Suddenly I find speculation on Melania’s disappearance less amusing

theintercept.com/2018/06/02/seymour-hersh-memoir-reporter/

In the category of stories Hersh did not report at the time is a disturbing account from a few weeks after Nixon resigned in 1974 and returned to California. Hersh writes that he had received a tip that Nixon had beaten his wife Pat so badly that she had to be treated at a local emergency room. Then John Ehrlichman, who’d been one of Nixon’s top aides, told Hersh that he knew of other incidents when Nixon had abused her. But Hersh did not report it, or even mention it to his editors, because he believed it would only qualify as news if he could demonstrate that Nixon’s behavior had affected government policy. Hersh later spoke about the story in public in 1998. Women in the audience, he writes, immediately informed him of just how illegitimate and dangerous this standard was.

Pyrrhic Victory

This is a note for and about Vlad and Burstyn. No, those aren’t their real names. I’ll provide that much of a fig leaf of anonymity for them, although anyone who knows me well enough will know exactly who I’m talking about.

You win. I foolishly thought after DJT was elected that if I could provide an injection of non-Fox-approved news and commentary, that you might begin to see at least some of the problems with the current administration and the Republican Party more generally. I thought, “Surely, Vlad and Burstyn are not like those other people who vote blindly for whoever is on the GOP ticket and buy into all the misinformation and vileness that comes from conservative media.” I was wrong. It is now clear to me that you are part and parcel of that same movement.

Tell them what they’ve won, Bob!

Hang on a minute, I’m not done with the background yet. Posting this in a public place could be considered a dick move, and I want to address why I’m doing that. First, I am pretty confident they are both blocking my emails. I don’t get bounce back messages, but have confirmation from multiple channels that pretty much everything I send now goes to the bit bucket. That’s true even when I send something that’s completely non-political. In fact, here’s a fun story— Chandra (that is her real name) & I send out a holiday letter every year, and for the 2017 edition I made a special edition just for Vlad and Burstyn that just read “I am Groot” over and over again. Funny, right? Neither one of them has ever said a word about it. I can only conclude that I have angered them to the point where I am persona non grata in both of their households, and neither has any interest in initiating or accepting communication from me. So…fine. I’ll post something on my blog and they can find it here when they’re ready.

So what have they won?

Well…now that I know neither Vlad nor Burstyn is a persuadable conservative, they now get to be the personification of all the worst stereotypes of Trump supporters. Yay! Closed minded? Yes. Tribal? Yes. Party before country? Yuppers. Authoritarian? One would assume. Racist? I hope not, but I frankly have no evidence to the contrary. Only willing to engage with people they agree with? Well, that’s kind of the point of this whole thing, isn’t it?

A final footnote. Recognizing that the subjects of this post might object to it being out for the world to see, I’m sending a copy of the text to them by email before it’s published. If you’re reading it on my blog, you’ll know they had a chance to respond and didn’t.

First this, from Foreign Policy, emphasis added:

NATO is scrambling to tailor its upcoming meeting to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span. The alliance is telling heads of state to limit talks to two to four minutes at a time during the discussion, several sources inside NATO and former senior U.S. officials tell Foreign Policy. And the alliance scrapped plans to publish the traditional full post-meeting statement meant to crystallize NATO’s latest strategic stance.

Two to four minutes is about as long as a typical pop song. However, there are lots of other songs that are longer than that, which presumably Trump doesn’t have the attention span for. I’ll repeat: Trump’s attention span is too short for many popular songs. My own personal library includes 2,283 songs that are longer than that. Here are some we’ll say randomly selected titles that he would presumably never hear in their entirety:

  • Case of the Fake People, TLC
  • Burning Down the House, Talking Heads (From the movie “Stop Making Sense”)
  • Under Pressure, Queen & David Bowie
  • Super Stupid, Funkadelic
  • Deep Dark Truthful Mirror, Elvis Costello
  • Out of Touch, Hall & Oates
  • Terrified, Childish Gambino
  • I Pity the Poor Immigrant, Bob Dylan
  • Big Shot, Billy Joel
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again, The Who
  • Spy in the House of Love, Was Not Was
  • Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey, Sly & The Family Stone
  • Murder By Numbers, The Police
  • Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful, Paloma Faith
  • Circle the Drain, Katy Perry
  • I’m Paying Taxes, What Am I Buyin’, The J.B.’s & Fred Wesley
  • The Sound of Failure/It’s Dark…Is It Always This Dark??, The Flaming Lips
  • The Pinocchio Theory, Bootsy Collins
  • Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues, Bob Dylan

Too bad, because there might be some lessons there.

Self-sealing

What Keeley is referring to here includes what’s come to be known as conspiracy theory’s “self-sealing” characteristic: if evidence against the conspiracy theory comes from a new source Y, the theory expands to include Y as part of the conspiracy. This self-sealing property is key to how global warming denialists have come to believe that vast majority of the world’s climate scientists are involved in perpetuating a “hoax,” as Donald Trump has called it. “As a result of this process,” Keeley writes, “an initial claim that a small group of people is conspiring gives way to claims of larger and larger conspiracies.”

Link

A quickie

I tend to think of Nixon’s second term as “Watergate break-in, yada yada yada…Nixon resigns.” But there were two years between those events. I continue to hope that Trump will meet a similar end, but even if we follow a similar timeline, we’re not even through the first “ya.”

Ugh. 

Trump’s trail of tears

I’m assuming this is more or less how the whole “Let’s bomb Syria!” thing went down.

INT. White house

DONALD TRUMP is sitting with several aides discussing recent events in Syria. There is a loose pile of documents and photos on the table in front of them.

AIDE #1

We have an update on Assad’s recent chemical attack. There are some indications‑‑

TRUMP

Oh my god, are these babies?

AIDE #1

Sir?

TRUMP

That photo. Are those babies who were hurt in the bombing?

AIDE #1

Yes, sir. Current reports are that there were seventy or more casualties, most civilian.

TRUMP

(Starting to weep)

But they’re just babies!

AIDE #1

Yes, sir.

TRUMP

But‑‑ but that’s horrible! Babies!

TRUMP’s eyes well up with tears as he stares at the photos. There is a moment of silence as if everyone around the table is holding their collective breath. Then TRUMP suddenly bursts into tears, wailing inconsolably.

TRUMP

No! They’re babies! How can this happen? And that one! That one! I can’t believe it!

AIDE #1

Sir?

TRUMP

Look how hot that one’s mother probably is!

TRUMP continues to wail, while everyone else looks uncomfortable. TRUMP starts slowly beating his head on the table.

AIDE #2

Sir? If I may make a suggestion? Sir?

The AIDE tentatively puts his hand on TRUMP’s shoulder. TRUMP lifts his head. His face is streaked with tears and he has snot bubbling out of his nose.

TRUMP

What?

AIDE #2

Perhaps we could bomb them?

TRUMP

(Still sniffling, but this idea clearly brightens his mood)

Really?

AIDE #2

Yes, sir. This is America. It’s what we do.

TRUMP

Could we bomb them a lot?

AIDE #1

Well, let’s start small and see how it goes.

TRUMP

Can I watch it on TV?

AIDE #1

Uh, sure.

AIDE #2

This is America.