BREAKING: This is where the discourse goes!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(To watch the whole segment, click this.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

We're going to offer these points:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would that thought ever have entered your head?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We return to our main point:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BREAKING: Photographs of Stephanie Clifford!


A few things those photographs mean:
What does it mean when liberal journalists keep posting gigantic color photos of Stephanie Clifford? Of Clifford's remarkably large body parts?

As any progressive must surely know, such photos mean, among other things, that people who are defined as women are in fact just the sum of their body parts. Do we really not understand the message those photographs drive?

Here's one other thing those photos may mean:

They may mean that the person who's posting them thinks his or her readers will be drawn to such photos. It strikes us that any such thought is an insult to liberal readers.

It's amazing to us to see progressives posting such giant alluring photos. People distort their bodies in such ways to appeal to a range of disordered men. Over Here in the liberal world, we don't seem to know this!

How did Donald Trump get where he is? Could the answer in large part be us?

For extra credit only: How do such photographs compare to traditional racist depictions of black people? And no, we aren't linking to any!

How do those photos of Clifford's huge body parts relate to those familiar old destructive depictions? Compare and contrast. Discuss.

BREAKING: The "segregation" of public schools!


The shape of liberal discourse:
Are America's public schools "resegregating?" Are increasing numbers of our kids attending "segregated schools?"

These have become familiar talking-points in liberal circles. These claims have always struck us as annoying, unhelpful, unwise.

Here's why:

Yesterday, we perused the start of Will Stancil's new piece for The Atlantic. It appears beneath these headlines:
School Segregation Is Not a Myth
Skeptics claim that concerns over racially divided schools are false alarms—but they’re missing the full picture.
We're inclined to be one of those "skeptics!" Let us tell you what we found when we examined the start of Stancil's report.

First of all, who is Will Stancil? He's eleven years out of Wake Forest (class of 2007). Since then, he's acquired a master’s degree in modern history from Queens University Belfast, and a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Currently, he's a research fellow at UM's Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity. His work "focuses on civil rights law and policy in housing and education, with particular emphasis on affordable housing and charter schools."

Will Stancil doesn't fool around—except perhaps when it comes to claims about "segregation." Here's the early passage from his report in which he defines the heavily fraught historical term:
STANCIL (3/14/18): According to my analysis of data from the National Center on Education Statistics, the number of segregated schools (defined in this analysis as those schools where less than 40 percent of students are white), has approximately doubled between 1996 and 2016. In that same span, the percentage of children of color attending such a school rose from 59 to 66 percent. For black students, the percentage in segregated schools rose even faster, from 59 to 71 percent.
Already, we'd have to say "Yikes." According to Stancil, a school is "segregated" if fewer than 40 percent of its students are white. That strikes us as a remarkable definition, considering the historical meaning of the term.

Historically, when black kids attended a "segregated school," that school would have zero percent white students. It would have no white students at all. No white kids need apply!

"Segregated schools" were either all-white or all-black. There was no in-between at all. This regime was mandated by law. The law enforced complete total separation on the basis of "race."

According to Stancil, a black kid today is attending a "segregated school" if as many as 39 percent of its students are white. This definition strikes us as an insult to the memory of the people who fought and died to eliminate "segregated schools" from the land.

It also strikes us as an insult to human intelligence. Here's why:

The defintion seems especially strange if you consider our current public school demographics. Below, you see the state of play as described by the National Center for Education Statistics:
NCES FAST FACTS: Of the projected 50.7 million public school students entering prekindergarten through grade 12 in fall 2017, White students will account for some 24.4 million. The remaining 26.3 million will be composed of 8.0 million Black students, 13.6 million Hispanic students, 2.8 million Asian/Pacific Islander students, 0.5 million American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 1.5 million students of Two or more races.
Let us do the math! Based on those numbers, the student population, nationwide, is now 48.1 percent white. But in the world Stancil creates, a school which is 39 percent white is tagged with the ugliest, most inflammatory term our brutal history provides us.

Does this definition make any sense? We're inclined to say it makes no sense, but it illustrates and explains many things.

First, this kind of inflammatory statistical toying is all too common within the modern liberal world. We liberals are constantly playing these games to make it seem like 1) it's still 1955 out there, and 2) we modern liberals are bravely confronting Bull Connor all over again.

Except it isn't 1955, and we aren't confronting Bull Connor. Beyond that, we liberals aren't being brave; we're being silly/offensive.

Earth to liberal academics and liberals of all descriptions:

This kind of thing helps explain why so many people hate us. They hate our seamy moral preening. They hate the way we insult the public's intelligence.

The "conservative" world is full of clowns and has been for some time. Our liberal world is catching up. Each tribal group tends to have a hard time spotting its own team's offenses.

In closing, let's review:

Nationwide, our public schools are now 48.1 percent white. A school which is 39 percent white is, therefore, only slightly "unbalanced."

Such a school isn't "segregated" in any useful or meaningful sense of the term. It's an insult to our martyrs to make this childish claim.

Luckily, Virginia, no—it isn't 1955! Unlike our martyrs from that era, our current crop of liberal academics, pundits and activists don't always show spectacularly good judgment.

Other people do notice these things. We'd have to say this sort of piddle is part of the way Trump got there.

WHEN STORMY MET NOBBY: When Nicolle succumbed to the pleasures of sex!


Part 4—Confessore's warning:
On Tuesday morning, the New York Times published three letters about Stephanie Clifford, who says she engaged in various rolls in the hay with our president, Donald J. Trump, back in 2006.

It's hard to imagine why any sane person could possibly care about that. It's hard to imagine why anyone would care if Donald J. Trump paid money to Clifford to keep her trap shut about that.

That said, people care about these matters a very great deal, even the liberal Digby. Digby published a very large photo of Clifford's very large body parts this Monday. Also, a leering speculation about what Donald J. Trump may have done with this transfixing specimen, back in 2006.

As we've noted in the past, it's all anthropology now! It's silly to think that we the people are going to extricate ourselves from our current deeply dangerous mess.

As has become abundantly clear, we don't have the smarts to do it. All that's left is the scientific explanation of how we managed to get ourselves into this dangerous mess.

(We may extricate ourselves, of course. But it's silly to assume that we will.)

We managed to get here, in large part, because of the small tiny btains of people like even the liberal Digby. Also, because of the small tiny minds of people like one of those New York Times letter-writers, the one who seems to think that Stephanie Clifford is some sort of freedom fighter.

The New York Times published its letters under this stirring headline:
"The Pressure to Silence Stormy Daniels"
Various buttons were pushed! That said, it's hard to imagine why any sane person should actually care if Donald J. Trump is trying to "silence" Stephanie Clifford about their wholly consensual interactions back in 2006.

That said, how gullible can we the prehumans be? We can be extremely gullible! The person who wrote the third letter in the Times presented Clifford like this:
Hooray for Stormy Daniels. She has more guts than any of the cowards, traitors and fools who are destroying this country.

How do we manage to get that dumb? Alas! As the past years have shown quite well, it's easy for us prehumans!

The letter writer seems to think that Clifford is bravely—well, that she's bravely doing something! As published, his letter doesn't exactly say what she's doing so well.

That said, she apparently isn't one of "the cowards, traitors and fools who are destroying this country." She's trying to keep from being "silenced" in the story the Times chose to tell.

Or is she? increasingly, we in the liberal world are portraying Clifford as an heroic role model. We would suggest the she, like Putin and Gennifer Flowers, may be one of the many people who have been"attacking" our elections in deeply destructive ways.

Flowers interrupted the 1992 election, made tons of dough in the process. Clifford's history seems to go something like this:
Clifford's history as a freedom fighter:
In 2006, she had a consensual sexual relationship with Donald J. Trump. She knew that he was recently married and that his wife had just had a child. "So what?" she fearlessly said.

As of 2016, Donald J. Trump was running for president. For unknown reasons, Clifford decided she wanted to blab about her interactions with this fellow—but when she was offered a big sack of cash, she decided to take that instead.

Her acceptance of this big bag of cash, like her previous acts, was consensual.

Now, in 2018, Clifford has decided once again that she wants to share her truth about Donald Trump's sex acts. In the process, she is becoming one of the most famous people in the world. Much larger sacks of cash may lie in her future.
Is Stephanie Clifford a freedom fighter? Or is she chasing the cash?

We can't answer your question, but she is injecting herself into our discourse, like Gennifer Flowers before her. In so doing, she seeks to continue a cultural norm which has existed since 1987:

As part of this new cultural norm, we talk about politicians' sex lives. We love to talk about such drivel. In the end, when all the faking is done, it almost seems that our small tiny brains want to discuss nothing else.

Politicians have died in these culture storms—mainly Democratic politicians.

Gary Hart was the first to go. Bill Clinton got impeached.

Al Gore then died, as did Hillary Clinton. We haven't mentioned Henry Cisneros and Elliot Spitzer; these fellows were taken out too. Unless you don't yet understand that Al Gore died for Bill Clinton's sins, we'd say that Democrats may have lost three presidential campaigns thanks to our love for this topic.

How many races have Republicans lost? They've lost exactly none, but birdbrains like even the liberal Josh and Digby want to continue this culture. They're weirdly drawn to those large body parts. Prehuman, they can't help but look.

Why would anyone want to discuss what Donald J. Trump did, or may have done, with Stephanie Clifford? What he may have don with Clifford twelve years ago, back in 2006?

Don't worry! Our small tiny brains will generate answers which make us heroic too! For ourselves, we think of the famous lines from Howl, a poem we didn't write:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the [NAME WITHHELD] streets at dawn looking for an angry fix...
Ginsberg was describing the need for a fix in the face of an addiction. We're describing the longing to which many others have now been lost—the extremely deep, prehuman desire to discuss other people's "sex lives."

The floodgates opened on this practice in 1987. One week later, Hart went down. In the years since then, this longing has harmed progressive interests again and again.

Despite this fact, we liberals are eager to stampede down that trail once again. Consider the way MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace has been sliding beneath the waves.

Wallace, of course, made her name pimping for President George W. Bush. Today, we liberals are so desperate for glory that we make seers of the people who sold Bush back in the torture days.

Good God! CNN and MSNBC crawl with the advice of Richard Painter, the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

From 2005 to 2007, Painter was also "the chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration." Today, though, he's NeverTrump, so we've made him a cable news star.

Have you ever seen anyone ask him what his ethics advice was concerning all that torture? We haven't seen that either! Also, we never will! Just as long as he's NeverTrump, we'll thrill to the slightly animatronic sound of his bold NeverTrump voice.

(Note: If Painter had sex with Stephanie Clifford, we'd almost surely want to hear all about that too. Anthropologically speaking, that's who and what we are.)

Wallace sold torture right down the line. Today, she's a liberal favorite. Last Friday, we watched her spend the bulk of her hour-long show clucking about Donald J. Trump's sex life with Stephanie Clifford.

There was plenty of laughter, good solid fun and healthy tribal enjoyment. Various cable stars took their turns saying how much they disapproved of what Donald J. Trump had done with Stephanie Clifford. Their high moral values were clears.

Something else was evident. It was obvious that the cable stars were hoping and praying that Stephanie Clifford's freedom-fighting might end up taking Trump down. At one point, Wallace made this point quite clear:
WALLACE (3/9/18): It's a tired story, but we should never normalize it.

Do you think a sustained sex scandal, like this could become,
if Stormy Daniels' case goes forward and it continues to get the kind of attention that every other sex scandal—MSNBC's airing a doc on Gary Hart—

Literally every other politician that has engaged in any sort of conduct, even in this category, has had their career ended.

[Trump] has had none of that treatment, and some of it's on us, we ignore it because we're so used to it, and some of it's on his evangelical base that has made perfectly clear they don't care.
We should never normalize the fact that Donald J. Trump had sex with someone without seeking Nicolle's permission! Fellow liberals, let's keep that in mind!

It was clear that Wallace, and everyone else, was hoping that this would be a "sex scandal ex machina"—that a "sustained sex scandal" might do what we're too inept to do ourselves, that it might bring Donald Trump down.

This was the obvious tone of the rollicking hour-long program, which featured lots of moral preening along with a whole lot of laughs. But uh-oh! At 31 minutes past the hour, one of the pundits, an actual journalist, offered some good sound advice.

The voice belonged to Nicholas Confessore, he of the New York Times. Like Nestor the seasoned charioteer who talked the headstrong Diomedes on down, he frequently offers the best advice.

On this day, he offered a buzzkill. Oof! Here's what he said:
CONFESSORE: I will point out, though—the Clinton example, how did that end?

He was impeached, and most of the country came to conclude the whole thing was a terrible waste of time and money and effort, and [that] it was a bad thing to have gone after him on sex.

It's not impossible to imagine that the country comes to the same conclusion on this
in the end: "Why are we going after this guy for an affair? We know he's sleazy, it's not the most important thing. It seems over-aggressive."

I'm not saying that will happen, but history shows that it can happen.
To watch that segment, click here.

Watching the previous half hour, it had already occurred to us that pundits like these might actually save Donald J. Trump, the most disordered person ever to serve in the White House.

Their big long noses had actually made us feel sorry for Trump. It had already entered our heads that people might feel so repelled by their stupid behavior that some could even end up supporting Trump.

We'll likely experience Donald Trump's war before votes have to be cast. Congressional elections are coming up, and in the tradition of the president Wallace and Painter proudly served, a war is now the proven way to manage an off-year election.

That said, Confessore offered the chimps some good advice. He remembered what happened the last time they started—the sympathy their big long noses generated for that earlier target.

Five years after Hart succumbed, Bill Clinton survived that stampede. In the longer run, Al Gore and then Hillary didn't.

Now, Josh and Digby are hoping and praying that we'll decide to sit around ogling Clifford's body parts and thinking how bad Donald is. It's all anthropology now, dear friends—and Cassandra has come to us very late in the night to say that we're all going down.

Tomorrow: What Norman O. Brown—"Nobby"—said

Wishin' and hopin': The liberal stars were wishin' and hopin' all through Wallace's hour.

If you click here,
then use the "any date" search, you can watch segments with these titles:
Segments from the March 9 Wallace show:
Alleged Stormy affair now a "full scale sex scandal"

Could payment to Stormy Daniels be a campaign finance violation?

"Stormy" could pose more immediate trouble for Trump than Mueller

Can the Trump base ignore the Stormy scandal?

Why the "Stormy" lawsuit could spell more trouble for Trump
The various pundits were wishin' and hopin', standing behind our new leader.

Stephanie Clifford mustn't be silenced! "Why not?" our analysts sadly asked. They all thought that Confessore had offered some good sound advice.

BREAKING: In the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy!


Indifference, cluelessness pretty much all around:
This past Sunday evening, Betsy DeVos appeared on 60 Minutes.

DeVos is Secretary of Education. She seems to know little or nothing about the nation's public schools. Also, just as a general matter, she doesn't seem massively sharp.

Betsy DeVos doesn't seem to know much about the public schools. In fairness, neither does Leslie Stahl, the long-standing major journalist who pretended to interview DeVos.

Who else doesn't know squat or squadoodle about the public schools? We'd nominate Dana Milbank, who columnized about DeVos in the Washington Post. We're going to guess that Michelle Goldberg, who wrote this column in the Times, may not know a giant amount about the public schools either.

In fact, the public schools are virtually never discussed, in any real way, within the mainstream or liberal press. This is especially true of low-income schools. The truth is, nobody cares about low-income kids, or about the schools they attend, except to the extent that low-income schools can be used to score points in some narrow tribal argument.

Nobody cares about low-income kids; few things could be much more clear. That said, having licked every person in the house, we're going to focus on David Brooks' column in yesterday's New York Times.

Brooks is smarter than the average MSM bear. We'd also assume he's more sincere.

Despite all that, he launched a column about the latest mandated talking-point—the greatness of Chicago's public schools. He attributed this greatness to the latest hot theory—great principals make for great schools.

When columnists write about public schools, they're usually carrying water shaped for them by the so-called educational experts. They're usually pushing the latest official hot theory. It's usually clear that they don't actually know what they're talking about, and that they haven't done even the most basic background research.

We got that impression from reading Brooks' column. The passage in question can be found here:
BROOKS (3/13/18): The solutions to the nation’s problems already exist somewhere out in the country; we just do a terrible job of circulating them.

For example, if you want to learn how to improve city schools, look how Washington, New Orleans and Chicago are already doing it. Since 2011 the graduation rate at Chicago public schools has increased at nearly four times the national average, to 77.5 percent from 56.9 percent...


How is Chicago doing it? Well, its test scores have been rising since 2003. Chicago has a rich civic culture, research support from places like the University of Chicago and a tradition of excellent leadership from school heads, from Arne Duncan to Janice Jackson, and the obsessive, energetic drive of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago has expanded early childhood education and imposed universal full-day kindergarten. After a contentious strike in 2012, Emanuel managed to extend the school day. But he and the other people who led this effort put special emphasis on one thing: principals.

We’ve spent a lot of time over the past few decades debating how to restructure schools. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to help teachers. But structural change and increasing teacher quality don’t get you very far without a strong principal.
In fairness, Brooks mentions two other city school systems, New Orleans and Washington. But he focuses on Chicago, whose "test scores have been rising since 2003."

In fact, almost everyone's test scores have been rising since 2003! You'll rarely read that in big newspapers, and you're routinely given a different impression. But that doesn't mean it's untrue.

Meanwhile, Washington may not be the best urban district to cite at this point in time. The system is currently undergoing its latest wave of embarrassing scandals, this time involving widespread scamming of (gulp!) graduation rates.

Whatever! We were struck by Brooks' reference to Chicago's rising test scores. For the past dozen years or so, we've tried and tried, and tried and tried, to get people like Brooks to report the fact that test scores have been rising all over the country, including in our big city districts.

Alas! As Kevin Drum has demonstrated through his work on lead exposure, it's impossible to introduce information into the American discourse. Information simply isn't allowed in our modern pseudo-discourse at this time, though talk about Stormy is.

For this reason, Americans still aren't allowed to know about those substantial score gains, which bumped back in 2015, the most recent Naep testing for which results have been released. (No one has bothered to talk about that either.)

When we saw Brooks' statement about Chicago's score gains, we decided to look to see how large the gains have been in other urban districts. Our finding:

Chicago has recorded strong gains—but the gains in other urban systems have been even larger.

We looked at score gains in Grade 8 reading and math in the systems shown below. All these gains were recorded on the Naep, our one presumptively reliable testing program.

Most urban districts weren't involved in the Naep's urban system project back in 2003, so we were restricted to a bunch of large systems which were. We looked at score gains by black and Hispanic kids, who form the bulk of these systems' student populations. We used the time period from Brooks' column—2003 through 2015.

What do the gains look like in Grade 8 math? We'll start with the gains recorded by these systems' black kids:
Gains in average scores, 2003 to 2015
Black students, Grade 8 math, Naep

National public schools: 8.10
Atlanta: 16.82
Boston: 18.56
Charlotte: 10.08
Chicago: 17.16
Houston: 6.17
Los Angeles: 20.67
New York City: 7.51
San Diego: 9.16
Washington DC: 17.03
Chicago's black kids recorded a large score gain. That said, their peers in Boston and Los Angeles recorded slightly larger gains, and black kids in Washington and Atlanta basically gained just as much.

(It's generally assumed that there's no cheating on the federally-run Naep program, unlike on the widely corrupted annual statewide tests.)

How did Hispanic kids do in Grade 8 math? Let's take a look at the score gains:
Gains in average scores, 2003 to 2015
Hispanic students, Grade 8 math, Naep

National public schools: 11.34
Atlanta: Not available
Boston: 18.51
Charlotte: 13.64
Chicago: 16.65
Houston: 12.48
Los Angeles: 19.00
New York City: 7.49
San Diego: 17.69
Washington DC: 19.41
Here again, Chicago's Hispanic kids have recorded a sizable gain—larger than the substantial gain among Hispanic kids nationwide. But among the eight urban systems we checked, four systems recorded gains which were somewhat larger.

Chicago's healthy score gains don't stand out among these urban systems. The same is true in Grade 8 reading, where the score gains have been substantially smaller across the board.

For whatever it's worth, Los Angeles recorded much larger gains than Chicago in Grade 8 reading. In fact, Los Angeles recorded larger gains in all four measures over this time span, the time span Brooks introduced.

We don't say this to denigrate the efforts being made in Chicago. We say this to denigrate the utter indifference of our upper-end press corps, right across the board.

We've tried and tried, and tried and tried, to ask these people to be more literate in this realm—a realm which is widely discussed, though only to drive preferred narratives. They simply don't care about low-income kids, and it seems they never will.

(They do care about Stephanie Clifford's heroic desire to share her truth about getting "shtupped," as Rachel would thoughtfully say.)

Regarding Brooks' focus on principals, we will only say this. If other districts have made larger gains, why should we privilege the theories coming from Chicago's mayor, who probably doesn't much know what he's talking about?

When crime rates dropped across the nation starting in the early 1990s, every mayor and every police chief had an explanation. Every mayor's particular effort was said to be responsible for the drop in crime in his city. Never mind the fact that crime rates had also dropped as much pretty much everywhere else.

Drum has argued that crime rates have dropped because of lead abatement. Could that be a (tragic) explanation for the rise in the nation's test scores?

In conclusion, Betsy DeVos doesn't seem to know squat. But neither does anyone else.

Please note: Score gains are different from scores. Some systems with smaller gains over this period may have had higher scores in 2015. It all depends on what the system's scores looked like in 2003, when this comparison started.

Example: For black kids and Hispanic kids, Los Angeles' gains were higher than New York City's in Grade 8 math. But as of 2015, New York City's black and Hispanic kids still recorded higher average scores than their peers in Los Angeles, which started way behind.

Maybe Brooks can look this up. Thanks to the federal government's efforts, voluminous Naep data are here.

BREAKING: Letter to Times asks excellent question!


Why do they call Clifford that?
Yesterday morning, the New York Times published three letters about Stephanie Clifford and her overwhelming desire to tell the people the truth.

One of the letters dumbly framed her as an admirable truth-teller. More on that tomorrow.

One of the letters asked a good question. You can read it here:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (3/13/18): Must the label “pornographic film actress” or “porn star” accompany Stormy Daniels’s name in every article that mentions her? This is not a particularly relevant or important detail about Stephanie Clifford (Ms. Daniels’s real name) that should be put in the lead of a story. If Ms. Clifford were an accountant, would the lead of your story read “the legal maneuvers involving an accountant who says she had an affair with President Trump”?

Of course not. The story should be about a president who commits adultery and lies about it. The awkward descriptors are there to sensationalize and cast an implicit judgment about adult film actors. Can you see your way to talking about Ms. Clifford as a person instead of a porn star?

The writer started with a good question. Why does every article about Stephanie Clifford identify her as a "porn star?" It isn't a relevant fact, the writer declares.

For what it's worth, the answer to the writer's question is fairly obvious. Why do they refer to her as a porn star? Easy:

They do so because they couldn't care less about all that boring old sex! And their readers are bored by it too!

We think that writer asked a good question. Sadly, he ended with a bit of bad judgment:

"The story should be about a president who commits adultery and lies about it?" Actually, no—the story should be about the war Trump is going to start!

More on this tomorrow. But for today, let's just say no. "The story" very much shouldn't be about the consensual sex.

Anthropologically speaking, we prehumans can't handle that topic. We've proved this again and again.

WHEN STORMY MET NOBBY: "The integrity of our elections!"


Part 3—When Gennifer met Howard Stern:
Keeping them honest, we get the impression that some of our journalists really do care about the sex.

Not for them the silly disclaimers favored by other Stormy-watchers! For one example, just consider one recent post by a liberal Internet mogul.

The mogul had an important point to convey. Needless to say, his point involved Stephanie Clifford.

In his latest attempt at keeping them honest, Anderson Cooper had interviewed Clifford for an upcoming 60 Minutes breaking news blockbuster bombshell. According to the Internet mogul, "What Daniels told 60 Minutes is more damaging than people may realize."

How did the Internet mogul know that? We'll let the mogul tell you:
MARSHALL (3/12/18): I’m told that in her 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper Daniels suggests that Trump, how to say this, likes it when women aren’t nice to him, treat him in perhaps denigrating ways.

I think that would be very much off brand for Trump. It also puts in sharper relief why he and his lawyer seem to be fighting so hard to keep Daniels’ story under wraps. It also deepens my curiosity about whether CBS will have the stomach to air that part of the story.

The interview did not run this weekend and it is not clear when it will run. CBS says they want to take their time reporting out Daniels’ claims. That is of course laudable and appropriate. But I’m not sure how they’d report out claims like that...
Yum! The mogul had been told something, presumably by someone, that "deepened his curiosity" about the deeply important story Clifford wants to share, or about CBS' suppression of same.

People, how to say this? Someone had told the Internet mogul that Donald J. Trump "likes it when women aren’t nice to him, treat him in perhaps denigrating ways."

Lord god of hosts, how delicious! Someone had told the mogul this, and now the mogul told us.

Keeping them honest, this particular person has never claimed that he couldn't care less about the (consensual) sex. Nor did he make any such claim in the subsequent, steamy posts which have run beneath these headlines, accompanied by large photographs of Clifford's large body parts:
Is The Stormy Story More Damaging Than We Thought? (3/12/18)

Stormy Daniels Saga
The Stormy Agreement and the Comet letter—on the same day!

Stormymat! Or Why Did Stormy And 2nd Trump Girlfriend Have NDAs Negotiated By The Same Lawyer? (3/13/18)

Too Hot for 60? (3/13/18)

Let’s Talk to Joan Walsh About Stormy, Mike Cohen, 2016 and 2018 (3/13/18)
When did Michael Cohen become "Mike Cohen?" We have no idea!

That said, is Clifford "too hot for 60 [Minutes]?" She certainly isn't too hot for this mogul, who has adorned these posts with smokin' hot photos of Clifford, not to say with soft porn.

Those photos, which you should peruse, announce this mogul's remarkable lack of progressive sexual politics—or perhaps a cynical view of the values and interests he ascribes to his Prime subscribers.

At any rate, we'll suggest you should click here, then scroll down to peruse the steamy photos adorning these steamy posts. For one hot example, click this.

The mogul's site has rather plainly gone supermarket tabloid. Such tabloids play a large role in our tale. Having said that, let us also say this:

As you can see, some of our journalists make no bones about the fact that they're involved in the sex. Others, of course, are more lofty. This brings us back to Colbert's King's source of concern about the silencing of this important truth-teller.

Just for the record, Colbert King is a mature and experienced person who often writes sober, instructive columns. As we noted yesterday, he says he's concerned about the silencing of Clifford, not because he cares about the sex, but for the following reason:
KING (3/10/18): I do care, however, if within one month of the presidential election, Republican candidate Trump’s personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen paid hush money to Clifford/Daniels to keep the affair secret. True, the porn star is not, at least to the best of my knowledge, a public official. She has no public or legal duties to discharge. A payment of hush money to her, therefore, is unlikely to be illegal.

But campaign finance laws are there to ensure the integrity of our elections and the democratic process. And I do care about those things very much. I have written reams about end runs around our election laws, primarily here in our nation’s capital. I care just as much about those provisions at the federal level.
King says he cares about "the integrity of our elections." We don't doubt that his statement is true, but we think his judgment is poor.

We care about our elections too. That's why we think Donald J. Trump and his helpmate, Michael Cohen, should be awarded highest national honors for their ongoing efforts to hush Clifford up—to keep her from telling her story.

Why is the world would we say such a thing? Because we remember what happened when Gennifer met Howard Stern—Gennifer Flowers, that is.

Flowers decided to "tell her story" in January 1992. To this day, we know of no reason to believe that her story was true—but Flowers had thrilling body parts too, and her story was wonderfully steamy.

Her story, which almost surely was false, involved consensual sex only. But back in those days, our nation's reporters didn't necessarily feel the need to pretend that they didn't care about consensual sex.

In 1987, they took out Candidate Hart through their interest in sex. One year later, George H. W. Bush was elected to the White House, quite possibly as a result.

Now, in 1992, they set their sights on the goal of taking out Candidate Bill Clinton. They loved loved loved Flowers' steamy tale. Though many balked at this intrusion upon the budding presidential cvampaign, they didn't always feel the need to pretend that they didn't care about the sex.

Flowers stood before the press in New York City, where she'd gone to accept the $150,000 she was (initially) paid, by the steamy tabloid The Star, for telling her steamy story, which was riddled with obvious errors and almost surely was false.

(In the end, she would receive at least $500,000 from several sources, likely much more, for telling her important story. which was almost surely false. This supplemented the income from her $17,000 per year state job, which she eventually lost.)

Gennifer Flowers had injected herself into a White House campaign. She'd done so by telling a story which almost surely wasn't true.

That said, the story was exciting, and the underbelly of the nation's discourse was eager to join in the fun. As told by the leading authority on her life and times, this happened at her raucous press conference, along with other embarrassing nonsense:
After Clinton denied having a relationship with Flowers on 60 Minutes, she held a press conference in which she played tape recordings she had secretly made of phone calls with Clinton. Clinton subsequently apologized publicly to Mario Cuomo for remarks he made about the then-Governor of New York on the tapes. During the press conference, Flowers was famously asked several questions by "Stuttering John" Melendez of the Howard Stern Show if she was planning to sleep with any other candidates before the election, along with if Clinton used a condom and if there ever was a threesome. She responded by laughing at Stuttering John's prank whereas her advisor wanted to ignore him by trying to answer other questions. News reports at the time speculated that the taped phone conversations between Flowers and Clinton could have been doctored...
That was the day when Gennifer Flowers met Howard Stern, who had already gone a long way toward turning the daily American discourse into a low-IQ clownshow driven by gruesome values.

Unlike Candidate Hart before him, Candidate Clinton survived this (non-Russian) attack on our election. In early 1998, the press corps began chasing the consensual sex with the 21-year-old intern who was neither 21 nor an intern, and he, along with two other players, didn't quite survive that.

President Clinton was impeached but escaped removal from office. As part of the press corps' subsequent fury, they conducted a two-year war against Candidate Gore which sent George W. Bush to the White House.

(The three principal agents of this war: The New York Times, the Washington Post and NBC News and its cable arms. The Fox News Channel played little role in this remarkable war.)

Sixteen years later, the New York Times was still stroking its private parts about Bill Clinton's sex life. The paper made little attempt to separate claims and admissions of consensual sex from claims of non-consensual sex, nor did it try very hard top evaluate the latter.

The New York Times still cared about the sex. On October 3, 2016, the paper published this slippery front-page report in which it revisited the good old days when they were chasing Bill Clinton around about consensual sex. The ridiculous paper even resurrected claims by famous "rock groupie" Connie Hamzy, a local Arkansas figure who was so famously ridiculous that no one ever believed her self-promoting claims, even back in real time.

Candidate Hillary Clinton lost to Candidate Donald J. Trump by a very narrow margin. Question:

How many Republicans have now been elected president because of the press corps' sex stampedes, which started in 1987 with the pursuit of Gart Hart's fully consensual sex?

The American upper-end "press corps" is in love with sex. In fairness, it's also in love with body language, wardrobe and hair, and with embellished paraphrase of pointless offhand remarks.

How silly do the children get when hot steamy consensual sex rears its consensual head? When it comes to consensual sex, which it doesn't care about?

The children get very foolish.

By 1998, the year of impeachment, they had resurrected Gennifer Flowers, along with her implausible, error-riddled story for the tabloid Star. By now, they were even pretending that she was an admirable truth-teller.

By the summer of 1999, Flowers was running a pay-to-read web site about the Clintons' many deeply disturbing murders. She had written a ludicrous book in which she made the slimiest presentations about Hillary Clinton, also revealing the fact that the former Arkansas first lady was the world's most gigantic lesbo.

That said, moral idiots like Frank Rich just could make themselves come to terms with what this behavior suggested about his new darling, Flowers. By the summer of 1999, another major corporate star invited her onto his "cable News" show for the full half-hour.

How ridiculous are these corporate stars? This is where our discourse goes when we let people like Flowers start telling exciting stories, true or false, about consensual sex:
MATTHEWS (8/2/99): I gotta pay a little tribute here. You're a very beautiful woman, and I, and I have to tell you:

He knows that, you know that, and everybody watching knows that. Hillary Clinton knows that.

How can a woman put up with a relationship between her husband and somebody, anybody, but especially somebody like you, that's a knockout? I don't quite get this relationship...

It's an objective statement, Gennifer. I'm not flirting.
In fact, he fawned and flirted all through the half hour, as he would do with other shaky sex accusers.

At one point, he came extremely close to getting a journalist killed by someone who was mentally ill and didn't know that this was all a con. Today, Rachel is happy to tell us that he's her very good friend and her favorite political analyst.

This is one small part of what occurred when Gennifer Flowers met Howard Stern and his idiot sidekick, Stutterin' John.

By that time, Stern and Imus had spent many years making a joke of the American discourse. In 1992, Gennifer met Stutterin' John and things went down one more very large notch.

Five years earlier, the children had knocked Candidate Hart out of the race due to their obsession with consensual sex. Five years later, they started chasing Bill Clinton.

People are dead all over the world because they've behaved this way. Now, people like King want to do this again. In this way, they hope to protect "the integrity of our elections!"

Gennifer Flowers was playing the fool when she met Howard and Stutterin' John. Chris Matthews was the fool when he fawned all over Gennifer Flowers, then slurped his beloved Kathleen Willey. (At the time, Matthews was aggressively leading the war against Candidate Gore.)

How many elections have been waylaid by childish, dishonest nonsense like this? Still and all, to this very day, one of our liberal Internet moguls wants to sell you photographs of Stephanie Clifford's extremely large breasts, and Colbert King says he wants to "protect our elections" by letting Clifford mouth off.

Subhumans care about nothing but sex. Increasingly, more and more, this is the shape of our upper-end culture, even Over Here inside our own pseudo-liberal tents.

Tomorrow: Confessore's (highly intelligent) warning

Still coming: Stormy meets Norman O. Brown

BREAKING: As heard last night about Russkie collusion!


We have to take folk at their word:
Yesterday, the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee brought that panel's investigation of Trump and the Russkies to a screeching halt.

Among other things, they said they've found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russkies. For the record, we don't know if any such collusion occurred.

Last night, Erin Burnett conducted a long interview with Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla), one of the Republican committee members. How assiduous was the committee's search for the truth? At one point, Rooney made the highlighted remarks in response to Burnett's perfectly sensible question:
BURNETT (3/12/18): OK. When you say no collusion, how are you so confident about that? There are so many reasons, right, to ask this question. Yes, you had a lot of time to look at it. However, Bob Mueller has not yet reached that conclusion.

ROONEY: Right.

BURNETT: Your Senate colleague, Richard Burr, the Republican leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said they have not reached that conclusion tonight.

ROONEY: Right.

BURNETT: Why are you all so confident that you have, and you are doing so completely on a partisan line?

ROONEY: I think that we have to go with the facts and the evidence as we've seen down in the committee. And the over 60 witnesses that we've interviewed, the documents that we have reviewed, just asking them point blank to their face, "Was there any of the things that we're looking at, was there any collusion, coordination, conspiracy, any of those things? Over the last year," have we been able to find any evidence of that, and we haven't.

Now, I know some of my friends on the other side of aisle say that we can't just take people's testimony at their word—


ROONEY: —but I think, in this system, you have to assume that people are telling the truth. And if it comes out that they were lying, then there's consequences for that. But I think first—I'm just going to base on evidence and fact of what we asked all of our witnesses. But Mueller and the Senate, who knows, maybe they're finding things that we haven't seen. But we certainly have not seen that.
To watch this exchange, click here, move ahead to 4:15.

Rooney was courteous throughout. But in that exchange, he issued a remarkable statement about the way an investigation should work:

"In this system, you have to assume that people are telling the truth!"

Some Democrats think you should try to check the facts about the various things different people tell you. To Rooney, that's going too far.

Thus spake Rep. Rooney! They asked sixty people, "point blank," if they colluded with the Russkies. None of the sixty said they had! On that basis, case closed!

Burnett simply moved on at the point. We think she should have lingered.

Meanwhile, this is the point to which our political culture has devolved. There's no sign that the downward spiral has stopped, and a great deal of the downward spiral is occurring Over Here, on our own liberal side.

BREAKING: The Atlantic didn't like SNL!


The points we liberals may miss:
David Sims didn't like last weekend's Saturday Night Live.

He especially hated its opening sketch. The headlines on his piece at The Atlantic say this:
The Toothlessness of Saturday Night Live's Political Humor
A sketch involving Robert Mueller appearing on The Bachelor was the latest indication of the show’s wavering topical relevance.
Sims thought that opening sketch just totally stunk. Here's the way he described it:
SIMS (3/12/18): Last weekend, [Kate] McKinnon’s Mueller impression made a less than triumphant return to SNL in the opening sketch, which is always reserved for the hot political news of the week. This time, he was mixed into a re-creation of the shocking finale of ABC’s reality show The Bachelor, spoofing Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s widely condemned, on-camera jilting of his fiancĂ©e Becca Kufrin. Here, Mueller was sharing the news with a woman played by Cecily Strong that he couldn’t prove collusion between Trump and Russia; she reacted like a scorned lover as he said things like, “I’m just trying to be honest with you and tell you that I can’t commit to collusion right now.” It was an excruciating six minutes.
To watch those six minutes, click here.

Sims hated the opening sketch; as he continued, he used it to say that SNL has badly lost its mojo. Here's a later remark about the sketch, a remark which brought us up short:
SIMS: Beyond being an easy way to cram in a Bachelor reference, the sketch wasn’t even funny, mercilessly driving its one joke (Mueller’s reticence to commit) into the ground.
According to Sims, the skit's one joke was "Mueller's reticence to commit" to a finding of collusion. We think he missed the point of the sketch, in a way which may be instructive.

By happenstance, we'd already watched that opening sketch when we read Sims' critique. We almost never watch SNL—we think it lost its mojo a long way back—but something we read about the sketch had led us to give it a look.

We'll have to admit it! We were surprised by the relevance, and by the sting, of that opening sketch. But that's because we got its apparent point, which seems to have bypassed Sims.

Alas! In our view, the actual point of the sketch is the (liberal) woman's frantic devotion to the idea that Mueller is going to save us by getting Trump booted from office. As such, it seemed to us that the sketch was a parody of modern feckless liberalism, which doesn't know how to win elections, then hopes and prays that it can get its opponents thrown into jail and/or removed from office.

It seemed clear to us that this was the actual point of the sketch. The woman becomes increasingly distraught as Mueller tells her he can't commit to bringing Trump down, and that he may never be able to do so.

We thought the sketch packed a highly relevant point; to our amazement, we also thought it was actually funny. The humor in the (liberal) woman's increasing sense of hopelessness seems to have bypassed Sims.

Last week, we made an award-winning statement about the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. When we liberals fall in love with the practice of stereotyping the dimwitted Others out in the boondocks, we may be unable to see such stereotyping when it occurs.

Others will see the stereotyping—and they will dislike us for it. Only we liberals will be unable to see what lies at the heart of a stereotype-laden film, or perhaps at the heart of an unlikeable political movement.

Sims' reaction to the SNL sketch made us think of that. It didn't seem to enter his head that the frantic liberal woman was the actual target of the joke in SNL's opening sketch.

The liberal world is hoping and praying that Mueller can get Trump kicked out of office. This pitiful posture is forced upon us by our overwhelming political/journalistic incompetence.

Our corporate liberal cable channel sells us this dream all night every night, letting us feed on a nightly succession of silly nothingburgers of alleged BREAKING NEWS. It's a sad political culture, one we think SNL successfully spoofed in that sketch.

For the record:

Mueller may well end up getting, and presenting, the goods on Trump. The nightmare will really start then.

Past streetfights with The Power: SNL has long contained internal elements which aren't conventionally liberal.

To review our award-winning 2003 streetfight with the program's good-natured strongman, Jim Downey, you can just click here.

We don't know if Downey's with the show this year. If he wrote the Mueller sketch, we'd have to say he got it right, tedious though a Bachelor parody may inevitably seem.

WHEN STORMY MET NOBBY: King explains his real concern!


Part 2—"The integrity of our elections:"
We received the news—it was inevitable—on this morning's page A2 of the New York Times (hard-copy editions only).

It was inevitable! Charles Blow's wife-trashing column, "Melania Knew," was yesterday's "most read article."

Whoever wrote today's precis put the best face on this news. According to this morning's precis, Blow's column "argu[ed] that the Stormy Daniels story is not about what Melania Trump knew." (Our emphasis.)

Oh, what the heck! Here's the full precis from today's page A2:
Monday's most read article was Charles Blow's Op-Ed arguing the Stormy Daniels story is not about what Melania Trump knew. Instead, Mr. Blow wrote, "This is about the defamation of, silencing of, and shouting down of women."
For the record, Blow reached this high-minded conclusion only after indulging himself in the sliming of the woman to whom Donald J. Trump is married. That said, the sliming of targeted politicians' wives has been a beloved Times tradition ever since Maureen Dowd first set foot on this earth.

Blow slimed Melania good! Stating the obvious, this is why so many liberals stampeded off to read his piece. He slimed Melania Trump before declaring his high-minded support of women, including his high-minded support for the admirable Stormy Daniels, who Trump is trying to silence.

Is Trump trying to silence Daniels? Yes he is, and for that reason, we think the highly disordered man ought to receive a prize.

Tomorrow, we'll detail the thinking behind that proposal. Today, let's start by briefly recalling what Blow said and did.

Blow started his column by assuring us that he doesn't care a whit about the 12-year-old sex. Well actually, he started by saying that the "ongoing saga" about "a president" and "a porn star" is almost impossibly "lewd."

What makes sex with Stephanie Clifford so impossibly "lewd?" Blow never explained that point. That said, it sounds to us like he very much does care about the sex with Clifford. But like a raft of excited colleagues, he also seems to feel that he has to insist that he doesn't.

Why is 12-year-old sex with Stephanie Clifford more "lewd" than sex with somebody else? And why should Blow care about such a matter at all? We never quite got that explanation—and Blow even proceeded to say, quite rightly, that you never know what sorts of arrangement may exist between a pair of spouses, in this case between the Trumps.

From there, Blow proceeded to say that he does by some miracle know what Melania Trump thought and knew when she married her husband. Blow doesn't know any such thing, of course, but when the children stampede about sex, all logic flies out the window.

If Melania Trump had, and has, an arrangement with her (highly disordered) husband, then why was it supposed to be wrong if her husband acted on that arrangement? And why should a fellow like Blow care about it so much?

Blow never explained this point. That said, this is what happens when the children begin to stampede about (completely consensual) sex, as the defectives have been doing for the past 31 years.

Today, the children feel obliged to say that they don't care about the sex, even as they make it prefectly clear that they do. Back in the day, it wasn't like that nearly so much. Consider Gary Hart.

Before we get to Gary Hart, let's praise MSNBC. Presumably, they don't care about the sex, and neither do their millions of liberal viewers. We'll guess that the sex just bores the corporate suits to death—but they still aired a new hour-long special last Friday night. It carried this tedious title:
Sex, Lies and Candidates
"Sex, Lies and Candidates!" Who would want to watch that?

Presumably, the corporate suits are bored out of their skulls by talk about the sex! Still, they decided to produce an hour-long special which bore that tedious name, a name which was sure to kill ratings.

The special takes us back 31 years, to 1987. Gart Hart was the young and vibrant Democratic front-runner for president. Meanwhile, people like Blow didn't feel, at least not as strongly, that they had to feign disinterest in the sex.

Back then, they very much cared about the sex where Candidate Hart was concerned! The utterly boring, hour-long special starts with the younger Tom Brokaw saying this, right on the air, back then in real time:
BROKAW (1987): This story is a 20, on a scale of one to 10!
Bo Derek had once been a ten—but this story was a 20! Allegedly, Gary Hart had a girl friend, and not only that:

Allegedly, they had engaged in consensual sex! They had "done it" together!

(As Rachel Maddow would tell us today, Gary Hart had "shtupped" her!)

Back then, there was less effort to pretend that no one cared about the sex. The Miami Herald had conducted a full-blown overnight stake-out of Hart's home in DC, with a photographer along to get the sweet sugary goods. They were trying to capture the boring details about the claim that Hart had maybe perhaps engaged in sex with a 20-something model, with someone who wasn't his wife.

At the end of the hour-long special, Ted Koppel laments the fact that Hart's career was lost to the excitement of this chase. (Hart, who was very bright, would have been a very good president, Koppel sadly opines.)

Koppel also notes the way our journalistic system changed at this point in time. From this point on, our journalists would be chasing pols in a wide array of brainless ways. Despite the unbearable boredom involved, they would even chase pols about sex—even with models or "porn stars!"

That's what Blow did yesterday while claiming to do something else. As part of the large, best-selling package, he decided to beat up on Donald Trump's wife. while posing as a high-minded feminist.

We liberals rushed to gobble this down. We liberals tend toward the prehuman, much as conservatives do.

Should Donald J. Trump, a disordered person, be able to shut Clifford up? We think he and his helpmate, Michael Cohen, should receive the nation's highest civilian honors for their ongoing attempt.

We'll explain that judgment tomorrow. For today, let's close with Colbert King, who also says he couldn't care less about all that tedious sex.

In Saturday morning's Washington Post, King started his column by saying he couldn't care less about Donald J. Trump's twelve-year-old sex acts. As we showed you yesterday, here's how his column began:
KING (3/10/18): I couldn’t care less whether in 2006 Donald Trump had a sexual affair with pornographic film actress Stephanie Clifford—known professionally as Stormy Daniels—only months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron.

Trump’s personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen says Trump has denied the affair. But even if it did occur, the relationship would have taken place years before the 2016 presidential election. Thus, it is a private matter between citizen Donald Trump and his wife and none of my business.
Doggone it! Even as he said he couldn't care less, it seemed he cared a whole lot! You could tell this from his instant moralizing remarks about the sex, as he dragged the candidate's wife and 12-year-old son into the mess..

King does care about the sex; few things could be more clear. That said, there's nothing automatically wrong with the fact that he cares about the sex, although we think his interest is unwise.

King does care about the sex but, in line with modern norms, he had to say he doesn't From there, he explained what he really cares about. This is what he said:
KING (continuing directly): I do care, however, if within one month of the presidential election, Republican candidate Trump’s personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen paid hush money to Clifford/Daniels to keep the affair secret. True, the porn star is not, at least to the best of my knowledge, a public official. She has no public or legal duties to discharge. A payment of hush money to her, therefore, is unlikely to be illegal.

But campaign finance laws are there to ensure the integrity of our elections and the democratic process. And I do care about those things very much. I have written reams about end runs around our election laws, primarily here in our nation’s capital. I care just as much about those provisions at the federal level.
The hush money "is unlikely to be illegal," King said, discussing a type of policy area in which he has professional expertise. Still, he said he cares about "the hush money" (less excitingly, the non-disclosure agreement) because he cares, very much, about "the integrity of our elections."

We care about that topic too! That's why we think that Michael Cohen should receive his nation's highest honors for handing Clifford that big sack of cash which she slimily accepted and spent. We think his ongoing effort to shut Clifford up should be occasion additional praise.

Tomorrow, we'll tell you why we've reached those award-winning judgments. We'll focus on the way Gennifer Flowers undermined several elections in the aftermath of all the disinterest in Gary Hart's acts of consensual sex.

By Thursday, we'll get to Nobby Brown, who may have seen where this bullshit ends. We'll claim that Nobby met Stormy a long time ago, in the metaphorical sense.

Tomorrow: When Gennifer met Howard Stern

BREAKING: The clock says 4, but it's actually 3!

MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2018

Thanks a lot, Obama:
Early this morning, when we arose, the clock said it was 6 o'clock, but it was really 5.

And not only that! We'd just experienced a 47-hour weekend! One hour had disappeared!

Donald J. Trump inherited this mess. Thanks a lot, Obama!

BREAKING: What happened when Donald J. Trump read the Times?

MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2018

The Times isn't willing to tell you:
What happened when Donald Trump read that Times report, if he actually read it?

More specifically, what happened when he read this front-page report from the January 26 New York Times, or when he heard it described?

The report in question appeared online on the evening of January 25, producing widespread reaction on cable news programs. As we noted last Thursday, Rachel Maddow summarized it in this way, as did everyone else:
MADDOW (1/25/18): Again, we're absorbing this breaking news that has just come out from the New York Times. The president ordered his White House counsel to fire Robert Mueller. It didn't happen tonight, it happened last June, the month after Robert Mueller was hired as special counsel.


[T]he drama here is that his White House counsel,
who still serves as his White House counsel, Don McGahn, reportedly told the president, "No, I won't make that call. And if you make me, I will quit in protest."
Back in January, that's what everyone thought they'd read in the Times report. Everyone thought they'd read this:
What everyone thought they'd read:
Back in June 2017, Trump ordered McGahn to have Mueller fired. But Mueller told Trump that he wouldn't do it—that he would resign instead.
And there was more! At that point, Trump "backed down," the Times report dramatically seemed to say. That's what everyone thought they'd read in the January 26 news report.

Everyone thought they'd read that! Indeed, right to this day, the headline on the Times report says this:

"Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit"

Everyone, including the headline writer, thought that's what the report had said! But uh-oh! As we noted at the time, the Times report had never explicitly said that.

As usual, the writing by Haberman and Schmidt had been rather fuzzy, perhaps suspiciously so. As a result of their fuzzy prose, their report had conveyed a widespread impression which was exciting but wrong.

What was wrong with that Times report, or with what everyone thought the report had said? In fact, it's now widely understood that Don McGahn didn't directly challenge Trump when he received the order to fire Mueller, if he really received such an order.

According to the current account, McGahn told other people in the White House that he would resign before he'd comply with Trump's order. But everybody now agrees that he never said that to Trump himself. (On that basis, it still isn't clear why the January 26 Times report said that Trump had "backed down.")

By now, everyone knows that the January 26 Times report was inaccurate, or had at least conveyed several false impressions. But no one understood that back then, and the drama of its apparent account touched off widespread cable excitement.

Don McGahn had made Trump back down! Cable hosts and viewers loved it!

Last Wednesday night, the Times posted another report which created cable excitement. In this new report, the Times described Trump's reaction when he read the initial news report in January, or when he heard it described.

Last week's underwhelming report appeared on page A20 in Thursday's hard-copy Times. According to last week's report, what did Trump do when he read the initial report in January?

What did Trump do when he read that report? Here's how Haberman and Schmidt began their new report:
HABERMAN AND SCHMIDT (3/8/18, pghs 1 and 2): The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which President Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators, according to three people familiar with the encounters.

In one episode, the president told an aide that the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, should issue a statement denying a New York Times article in January. The article said Mr. McGahn told investigators that the president once asked him to fire the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. McGahn never released a statement and later had to remind the president that he had indeed asked Mr. McGahn to see that Mr. Mueller was dismissed, the people said.
There you see the initial account of what Trump did when he read the report in January. You'll note that Haberman and Schmidt have produced a slightly bowdlerized version of their original effort.

In this account of their January report, they've omitted the fact that their fuzzy writing made everyone think that Don McGahn had dramatically refused Trump's order right to his face—and that Trump had then "backed down." Back in January, Trump would have known that account was wrong. Is that why the fiery commander in chief told McGahn to deny the accuracy of the Times report?

Did Trump tell McGahn to deny the report because it seemed to be wrong? Was he reacting to an (apparent) part of the report which he knew to be inaccurate?

We have no way to answer that question—and readers had to wait until paragraph 12 for a fuller account of what the chief exec reportedly did after he read the January report. Here's the fuller account of what went down, as seen in last Thursday's Times:
HABERMAN AND SCHMIDT (3/8/18, pghs 12-17): Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. McGahn unfolded in the days after the Jan. 25 Times article, which said that Mr. McGahn threatened to quit last June after the president asked him to fire the special counsel. After the article was published, the White House staff secretary, Rob Porter, told Mr. McGahn that the president wanted him to release a statement saying that the story was not true, the people said.


Mr. McGahn did not publicly deny the article, and the president later confronted him in the Oval Office in front of the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, according to the people.

The president said he had never ordered Mr. McGahn to fire the special counsel. Mr. McGahn replied that the president was wrong and that he had in fact asked Mr. McGahn in June to call the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, to tell him that the special counsel had a series of conflicts that disqualified him for overseeing the investigation and that he had to be dismissed. The president told Mr. McGahn that he did not remember the discussion that way.

Mr. Trump moved on, pointing out that Mr. McGahn had never told him that he was going to resign
over the order to fire the special counsel. Mr. McGahn acknowledged that that was true but said that he had told senior White House officials at the time that he was going to quit.

It is not clear how the confrontation was resolved. Mr. McGahn has stayed on as White House counsel, one of the few senior administration officials who has been with the president since the campaign.
There you see the Times account of what happened in January. Last Wednesday night, this new report appeared online, producing substantial cable excitement.

Trump has been talking to witnesses, cable hosts said, showcasing real excitement. The claim that Trump has perhaps been breaking the rules in this way fueled the evening's excitement.

Should Donald J. Trump be speaking to people who have testified to Mueller? The Times report cited two examples, one of which—an interaction with Reince Priebus—was so spectacularly trivial as to be completely risible, even for a report in the Times.

The other example was this interaction with McGahn. So how about it? Should Trump have spoken to Don McGahn after reading the January report?

On cable, everyone screeched and wailed about the troubling fact that Trump had spoken to McGahn. Here's what they didn't tell you:

Let's return to January. When Trump read the Times report, he would have known that part of what it seemed to say was just plain untrue.

The Times report seemed to say that McGahn had refused his order to his face, and that he had then "backed down." Trump would have known that wasn't true. Would it really be wrong for him to ask McGahn to correct the record?

We're not sure why that would be wrong. Is that what actually happened?

Frankly, there's no way to know. The Times report is sourced to "three people." (No parrots or talking mules were interviewed for the report.) We're relying on what those unnamed people allegedly said about the interaction with McGahn. There's no way to fact-check their statements.

At any rate, based on what Haberman and Schmidt reported, three unnamed people say this is what occurred:
1) Trump told McGahn he gave no such order. McGahn told Trump he was wrong about that. They agreed to disagree. Trump didn't start World War III.

2) Trump told McGahn that he never defied any such order to his face. McGahn said Trump was right about that, but that he'd made resignation threats to others.
According to Haberman and Schmidt, that's what "three people" have told the Times. It's possible that this account is right. It's possible that it's wrong.

According to the Times report, Trump seems to have told McGahn that he doesn't think he ordered him to fire Mueller. We'll guess that Trump is wrong about that, but there's no obvious way to be sure.

Meanwhile, it seems that Trump was plainly right about the second point. In fact, Don McGahn didn't threaten to resign when Trump told him to fire Mueller, assuming Trump actually did that.

You'll note that, in their new report, Haberman and Schmidt don't explain how that issue arose in the first place—namely, because they wrote a fuzzy, possibly slippery report in January, a fuzzy report which gave everyone a misleading, bogus impression.

Did Trump order McGahn to have Mueller fired? We'll guess he probably did.

Did the Times write a fuzzy front-page report in January from which everyone drew a false impression? We don't have to guess about that! On that point, we can offer you a flat yes!

Apparently, Trump understood the January report the same way Maddow did. Thanks to some fuzzy prose from the Times, they both misunderstood what the Times had said—but by the eternal rules of the game, you aren't allowed to hear that.

McGahn wants to get favorable stories out. The Times wants to post "breaking news."

Cable hosts want nightly thrills. These are the ways our discourse works as we slowly go down.

Also this weird construction: Back in January, Haberman and Schmidt tossed off another misleading construction. Their second paragraph started like this:
HABERMAN AND SCHMIDT (1/26/18): The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel.
In fact, this is the only time Trump is known to have tried to fire Mueller. When the reporters said "first" instead of "only," they triggered reactions like this:
MADDOW (1/25/18): Michael, one last question for you. I'm struck by the wording in the second paragraph in your piece. It says this West Wing confrontation marks the "first" time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel.

Does that— Are you deliberately implying there might be other times?

SCHMIDT: No, it's just the first time.


SCHMIDT: As journalists in this story, especially when we learn about something for the first time, we like to note it and say, you know, "this is the first time" about this or whatever. This is the first time we know about that. If the president was willing to do that in June, was he willing to do it other times? I don't know.

But this was the first time for that and, you know, as we go along, we try to note whether this is the second or third or fourth or whatever, but for this one, this was the first.
That mumble-mouthed answer left Maddow dejected. That said, such jumbled constructions are official New York Times style. The Times has been offering front-page prose like that all the way back to the Watergate days, when their jumbled front-page reporting helped create an era of pseudo-scandal.

The Times just isn't especially sharp. It's hard for many people to grasp this basic fact of failing American life.