of his guests asked the world's most obvious questions:

In what way does a fraudulent insurance claim about a couch relate to whatever it is that Trump will turn out to have done? 

In what way is Trump's conduct, whatever it turns out to be, comparable to the act of stealing merchandise from Lord & Taylor, then "bringing it back" for a "refund?"

Those were examples of recognizable crimes—but in what way were those criminal acts comparable to whatever it is that Trump is known to have done?

Joe was surrounded by corporate clowns. As "MSNBC contributors," they all know they're paid not to ask.

This is the way the game is now played by the tribe which is good and honest and just extremely smart! Or at least, so the self-flattering story goes, thanks to our blue tribe's vastly disordered sense of self and our vastly disordered logic.

Go ahead—watch Joe's early recitations, thanks to the Internet Archive! He started at 6:03 A.M., then kept reciting the material his producers had fed him.

Except by the logic of tribal war, none of it actually made any sense. If we might borrow from Don Corleone, this is the moral and intellectual breakdown we've chosen. 

Tomorrow: This bullsh*t never ends

"This whole [discourse] is out of order!"


Also, though, Mary Trump: We don't think we've ever seen the 1979 film, With Justice For All.  Al Pacino is often said to have made this statement as part of that courtroom drama:

"This whole court is out of order!"

Apparently, that's a misstatement of what the Pacino character says. According to an array of sources, the actual line goes like this:

"You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!"

All in all, the same idea.

It has occurred to us, in the past few days, that our whole national discourse is [badly] out of order. The sheer inanity of "cable news" discourse has taken things well beyond the pale—and no, it isn't just that way on Fox.

We started building this site in the fall of 1997 because we thought, even then, that the howlers were arriving on a daily basis. But in the last few days and nights, our gong-show discourse has moved beyond the realm of mere howlers into the world of gonzo incompetence and general semi-insanity.

Our guess would be that this results from the "viewpoint segregation" of cable news, in which our tribunes are almost never forced to defend, refine or re-analyze anything they've ever said. Years inside such echo chambers reduce the intellectual skills of participants—and quite a few of those pundit skill levels were quite thin coming in.

"This is the discourse we have chosen," we thoughtfully said this very morning—and that isn't just the doing of our journalists, such as they frequently are. 

The failure of academics to notice and challenge this culture is one of the gong-shows of the age. Even the experts with whom we consult can't account for this failure to serve, though this failure was already pronounced by the time we started this site.

Last night, we were happy to observe a brief break in this state of affairs. We refer to Mary Trump's appearance on The Last Word.

We've long stated the obvious here—you can't conduct a serious discussion of Donald J. Trump without input from (carefully selected) medical / psychological / psychiatric specialists. 

Because she's Donald Trump's niece, Mary Trump wouldn't be the perfect choice to serve in this role. That said, she does have training as a clinical psychologist, and on rare occasions she's allowed to say such things as this:

MARY TRUMP (3/21/23): Well Lawrence, first of all, it's great to be with you. And you are talking about these quotes from people near Donald who allegedly spend a lot of time with him. There is always such a disconnect between what they claim and what I know can't possibly be true.

So I think, first of all, the emotion of sadness is not in Donald's arsenal. What he is feeling, to the extent that he is feeling anything, is self-pity. And that makes sense.

He's also feeling grievance, but he feels aggrieved every time he walks into the Mar-a-Lago dining hall and his paid patrons don't pay him sufficient homage, right? So none of this is new, and he has such a limited range...


Again, I try to avoid any diagnostic labels. But this is somebody who has such serious psychological problems, he has such serious psychopathologies, that the range of emotion that is available to most relatively stable people is not available to him.

I think Donald's emotional makeup consists mostly of anger and the self-pity I spoke about earlier, and deep, deep fear. And a lot of that is in the service of making sure he never feels humiliated.

Lawrence changed the focus of the discussion for his second segment with Mary Trump. But in the material offered above, you see one of the rare attempts to offer an adult appraisal of this badly disordered person's badly disordered behavior.

As we've noted again and again, the mainstream press corps isn't going to take part in this type of discussion. In truth, it may be just as well. Our TV stars aren't mature enough, or smart enough, to conduct a discussion of this type, and the introduction of frameworks like this would instantly be abused across the partisan spectrum.

Simply put, our floundering nation lacks the capacity (the range) to conduct a serious discussion of Trump. We simply aren't up to the task. We enjoy "the jugglers and the clowns," and we listen to almost nobody else.

One or two final points:

In her first, best-selling book, Mary Trump explicitly identified her grandfather (Donald Trump's father) as a "sociopath." She didn't say the same thing about her uncle, but as she listed his various psychopathologies, we'd be inclined to say that she made it clear she was saying something quite similar.

As we noted in real time, our journalists ran from those assessments much as Dracula flees the cross. They simply refuse to engage with such topics. Within our blue tribe as well as in theirs, we're children in a childish land, and that isn't going to change.

We've recommended pity for Donald J. Trump, and we continue to do so. That said, pity for someone afflicted this way isn't within the range of emotion available to us as a people or as a tribe. The range of emotion available to us doesn't let us go to any such place, even as we work to keep Trump out of office.

At any rate, this whole (pseudo) discourse is out of order! Our own blue tribe is increasingly foolish. Our tribe is unable to see this.

From her original book: In her first, best-selling book, Mary Trump offered this overview of her famous, disordered uncle:

MARY TRUMP (pages 12-13): None of the Trump siblings emerged unscathed from my grandfather's sociopathy and my grandmother's illnesses, both physical and psychological, but my uncle Donald and my father, Freddy, suffered more than the rest. In order to get a complete picture of Donald, his psychopathologies, and the meaning of his dysfunctional behavior, we need a thorough family history.

In the last three years, I’ve watched as countless pundits, armchair psychologists and journalists have kept missing the mark, using phrases such as "malignant narcissism" and "narcissistic personality disorder" in an attempt to make sense of Donald’s often bizarre and self-defeating behavior. I have no problem calling Donald a narcissist—he meets all nine criteria as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)—but the label only gets us so far.


[Clinical] experiences showed me time and again that diagnosis doesn't exist in a vacuum. Does Donald have other symptoms we aren't aware of? Are there other disorders that might have as much or more explanatory power? Maybe. A case could be made that he also meets the criteria for antisocial personality disorder, which in its most severe forms is generally considered sociopathy but can also refer to chronic criminality, arrogance, and disregard for the rights of others...

The fact is, Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests that he’ll never sit for. 

According to Mary Trump, her uncle didn't "emerge unscathed" from her grandfather's sociopathy. Neither did her father, who died at age 42.

Years later, the wider meaning of those remarks remains unexplored, undiscussed. This whole discourse is out of order! As a people, we simply aren't up to the task of conducting mature public discourse.

Tucker Carlson isn't up to that task. As we clown (and call names) from within our blue tents, could the same thing be true about us?

HACKS LIKE US: CNN tries to present a discussion!


CNN tries and fails: In a thoroughly sensible column, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus has given voice to some doubts. 

In no way is Marcus any kind of Trump supporter. But in this new column, she says she's getting a slightly bad feeling about certain events in New York:

MARCUS (3/21/23): It’s an axiom of criminal law that prosecutors should go after the crime, not the individual, and there is an unnerving air, in the New York district attorney’s pursuit of Trump, of a desire to find some crime, any crime, with which to charge him.

That might feel gratifying for those who have watched for years as Trump escaped legal consequences for his actions. The temptation, with Trump above all, is almost irresistible: Surely there must be some consequences, for some actions.

But this is not the way the criminal justice system is supposed to proceed—its aim is to treat like crimes alike. That means that no one, not even Trump, is above the law, yet also that no one, not even Trump, is treated worse because of who he is, what other things he has done and how much some of us loathe him.

Seemingly like everyone else in the world, Marcus is a graduate of Harvard Law School. She reports the occasional feeling that Alvin Bragg—he's a Harvard Law School graduate too—may be trying "to find some crime, any crime, with which to charge" Jean Valjean.

It isn't especially hard to see why Marcus has that occasional feeling. The unfortunate appearance she describes dates back years in the chase after Trump. This is especially true with respect to the ongoing desire to transform a mere misdemeanor offense into a felony charge.

At the highest levels of the mainstream press, journalists write about this desire to turn lead into gold as if it's the world's most normal pursuit. For example, on the front page of today's New York Times, a news report starts as shown:

PROTESS ET AL (3/22/23): It is the kind of case that emboldens prosecutors and mesmerizes juries: a celebrity defendant authorizing a secret payoff to cover up a tryst with a porn star.

As the Manhattan district attorney’s office appears poised to seek an indictment of Donald J. Trump in just such a case, the former president is facing a daunting set of facts. His onetime fixer, Michael D. Cohen, will testify that Mr. Trump directed him to pay off the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and that the former president reimbursed Mr. Cohen and helped cover the whole thing up.

But salacious details alone do not make a case. Prosecutors must also work within the law. And the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, may have to pull off a difficult maneuver, connecting the hush-money cover-up—a potential violation of state law—to a federal election.

The details of any indictment that may be handed up as soon as this week are not yet known, and Mr. Bragg could charge any number of crimes. But there is a possibility that the case will rely on a legal theory that has never been evaluated by a judge. 

So cool! The current case involves a tryst with a porn star! 

That is just  amazingly cool! But according to four high-end journalists, "salacious details" aren't enough to sustain a criminal charge! 

In this instance, the scribes report, the prosecutor may end up "rely[ing] on a legal theory that has never been evaluated by a judge." Out of all this thrashing there has emerged the occasional sense that a modern Javert has perhaps and possibly found his man and is hunting about for his charge. 

In fairness, no one knows what kind of charge Bragg might be able to conjure. It may turn out that he will present a reasonably straightforward criminal charge.

Luckily, a trio of blue tribe legal lights have come forward to set the minds of people like Marcus at ease. They have produced a laboriously detailed report at the Just Security site, a report which carries this title:

Survey of Past New York Felony Prosecutions for Falsifying Business Records

In their extremely detailed report, the legal lights are assuring the doubters that plenty of people have been prosecuted in cases like Donald J. Trump's. 

Weirdly, only one of the three went to Harvard Law School. In fairness, Siven Watt is a Brit—and Ryan Goodman went to law school at Yale.

It was Goodman who was paraded out by CNN last night. For reasons only the gods can explain, the channel had decided to try to conduct a discussion of the basis on which Donald J. Trump could possibly be charged in the salacious porn star case.

Presumably due to his relative lack of status, it was Goodman who was forced to go on the air to explain the detailed findings of the reassuring new site.  For unknown reasons, CNN had decided to try to stage the discussion on its 7 P.M. program, Erin Burnett Outfront. 

The chances of success were poor. At the start of the hour, Burnett previewed her opening segment:

BURNETT (3/21/23): And OUTFRONT, legal analyst Ryan Goodman, the former Defense Department special counsel, the editor of the legal blog Just Security, says that, if Bragg is following precedent, then he must indict. 

So, Goodman's going to explain all of this to you in just a moment.

If the facts are right, he must indict! Goodman would explain the whole thing! 

Such was CNN's promise.

After a background report, Burnett fell to the task. As if to guarantee that no clear discussion could ever possibly occur, CNN had decided to staff the discussion like this:

BURNETT: All right. Well, let's get straight now to Ryan Goodman. He's OUTFRONT, along with our senior legal analyst Laura Coates and Gordon Heddell, former assistant director of the Secret Service.

So thanks very much to all of you. Ryan, let me start with you. 

Question: What could the former assistant director of the Secret Service possibly add to this purported discussion? 

Soon enough, the answer was obvious—nothing at all! But so it may go when CNN's suits try to stage a discussion.

In fairness to Burnett, she sensibly started with Goodman. Referring to some of the tape she'd just played, she tasked the gent as shown:

BURNETT (continuing directly): You heard three top lawyers say what other lawyers have been saying, that they don't believe Trump should be indicted here.

But you have gone through history. You have gone through precedent. You have come to a different conclusion.

Three lawyers had said that Trump shouldn't be charged—but Goodman had "gone through history."

It fell to Goodman to show his work—to prove that those lawyers were wrong. He started off like this:

GOODMAN (continuing directly): That's right. I think it's actually an empirical question. 

So what we did is, we surveyed the last 15 years of all the district attorney offices across New York and saw how many times they brought this particular charge, "falsifying business records."

And the conclusion is, essentially, if the person's last name was not Trump, he would be charged.

Just to give you a few examples...

Finally! Finally, we were going to get example of instances where people were charged with "falsifying business records," presumably for conduct resembling Trump's! 

That said, here was the first example:

GOODMAN (continuing directly): Just to give you a few examples. These are different district attorneys' offices: 

In 2010, a woman goes into the Lord & Taylor store. She applies for a false store credit by returning merchandise that she did not purchase and then uses that store credit to walk out of the store with additional merchandise. She's convicted.

Already, the analysts were puzzled. In what way did that woman's (overtly larcenous) behavior seem to resemble Trump's?

Frankly, we were puzzled too. That said, Goodman had three more examples to offer. He continued as shown:

GOODMAN (continuing directly): 2015, another district attorney, just as examples:

A married couple has a fire, and they claimed that one of their sofas cost $5000, when actually they paid in cash under $2000. They're convicted of falsifying business records.

That too seemed something like a case of something like "theft by deception." Presumably, this couple had scammed their insurance company out of something like $3000. 

But in what way did their conduct resemble Trump's?

By now, some of the analysts were audibly sighing. Others had begun to exhibit a familiar "thousand-yard stare."

They'd been through this many times when CNN tried to create a discussion. As Goodman gave his last two examples, the keening and wailing began:

GOODMAN (continuing directly): Another example, 2022. An individual teacher is indicted because she sent a false COVID card that she made out to the Department of Education.

Another 2022 one is: A repair owner in the Bronx files false income tax and then claims $60,000. He should've paid $60,000 that he did not pay in taxes. He is indicted.

All four of Goodman's examples involved obvious misconduct. But in what way did those examples resemble the conduct ascribed to Trump? 

We didn't have the slightest idea. But Goodman, a high-end legal expert, closed with this:

GOODMAN (continuing directly): It just happens time and again. It's commonplace to charge this kind of a crime. If the evidence is there, it's very compelling. 

How does a prosecutor turn away from that? Treating everybody equally under the law would mean you bring an indictment if you have the evidence.

"It's commonplace to charge this kind of a crime," the legal scholar now said. But on our campus, confusion reigned. 

What "kind of a crime" was Goodman talking about? None of these cases seemed to resemble the salacious Trump incident in any obvious way at all!

There followed the standard confusion. Burnett instantly threw to Coates, who offered a rambling statement whose meaning we can't explain.

It had something to do with the way "the cops" decide who to pull over when a whole lot of people are speeding. Looking at the CNN transcript, you can decipher her remarks as you will.

At this point, Burnett threw to the former assistant director of the Secret Service. He offered a perfectly sensible point about a totally separate matter. 

Our question: Did Professor Goodman's presentation make any sense at all? 

We'd have to say the answer is no. Also, and needless to say, Burnett and Coates didn't quite seem to notice.

Who knows? It's possible that Goodman could have clarified his point had he been sensibly challenged. 

Eventually, he offered the following statement. Inevitably, this instant bit of script is now being widely recited all over our blue tribe's platforms:

GOODMAN: We do need to be concerned that the legal system is not used as a weapon. And if somebody is the former president, that raises the concern that we don't want to see prosecutors going after what might look like the leader of the political opposition.

So I do think that the prosecutors might have to satisfy themselves [that they] have overwhelming evidence. And all the cases that I gave as examples, this is more egregious than even the average case. 

And I do think that this is more egregious. We're not just talking about a few thousand dollars.

We're talking about hush money payments in an election, and that also leads to state tax crimes potentially with Michael Cohen. That's bigger than a lot of the other cases that have been prosecuted.

"That also leads to state tax crimes potentially with Michael Cohen?" Was Goodman suggesting the route by which a misdemeanor could be turned into a felony?

Needless to say, nobody noticed or asked. Goodman's predominant point was this:

"Everybody's supposed to be treated the same," Goodman had stirringly said. And the current case is more egregious because it involves much more money! 

The Trump case does involve a lot more money than Goodman's examples did. That married couple had only defrauded their insurance company to the tune of $3000. By way of contrast, Trump paid $130,000 to someone by whom he was being blackmailed. 

The current sum is much larger, but in what way are these cases alike? Indeed, in what way had Trump even done anything wrong?

As this "discussion" reached its merciful end, we had no earthly idea.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our "cable news" TV stars are often extremely limited.

Their producers may be even worse! Through the endless silence of our blue tribe's lambs, this is the culture we've chosen.

Tomorrow: Was Stormy blackmailing Donald? What Mark Pomerantz said.

Discourse on methods: To its credit, CNN still produces transcripts of its programs. 

MSNBC no longer does. Presumably, it abandoned the practice to make it harder to conduct critiques of its own very strange TV stars. 

Rachel stages latest clown show!


These are the hacks we have chosen: Last evening, at 9 P.M., former Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow emerged from the company clowncar.

We thought her lengthy opening segment was the dumbest segment ever. Just like that, her second segment arrived, and it was even worse.

After tumbling out of the car, what did the former Rhodes scholar dispense in that second segment? On the surface, she seemed to be trying to explain why Donald J. Trump hasn't (yet) been charged for those payments to Stormy Daniels. 

If Michael Cohen pled guilty to federal crimes in this matter, why hasn't Trump ever been hit with similar federal charges? On the surface, that's the question the orange-shoed star was attempting to answer last night.

On the surface, Maddow was responding to three GOP committee chairmen. They have now claimed that the Justice Department must have decided that Trump had, in fact, committed no crime in the hush money matter. In response, our silliest child started out offering this:

MADDOW (3/20/23): The New York investigation into the Trump campaign having this hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, it did start on the federal level. It was the U.S. Justice Department through SDNY, through the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York, that prosecuted Michael Cohen for his role in the hush money scheme, and they got him to plead guilty. 

But even though federal prosecutors said they had evidence that Michael Cohen committed that crime at the direction of President Trump and for the benefit of President Trump, they never charged President Trump, and that was sort of flummoxing for a long time. But we do now, with the benefit of hindsight, we do have clarity of how that came to pass.

That's the way the clown show started. It got world-class dumb after that. 

To make it harder for outsiders to comment on behaviors like this, MSNBC stopped providing transcripts of its TV shows last year. Below, we'll show you how you can watch our silliest child as she continued this historically stupid performance on last evening's program.

Below, we'll give you a link. For now, we'll direct you to MaddowBlog's Steve Benen, reporting Maddow's "logic" in an equally ridiculous piece of work.

Benen is thoroughly capable. It's very, very hard to believe that he offered this in good faith:

BENEN (3/21/23): As Rachel explained on last night’s show, it’s true that this case was initially a federal case, initiated by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. In fact, they’re the ones who prosecuted Michael Cohen, who paid Stormy Daniels in the hush money scandal.

At that point, did federal prosecutors conclude that the case was simply over and walk away? Not exactly. What they actually found was that Cohen acted at Trump’s direction and to Trump’s benefit. 

Why didn’t prosecutors pursue the matter further? According to Geoffrey Berman—the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, who wrote a book about his experiences—it’s because there was political interference from other Trump appointees who ordered prosecutors to end their investigation.

Indeed, according to Berman’s book, then-Attorney General Bill Barr not only intervened in the case, he tried to kill the ongoing investigation and even suggested that Cohen’s conviction should be reversed.

The GOP committee chairs wrote yesterday that federal prosecutors “determined that no additional people would be charged alongside Cohen,” but they conveniently overlooked why they made that determination.

It wasn’t because of a thorough review of the law; it was because Trump’s attorney general told them to stop—because in the previous administration, the brazen politicization of federal law enforcement was the norm.

Benen did in fact give a faithful account of Rachel's "explanation." For the sake of simplicity, let's assume that everything said so far is correct.

If everything said so far is correct, this explains why Trump wasn't charged with a federal crime in the hush money matter as of January 20, 2021. But uh-oh:

After January 20, 2021, Bill Barr was no longer in charge of the Justice Department! 

Duh! After January 2021, Joe Biden's appointees were in charge of the Justice Department! And as Rachel's good friend Nicolle Wallace angrily notes five times a week, twenty-six months have now passed, and the Merrick Garland Justice Department hasn't charged Trump with a federal crime in this matter any more than the Bill Barr DOJ did.

Every single day of the week, Wallace rails against this inexplicable failure on the part of the cowardly Garland. Maddow may be off in LaLa Land, but it's very, very hard to believe that Benen doesn't know such things as that.

Maddow has been such a clown for so long that it's always possible that her absurdly triumphant performance last night resulted from genuine cluelessness. But in her ridiculous performance, she only explained why Trump hadn't been charged with a federal crime in the hush money case as of January 20, 2021. 

She failed to explain why the Merrick Garland DOJ also hasn't charged him. She didn't show the slightest sign of knowing that this question is being asked, every day, on her own "cable news" channel—and by one of her very best "friends!"

Every blue voter is being insulted when the corporate suits at MSNBC keep putting this crap on the air. It's very, very hard to believe that Benen's post was offered in good faith. Maddow has been so nutty for so long that it's hard to make a similar assessment.

As best we can tell, the Maddow Show hasn't posted videotape of this performance. We can't say that we blame them for that. If our cash cow offered a similar commentary, we wouldn't rush to post it either.

That said, we thought we'd seen the world's dumbest segment as of 9:24 last night, when Maddow's first segment mercifully reached its end. After a few commercial messages, Rachel came back on the air and topped her previous effort.


Why hasn't the Biden / Garland Justice Department charged Trump with a crime in the matter of the "hush money" payments? Is it possible that they don't think a sustainable federal charge can be drawn from Trump's behavior?

We don't know the answer to that, but Hacks Like Ours produce performances like Maddow's. They aim such works at Marks Like Us, assuming we'll come back for more. 

None of this has a thing to do with whatever Alvin Bragg is going to do in Gotham. But Maddow has been doing this sort of thing forever, mugging and clowning in ways that help us learn how to love her even more.

Last night's first segment was equally stupid. To watch this entire show, you can click here for the Internet Archive's recording of the nonsense.

Her work was blindingly stupid last night. If we might borrow from Don Corleone, these are the hacks we have chosen.

HACKS LIKE US: In our view, this was ugly stuff!


It's peddled by Hacks Like Ours: Rachel Maddow spilled out of the clowncar at 9 o'clock last night.

It would be hard to create a dumber show than the one the cable star authored. This is the way it goes at times like these, when a red world authored by Hacks Like Theirs is countered by a blue tribal world constructed by Hacks Like Us.

According to experts, "it's all anthropology now;" it's nothing more than a referendum on Human Mental Functioning at Times of Tribal Conflict. This brings us back to the two-hour program staged last Friday by Nicolle Wallace, a popular blue tribe cable host who is being paid millions of dollars to offer us programs like this.

On the front page of Today's New York Times, a person can read this headline:

World Has Less Than a Decade to Stop Catastrophic Warming, U.N. Panel Says

Lucky for us, we blue tribe viewers won't hear about that on Wallace's "cable news" show.  In essence, we're going to hear about one favored topic. That glorious topic is this:

Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Jail!

This is the topic which brings us back, craving much much more. It explains the length of last Friday's opening segment—but also, it explains the ugliness of the highly selective presentation which came later on in the program's first hour.

How did Wallace start her program? How else! She began her program with a segment devoted to a topic the Times was reporting under this headline:

Judge Rules Trump Lawyer Must Testify in Documents Inquiry

The Times' news report dealt with a relatively minor part of the federal investigation into Donald J. Trump's handling of classified documents. 

In the next day's print editions, the relatively minor report appeared on page A16, five pages into the National section. On Deadline: White House, the judge's ruling triggered an uninterrupted opening segment which ran a full 24 minutes.

Every possible bit of legal minutia was frisked, giving viewers a chance to savor the possibility of Donald J. Trump being frog-marched off to jail. So it goes on blue "cable news," in which every other aspect of world and national news is disappeared in service to tribal longings.

(Are immigrant children currently working overnight shifts in dangerous factory settings? On blue cable programs like Wallace's, you haven't heard about that lately—and you can feel entirely sure that you'll never be asked to hear about it ever again!)

To our practiced eye and ear, Wallace has been getting angrier lately, even as indictment seems to be drawing near. Once again, she was tilling the fields this day, dreaming of Trump in jail. 

Today, we'll focus on an ugly segment which came in the second half of Friday's first hour. It began as she introduced Rep. Norma Torries (D-CA), a good and decent person (and a remarkable high achiever) who was way out over her skis on this unfortunate occasion.

Smiling her welcoming TV smile, Wallace welcomed Torres to the program. Each woman was wearing Kelly green—technically, a shade of chartreuse which is worn as a tribute to We Irish.

A visual had already announced the topic of this segment. The visual had featured this headline:

Republicans launch an investigation into the Jan. 6 committee that investigated the riot

For better or worse, the House GOP was going to stage an investigation of the work of the January 6 committee. Wallace and Torres could have discussed the wisdom of this plan, or they could have done what they did instead.

What did they do instead? Instead, they focused on an extremely serious charge which had been directed at Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), the chairman of the House committee which would conduct the probe.

(Torres is the top Democrat on the committee—the committee's "ranking member.")

On what extremely serious charge did Wallace choose to focus this day? Along with Torres herself, she focused on an ugly and poisonous claim—a claim which has long since been rejected by Capitol Police—about something Loudermilk did on the day before January 6.

Had Loudermilk tried to help the insurrectionists stage the January 6 riot? Poisonously, Wallace and Torres continued to advance this insinuation, absent-mindedly forgetting to mention the result of the much earlier official investigation into this poisonous charge.

For the record, we wouldn't vote for Loudermilk ourselves. As far as that goes, we'd be slow to vote for Torres after seeing her conduct this day.

Meanwhile, people like Wallace will always be with us, amassing millions of dollars by pleasing the hearts of us rubes. At one time, she focused on pleasing the red tribe's members. Today, she services rubes like us.

At any rate, Wallace absent-mindedly forgot to mention the fruit of that earlier investigation on this poisonous day. Below, you see part of the AP's news report concerning the results of that official probe into Loudermilk's conduct.

Had Loudermilk been helping the insurrectionists on January 5? What you see below is part of the AP's report about that poisonous charge, as published by The Hill in June 2022:

Police: Republican’s tour of Capitol complex not suspicious 

Police have determined there was nothing suspicious about a tour of two Capitol office buildings that a House Republican gave to about 15 people the day before Jan. 6, 2021, when rioting supporters of then-President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol.

The House committee investigating the 2021 insurrection examined whether rioters had been involved in reconnaissance and surveillance before the attack, and Democrats suggested some Republican members may have helped them. But there has been no public evidence of that.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Republican from Georgia, was simply showing his constituents around, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger in a letter sent Monday.


The Capitol complex includes 20 buildings and facilities, including House and Senate offices. Underground tunnels connect most of the buildings to the Capitol.

“At no time did the group appear in any tunnels that would have led them to the U.S. Capitol,” Manger wrote in the letter.


Capitol Police say the tour was thoroughly examined and there was nothing suspicious about it.

“There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021,” Manger said. “We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious.”

So went the official probe way back in June of last year. Nine months later, on last Friday's Deadline: White House, Wallace and Torres forgot to mention these inconvenient facts as they conducted their poisonous conduct.

Almost surely, our blue tribe decoder rings will help us see that Chief Manger is just another part of the underground Proud Boys conspiracy. That said, we'll mention one flaw with the AP report as it appears above.

"Democrats suggested some Republican members may have helped" the rioters? Dearest darlings, please!

Back in the day, Democrats had aggressively advanced that remarkable accusation! Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) had been the leading grand inquisitor, as reported in January 2021 by her hometown publication,

Here's what Rep. Sherrill said about Capitol 'reconnaissance' tours, investigation demand

Rep. Mikie Sherrill continued Thursday to push for an investigation into why she saw groups of people being given tours of the Capitol the day before an insurrection took place that resulted in members of Congress being rushed to safety, five deaths and a growing list of suspects charged with federal crimes.

Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot, also promised to push to rid Congress of any member who provided "aid and comfort to insurgents who attacked the Capitol," saying that "they can't be a part of this body. And I'm going to make sure they are not."


The concerns all stem from Sherrill and some of her colleagues who say they saw an "extremely high number of outside groups" touring the Capitol on Jan. 5. However, no direct link has been made between those tours and the insurrection the following day. That is what Sherrill wants investigated.

On Wednesday, Sherrill and more than two dozen of her colleagues submitted a letter demanding an immediate investigation to probe "suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, the day before the attacks on the Capitol."

"There's just this sense from members of Congress that they had an inside understanding of the Capitol complex, which was chilling, that they had done some sort of reconnaissance, or had inside information about the layout," Sherrill said Thursday.

The "reconnaissance" tours of the Capitol first came to light on Wednesday when Sherill held a Facebook Live to discuss the events of the past week and the then-impending impeachment of President Donald Trump. About 12 minutes in, she revealed that she had seen tours being conducted the day before the insurrection.

Wisely or otherwise, Sherrill had been full of accusations back in real time. (Others had cheered her along.) 

Her accusations had arrived in the plural. She had referred to an "extremely high number of outside groups" spotted touring the Capitol Complex, or perhaps touring the Capitol, on January 5. 

She used the term "aid and comfort," a bit of a loaded term.

That's where this whole thing got started. By now, Hacks Like Us have been reduced to slimy insinuations about one (1) Republican member—a person who was cleared by Capitol Police roughly nine months ago.

As far as we know, Sherrill has never explained her initial sweeping claims. The gruesome Wallace, smiling her convincing mile, joined with Torres to continue what's left of this sliming on last Friday's show.

Please note: Part of the excitement in this matter stemmed from the slippery conflation of "the Capitol Complex" with "the Capitol." That said, Wallace played the role of Tailgunner Joe as she fed off Torres last week.

A few days ago, we noted similar behavior by a Democratic state rep in the battleground state of Florida. Anthropologists widely assure is that the human brain is wired this way—is wired to produce such conduct at times of tribal war.

We aren't going to transcribe the insinuations offered by Wallace and Torres on this ugly and poisonous day. (Presumably, MSNBC stopped creating transcripts last year to make it harder to discuss the things its tribunes say.)

We aren't going to execute a transcription. That said, if you want to observe the slimy behavior to which qwe refer, you can just click here for the Internet Archive, then search on "Loudermilk."

You'll be seeing ugly behavior by a self-described "political communicator" who should never have been put on the air by our own corporate channel. Concerning Loudermilk's alleged behavior of January 5, please note the way Wallace overstates even the most elementary facts contained in the original rejected charge.

Final point:

The January 6 committee's final report contains one very small, rather slimy reference to this matter. We won't be shocked if the probe of the committee's work comes up with a few decent points.

The committee's final report includes one tiny reference to the matter at hand. Needless to say, Wallace read it, vastly overstating its prominence. You can seek it out by clicking here, then searching on "Loudermilk.".

For our money, slimy behavior of that type popped up at various times as the January 6 committee pursued its investigation. At one time, we blue tribe members hated the Cheneys for their attraction to this sort of thing. 

Now, we love them when they do it! This is simply the way of the world, weeping top experts all say.

This afternoon: Rachel exits the car