BREAKING: Kevin Drum seems to make sense about teens!

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018

Not that it makes any difference:
We awoke this morning 1) deeply worried about Trump and Bolton and 2) saddened by what we saw on CNN last night.

We haven't even gotten around to the factual errors we saw pundits make about decades-old figures like Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky. (Script never dies in our world.)

Then too, there's 1) the alleged threat, later proven false, which almost got Cody Shearer killed, along with 2) the alleged threat Hillary Clinton is said to have unloaded on Juanita Broaddrick.

(We mention those decades-old alleged threats as we wait for Stephanie Clifford to unveil the new alleged threat her shameless lawyer has been pimping—a new alleged threat which could, of course, turn out to be real.)

When our society drowns in press corps bullshit, everything else tends to stop. For that reason, we recommend this post by Kevin Drum, in which he offers an explanation for improved behavior by teens.

Along the way, Drum blames "psychologists, sociologists, and other academics" for the fact that it's impossible to get sensible explanations into the modern idea flow. We'll only note that it's The Economist which he quotes as it offers weak explanations for teen-age improvement, and The Economist is a journalistic org.

Our brains weren't designed for a world like this. We're in way over our heads.

BREAKING: A portrait of the liberal subscriber!

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018

Can't wait for Sunday night:
You can't say we didn't warn you.

Once we let the press corps start discussing (consensual) sex, that's all they'll want to do, we said.

Too often, it's also the only thing we rubes want to hear about. And our powers of discrimination are amazingly weak in this area.

Consider the letter the New York Times chose to publish today. It's full of standard cant about the current sex chase.

Stormy may have photos of Don! Sadly, it opens like this:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (3/23/18): Re “The Calm Before the Stormy,” by Frank Bruni (column, March 21): We have a former porn star, a former Playboy model and a former “Apprentice” contestant all credibly accusing a president of the United States of sexual predation.
Really? Are Stephanie Clifford and Karen McDougal really accusing Donald J. Trump of "sexual predation?"

Even after all these years—even in this "MeToo moment"—we seem to have a very hard time with the concept of consent. And when the Times gets a letter which includes this conflation, the letter gets pushed into print.

Before too long, the letter will make silly claims about the way a non-disclosure agreement relates to Donald Trump's marriage vows. As the letter closes, our alter ego will make a sad statement like this:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (3/23/18): I for one cannot wait for Sunday’s broadcast of the Stormy Daniels interview on “60 Minutes”!
He can't wait for Sunday night! Sunday will be so cool!

As we liberals produce such piddle, which the New York Times will print, the disordered man who sits in the White House may be moving toward war. This raises two basic questions:

Is it possible that Donald J. Trump would start a war to tweak an election campaign? Could he be that sick?

Is it possible that he would start a war to undermine the Mueller probe? Could he be that deranged?

Could he be that crazy, that sick? We'll guess the answer could be yes, but we haven't seen these questions discussed. Two months ago, the New York Times (and others) announced that we really shouldn't be discussing such sensitive topics.

Our brain developed long ago as our forebears crawled from the swamp. It wasn't built for these cable news times, with con men eager to interview Clifford for distraction and amusement.

Cooper played the fool last night. Sunday night will likely be worse. Once we let this bullshit start, the children just never stop.

BREAKING: "Watch the interview," TPM says!

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018

As Josh Marshall correctly said, "Why?"
Gag us! The headline at TPM says this:
Karen McDougal Details Relationship With Trump In CNN Interview (VIDEO)
In the actual TPM report, Caitlin McNeal regurgitates treacle, then says this:

"Watch the interview via CNN:"

All you have to do is click. She provides a way to watch!

"Watch the interview," McNeal said. We have a good answer: Why?

Twenty-six years after Gennifer Flowers hijacked an election with an account which she almost surely made up, why are we still being told to watch someone babble on and on about consensual sex?

Why are we supposed to watch that? Why are we supposed to pretend that it's some sort of #MeToo story?

What makes us so gillible, so slimy, so dumb? Just last week, Josh Marshall asked the right question when he spoke a certain slime merchant:
MARSHALL (3/16/18): Let's launch right into it. First question, sort of a "devil's advocate" question:

Why does the public need to know about Stormy Daniels' story at all? My understanding from that 2011 interview is that it's a consensual relationship. So why is this a public story? Why does it matter?
The lawyer didn't answer that question. But it was the right question then, and it's the right question now.

Why does the public need to know about Karen McDougal's consensual f**king? About her consensual f**king in the year 2006?

Putting the question a bit more precisely:

Why should we invite the public to be distracted by McDougal's nonstop talk about her consensual f**king? And why on earth would Caitlin MacNeal tell us to sit down and watch?

We let Gennifer Flowers run this gong-show back in 1992. Her story was almost surely bogus. We assume McDougal's story is true.

Still and all, why in the world would anyone want to stop and listen to this? Why in the world are liberal journalists urging people to watch?

Once it starts it never stops! Donald J. Trump is girding for war. We can't stop watching The Sex.

FEMINIST HERO: Donald J. Trump prepares for war!

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018

Epilogue—While Anderson diddles top Playmate:
In our view, the headlines on Fred Kaplan's new piece at Slate pretty much says it all.

Here's how the piece is currently teased on the site's front page:
It’s Time to Panic Now
John Bolton’s appointment as national security adviser puts us on a path to war.
Kaplan says Trump is headed for war. Last night, the first hour of Anderson's Playpen, the CNN program, began in a similar way.

Briefly, Cooper teased the upcoming fun with former Playmate Karen McDougal. But then, the heir apparent to Pee Wee Herman discussed the Bolton appointment with a pair of analysts, including David Gergen.

Gergen expressed his concern about Bolton's appointment. At one point, the two gents even said this:
GERGEN (3/22/18): [Trump] has thrown off the training wheels and essentially says, "I can do this on my own." But he's surrounded himself in the meantime with hard-liners.

The idea that Bolton is simply going to present him with the views of everybody else—

COOPER: And won't, quote, "start any wars"—

GERGEN: And won't start any wars— He is going to have strong views himself.
Bolton is going to start some wars! He won't need Donald J. Trump!

Cooper permitted a bit of this—but then, at 8:11 PM, reality screeched to a halt. Cooper teased McDougal again, then brought her on at 8:15, after a commercial break designed to pay his huge salary.

(How much is Anderson Cooper paid? You aren't allowed to know.)

Finally! Finally, Cooper could enjoy some good solid "cable news" fun with his latest Playmate! There followed a surprisingly incompetent interview with McDougal, who wants the nation to hear about her endless consensual f**king with Trump, mainly in 2006, but also in 2007!

(We attribute our lexicography to the new and improved S***n.)

McDougal went on, and on and on, about all her consensual f**king with Trump. And dear God! At one point, our analysts realized, to their chagrin, that Cooper had extended the endless interview fun into the 9 PM hour!

Finally, the talk about all the f**king was done. By 9:30, a panel of pundits were noting the basic facts Cooper had failed to nail down.

We can't quote what the pundits said. Presumably for financial reasons, CNN hasn't posted transcripts for the two hours of last evening's Anderson's Playpen.

As we type, the network has posted transcripts for its 7, 10 and 11 PM hours, but not for the 8 and 9 PM hours. Presumably, this is being done for some financial reason.

That said, we can tell you this:

The pundits noted that Cooper had failed to establish some basic factual points. McDougal seemed to say that she had wanted her exciting story to be killed by AMI, corporate arm of The National Enquirer. She wanted them to kill her story about all the f**king when she signed her AMI contract.

Within that somewhat surprising context, Cooper failed to establish the basis upon which McDougal is now suing the giant of sleaze. Starting around 9:30, several pundits noted that Cooper had failed to establish this point.

Speaking of giants of sleaze, Cooper spent the bulk of the evening diddling his new favorite Playpen Pal. This Sunday night, on 60 Minutes, hes going to do this same darn thing, this time with Stephanie Clifford!

(Will she have her underpants on? Avenatti says you'll have to tune in to see!)

Last night, Cooper and McDougal went on and on, then on and on, hashing out all the consensual f**king. As Cooper and his Playmate did this, Kaplan was preparing his warning:

Trump is headed for war!


Has there ever been an evening on "cable news" when our basic thesis became more clear? The life forms you see on your "cable news" programs almost surely aren't human!

That panel of pundits spent some time discussing Anderson's interview. Eventually, Dana Bash made the definitive point:

"I couldn't stop watching," she said. That's the anthropological point we've made again and again!

Increasingly, there's a very good chance that Donald J. Trump is going to start a real war. Regarding us humans, we'll only say this:

We simply weren't built for this game.

Also this: A new Podcast at Slate bears this title, as seen out on Slate's front page:
Is Stormy Daniels a Feminist Hero?
To hear the Podcast, just click here. We'll try to force ourselves to discuss what was said in an afternoon post.

BREAKING: Health care spending still can't be discussed!


A letter in today's Times:
Health care spending still can't be discussed! We base our pronouncement on a letter in today's New York Times.

The letter responds to a recent Times report concerning our excessive spending. Rge report appeared in the hard-copy Times on March 14. Today's letter looks something like this:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (3/22/18): Re “Why Is U.S. Health Care So Expensive? Some of the Reasons You’ve Heard Turn Out to Be Myths” (The Upshot, March 13):

It’s true that “analysts are fond of describing the system as wasteful, with too many patients getting too many services.” But those of us on the front lines know that large segments of the population have no real access to quality medical care, and even those with “good insurance” struggle through a maze of barriers and increased costs.

The United States has some of the highest administrative costs in the world because of our fractured, multipayer, profit-based system. Private insurers add zero value but drive up costs through administrative waste and profiteering, and require hospitals and doctors to maintain complex billing and cost-tracking bureaucracies.

While no system is perfect, we have an excellent solution in the form of Medicare. A single-payer plan like H.R. 676, “Medicare for All,” could save an estimated $617 billion a year by slashing administrative waste in the private insurance industry ($504 billion) and bargaining down drug prices ($113 billion), freeing up money for universal coverage without any net increase in health spending.

The letter may seem to respond to this question:

"Why Is U.S. Health Care So Expensive?"

That's an excellent question! The letter may seem to propose an extremely popular progressive "solution" to our presumed
overspending—"Medicare for All."

How expensive is American health care? As we've noted three million times, this nation spends two to three times as much on health care, per person, as other developed nations. These are the most recent data from the OECD:
Per capita spending, health care, 2016
United States: $9892
Germany: $5551
Canada: $4753
Australia: $4708
France: $4600
Japan: $4519
United Kingdom: $4192
Italy: $3391
Spain: $3248
South Korea: $2729
Oof! We spend more than twice as much, per person, as France, Canada or the U.K. Where does all that money go?

That letter might seem to respond to that question, but it actually doesn't. The letter might seem to suggest that our Medicare program is so frugal that it would correct for our current massive level of spending.

That said, we've never seen a comparison of what we spend, per person, on older people as compared to what is spent in countries like France. In reality, that letter merely says that "Medicare for all" would be somewhat cheaper than our current arrangements are. It doesn't say how much spending would occur in a system like that, as compared to the spending which occurs in nations like Canada, Australia or France.

On line, the Times links that letter to the recent analysis piece which ran beneath those headlines. Here they are again:

“Why Is U.S. Health Care So Expensive? Some of the Reasons You’ve Heard Turn Out to Be Myths”

Go ahead—click that link.
What don't you see in that upbeat "Upshot" report?

That's right! You don't see the type of data we've posted above! Is there a law against letting American citizens know how widespread the looting is?

On the brighter side, we are encouraged to spend our time hearing about all the f**king, especially from 2006. But uh-oh:

Concerning the looting of health care dollars, neither Rachel, nor Lawrence, nor Chris nor Chris will ever take you there! Just a guess:

In the judgment of their owners, The Looting is too boring for cable. Also, The Interests might not approve!

Our cable stars are paid the big bucks. (You aren't allowed to know how much.) They very much hope you enjoy The Chase and, of course, all The Sex.

BREAKING: Donald J. Trump donnt spel reel gudd!


Also, Al Gore grew a beard:
Let's be thankful for one thing. This morning's most fearless analysis piece didn't make the front page!

That said, it did appear atop the Washington Post's page A2—and it ran more than 1200 words. Beleve it or not, it started like this, pitiful headline included:
NAKAMURA (3/22/18): A casualty of Trump's White House: Spelling

President Trump boasted during the campaign that he has the "best words." If the past 14 months in the White House are an indication, he and his team also have the worst spelling.

Among the many casualties of Washington's protocols in the Trump era has been a lack of rigor to the accuracy of the printed word
—whether it's the president's typo-filled tweets or the White House's error-prone news releases.

"Special Council is told to find crimes, wether crimes exist or not," Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning to start off a posting in which he misspelled "counsel" three times and had five errors in the span of 280 characters.

As journalists and others poked fun at the mistakes, the president quickly deleted the tweet and posted an edited version. He successfully changed "wether" to "whether" and eliminated an inadvertent repeat of the word "the"—but he failed to correct the three inaccurate references to the title of his nemesis, Robert S. Mueller III.
Let's say it again—the Post devoted more than 1200 words to Trump's spelling errors. Accompanied by a photograph of Trump with pen in hand, the report appeared across the top of today's second page.

For years, we've asked a basic question about our upper-end journalists: Are these life forms human? This is the kind of brain-damaged work we've long had in mind.

(It also helps explain why Trump's supporters believe they're involved in a war.)

In this morning's New York Times, Nicholas Kristof says he's worried about Donald J. Trump starting an actual war. In our view, his concern is not misplaced.

How do major news orgs react? On cable, they're deeply involved in reports of Trump's consensual f**king in the year 2006. (Lexicography courtesy of Salon.) Meanwhile, at the Washington Post, they're all over Trump for his spelling errors. This is the way these folk roll.

The children have done a lot of this sort of thing down through the years of decline. They've obsessed about candidates' clothing and about cheating at golf; they've obsessed about candidates' hair. They wrote a succession of brain-drain complaints about Al Gore and Hillary Clinton using too many big words, or talking too much about substance.

How bizarre do these life forms get? Below, you see a passage from a recent column by the Washington Post's Kathleen Parker.

Parker comes from the saner end of the guild's gene pool. She wrote a reasonable column about Hillary Clinton's obsessive trashing of The Others, but along the way, she couldn't help throwing this in:
PARKER (3/22/18): At least Al Gore, who suffered a similar fate—winning the popular vote in 2000 but losing the electoral college to George W. Bush—went on to only grow a beard and make documentaries about the end of the Earth. Clinton seems committed to a personal Groundhog Day, in which she adds not new talents and feats of heroism but fresh targets to blame for her destiny denied.
These creatures are truly astounding. To wit:

It has now been seventeen years since former candidate Gore grew and wore a beard, though only for a time.

Parker can't get past it. Seventeen years later, she remembers to mock him one more time for having once done such a thing. Beyond that, she mocks a film which won the Oscar for best documentary, then won Gore the Nobel peace prize.

Katy Perry once kissed a girl. Al Gore grew a beard!

They want to focus on the f**king. They want to think about the beards.

They want to think about the spelling. Could climate change cause a major disaster? Even after all these years, they can't stop mocking that!

Our brains evolved in jungles and swamps. That evolution gave us Parker, who actually writes from the deeper end of this particular gene pool, of this infested swamp.

FEMINIST HERO: In feminist terms, is Clifford disfigured?


Part 4—"Rosebud," a mogul once said:
In this morning's New York Times, Nicholas Kristof says he's worried.

We think his fear is well-placed. More specifically, Kristof says he's worried about the possibility that Donald J. Trump will start or trigger a war.

He may start or trigger a trade war, Kristof says. He may trigger an actual war with Iran.

Then too, of course, there's North Korea. Kristof says this about that:
KRISTOF (3/22/18): The final risk, of course, is a war with North Korea. We may have a reprieve for a couple of months if Trump’s face-to-face with Kim Jong-un goes ahead, but I think Americans are too reassured by the prospect of a summit meeting.

The basic problem: There’s almost no chance that North Korea will agree to the kind of verifiable denuclearization that Trump talks about. Then the danger is that if a summit collapses, there’s no room to restart the process with lower-level diplomats. At that point, the risk of military conflict soars because all alternatives seem exhausted.

Moreover, Trump’s snap decision to accept Kim’s invitation to meet underscores the risk of a mercurial president leaping into actions—which is one of the reasons we got into the mess in Iraq.
Will American president Donald J. Trump start or trigger a nuclear war? Imaginably, is he disordered enough to start or trigger a war to change the equation in November's election? To undermine Robert Mueller?

We don't know how to answer those questions, but we think Kristof's fears are well-founded. Then too, there's the nugget we read, this very morning, on the New York Times' reimagined page A3 (print editions only).

This nugget may tell us something about New York Times readers. The nugget goes exactly like this:
The Conversation

1. Ex-Playboy Model Karen McDougal Sues to Speak On Alleged Trump Affair
Wednesday's top story about the former Playboy model who is suing to break her silence about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump brought in over 31,000 reactions on Facebook and over 5,000 comments. One popular comment on the Times's web site voiced the paradigm shift the story represented. "Two short years ago this would have been unimaginable," the reader wrote.
(Note: "Story" is a childish term major journalists use in place of "news report.")

As presented, that "popular comment" is hard to interpret. That said, incoherence is standard practice on the Times' page A3.

For ourselves, we carry away this point:

Donald J. Trump may be about to start or trigger a war. But so what? Yesterday's "top story" (whatever that means) concerned The Chase—our thrilling pursuit of The Sex.

That's what readers find intriguing! That helps explain why an actual war may occur, just as Kristof says.

For the record, who the heck is Karen McDougal? More specifically, is she another "feminist hero," like Stephanie Clifford before her?

Everything is possible! That said, McDougal is someone who f**ked Donald Trump in 2006, when he had a newborn baby boy, and now, twelve years later, wants to talk all about it.

As far as we know, McDougal is alleging no sexual assault or harassment on the part of the man who may start or trigger that nuclear war. Here's how yesterday's "top story" started:
RUTENBERG AND RUIZ (3/21/18): A former Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Donald J. Trump sued on Tuesday to be released from a 2016 legal agreement restricting her ability to speak, becoming the second woman this month to challenge Trump allies’ efforts during the presidential campaign to bury stories about extramarital relationships.

The model, Karen McDougal, is suing The National Enquirer’s parent company, which paid her $150,000 and whose chief executive is a friend of President Trump’s. The other woman, the adult entertainment star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, was paid $130,000 to stay quiet by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. She filed a lawsuit earlier this month.

Both women, who argue that their contracts are invalid, are trying to get around clauses requiring them to resolve disputes in secretive arbitration proceedings rather than in open court. Mr. Trump has denied the affairs, which both women have described as consensual.
If Rutenberg and Ruiz have it right, McDougal says all the f**king was consensual. She just wants to tell us about all the f**king, and we the readers and subscribers very much long to be told.

If we might borrow from our Eliot, This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a f**kstorm. It resembles something we told you long ago, but also just last week:

Uh-oh! When we let our "journalists" start talking about consensual sex, they'll soon want to talk about nothing else! In this case, it will also be the thing we most want to read about.

In truth, the world could end with a very large bang. But we'll die happy, reading about all the f**king and all the consensual sex.

Back to McDougal. Is Karen McDougal a feminist hero, or is she perhaps just a bit of a jerk? Or is she perhaps an "entrepeneur," someone inclined to monetize her consensual f**king?

We don't know how to answer your many questions. Nor do we think it's important to psychoanalyze, or morally judge, a wayfarer like McDougal, who showed poor judgment in 2006 and now wants to tell us about it.

That said, we think it may be a bad idea to start defining people like this as "feminist heroes." When we liberals and progressives do that, we make others think we're venal, deranged and basically nuts—and it won't be real clear that the others are wrong.

How did it ever get this far? How did we ever reach the point where Donald J. Trump is about to start or trigger a war, but our "top stories" involve his consensual f**king from 2006?

Who did we ever get that small? That stupid, that sad and slimy?

It got to this point over millions of years as our weak brains evolved. Also, it got to this point in recent years as slimeballs began creating ways to sell us tribalized "news."

The new Salon may sometimes seem to be one of the entities which has played this game. When the site began in the 1990s, it was a venue for intelligent liberal writing as defined by the norms of that time.

Over the years, it had dumbed itself way down and tribalized, as have many similar entities. This led to the recent piece describing Clifford as a "feminist hero"—a piece which was written by a younger, less experienced, perhaps less insightful journalist, one who is described this way at the new improved site:
[Name Withheld] is a news writer at Salon. She covers health, science, tech and gender politics.
This rather young writer covers pretty much everything for the new Salon! Presumably, she's less expensive than other writers—this lets Salon's owners put cash in their pants—and she considers Clifford to be a "feminist hero," with a "#MeToo story" to tell.

This possible dumbing down has occurred all over our modern "press corps." Sites like Salon have made themselves younger, dumber and much more partisan as their owners seek to make money by pleasing our low-IQ, heavily tribal brains.

This helps explain how people who do a lot of consensual f**king, then want to tell us all about it, get reimagined as "feminists," even as "feminist heroes," with #MeToo stories to tell. This helps explain how people like these take over our national discourse.

The youngish writer at Salon thought Clifford was a feminist hero. In part, she based this judgment on something Clifford's friend Kayla Paige once said while speaking to Rolling Stone.

A few years ago, Rolling Stone established itself as the dumbest magazine in the history of the world. That said, here's the deeply exciting way its impressive new profile began
NICKS (3/9/18): Stormy Daniels answers the door of her Houston hotel room wearing little athletic shorts and a green Pantera tank top over a sports bra, her long blond hair in a loose ponytail. We shake hands and she jumps back onto her bed, sitting up with her legs tucked under her in half lotus. Her assistant and longtime friend Kayla Paige, a retired adult-film actress and wife of Limp Bizkit founding member Sam Rivers, buzzes with aimless energy around the room they're sharing. They'd only just woken up and are in the middle of a discussion about penile implants, which I confess I didn't know is a thing. Then Paige half-jokingly wonders if she needs vaginal lip reduction surgery and drops her pants for reference. She isn't wearing panties.

Daniels rolls her eyes and laughs.
For more of this empowerment, click here for yesterday's post.

What did we think when we read that passage? Here's something we wondered about:

When we read accounts like that, we aren't inclined to think we're reading about heroes or feminists. We're inclined to wonder if something is possibly wrong.

We say that for this reason:

Stephanie Clifford is conventionally good-looking. She produces good-looking head shots.

She also seems to be brighter than the average bear. Her IQ doesn't seem to pose a problem in any way. Last night, one lovesick fellow on CNN said she went to a magnet school!

Having said that, we would also say this:

When bright, good-looking people disfigure themselves in the way Clifford seems to have done; when they turn themselves into a version of a female Stepin Fetchit; when they go around f**king people like Donald J. Trump, then try to sell their story for cash; when their assistants can't seem to stop dropping their pants; we wonder if we may be reading about someone who's been abused.

Over the years, we've learned to wonder about such things, in part from reading the works of feminists. We've learned about the amazing extent of childhood abuse—so much so that we even wonder about such things when we observe a disordered man on the scale of a Donald J. Trump, who had the misfortune of being born to a father with terrible values.

Stephanie Clifford? First she f**ked a creepy old man, then she tried to make some cash selling her story.

She tried to sell her story in 2011, then again in 2016. This doesn't strike us as heroic, or as especially feminist.

It doesn't seem like a #MeToo story. When we read the start of that Rolling Stone profile, it felt like something quite different.

Long ago and far away, the story of a fictional figure traced back to a single word. That word is now famous: "Rosebud."

Clifford says her safe word is "penguin." We'll suggest there's another word somewhere which explains how she ended up f**king a creep like Donald Trump, then selling her story for cash.

In the meantime, creeps have long been crawling all over your nation's press corps. They're selling tribalized bullshit to us highly gullible beings, whose brains are just semi-evolved.

They hire young writers to keep their costs down. When these writers say they've spotted a feminist hero, they make the world think we liberals are nuts. This helps Trump maintain power.

Nicholas Kristof is worried today about a possible war. We think his concern is well placed.

Meanwhile, readers of his august newspaper are out chasing The Sex. Here's the way his column nears its end:
KRISTOF: Looking back, the biggest problem 15 years ago was that the administration was stuck in an echo chamber and far too optimistic, and Democrats and the news media alike mostly rolled over. Journalists too often acted as lap dogs, not watchdogs—and today I fear that we may be so busy chasing the latest shiny object that we miss an abyss ahead.
Journalists are consumed by The Chase, Kristof says, and by those shiny objects. At present, Stephanie Clifford's slickster lawyer is leading the rest of us off on that low-IQ chase.

The shiniest objects he has are her very large body parts. Viewed from one feminist perspective, they're straight outta Stepin Fetchit.

Disordered men pay money to see them. Her scumbag lawyers keeps showing up with new, more exciting photographs of those body parts. Cable producers—and no, they aren't feminists—flash them on our screens.

Tomorrow: The history of (bogus) threats

BREAKING: First real snow of the year descends!


Triggers what Hepburn observed:
Here in the heart of the universe, we got our first real snow of the year today.

Even that wasn't much. Still, we declared a snow holiday, and entertained more worthwhile pursuits.

We rewatched part of Love in the Afternoon, the 1957 film. We'd already rewatched it over the weekend as part of our earlier puzzlement concerning age and gender in 1950s films.

It's a Billy Wilder film; it was superbly made. It also makes no apparent sense, except to the extent that it does.

Love in the Afternoon starred Audrey Hepburn, age 27-28 in real life, and Gary Cooper, age 55-56. Within the film itself, Cooper seems to be maybe 62. Hepburn, the great gamine, third greatest female star of the classic Hollywood era, seems to be 19 or 20.

Inevitably, their characters fall in love. And no, it makes no apparent sense, except as a marker of this peculiar era.

If it wasn't Billy Wilder, you'd almost say this was some sort of hidden tribute to a cult of seducing underage girls. That said, Wilder also made The Apartment, which presents an early, remarkably unvarnished portrait of male sexual misconduct, along with Some Like It Hot, in which Jack Lemmon invades the hareem (on the train ride to Florida with the all-female band), only to discover that Marilyn Monroe is completely decent and sincere.

She's nothing like the lascivious image his all-male leering had conjured. We'd compare it to Marlon Brando's discovery, in the undercard of On the Waterfront, that Eva Marie Saint is a more admirable person than he is.

We can't explain Love in the Afternoon. Richard Brody said this:
BRODY: Billy Wilder’s 1957 comedy “Love in the Afternoon," didn’t do well at the box office. Wilder blamed, in part, his casting: “The day I signed Gary Cooper for this movie, he got too old,” Wilder said (as reported in Charlotte Chandler’s book about the director, “Nobody’s Perfect”). Cooper was fifty-six; his love interest in the movie, an innocent young conservatory student, played by Audrey Hepburn, seems about twenty...
You explain it. We can't, at least not at this point, though we plan to rewatch more.

As a younger person, Hepburn lived through the Second World War in the Netherlands. (She was born in 1929). We offer this to encourage you to ponder our previous post:
In addition to other traumatic events, she witnessed the transportation of Dutch Jews to concentration camps, later stating that "more than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on the train. I was a child observing a child."
For the full story, click here.

Last night, we saw two young women from Nigeria, each apparently 19 or 19, "sharing their stories" on PBS. As they did, the terrible people on cable news were working quite hard in their ongoing corporate-sponsored attempt to bring our world to an end.

The western world survived that war. Can it survive talk radio, the partisan Internet and the ongoing moral/intellectual squalor of full-blown tribal cable?

Also this, for whatever it's worth: "Hepburn appeared in fewer films as her life went on, devoting much of her later life to UNICEF. She had contributed to the organisation since 1954, then worked in some of the poorest communities of Africa, South America and Asia between 1988 and 1992.

"She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 1992. A month later, Hepburn died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63."

BREAKING: Things you won't see on cable news!


Who cares about girls in Nigeria:
We were lucky enough to watch the PBS NewsHour during last evening's 6 PM hour.

We simply couldn't take watching Michael Avenatti any more. At one point during this same hour, this monster of slime offered this:
AVENATTI (3/20/18): Ari, I'm used to playing chess, OK, in my cases. And I've had the good fortune to go up against some really good chess players from around this country.

MELBER: Is Michael Cohen playing chess with you?

AVENATTI: Well, let me just say this—really good chess players. I mean, lawyers at the top of their game, really good lawyers that are really good chess players, OK? And I like to count myself as a pretty good chess player.

Right now, we're playing three-dimensional chess, and these guys are playing tic-tac-toe, quite honestly.
And they're not even playing tic-tac-toe that well, all right?
Plainly, no one exceeds this master of all his domains! Unable to watch another word, we flipped over to PBS, and watched a deeply humane, if appalling, report about the lost girls of Nigeria.

We recommend that you watch the whole segment, but especially the interviews, which begin just after the 2-minute mark.

Judy Woodruff interviewed two young women, apparently still in their late teens, who were abducted by Boko Haram but eventually escaped. Soon, we were watching a spectacularly beautiful young woman saying this, in somewhat stilted translation:
YA KAKA (3/20/18): We suffered a lot. It was rough treatment every day.

My first husband among the insurgents was one of the people that abducted me. After having sex with me, he would send me out naked into the camp. Other insurgents would drag me and have sex with me.

When I returned, he knew exactly that his own fellow insurgents had had sex with me. But he flogged me for wasting time. That was my daily life.

I delivered a baby boy before I escaped with three other abductees.
If only she'd learned to play a more skillful brand of chess!

The stories become much more horrific from there. We strongly suggest that you watch the tape.

(Just in case you've forgotten, through watching cable, what real human beings are like.)

Meanwhile, on our own Corporate Liberal Channel, the brilliant star of three-dimensional chess was still saying things like this, with Ari Melber and Joyce Vance establishing a basic principle of modern "journalism"—no one escapes from cable news with his or her soul intact:
MELBER: Do you have evidence that Michael Cohen would know about the physical threats allegation you have made?

AVENATTI: I'm not going to answer the question as to what we have and what we don't have. But here is what I will say. People should be very careful about representations they make, unequivocal reputations. That's what I'm going to say.

MELBER: Joyce, your thoughts on any of the above?

VANCE: Well, it sounds like there is a little bit more evidence that Mr. Avenatti has that we'll all learn about in the future. There has been at least some indication that there is additional evidence, that there are documents. I think he said that.
Gruesome. We watched the PBS segment again during the 7 PM hour. As we flipped back and forth to CNN, it was hard to avoid the ugliness in the contrast. Also, the lack of interest in the world which is being visited upon the American people by our cable distraction machines.

We strongly suggest that you watch Woodruff's ten minutes of interviews, or at least that you read the full transcript. As you do, understand this:

You will never see such topics explored on prime time "liberal" cable. Prime time cable has long been all about The Chase—and now, it's all about The Sex. Beyond that, it's about applauding the horrible, disordered conduct of people like Avenatti and his client.

In his astounding Second Inaugural address, Lincoln said we'd all created the disaster which had been visited on us. Watching Melber and Avenatti as Woodruff interviewed those young women, we could see how hard we moderns have worked, for the past thirty years, to earn the disaster we may get from President Donald J. Trump.

A few weeks ago, we spent some time discussing the topics we won't see discussed on our "corporate liberal" channel. Last night, the two young women from Nigeria drove that sick story along:
WOODRUFF: Ya Kaka, how hard is it for you now, and what do you want to do now? What do you want to do in the future?

YA KAKA: My major problem is, when I go out in the streets of Maiduguri and I see some survivors that have not been able to access any form of help—they are out of school, they are living wretched—I don’t feel happy.

I pray that they also get the type of assistance I got, be in school, change their status, get good dresses, be accepted by the society and whenever they finish school.

I am hoping, in my own case, when I finish school, I will come back and assist other growing children from my community that have been neglected. I also want all others to get the same treatment.

WOODRUFF: Hauwa, what do you want Americans to know about the future possibilities for people like—for young women, for people like you and like Ya Kaka, and other children of Nigeria, who have had this terrible thing happen to them, and many of whom are still at risk?

What should Americans know? What do you want them to know about the future that you want?

HAUWA: I am pleading with the people of America and the government to please assist us.

There are thousands of other children that have no voice that are abducted in the forests. Nobody is talking of them.

Let the U.S. government put pressure where necessary. The government, and all the relevant agencies, should see that a lot of efforts will be put towards recovering these people. Put them in schools, so that they can save my generation.
That young woman can plead with us all she wants. Not unlike her deranged captors, we liberals were over on our cable channel getting our liberal rocks off.

We were busy listening to Clifford's lawyer. Last night, he had that exciting new photo of Clifford strapped in for her polygraph test! In 2011!

The bosses flashed the photograph early and often. It helped us stare at her parts.

FEMINIST HERO: A very cool visit from Rolling Stone!


Part 3—Feminist hero at home:
Is Stephanie Clifford a feminist hero?

Is she a hero or a feminist at all? Does she have to be?

Staing the obvious, everything is possible! That said, we wouldn't be inclined to see Clifford in such ways, at least not in the context which is currently devouring our failing nation's appalling and broken-souled corporate cable news monster.

Within that context, we'd say that Clifford is a person who had a seamy sexual relationship in 2006, then tried to make some money from it. We don't know if she was being paid in real time, though that's certainly possible, given the fact that her paramour was the highly disordered man known as Donald J. Trump.

Perhaps it was love at first sight! But in 2011, Clifford reportedly tried to sell her story about her affair to a tabloid entity for $15,000. And uh-oh!

By the summer and fall of 2016, Trump had become a much more significant figure.

Sure enough! According to Slate's Jacob Weisberg, Clifford was trying to sell her story again during that glorious time. Wisely, she wasn't willing to reveal "the juiciest details" until she could finger Slate cash:
WEISBERG (1/16/18): In our conversations, Daniels said she was holding back on the juiciest details, such as her ability to describe things about Trump that only someone who had seen him naked would know. She intimated that her view of his sexual skill was at odds with the remark attributed to Marla Maples.

She didn’t allege any kind of abuse, insisting she was not a victim. The worst Trump had done, she said, was break promises she’d never believed he would fulfill. She claimed he’d offered to buy her a condo in Tampa, Florida, and that he’d said he wanted to feature her as a contestant in an upcoming season of Celebrity Apprentice. Daniels, who is far from na├»ve, says she did not take him seriously, but Trump had insisted his NBC contract let him do whatever he wanted on the show. Eventually, she said, he’d told her the network wouldn’t allow her on the air because of the objections of an executive’s wife.


Given what was going on in the final weeks of the campaign, during which Trump was facing a torrent of accusations of sexual abuse, I didn’t think an extramarital affair would be a highly significant story. What interested me more was Daniels’ allegation that Trump had negotiated to buy her silence. Daniels said that, through intermediaries, she and Trump had worked out an agreement for the presidential candidate to pay her a six-figure sum to keep quiet.
She'd been offered a six-figure deal, but the money was slow in coming.

"Given her experience with Trump, she suspected he would stall her until after the election, and then refuse to sign or pay up," Weisberg wrote. "As an alternative to being paid for her silence, Daniels wanted to be paid for her story."

Slate doesn't provide sacks of cash in exchange for news, so the deal couldn't be consummated. Clifford ended up taking the cash from Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's guardian devil or angel.

To our eyes and ears, none of this looks or feels especially heroic. None of it looks or feels very "feminist."

Still, it's a marker of our modern world that our many tribal groups are willing to assert and believe almost any proposition which furthers some tribal narrative. On this basis, Salon's Nicole Karlis has now declared that Clifford is a "feminist hero" who is fighting for the right to share a "#MeToo story."

Claims like these tend to convince the wider world that we liberals are crazy, possibly even nuts. Part of Karlis' detailed reasoning appears in this part of her essay:
KARLIS (3/18/19): Why has the feminist left been slow to embrace her? Why is there still a mocking undertone when we talk about her? Is it because she’s a Republican? A stripper and adult film star? Is it because of her campy Make America Horny Again tour? Maybe it’s because she allegedly had consensual sex with Trump, an act that’s unthinkable to so many of us? But she was 27, and it was 2006 when the alleged tryst happened. As Clifford’s friend/assistant Kayla Paige said to Rolling Stone, "Who hasn't gone and f**ked someone we regret?”
As a thought experiment, we're prepared to revise and extend that thoughtful question from Clifford's friend, Kayla Paige. Here's how we'll rewrite it:
Who hasn't gone and f**ked someone we regret, then tried to sell the thrilling story, humiliating his wife and his 5- to 12-year-old child?
When we restate the question that way, we suspect that almost no one "has gone and done that!" But just to double-check, we reviewed the Rolling Stone piece from which Paige's question emerged.

Rolling Stone is the well-known liberal publication which recently convinced the world that we liberals are crazy and very possibly nuts. The magazine accomplished this task through its appalling treatment of a (false) claim about gang rape at the University of Virginia.

The gong show-flavored publication engaged in this clownish behavior a few years after a range of liberal thought leaders, including half the faculty at Duke, stampeded off to believe a (false) claim about a gang rape there.

In these ways, our liberal tribe persuades the world to despise us. Dumb and tribal as we are, we never seem able to grasp the fact that this loathing could be based on anything but the demonistic mental states Hillary Clinton keeps attributing to The Others on her endless world tour.

(Most recent stop, Mumbai.)

We liberals are quite a bunch! At any rate, Rolling Stone told Denver Nicks to pay a home visit to Clifford. He too decided that Clifford's a hero, or at least his editors were willing to say that he did.

His profile of our feminist hero appeared under the headlines shown below. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh! Wink wink wink wink wink:
One Night with Stormy Daniels, the Hero America Needs
Frozen g-strings, squirt guns and hot wax—how Trump's alleged porn-star fling is unapologetically cashing in on a presidential scandal
Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh! It sounded just amazingly hot, thought perhaps not totally feminist.

For the record, Nicks is the author of Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History—but also of Hot Sauce Nation: America's Burning Obsession, which appeared in 2016.

Amazon describes the latter book as "a journey of discovery...[which] explores the unique hold the dark prince of condiments has over the American heart." And how apt! In service to this terminally stoned, braindead magazine, Nicks stumbled upon some very hot sauce when he dropped in at the home of on our feminist hero.

Here's how his profile began:
NICKS (3/9/18): Stormy Daniels answers the door of her Houston hotel room wearing little athletic shorts and a green Pantera tank top over a sports bra, her long blond hair in a loose ponytail. We shake hands and she jumps back onto her bed, sitting up with her legs tucked under her in half lotus. Her assistant and longtime friend Kayla Paige, a retired adult-film actress and wife of Limp Bizkit founding member Sam Rivers, buzzes with aimless energy around the room they're sharing. They'd only just woken up and are in the middle of a discussion about penile implants, which I confess I didn't know is a thing. Then Paige half-jokingly wonders if she needs vaginal lip reduction surgery and drops her pants for reference. She isn't wearing panties.

Daniels rolls her eyes and laughs.
I stand for a moment unsure where to sit, then motion to the other bed, which Paige says I can sit on. "I don't have anything," she assures me with a chuckle.
Just so incredibly cool! Especially for feminist men and boys of all ages!

We've always wondered what heroes are like if you catch them at home! Nicks was getting a chance to find out. The start of his profile continued:
NICKS (continuing dorectly): I sit on the edge of the bed and Daniels and I make small talk. Her safe word, I learn, is “penguin.”

"Penguins have terrible breath," she says.

"How do you know penguins have terrible breath?" I ask.

"They smell like they've been eating bad vagina. I got to pet one at a zoo–if you ever go to the zoo, the penguin habitat is the stinkiest one. It smells like a really bad porn set."

She goes on like this for half an hour, bouncing from topic to topic.
What a super-cool, foxy lady! This is the kind of feminist hero we'd like to take home to the voters!

Should progressives hope that Stephanie Clifford gets to tell her #MeToo story, helping ten of millions of deplorables develop strong feminist values? For better or worse, does Clifford actually have any such story to tell?

We'll admit that we aren't seeing a whole lot here that smacks of "feminist" values. Being human ourselves and opposed to hate, we do wonder about something else.

Tomorrow: "Penguin" but also "Rosebud," plus disfigured hearts and heads