As one looks at those in and out of government who have either excused or attempted to ignore the president’s conduct, one notes only one figure who has not merely stood up to the president but in some measure thwarted him. It is someone who, like them, has pleased the president but unlike them has failed to be intimidated or even, in large measure, silenced by him. Indeed, it is someone who, unlike Sean Spicer or Michael Flynn or even Stephen Bannon, has successfully monetized an intimate association with the president.

That is, of course, the pornographic actress and director Stormy Daniels. She has demonstrated a sense of humor, shrewd judgment, and toughness. She has used the president’s own formidable skills at playing the lowest end of the television market against him. She has not been steamrollered by Trump’s flunkies. It is a sad day for the country, however, when that sorry array of Republican elders, senior officials, hypocritical preachers, and compromised intellectuals demonstrate that they lack the gumption, or indeed the self-respect, of a trollop.

In regard to the “trollop,” culture critic Lili Loofbourow argues in a fun essay (March 15th) that “Stormy Daniels is crushing President Trump at his own game.” Way to go, Stormy!

On Trump’s latest kakistocratic nominee to a cabinet-level position, UC-Santa Barbara sociologist Lisa Hajjar explains in The Nation (March 16th) “Why Gina Haspel, the Queen of Torture, was able to rise to the top of the CIA.” The “why” has to do with President Obama deciding not to hold war criminals in the Bush-Cheney administration legally responsible for their criminal acts. A regrettable error.

The Trump regime’s ideologue-in-chief, Stephen Bannon, recently toured Europe, as one may be aware, during which time he spoke with journalist Nicholas Farrell of Spectator USA (March 14th), telling him that “‘I’m fascinated by Mussolini’.” Honestly, Steve, we had no idea…

On the legions of deplorables in the regime’s base, Slate’s Isaac Chotiner spoke with NeverTrumper Michael Gerson (March 13th), who wrote speeches for Bush 43, about “Why white evangelicals abandoned their principles for Donald Trump.”

Also see the piece (March 11th) by Forbes blogger and onetime Republican Chris Ladd, that was posted on the Forbes website and then taken down—by Forbes, not the author—on “Why white evangelicalism is so cruel.” Hint: it has to do with the South and slavery.

Vox’s David Roberts has a piece well worth reading (March 15th), in which he takes the NYT op-ed page to task for “not [being] honest [with its readers] about [the ugly truth of] US conservatism.”

Lest I forget, Ron Reagan, whose deceased father was once a US president, has a great slash-and-burn essay in The Daily Beast (March 6th), in case one missed it, “The problem isn’t just Trump, it’s our ignorant electorate.” The lede: “It is not effete snobbery or elitist condescension to note that ill-informed voters contributed to the current mess.” Those ignorant voters are very disproportionately to be found on one side of the political spectrum, bien entendu.

C’est tout pour le moment.