BREAKING: It's time for Lithwick's crowd to go!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2018

Decades of self-dealing:
We will assume that Dahlia Lithweick is a perfectly decent person in her private life. In our view, most people are.

That said, we're forced to agree with the assessment she launched this morning at Slate: According to Lithwick, a bunch of teenaged high school kids are better advocates than she and her useless, privileged crowd of establishment pundits have been.

Lithwick's generation of liberal pundits has been a careful, ear-to-the-ground gang of careerist losers. Luckily, kids who are 17 years old aren't yet as compromised at the Lithwicks have been.

How worthless are the Dahlia Lithwicks? Consider this passage near the end of her accurate group confession:
LITHWICK (2/22/18): Conservatives prefer their victims silent and passive. When they start to actually evince anger, they are denounced as either lying fabricators (like Rob Porter’s former wives) or “crisis actors” (like the students at Stoneman Douglas High). Unless you are calling for more cops, more guns, more walls, more prisons, and more punishment, you are a nuisance to be derided and denied. And that’s the beauty of the Parkland kids. They don’t care. We scoff that theirs is a generation raised on reality shows, Instagram, and YouTube, but they are more aware of what is real and what is fake than the adults around them. Far from acting, or ritualized performance, these students have veered so far from any received post-tragedy script that, one week after the shooting, they are still dominating the news cycle. This is what being awake and alive and human and compassionate actually looks like. Pitting all that against Dana Loesch’s hard, shiny little NRA talking points reveals the made-for-cable fakery we’ve bought into en masse.
A lot of that is hard to follow. But there's no doubt that the Parkland students, imperfect as they inevitably will be, are "better than the adults around them," if by that we mean the utterly useless adult liberals of Lithwick's generation.

Note the pathetic way Lithwick chooses to argue her points even in that confessional passage. In a standard bit of passive-aggression, she refers to "Dana Loesch’s hard, shiny little NRA talking points" while providing a link to this video.

She doesn't attempt to say what's wrong with the statements Loesch makes in that piece of videotape. Right to the point where she hands the reins over to the high school kids, she remains too useless to stand on her two hind legs and speak.

Lithwick links to a piece of tape in which Loesch is making a claim which deserves to be analyzed and evaluated. Along the way, the student with whom Loesch is speaking makes some deeply unhelpful remarks, starting with the vastly condescending remark right at the start of the tape.

To Lithwick, this extremely young, inexperienced person is better than she herself is, and there's little doubt that that judgment is right. Example:

"For twenty years," Lithwick wouldn't blow the whistle on this federal judge because it might have hurt her career. But then, she and her gang of super-establishment liberal pundits have played the game this way every single step of the way for the past twenty-six years:

Play it safe! Play it safe! Whatever you do, don't ever tell the truth if it will put your career and social standing in jeopardy. Their relentless self-dealing gave us Bush. Later, it gave us Trump.

Lithwick needs to get a job. Teen-aged students aren't going to save us, but it's long past time for her horrible crowd to go.

MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY: A topic which doesn't exist on TV!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2018

Part 4—The children whose lives don't count:
Not long ago, an amazing event occurred. A person could read, in the Washington Post, about improved test scores in the nation's public schools!

Granted, the discussion occurred in an op-ed column by a guest columnist, not in a news report. That said, the analysts were almost excited by the discussion—until they saw the metric the guest columnist used:
WHITE (2/9/18): [I]t's inaccurate to claim that there's been little progress since the Reagan administration's seminal report "A Nation at Risk."...[T]his line of thinking threatens the bipartisan push for change in America's schools, including the principles of verifying what progress students are making and holding school systems accountable for that progress.

Let's take the claim of failure first. The most widely trusted yardstick of American students' learning is the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Over the past quarter-century, the share of American fourth-graders fully proficient in math on the NAEP increased by 27 percentage points. The share of proficient fourth-grade readers increased by seven percentage points. Over that time, proficiency among African American fourth-graders increased by 18 percentage points in math and 10 percentage points in reading, and Latino fourth-graders' proficiency gained 21 points in math and nine points in reading...

This is no claim of "mission accomplished." Other nations have strengthened their schools faster and more profoundly than we have. Reading and math skills in middle and high schools, as well as knowledge of civics and science, are deplorably low. Learning gaps by race and income level remain tragically wide. But this country has made important improvements over a generation, with real implications for the lives of families and the economic health of our states and communities.
John White is the Louisiana state superintendent of education. In saying that public school performance has improved, he bucks the standard preferred party line, in which the public has long been told that nothing has worked in our public schools thanks to our ratty public school teachers with their fiendish unions.

That gloomy line has long been standard within the mainstream press. In his recent column, White said the familiar claims which drive this gloomy picture are untrue.

That said, White bowed to the gloom-and-doom lobby with his claim that reading and math skills in middle schools are "deplorably low," and with his gloomy assessment of the international picture. Beyond that, he chose to measure progress on the NAEP in a way which made us gnash our teeth—by recording "the share of American [students] fully proficient in math and reading."

In fairness, that's one statistic a person can use to measure improvement on the NAEP over time. But for various barely technical reasons, we wouldn't say it's the best single statistic to use, and it results in a rather underwhelming set of claims:

The share of proficient fourth-grade readers has increased by seven percentage points since the 1980s? That has the unmistakable sound of a massively underwhelming claim.

Still, given the way this topic is normally discussed, this underwhelming presentation is about as good as you'll ever see in a newspaper like the Post. It's very, very, very rate to hear claims about progress at all.

That said, where does a modern liberal turn for information on a topic like this? More specifically, to whom can liberals or progressives turn for information about the progress recorded by black or Hispanic kids?

Alas! That liberal can't turn to Rachel Maddow, or to Chris Hayes, or even to the morally swaggering Lawrence, or to any of the seven- or eight-figure "corporate liberals" hired to perform on MSNBC. The lives and interests of black children simply don't exist on that channel until such time as someone gets shot, though only by a policeman or a "vigilante."

At least in her seven- to eight-figure professional capacity as a cable news entertainer, Rachel Maddow doesn't give a flying fig about the lives and interests of black kids. Their lives and their interests don't exist on her high-rated TV show.

At present, her TV show is devoted to The Chase—to the entertaining, pleasure-providing hunt after Donald J. Trump. Viewers are immersed in the minutia of that chase to a degree that borders on the pointless and the insane.

Black kids can go play in the yard. So can Patrisse Khan-Cullors and her intriguing new book.

What's the true state of the nation's schools? Of the nation's low-income schools? Of the service those schools are providing to the nation's black kids?

You won't hear a word from Maddow about that or any similar topic. Those children don't exist on her show. Neither does Khan-Cullors, or a group of people like her.

Who the Joe Hill is Patrisse Khan-Cullors? She's one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, a semi-organization our corporate liberal TV stars happily pretend to support.

Khan-Cullors' new book is called When They Call You A Terorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. The book appeared on the New York Times best-seller list on two recent Sundays, but its author hasn't appeared on MSNBC and most likely never will.

(So far, Khan-Cullors has done the full hour on C-Span's After Words, and she's been interviewed on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. According to Nexis, that's it. Full and complete total stop.)

In her book, Khan-Cullors describes her life as a child who grew up poor in the Los Angeles of the wars on drugs and crime. Among the intriguing stories it seems to tell is the story of Khan-Cullots' education in the Los Angeles public schools.

Although she lived in Van Nuys, Khan-Cullors went to Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks, a school she improbably describes as being "all-white." She then went to Cleveland High, where it sounds like she received a fascinating, challenging education. The leading authority on Cleveland High describes the school as follows:
Grover Cleveland Charter High School is a public school serving grades 9-12. Cleveland Humanities Magnet is part of Cleveland Charter High School. The school is located in Reseda, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California.

Cleveland, a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was named after President Grover Cleveland. Cleveland Charter High School is LAUSD's only comprehensive high school that holds the title of being a California Distinguished School.

Cleveland High School was honored as a 2005 California Distinguished School
and as of 2010 was ranked the 703rd best high school in the nation by Newsweek, up from 854th the year before. It has a student population of about 3800. The school is divided into small learning communities.
So the school is described. Khan-Cullors would have graduated around 2002. According to the leading authority on her life, she holds a degree in religion and philosophy from UCLA and was a Fulbright scholar.

As with much of her memoir, Khan-Cullors' description of her education is fleeting and somewhat impressionistic. Her description of other aspects of her childhood is more detailed and more pointed. This includes her accounts of the interactions of her brothers and her father with the Los Angeles police and the California prison system.

Khan-Cullors has been involved in prison reform for a good long time. That topic doesn't exist on "liberal cable" either. For this reason, people like Khan-Cullors aren't invited to appear on the channel. That channel is deeply invested in The Chase, and in increased corporate revenue.

When Maddow mugs and clowns and discusses herself and exclusively hands you The Chase, she makes us liberals feel moral and pure inside. We may not realize how many topics are being kept from view.

When Maddow wallows in The Chase, she makes the rest of the world go away. Tomorrow, we'll finish our discussion of the many topics you won't encounter on that cable channel—about the many people you won't see there.

Cable keeps making the world go away. On the brighter side, it helps us make it through the night knowing that We are the good ones.

Tomorrow: Which terrorized children don't count and other disappeared topics

BREAKING: The soul of a tribal player like Milbank!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2018

Tomorrow, what Lemon said:
Dana Milbank is thoroughly sure that The Others behaved like "idiots."

Such hard-wired thoughts are a hard-wired part of the hard-wired prehuman condition. Life-forms like Milbank have performed this way all through the annals of time.

How do we know what Milbank thinks? He tells us in his column in today's Washington Post.

The headline on the column says "Putin's useful idiots." Cherry-picking from Mueller's indictment, he scatters his I-. S- and F-bombs around:
MILBANK (2/21/18): [W]hat Mueller did expose last week should sicken us all: Vladimir Putin has played Americans across the political spectrum for suckers. In particular, the Russian dictator has turned Trump supporters into the useful idiots of the 21st century.

The phrase “useful idiots,” often attributed to an earlier Vladimir, referred to Westerners who had been successfully manipulated by Soviet propaganda. But even Lenin would have to smile at the way Putin exploited Americans in 2016 to support Trump, or at least to oppose Hillary Clinton. Mueller's indictment is full of nauseating detail about how Putin made fools of Americans.

Using Facebook groups such as “Being Patriotic,” they organized “March for Trump” and “Down with Hillary” rallies in New York, “Florida Goes Trump” rallies in Florida and “Miners for Trump” rallies in Pennsylvania, among others.

They attracted more than 100,000 followers to a Twitter account falsely claiming to be controlled by the Tennessee Republican Party, @TEN_GOP, and got hundreds of thousands of online followers for groups they created such as “Army of Jesus” and “South United.”
Milbank starts by saying that Putin played Americans for suckers "across the political spectrum." He then starts name-calling the idiots and the fools, but they don't seem to turn up at random.

According to Milbank, the "idiots" and "fools" seem to have come from across the political spectrum of Donald J. Trump supporters. As has been true through the annals of time, The Others are always extremely dumb, though that isn't true of Us.

In truth, we humans are inclined to be dumb, no one more so than Milbank. Before we show you why we say that, let's take a look at one of the parts of Mueller's text to which Milbank refers:
36. Defendants and their co-conspirators also created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if U.S. persons or groups controlled them. For example, the ORGANIZATION created and controlled the Twitter account "Tennessee GOP," which used the handle @TEN_GOP. The @TEN_GOP account falsely claimed to be controlled by a U.S. state political party. Over time, the @TEN _ GOP account attracted more than 100,000 online followers.
There you see Mueller's paragraph 36, in which Mueller refers to the 100,000 "idiots" (Milbank's term) who were attracted to @TEN_GOP.

What idiots The Others were, Milbank says. Imagine being usefully idiotic enough to sign up for something pure Russkie like that!

In fact, there was no particular way to know that the Twitter account in question was Russkie in origin. Meanwhile, Milbank forgets to name-call the people Mueller mentioned in paragraph 34:
34. Defendants and their co-conspirators also created thematic group pages on social media sites, particularly on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. ORGANIZATION controlled pages addressed a range of issues, including: immigration (with group names including "Secured Borders"); the Black Lives Matter movement (with group names including "Blacktivist"); religion (with group names including "United Muslims of America" and "Army of Jesus"); and certain geographic regions within the United States (with group names including "South United" and "Heart of Texas"). By 2016, the size of many ORGANIZATION-controlled groups had grown to hundreds of thousands of online followers.
How many "idiots" and "fools" signed on with the Blacktivist site? (We would suggest that the best American answer is "none.") More specifically, was that one of the many groups that grew to "hundreds of thousands of online followers?"

Mueller's indictment doesn't specifically say. It does say that the Russkies carefully checked to see which sites were gaining adherents, and that they maintained their pursuit of black voters right to the end of the game:
37. To measure the impact of their online social media operations, Defendants and their coconspirators tracked the performance of content they posted over social media. They tracked the size of the online U.S. audiences reached through posts, different types of engagement with the posts (such as likes, comments, and reposts), changes in audience size, and other metrics. Defendants and their co-conspirators received and maintained metrics reports on certain group pages and individualized posts.

[...]

46. In or around the latter half of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through their ORGANIZATION-controlled personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate.

a. On or about October 16, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account "Woke Blacks" to post the following message: "[A] particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we'd surely be better off without voting AT ALL."

b. On or about November 3, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased an advertisement to promote a post on the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account "Blacktivist" that read in part: "Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it's not a wasted vote."
How many black voters turned out to be "idiots," "suckers" and "fools?" Milbank never frames his discussion of black voters that way. When he finally does mention the Woke Blacks and Blacktivist sites, he speaks very respectfully. No bomb-dropping allowed!

As has been true since we crawled from the swamp, life-forms like Milbank will name-call only The Others. They'll behave toward those within their own tents in a very different way.

There's an enormous amount of dumb material floating around our discourse. In the last campaign, some of the dumbness came from the Russkies. Most came from people like Milbank.

This is the way it's always been, ever since we crawled from the swamp. The Others are deplorably stupid. Over Here, We the transplendents are not.

Along these lines, did you see those Don Lemon ambush segments last night? In such ways, our social/political order is crumbling, just the way Putin hoped.

Tomorrow: Some sour Lemon juice

MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY: Making Khan-Cullors go away!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2018

Part 3—Along with a long line of others:
Yesterday, we discussed Monday night's Maddow Show. What occurred on the program last night?

Last night, the award-winning show was basically all Alex van der Zwaan all the time. The opening segment about the young hunk burned roughly 21 minutes. Two subsequent segments—one with Paul Fishman, one with Ken Vogel—added a combined 9:37 to the van der Zwaan total time.

Maddow closed with another 4:49 about the maddening conduct of the Russkies. Along the way, she did 3:04 about Jared Kushner's security clearance conundrum.

As such, the program was largely about van der Zwaag, completely about The Chase.

It isn't clear that there's anything "wrong" with programming like that. Indeed, the programming would make perfect sense if MSNBC was The Legal Minutia Channel which, in theory, it isn't.

(In theory, even Court TV no longer exists In 2008, it became TruTV, a place for "reality shows.")

At this point, the Maddow Show concerns itself with little except The Chase. That's true of MSNBC prime time generally, but it's especially true at 9 PM, a place of ratings success.

Last evening, Maddow went into her usual overwhelming detail about All Things Van Der Zwaan. In this morning's Washington Post, the topic rated a full-length news report on page A2 (1026 words). On last evening's Maddow Show, it was Attorney van der Zwaan pretty much all the way down.

Is there anything "wrong" with this diet? We would say there pretty much is. For starters, we would point to the way it makes the rest of the world go away, not excluding the fascinating, reality-drenched world of Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

Who the Sam Hill is Patrisse Khan-Cullors? Your question makes our point! Khan-Cullors, who was then Patrisse Cullors, is one of the three founders of Black Lives Matter. Also, she's the author of a new book which was on the New York Times best-seller list on two recent Sundays, falling off this past week.

Over Here in our pseudolib tents, we pretend to care about Black Lives Matter—indeed, about such lives. If a young person gets shot and killed, though only by police, we start inventing and bruiting false facts about what occurred to prove how much we care.

For better or worse, that seems to be the exetnt of our investment. Rachel serves us porridge each night about The Chase after Donald J. Trump. You'll never see Khan-Cullors on the corporate liberal goddess' program. Nor will you see the issues which animate Khan-Cullors' book get discussed.

The Maddow Show is our tribal playpen. Khan-Cullors and such can suck air.

We became aware of Khan-Cullors' book as we relaxed with the analysts two Sundays ago, enjoying a long, leisurely day of C-Span 2. Khan-Cullors did the full hour on After Words, interviewed by Toure.

To watch that program, click here.

Toure didn't do the greatest job; like almost everyone else, he's not a professional interviewer. We heard a lot of things that hour which didn't exactly seem to make sense, but we were struck by Khan-Cullors' tremendously cheerful demeanor.

The combination of these forcings led us to skim her book, and good grief! Early on, we ran headlong into the passage shown below.

Khan-Cullots grew up in low-income/impoverished L.A. At the start of this passage, she's referring to an incident with that city's police when her older brothers were 13 and 11:
KHAN-CULLORS (page 15): I will not think of this particular incident until years later, when the reports about Mike Brown start flowing out of Ferguson, Missouri, and he is morphed by police and the press from a beloved 18-year-old boy, a boy who was heading to college and a boy who was unarmed, into something like King Kong, an entity swollen, monster-like, that could only be stopped with bullets that were shot into the top of his head. Because that is what this cop did to him. He shot bullets into the top of his head as he knelt on the ground with his hands up.
Good grief! Khan-Cullors had already described Trayvon Martin in the standard way. She'd mentioned the Skittles and the iced tea while mentioning nothing else.

But that description of Michael Brown's death seemed to take the cake. It seemed to us that it had been years since we'd seen anyone continue the "kneeling with his hands up" imagery. The additional image implied in that passage—the image of the policeman standing over Michael Brown shooting down into "the top of his head"—seemed to take this imagery farther than we'd ever seen it taken.

Other parts of Khan-Cullors' book take the tools of selective reporting about as far as we've seen them taken. We recommend the anecdote she tells on pages 171-172, in which a young man she's mentoring ends up in the L.A. County jail, then received a ten-year prison sentence, even though "in fact no one was physically hurt, although I'm sire they were terrified."

As best we can tell, Khan-Cullors seems to be describing an armed robbery in the passage in question. It's amazing to see how far she goes to avoid making her meaning clear.

We find a lot that's puzzling in Khan-Cullors' book. Because the bulk of the book make us admire and wonder about her spirit, we've decided to blame these incidents on asha bandele, her co-author.

That said, you can see Khan-Cullors on that C-Span tape telling Toure that Sandra Bland "was killed in that jail cell, there's no way she committed suicide...it's my opinion she was dead before they fashioned that noose and put it on her. And that's unfortunately common." She bases this theory on her claim that many women are being murdered before they are hung inside a certain women's prison in California. (On the tape, this conversations atarts around minute 31.)

We've googled the topic and read the reports. We find no one making any such claim about the suicides in question, not even prisoner rights' groups. You'll see Toure make no attempt to question any of this, though interviewing on the fly is a difficult task.

Given these apparent problems, why do we, heartily, recommend Khan-Cullors' book? We do so because of Khan-Cullors herself, because of her strong spirit and spirituality, but also because of the topics with which she's long been engaged.

She has long been engaged with important topics. You will never see these topics discussed on The Rachel Maddow Show, or on MSNBC generally.

With what sorts of topics is Khan-Cullors engaged? Consider her remarkable claim about California prisons:
KHAN-CULLORS (page 44): In 1986 when I am three years old Ronald Reagan energizes the drug war that was started in 1971 by Richard Nixon by further militarizing the police in our communities, which swells the number of Black and Latinx men who are incarcerated. Between 1982 and 2000, the number of people locked up in the state of California grows by 500 percent.
Could that statistic be accurate? The leading authority on this topic states that very statistic in this award-winning report. Back in 2016, PolitiFact fact-checked a statement by Cory Booker and offered this overview concerning the nation's prisons:
POLITIFACT (7/10/16): A spokesman said Booker’s statistic comes from the Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform advocacy organization. It says the current incarcerated population is 2.2 million—including federal prisons, state prisons and local jails—which is a 500 percent growth over the past 40 years.

Experts told us that the Sentencing Project’s statistics are credible.

The state and federal prison population grew from 218,466 in 1974 to 1,508,636 in 2014, which is a nearly 600 percent increase. For comparison, the overall United States population has increased just 51 percent since 1974.

The state and federal prison population remained fairly stable through the early 1970s, until the war on drugs began. Since then, it has increased sharply every year, particularly when Reagan expanded the policy effort in the 1980s, until about 2010.
Obviously, this topic isn't unique to Khan-Cullors. But her discussions of prison culture seem to be informed by years of work in the area, and by experience with the incarceration of family members and loved ones. Our only point is this:

This isn't a topic which gets discussed on The Rachel Maddow Show. On the Maddow Show, you get to enjoy The Chase at this point and you get little else. You receive the joy of The Chase, and the rest of the world goes away.

Regarding Khan-Cullots herself, we think the tone of her book is deeply fascinating. We dislike the apparent propaganda. We're deeply struck by the person in whose name it's offered.

Her relentless discussions of family and love remind us of the early Dr. King, the young author who was so in love with "the love ethic of Jesus." What a shame that Khan-Cullors can't be on your TV screen, to better to make room for the latest pointless discussion with Michael Beschloss.

Khan-Cullors talks about the lives of low-income urban kids in the same sort of way Ta-Nehisi Coates did in his award-winning book. That said, we don't care about those kids, and we never have.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors is only one of the people you won't see on The One True Channel. Mass incarceration is only one such topic.

We're currently being sold The Chase, an entertaining tribal porridge which is ratings gold. It makes us feel very good inside, and it makes the world go away.

Tomorrow: Among the missing

BREAKING: How the other tribe lives!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2018

Fruit of the New York Times:
Last Friday night, we got so sick of our own tribe's "cable news" recitations that we flipped over to watch Sean Hannity mouthing his.

It was The Day of The 16 Indictments—but on Hannity, it was also The Night of Uranium One and the scary uranium deal.
Hannity's opening monologue wandered about quite a bit. But less than three minutes into the speech, the incoherent "cable news" star was performing beneath this sign:
HANNITY OPENING MONOLOGUE
URANIUM ONE SCANDAL
At least for now, you can find the videotape here ("Examining key points from Russian indictments"). To review the transcript, click this.

Here's part of what The Other Half heard last Friday night. As you yourself have probably heard, we live in two different worlds:
HANNITY (2/16/18): All right. Let's start with what the media will not tell you tonight. Some of the biggest news in today's indictment is what is not included. It does not say that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians. It does not say that anybody on the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. It does not say that President Trump obstructed justice. It does not say that Donald Trump Jr. attempted to collude with the Russians.

Now the same goes for Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The biggest examples of Russian collusion for 2016 that we know about, that we have real concrete evidence of, is, one, Hillary Clinton, bought and paid for dossier. The one that used Russian government sources to peddle Russian propaganda, lies, to influence the American people in the past election in 2016.

And the other example of Russia collusion, number two, is that we know to be true, deals with Uranium One and Vladimir Putin and people he had on the ground in America involved in bribery and money laundering and kickback and racketeering schemes. It all took place in this country. We know all about that.

[...]

Now what this indictment shows is nothing short of a sophisticated effort by the Russians to gain influence in America. Now, we have been telling you this, about Vladimir Putin, about Russian operatives, about how they've been involved in sophisticated schemes. We have been going back to as early as 2009.

Remember, he had people, operatives on the ground with the purpose of breaking into America's uranium market. We also told you how those Russian operatives were involved and we knew it because we had an insider on the ground, an FBI informant, that they were involved in bribery, in kickbacks, and money laundering, racketeering, all in a scheme, yes, tied to Hillary Clinton.

Now, that's the deal with the Clinton State Department and the Obama administration. They ignored this FBI investigation, what this informant was telling them was going on in the inside. And inexplicably they approved, in 2010, giving Vladimir Putin control of over 20 percent of America's uranium market.

We had the informant warning us on the inside the entire time. Nobody listened. And the clueless media, they ignored this Russian interference.

Now, this only matters apparently if the Russians are involved, if you can use it to bludgeon President Trump politically.

Now, sadly, Putin and Russia, they were successful in 2010, they got the uranium. Now, even though we already had a shortage of uranium in America, we have to import uranium.

Now let's get back to the indictment. It lays out allegations that begin in 2014. Where Russian nationals, they were working together, with a troll farm located in St. Petersburg, Russia, trying to influence the election. Why wouldn't they after they got uranium?
Hannity's monologue was perhaps a bit incoherent. But as we sat and watched him working beneath that big large gigantic sign, we couldn't help thinking back to the role the New York Times played in this uranium gong show, which has now played out at Fox for years.

We've discussed it a million times, starting in real time, in June 2015. The New York Times ran an enormous, scary front-page report about the scary uranium deal. It ran an enormous 4400 words, starting on the paper's front page and eating two entire pages inside the paper.

If the work was actually meant as a real news report, it was the worst such report of all time. Here's the question we're going to ask you:

Have you ever seen the New York Times challenged about this going show?

The lead reporter on this gonger was, of course, Jo Becker. We have no idea why anyone with an ounce of sense would ever pay a lick of attention to anything Becker ever wrote again.

That said, Becker's report was an official collaboration with right-wing hack Peter Schweizer—an arrangement the Times has entered into for reasons which haven't been probed by our fiery liberal journalists.

In fact, the scary uranium deal wasn't scary at all. It wasn't engineered by Hillary Clinton. In fact, we know of no evidence that Clinton played any role in approving the deal at all.

Most career liberals have finally said that the hubbub about Uranium One has been the latest pseudo-scandal. But there it still is, all over Fox, and make no mistake:

As has happened so many other times, the ridiculous tale of the scary deal got its heft from the ludicrous work which appeared in the New York Times.

As for the Times, good God!

Over at New York magazine,
Jill Abramson has been discussing the latest fairy tale, in which Justice Thomas would be impeached. Over at Slate, she's wondering how her "generation" could have left the country in such a political mess, with Isaac Chotiner choosing to be polite.

To a very large extent, the political mess to which she refers was created by her own enormously incompetent former newspaper. Luckily, career liberal journalists all understand that such inconvenient truths must be ignored. Careers hang in the balance!

Uranium One gained its cachet in that ludicrous Times report. On cable news, Hayes and Goldstein described it as a "bombshell" that night.

The Times has been doing this forever. So have career liberal journalists.

Hannity played his own role Friday night. Anthropologists tell us that this may be the best our floundering species can do.

They look unhappy when they say this. But none of the academic giants challenge the gloomy consensus:

We just don't seem to be up to the task. The pay-offs are too damn high!

MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY: Rachel makes the world go away!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2018

Part 2—Don't look for the world of Khan-Cullors:
Last evening, on prime time "cable news," Rachel Maddow spent a leisurely, self-involved hour making the world go away.

She started, as is routine at this point, with a brief complaint about the way the current profusion of news events inconveniences her, Rachel Maddow, both in her daily professional planning and in her personal life. This piteous bleating has become an almost-nightly event.

From there, she proceeded to the bulk of her opening segment, in which she spent 20 minutes and 45 seconds—roughly half her program's broadcast minutes—making the world go away.

How did the liberal world's corporate darling make the world go away? As she frequently does, she started with a leisurely, utterly pointless trip to the tribal past—to a pleasing tribal past in which famous Republicans are pleasingly seen doing things which are evil, naughty and wrong.

This makes the cable star's liberal viewers feel tribally moral and pure. After last night's standard complaint about the way breaking news inconveniences Rachel, here's the way the historical waste of time started:
MADDOW (2/19/18): All right. In 1984, at his last State of the Union Address before he ran for reelection as president, January 1984, Ronald Reagan, at that State of the Union, made a very sober promise to the country on a very serious issue.

REAGAN (videotape): This year, we will intensify our drive against these and other horrible crimes, like sexual abuse and family violence.

MADDOW: That was January 1984. Ronald Reagan telling Congress the government "will intensify our drive against sexual abuse and family violence."

This was one line in a sort of dark part of Reagan's State of the Union Address that year. That was part of the speech where he also talked about kidnapping and about child pornography.
Etcetera, and so forth and so on. As the minutes burned away, Maddow told us about the way Reagan failed to fire a staffer accused of domestic violence—until the story hit the Wall Street Journal, at which point the Gipper took action.

For oursleves, we have no idea what actually happened in the incident under review. There's little chance that the grossly inconvenienced Maddow has any real idea either.

Presumably, staffers had seized upon this news report in yesterday's USA Today. They'd fashioned a summary of events. Maddow sat there and performed as if she knew what she was talking about.

That said, historical excursions of this type tend to serve as the first batch of porridge the corporate multimillionaire serves her liberals viewers of a weekday night. Preferably, the pointless excursion will involve Richard Nixon, not the less dastardly Reagan.

At any rate, in last evening's first twenty-one minutes, Maddow joined her liberal audience in one of her favorite pastimes, listening to herself talk. She spent this very large of time developing one piece of information—chief of staff Kelly has said that new rules will take effect this Friday regarding security clearances inside the J-Trump White House.

Maddow managed to turn this tiny nugget into a 21-minute open. She blathered her way through the rest of the program, then sent us off happy with this additional glimpse of her daily life:
MADDOW: I have to tell you, usually, I really don't care. I'm like—

I'm not the only person in the news business, but I'm probably one of the only people in the news business who, when the White House briefing comes on, I take that as my cue to go get a sandwich.

[Off-camera laughter from sycophants]

Like I just don't—I just make—you have to make choices as to what sort of information you take in and what you don't bother. And with the White House briefing, I don't bother.

That said, tomorrow I'm going to bother,
because tomorrow will be the first White House briefing in a week.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is expected to brief at 2 o'clock tomorrow. They cancelled the briefing last Wednesday on a day they expected to put out White House chief of staff John Kelly. They cancelled it in the wake of the shooting.

Kelly had been expected to face, basically, a furious press corps, who's been trying to get to the bottom of White House conflicting statements about the White House staff secretary Rob Porter and the domestic violence allegations against him, the security clearance scandal that followed the Rob Porter revelations.

His briefing was cancelled on Wednesday. They didn't hold one Thursday or Friday. They did not hold one today.

Tomorrow, they'll be back in the briefing room and I'll get takeout.

That does it for us tonight. We'll see you again tomorrow. Now it's time for The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence!
Yay yay yay yay yay—so cool! We got to learn more about Rachel!

Normally, she doesn't care. But tomorrow, she plans to get takeout!

Roughly four million Rachel watchers thrilled to the new information. Deep in the bowels of our own sprawling campus, observers were much less pleased.

"I I I I I I I," our frustrated young analysts wailed. They'd just watched a multimillionaire corporate stooge making the world go away.

What do we mean when we say that "Rache" makes the world go away? We refer to such matters as these:

We refer to te absurdly limited palette of topics to which we get exposed in an hour.

We refer to the endless string of major topics and concerns we'll never see addressed.

We refer to the many people we'll never see on this program as guests. (Michael Beschloss, come on down!)

We refer to the way the Maddow Show is actually tribal entertainment TV—a nightly "true crime" drama about The Chase, in which we the good people pursue the bad people, the ones surrounding Trump, hoping they'll end up in prison.

Alas! As this creepy, crepuscular shadow being works the margins of real events, we liberals only get dumber, and more estranged from the world. Rachel becomes more enthralled with herself—but along the way, we don't hear about the contents of a new, best-selling book.

The book belongs to Patrisse Khan-Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter. We've been reading that book of late. It involves the type of content to which you will never be exposed on Maddow's entertainment-based program.

WE first saw Khan-Cullors on C-Span's After Words program two Sundays back. She was interviewed, for an hour, by the perhaps and possibly ever-more outre Toure.

The interview led us to skim the book at Barnes and Noble. The skimming led us to buy it.

You will never see Khan-Cullors on Maddow's "cable news" show. You'll never see its content discussed.

Tomorrow, we start splaining why.

Tomorrow: Several peculiar claims, fascinating content

The ghost of hit songs past: We thought we heard the late Eddy Arnold as we watched Maddow last night. He'd adjusted the words of his greatest hit song. Here's what we thought he said:
Make the world go away
Get it off my shoulder
Say the things we want you to say
And make the world go away.
In fairness, with the analysts all yelling "I I I I," it was hard to hear what he was saying.

BREAKING: Strangest paragraph of them all!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2018

The gang that coudn't troll straight:
Robert Mueller dropped 16 indictments on Russkie heads last Friday. The indictments concern alleged illegal electioneering, not the theft of Democratic emails or possible blackmailing of Donald J. Trump.

How effective was this Russkie electioneering? We can't answer that question, but this strikes us as the strangest paragraph in last week's indictments:
31. In order to collect additional intelligence, Defendants and their co-conspirators posed as U.S. persons and contacted U.S. political and social activists. For example, starting in or around June 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, posing online as U.S. persons, communicated with a real U.S. person affiliated with a Texas-based grassroots organization. During the exchange, Defendants and their co-conspirators learned from the real U.S. person that they should focus their activities on "purple states like Colorado, Virginia & Florida." After that exchange, Defendants and their co-conspirators commonly referred to targeting "purple states" in directing their efforts.
That seems like a very strange paragraph. Here's what it seems to say:

It seems to say that the Russkie invaders only learned about so-called "purple states" (swing states) in June 2016. That would have been amazingly late on the game. Some such suggestion popped up in the public discourse a few months ago, and we noted its oddness.

That's a very strange paragraph. It seems to identify the Russkie invaders as the gang that couldn't troll straight. If you don't even know how our state-by-state electoral system works, you don't know squat, squadoodle or even squadoosh about our election system. According to this paragraph, the Russkies only learned about this part of the system in June 2016, from an unwitting contact in Texas.

This doesn't mean that these operations had no effect on voters. It seems to suggest that the Russkies got off to a rather slow start in this area, knowing their asps from their elbows-wise.

That strikes us as a very strange paragraph. Tomorrow, we'll mention another semi-puzzling matter.

BREAKING: Who in the world is [Name Withheld]?

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2018

And how can The Times be so bad:
Matt Shuham is two years out of college (Harvard 2015).

Yesterday, his TPM report about Trump's latest tweets had us gnashing our teeth. This passage sent us over the edge:
SHUHAM (2/18/18): Trump is incorrect in saying “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election.” At times he has specified that his campaign did not collude with Russia. But he has also frequently tossed nuance aside and called the entire Mueller investigation a “witch hunt,” or declared that “Russia is fake news.”
According to Shuham, Trump was "incorrect in saying 'I never said Russia did not meddle in the election.' " Shuham's chesty words of assurance made TPM readers feel good.

That said, Shuham offered no examples in which Trump made the inaccurate statement in question. He simply said, or seemed to say, that Trump has "frequently" done so.

Stating the obvious, that was terrible work. On the brighter side, hiring extremely young reporters presumably lets Josh Marshall make more money. Like every tribe in prehuman history, we liberals want our tribal sachems to be very rich.

That said, Shuham's post left us wondering. Has Trump ever flatly said that Russia didn't meddle?

At this point, let's offer a word of warning. Trump's statements tend to be extremely fuzzy. He tends to work on insinuation, suggestion and association rather than explicit statement. It's often hard to articulate what he has actually said.

(Example: We don't think we've ever seen anyone offer an accurate paraphrase of Trump's famous remark about the Mexican rapists. In our view, it was an appalling remark. It's also hard to paraphrase.)

Shuham's example-free assurance had us gnashing outr teeth. This morning, though, Linda Qiu really took the cake in the New York Times.

Qiu is three years out of college (Chicago 2014). For unknown reasons, the New York Times has hired her to be the paper's official fact-checker.

Qiu's skills are virtually non-existent. This morning, in a full-length, hard-copy report, she attempts to fact-check that same assertion by Trump.

Her failure is astonishing. Headline included, here's how her report begins:
QIU (2/19/18): Trump Falsely Claims, ‘I Never Said Russia Did Not Meddle’

President Trump falsely claimed
in an early Sunday morning Twitter post that he had never rejected the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,
I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer,’” Mr. Trump wrote. “The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia—it never did!
According to Qiu, the tweeted statement by Donald J. Trump was "false." She proceeds to offer eight examples in support of her claim—but only one of her examples seems to support her claim in anything like an unambiguous fashion.

How absurd are the bulk of Qiu's examples? Good lord! The bulk of the examples she cites are as absurd as this, her second example:
September 2016: “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the D.N.C.”

As the presidential nominees of their political parties, Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton began receiving government intelligence reports in August. On Sept. 22, top Democrats on congressional intelligence committees issued a public statement blaming Russia, “based on briefings we have received.”

Four days later, during the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump declined to agree:

“I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the D.N.C. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t—maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, O.K.?”
Good lord! In that alleged example, Trump explicitly said it could be Russia who hacked the DNC.

In that statement, Trump didn't say it wasn't Russia. He said he didn't know.

In even a slightly rational world, it would be astounding to see the New York Times present that statement as Qiu does—as an example of Trump denying that Russia did it. In a slightly rational world, it would be astounding to think the New York Times' fact-checker, and her editor, possessed such limited analytical skill.

That's how it would be in a slightly rational world. But in this world, the New York Times is a hotbed of journalistic and intellectual dysfunction. As part of that routine dysfunction, the paper hired someone barely out of college to serve as its official fact-checker, despite her remarkable lack of basic skills.

Her unnamed editor lacks those skills too. Amazingly, this is the intellectual norm at our floundering nation's most famous daily newspaper.

On the brighter side, Times readers aren't likely to notice. According to today's page A3, yesterday's "most emailed article" was the one you'll find at this link.

"Why Yoga Pants Are Bad for Women." As the Times is happy to note, that's the report from the Sunday Times we brainiacs emailed most!

We claim to be appalled by Trump. Our utterly fatuous upper-class values just keep pointing the way toward our decline, perhaps toward our society's death.

Reviewing Qiu's examples, we find one example where Trump seemed to deny that Russia did it. Based upon Qiu's other examples, it looks like he quickly abandoned that stance.

MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY: Kessler frisks first lady's folks!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2018

Part 1—When Milbank and Stormy get blue:
How ridiculous does it get when we commit ourselves to The Chase—to thrilling tribal entertainment and to nothing else?

How ridiculous can it get? For starters, consider Glen Kessler's weekly hard-copy report in the Washington Post.
As always, Kessler's weekly report appeared in Sunday's editions. We refer to his weekly report as top dog at the Post's "Fact-Checker" site.

For the record, yesterday's report followed a fraught week or two. It had been the week of the seventeen high school killings. It had also been the week of the sixteen indictments.

It had been the week when Dreamer legislation died in the Senate. Donald J. Trump had recently released his budget plan. In the wake of some utterly bollixed reporting, a wealth of basic questions remained about the Rob Porter matter.

Quite a few topics had flooded the news. So what was the Post's fact-checker checking?

The Post's fact-checker was fact-checking the first lady's mother and father! Do they belong in this country at all?

Hard-copy headline included, he stated his brief as shown below. We'll throw in the word "inaccurate:"
KESSLER (2/18/18): White House tight-lipped on the immigration status of Melania Trump’s parents

Several readers asked about the immigration status of Melania Trump’s parents,
Viktor and Amalija Knavs, after spotting [inaccurate] social media posts such as this one:

"Here are Melania's Parents. Viktor and Amalija Knavs. They live in the United States Permanently now because of Chain Migration after Melania's Visa Expired & she stayed here Illegally and married Donnie for Citizenship. None of them have a degree or a job".

With congressional debate beginning on overhauling immigration laws, it’s certainly an interesting question. President Trump has favored bills that would severely restrict “chain migration,” including the granting of immigration visas to the parents of U.S. citizens. So naturally, readers have wondered whether the president is being hypocritical.
According to the Post's fact-checker, some readers had spotted some social media posts! Naturally, those social media posts had set these readers to wondering!

This explains the embarrassing report which appeared in Sunday's Washington Post. In the face of a vast array of serious major important news topics, Kessler had spent his week asking the first lady's parents to please show their papers.

Kessler went on to produce a lengthy, somewhat insulting fact-check on this utterly pointless topic. He listed four possible bases on which the parents may be in this country. The fourth basis he listed was this:
Parole
"Parole," the fact-checker wrote in bold. They might be here on "parole!"

In the face of all those serious topics, Kessler engaged in a lengthy frisk of the first lady's parents. At one point, he warned us that the parents could be engaged in illegal conduct if they've been taking care of their grandson, Barron Trump.

Humans, might we speak? That's the kind of bullshit to which we're inclined to descend when the tribal thrill of The Chase makes us take leave of our senses. To wit:

Some readers spot something stupid somewhere. Working from a very high platform, a journalist takes a deep dive.

It was much the same with Dana Milbank in the same Sunday paper. In a full-length, page'filling column, Dana Milbank, like Stormy Daniels, was feeling both ballsy and blue. Hard-copy headline included:
MILBANK (2/18/18): Why Stormy Daniels isn't a bigger storm

President Trump is a force of nature. Actually, he is a full-blown meteorological phenomenon.

This week, what in any other presidency would have been a Category 5 hurricane made landfall at the White House. It felt more like a drizzle.

The president’s personal lawyer confirmed that he paid $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels, reportedly so she wouldn’t talk about an alleged affair with Trump dating to 2006,
months after Melania Trump had given birth to their son, Barron. Daniels’s rep said she is now free from her confidentiality agreement and ready to talk.

Trump in an adulterous affair? With a porn star? And hush money? You couldn’t invent a scandal better than this.
Alas, poor Milbank! "Trump in an adulterous affair?...You couldn't invent a better scandal," the blue-balled blue-blood sadly said. But because of all the other scandals, the Stormy scandal hasn't been getting its due!

Stormy hasn't become the full-blown scandal of silly-boy Milbank's dreams! There are too many others things in the news, so people like Milbank can't reap the full joy of sexy-time stories from Stormy!

(They way they did with Gennifer Flowers, who almost surely invented her stories! Remember how great that was?)

These pitiful pieces by Kessler and Milbank help show us the shape of the times. They help display the hard-wired drift of our journalists' tiny small minds.

Once you let these life-forms commit to The Chase, this is the bullshit you're going to get. And we haven't even mentioned the harrowing report by Robert O'Harrow, who has spotted a Trump nominee behaving in much the way CNN does.

O'Harrow's report appeared in the front section of yesterday's Post, along with Kessler and Milbank.

When journalists commit to The Chase, this is the kind of behavior you'll see. For several decades, they committed to The Chase against Clinton, Clinton and Gore. Now they're chasing a disordered person named Donald J. Trump, while displaying their own disorders.

How do they want to conduct The Chase? Let us count the ways:

Milbank gnashes his teeth at the lack of attention to Stormy Daniels.

Dylan Farrow—in The New Yorker!—burns acres of trees to the ground so we can learn about a consensual affair with a former Playboy model.

Glenn Kessler fact-checks social media posts about Melania's parents. On CNN, Don Lemon and a second ghoul stroke their privates as they discuss that Playboy model's claim that Melania always preferred a separate bedroom.

(CNN never did post the transcript of Lemon's second hour last Friday night. We'd be embarrassed to post it too. We'd also be inclined to take Lemon off the air until he can get it together.)

Children, let's review:

The first lady always preferred a separate bedroom. Reportedly, that is!

The first lady's parents might be breaking the law if they take care of their grandson!

The first lady stopped at the Holocaust Museum only because it was on the way to the airfield!

We should be discussing Stormy much more. Also, Trump engaged in sexy-time sex with a former Playboy model! In 2006!

This is where these people go when they're allowed to commit to The Chase. People are dead all over the world because they've done this in the past. You're rarely told about any of that in service to liberal careers.

Citizens, can we talk?

Long ago and far away, Eddy Arnold enjoyed his biggest hit. "Make the World Go Away," the velvet-voiced country star wonderfully crooned.

The lyrics were even better than that. "Say the things we used to say," Arnold crooned. "And make the world go away."

With one small change in those lyrics, that's what's happening now. Our pundits are saying the things we want them to say and making the world go away.

What parts of the world are they disappearing, including on Rachel and Lawrence? We'll answer that thoughtful question all week. For now, though, a trigger warning:

Anthropologists sadly say this may be the best we can do.

Tomorrow: Making Paul Krugman go away. Coming, Patrisse Khan-Cullors!

For your listening pleasure: To hear Arnold's hit, click here. According to the leading authority, it hit #1 on the country charts, #6 overall.

BREAKING: Three things we saw on cable last night!

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2018

We'll save the worst for last:
Ever so quickly, we'll cite three things we saw last night on our flailing, floundering nation's pitiful "cable news" channels.

At one point, we saw the "opening monologue" on Sean Hannity's show. On this, the evening of the indictments, he offered his monologue beneath a large graphic proclaiming this:
URANIUM ONE
Readers, we sh*t you not!

No transcript has yet been posted. Beyond that, we expect to discuss Uranium One next week, within an award-winning report entitled Krugman Ignored, or something much like that.

For these reasons, we'll leave this particular bullshit right there, though we will offer two questions:
Which major American newspaper published a gigantic, 4400-word front-page report about Uranium One and the scary uranium deal?

Have you ever seen a single "career liberal" mention, challenge, question or name-call the stunning journalistic disgrace produced by that major newspaper?
Because we're saving the worst for last, we'll go to Maddow next.

Roughly ten minutes into her show, we heard the analysts in the next room emit their familiar keening wail:

"I I I I I I I," the youngsters familiarly said.

Maddow's transcript isn't up yet. We could transcribe what she said from our award-winning On Demand service. But, eschewing such self-degradation, we'll leave her words for another day.

(Full disclosure: Knowing how gong show leads on to clown car, we doubt if we should ever come back.)

The worst thing we saw last night came from Don Lemon and guests. His transcript isn't available either, so we'll patch and fill.

First, Lemon interviewed Ronan Farrow, who seems to have his nose in the underwater drawer at this time. We didn't see much of that interview, but then the guest pundits came on.

There followed a grotesque discussion between Lemon and Tara Setmayer about the reason why Melania Trump prefers a separate bedroom—reportedly, that is. Setmayer is brighter than the average "cable news" bear, but she and Lemon were appalling last night.

We regarded Farrow as a hero of journalist labor for his dogged, important reporting about Harvey Weinstein's criminal assaults and attacks. Doggedly, he told the story that all our New York Times "goddesses" and our all-around heroes had long chosen not to tell.

Now he has his nose in the drawer, busily reporting on Donald J. Trump's fully consensual conduct. He's also reporting on the six figures one woman took from a man named Pecker—a guide who only had at heart her story getting lost.

Our questions:

Could we erect a giant statue in honor of David Pecker? Also, could we establish a federal fund designed to keep all men and women from discussing their consensual affairs with major public figures?

As Lemon and Setmayer showed us last night, once you let us humans start discussing such matters, we'll want to discuss little else. This week featured 17 killings and 16 indictments, but Don and Tara were hard at work, snarking and scolding and proving to be "all too human."

When Lemon was still working weekend shifts, we praised him as kinder and gentler than the average cable host. He later got promoted to a demanding, two-hour nightly prime time slot.

On balance, the assignment hasn't gone well. The pressures of dealing with Donald J. Trump have dragged Lemon several miles out to sea, seemingly well past his depth.

By last night, he had descended to speculations about why a woman he doesn't know prefers a separate bedroom—reportedly, that is.

"That's it's for us," Lemon said as the segment ended. "That should be it for you, motherfrumper," one thoughtful young analyst said.

Extra-credit reading assignment: The power of paraphrase is on display in Christine Emba's new column in the Washington Post.

She paraphrases "many" people, quotes none. Dead strawmen frequently litter the countryside when such columns are done.

Emba didn't invent this approach. That said, why can't the youngsters come along and reject the mistakes of the ancients?

RACE TO THE PAST: "What difference does it make?"

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018

Part 5—Let's return to this topic:
Incomparably, we were called away from our desk this morning, interrupting our work on this topic.

That said, this topic is very important. It involves the destructive old skin game called "race."

We think it's a great advance that people who are defined as "white" have been able, in the past fifty year, to slip the chains of their "origins."

Ethnicity came to be optional. Nobody hugely cares any more. That isn't yet true about "race."

We all still get defined by "race," a taxonomy which comes to us live and direct from what Professor Genovese called "the world the slaveholders made." Plainly, race isn't hugely optional yet, but that's a type of additional liberation which should be the goal.

This brings us back to the wonderful question Professor Gates asked last year. He was speaking with Ava DuVernay about her genetic "origins," some of which led back to Europe, some of which led to people who lived "under African skies."

DuVernay displayed a rooting interest in how the balance of her "origins" would turn out. "What difference does it make?" the professor deftly asked.

What did Professor Gates mean by that? As the year proceeds, we'll offer our suppositions.

Meanwhile, we've liked Christine Emba's work at the Washington Post. We think her instincts were slightly unhelpful on this particular matter, and yes, she's stuck with her youthiness, though that will transplendently fade.

That said, we like the cut of Emba's jib. She deserves to be freed from the chains which are under discussion, as does everyone else in your town and on your block. The concepts have come to us live and direct from people with gruesome ideas.

It's good that Marty slipped some of these chains. It wouldn't be smart to go back.

BREAKING: Where does information come from?

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018

Pretty much out of our asps:
We largely skipped the latest evening of reactions to the latest mass shooting.

Such evenings are pretty much all alike. But even though we didn't watch much, we did see Brian say this:
WILLIAMS (2/14/18): I read a stat tonight, there have been 18 school shootings elsewhere in the world over the last two decades. In our country alone, there have been 18 school shootings in the last 35 days. I know you're not a politician, but you were at the crux of this public issue today. And do you believe lawmakers failed you in that moment? Do you believe we can do better than this?
We saw him say that at 11 PM Eastern. As it turns out, in the previous hour, Lawrence had said this:
O'DONNELL (2/14/18): Police say a 19-year-old who was expelled from the high school last year was apprehended as the shooter and as he was leaving—trying to leave, trying to blend in with the crowd of students, rushing away from the high school after the shooting. This is the 45th day of 2018, and in this year, we have already had 18 school shootings.

[...]

In a moment, my first guest will be a student who stayed calm and helped other students survive this shooting because he was ready for it. Because he knew this was possible in his school or in any school in America. And so, this video you're about to see, if you choose to watch it, is a horrifying look at something that has already happened at 18 schools in America this year, in just the first six weeks of this year.
Lawrence said that at 10 PM Eastern. At 9 PM, Rachel had said this:
MADDOW: It is honestly hard to—obviously it's hard to watch that video. In terms of patterns, in terms of what kind of event this is, you know, it's hard to keep track. We alone in the world as a country are plagued by this problem as a multiple times per week occurrence.

But we think this latest assault is at least the 18th school shooting in this country this year, just since the start of 2018. We're not even halfway into February.
According to Rachel, events of this kind are "a multiple times per week occurrence." Did that sound right when you heard it?

At 8 PM, Chris said it was "at least the twelfth, twelfth school shooting this year here at February 14th." Only the twelfth?Where does he get his information?

Through the evening on MSNBC, this had been the 18th school shooting, or event of this type, this year! Did that seem to make sense at the time? In this morning's Washington Post, Cox and Rich do a good job discussing what's wrong with that claim.

The claim ran wild on The One True Channel. To their credit, CNN eschewed it.

By the way, how good was the work in the Washington Post? In hard-copy, the analysis piece ran beneath this headline:
Gun-control group's widely shared tally of 2018 school shootings misleads
Good for them! They managed to say that the claim was "misleading," not that it was a lie, or even that it was flatly wrong. These distinctions exist in language because they exist in real life.

In what way is that claim "misleading?" If you read the Post report, you'll be able to find out. Under the circumstances, we'd say the claim is highly misleading. That said, your lizard may want to tell you that the claim's technically accurate.

Where does our information come from? When we traffic in BREAKING NEWS, it sometimes comes, live and direct, right straight out of our asps!

What should we do about these recurrent disasters? If we stop licking our lips about Stormy Daniels and chasing $4000 plane rides around, we might imaginably be able to figure that out.

Our chances wouldn't be super-good. But they would be better.

BREAKING: The latest extremely strange news report!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018

The Post frisks Sanders regarding the Porter affair:
This morning's Washington Post contains the latest extremely strange news report about the Rob Porter affair.

Why was Porter still at work until recent weeks without a security clearance? On Tuesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered this explanation:

According to Sanders, the FBI had sent its various reports to the White House Security Personnel Office, an obscure office staffed by career personnel, not by Trump appointees. For background, see this report.

According to Sanders, that office was still conducting its investigation when the Daily Mail ran its recent report about Porter's apparent misconduct. The FBI's reports hadn't reached major players like McGahn and Kelly.

Were these claims by Sanders actually accurate? Rather than try to find out, cable news and major newspapers blew right past her claims. No one asked the staffers in the White House Security Personnel Office if her claims were accurate. No one asked the FBI where they sent their reports.

No one did this basic reporting. On cable news, our favorites simply began shouting "Lies."

This morning, the Post published a rather lengthy report about this very matter. But how weird! Reporters Gearan and Wagner interviewed all sorts of former officials from past administrations, seeking their views of the plausibility of Sanders' claims. But there is no sign—zero; none—that they attempted to speak to anyone who would have direct knowledge of what actually happened.

Specifically, there is no sign that Gearan and Wagner asked anyone in the actual White House Security Personnel Office about the accuracy of Sanders' claims. There is no sign that they have asked anyone at the FBI if Sanders' claims could be true.

To whom did the FBI deliver its reports? Did those people pass the information along to the major players who are getting trashed about Porter' retention—to Don McGahn or John Kelly?

The Post devotes 1243 words to this specific topic today. But there is no sign that Gearan and Wagner attempted to speak to anyone who would have direct knowledge of what actually occurred.

Watching our major news orgs perform creates an endless puzzle. This morning's lengthy report in the Post is as odd as reporting can be.

That said, we now advance, for the second time, one hypothesis about what might have happened. What makes us think that this isn't the way things went down?
Don McGahn told Donald J. Trump that Porter had apparently engaged in domestic violence. Trump said he didn't care.

"Go pound sand," Trump specifically said. Porter remained at the White House.
That isn't what Sanders has said, of course, but she only know what she's told. Is there any obvious reason to doubt that that could be what happened?

Is that why Porter stayed on the job? Like you, we have no way of knowing. But we've seen no one on cable news ponder this possibility. They're having big fun with Kelly/McGahn. Who cares what really occurred?

Who cares what really occurred? Based on this morning's peculiar report, not the Washington Post!

ROSEBUD: Kristof discovers the sky is blue!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2018

The human stain jumps, then spreads:
To his credit, Nicholas Kristof has discovered the sky is blue.

More specifically, he has discovered a moral stain spreading from Donald J. Trump.

In the case of Trump himself, this stain has been evident for a great many years. With this morning's column, Kristof joins the collection of cable entertainers who are willing to be shocked, shocked each morning and night by the latest manifestation of this blindingly obvious fact.

Every morning and evening they're just shocked, shocked. Note to Kristof and cable entertainers:

Donald J. Trump is highly disordered. He has visibly been so throughout his life. It isn't going to change.

He's going to be highly disordered tomorrow. He's going to be highly disorderd next week. His judgments and actions won't seem to make sense. His values will seem very poor.

There's really no need to keep discovering the fact that Donald J. Trump is disordered. Reading Kristof's column today, we'll admit we began to wonder about the columnist's values too.

Kristof says a moral stain tends to spread out from a disordered person like Trump. It's also true that a moral stain may jump to those who become too deeply invested in the chase:
KRISTOF (2/15/18): Lack of integrity may also be the best way to capture the morphing scandal of the pre-election $130,000 payoff to a porn star to apparently keep quiet about an affair with Trump. It’s bad enough that Trump appears to have been cheating on Melania right after she had their baby (“Oh, don’t worry about her,” he is said to have told the actress). But with the payoff and reported cover-up, Trump is betraying all of us.
God helps us. The chivalrous Kristof stands to announce that Trump shouldn't have cheated on his wife. She had recently given birth! With that paragraph, Kristof serves notice:

The desire to stick the nose in the underwear drawer never deserts These People. Isn't this precisely where this busybody journalistic era got its highly destructive start?

Yes, this is where this nonsense all started. But with everything going on in the world, this is where Kristof lands.

We had a series of oddball thoughts as we read Kristof this morning. With Oscar night approaching, we found our thoughts drifting off to Citizen Kane, and to its "Rosebud" reveal.

Why is Donald J. Trump so profoundly disordered? He has been disordered for a very long time, perhaps since childhood, when he was sent away to military school, apparently to get himself together.

How did he ever get this way? We wonder if the underwear-sniffer-in-chief has ever wondered about these possibilities:

Could Trump have been abused as a child? What makes us discount such thoughts?

We know he suffered the great misfortune of being raised by a miserable father. By way of contrast, and by all accounts, Kristof was raised by a very great man.

Has it ever entered the sniffer's head that Trump's disorders, like those of President Kennedy, may perhaps stem from the strange ways he was raised by a disordered father?

None of this would change the fact that Trump is deeply disordered, and that his presence in the Oval Office is potentially destructive and dangerous. But Kristof may be a tad disordered too, as are the people who stage our pleasing true crime drama each night on our misnamed "cable news" channels, never ceasing to be shocked shocked by whatever is said to have happened that day.

Every morning, the Morning Joe gang pretend to be shocked, shocked by the latest disorder. They kvetch and cry and compare their ratings to those of CNN.

In these ways, we see the way the stain can jump as well as spread—the way the stain can jump from the disordered man to the TV Javerts who are pretending to chase him.

Sensible people would have seen, long ago, that Trump was a deeply disordered man. We have wondered, many times, how he got that way. We're able, on this or that occasion, to step back and contemplate pity.

Whatever the answer, the current obvious question should be, What the heck should we do next? For instance, how do we make this problem apparent to those who don't see it yet?

Kristof doesn't bother with that. His nose is back in the underwear drawer. Trump was raised by a horrible person. What is the pundit's excuse?

Look what jumped out of the drawer: Kristof's column is perhaps a bit slimy in several places. For one example, consider the phrase we will highlight:
KRISTOF (2/15/18): Lack of integrity may also be the best way to capture the morphing scandal of the pre-election $130,000 payoff to a porn star to apparently keep quiet about an affair with Trump. It’s bad enough that Trump appears to have been cheating on Melania right after she had their baby (“Oh, don’t worry about her,” he is said to have told the actress). But with the payoff and reported cover-up, Trump is betraying all of us.
Trump is said to have said that to Daniels? He's said to have said that by whom?

Might we say that Stormy Daniels seems like a bit of a lost soul too? She's the one who has said that our disoerdered president said that?

Kristof has no idea if it's true. So why does the sniffer retype it?

Our world is a deeply dangerous place. Invested in the stain of the chase, Kristof ignores all that to spend three paragraphs talking about Stormy Daniels!

Dearest darlings, it feels so good! In this way, the stain can jump from tribe to tribe before it continues to spread.

RACE TO THE PAST: Marty cuffs "origins" to the curb!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2018

Part 4—An important, humane advance:
What kind of data would likely result from the Census Bureau's proposed new question, the infamous Question 9?

"Extremely messy," Christine Emba said. We think she got that right.

Just to refresh you, the proposed Question 9 would ask folk about their "origins." To help folk guess what they're talking about, the Census Bureau's gang of savants would offer several examples:
9. What is Person 1's race?
Mark one or more boxes AND print origins.

White—Print, for example, German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese, Egyptian, etc.
That's the part of Question 9 for people who say they do belong to a "race" and that the "race" to which they belong is "white."

As part of the proposed question, other examples are provided for people who say they belong to a "race" and that their "race" is "black." We'll look at that part of the proposed Question 9 tomorrow. Also, we'll return to Professor Gates.

Emba wrote a column about this matter in the February 3 Washington Post. In the understatement of the millennium, she said the data which would emerge from that proposed question are "likely to be extremely messy."

Forgiving her for a massive understatement, we'll say she got that right! How messy would the data be? Let us count the ways:

The data would be very messy. Many people who say they belong to a "race," and that their race is "white," will have no idea which example to print in the sixteen letter spaces provided. They'll feel they don't know their "origins."

On the other hand, some will believe they have so many "origins" that the sixteen letter spaces provided won't even begin to suffice. Others will have a well-formed idea about their "origins" which will be totally wrong.

How mistaken can some people be about their all-important "origins?" Once again, for the humor if nothing else, let's turn to the formerly grossly mistaken fellow who is now a satisfied (if credulous) customer of Ancestry.com:
"So I traded in my lederhosen for a kilt.”

Growing up, Kyle’s family was German, no doubt about it. He even grew up wearing lederhosen in a German dance troupe. But when Kyle began building his family tree, he couldn’t actually find any German ancestors.

“So I decided to have my DNA tested, and the big surprise was we're not German at all,” he says. And soon enough, Ancestry Hints led him to generations of Scottish ancestors.

What surprises are hiding in your family tree?
For many years, Kyle was seen prancing about in his lederhosen. He now admits that he was never German at all! In TV ads, he even lets us see him stepping about in his kilts!

Kyle is the type of person from whom the Census Bureau will be acquiring their important new data. (We refer to the pre-enlightenment Kyle, the one who hadn't sent his $69 to the grammatically challenged technicians at Ancestry.com.)

As with that earlier version of Kyle, so with a great many others. The country is full of people who say they belong to a "race," and that their "race" is "white," who have, at best, only the fuzziest understanding of their "origins."

As for the Kyles of this world, they will mistakenly print the word "German." Garbage in, new census data out!

Assuming this is what she meant, Christine Emba got it right about those messy data. We think she got quite a few other things wrong in her column that day.

Oooh boy! By the time she reached the part about Hispanics "passing as white," the analysts were blanching, writhing and howling. For starters, though, we think she got her empathy speculation wrong. Early in her column, this is what she said:
EMBA (2/3/18): In 2020, perhaps for the first time, white Americans will be asked a question that has been lobbed innocently and invidiously at minorities for years: "So where are you really from?"

And it will be the government doing the asking.

[...]

The data obtained is likely to be extremely messy, and it is not immediately clear how it will be put to use. (What exactly does the Census Bureau plan to do for the emergent category of white Egyptians?) Still, this change is a good thing—especially for white Americans.

Why? On a basic level, it could be a welcome exercise in empathy.
You're offended? Confused? Welcome to the world of being a visible minority in America...
For what it's worth, we'd recommend avoiding casual jibes about "white Egyptians." In the larger sense, we think this passage is unwise, and probably wrong to boot.

Let's start with this. Will Americans who say they belong to a "race," and that their race is "white," really be offended or confused by this proposed new question?

Some may be offended/confused; many others won't be. For ourselves, we would regard the question as sad and we'd skip right past it.

Elsewhere, Kyle would print "Scottish" in the boxes provided. The assistant who fills out Lawrence's form would print "Irish," or possibly "Boston Irish," possibly citing Jack Welch as a reference.

Some will be annoyed by the question, possibly even offended. For what it's worth, we tend to advise against taking offense at every single thing which occurs, our new beloved national pastime.

That said, for those who are annoyed by the question, we'd have to say they're right. With Oscar evening drawing near, Emba's column has had us thinking of the 1956 Best Picture winner, the unusual film called Marty.

Marty was written by Paddy Chayefsky, whose most famous screenplay is the insanely prophetic Network. That film appeared in 1976. Chayefsky spent the 1950s making films about real people—films which thereby flew in the face of the other-worldly, ridiculous fare being created in Hollywood.

In Hollywood, Debbie Reynolds, playing 17, was falling in love with, then marrying old coot Dick Powell, age 50 in real life. (As the film ends, she's trying to drag him into his bedroom.) Leslie Caron, playing 18 at the start of the film, was falling in love with, then marrying, aging old coot Fred Astaire, age 56 in real life.

These were pathetic male fantasy films. Chayefsky's film was about a conventionally unattractive, 34-year-old butcher in Brooklyn who had begun to conclude that he was never going to get the girl.

Within the modern context, it's hard to believe that such a film could have won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and the Best Picture Oscar, but sure enough, Marty did. The butcher, played by Ernest Borgnine, meets a lonely, nearly mute woman at a dance, and he makes two important decisions.

When his male friends tell him she isn't pretty enough, he finally tells them to take their judgment and shove it. Late in the film, he makes an award-wining speech:
What am I hangin' around with you guys for?

You don't like her. My mother don't like her. She's a dog. And I'm a fat, ugly man!

Well, all I know is I had a good time last night. I'm gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together, I'm gonna get down on my knees. I'm gonna beg that girl to marry me.

If we make a party on New Year's, I got a date for that party. You don't like her? That's too bad.
That's what Marty tells his unhelpful friends. Earlier, he had told his mother something else which was very important:

What did Marty tell his mother? He was going to marry this kind, gentle woman even thought she didn't share his "origins"—even though she'd never be able to print "Italian" on a new, dumber census form.

Originally, Marty had been a 1953 TV drama. Chayefsky wrote it in an era when ethnicity for so-called white Americans wasn't exactly optional.

You might be "Italian," you might be "Irish," but you didn't much have a choice about opting out. You'd be dubbed with the standard stereotype for whatever "origins" you were stuck with. The resulting restrictive dumbness was something you couldn't avoid.

Something extremely constructive has happened in the ensuing years. For people socially defined as white, ethnicity has become largely optional.

You can identify as "Irish" if you like and if you do, nobody cares. Or you can ignore your "origins," make them no part of your "identity."

If you adopt that second approach, no one will really care about that either.

This represents a great liberation—a liberation from the moral and mental restrictions of scripted dumbness. Just a guess: "Empathy" is unlikely to result from schadenfreude-laced dreams of turning the clock back on this important, humane advance.

This type of important, humane advance hasn't come to everyone in our society yet. Some people are still stuck with the restrictive perceptions of others, as Emba notes in her column.

In our view, we should be striving to continue the liberation, not to conduct a race back toward a dumber, restrictive past. Tomorrow, we'll return to Emba's column—and to the wonderfully suggestive question Professor Gates recently posed.

Tomorrow: Best question ever asked

BREAKING: What does it mean to talk to a house?

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018

The New York Times' latest sad mess:
Did it all start with Richard M. Nixon? Is that when the press corps decided that its sole mission was reporting on the "character" of major pols, narrowly conceived, with no bullsh*t left behind?

We don't know how to answer your question. But by 1987, major reporters were staking out Candidate Hart, overnight, trying to see if he (gasp!) had a girl friend. Around that same time, they started calling around to old college roommates, trying to learn if other major candidates had smoked marijuana as teens.

By 1992, they were falling for the Whitewater fraud, a fraud which got its start in mainstream circles on the front page of the New York Times. In succeeding years, Reverend Falwell pushed his film about the many murders the Clintons committed, and our Potemkin mainstream orgs were too afraid to complain.

Starting in 1999, they spent two years pretending that Candudate Gore "had a problem with the truth." In 2015, there the New York Times went again, with (to cite just one example) a fraudulent, 4400-word "news report" about Hillary Clinton's troubling conduct concerning Uranium One.

What turned them into such lazer-focused moral and intellectual idiots? We don't know, but we do know this—career liberal journalists won't tell you about the bulk of this, and the conduct continues today. Consider what you've heard on cable news in the past week.

You've heard about the failure to fire Rob Porter and you've heard about nothing else. You've heard our "journalists" trying to prove that their latest targets are liars. They care, and they talk, about nothing else.

You don't hear them talking about Donald J. Trump's proposed budget, or about its implications concerning his character. You don't hear them talking about his infrastructure plan.

You hear about the latest moral panic, and you hear about nothing else. That of course would be bad enough, but the things you hear them saying rarely make any clear sense, and Trump supporters are able to notice.

Consider this front-page report in today's New York Times. Excitedly, Davis and Shear make this exciting claim:
DAVIS AND SHEAR (2/14/18): At a previously scheduled Senate hearing on Tuesday about threats against the United States, Mr. Wray, in response to a question about Mr. Porter, said the F.B.I. had given the White House final results in January of its background investigation into the former staff secretary. Mr. Wray’s account was directly at odds with previous assertions by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, and other White House officials who said Mr. Porter’s background check was still underway when the domestic violence abuse allegations from his two former wives came to light last week in news reports.
Wray’s account was "directly at odds" with previous assertions by Sanders? We're sorry, but that isn't exactly true—and the Times' pathetic attempt at a news report makes no such demonstration.

How inept is this news report? Let's start with today's hard-copy headline:

"White House Admits It Knew Of Red Flags in Aid's Record"

At the risk of stating the obvious, the "White House" is a building. A building can't "admit it knew" something. Only persons can know things and admit to knowing them.

That said, all through the Times report, Davis and Shear create a web of confusion by their use of the term "the White House." To some extent, this problem carries over from yesterday's Senate hearing, in which the senators, as is their wont, failed to ask sufficiently specific questions—in particular, failed to ask Director Wray to name the persons to whom the FBI conveyed its reports about Porter.

Did they give their reports to Don McGahn? Did they give their reports to Kelly? Wray didn't say, and the senators didn't ask. This is typical of the way these solons conduct their business.

Yesterday, Sanders said the FBI conveyed its information to a bunch of career bureaucrats inside an obscure office called the White House Personnel Security Office. She seemed to say and/or suggest that the people in this office didn't pass the information along to the major players now being challenged—to folk like McGahn and Kelly.

The Times reporters know that Sanders said that. In this passage, they even report what she said:
DAVIS AND SHEAR: Ms. Sanders insisted Tuesday that senior West Wing officials had not learned about the allegations against Mr. Porter until they surfaced in The Daily Mail because the F.B.I. gave the information to the White House Personnel Security Office, which handles security clearances. The office is in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House and is overseen by Joe Hagin, the deputy chief of staff.

Ms. Sanders said that the security office—which she repeatedly noted was staffed by “career officials,” who would not have been appointed by Mr. Trump—had not yet made a final determination on whether Mr. Porter should receive his security clearance at the time of The Mail’s article.
"The security office...had not yet made a final determination?" In that sense, Sanders stuck to her original story, in which she'd said that the probe of Porter had continued right through last week.

At no point does the Times report demonstrate that this claim was wrong. Let's review the Times' remarkably peculiar account of what actually had transpired.

David and Shear sourced their account to "two people briefed on the matter." They never suggest that this account is actually wrong or peculiar.

That said, the account which they present is extremely peculiar. Here's how the reporters start:
DAVIS AND SHEAR:According to the two people briefed on the matter, the White House security office reviewed the allegations about Mr. Porter in July and saw that the F.B.I. had interviewed Mr. Porter’s two former wives but not Mr. Porter himself. The office asked the F.B.I. to go back and do so, said the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.
Nowhere do Davis and Shear report that McGahn or Kelly were told about this at this time. According to Davis and Shear, the career players inside that office asked the FBI to interview Porter—full stop.

So far, Davis and Shear report no major player being told about this. As their report continues, it becomes extremely peculiar, but the pair of ace reporters don't seem to notice this fact:
DAVIS AND SHEAR (continuing directly): In November, the F.B.I. provided another report to the security office, the two people said, adding that at that point, a final review began to determine whether to grant Mr. Porter a security clearance. As part of that review, three officials in the personnel office, including its head, were supposed to come to their own conclusions about whether to grant the clearance, the people said.
Say what? In July, the career bureaucrats asked the FBI to interview Porter. Four months later, the FBI reported back?

That time lag seems amazingly strange, but Davis and Shear don't seem to notice. At any rate, they report that the obscure career-staffed security office was then supposed to reach their own conclusions about granting a clearance for Porter.

Unless you want to split thin hairs, none of this directly contradicts what Sanders has said. Davis and Shear continue as follows:
DAVIS AND SHEAR (continuing directly): By the time The Mail published its article last week, only one of those officials had made a determination, the two people said, although it is not clear what the official had concluded.
Unless you want to split this hairs, this is all consistent with what Sanders has said. David and Shear present no reason for believing this account is wrong.

The scribes continue as shown below. At this point, their report becomes transparently weird:
DAVIS AND SHEAR (continuing directly): In late November last year, a distraught girlfriend of Mr. Porter’s contacted Mr. McGahn and told him Mr. Porter had been unfaithful to her by dating Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, and had anger problems, according to several people familiar with the discussion. Mr. McGahn, who knew Mr. Porter’s girlfriend, at that point suggested to Mr. Porter he should consider leaving the White House, the people said. But Mr. McGahn did not follow up on the matter.
As presented, does that make any sense at all? McGahn told Porter to consider leaving his post because a "distraught girlfriend" told him THAT Porter "had been unfaithful to her by dating Hope Hicks?" And had "anger problems?"

Does that even seem to make sense? Would you expect McGahn to rush to Kelly and announce that Porter's girl friend thought he'd been unfaithful?

This is an utterly hopeless attempt at a news report. At this point, the Times scribes hand us this manifest propaganda:
DAVIS AND SHEAR (continuing directly): One former White House official, Anthony Scaramucci, who lasted 10 days last year as White House communications director before being removed by Mr. Kelly, weighed in on Tuesday on Mr. Wray’s testimony. Mr. Scaramucci posted on Twitter that Mr. Kelly “almost certainly knew about credible allegations of domestic abuse against Rob Porter at least 6 months ago—then recently forced others to lie about that timeline.”

“Inexcusable,” Mr. Scaramucci added. “Kelly must resign.”
Having presented zero evidence that Kelly ever knew anything, the reporters compensate by quoting Scaramucci, a ludicrous person, who presents no evidence that he has any idea what he's talking about.

This morning's news report reeks of mental incompetence. But so what? On page A3, we're told that it "became a top story as soon as it was published shortly before noon E.T. on Tuesday."

That was before the Sanders presser which was later inserted into the copy. But this attempt at a report is incompetent from beginning to end, like so much Times reporting.

What actually happened with respect to Porter? We have no idea. Here's a guess:

Someone told Trump there was a domestic violence problem. Trump said go pound sand.

What actually happened? We have no way of knowing. But the senators failed to pose competent questions to Wray, whose testimony didn't directly contradict Sanders. At that point, Davis and Shear (and their editors) took over.

Meanwhile, our cable clowns discuss nothing else. They don't care about anything else, surely including that budget.

They're staging an entertaining chase. They don't care if their presentations don't exactly make sense, and they're assuming that you won't notice or care.
.
Long ago and far away, we saw this pattern take shape. In their first debate in 1999, Candidates Gore and Bradley gave erudite, detailed discussions of health care.

In response, Mary McGrory wrote a pair of insult-laden columns about Gore's funny clothing and shoes.

Mary McGrory didn't care if the lesser breed lacked health care. She only cared about The Chase, which was then aimed at Gore. He was their surrogate for Clinton, who had survived impeachment.

That same general pattern obtains today. Trump supporters are able to notice, even if our own embarrassing team cannot.

Who actually said that Porter could stay? Did Trump just say go pound sand?

Journalistically, Davis and Shear should have asked the head of that obscure office if Sanders' representations are accurate. Go ahead—read their report. Do you see any clear sign that they approached the head of that office? Do you see any attempt to report what happened when they did?

It's all incompetence, all the way down. It's been this way for decades now. It's plain that nobody cares.

Talk to the hand, Martin Lawrence once said. Today, you can talk to a house!