As the tall trees continue to fall!


Postcards from the decline:
With Matt Lauer's instant exit, the tall trees continues to fall. We offer four postcards from the ongoing decline:

Money and fame: We've routinely warned about the destructive power of wealth and celebrity. As we red about the appalling conduct of people like Lauer and Charlie Rose, we think of this age-old subhuman syndrome.

Our quick take: Money and fame may lead to more than appalling sexual conduct. Wealth and fame may also lead to mugging, clowning, self-adoration and constant dissembling, of a type we constantly see on one or more "cable news" shows.

Off-camera, staffers laugh at the jokes. This is a cultural problem, part of a major decline.

Our tribe's thought leaders sound off: Why was Garrison Keillor dumped by Minnesota Public Radio? At this point, there's no way to know.

MPR has offered no description of the matter or matters in question. Meanwhile, Keillor has offered an anodyne account of a minor event. There's no way to know what's true.

That said, nothing stops our tribe's most unbalanced players from making us look foolish to the rest of the world. At the Atlantic, Megan Garber melted down as soon as Keillor's dismissal was announced. She constructed a rather murky rant against the Prairie Home Companion radio program, culminating with this:
GARBER (11/29/17): [Keillor] became one of the many men who have fallen to the “Weinstein effect.” That effect is its own kind of landscape, its own kind of frontier—a version of manifest destiny in which expansion is not geographical but ideological, and in which justice, rather than justification, is the guiding ethic. The new American landscape is a cultural space that is cognizant of power differentials and mutual respect. It is one that strives for equality. And it is one that takes for granted the conviction that belittling those who are less powerful—all the women are strong—will have, finally, meaningful consequences.
That's right! Garber felt that Prairie Home Companion's description of Lake Wobegon—as a place where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average"—was Keillor's way of belittling women for being less powerful than men. Or at least, that's what she said.

We have no idea why Keillor was dumped. That said, do you know how silly this highly familiar type of analysis will inevitably look to The Others? In such instances, can we really say that the dimwitted Others are wrong?

No one had the slightest idea: Savannah Guthrie was shocked, just shocked, when Lauer got dumped. As such, she joined the long list of high players who had absolutely zero idea about the misconduct which was occurring on or near their watch.

Oddly, these clueless people have been unknowing about conduct which is routinely reported to have been "an open secret." Again and again, nobody knew what everyone knew! Frank Rich rolls his eyes at this "playacting" in this new interview.

Why can't John Conyers be fired: It's stunning to see how many journalists can't tell the difference between 1) an employee of a private corporation and 2) an elected official.

If Matt Lauer can get fired so fast, why can't John Conyers? Waves of pundits seem utterly baffled by the logic lurking behind this deeply puzzling question.

Earth to pundits, listen up! The logic goes something like this:

Matt Lauer was hired by NBC. On that basis, it's relatively easy for NBC to fire him.

John Conyers was hired by no one. He was elected, by voters.

In particular, he wasn't hired by Nancy Pelosi, or even by James Clyburne. It would be problematic for them to assume they had an obvious right to "fire" him.

This logic also obtains for Roy Moore. If he wins the upcoming election, he will have been "hired" by the people of Alabama.

Alabama is part of the nation, just as Lake Wobegon is. If we want our continental nation to long endure, the viewpoints of people in such farflung locales have to be respected, or perhaps endured, even when the people's wisdom falls far short of Ours.

Our tribe thinks Keillor was belittling women. Their tribe thinks Moore belongs in the Senate.

It's clear that our tribe is just stunningly brilliant. But what are you going to do?

FIRST ACCUSER IN: Counting the Washington Post's accusers!


Part 3—One accuser, or four?
On Friday morning, November 10, Leigh Corfman became first accuser in.

In that day's hard-copy Washington Post, a front-page report described Corfman's accusation against Roy Moore. Back in 1979, Moore molested her, Corfman said, when she was 14 years old.

The Post's report had appeared on-line on Thursday, November 9.

We know of no reason to doubt Corfman's accusation. That said, should her claim have been believed right away, or should wiser heads perhaps have waited a day or three to see what else might occur?

We would have voted for the wisdom of delay. In part, we recalled Kathleen Willey, whose accusation against Bill Clinton had produced a stampede of heartfelt belief in March 1998.

In the ensuing months and years, other events brought Willey's credibility into rather obvious question. Too late! The lovesick boys of the mainstream "press" had long since professed true belief.

Why else would have voted for the wisdom of delay? We also remembered the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case. Beyond that, we recalled the stampede of belief in Jackie, the accuser at UVa.

We recalled the disaster of the McMartin and other preschool cases. We recalled the way accusers were rashly believed back in Salem Village.

As a general matter, it seems to us that it makes sense to wait at least a couple of days before professing belief in serious claims against people, even against people you'd like to defeat in elections you don't otherwise know how to win. But back on November 10, Corfman's accusation was received in the traditional way:

In many pseudoliberal warrens, her accusation set off a stampede of heartfelt belief. This stampede included silly name-calling directed at those who suggested delay.

Let us say it again! We know of no reason to doubt Corfman's statements. Assuming her statements are acurate, we're glad she decided to push back this week against Moore's persistent denials.

Also this:

Three days later, on November 13, Beverly Nelson Young became second accuser in. She accused Moore of a violent sexual assault, an assault she said he committed when she was just 16 years old. By normal standards of reasoning, this second claim served as "supporting evidence" in support of the first accusation—although, of course, a second claim can't typically serve as proof of the first.

We know of no reason to doubt Corfman's claim. That said, some accusers do come forward with claims which are utterly false. With that in mind, it seemed to us that it made good sense—indeed, that it still makes good sense—to acknowledge the difficulty of assessing such claims.

The part of our brains which wants to stampede despises such nuance and niceties. This brings us to a peculiar part of that initial Post report, the report which appeared on November 10.

That Post report didn't present a stand-alone claim by Corfman. To many stampeding eyes, the report included four accusers, not just one.

In effect, many stampeders believed the Post had presented three supporting witnesses. Because it's all anthropology now, it's worth exploring that perception, which launched a thousand claims.

Clearly, that initial Post report included at least one main accuser. From its headline on down, the report centered on Corfman's accusation—an accusation we know of no reason to doubt.

("Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32")

Corfman's accusation formed the centerpiece of that Post report. But the Post quoted three other women by name—women who said they had interacted with Moore during the period on question.

We know of no reason to doubt their claims, though we might disagree with some aspects of their current judgments. More significantly, it's worth considering the journalistic judgment of the Washington Post, and the judgment of the stampeding mobs who began to cite these additional women as accusers.

Corfman was accusing Moore of a statutory sexual assault. Three days later, Nelson accused Moore of a violent sexual assault.

Each woman was accusing Moore of committing a serious felony. By way of possible contrast, the other three women in that first Post report were accusing Moore of taking them out on dates, or of asking them out on a date!

Indeed, he hadn't just taken them out on dates. In the case of two of these "accusers," he'd taken them out on dates with their full consent, and with the enthusiastic permission of their mothers! And not only that:

In the course of several months of dating, Moore had kissed two of these women—had done so several times! These were the people the Post presented, apparently as additional "accusers" in support of Corfman's account.

Wild horses of the Osage will be angry with us by this point. They'll feel that we're omitting the point that does, in fact, define these additional woman as accusers.

They'll claim that Moore's misconduct becomes clear in the Post's full account of their accusations. With that in mind, here is one such account from the Post's report:
MCCRUMMEN, REINHARD AND CRITES (11/10/17): Gloria Thacker Deason says she was 18 and Moore was 32 when they met in 1979 at the Gadsden Mall, where she worked at the jewelry counter of a department store called Pizitz. She says she was attending Gadsden State Community College and still living at home.

"My mom was really, really strict and my curfew was 10:30 but she would let me stay out later with Roy,"
says Deason, who is now 57 and lives in North Carolina. "She just felt like I would be safe with him. . . . She thought he was good husband material."

Deason says that they dated off and on for several months and that he took her to his house at least two times. She says their physical relationship did not go further than kissing and hugging.

"He liked Eddie Rabbitt and I liked Freddie Mercury," Deason says, referring to the country singer and the British rocker.

She says that Moore would pick her up for dates at the mall or at college basketball games, where she was a cheerleader. She remembers changing out of her uniform before they went out for dinners at a pizzeria called Mater's, where she says Moore would order bottles of Mateus Rosé, or at a Chinese restaurant, where she says he would order her tropical cocktails at a time when she believes she was younger than 19, the legal drinking age.

"If Mother had known that, she would have had a hissy fit," says Deason, who says she turned 19 in May 1979, after she and Moore started dating.
The key point there is supposed to be Deason's age. During the several months when she dated Moore, she was 18, then 19 years old. He was 32.

Is it a good idea for someone who's 19 to date a man who's 32? Our nation's Dimmesdales have always known how to answer such questions.

Setting that question aside for another day, we'll lay out the apparent structure of the Post's initial report:
Central accusation: When I was 14, Roy Moore met me behind my mother's back and committed a statutory sexual assault on my person.

Supporting accusation: When I was 19, Roy Moore dated me for several months, kissing me several times. My mother, who was thrilled, was hoping we'd get married.
To what extent does that second accusation sound like supporting evidence? To what extent does it sound like an "accusation" at all?

Because it's all anthropology now, we'll be exploring that second question all next week. We'll do so through an exploration of American culture as of 1979—the year when the film Manhattan was widely acclaimed, one year after Pretty Baby appeared to some minor critical clatter.

For today, we'll only say this. That "supporting accusation" almost sounds like the type of witness statement a defense attorney might have presented in court had Moore been charged with a crime for his alleged treatment of Corfman.

In the "accusations" by the two women Moore dated, he snuck around behind nobody's back; he barely so much as kissed them. In what way would these accounts support the claim that he had molested a 14-year-old at some point this same year?

We know of no reason to doubt Leigh Corfman's account. We know of no compelling reason to doubt Beverly Young Nelson's account.

Each woman has accused Moore of a serious crime. But in that original report, the supporting witnesses accused Moore of taking them out on dates and of kissing them several times as their mothers cheered him on.

Because it's all anthropology now, the way we liberals stampeded in the wake of these supporting stories may tell us more about ourselves than it does about Roy Moore. With Donald J. Trump careering more and more toward his upcoming nuclear war, none of this really matters any more. But if we might borrow what Luther once said:

If we knew Donald Trump would be ending the world today, we would continue to work in our anthropological garden.

We think the Post showed some shaky journalistic judgment in the way it presented that first report. This helps explain why Donald J. Trump is now in a position from which he may soon end the world.

As for our own self-impressed liberal tribe, we started our self-impressed "resistance" after Trump was elected and sworn. According to many anthropologists, we slept soundly for several decades before we started stampeding.

Tomorrow: One quick additional question

Next week: Welcome to your nation's culture in the last mid-century

World's smartest newspaper profiles top Nazi!


Low-IQ porridge results:
What happens when the nation's smartest newspaper profiles a high-ranking Nazi?

Answer: We get to see that the work of the New York Times may not always be real smart.

The profile, written by Richard Fausset, appeared in the Sunday Times. In a subsequent attempt to explain the piece, national editor Marc Lacey identified Fausset as "one of [the New York Times'] smartest thinkers and best writers."

Fausset is "one of [the New York Times'] smartest thinkers!" If that is true, it doesn't speak especially well for the New York Times. In the end, his profile of this top Nazi operates at a slow, dull-witted level. We're told that the Nazi enjoys his pets. The truth is, we don't learn much else.

Let's start with a minor correction. The Nazi in question, Tony Hovater, really isn't a top-ranking Nazi. He's a 29-year-old welder from New Carlisle, Ohio who "helped start the Traditionalist Worker Party, one of the extreme right-wing groups that marched in Charlottesville, Va., in August."

Hovater helped start this party in 2015. It doesn't seem that the group is about to take over the nation. In the passage shown below, Fausset reports the size of the group. Based upon what Fausset reports, it isn't entirely clear why he bothered to profile this fellow at all:
FAUSSET (11/26/17): [T]he movement is no joke. The party, Mr. Hovater said, is now approaching 1,000 people. He said that it has held food and school-supply drives in Appalachia. “These are people that the establishment doesn’t care about,” he said.

Marilyn Mayo, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, estimated that the Traditionalist Worker Party had a few hundred members at most, while Americans who identify as “alt-right” could number in the tens of thousands.

“It is small in the grand scheme of things, but it’s one of the segments of the white supremacist movement that’s grown over the last two years,” she said.
According to Fausset's expert source, Hovater's party may have 200 people. Meanwhile, the entire "alt-right" movement may number "in the tens of thousands."

In a nation of 330 million, do those numbers justify an attempt to plumb Hovater's thinking? Maybe they do and maybe they don't—but Fausset goes about that task in a markedly lazy, uninquisitive way.

Very few things about Hovater's thinking ever get nailed down at all. Early on, we're told that Hovater "flatly denounc[es] the concept of democracy," but we're never quite told what he'll be throwing overboard, or what he imagines taking the place of our current systems, frail though they may be.

He denounces the concept of democracy? What would he favor instead? With Fausset seeming to ask few questions, this is as close as we get:
FAUSSET: He said he wanted to see the United States become “an actually fair, meritocratic society.” Absent that, he would settle for a white ethno-state “where things are fair, because there’s no competing demographics for government power or for resources.”

His fascist ideal, he said, would resemble the early days in the United States, when power was reserved for landowners “and, you know, normies didn’t really have a whole hell of a lot to say.”
Does that mean that Hovater'a first choice would be a multiracial, meritocratic state? As with almost everything else, Fausset doesn't ask. Hovater, therefore, doesn't tell.

Let's ask a few more questions. In Hovater's ideal state—it would apparently be meritocratic and fascist—how much land would a person have to own to gain access to "power?" What types of "power" would landowners get? Fausset asks no such questions, gets even fewer answers.

Meanwhile, what does Hovater think about race? At one point, Fausset offers this:
FAUSSET: He is adamant that the races are probably better off separated, but he insists he is not racist. He is a white nationalist, he says, not a white supremacist. There were mixed-race couples at the wedding. Mr. Hovater said he was fine with it.

“That’s their thing, man,” he said.

Online it is uglier. On Facebook, Mr. Hovater posted a picture purporting to show what life would have looked like if Germany had won World War II: a streetscape full of happy white people, a bustling American-style diner and swastikas

“What part is supposed to look unappealing?” he wrote.
What does Hovater mean when he says he's "not racist?" Fausset doesn't quite ask or say. Is Hovater really friendly with mixed-race couples? Fausset takes no names, offers no confirmation.

"Online it is uglier," Fausset says, but he doesn't seem to have tried to test this impression on Hovater.

He quotes Hovater making a banal remark about how great it would be if Hitler had won World War II. Fausset says the photograph in question is ugly, but he doesn't test Hovater's thinking.

“What part [of that picture] is supposed to look unappealing?” Could it be the part where we see the bodies of all the people who would have been killed to bring that wonderful world into being?

What did Hovater says when asked? Fausset didn't ask, so Hovater didn't tell.

We noted the fact that Lacey, Fausset's editor, thinks Fausset is very smart. We found zero evidence of that trait in this profile.

Meanwhile, Fausset says the same darn thing about Hovater! Here's how he starts his own attempt to explain the controversial profile he wrote:
FAUSSET (11/26/17A): There is a hole at the heart of my story about Tony Hovater, the white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer.

Why did this man—intelligent, socially adroit and raised middle class amid the relatively well-integrated environments of United States military bases—gravitate toward the furthest extremes of American political discourse?
We don't favor the exhibitionistic flogging of people like Hovater. But what in the world made Fausset think that Hovater is "intelligent?" Was it the part of the profile where Hovater makes these banal remarks?
FAUSSET (11/26/17): It was midday at a Panera Bread, and Mr. Hovater was describing his political awakening over a turkey sandwich...

He declared the widely accepted estimate that six million Jews died in the Holocaust “overblown.” He said that while the Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler wanted to exterminate groups like Slavs and homosexuals, Hitler “was a lot more kind of chill on those subjects.”

“I think he was a guy who really believed in his cause,” he said of Hitler.
“He really believed he was fighting for his people and doing what he thought was right.”
We're not in favor of beating up on people who are perhaps strangely dumb That said, are Fausset and Hovater possibly peas in a pod?

Imagine! At the New York Times, "one of the smartest thinkers" listened to someone talk nonsense like that about the Holocaust and about Hitler. He came away with a weird assessment; the smartest thinker at the Times called that person "intelligent!" That may be all we need to know about the state of our journalism.

What is this profile really like? Structurally, it's a standard type of middlebrow profile—the type of profile which is designef to get its kick from some apparent contradiction which is in fact utterly fatuous.

In the world of comedy, such profiles sit beneath headlines like this:
To Comedian A, getting laughs is serious business!
In the world of corporate press promotions, such profiles get built around piddle like this:
Journalist A is the TV star who doesn't own a TV set!
The modern journo loves contradictions—and the more fatuous the better. Fausset's profile works from this hook:
I met a Nazi who goes to the mall and loves to play with his pets!
Is Fausset one of the Times' smartest thinkers? It's entirely possible! But in this profile, the banality of evil has seemed to meet the sheer fatuity of the modern press.

Which of the two has been doing more harm? Did we mention the fact that Hovater's party has maybe 200 members?

FIRST ACCUSER IN: Instant belief!


Part 2—Willey versus Corfman:
Assuming her account is accurate, we're glad to see Leigh Corfman pushing back against Roy Moore.

Corfman's pushback is recorded in this new report by the Washington Post. Assuming her account in accurate, we're glad she's pushing back in this way.

On Friday morning, November 13, Corfman became "first accuser in" regarding Roy Moore. In a news report in that day's Washington Post, she said Moore had molested her in 1979, when she was 14 years old.

The report had appeared on-line on Thursday, November 12. By Friday afternoon, fiery liberals were assailing the silly, immoral people who didn't rush to state their belief in Corfman's (extremely serious) accusation.

The people who were withholding belief were quickly assailed as the "If true" crowd. Believe it or not, these horrible people were only willing to condemn Moore if Corfman's assertions were true!

Fiery liberals rushed to assail this horrid "If true" crowd. In our view, this was the latest display of the massive dumbness of our own liberal tribe.

Why did we think these instant believers were perhaps maybe jumping the gun? In part, we had that reaction because we recalled Kathleen Willey.

On March 15, 1998, Willey went on 60 Minutes to deliver an accusation against Bill Clinton. Because she was conventionally attractive and upper middle class in appearance, a succession of lovesick pundit boys rushed to affirm their belief in every word their newest darling had said.

These silly people had never set eyes on Willey before that night. They had no apparent way to assess her general credibility. But at the time, a stampede was on, and these lovesick boys rushed to affirm full instant belief in the latest accuser.

Who were these "instant responders?" If you want to review their professions of faith, you can just click here. They were sure—just very sure—that Willey could be believed.

We'd say their judgment was poor. In November 1998, it was revealed, in a document dump, that Linda Tripp, in sworn testimony, had undermined Willey's account of her interaction with Clinton.

Linda Tripp had worked with Willey in the White House. In sworn testimony, she described Willey's appearance and reaction of the day in question.

Tripp's account of what happened that day—and of what had happened in the months before—undermined Willey's account. But alas! Because the mob was sworn to true belief, the press corps worked very hard to avoid reporting this new fact. For background, you can click here.

A few months later, something very bad happened. Willey made a provably false, ugly accusation against a Washington journalist. To her semi-credit, she kept refusing to name the journalist when she aired her complaint on the crackpot "cable news" program, Hardball, but her grotesquely irresponsible host, Chris Matthews, crazily blurted it out.

The crazy accusation was quickly disproved, but not before a man with a history of mental illness appeared at the journalist's home with a gun. Luckily, the man was arrested before anyone got killed. But this was an earlier, dangerous version of Pizzagate. It followed directly from Matthews' appalling conduct—and from Willey's crazy false claim.

(For real-time reports, click here, and then click this. A few months later, Matthews began airing irresponsible claims about nuclear physicist Wen Ho Lee, who had supposedly helped Bill Clinton sell the country to the Chinese. The predictable death threats followed. Later, formal apologies were issued to Lee for the wave of false accusations against him, false accusations Matthews had excitedly bruited.)

Are we possibly starting to get a certain picture here? When Ken Starr's successor atop the Whitewater probes finally issued his final report, he said he's considered charging Willey with perjury, she'd lied to his staff so much. Do we feel sure that those lovesick boys should have believed every word she said, the very first time they beheld her?

What, if anything, actually happened between Bill Clinton and Kathleen Willey? We have no way of knowing. (For the record, it's very, very unwise to structure a nation's politics around such questions.)

We do know this. The brainless stars of our Washington "press corps" showed extremely bad judgment when they stampeded off to state their undying belief in every word Willey said.

Granted, Willey was conventionally attractive. She seemed to be upper middle class, which made the schoolboys admire her even more.

But as would eventually come to be known, her accusations had arisen from within a rather disordered life. A later crazy false accusation came close to getting someone killed.

So it can go when silly children stampede to voice instant belief in accusers. They stampeded this way in Salem Village; they're inclined to do so today.

That said, it's hard to get a whole lot dumber than we liberals routinely are. Our fiery leaders endeavored to prove this point on November 13, when Corfman's accusation appeared.

Should people voice instant belief in serious accusations? After Willey, but before Corfman, the gods tried hard to help us see that this is an unwise practice.

First, they sent us the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case. The professors stampeded to affirm their belief in her serious accusations.

In part for that reason, the accuser didn't get the help she plainly needed. She's now in jail for murder. The prosecutor who also believed her accusations (or at least was prepared to pretend) went to jail for a day.

After that, the gods sent us the UVa case. Jugglers and clowns at Rolling Stone expressed true belief in Jackie's accusations. They've ended up paying millions to some of the people they slandered. Rather plainly, that accuser seems to have needed help too.

How many cases must the gods send before we liberals stop acting like fools? Sadly, anthropological evidence suggests that this behavior will never stop—that it's deeply bred in the (prehuman) bone.

At this point, we apologize for a possible appearance. We apologize for suggesting the possibility that Corfman's accusations against Roy Moore could perhaps be untrue.

We know of no reason to think that. Beyond that, the credibility of Corfman's case was greatly strengthened on November 16 when Beverly Young Nelson became the "second accuser in"—when she accused Moore of having committed a violent sexual assault on her person.

That said, it was very unwise—actually, stupid—to assail the "If true" crowd on the very day that Corfman's accusation appeared. It was very, very, very unwise. We would be inclined to say it was Pizzagate-level dumb.

Still and all, some fiery liberals will surely say that we've left something out. They'll say that Young wasn't the second accuser of Moore—they'll say she was really the fifth.

These people will say that three other accusers were quoted, by name, in that original Post report. Tomorrow, we'll review what those other three people said.

Spoiler alert:

We think our tribe's reaction to those other "accusers" has been extremely dumb. Sadly, we think our reaction was dumb in the way The Others can see.

Multiplied a thousand times over, this helps explain why our pitiful, unlikable tribe has trouble winning elections.

As our crazy president continues to spout, even we liberals have started to see that something has gone extremely wrong within our politics and within our national culture. Sadly but typically, we liberals have come to this insight extremely late in the game.

We liberals mugged and clowned and postured and played as the deeply dangerous Donald J. Trump made his way to the White House. In a rather typical manifestation, our "resistance" started one day after this disordered man was sworn in.

Our fiery leaders have mugged and clowned for decades now. They've endlessly betrayed our interests in search of career advancement. Rachel Maddow just luvvvs Chris Matthews! Greta Van Susteren too!

Absent serious leadership, our reactions tend to be dumb. We'd say this pattern extended through our reaction to that first Post report.

Corfman has decided to stand and fight. Our tribe needs to sit down and think.

Tomorrow: How many accusers?

The madness of millionaire Morning Joe!


Donald J. Trump seeks gay sex:
Yesterday morning, we watched one of the strangest Morning Joe programs yet.

Inevitably, the strangeness involved Mika Brzezinski, who should be a political analyst in roughly the same way we should be running the Bolshoi Ballet.

Mika's conduct was so strange that we weren't sure we had heard what we thought we'd heard. As it turned out, we had heard what we thought we'd heard. To wit:

Mika seemed to be speculating that Donald J. Trump and Billy Bush had enjoyed some sort of "manroll in the hay" during the famous bus ride which produced the Access Hollywood tape.

More specifically, Mika seems to say that Trump made some sort of sexual play for Bush during that famous bus ride. As she vowed to say this, then did say it, Joe kept trying to make her stop.

Below, we'll link you to the pair of tapes in question. Perhaps for obvious reasons, Morning Joe's producers didn't post the second tape, where Mika finally spouted. The Washington Free Beacon did.

The background goes like this:

On the first tape, Mika starts to say that she's going to share her theory about what really happened on the bus ride which produced the Access Hollywood tape. Scoldingly, in apparent exasperation, Joe keeps telling her that she isn't going to do that.

Mika keeps saying she will. Starting at 6:19 AM, the semi-lunatic dialogue goes like this, absent some over-talking:
MIKA (11/27/17): Still ahead on Morning Joe, President Trump reportedly suggests the Access Hollywood tape is not authentic.

Of course he does. He's already apologized for it!

We're going to dig into that, and I have my own take.

I know what happened on that tape, and I'm going to tell you. Because it's not what you think.

JOE: He apologized?

MIKA: He did.

JOE: But he says it's fake now?

MIKA. He says it's fake. Well, I'll tell you, there is something that has been massively misunderstood about it.

JOE: No, you can't. You can't say that on TV.

MIKA: Yes, I can. And I'm going to.

JOE: No, you can't. No, you're not.

MIKA: I am! Listen very carefully, because I want everybody to listen to it. And then you're going to hear what I hear.

JOE: Mika's not going to—

MIKA: I am.

JOE: It's a theory.

MIKA: No. It is a theory. And since theories are apparently on Maga Pig website true, I'm going to put mine out there.
At this point, John Heilemann tries to change the subject, but Mika persists.

"I'm 100 percent right, by the way. I'm always right about these things," she weirdly says. As Joe continues talking over her, she then says this, apparently correctly:

"I'm scaring Joe."

After a commercial break, the next segment starts. Sure enough, Mika does share her peculiar "theory" about what happened on the bus that day:

She seems to say that Donald J. Trump made some sort of sex play for Billy Bush. You can watch that second videotape at this Free Beacon post. Mika's theory comes near the 2:45 mark, as Joe tries to make her stop.

Mika has always been very strange. Beyond that, wealth and fame can be very destructive.

Is Mika completely losing it? Over the past twenty years, it has been stunning to see how crazy behavior has taken place right on TV, in plain sight, as our corporate "cable news" culture has started devouring the nation.

(All the obedient liberal careerists know they mustn't mention such things, except when the craziness can be seen on Fox.)

Even for her, Mika has been very strange in the past two days. On yesterday's tape, you can hear her offer her crazy, unexplained theory about Donald J. Trump's "misunderstood" play for Billy Bush.

Mika says Trump's play for Bush has been massively misunderstood. Joe tried and tried, then tried again, to dear God make her stop.

FIRST ACCUSER IN: External enemies, internal clans!


Interlude—As the machines break down:
"What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar."

The quip is commonly attributed to Senator Thomas R. Marshall, who went on to be Woodrow Wilson's vice president. The quip, which seems to have predated Marshall, has somehow lived on through the ages.

After yesterday's string of journalistic embarrassments, we're forced to disagree with Marshall's assessment. What this country really needs is a good external enemy, the better to stop the rise of the internal clans.

When we have a good external enemy—think of the old Soviet Union—we self-described humans can direct our tribal loathings in that external direction. In the absence of such a target, we tend to redirect our tribalistic instincts, aiming them at each other.

The machines we describe as "journalists" are hardly immune to these instincts. Yesterday's cable, and today's newspapers, make this point awkwardly clear.

Long ago and far away, these machines flew into action, declaring their instant belief in the accusations launched by Kathleen Willey. This was especially true of the guild's lovesick boys.

At the time, the machines had never set eyes on Willey. As such, they had no apparent way to assess her character or her general credibility.

But with the Soviet Union gone, tribal war had been declared on an internal enemy, President Clinton. Given this potent internal dynamic, the children stood in line to declare their belief in this newest accuser.

We'd planned to take you back through their professions of belief today. By the way:

One year later, one of Willey's crazy false accusations had almost gotten a journalist killed. Four years later, independent counsel Robert Ray formally stated that he'd considered prosecuting her for perjury, she had lied to his investigators so much.

Despite experiences like these, the machines persist in the desire to believe the first accuser in—indeed, to believe all accusers, on the spot, so long as their accusations serve the presuppositions of the internal clan. Absent a good external foe, nothing will ever stop the machines from firing off in such ways.

A continental nation can't long endure when the machines misfire this way. For this reason, we'll swap Marshall's nickel cigar for an external enemy.

With that in mind, we're going to postpone our depressing walk down memory lane until tomorrow. Yesterday, the machines misfired so many ways that we thought it deserved our attention.

As we've noted in recent weeks, it's all anthropology now! What kinds of life forms are we really? Beyond that, do we have any real skills, beyond our powerful drive for tribal loathing?

Yesterday, the machines misfired all through the day. We'll hit a few examples:

Donald J. Trump's offensive slur: Is the word "Pocahontas" an "offensive racial slur?" That's what we're encouraged to believe in this morning's Washington Post.

Yesterday, similar declarations ran wild on tribal cable. Before we mention CNN, let's consider the Post.

At the start of today's news report, Ashley Parker offers a convoluted construction on behalf of the internal clan:
PARKER AND ZEZIMA (11/28/17): Native American groups have long objected to President Trump’s use of the nickname “Pocahontas” to deride one of his political foes, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

But even at a White House event specifically intended to honor the World War II Navajo code talkers—the heroic Native Americans who helped the U.S. Marines send coded messages in the Pacific Theater—Trump couldn’t resist.

“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people,” Trump said Monday afternoon, speaking to a small group of code talkers. “You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her ‘Pocahontas.’ ”

Trump’s reference—unrelated to the ceremony and widely considered an offensive racial slur—seemed to catch the code talkers off-guard, prompting polite smiles and silence. The scene played out in front of a portrait of former president Andrew Jackson, who signed into law the Indian Removal Act.
It isn't clear what Parker is saying in the highlighted passage. But then, what else is new?

Presumably, "Pocahontas" isn't a racial slur in the way many other words are. It was, for instance, the title of a well-received Disney movie in 1995.

Specifically, Parker says that Trump's reference to Elizabeth Warren constituted the racial slur. And indeed, it wasn't just a racial slur; it was an offensive racial slur. Or at least, it's considered as such—rather, it's widely considered as such.

It's already somewhat unclear what Parker is claiming, but she's claiming it in the most internally pleasing way. The comedy comes when she starts quoting members of Native American groups—presumably, some of the very people who view Trump's comment that way.

Go ahead—read the report! Parker quote four different members of Native American groups. All four criticize Trump's comment.

All four people quoted by Parker criticize Trump's remark. But how rich! None of them describe the remark as a "racial slur," or in any similar manner. Despite the tragedies of our history, they're all able to "use their words" in more sophisticated ways.

The statement is "widely considered" to be a racial slur—an offensive slur at that. But how sad! Despite the wide reach of this opinion, Parker couldn't find a single person who described the remark that way. In these ways, these very slow misfiring machines help drive internal disorder.

By way of contrast, note the way Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports the same event in today's New York Times. In our view, Davis is much less inclined to misfire than most of the machines at our major news orgs.

In her report, Davis doesn't assert that Trump's comment was a racial slur. She does quote Elizabeth Warren describing the statement that way. Discuss!

Can we talk? The machines love to misfire concerning matters like this. CNN's Jim Acosta is a big, likable, good-looking lug who's strongly inclined to misfire. Yesterday, the big lug misfired instantly, comically informing the world of the "facts" concerning this matter:
ACOSTA (11/27/17): WH press sec says "Pocahontas" is not a racial slur. (Fact check: it is.)
This tweeted Acosta! Childishly, he describes his claim as a fact. The children are strongly inclined to misfire in such ways.

Frankenwatch—the question which went unasked: Yesterday afternoon, Al Franken haltingly discussed three women's claims that he has grabbed their keisters down through the years.

Franken hemmed and hawed a bit, then threw the floor open to questions.

Given Franken's fuzzy remarks about these claims, the follow-up question was obvious. Is he denying that he's ever grabbed a woman's keister in an unwanted fashion? Is he acknowledging that he has? Is he saying he might have done that, but he can't remember?

These questions were blindingly obvious. The children never managed to ask them. Franken returned to work.

Roy Moore and moral equivalence: At times of tribal war, the machines will always find a way to maintain the internal tribal imperative. In this morning's Washington Post, the eternally spotless Dana Milbank uncorks a pathetic example.

Milbank is responding to an obvious question. If Roy Moore is unfit to serve, what about Bill Clinton?

This question is blindingly obvious, if perhaps irrelevant now. The internal clan is charged with finding ways to avoid addressing this obvious question.

Because the machines have very few skills, they tend to offer the kind of answer Milbank gives today. In paraphrased form, here's what he says:

Roy Moore has been accused of molesting a child—a 14-year-old girl. Bill Clinton was never accused of anything as heinous as that, of misconduct involving a child.
Seriously, though, that's the way Milbank framed it! Clinton stands accused of violent rape, but Moore stands accused of molesting a child! Who could possibly see a moral equivalence there?

Thus spake Milbankthustra! But this is the way the machines will function absent an external foe.
Continuing breakdown on Morning Joe: Ever since the program went on the air, Morning Joe has been tangled up in peculiar displays of throwback gender politics.

When the show debuted, Joe would often rage at Mika is overtly gender-fried ways. Mika would retreat into herself. She would just sit there and take it.

Over the years, the pair evolved into a romantic couple, even as Mika continued to praise the greatness of her marriage in the "female empowerment" books she published for Weinstein Books. That said, the weird gender dynamics continue.

This morning, it finally dawned on the analysts—Mika is now being presented as a version of Lucy Ricardo. She goes on extended rants while Joe and the rest of the boys make sidelong cracks to one another about her ridiculous ways.

In fairness, her comments often are ridiculous. That was surely the case yesterday, in an event we'll transcribe this afternoon.

But this program's clownish entertainment features seem to have taken a new, dimwitted, throwback form, as Joe and the rest of the boys roll their eyes and shake their heads about the childish, uncontrollable girl-woman among them.

For part of today's performance, click here. Joe plays the role of the hen-pecked man who can't get a word in edgewise. "Hold on, Mika. If I could just talk for one second here," the poor guy says. "Can I say one more thing? I just want to say one more thing."

Other points to note on the tape:

Mika starts by pretending or claiming that she's unaware of what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said about Trump's "Pocahontas" remark. It's the first topic her program is going to discuss, and she claims she hasn't done the most basic background work.

Also this: by the end of the segment, Mika is insisting that General Kelly would never have backed Trump up in the way Sanders did! Has Mika Brzezinski been off the planet over the past few months?

Regarding consumption of product: On today's reimagined page A3, the New York Times informs us about the public's consumption of yesterday's news product.

The report that Prince Harry will wed "was Monday's most read article," the beaming newspaper reports. On Facebook, the article "attracted more than 10,000 'likes,'" the blushing newspaper says.

In its second post about yesterday's product consumption, the paper reports reaction to Stephen Marche's essay in the Sunday Review, which had "garnered more than 1,600 comments on by Monday."

We'll spare you the monster dumbness of the Times' subsequent remark about those reader comments. But since Marche's essay was the dumbest possible tribal treatment of a major worldwide problem, it was destined to be highlighted by the Times at a moment like this.

As Freud once mused, sometimes a good five-cent cigar is just a good five-cent cigar. Sometimes, though, an external enemy is needed to stop the destructive stampedes of the internal clans.

Tomorrow, we'll try to return to the past. Responding to the demands of the clan, the machines once staged an absurd stampede when Kathleen Willey presented an accusation.

Alas! Absent a good ten-dollar overseas threat, the machines will be inclined to reinvent themselves as internal clans. As any anthropologist could tell you, we machines are strongly inclined to devour our worlds from within.

It's happened down through the annals of time. It will happen again.

BREAKING: Egan spots the hate Over There!


Three snapshots of New York Times journalism:
Many people are upset with yesterday's profile of Tony Hovater, a 29-year-old Nazi sympathizer or maybe just plain old Nazi.

The profile appeared in the Sunday New York Times. The many complaints about the piece have already produced responses from the Times' national editor, Marc Lacey, and from Richard Fausset, the writer of the profile, who uses words like "koanic."

(According to Nexis, it's the only time the word has appeared in the Times in at least the past twenty years. In fact, Nexis has no record of the word ever having appeared in the Times. More on that issue tomorrow.)

In our view, Fausset's profile, and the subsequent statements by Fausset and Lacey, help us spot one basic problem with basic New York Times journalism. We'll plan to discuss Fausset's profile tomorrow. For today, let's consider two more pieces of work from the newspaper's weekend editions.

On Saturday, we thought Timothy Egan gave us a look at the type of tribal vision which can plague the Times. Egan built his op-ed column around the tired old hook concerning political awkwardness at large Thanksgiving gatherings.

Was your family's Turkey Day dinner awkward? As three thousand others have done, Egan linked this to the problem of life under Trump:
EGAN (11/25/17): In the Trump era, we’ve reached peak domestic hatred. Though it has been building for years, Americans of differing political views despise each other to a degree not seen in the modern era. Never, even at the height of impeachment fever around Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, did so much bile run through our waterways.

In 1960, just 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said they would be upset if their child married someone from the other party. By 2012, nearly half of all Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats said they would not welcome an in-law of the other party into the family.

But here’s one bright spot in the Divided States of Trump: In a strange way, he has also brought many of us together. Trump brings out the worst in his supporters, dragging them down to his adult day care center. By contrast, his opponents have become more inclusive.
We agree—this rampant "domestic hatred" is a major societal problem, as it was, let's say, in the 1850s. Egan starts by making it clear that the hatred tracks to Trump and to his supporters. Near the end of his column, Egan identifies another source of the hatred:
EGAN: The Big Sort—documented in a groundbreaking 2008 book of the same name—gets much of the blame for a landscape of ideological silos. Liberals are more urban, conservatives less so, and the twain seldom meet.

It’s one thing to be drawn to the like-minded, birds of a feather. It’s another to see the other birds as vile. For this, you can blame the right-wing press,
which has built a profitable industry on hatred of a caricatured “other.”
To Egan, the blames lies with the right-wing press, full and complete freaking stop.

In Egan's world, Hillary Clinton never hung that string of adjectives around the necks of The Deplorables, in a move which captured a pool of derision and animosity which has long been found Over Here. To Egan, the hatred is found Over There, full and complete freaking stop.

At this late date in the downward spiral, the blindness there is astonishing. Then too, one must consider all the garbage one is likely to meet in a jam-packed Sunday Times, especially in the Sunday Review.

In truth, the New York Times just isn't very sharp. The paper has long built its brand around the idea that it's the obvious place for extremely bright liberals like Us. That said, would any newspaper except the Times publish a piece as dumb as the one by the fiery, progressiver-than-thou Canadian opinionmeister, 41-year-old Stephen Marche?

In fairness, Marche is discussing a type of problem which has in fact plagued human history all over the world all through the annals of time. That said, in a paper as dumb as the New York Times, an opening paragraph like this will actually seem to make sense to editors,

exciting headline included:

MARCHE (11/26/17): The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido

After weeks of continuously unfolding abuse scandals, men have become, quite literally, unbelievable.
What any given man might say about gender politics and how he treats women are separate and unrelated phenomena. Liberal or conservative, feminist or chauvinist, woke or benighted, young or old, found on Fox News or in The New Republic, a man’s stated opinions have next to no relationship to behavior.
In the wake of the past few weeks, have all men "become, quite literally, unbelievable?" A sensible person would assume that no one could possibly mean to say that, but the fiery Marche seems up to the task as his virtuous shouting continues.

Only the New York Times would fail to see how dumb Marche's piece actually is. Before too long, the deeper-than-thou holy warrior is even offering this:
MARCHE: For most of history, we’ve taken for granted the implicit brutality of male sexuality. In 1976, the radical feminist and pornography opponent Andrea Dworkin said that the only sex between a man and a woman that could be undertaken without violence was sex with a flaccid penis: “I think that men will have to give up their precious erections,” she wrote. In the third century A.D., it is widely believed, the great Catholic theologian Origen, working on roughly the same principle, castrated himself.
It's true that male domination of women has been a problem in human societies down through the annals of time. It's also reasonable to assume that there issome biological basis for the impulses and behaviors in question.

That said, is Marche agreeing with the statement he quotes, which claims that "men will have to give up their precious erections?" To appearances, Marche was willing to journey back forty years to find a statement sufficiently peculiar and unhelpful.

Due to the peculiar logical form of Marche's paragraph, it's hard to know what Marche is actually asserting there; this general problem persists throughout his insufficiently flaccid effort. Only at the New York Times would some editor read this piece and fail to see that, as composed, it's silly, loud, unhelpful, fuzzy, self-glorying, stupid and dumb. If it's Sunday, work like this is perfect for the Review!

That said, the New York Times is a very dumb newspaper. It may be hard to grasp this fact, given the powerful branding which persistently signals the opposite. That said, it's the dumbness of Fausset's profile of the Nazi sympathizer or Nazi which most stood out to us.

All in all, the New York Times is a Hamptons-based social club which includes a wide array of strikingly slow learners. Tomorrow we'll turn to the Fausset profile and show you what we mean.

FIRST ACCUSER IN: Kathleen Willey was quickly believed!


Part 1—The culture of accusation:
Long ago and far away, Kathleen Willey was quickly believed.

You might even say that she inspired a stampede—a stampede of heartfelt belief. The stampede was staged by the nation's upper-end pundits—more specifically, by love-starved male pundits among them.

Over the course of the next several years, this stampede was followed by rigid applications of the various codes of silence which surround so much of the modern press corps' work. In these ways, the Willey case helps us ponder the modern culture of accusation, especially as it may be applied to the first accuser in.

Willey inspired the stampede to which we refer on Sunday, March 15, 1998. On that evening, she appeared on 60 Minutes and became a formal Bill Clinton accuser.

A string of pundits swore their belief. Let's establish a quick bit of background:

When Willey appeared on 60 Minutes, the nation's year of impeachment was roughly two months along. It had been two months since the claim had surfaced that Clinton had had some sort of affair with Monica Lewinsky, who was widely described in the press as a "21-year-old intern."

The Lewinsky stampede was in full bloom when Willey did 60 Minutes. On that program, Willey claimed that Clinton had groped her, right in the Oval Office, in November 1993, a bit more than five years earlier.

Because the larger stampede was on, pundits knew how to react. Upper-end pundits rushed to swear that they believed every word Willey said. This was especially true among our lovesick boy pundits.

They'd never set eyes on Willey before. Absent further examination, they had no apparent way to judge her general credibility or the accuracy of the story she told.

It wasn't clear how pundits could know that their new darling was telling the truth. But by this time, a basic premise seemed to obtain within our culture of accusation. That basic premise was this:

At least where Clinton is involved, you must believe the accusers!

You must believe the accusers! On this basis, lovesick male pundits stood in line to affirm every word Willey said. Tomorrow, we'll go back and review their embarrassing declarations.

Why do we say that these instant professions of belief seem somewhat embarrassing now? Easy! Over the next three years, Willey's basic credibility was undermined again and again.

Let us count some of the ways:

October 1998: By the fall of 1998, Willey's account of what happened with Clinton had been challenged in sworn testimony by Linda Tripp, her White House co-worker.

What did the press corps do when that sworn testimony was made public? What do you think the press corps did? The press corps covered it up!

May 1999: In May 1999, Willey made a crazy, provably false accusation against a Washington journalist—an accusation which was quickly shown to be false. The crazy accusation was aggressively bruited by the unconscionable Chris Matthews on his gruesome, Jack Welch-funded TV program, Hardball.

(No one loved Willey like Chris did.)

Willey's accusation was quickly shown to be false. In the meantime, a Hardball viewer had gone to the journalist's home with a gun. Mercifully, he was arrested before he could kill anyone.

Matthews had to go on the air several times to hem and haw about what he had done. How did the press corps handle this astonishing conduct?

How do you think they handled it? The press corps covered it up!

March 2002: In March 2002, Kenneth Starr’s successor as independent counsel released his final report on the endless Clinton probes. Robert Ray’s report included a special appendix about Willey.

In it, Ray noted that Willey “had given substantially different accounts in two sworn statements and had lied to the FBI about her relationship with a former boyfriend” (we quote a report in Newsday). In Nina Totenberg’s words, Ray “concluded that it was impossible to convict based on Willey’s words [because] she’d lied so many times, including to the prosecutors.”

According to the Ray report, it seemed that Ray had even considered prosecuting Willey for perjury, given the lies she told to his investigators. How did the press corps handle this array of new information about Willey?

Dearest darlings, use your heads! With a few extremely tiny exceptions, the press corps refused to report it!

Kathleen Willey went on to enjoy career as a crackpot, right-wing radio talk show host. There she was at the second Trump/Clinton debate last fall, presented as a truth-telling guest of Candidate Donald J. Trump.

To this day, very few people have ever heard about the various ways her credibility has been undermined, only some of which we have mentioned here.

How accurate was Willey's accusation against Bill Clinton? We can't quite tell you that.! But due to the press corps' prevailing culture, Willey's claims were instantly believed. Later evidence undermining her claims was, by law, disappeared.

This is the "journalistic" culture of our devolving nation. Tomorrow, we'll go back and review the instant judgments which were reached by an array of lovesick boys when Willey first appeared.

With apologies, we'll also start to float a question. Here it is:

When Leign Corfman's accusation against Roy Moore first appeared in the Washington Post, did it make sense for fiery liberals to stampede off and instantly say they believed her?

We know of no reason to doubt Corfman's claims. For that reason, we'll offer apologies for raising this obvious question.

But on the day Corfman's claim first appeared, there was no second accuser charging Moore with sexual assault. Leigh Corfman was first accuser in. Should our new generation of silly children have stampeded off to say that they believed her accusation?

Once again, we'll apologize for asking that question. But when Kathleen Willey was gifted with universal belief, a gunman showed up at a journalist's house, furious about a later false accusation.

Should the children have remembered that when they stampeded a few week ago? Dearest darlings, use your heads! Few of the children had ever heard this history. Their elders had kept it from them!

We covered all these matters in real time. Later, we covered them all again. But any such effort is totally pointless. Within our modern "press corps" culture, information plays almost no role.

At this award-winning site, it's all anthropology now! The sheer stupidity of press corps behavior has taken us to a whole new place.

Once you disregard our own millennia of self-praise, what kinds of creatures are we "humans" really? What tiny skills do we really possess? With what are we left after that?

We'll be exploring these questions all week, along with several others.

Tomorrow: Embarrassing statements of lovesick belief from the nation's silliest boys

INEPT WITHOUT END, AMEN: Goldberg believes, Gene Lyons don't!


Part 5—It's all anthropology now:
Below, we'll show you some things Gene Lyons said about Juanita Broaddrick this week—about the accuser Michelle Goldberg has newly declared she believes.

First, though, a quick overview:

On Friday morning, November 10, the Washington Post published its first report about Roy Moore's conduct in the late 1970s.

In that 3900-word report, Leigh Corfman, an Alabama woman, alleged that Moore molested her in 1979, when she was 14 years old.
The report also cited three apparent "supporting witnesses," though they may not have seemed like supporting witnesses depending on the extent to which you longed to stampede.

Corfman was alleging a serious crime. From that day to this, the work of our pseudo-liberal elite has been inept all the way down.

Good God! So many questions:
Just for starters, four questions:

1) Should people have assumed that Corfman's claims were true, right there that first day?

2) Should liberals have started name-calling the "If true" crowd—the people who didn't state an instant verdict?

3) Should people have regarded those apparent "supporting witnesses" as actual supporting witnesses?

4) Even now, should people be describing Moore as an "accused pedophile," given, for example, the meaning of the latter term?
Other questions pop into our heads as we watch the stampede of the pseudo-liberals. For example, do these life forms understand the meaning of terms like "alleged" and accused?"

Judging by parts of their current stampede, it isn't real clear that they do.

For ourselves, we know of no reason to doubt what Corfman told the Washington Post. We also know of no obvious way to swear on a stack of corporate liberals that her statements are accurate.

This is a basic problem which arises when we turn out politics into a series of accusations involving private behavior. Such accusations can be very hard to judge even in court. In the realm of public debate, the task becomes nearly impossible.

Most likely, a continental nation can't long endure once it decides to conduct its politics in this exciting way. But then, who cares about that?

Here at this award-winning site, we're not sure we've ever seen The Dumbness surpass the level it's reached in the two weeks since that first Post report. We'll only say this:

In the wake of this latest stampede, it's pretty much all anthropology now! We're no longer involved in press critique at this award-winning site. We're involved in scientific description of a badly misfiring life form, a life form about which sacred Aristotle was just hopelessly wrong.

Is man (sic) really the rational animal? So said the sacred Greek!

Today, we can see that he was hopelessly wrong. Today, it's abundantly clear that man (sic) is really the tribal animal, or perhaps the stampeding animal. Also, following sacred Wittgenstein, man (sic) is the animal which has trouble with words.

At some point, we may return to Professor Horwich with respect to that latter point. Today, let's look at what Lyons said this week with respect to Juanita Broaddrick, an accuser of Bill Clinton.

In the stampede which followed that Post report, the New York Times' Michelle Goldberg swallowed a snootful and wrote a column which bore this virtue-signalling headline:

I Believe Juanita

They're on a first-name basis now! Quite a few children cheered.

That said, there was no sign in Goldberg's column that she had any idea what she was talking about, or any clear basis for her shiny new belief. Sadly, the children were launching a new stampede, one which would distinguish their stampedes from those of their pseudo-liberal elders.

Sillily, Goldberg pretended to explain why she now believes Juanita, concerning whom Lyons has written such things as the text reproduced below perhaps ten million times.

We're omitting material from Lyons' column; you should peruse the full text. As Goldberg may have heard at some point, Lyons has written two books on these topics, one of which he co-authored with Joe Conason:
LYONS (3/22/17): Maybe something happened between then-Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton and Juanita Broaddrick in a Little Rock hotel room in 1979. Also, maybe not. However, to accuse a man of a vile crime like rape requires serious evidence. And I'm sorry, but there simply never was any, apart from Broaddrick's unverifiable tale—one she'd previously denied three times under oath and penalty of perjury.

Then after falling into the hands of [Kenneth] Starr and his team of prosecutorial bedsheet sniffers, she sang a different tune.


[Broaddrick had] filed an affidavit and given a sworn deposition in the Paula Jones lawsuit.

"During the 1992 Presidential campaign," Broaddrick swore, "there were unfounded rumors and stories circulated that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late '70s. Newspaper and tabloid reporters hounded me and my family, seeking corroboration of these tales. I repeatedly denied the allegations and requested that my family's privacy be respected. These allegations are untrue and I had hoped that they would no longer haunt me, or cause further disruption to my family."

So no, I don't know, and neither do you.
With apologies to George Carlin, you'll note that Lyons said the three words you aren't allowed to say on cable TV or in a New York Times column. Lyons said these three dirty words:

I don't know.

In the manner of the tribal animal, Goldberg moved from "I don't know" to "I believe" in the course of a single paragraph. That said, the story of our own liberal tribe is plainly ineptitude all the way down.

Allowing for the intermingling of simple dishonesty, it's been that way for at least the past twenty-five years.

Why did Broaddrick change her story when Ken Starr arrived on the scene? Like Lyons, we have no way of knowing, if you know what "knowing" means.

That said, Lyons went on to sketch the outlines of one possible explanation. Note! When we say it's "possible," that means we don't know if it's true:
LYONS (continuing directly): This too: Juanita Broaddrick ran a nursing home facility reliant on Medicaid and Medicare funding—a motherlode of potential federal crimes. Not because she was crooked. There's zero evidence of that. But that wouldn't have mattered once Starr's prosecutors put her on the rack.

You wouldn't have thought they'd question the legality of [Julie] Steele's adopted child either. But they did.

So did Juanita choose the easier path? Which time?

The FBI couldn't decide.
Uh-oh! Lyons suggested a possibility—the possibility that Starr's team threatened Broaddrick with legal actions, perhaps dishonestly, in ways which made her flip on her previous statements. Given the overall conduct of Starr's team, that possibility is depressingly real, unless you're a somewhat small child.

Goldberg says that didn't happen. But how does this tribal star know this?

We suggest you read all of Lyons' column, in which he suggests you read the book he wrote with Conason. That will never affect this discussion, of course. Within the realm of the corporate "press," the talking Ken and Barbie dolls all say this when poked or squeezed:

Reading books is hard!

Did Bill Clinton rape Juanita Broaddrick? Like Lyons, Goldberg can't exactly know. She does know how to type this:

"It's fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick's allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society."

We default to our earlier question. Does this ridiculous person actually know what the word "allegations" means?

Our advice to you would be this:

If you want to understand the world in which we live; if you want to understand our tapidly failing nation; then you have to come to terms with this anthropological fact:

Aristotle was clownishly wrong about us so-called humans! The hirelings thrown at you by the corporate press tend to be the tribal and status-seeking animals, with "rational" lagging behind.

Hints of the rational may appear. But they're not required.

Should you "believe the accusers," full stop, no questions asked? Plainly, no, you shouldn't do that, and there's something else you should avoid.

You shouldn't believe the TV stars and the stampeding columnists. Our tendency to believe these types has proven to be extremely bad for the planet's troubled health.

Coming next week: Back to that first Post report. Also, Moore meets Leslie Caron!

TRIBE WITHOUT END, AMEN: We (almost) agree with that tweet by Chris Hayes!


Part 4—Adopting the tribal pose:
Lawrence was just especially smarmy on this Monday night's Last Word.

He stuck his big long nose quite deep into somebody's underwear drawer. Is Lawrence our sickly tribe's number-one Dimmesdale? At times, we get that sense.

Lawrence is never especially shy about assuming the pose. We'll likely explore his recent conduct in our reports next week.

That said, Lawrence is also technically smart, and he's experienced inside the Congress. In part for those reasons, you sometimes hear accurate statements about real things on Lawrence's "cable news" show.

On Monday evening, November 13, viewers of Lawrence's ludicrous program got to hear an accurate statement about a major point of concern. The statement was made by Wendy Sherman, a former State Department official under Hillary Clinton.

Sherman's statement came near the end of a segment about—who else?—Roy Moore.

Needless to say, the segment didn't involve Moore's very strange political career, which is too boring for cable. The segment involved his real, imagined and alleged sex life forty years ago, including allegations of sexual assault. More and more, that's the type of high-octane fuel our partisan cable runs on.

Sherman's statement was thoroughly accurate, and also hugely important. It's also true, of course, that absolutely nobody cares:
SHERMAN (11/13/17): All over the world, girls face assault. Everything from people who are just creeps to rape, to sexual assault, to child marriage. These are issues which we have to put out in the open and as I said at the beginning, Lawrence, at the end of the day, this is about power. I know that lots of people feel powerless. But when you feel powerless, the way to gain power is not to assault a child.
To watch the whole segment, click here.

Sherman's statement was accurate. Her claims are true about girls (and women) all over the world. Those claims are also also true about girls and women right here in our own failing nation. This includes the "little girls" concerning whom her smarmy host enjoys adopting the pose.

It's also true that, within the culture of "cable news," nobody gives a flying fark about any of this. Within the world of "cable news," mistreatment of women and girls mainly exists to be weaponized, as does everything else.

What doesn't exist to be weaponized in our tribal wars? Remember when our cable stars pretended to be upset about the fact that Sgt. LaDavid Johnson's widow hadn't been permitted to see his body, apparently despite regulations?

A month has passed since we struck that pose. On cable TV, at your liberal sites, have you heard a single subsequent word about that?

Answer: Of course you haven't! No one on cable actually cared about that 25-year-old widow's concerns. Cable had simply launched a complaint designed to create a more perfect tribal union—a way to help cable stars like Lawrence make it through the night. That's why you've seen no follow-up about our heartfelt pose.

In our view, the segment in which Sherman spoke was also highly tribal. That day, a second accuser had come forward to say that Roy Moore had assaulted her when she was a teenager.

This second accuser, Beverly Young Johnson, said Moore violently attacked her in his car on a darkened parking lot in late 1979 or early 1980. In this way, Johnson became the second woman to allege a sexual assault by Moore. But because we're dealing with tribal cable, she was listed as the fifth accuser of Moore on Lawrence's smarmy show.

In the days to come, we'll look at the way our failing tribe processed the statements made by our alleged second, third and fourth accusers. But on this night, Lawrence was reacting to Johnson's account, which had appeared that day.

In the manner of tribal cable, Lawrence had assembled a panel of three guests, all of whom were going to say The Exact Same Things about the matters at hand. Lawrence's viewers wouldn't be asked to hear some possible range of reactions.

That practice has ceased on MSNBC. On cable, Our tribe has gone totally tribal, even more so than Theirs.

Two of the people to whom Lawrence spoke that night had ties to Bill or Hillary Clinton. Sherman had served under Hillary Clinton in the State Department. Neera Tanden, a second guest, had worked on at least of Bill Clinton's presidential campaigns, and had then served as policy director on Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign.

Needles to say, there's nothing wrong with any of that. That said, we were struck, that Monday night, by the tribal pomposity of the discussion Lawrence occasioned.

As noted, all three of Lawrence's guests said the same things during this discussion. This is the way Lawrence's program is booked.

All three guests said the things we liberal tribals wanted to hear. We thought the problem with the segment became most clear in these remarks by Maria Teresa Kumar, who seems to be a perfectly decent and sensible person:
O'DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar, your reaction to what Beverly Nelson Young had to say today.

KUMAR: I think it's devastating but I think it also highlights that the Republican Party has a lot of—has to bear a lot of the burden of this, because we had the exact same allegations literally a year ago, Lawrence, on this show, with woman after woman coming after saying, "Look, Donald Trump groped me. Donald Trump crossed the line. He sexually harassed me."

And at that time, when the Republican Party could have said, "Yes, this is not OK, we stand and we believe the women," they decided to send in a sexual predator to the White House. Now, they have bigger problem on their hands because you have a party that—where people feel that they can have a political career based on what they saw as a pathway to higher leadership office. And that is the danger.

It is great that Mitch McConnell came out today, but they need to do more. They need to show more. They need to believe the women, because it's not one. The reason that Roy Moore may not remember Beverly is because there's so many other women that are hiding in the shadows that are afraid to come forward, and it's time that we have an honest, frank conversation of what leadership truly means. And that means making sure that women are safe in the workplace, that little girls are safe where they are, and that the community comes forward.

The fact that the Alabama paper came out saying that, yes, it was known that the district attorney would literally go around the mall and at high school games trying to date young girls, that should have, literally the whole community should have come out in protest. But instead, they decided to elect him year after year.
Kumar nailed every requisite point. Let's create a list:
Requisite standard wholly familiar easily memorized points:
1) Last year, the Republican Party decided to send a sexual predator to the White House.
2) Instead, they should have stood and said, "We believe the women."
3) Republicans need to believe the women accusing Moore because it's more than one.
According to Kumar, Republicans need to believe the women accusing Moore, because there are more than one.

In part, that statement was accurate, though by our count, there were now two accusers. If you listened to Lawrence, the count that night stood at five.

At any rate, Kumar had rattled off the requisite points. In our view, the sanctimony was rather high this night. This is why we say that:

As we watched Lawrence's segment, we couldn't help thinking of the way this segment appeared "as seen by Others." Uh-oh! All across this bustling nation, conservatives would react to Kumar's presentation in a wholly predictable, not blatantly crazy way:

They would make an easily memorized statement. They would say that people like Sherman, Tanden and Kumar had in fact refused to "believe the women" when the women in question had been accusing Bill Clinton!

All over the country, that's thought wwould have occurred to The Others. We're forced to say that this highly familiar point, however fair or unfair in the end, does make perfect sense on its face.

Did Republicans decide to send a sexual predator to the White House? All across the nation, but never once on our own tribal channel, people would say that that was what we Democrats did, first in 1992, then again in 1996.

As we watched three people All Say The Same Things that night, we marveled at the broken state of our public discourse. We marvelled at the very idea that we liberals can watch Lawrence's ridiculous show without noting how scripted the program is—in this instance, without wondering what Sherman, Tanden and Kumar would have said if they'd been asked this blindingly obvious question:
The obvious question:
Isn't that what Democrats did in 1996?
That obvious question would pop into the heads of tens of millions of people. But of one thing you can be certain:

On Lawrence's treacly, smarmy program, that obvious question will never be asked! You'll never see guests like Sherman, Tanden and Kumar asked to provide reples!

This Wednesday night, Lawrence signed off with a heartfelt recollection of the death of Dear Jack in November 1963.

It seems fairly clear that this selfsame Jack Kennedy assaulted a 19-year-old intern, right there in the White House, when he was president. Based on the highly credible way the story is told, we'd pretty much call it a rape.

Lawrence doesn't talk about that. Instead, Lawrence discusses Roy Moore, then lovingly strokes himself as he helps us remember Dear Jack.

This is the way our smarmy corporate hosts toy with us, and with the nation, on cable. As we watched Lawrence listen to Sherman, Kumar and Tanden, we wondered what his guests would have said about "believing the women" when the women are Others.

That's why we agree with Chris Hayes' brave bold tweet, though only in theory, and only up to a point. His tweet suggested that we fiery liberals should start addressing the matter of Bill Clinton's accusers.

Hayes triggered that column by Michelle Goldberg; after that came Ross Douthat and others. A rather large pile of manifest dumbness emerged from Hayes' brave bold tweet, in which we suspect that the brave bold Hayes was perhaps and maybe possibly striking a bit of a pose.

Could it be that Hayes was striking a pose? We aren't sure! Does anyone emerge from cable with his soul intact?

Coming in part 5: Kathleen Willey v. Leigh Corfman

Expected next week: Roy Moore in Hollywood!

PEEPING TOMS WITHOUT END, AMEN: Goldberg, haunted, says she believes!


Part 3—We don't exactly believe her:
Last Tuesday morning, Michelle Goldberg revealed herself as one of the great woman-haters.

Goldberg is the New York Times' newest hapless columnist. In her column that day, she stooped so low as to say that she actually doesn't "believe the accusers," not even if they're women:

"[W]e can't treat the feminist injunction to 'believe women' as absolute."

Believe it or not, she said that! In fairness, we should probably present Goldberg's fuller statement, in which she reveals that her thought were triggered by the tweet heard round the world.

Dramatic headline included, here's how Goldberg's column began. The tweet in question had come from Chris Hayes, with whom Goldberg has erred in the past:
GOLDBERG (11/14/17): I Believe Juanita

On Friday evening the MSNBC host Chris Hayes sent out a tweet that electrified online conservatives: ''As gross and cynical and hypocritical as the right's 'what about Bill Clinton' stuff is, it's also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.'' Hayes's tweet inspired stories on Glenn Beck's The Blaze, Breitbart and The Daily Caller, all apparently eager to use the Clinton scandals to derail discussions about Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in Alabama who is accused of sexually assaulting minors.

Yet despite the right's evident bad faith, I agree with Hayes. In this #MeToo moment, when we're reassessing decades of male misbehavior and turning open secrets into exposes, we should look clearly at the credible evidence that Juanita Broaddrick told the truth when she accused Clinton of raping her. But revisiting the Clinton scandals in light of today's politics is complicated as well as painful. Democrats are guilty of apologizing for Clinton when they shouldn't have. At the same time, looking back at the smear campaign against the Clintons shows we can't treat the feminist injunction to ''believe women'' as absolute.
Hayes had tweeted out an exciting thought, one he doesn't seem prepared to discuss on his "cable news" program.

That said, we agree with Hayes too, up a point. We'll discuss this matter on Friday, with reference to Lawrence's treacly propaganda from last Monday night.

Goldberg's fuller statement may persuade us that she isn't the world's most heinous misogynist. It's true that she doesn't believe all accusers of President Clinton, but she says she does at least believe one.

She even says she's "haunted" by that accuser. We don't exactly believe that statement, and we think her column was sad.

At the New York Times, it has always been good politics to believe the worst about both Clintons. Along the way, the paper's stars also spent several years inventing claims about Candidate Gore.

This sent Candidate Bush to the White House. Of one belief you can feel certain—pseudoprogressive careerists like Goldberg and Hayes will never discuss such facts.

Triggered by Hayes, Goldberg joined the latest stampede, the one in which the children say we should thrash back through the accusations directed at President Clinton. Again, we don't exactly disagree, as we'll discuss in Part 4.

Goldberg joined the stampede last Tuesday morning. Five days later, Ross Douthat followed, having "skimmed" some yellowing news reports and "leafed" through several books.

In our view, the IQ level of Douthat's column was extremely low. In the main, he said that he's sadly come to think that President Clinton "deserved to be impeached."

Does Douthat know that he was impeached? He never quite made that clear. He principally focused on Monica Lewinsky. Along the way, he clanged several gongs, in passages such as these:
DOUTHAT (11/19/17): [W]ith Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, we know what happened: A president being sued for sexual harassment tried to buy off a mistress-turned-potential-witness with White House favors, and then committed perjury serious enough to merit disbarment. Which also brought forward a compelling allegation from Juanita Broaddrick that the president had raped her.

The longer I spent with these old stories, the more I came back to a question: If exploiting a willing intern is a serious enough abuse of power to warrant resignation, why is obstructing justice in a sexual harassment case not serious enough to warrant impeachment? Especially when the behavior is part of a longstanding pattern that also may extend to rape?


[The Democrats] had an opportunity, with Al Gore waiting in the wings, to show a predator the door and establish some moral common ground for a polarizing country.

And what they did instead—turning their party into an accessory to Clinton's appetites, shamelessly abandoning feminist principle, smearing victims and blithely ignoring his most credible accuser, all because Republicans funded the investigations and they're prudes and it's all just Sexual McCarthyism—feels in the cold clarity of hindsight like a great act of partisan deformation.
We'll make a sad admission. We've spent much more time than most other folk exploring these old episodes. Despite our painful experience, we're not entirely sure what Douthat means in various parts of those passages.

Is Lewinsky the "mistress-turned-potential-witness" Clinton tried to "buy off with White House favors?" If so, was she a "potential witness" in the Paula Jones matter?

We'll be honest. We don't understand what Douthat means—but then again, neither does anyone else who read his excited column. Meanwhile, was Clinton a "predator" in the case of Lewinsky? Did he really "exploit a willing intern" in their sporadic affair, which extended over several years?

It's thrilling to use such exciting language. Also, to describe Lewinsky as Clinton's "most credible accuser," if that's who Douthat is talking about in that somewhat fuzzy passage.

That said, has Lewinsky ever "accused" Clinton of anything? We refuse to waste our time parsing back through this exciting sexy-time story, but hasn't Lewinsky made it clear that she doesn't regard herself as a victim, and that she hasn't ever "accused" The Big He of anything?

Douthat's column was exciting for the peeping Tom crowd, but it was hard to parse. He seems to have been somewhat selective in the books he chose to "leaf" through last week, though it may well be that's he's never heard of some of the volumes he missed.

He also excised one whole element of these accusations—the extent to which this era's various accusations were intertwined with "the smear campaign against the Clintons" to which Goldberg refers.

Goldberg's aware of that crackpot campaign. In the column in which she proclaimed her selective belief, she was even prepared to describe it:
GOLDBERG: The Clinton years, in which epistemological warfare emerged as a key part of the Republican political arsenal, show us why we should be wary of allegations that bubble up from the right-wing press. At the time, the reactionary billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife was bankrolling the Arkansas Project, which David Brock, the former right-wing journalist who played a major role in it, described as a ''multimillion-dollar dirty tricks operation against the Clintons.'' Various figures in conservative media accused Bill Clinton of murder, drug-running and using state troopers as pimps. Brock alleges that right-wing figures funneled money to some of Clinton's accusers.

In this environment, it would have been absurd to take accusations of assault and harassment made against Clinton at face value.
That's all true. It's also true that the existence of that crackpot "right-wing conspiracy" doesn't mean that every accusation against Bill Clinton simply had to be false.

An accusation can be true even if it's being pushed by people waist-deep in The Crazy. As she continued, Goldberg—reasoning like a 10-year-old child—explained why she doesn't believe one accuser, but does believe another:
GOLDBERG (continuing directly): On Monday, Caitlin Flanagan, perhaps taking up Hayes's challenge, urged liberals to remember some of what Clinton is said to have done. ''Kathleen Willey said that she met him in the Oval Office for personal and professional advice and that he groped her, rubbed his erect penis on her, and pushed her hand to his crotch,'' Flanagan wrote, recalling the charges Willey first made in 1998. It sounds both familiar and plausible. But Willey also accused the Clintons of having her husband and then her cat killed. Must we believe that, too?


Of the Clinton accusers, the one who haunts me is Broaddrick.
The story she tells about Clinton recalls those we've heard about Weinstein. She claimed they had plans to meet in a hotel coffee shop, but at the last minute he asked to come up to her hotel room instead, where he raped her. Five witnesses said she confided in them about the assault right after it happened. It's true that she denied the rape in an affidavit to Paula Jones's lawyers, before changing her story when talking to federal investigators. But her explanation, that she didn't want to go public but couldn't lie to the F.B.I., makes sense. Put simply, I believe her.
Goldberg says she doesn't believe Kathleen Willey. She vastly under-reports the challenges to Willey's credibility, including the time that a blatantly false accusation by Willey almost got a journalist killed.

Goldberg skipped past much of that. But then, she's trying to assess an entire, crackpot decade in just 800 words.

She ends up saying that she rejects Willey's story because of the craziness concerning the alleged dead cat. Heroically, she proceeds to say that she does believe Broaddrick.

She even says she's "haunted" by Broaddrick. We aren't real sure we believe that.

Is Goldberg haunted by Broaddrick? When Norman Maclean was "haunted by rivers," he wrote an autobiographical novella about it (A River Runs Through It).

Has Goldberg been haunted by Broaddrick all these years? If so, where's the beef? Has Goldberg ever written about the person who has her haunted? Or have we possibly captured Goldberg in a bit of a pose?

People, we're just asking!

Down through the many long years, posing and faking have been endemic among our corporate pseudoliberal journalists. Is Goldberg posing and faking here?

We can't answer that question.

That said, is Goldberg really able to say whether Broaddrick's story is true? We'd have to say that she pretty much isn't. We can think of several "credible" novels in which Broaddrick's claim would either be knowingly false, or would represent an unfair assessment of an actual encounter.

How does Goldberg know what's true? We're inclined to suggest that she doesn't.

Is it possible that Broaddrick's story is accurate? Yes, it certainly is.

It's also possible that it isn't! With that point in mind, we'd also say that people older than ten years old know how to write sentences like these:
I'm inclined to believe Juanita.
On balance, I tend to believe Juanita.
I can't really say that I disbelieve Juanita.
I can't be sure of course.
Grown people, even including upper-end journalists, are willing to traffic in nuance. Under-skilled people like Douthat and Goldberg have produced death all over the world in the past twenty-five years.

Having said these things, we'll say it again! We don't exactly disagree with the highly explosive tweet from the morally upright Hayes.

He won't discuss the tweet on his show. On Friday, we'll limn it right here.

Friday: Lawrence's latest fine pose