We're off an on Oscar-related mission!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017

No fish today:
We're off on a mission of national import, an undertaking rich with Oscar implications.

We expect to post tomorrow. We'll have no fish today.

Speaking of corporate American carnage!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017

Rachel's latest confession:
Last night, two-thirds of the way through her show, Rachel made a confession.

She's been feeling bad for a month, the corporate star admitted. She started with a videoclip from Donald J. Trump's inaugural address:
MADDOW (2/22/17): For more than one month now, I have wallowed in shame over a mistake I made on Inauguration Day. It had to do with this:

TRUMP (videotape): Crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

MADDOW: "This American carnage."

For many Americans, that's an understandably terrifying phrase, right, coming from the leader of the free world. But for a very specific group of awesome Americans, the phrase "American carnage" means something else.
That's the way last night's confession started. We viewers still didn't know why Rachel had felt so bad for the past month. But she was about to correct a mistake, as she so famously does.

We're used to that from Rachel Maddow, one of corporate cable's greatest music men. But as she continued, yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! Even as he corrected her own mistake, she promised us big fun:
MADDOW (continuing directly): It means metal!!! The 2010 American Carnage Tour, headlined by Megadeth and Testament and Anthrax and Slayer.

And on Inauguration Day, when I told the history of the American carnage tour and how weird it was to have that metal tour echoed in a presidential inaugural address, at one point, I called the bass player and the lead singer of Slayer Tim Araya.

His name is Tom Araya.

Actually, in the segment, I actually called him both Tom and Tim, because I mis-like-typoed it in my notes? That's almost worse, right? I mean, there's nothing less "metal" than slipping and falling on a typo and thereby inventing a new diminutive Timmy nickname for a metal god like Tom Araya.

I felt so bad. I have felt bad for more than a month. But tonight—

[Pretends to clears throat]

Perhaps an opportunity for a reprieve! Because tonight, right after the show at 10 p.m. Eastern,

[Adopts tone of rock show announcer]

We're going back to American carnage.

[Sycophant laughs off-camera]

Tonight is our special on "Trump: The First Month." I'm co-hosting with Brian Williams and Chris Matthews and all our other friends from MSNBC. It's right after our show, right here.

[Holds up really cool rock tour shirt]

But tonight, I'm going to get American carnage right. I've got my American carnage tour t-shirt. I've got Slayer lyrics tattooed on the inside of my eyeballs. Tonight, I get a second chance to get at least the metal part of this right.

Stay with us. I'm seriously going to wear this shirt during the coverage.
So cool! To watch the whole monologue, just click here. Prepare to be embarrassed by the mugging and clowning, and the endless attention to self.

At any rate, "Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay!" Or so we liberals said last night, all across the land.

At 10 PM, we were going to see "all our MSNBC friends," and Rachel was going to wear that extremely cool shirt! The TV show starting at 10 PM would be tremendously cool!

That's what millions of liberals said last night. But here on our campus, alarm bells rang. "Check possible fake Maddow pseudo-confession," a flashing red warning light said.

What triggered our "fake Maddow pseudo-confession alert?" According to the print-out, Maddow's claim that she had "mis-like-typoed" Araya's name "in her notes" sounded extremely phony, even by Maddovian norms. Combined with the corporate star's long record of phony face-saving claims, the phrase had triggered an instant alert.

"Go back and see what she actually said," a supervisor instructed.

What did Maddow actually say on Inauguration Day? Did she "actually" get Araya's name both right and wrong, due to the mis-like-typo in her notes? Did she "actually" call Araya both Tom and Tim?

If we're talking about "the segment" she did on her program that night, then no, she actually didn't. Nor did she mistakenly call him Tim "at [only] one point."

In that opening segment a month ago, Maddow referred to "Tim" Araya throughout, as you can see in the videotape of that time-wasting segment, and then in the accurate transcript.

She never said "Tom Araya" or "Tom" at all. To appearances, the multimillionaire corporate star may have made that up.

(Did Maddow mention "Tom Araya" during the afternoon coverage of Trump's address? If she did, by the time she went to air that night, she had Araya's name totally wrong. She got it wrong at all four points.)

Maddow's a real piece of work. Persistently, she refuses to admit mistakes, even on something as pointless as this. Adding to the pathology, she spent years convincing us liberal rubes that she insists on correcting her own mistakes! Her cons seem to know no end.

In the current instance, she apparently wanted us viewers to think that she knows all about metal and such. We'll guess she thinks this would her seem cooler and weirder than us. She does tend to play that card.

In fairness, this silly discussion was mainly offered so Maddow could talk about herself and showcase her really cool rock shirt. Rachel Maddow was selling the car. It's something she constantly does.

Whatever explains the peculiar claim about the mis-like-typo in her notes, this was Maddow's latest weird confession. Meanwhile, good times! During the 10 PM hour, Brian and Chris let her clown about her wonderful shirt.

They're three of our "MSNBC friends." All our friends were present last night, letting a giant star clown.

Rachel's ridiculous broadcast: Below, you see the way the Maddow Show started on Inauguration Day. In this long, time-wasting piddle, Maddow referred to "Tim" Araya four times. She never mentioned "Tom:"
MADDOW (1/20/17): Thanks for staying with us for the next hour. Happy Inauguration Day to you as well.

For all Americans, it's a happy Inauguration Day because any time we have an inauguration, it means that our republic still exists. And the continual, you know, renewal of there being new presidents is a process that continues. That in itself formatically [sic] is a good thing.

[Slaps rim shot on desk]

Who's with me? Come on!

All right. I have somebody to introduce you to on this fine inaugural Friday. His name is Tim Araya. Tim Araya is the bass player and lead singer for the band Slayer, and being the lead singer of the band Slayer is a job—actually being anybody in the band Slayer, it's a job that has specific requirements that don't apply to all that many other jobs in life.

One of the things you have to do if you're in the band Slayer is you have to really wang your head around a lot.

[Sycophant laughs off-camera]

All the time. Every time you play in public, any time you shoot a video, everything.

You know, it's one thing if you're, like, in a metal band for a year in high school and you're 16 and basically made of rubber, right? But the guys in Slayer have been doing this for a very, very long time. They've been doing this for decades. They're a very successful band. They haven't gone away.

But the guys in Slayer are now old guys and there are just these seven little vertebrae in your neck in all of our necks. And once you're no longer in high school and you're an awesome metal dude who has started to turn gray, right? And you're still wanging your head around as part of your day job, those little vertebrae in your neck don`t like it when you do that for decades.

And so—there is he is. In January, Tim Araya got cervical radiculopathy, which is a bad thing. And in order to deal with his cervical radiculopathy, he had to get surgery on his neck. And that was a drag for him. It was also a drag for a bunch of other aging metal dudes in his band and other bands.

It was also a drag for their fans because him having to get surgery delayed the mega metal all-star tour that was due to start in January, 2010. This was an incredible tour. This was not just going to be Slayers. This was going to be Slayer and Megadeth and Testament all playing the same concerts, all playing at the same night. This was an incredible tour.

And because of the surgery, the whole tour had to get postponed because the Slayer guy had to get an anterior cervical discectomy to deal with all the consequences of all of his decades of vigorous head banging. And, you know, nobody knew if the show would be able to go on, but lo and behold, it turns out the Almighty smiles even on bands named Slayer and Tim Araya recovered and we did, in the end, get—this is the important part, look at the top there, see the red banner at the top there, bloody background?

That's right, the American Carnage Tour.

You can still buy posters, you can still by commemorative posters from the American Carnage Tour.

It's funny. By the time they got to their Canadian dates, they changed it to the Canadian Carnage Tour. But when they were in America, it was the American Carnage Tour. As you see on the poster there, it was the meeting of metal titans, Slayer and, Megadeth and Testament and even though it had been in doubt, it had to be delayed, it did happen. And for a certain generation of metal fans, that was metal heaven on earth. Slayer and Megadeth, same night.

And before today, if you were looking for American carnage in our national cultural life, that is what it was. It was when Slayer and Megadeth toured together in 2010 after the Slayer guy had his neck surgery and nobody knew if he'd be able to make it. That was American carnage before today.

Now, as of today, American carnage will be forever known as the theme for the inaugural address of the 45th president of the United States...
With that, four minutes had been burned from her show. It's known as killing time.

To watch this piddle, click here.

Rachel has felt really bad for a month. "At one point," she got his name wrong!

HOW WE GOT HERE, CONTINUED: Exactly five weeks too late!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017

Part 4—Cable stars praise Levin:
Last night, Ezra Levin was interviewed, and lauded, on The One True Liberal Channel.

Who the heck is Ezra Levin? He's a 31-year-old former congressional aide who woke us up in the liberal world, exactly five weeks too late. In mid-December, Charles Bethea provided an overview in this New Yorker post:
BETHEA (12/16/17): On Wednesday, around 7 p.m., a Google document entitled “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda” began making the rounds online. Its origin was the Twitter account of Ezra Levin, a thirty-one-year-old associate director at a national anti-poverty nonprofit, and self-described “Twitter novice,” who lives in D.C. and, until a few days ago, had roughly six hundred and fifty followers. His tweet’s simple message, “Please share w/ your friends to help fight Trump’s racism, authoritarianism, & corruption on their home turf,” belied three weeks of unpaid work by some three dozen mostly young progressives who had been collaborating on the document since the week of Thanksgiving.

Levin and his wife, Leah, had gone to Austin, Texas, where he grew up, for the holiday, and had met with a college friend of his, named Sara Clough, at a local bar. Clough was an administrator of a private Facebook group that describes itself as “a place for support, healing, helping, sharing, community and love in the wake of the 2016 election.” Clough and others who belonged to progressive online communities—such as Pantsuit Nation—were “trying to figure out how best to act,” Levin said. “They knew that making calls and signing petitions were helpful, but then they hit a wall. They didn’t know what else to do or how to effectively engage Congress.”
At Clough's site, we liberals—self-admittedly, the brightest people on earth—were "healing" in the wake of the White House election we'd amazingly managed to lose. Levin and his associates produced the Google document which has been used by our fiery tribe in fashioning our current revolts at various town hall events.

We recommend Bethea's full account. We'll also suggest that Levin's "Indivisible" document may be full of good advice for people who want to fight back.

That said, it's also true that Levin's post appeared five weeks too late. Or possibly twenty-five years too late, depending on when you start counting.

The tardiness isn't Levin's fault; twenty-five years ago, he was only six. According to the New Yorker, his tenure as "the deputy policy director for Congressman Lloyd Doggett, who represents a district in central Texas," ended in 2011, when he was just 26.

You can't expect people of such tender years to issue warnings which have the advantage of being timely. Meanwhile, in those "three weeks of unpaid work," Levin and his heroic associates produced a document which may do a lot of good moving forward—or possibly not, of course.

It would be silly to blame Levin for the fact that those three weeks of unpaid labor occurred several weeks too late, or possibly twenty-five years.

Levin's document tells liberals what we should do, now that we've lost the election. We'll call it a warning about any further inaction. But good God! Just ponder the many years of inaction preceding Levin's report!

With that in mind, we'll proceed to ask our key question(s):

Is it possible that other liberals should have warned the rank and file at some (much) earlier date?

Levin's team swung into action just as soon as we lost. Should other liberals have urged resistance at various points in the past?

Should other liberals have urged resistance when the chimps were branding first lady Hillary Clinton a liar in June 1999?

Should other liberals have urged resistance when that editorial, AL GORE, LIAR, appeared that very same week?

Should someone have urged resistance when Chris Matthews was calling Candidate Gore a "man-woman" all through the fall of 1999?

Should someone have urged resistance when Matthews produced astonishing misinformation—fake news?—about the so-called Buddhist temple in March 2000, furthering the narrative that Gore was a big honking liar?

Should other liberals have urged resistance when Brian Williams staged his serial nervous breakdowns in the fall of 1999 and the winter of 2000—nervous breakdowns about Candidate Gore's troubling wardrobe choices and the strange psychological state which must lay behind them?

In 2007, should other liberals have urged resistance when Chris Matthews led a gang of chimps in a joyful revisiting of Hillary Clinton's Cubs-and-Yankees lie?

Should other liberals have spoken up when Matthews kept calling Clinton "Evita Peron" and "Nurse Ratched?" When he gave the crazy Gennifer Flowers a full half-hour to talk about the Clintons' many troubling murders? When he almost got Cody Shearer killed, so deep was his love for the Faire Willey, his dearest dear, and her crazy, dangerous claims?

Should other liberals have spoken up concerning the possible lie about the need for a mandate in Obamacare? We'll leave that "lie" till the end of our show. But should liberals have spoken up then?

Ezra Levin was very young during all these incidents—also, during the three million other incidents which were exactly like them. It isn't his fault that no one spoke up during these three million gong shows.

That said, the record shows that no one did.

Jonathan Chait didn't speak up. Kevin Drum didn't speak up. Frank Rich tended to drive these incidents. (He trashed Gore's motives for opposing Iraq. He trashed the motives behind Gore's Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. Rich just couldn't quit this pose. Liberals should have spoken up then. Instead, we made Rich a hero!)

E. J. Dionne didn't speak up. Neither did Eugene Robinson, Jonathan Alter, Jeffrey Toobin, James Fallows.

The New Republic's Peter Beinart? A failure to speak up! That said:

Endlessly, again and again, Chris Matthews lay at the beating heart of these incidents—and these incidents invented the voter perceptions which have now sent Donald J. Trump to the White House, like George W. Bush before him.

These incidents created one of the most powerful narratives in modern American politics and journalism. According to these incidents, Hillary Clinton has a unique set of character problems, like her husband and his troubling vice president before her.

Hillary Clinton is a LIAR, like Candidate Gore before her. That's what this endless string of invented incidents taught voters to believe.

To state the obvious, none of that is Ezra Levin's fault in any way. That said, we've mentioned him for a reason.

Last night, Levin appeared on MSNBC's hastily-assembled, two-hour review of President Trump's first month. Along the way, the program was hosted by three gigantic cable stars:

Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, Rachel Maddow. These big stars hosted the show.

It isn't Ezra Levin's fault that voters thought that Candidate Clinton was a bigger liar than Candidate Trump. In theory, it's hard to lose an election in such a wildly improbable way, but our team devoted twenty-five years to the job of making it possible.

Matthews played a major leading role in building the BIG LIAR narrative. Williams gonged his way through Campaign 2000 in service to Chairman Jack Welch.

Eventually, Williams got kicked off the air, thanks to all the crazy tales he invented about himself. No one has ever asked Matthews to explain all the crazy insults and claims he pushed about Clinton, Clinton and Gore, presumably at the direction of Chairman Welch.

No one has ever written a serious profile of Matthews' past behavior. Beyond that, no one ever will. Journalistic careers hang in the balance! Good jobs at good pay!

Maddow exults in her friendship with Matthews, swears that he's the best analyst ever. Christopher Hayes will never tell you about the things Matthews did.

Ezra Levin was praised last night by two of the people who did the most to invent the BIG LIAR narrative. Maddow, of course, is the self-adoring circus clown who cautiously told us this:
MADDOW (6/15/15): ...it is not at all that I dislike Mr. Trump and, therefore, don't see the appeal because I don't share the affection for him that his supporters have. It's nothing like that. It's not qualitative at all.
How in the world did Candidate Clinton get perceived as the BIG LIAR? Among other explanations, after four years of Trump's birtherism, Maddow was still saying that!

From there, Maddow proceeded to mug and clown her way through the seventeen remaining months of Campaign 2016. She avoided every politically dangerous issue, just as she'd done, in the fall of 2012, when the Benghazi myth was being invented at the expense of Susan Rice.

And then, of course, four years later, at the expense of Candidate Clinton! Benghazi, from which our clown ran and hid, helped decide this election too.

Our multimillionaire corporate stars spent decades creating this outcome. Because careers hung in the balance, the rest of our fiery career liberal guild knew they should keep their mouths shut. Maddow doesn't speak about Matthews, and no one else speaks about her.

That one other "lie" we said we'd cite occurred in 2007 and 2008. Remember? Candidate Obama said you wouldn't need an (unpopular) individual mandate to institute a health care plan.

Candidate Clinton? She said you actually would!

After getting elected, Obama "changed his mind" about the need for a mandate! Today, we liberals all know how stupid The Others all are when They can't grasp this obvious point.

Is it possible that Obama lied, at Clinton's expense? Within the world our fathers invented, such thoughts are rejected by script.

Levin performed three weeks of unpaid labor twenty-five years too late. He was praised all up and down last night by the people whose greedy, clowning corporate behavior tells us how we managed to get here, why we now need his advice.

This afternoon: A classic moment last night

Concerning the health of Donald J. Trump!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017

This discussion ain't going to happen:
What is the state of Donald J. Trump's mental health?

Is it possible that he suffers from some sort of early onset dementia? Is it possible that he is "mentally ill" in some way?

Despite an array of peculiar behaviors by the aforementioned President Trump, it seems fairly clear that this discussion isn't about to happen. We say that in spite of Lawrence O'Donnell's intriguing segment last night.

Should we have some such discussion? The New York Times has made a few feints in that direction, but Sunday's column by Professor Richard Friedman struck us as maybe, possibly and perhaps typical New York Times work.

According to the Times, Friedman is "a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College." He's a "contributing opinion writer" to boot.

In his somewhat frustrating piece, Professor Friedman asserted several somewhat contradictory points. The gentleman's nuance was running amok. Let's get started with this:
FRIEDMAN (2/19/17): [I]n 1973 the A.P.A. developed the Goldwater Rule. It says that psychiatrists can discuss mental health issues with the news media, but that it is unethical for them to diagnose mental illnesses in people they have not examined and whose consent they have not received.
It sounds like it would be unethical for a psychiatrist to tackle this type of topic. Hold on though! Not so fast, Friedman says:
FRIEDMAN (continuing directly): Contrary to what many believe, this rule does not mean that professionals must remain silent about public figures. In fact, the guidelines specifically state that mental health experts should share their knowledge to educate the public.

So while it would be unethical for a psychiatrist to say that President Trump has narcissistic personality disorder, he or she could discuss common narcissistic character traits, like grandiosity and intolerance of criticism, and how they might explain Mr. Trump’s behavior. In other words, psychiatrists can talk about the psychology and symptoms of narcissism in general, and the public is free to decide whether the information could apply to the individual.

This may seem like splitting hairs, but it isn’t. Diagnosis requires a thorough examination of a patient, a detailed history and all relevant clinical data—none of which can be gathered from afar. Narcissism, for instance, isn’t the only explanation for impulsive, inattentive and grandiose behavior. Someone could be suffering instead from another clinical problem like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; the abuse of drugs, alcohol or stimulants; or a variant of bipolar disorder, to name just a few.

This is all to say that when mental health professionals label public figures with mental illnesses, it is not just unethical—it’s intellectually suspect. We don’t have the requisite clinical data to know what we are talking about.
We'd hate to see the professor start "splitting hairs" if he feels this passage doesn't qualify as an example of same. And uh-oh! As several commenters noted, he said it's unethical and intellectually suspect to label public figures with mental illnesses, but then went on to say this:
FRIEDMAN (continuing directly): Besides, even if you posit that a president has a mental disorder, that in itself may say little about his fitness to serve. After all, Lincoln had severe depression. Theodore Roosevelt was probably bipolar. Ulysses S. Grant was an alcoholic. According to a study based on biographical data, 18 of America’s first 37 presidents met criteria suggesting they suffered from a psychiatric disorder during their lifetime: 24 percent from depression, 8 percent from anxiety, 8 percent from bipolar disorder and 8 percent from alcohol abuse or dependence. And 10 of those presidents showed signs of mental illness while they were in office.
Some commenters said he ended up diagnosing everyone but Trump!

Last evening, on The Last Word, Lawrence O'Donnell hosted two guests who seemed to reach different conclusions. One of Lawrence's guests said that "a thorough examination of a patient" ha been shown to be the least effective available way of reaching a diagnosis.

We'd love to show you what these guests said, but MSNBC hasn't come up with a transcript yet. Nor has it posted the videotape of this intriguing segment.

The Channel tends to function this way. So much for thoughtful discussion! Have we mentioned the fact that Donald J. Trump has the nuclear codes?

In our view, we've been well served, in the past fifty years, by the general rule which held that psychiatric analysis should be eliminated from political discussion. In view of Trump's many peculiar behaviors, including his strange intellectual conduct, it seems to us that it may be time a change, challenging though such a discussion would be.

The Time has responded to this concern with a somewhat puzzling essay. MSNBC can't seem to get around to posting its work at all.

In theory: In theory, our dear Watsons, the transcript will show up here.

HOW WE GOT HERE, CONTINUED: Fighting some truly heinous lies!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017

Part 3—Praising, ignoring some others:
We're so old that we can remember one of her most heinous lies.

The speaker was the first lady, Hillary Clinton. On June 10, 1999, she heinously made the remarks shown below while appearing on one of our national treasures, NBC's Today Show:
COURIC (6/10/99): Speaking of sports, how about those Knicks?

CLINTON: How about those Knicks?

COURIC: Did you watch last night?

CLINTON: I watched some last night. I got back from Binghamton, dropped by a party, and saw most of the third quarter out of the corner of my eye. And then had to go on to something else.

COURIC: Are you a big Knicks fan? Are you rooting for them to—

CLINTON: I'm becoming a big Knicks fan.

COURIC: More and more every day, huh?

CLINTON: Well, I've always been a Patrick Ewing fan. Because, you know, he went to Georgetown, and he's somebody that we have followed in our household. And I've just always admired his just determination and his, you know, absolute commitment. And this may be the year.

COURIC: Meanwhile, I know the New York Yankees are heading to the White House today to be honored for winning the World Series. Are you a Yankees fan, too?

CLINTON: Well, now, the fact is, I've always been a Yankees fan.

COURIC: I thought you were a Cubs fan.

CLINTON: I am. I am a Cubs fan. But I needed an American League team. Because when you're from Chicago, you cannot root for both the Cubs and the Sox. I mean, that's—you know, there's a dividing line that you can't cross there. So as a young girl I became very interested and enamored of the Yankees. So I'm excited about this afternoon. We're going to have them all there at the White House.
Just for the record, no one was really "speaking of sports" when Couric turned the discussion to the Knicks and the Yankees. Couric, who is a national treasure, may have been on a bit of an expedition, of a familiar type.

That said, Katie Couric, a national treasure, soon caught a very big fish. Instantly, the first lady started lying about childhood allegiances:

She impossibly claimed that she, as a child, had loved both the Cubs and the Yanks! Because she was running for office in New York, this was quickly declared to be a ridiculous, obvious lie.

This became one of Hillary Clinton's most famous and troubling lies. In the next few days, the pundit corps landed, as a group, on the first lady's back.

To watch a few of the chimps in action, you can just click this. Eight years later, these high-status chimps were still flogging this troubling lie!

It isn't clear why the conduct you'll see doesn't confer some type of "enemy" status, "of the people"-wise, on this poo-flinging barrel of chimps. But that pitiful piece of videotape does show us the culture they'd chosen.

We say that because, despite what the poo-flinging chimps all screeched, it doesn't seem that Hillary Clinton really was lying that day. She had discussed this pointless matter years before, as had several of her childhood friends. The evidence seems to establish the fact that she actually did follow the Cubs and the Yankees! Knew all about M and M!

Back in 1999, the chimps all branded her claim a lie because it fit a powerful narrative to which they'd all committed. Seventeen years later, that narrative sent Donald J. Trump to the White House, with very few regrets expressed from the planet of the scripted.

Is Hillary Clinton a liar? By June 1999, the chimps were already deeply committed to pushing that story-line about both Clintons and about Candidate Gore. Six days after the first lady told her lie, this headline appeared above an editorial in the New York Post:

"AL GORE, LIAR"

By now, the press corps was busy inventing "lies" by Candidate Gore. To the chimps, these invented lies proved that Gore was a liar.

AL GORE, LIAR! This narrative was seamlessly transferred from President Clinton to Candidate Gore, his chosen successor, and to Clinton's wife. The New York Post was a conservative paper, but the theme was being pushed very hard by the biggest stars of the mainstream press corps.

(Gore was done in by mainstream news orgs, not by conservative noise.)

Four years after Hillary Clinton's lie, another famous Washington figure made a set of statements. The speaker was General Colin Powell. He spoke at the United Nations on February 5, 2003.

On that famous occasion, Powell unloaded a giant pile of highly amorphous crap. In a subsequent book, as famous a figure as Bob Woodward even suggested, rather strongly, that the general's underwhelming claims had been—what's the word?—made up!

That said, Powell's presentation ended any last lingering doubts that we were on our way to Iraq. Because the speaker was General Powell, the chimps all knew he was truthful.

The people who stampeded to denounce Clinton's lie rushed to affirm the plain correctness of what the general had said. "I'm persuaded," said Mary McGrory. But so did everyone else.

Consider a third example. On June 16, 2015, Donald J. Trump announced that he was running for president. By now, he'd spent four years delivering the absurd, perhaps ugly misstatements which had established him as king of the nation's birthers.

Given their manifest love of the truth, did the chimps all land on Donald Trump's back? Actually no, they didn't.

In fairness, he was actually asked about his birther claims in a handful of early interviews. He said he no longer discussed that subject, and the chimps all wandered away.

A different set of frameworks obtained with respect to Trump's groaning misstatements. Indeed, the night before the hopeful announced, star corporate liberal Rachel A. Maddow even offered these remarks:
MADDOW (6/15/15): And here, we get to the limits of my abilities as a person who has a job like this, because it is not at all that I dislike Mr. Trump and, therefore, don't see the appeal because I don't share the affection for him that his supporters have. It's nothing like that. It's not qualitative at all.
It wasn't at all that she disliked Trump. It was nothing like that, the corporate star said. It wasn't qualitative at all!

Tomorrow, we'll mention another famous possible lie which swirled around Hillary Clinton. This famous possible lie was told by one of her Democratic opponents during Campaign 2008.

This famous possible lie may help us see the role we liberals have played in the election of Donald J. Trump. It may help us consider the way we liberals—but especially our hideous gruesome elites—helped send Trump to the White House.

For today, we'll only suggest that you remember the role of the mainstream press and pundit corps in this collection of low-IQ scams, which have now led to a dangerous end. We'll suggest that you consider the role of liberals within that guild. The role played by career corporate liberals in the way we got here.

In recent weeks, it's been common to see non-aligned voters saying they voted for Candidate Trump because they hated Candidate Clinton's lies. Just last week, we posted published remarks from two such voters, each of whom now regrets the vote she cast.

This phenomenon says something bad about Us. Let's run through the logic again:

In theory, it ought to be hard to lose an election to Candidate Trump because voters thought your candidate was somehow perceived as the big honking liar.

It ought to be extremely hard to accomplish that task. But we liberals have managed to do it.

More on our brilliance to come.

Tomorrow: Decades of silence, now this

The things we liberals don't get to hear!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Last night's Maddow Show:
Last night's Rachel Maddow Show opened with a 21-minute segment concerning all things Ukrainian.

Maddow discussed Monday's front-page report in the New York Times. According to the Times report, Donald J. Trump's personal lawyer delivered a Ukrainian pol's proposed peace plan to Michael Flynn in the days before Flynn was told to spend more time with his family.

Maddow also discussed a Ukrainian oligarchic who will, as of today, be extradited by Austria to the United States. When he gets here, he'll stand trial for bribery.

That front-page report in the New York Times produced a lot of discussion. That said, both parts of Maddow's opening segment showed the way the corporate icon picks and chooses among the things we rubes are permitted to hear.

Let's start with that Ukrainian pol's proposal for peace between Ukraine and Russia. According to the Times report, the Ukrainian gave the plan to Trump's lawyer in late January.

(The Times had interviewed Trump's lawyer, the abrasive Michael D. Cohen. They had also interviewed the Ukrainian pol, the ambitious Andrii Artemenko. The Times hasn't actually seen Artemenko's proposal. The Times based its description of the plan on what Artemenko told them.)

According to the Times report, Cohen received the plan in a sealed envelope. "Cohen said he would deliver the plan to the White House," the Times reported. "When Mr. Cohen met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office in early February, he said, he left the proposal in Mr. Flynn’s office."

On its face, this behavior is slightly strange, especially since the Ukrainian pol is pro-Russian/pro-Putin. According to the Times, the proposed peace plan carried one additional hook:

If the plan ever managed to produce peace between Russia and Ukraine, this would give Donald J. Trump a way to drop sanctions against Russia for Russia's behavior there.

So far, so good! It was when Maddow began describing the terms of this proposed plan that she put a gaggle of thumbs on the scale, along with a bag of elbows.

According to the Times report, Artemenko says he has evidence of corruption which "could help oust" the current Ukrainian president, who isn't pro-Russian. Beyond that, this was the Times' description of the plan:
TWOHEY AND SHANE (2/20/17): Mr. Artemenko said he saw in Mr. Trump an opportunity to advocate a plan for peace in Ukraine—and help advance his own political career. Essentially, his plan would require the withdrawal of all Russian forces from eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian voters would decide in a referendum whether Crimea, the Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, would be leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years.
In a rather typical move, Maddow disappeared one part of that account, radically changed another. Here's the way she described the plan to us, the liberal rubes:
MADDOW (2/20/17): The plan had three parts.

Number one, they would oust the new president of the Ukraine,
the one who came in and replaced the pro-Putin kleptocratic dictator with the private zoo. So they'll get rid of the new guy who replaced the pro-Putin guy.

Number two, Russia would get to keep Crimea. Russia would get to keep the parts of Ukraine that they took when Russia invaded parts of Ukraine, just took over their territory and started calling it Russia. This new plan, part two of this new plan would legitimatize that. OK, those parts of Ukraine that you took, they are now Russia.

And then part three of the plan would be for the United States to drop our sanctions against Russia that we levied against them for invading Ukraine and taking over part of that country. So, obviously, this is a very fair deal, right? This is a great deal.

Putin gets what he wants in Ukraine. He gets to keep the parts of Ukraine that he took and we stop being mad at him about it. It's a great deal. It`s a win, win, win for Putin, Putin, Putin.
We'll start with a minor aside. Maddow never said that this proposal was being presented as a "peace plan"—as a way to resolve the ongoing state of semi-war between Russia and Ukraine.

We'll call that a minor aside. Now let's get to the meat of the mess:

Maddow never mentioned the fact that the proposed peace plan "would require the withdrawal of all Russian forces from eastern Ukraine." This part of the proposal was disappeared, airbrushed out of existence.

Beyond that, Maddow changed a proposed national referendum into a fait accompli. Comically, as Maddow made the following statement, the chyron below her was quoting what the Times had actually said!

We'd call this a glaring staff error:
WHAT MADDOW WAS SAYING: Russia would get to keep Crimea. Russia would get to keep the parts of Ukraine that they took when Russia invaded parts of Ukraine, just took over their territory and started calling it Russia. This new plan, part two of this new plan would legitimatize that. "OK, those parts of Ukraine that you took, they are now Russia."

WHAT THE CHYRON BENEATH HER SAID: "Ukrainian voters would decide in a referendum whether Crimea, the Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, would be leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years."
Those two things are not a great deal alike. The chyron was quoting what the Times really said. At the same time, Maddow was feeding us a fantasy version of same.

(You can see this comical blunder for yourselves. Click here for the full segment, then skip ahead to roughly 12:25.)

The analysts screamed when they saw that comical error. Earlier, though, they'd furrowed their brows over the extradition-from-Austria story.

Maddow framed the extradition story as a pre-attack on Attorney General Sessions. According to Maddow, the oligarch could possibly embarrass Paul Manafort in some way. For that reason, she suggested, Sessions would never agree to continue seeking his extradition.

Here's the problem:

Maddow never explained why the Austrians had been refusing to extradite the oligarch. To the analysts, this seemed like a rather basic omission. To show you what we mean, this was one of her rambling nugget presentations:
MADDOW: A federal grand jury in the United States had indicted the oligarch guy in conjunction with the giant, alleged bribery scheme involving a titanium deal in India. I don't know. They indicted him.

The FBI asked Austrian authorities to arrest him. Austrian authorities did. This guy is a big deal in Ukraine, right? Close to the Ukrainian dictator, three weeks after the dictator gets ousted, rich guy gets arrested in Austria. And then U.S. prosecutors went over to Austria basically to go and pick him up, to arrange for Austrian authorities to extradite him back to the United States so he can face charges on this giant bribery charge.

And the unexpected turn here, the wrench in the works, is that the Austrians who had him in custody, who had arrested him at our FBI's request, the Austrians said no. They would not let the extradition go ahead, at least not yet.

And so, OK, now this guy is like Paul Manafort's loose thread, still dangling out there, right? Paul Manafort lost his client dictator in Ukraine, the guy on the left, but the zillionaire oligarch, guy in the right, he's like in limbo.

It's interesting. They did arrest in Austria, but they don't have him in jail. They let him out on bond. He paid $174 million cash for his bond. Open checkbook, swivel wrist.

So, he's out on bond. He's not exactly free. I mean, Austria is not sending him back to the U.S. to face trial yet. But if he leaves Austria and goes to some other country, presumably the U.S. authorities would try to arrange to have him arrested in that other country and then put pressure on that other country to extradite him to the U.S. as well.

So he sort of can't really leave Austria. He's stuck.
Why had Austria refused to extradite Manafort's possible foil? Absent-mindedly, Maddow never said.

Maddow went on to suggest that Sessions will never pursue extradition because he's in the bag to Manafort and Trump. (The next court session was coming up today.) But she never said why the Austrians had been refusing extradition to begin with!

To the analysts, this seemed like a large omission. But as we calmly told the youngsters: Sometimes on the Maddow Show, if it weren't for all the disappeared facts, there would be no facts at all!

This morning, we fact-checked this point through the New York Times. According to this report from last April, extradition had been refused because an Austrian judge, rightly or wrongly, "sid[ed] with defense lawyers who said the American request was politically motivated."

In short, extradition had been refused because the judge, rightly or wrongly, found that the Obama administration was pursuing a political prosecution! The analysts no longer had to wonder why this part of the story had been disappeared.

When it comes to changing and disappearing facts, Maddow is about as reliable as one of Stalin's shutterbugs. By the way:

Sessions did pursue extradition today. Austria has now agreed to send the oligarch here. Sometimes, corporate cable partisan precogs just can't catch a break.

Also for your entertainment pleasure: If you watch that 21-minute tape, you'll also get to see plenty of weird grinning, along with all the fake chuckling and laughing, as the consultants ordered.

You'll also get to see Darling Rachel pretend that she doesn't recognize a photograph of a bidet. ("Is that even a toilet? I don't even know. I don't know." She loves to sell herself as the helpless naif.)

Right after that, you'll get to see her make a joke about The Art of the Deal. You'll get to hear one of her sycophants loudly laugh off-camera.

Late in the show, everybody got to see her mock flyover country. ("The town of Yakima is in a part of Washington state that might politely and honorably be described as nowhere. It's in between—it's in the middle there. It does— it sits in the shadow of Mt. Rainier.")

Truly, that was hilarious. Is Gail Collins writing her stuff?

Have wealth and fame been bad for Trump? You should try watching Maddow!

HOW WE GOT HERE, CONTINUED: Gene Lyons' words of concern!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Part 2—And Maddow's "What, us worry?":
Way back in April 2015, Gene Lyons voiced a concern in his nationally syndicated column.

Campaign coverage had long since begun. It had started just in time to be inanely premature.

(As noted, we're talking about April 2015 [sic]. But also sick. And sad!)

On the Candidate Clinton beat, The New York Times had entered into a strange arrangement with conservative polemicist Peter Schweizer, author of the polemical new book-like object, Clinton Cash.

Thanks to its peculiar arrangement, the Times had already published one of the strangest "news reports" of the entire 2016 campaign. We refer to the famous newspaper's sprawling, 4400-word journalistic gong show about the scary uranium deal.

The Times had already published this mess. Seventeen months before anyone voted, Lyons expressed his concern right at the start of his column:
LYONS (4/29/15): As a professional matter, I've been halfway dreading Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy. The 2016 Democratic nomination appears to be hers for the asking. Democrats enjoy a strong Electoral College advantage. And yet it's hard to imagine how she can overcome the unrelenting hostility of the Washington media clique.
Lyons went on to describe the strangeness of the sprawling Times report about the scary uranium deal, and the strangeness of the paper's arrangement with Schweizer.

The Washington Post had entered a pact with Schweizer too, Lyons noted. But it was the Times which had run with that sprawling going-show report:
LYONS: Basically, we're in Ann Coulter country here. Schweizer's not a journalist, but a controversialist for right-wing "think tanks." A former consultant to Sarah Palin and a ghostwriter for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Glenn Beck, he makes his living vilifying Democrats. Media Matters has posted a long list of withdrawn or retracted stories under his byline.

Upon evaluating an earlier Schweizer book, reporters at the British Sunday Times found that "(f)acts that are checkable do not check out. Individuals credited for supplying information do not exist or cannot be tracked down. Requests to the author for help and clarification result in further confusion and contradiction."

The New York Times, in contrast, praised the fellow's "meticulous" reporting. All this in service of a front-page "blockbuster" by Jo Becker and Mike McIntire insinuating that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton sold out the national interest, helping a Russian company to buy uranium mines in Wyoming from a Canadian corporation in exchange for a few million dollars in donations to the Clinton Foundation, the family's charitable enterprise.
To refresh yourself about the gonginess of the 4400-word Times report, we'll suggest you read Lyons' full column. For now, let's focus on the larger concern Lyons voiced this day.

At the time, it still seemed that Democrats possessed an Electoral College advantage in presidential politics. But uh-oh! After several decades on the Clinton beat, Lyons had voiced this concern:

"It's hard to imagine how [Candidate Clinton] can overcome the unrelenting hostility of the Washington media clique."

In the end, Candidate Clinton didn't overcome the various obstacles which lay between her and the White House. In part, she didn't overcome because she was a very poor candidate this time around—a much weaker performer than she had been in Campaign 2008.

That relatively weak performance hadn't happened yet. Lyons alleged a different obstacle—"the unrelenting hostility" of the upper-end mainstream press.

As a national journalist and an Arkansas resident, Lyons spoke from experience. During Bill Clinton's first term, he had done The Thing Which Must Never Be Done. A mainstream journalist himself, he had introduced the claim that the mainstream press corps was conducting a type of jihad against President Clinton.

He had introduced this forbidden thought in a lengthy essay in Harper's magazine, one of the nation's most respected publications. The ssay has been expanded into a book which carried a forbidden title:

"Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater"

Alas! As of 1995, rules for such conduct were clearly defined within the mainstream press corps. According to these familiar rules, conservatives were allowed to criticize, even to savage, the mainstream press corps. Indeed, this had been a basic part of conservative conduct since the Nixon years.

Mainstream and liberal journalists weren't allowed to issue equal-but-opposite claims. In accord with these widely-known rules, the Lyons book was widely ignored by mainstream news orgs, and by the toilet-trained liberal scribes who earned their livings within them.

Problems with the attacks on Bill Clinton went largely ignored within the mainstream press. Mainstreamers could barely bring themselves to critique the birther-style claims by major figures about the Clintons' many murders.

Starting in 1999, this fury was redirected at Candidate Gore, Bill Clinton's chosen successor. The code of silence still obtains. Plainly, this transferred mainstream enmity sent George W. Bush to the White House.

Your favorite money-grubbers won't tell you that to this day. But it's a blatantly obvious fact, except within their realm, which bears more than a hint of allegiance to certain types of "fake news."

Back to 2015! As Campaign 2016 started, would Candidate Clinton survive the enmity of the mainstream press corps? In April 2015, Lyons voiced his concern. The gonger about the uranium deal was reactivating the press corps' favorite old story—their story about the Clintons' character problems, which they'd also spotted in Gore.

As the New York Times pounded its tom-toms, Lyons voice his concern.

Candidate Clinton would go on to lose to Candidate Donald J. Trump. Six weeks after Lyons' column appeared, Trump announced his candidacy with that memorable speech about all the rapists and such.

Trump would go on to stage the craziest campaign in political history. Among his flaws, he displayed a capacity for groaning misstatement the likes of which American politics had never seen before.

Four years earlier, Trump had showcased this remarkable trait with the stupid, ugly campaign which made him King of the Birthers. Trump had disgraced himself in this manner for years.

Now it was time for him to announce. The night before the big day, Rachel Madow stopped her lunatic nightly pseudo-reports about upcoming Republican debates long enough to voice these immortal words:
MADDOW (6/15/15): In 2012, in the last presidential election cycle, he spent months implying he was going to run. He started giving speeches and doing interviews about his theory that President Obama was secretly foreign, that President Obama had a fake birth certificate and that actually meant that President Obama wasn't really president at all because he wasn't American.

It was a very weird way to fake-run for president, but Mr. Trump got tons of traction—months and months and months of press coverage for that in 2012. You remember when Mitt Romney and Ann Romney had to go do their Donald Trump event? You remember that, right? I mean, ultimately, Donald Trump did not run for president in 2012 either.

Then, in 2014, he said he was going to run for governor of New York. At the last minute, he decided he wouldn't run for governor of New York after all. Now, apparently, we are on the eve of him announcing whether or not he is going to run for president this time in 2016 as a Republican.

And here, we get to the limits of my abilities as a person who has a job like this, because it is not at all that I dislike Mr. Trump and, therefore, don't see the appeal because I don't share the affection for him that his supporters have. It's nothing like that. It's not qualitative at all.
It isn't that Maddow didn't know about the years of gruesome misconduct in which Trump had engaged. It's just that this didn't "at all" make her "dislike Mr. Trump" (childish language hers).

It was nothing like that, our own corporate cash cow said. "It's not qualitative at all!"

In these snapshots, we get a glimpse of where matters stood as this campaign began. The New York Times was issuing journalistic gong shows aimed at Candidate Clinton. In this way, the paper renewed a campaign about her alleged character problems—a war which which had been underway for more than twenty years.

On the other side, the craziest person who ever ran for president was about to announce, following four years of balls-out birtherism. After describing what Trump had done with two large handfuls of soft soap, Our Own Corporate-Selected Rhodes Scholar said this didn't make her dislike Mr. Trump at all!

Do you start to see a possible problem with the work of our liberal elites? Before you answer that question, let's remember this:

When the New York Times published its sprawling, gong-show report about the scary uranium seal, do you remember how it was treated by our fiery liberal elites?

On All In, Chris Hayes called it a "bombshell report." His guest, Michelle Goldberg, said the same thing. Could this possibly help explain how we managed to get here?

Could these behaviors explain how we got here? More on these problems to come.

Tomorrow: Let's get back to the "lies"

How could D.C. improve its schools?

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2017

The 9.1 percent lack of a solution:
Under the circumstances, the thing you need to know about Washington, D.C.'s schools appears on page 44, deep inside this new report by UCLA's Professor Orfield.

Under the circumstances, here's the thing you need to know:

The 2013-2014 school year is the most recent year the professor records. In that year, student enrollment in the D.C. schools, "traditional public" plus "public charter," stood at 9.1 percent white.

Only 9.1 percent of D.C. students were white. For that reason, there is no way to create a city full of "integrated" schools in D.C., at least not in any significant sense. And by the way:

If you tried to do some such thing, many of those white students would end up in private schools, especially given the high income levels of D.C.'s white student population. Almost surely, that overall 9.1 percent would soon be substantially lower.

We mention this after reading a new report at The Atlantic. The report was written by George Joseph, who graduated from college (Columbia) last June—in June 2016!

You read that right. Joseph may go on to have a superb journalistic career, but he's in his first year out of college, and it pretty much shows. Our view? When publications like The Atlantic assign people like Joseph to write major reports about low-income urban schools, they're displaying open contempt for the lives and the interests of black kids.

Joseph may well go on to be a brilliant journalist. To ponder his street-fighting background, you can just click here.

Today, he's less than one year out of college, and his Atlantic report appears beneath this headline:

"What Could Reverse D.C'.s Intense School Segregation?"

The answer to that question is "nothing," except in the narrow technical sense in which Professor Orfield, and his inexperienced Atlantic acolyte, tend to define the exciting term "segregation."

Below, you see a pointless nugget from Joseph. The researchers to whom he refers are Professor Orfield and his associate, Jongyeon Ee:
JOSEPH (2/19/17): The researchers found that D.C. charter schools, which serve over 40 percent of the city’s student population, are more segregated than D.C.’s other public schools. In 2012, over two-thirds of charter schools, Orfield and Ee note, were “apartheid schools” (defined as having less than 1 percent white enrollment), whereas only 50 percent of public schools had such completely segregated populations.
According to Orfield's definition, a school is "segregated" (in the sense referred to in that headline) if its student population is 0.8% white. It isn't "segregated" in that sense if its population is 1.2% white.

That's a distinction without any serious difference. The same is true of the distinction Joseph flogs in that passage, in which "only half" the city's traditional public schools are "apartheid schools" (exciting!), while two-thirds of the public charters can be so described.

As noted: if you waved a magic wand and created instant demographic balance, each D.C. school would be 9.1 percent white. Also as noted, that percentage would almost surely drop as some white parents sent their kids to private schools.

Also, within those demographically balanced schools, "tracking" procedures would tend to separate groups of students within each school. These are basic facts of life within American schooling today, especially in a city like D.C., where the white student population tends to come from highly affluent, highly-educated families in a small number of upper-end neighborhoods.

It's maddening to see kids straight out of college asked to play teacher with topics like this. Maddening too is the predictable work from Professor Orfield, a 75-year-old aging hippie who can't seem to quit his 60s-era conceptual framework.

Orfield is the reigning king of anti-"segregation" academic thinking. His latest report suggests, once again, that it's time for him to rethink or retire.

Forgive us for thinking, as he starts his report, that he plans to spend more time discussing himself than discussing the actual lives of black students. At any rate, his work hits rock bottom on page 37, where a bungled graphic ("Figure 3") is offered to reinforce the claims made in this passage:
ORFIELD AND EE (page 36): Right now the DC public schools have suffered greatly from misguided policy and from the departure of great numbers of students and families to charter schools of every shape and educational approach and every level of success and failure. Unfortunately, the charter schools have been even less effective in reflecting the city’s diversity than the regular public schools. They look more like the Washington of several decades in the past than the changing city of the present and future.

The racial achievement gap has been a goal of many of the reforms, but the gap remains massive. NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress, often known as the “nation’s report card”) scores show it has actually grown rather than declined as hoped (Figure 3). That could reflect the continuing loss of more successful black families to the suburbs and the affluence of many white families of DC school children. The only objective external assessment of test scores in DC is from the National Assessment of Educational Progress which shows in the following chart a significant recent increase in the scores of white students, irregular changes in the small Hispanic enrollment, and basically a flat line of achievement scores on reading for black students over an eight year period. With whites gaining and blacks stuck at a low level, the gap has actually widened. The chart shows a large racial gap that is still growing and relative stagnation of black and Latino students’ test scores.
Please note: Professor Orfield knows why the racial achievement gaps are so large in the D.C. schools. In large measure, it's because of the unusually high affluence of the district's white student population ("the affluence of many white families of DC school children").

That said, Figure 3 is bungled in so many ways that it defies comprehension. For unknown reasons, Professor Orfield has simply taken this bungled graphic from a bungled blog post by the Washington Post, a blog post which is now several years old.

Because the graphic is old, so are its data, which end in 2013. The graphic considers reading scores but skips math, presumably for the standard reason among those peddling gloom. (All over the country, score gains have been higher in math than in reading. If you want to peddle gloom, you tend to disappear math scores.)

Most strikingly, the bungled graphic compares apples to oranges in the case of D.C.'s black and Hispanic test scores. Rather, it compares apples-plus-oranges to oranges alone. (The 2005 scores represent all D.C. school kids. The 2013 scores only represent kids who have stayed in "traditional public" schools as kids who tend to be higher scoring have moved into charters.)

The graphic was bungled when the Post first presented it. It's still bungled today, when a professor who probably ought to hang them up inexplicably cut-and-pasted it for a major report.

(For what it's worth, D.C.'s black kids recorded substantial score gains in reading and math from 2005 to 2013, as long as you compare all the kids from 2005 with all the kids from 2013. Was that because of charters, or in spite of charters? We have no idea. Just for the record, why didn't "the researchers" construct their own graphics, instead of copying a graphic from an old Post blog? Go ahead—you tell us! Joseph didn't ask.)

This latest report by The Atlantic is straight outta The Karate Kid. A gee-whiz cub reporter straight out of college reports on a 75-year-old professor who ought to hang it up.

That said, this is typical of the way The Atlantic reports on low-income kids in urban schools. In doing so, the magazine seems to display contempt for the nation's black kids. Apparently, work like this is close enough for low-income public school work. After all, it makes us feel morally good!

All things being equal, we'd like to see kids going to school as part of student bodies which "look like America." A few weeks back, we journeyed to the annual school-wide spelling bee at one such neighborhood school in a North Carolina city where we know one scholar well.

It seems to us that the kids at her upbeat, (low-income) neighborhood school are getting a very good deal. That said, there is no way, in D.C., to replicate that happy school's happy student blend, which features kids who aren't speaking English yet along with professors' kids and kids from public housing.

Orfield keeps teaching liberals to use the most exciting possible language about urban schools, and to do nothing else. Given the student population of D.C., there is no way to create a bunch of schools which "look like America" or which are "integrated" in any hugely significant sense.

It's silly to pretend otherwise. It's silly, and it demonstrates contempt for actual kids.

How can D.C. improve its schools? Michelle Rhee never seem to have any ideas. Orfield doesn't seem to either.

On the brighter side, The Atlantic has a passel of kid reporters in tow. This is good for the bottom line. It's also an ongoing insult to the nation's urban black kids and their parents.

Joseph will be a great scribe some day. Today, he represents a way to save coin for the people who own him.

Final point: That graphic is astounding. Also, par for the course.

HOW WE GOT HERE, CONTINUED: Inventing a bigger liar than Trump!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2017

Part 1—The fruit of our own elites:
Will we liberals ever confront the various roles we ourselves played in sending Donald J. Trump to the White House?

Almost surely, we won't. Yesterday, in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote the next chapter in our alternative undertaking, in which 1) we blame everything on The Others, and in which 2) we've finally decided to fight and fight hard, now that it's too late.

Exactly one day after Trump was sworn in, we staged our march on Washington! Yesterday, Kristof wrote the next chapter in this morally pleasing but embarrassing tale.

Pitiful headline included! Here's what our liberal elites are like:
KRISTOF (2/19/17): How Can We Get Rid of Trump?

We’re just a month into the Trump presidency, and already so many are wondering: How can we end it?

One poll from Public Policy Polling found that as many Americans—46 percent—favor impeachment of President Trump as oppose it. Ladbrokes, the betting website, offers even odds that Trump will resign or leave office through impeachment before his term ends.

Sky Bet, another site, is taking wagers on whether Trump will be out of office by July.
"How Can We Get Rid of Trump!" There's only one word for that:

Sad.

As he continued, Kristof examined the various ways Donald J. Trump could be removed from office now that our team is upset. "Let’s investigate." he thoughtfully wrote. "Is there any way out?"

At the end of his piece, Kristof reported his fearless conclusion. Our analysts tore their hair as they surveyed his fatuous work.

What word comes after "sad?" one of the youngsters asked:
KRISTOF: If I were betting, I’d say we’re stuck with Trump for four years. But as Sabato says: “Lots of things about Donald Trump’s election and early presidency have been shocking. Why should it stop now?”

And what does it say about a presidency that, just one month into it, we’re already discussing whether it can be ended early?
What does it say about Trump's presidency that we're having this discussion? In our view, we liberals should ask a more pertinent question:

What does it say about Us?

We liberals! With spectacular ineptitude, we showed up at the scene of the fire just in time to be too late to put it out. Yesterday, Kristof's column continued this embarrassing show, which just keeps rolling along.

In this morning's Washington Post, Kavin and Costa present the latest report about our new liberal activism. The scribes report from a New Jersey town hall, where angry liberals hectored a new Democratic House member over his refusal to fight hard enough in the crucial past several weeks.

As quoted, several of these fiery activists described their own absence from the scene over the past many years. To cite one example, a retired surgeon who carried "an 8-by-10-inch sign reading 'Resist' said he was politically active in the 1970s but did not feel the need to become so again until the Women’s March."

After an absence of forty years, the surgeon had arrived on the scene again. He had arrived just in time to be dangerously too late.

In fairness, it isn't the fault of the rank and file that we helped send Trump to the White House. To a massively greater extent, it's the fault of our liberal leadership groups, whose pitiful conduct we will sample during the course of the week.

Our cable hosts, our star liberal columnists? Our legions of silent and hapless professors? Our black assistant professors?

Where do we start with a gong-show like this? The choices are many, and hard.

That said, how absurd is the situation our leadership groups helped create? Once again, let's consider one of the ways Candidate Trump managed to draw an inside straight and find his way to the White House.

We turn to this news report from last Thursday's New York Times. In her report, Katie Rogers spoke with Trump voters who have tweeted regret for their votes.

Debbie Nelson is one such voter. What happened isn't Nelson's fault, but we'll highlight one key part of what she said:
ROGERS (2/17/17): Debbie Nelson, a secretary who lives in Orland Park, Ill., and works in downtown Chicago, said in an interview that she never liked Mr. Trump, but ended up voting for him because she was worried jobs like hers were being outsourced. She also didn't trust Mrs. Clinton.

Ms. Nelson reluctantly voted for Mr. Trump—''because of Hillary's lies''—but grew disillusioned with Mr. Trump's behavior, which she thought would change after the election. On Feb. 6, she added her message for the president to the fray: ''We need a mature adult as president. Can I take my vote back?'' (For Ms. Nelson, the tipping point was seeing Mr. Trump dismiss news and negative polls as fake that day.)

Mr. Trump entered the White House with a historically low approval rating, but Ms. Nelson is among the voters who approve of his overall policies, especially when it comes to immigration. ''I do want better security and I don't think there is anything wrong with that,'' she said.

But she was frustrated with the slapdash nature of Mr. Trump's executive order to restrict refugees and people from several primarily Muslim countries.
Just for the record, it is too late for Nelson to take back her vote. That said, as we did last week with another voter, we note a key part of her thinking last fall:

Debbie Nelson voted for Trump because of Clinton's lies!

At least in theory, it's very, very, very hard to lose an election this way. It's hard to lose to a constant, disordered dissembler like Trump because, in the minds of many voters, your candidate was the one who spilled with troubling lies.

That said, this is one of the obvious ways we managed to lose to Candidate Trump. We ran against the greatest dissembler in American political history—and somehow, our candidate was widely perceived as the one with the troubling lies!

It's actually hard to lose that way; not every group could have done it! But over here in our liberal tents, our leadership groups have stumbled, bumbled and clowned for decades, bringing this gong-show to pass!

Yesterday, Kristof flashed a shiny object. Tomorrow, we'll start to examine the ongoing, world-class gong-show performance of our liberal leadership groups.

Tomorrow: Where to begin?

Still dumbest show after all these years!

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2017

Abby on Fox & Friends:
We did something today we hadn't done in some time. We watched maybe forty minutes of the cable news show, Fox & Friends Weekend.

Near the start of the century, we described Fox & Friends as the dumbest show in TV news history. Today, with Abby Huntsman cast as the conventionally good-looking youngish woman positioned between the pair of male chimps, the show presented a truly impressive array of propaganda and dumbness.

Was that [Name Withheld] to Huntsman's right? Good God, he was egregious! That said, Huntsman's willingness to play the fool seemed especially striking.

Abby Huntsman arrived on the planet blessed with every advantage. Her family is extremely wealthy. Her father, the former governor Jon Huntsman, is neither crazy nor stupid.

Despite these advantages, Huntsman is willing to stoop and grovel. There are lessons to learn from that.

During an earlier regime, Huntsman was cast in the role of the outnumbered conservative co-host on MSNBC's copy-cat show, The Cycle. On that gruesome 3 PM program, Huntsman was cast as the lone conservative overwhelmed by three liberal co-hosts.

The show was a fairly obvious knock-off of Fox's 5 PM gonger, The Five, on which one liberal co-host is "balanced" by four conservatives.

The Cycle aired during the period when MSNBC was trying to score through a blend of fatuous youth, conventional types of "diversity" and high telegenicity. As a business proposition, the approach didn't work, and most of the stars from the era are gone.

Toure is gone, as is Ronan Farrow. Krystal Ball, Alex Wagner and Huntsman herself are all gone.

(Big Ed, the working-stiff outlier during that era, now works for the Russkies. What type of "diversity" did Farrow bring? Gullibles, please! Son of big movie stars!)

When she appeared on The Cycle, Huntsman was cast the role of a not-crazy conservative. Most of the time, the other co-hosts even pretended to like her.

This morning, there was no level of The Dumb to which Huntsman didn't descend. Granted, the chimps were somewhat worse. But what is Huntsman's excuse?

Watching Huntsman degrade herself while conning her viewers, we were struck by a basic old concept. People are willing to do and say anything to acquire the cash and fame which come with cable success.

Meanwhile, the rise of partisan cable and Internet have illustrated a troubling problem:

As it turns out, we the people will believe whatever we're told, so long as 1) it reinforces our prejudices and 2) it's fed to us with a big smile, or perhaps with constant weird grinning and consultant-directed laughter.

It's hard to know how our political system can survive diets of agitprop nonsense like we saw this morning. Decades into this brave new arrangement, with our own hacks mugging and clowning, a certain conclusion suggests itself:

How can our system survive such nonsense? Increasingly, it seems that it can't!

Donald J. Trump speaks out: At Thursday's presser, Chief TV Critic Donald J. Trump issued his own correct-for-all-time review of this particular cable news program.

He spoke with CNN's Jim Acosta, who's no walk in the park himself. He began by critiquing CNN, then discussed the obvious greatness of his favorite show, Fox & Friends:
TRUMP (2/16/17): Here's the thing. The public isn't—you know, they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don't know if it's true or false because they're not involved.

I'm involved. I've been involved with this stuff all my life. But I'm involved. So I know when you're telling the truth or when you're not. I just see many, many untruthful things [on CNN].

And I'll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word "tone." The tone is such hatred. I'm really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such—I do get good ratings, you have to admit that—the tone is such hatred.

I watched this morning a couple of the networks. And I have to say, Fox & Friends in the morning, they're very honorable people. They're very—not because they're good, because they hit me also when I do something wrong. But they have the most honest morning show. That's all I can say. It's the most honest.
Based on that review, we'll guess that Trump caught the show on a day when the friends were unusually good.

Trump was certainly right on one score. As a general matter, we the people really don't "know if it's true or false" when we see claims made on TV.

That's why Fox & Friends is dangerous. As is the mugging and clowning provided each night Over Here.

New rule emerges on Lemon's show!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017

Please don't touch Charles Blow:
We're going to call it must-see TV. We refer to the new cable rule from Charles Blow:

You must not touch Charles Blow!

Kayleigh McEnany got out of line. To see Blow tell her how it works, you can just click here.

(The whole tape runs 2:42. You can skip the first minute.)

Final note: When CNN books Betsy McCaughey, the channel's approaching rock bottom.

As it turns out, Jerry Vale had it right!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017

Two moments from yesterday's presser:
Having watched the whole of yesterday's presser, we'd say that Donald J. Trump wasn't quite as unhinged, on the whole, as some on our own side have said.

That said, we run an amateur bookie business on the side, just as a bit of a hobby. We've received a lot of play from these thoughtful remarks:
TRUMP (2/16/17): If we could get along with Russia, that's a positive thing.

We have a very talented man, Rex Tillerson, who's going to be meeting with them shortly, and I told him. I said, "I know politically it's probably not good for me."

The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that's 30 miles offshore right out of the water. Everyone in this country's going to say, "Oh, it's so great."

That's not great.
That's not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia.
Masterfully, Trump explained that starting World War III wouldn't be great. Despite what everyone else would say!

As part of our amateur betting service, we've been offering a May 1 over/under on when Donald J. Trump will use his first nuke. A lot of money moved yesterday after that comment by Trump.

Beyond that, let's consider the way we now live in two different worlds. The story starts with Trump assailing the guy who asked him about anti-Semitism.

The reporter in question was Jake Turx, an Orthodox Jew from Ami magazine. After explicitly saying that no one in his community is accusing Trump of anti-Semitism, Turx tried to ask what Trump plans to do about an alleged "uptick" in anti-Semitic incidents.

Trump interrupted Turx, insulted him in several ways and mischaracterized what he had said. Along the way, he answered a question he hadn't been asked:
TRUMP: See, he said he was gonna ask a very simple, easy question. And it's not, it's not, not—not a simple question, not a fair question.

OK sit down, I understand the rest of your question. So here's the story, folks.

Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican—

Quiet, quiet. Quiet!

See, he lied about—he was gonna get up and ask a very straight, simple question. So you know, welcome to the world of the media.


But let me just tell you something.

I hate the charge. I find it repulsive. I hate even the question, because people that know me—and you heard the prime minister, you heard Bibi Netanyahu yesterday, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, I've known Donald Trump for a long time. And then he said, "Forget it."

So you should take that, instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that.

See, it just shows you about the press, but that's the way the press is.
At our own sites, we liberals have seen this reaction by Trump criticized. We thought you should see what conservatives saw on Fox.

Last night, conservatives saw Turx interviewed on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Ed Henry served as guest host. This is what conservatives saw Turx say:
TURX (2/16/17): I've worked with the president, his people throughout the campaign, throughout the transition.

So many times I've seen some of our colleagues in the media describe certain events as—in the way it relates to the Jewish community in a certain light that no one in our community saw it that way.

There were certain acts that were described as anti-Semitic, or certain people described as anti-Semitic. And the people in our community who know these people personally said, "That's not true." Why are people who aren't Jewish deciding what is considered anti-Semitism?

The president's relationship with the Jewish community—I've only seen it first time for the last two years, but he has done an unprecedented amount of outreach with the orthodox Jewish community. And so, we understand why this is so hurtful for him, to see himself being called anti-Semitic when this—

HENRY: You don't believe it.

TURX: Not just I don't believe it, I've seen him firsthand. I mean, there is—

HENRY: My point is, you feel it is unfair?

TURX: It is very unfair what's been done to him and I understand why he is so defensive. And I'm with him when it comes to being outraged about him being charged with this anti-Semitism.
At the presser, Trump insulted Turx in various ways and failed to address his question. We liberals have heard about that.

On Fox, Turx was bashing the media too! He praised Trump all up and down and said he understands his reaction. That's what conservative viewers saw.

As it turns out, Jerry Vale had it right.

"Two different worlds," the crooner sang. "We live in two different worlds..."

(To listen to Vale, just click here.)

Jerry Vale had a giant hit with his controversial claim. All these years later, the American people can finally see that Jerry Vale had it right.

Our newest betting line: We're now offering a May 1 over/under on Donald J. Trump's possible use of a nuclear weapon against journalist Jake Turx.

HOW WE GOT HERE: Home alone!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017

Part 5—The need for liberal leadership:
Have you watched yesterday's press event? If not, have you seen it described?

We'll go ahead and quote David Brooks. This is what David Brooks saw:

"I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued."

Trump is moving past unhinged and unglued! That's what David Brooks saw!

In our view, Brooks falls short of a straightforward statement. He still doesn't say, in a straightforward way, that we need to discuss the possibility that President Trump is unfit for office, or handicapped in his performance, by issues involving his mental health.

That said, Brooks describes a dangerous situation—the same dangerous situation Paul Krugman describes in his own new column. Concerning that, we'll only say this:

We think Brooks understands the situation better than Krugman does. That may seem like a shocking statement, but it returns us to the topic of this week's reports.

According to Brooks, the person who gave yesterday's presser seems unhinged, unmoored, unglued, or perhaps something worse than that. We liberals thrill to such declarations, without considering this corollary:

We liberals just managed to lose an election to this unhinged man!

Granted, Trump lost the popular vote—though it should be said that he won the overall popular vote in the 49 states which aren't California. Our question, which our team will tend to skip past:

What does this say about us? What does it say about us that we managed to lose an election to an unhinged, unglued, unmoored man?

Does it say anything about Us? Or was November's election result just a reflection on Them?

We all know the standard reply which will emerge from our liberal tents. Unfortunately, that standard reply is in error.

Alas! The fact that we lost to a person like Trump stands as a massive indictment of us. In the main, it stands as an indictment of 25 years of self-dealing and lethargy on the part of our liberal leaders and the mainstream press.

That said, it also speaks to the shortcomings of our liberal rank and file, which is frequently quite self-impressed. We love to note the dumbness of Them. As tribal groups have always done, we blow past the dumbness of Us.

Next week, we'll look at some of the leadership groups who have so massively failed us. We'll look at the nation's professors, and at the emerging, younger group of black assistant professors.

We'll look at the lefty cohort, which can be too cool for school. We'll look at the Hollywood types, who seem to be happy only when costing Democrats votes. (Last week, were you able to spot the way Meryl Streep did it again?)

We'll look at our corporate cable stars, including our corporate liberal stars, some of whom sat out the last election, some of whom, in earlier corporate lives, created the stupid and noxious themes which sent Clinton down to defeat.

We'll look at the liberal voices within the mainstream press—the Riches, the Drums, the Chaits, the Dionnes, the Robinsons, Kristofs and even the (MVP) Krugmans.

We'll look at the mainstream press corps itself—at the jihads it invented in the 1990s. We'll look at the 20-somethings who now swarm all over that mainstream press, helping keep labor costs down while trailing their youthful cluelessness behind them.

(Where on earth did Slate ever go to find its newest, most fatuous star? What does it say about Us that there must be a cohort which wants this?)

As we roll our eyes at The Others, we tend to look past the conduct of our own leadership groups. We do so because we liberals are dumb, like all tribal groups before us.

How dumb can we the liberals get? Last November, we were shocked when Donald J. Trump drew an inside straight and won.

We were shocked because our professors and pundits told us it couldn't possibly happen—and because, left on our own, we were dumb enough to believe them. In last Sunday's Washington Post, Dana Milbank described the "collective trauma" we now experience, in which "millions of people feel powerless and out of control, which leads to anxiety, anger and despair."

Depending on how you want to score it, Milbank is one of the liberal voices within the upper-end mainstream press. How should we now respond to Trump?

Boldly, Milbank laid out of his ideas. Here's the way he began:
MILBANK (2/12/17): Until now, the response to Trump has been ad hoc: demonstrations arranged on social media or flooding the Capitol switchboard. That does some good, and the rallies are a balm for people feeling isolated. But the activities are wasted if those involved don’t join a larger movement.

“We need to shift from a reactive to a strategic response,” [Marshall] Ganz says. His solution: Join something. “To the extent it brings you into a relationship with others, it’s worth doing. Unless it has that further dividend, it gets old.”

So what to join? My friend Eric Liu, author of the forthcoming book “You’re More Powerful Than You Think,” says even a book club will do. That’s true, in the long run: The idea is to rebuild structures of civil society, the breakdown of which allowed the demagogic Trump to take root.
Has the man with the nuclear codes moved past unhinged and unglued? Friend, Dana Milbank knows what to do:

You should join a book club!

In fairness, Milbank moved on from there. He went on to offer suggestions which are slightly less unglued—though as he ended, he also suggested that you might consider the Elks Club.

To the extent that he makes any good suggestions, Milbank's ideas have arrived just in time to be completely too late. At his worst, his suggestions make him seem about as moored, hinged and glued as Trump currently is.

Join a book club! Milbank's suggestion appeared in an especially comical Sunday edition of the Washington Post.

Possibly for the first time, the Outlook section offered an informative "Five Myths" feature in which none of the myths the authors "corrected" could sensibly be described as myths. Meanwhile, Outlook's featured front-page report appeared beneath this eye-catching hard-copy headline:

"Why do we still let 12-year-olds get married?"

It was an eye-catching headline. Unfortunately, the example with which the report began involved someone who got married at age 16—in 1986! In the course of the lengthy report's 1900 words, we were never told how many 12-year-olds have been married in recent decades.

The topic may well be very important. The journalism was bad.

Bad journalism has been par for the course in the decades of cultural / intellectual slide which led to the triumph of Trump. The strangest piece in the Outlook section concerned the liberalish world's heroic reaction to his shocking triumph.

Two nights before, a multimillionaire cable star who mugged and clowned through the last election praised us proles for the brilliant way, "all of a sudden," we are "now" learning to fight. As she did, she stuffed another bag of corporate money into her big corporate pants.

Two days later, the Washington Post went the star somewhat better. They published this ludicrous Outlook piece by a woman in Richmond, Virginia—a previously non-political woman who has now learned to fight.

We're going to call her "Name Withheld;" her piece was just that awful. It isn't her fault that the Washington Post chose to publish her ludicrous piece, in the Outlook section no less. But the utter foolishness of the piece shows us how bad the marriage can be when the rank-and-file, lacking competent leadership, interacts with the strange cluelessness of the upper-end mainstream press.

How old is Name Withheld? We have no idea. In its identity line, the Post only tells us this:

"[Name Withheld] currently resides in Richmond, Va., and works in the insurance field."

We'll assume that Name Withheld is a good, decent person. In our experience, most people are.

We'll assume she does good work in the insurance field. That said, as she starts, she identifies herself as the modern liberal nightmare, especially in a purple state like Virginia:
NAME WITHHELD (2/12/17): Like a lot of Americans, I’ve never been particularly political. I’ve never voted in a midterm election. I’ve never voted in a local race, never voted for mayor. I don’t recall voting ever, except in presidential elections. I’d read political articles and keep up with the news, but I didn’t do much research before heading to the polls every four years. My Facebook feed was mostly cat photos.

But then President Trump was elected, and he nominated Betsy DeVos
to be secretary of education.

Before DeVos, I hadn’t followed a single Cabinet nomination, which is probably true of most people. (Surveys regularly show that we aren’t particularly informed about our government.) At happy hour with my five girlfriends, we probably could have named two members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, and the secretary of education was not one of them. I feel bad saying it, but it’s the truth: I simply didn’t think I needed to know. Why? Because I always had a sense that things would be okay, regardless of who was in charge; if Mitt Romney had won instead of Obama, things would have been fine.

This was the first time I felt like things could not be okay. And I have found a political voice I didn’t know that I had—or that I even wanted to have.
There's nothing "wrong" with posting cat photos on Facebook. There's nothing "wrong" with discussing this or that at happy hour with friends.

There was something wrong—something badly wrong—with the Washington Post's decision to publish this ridiculous piece.

According to this lengthy piece, Name Withheld had always been apolitical. But then, along came DeVos!

More broadly, along came Trump! As a result, Name Withheld "has found a political voice I didn’t know that I had."

Name Withheld is telling a story from a dime novel, a story of personal triumph. "All of a sudden," Name Withheld is woke! For some reason, the Washington Post decided to publish this mess.

Why do we call this piece a mess? Because even in the case of DeVos, Name Withheld still seems utterly clueless. She seems to know virtually nothing about DeVos, but the Washington Post is helping Name Withheld, and us, think she's heroically woke.

Name Withheld is still uninformed. She knows that DeVos went to private schools, seems to know nothing else.

Franklin Roosevelt attended only private schools; so did John F. Kennedy. As far as we know, the same is true of Barack Obama, during the years in which he lived in the United States.

The fact that DeVos went to private schools just isn't hugely important. But it seems to be all that Name Withheld knows. This has led her to think that she's now politically active in a way that's likely to help.

Name Withheld, a good decent person, is in need of political and intellectual leadership—as are we all, of course. Will such leadership come from within our own liberal tribe?

As you ponder that question, consider this next ridiculous piece. For unknown reasons, it turned up in The Atlantic, three days ago.

The piece was written by Elizabeth Limbach, "editor in chief of the bimonthly surf lifestyle magazine Santa Cruz Waves." In her own ridiculous piece, Limbach catches the most recent wave of push-back against Tyrant Trump:

All of a sudden, liberals and progressives are agreeing that we shouldn't say his name! And no, we really aren't kidding about that. Limbach has even consulted an ethical theorist and assistant professor of philosophy concerning this emerging act of resistance:
LIMBACH (2/14/17): Like the Obamas, many of Trump’s critics have become rather skilled at speaking about him without ever saying his name. In his January State of the State address, California Governor Jerry Brown didn’t utter “Trump” once, even though the politician had been vocal and explicit about his opposition in the past. Nor was the name said by Representative John Lewis when the civil-rights leader responded to attacks Trump lobbed at him via Twitter. Meryl Streep’s viral Golden Globes speech took aim at the new president while never acknowledging him by name, and “a coarse blowhard who has boasted about assaulting women” was the closest the humorist Calvin Trillin came to naming the man in a recent piece in The New Yorker. Last week, Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice King shared a widely circulated list to her Facebook page offering tips for resisting Trump. The top suggestion: “Use his name sparingly so as not to detract from the issues.”

In all of these instances, it’s what’s missing that is loudest. “Absences can be significant,” James Sias, an ethical theorist and assistant professor of philosophy at Dickinson College, told me. “What stood out to most people about Michelle Obama’s speech is what she didn’t say.”

For some, the refusal to name Trump amounts to denial or dissociation. But for many of the tactic’s adoptees, it’s a signal of resistance...
It's sad that such nonsense exists. It should be astounding that The Atlantic would decide to publish such crap.

"Join a book club," Milbank says. Don't say his name," adds Limbach. Name Withheld has learned one fact.

Let's set aside the peculiar fact that the Post and The Atlantic have chosen to publish such manifest crap. Will we liberals ever be willing to see what this pitiful state of affairs says about self-impressed Us?

Next week: Our own unfaithful servants