We'll start today with Steve Sack's portrait of our next president, in part because I like the smug, self-satisfied expression, and in part because things are such a mess that I don't really have any logical order in mind.
Therefore it seems fitting that hearings for his cabinet members began on January 10, the anniversary of the date on which Julius Caesar marched his legion across the Rubicon in his campaign to defeat the Senate and proclaim an Empire with himself at its head.
And I'll bet Caesar smiled just like that as he said, "Alea iacta est," though he probably didn't, since the famous quotation relies on Suetonius, whose History of the Twelve Caesars is wonderfully amusing but based largely on gossip.
Which makes the comparison even better, because Suetonius would be happy as a pig in today's post-factual world where the truth depends on how you feel about the subject.
Fortunately, we've moved beyond the boring 1970s, when poor Ron Zeigler was forced to stand before the White House press corps and lie about the Watergate case, which he may have honestly believed, based on the scraps fed to him by his masters, was "a third rate burglary."
But even the most loyal apparatchik would have trouble choking out "that statement is no longer operative," at least in those days.
Though, with a second nod to Suetonius, he didn't actually say that.
He simply agreed with a reporter who tried to interpret his convoluted back-off with that phrase, saying, ''The president refers to the fact that there is new material; therefore, this is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.''
But bear in mind that the Nixon White House was trying -- in however a clumsy a way, in however perverted a form -- to preserve democracy. When you are setting up an empire, that challenge conveniently disappears.
You can't give him the benefit of the doubt on this, and he's telling you what was in his heart? You always want to go by what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.
Ron Zeigler didn't roll in his grave at that; he probably sighed and went contentedly to an undisturbed eternal slumber at last, secure that Conway had replaced his legacy before her boss was even sworn in.
Over at the New Yorker, Emily Flake suggests a world in which that measure were applied to our kids, and when is the last time you heard anyone who wants to make America great again suggest that approach to child-raising?
Machs nix. I'm already hearing "You must respect the man in the office" from people who spent the last eight years making watermelon jokes and perpetuating nonsensical lies about the president's birthplace, education and personal integrity.
And looking into their hearts has not been a pleasant experience.
And so, while it's good that the New York Times has decided to call lies by the now-obsolete term "lies," the Times is already dismissed by the Trump loyalists as biased, a fate no gutless editor wants, making Kevin Siers' prophecy even more likely.
We're in for four years of "on the one hand, but on the other" journalism in which the president will be allowed to say whatever he wants, because, whether or not the Watchdog Press is looking into his heart, they will be looking into his hands to see if he's carrying a whip or a doggy cookie, and responding appropriately.
Meanwhile, the Suetonius effect is not confined to one side, as the release of a purported trove of "facts" from an unnamed, unsourced "intelligence officer" has been rejected by the majority of news outlets as dubious but is now dominating the left side of social media as if it were Holy Writ.
When even Glen Greenwald is saying, "Now, wait a minute, here ..." it seems pretty foolish to go running off convinced.
But people believe what they want to believe, no matter how poorly sourced or illogical it may be.
Which makes today's Rabbits Against Magic a perfectly credible solution to the whole Trump problem.
Let's leave the last (well-sourced) word to Ron Zeigler:
I would feel that most of the conversations that took place in those areas of the White House that did have the recording system would, in almost their entirety, be in existence, but the special prosecutor, the court, and, I think, the American people are sufficiently familiar with the recording system to know where the recording devices existed, and to know the situation in terms of the recording process, but I feel, although the process has not been undertaken yet in preparation of the material to abide by the court decision, really, what the answer to that question is.
So say we all, Ron.
From the bottoms of our hearts.