In the late 19th century, Ivan Pavlov accidentally noticed a phenomenon that would spawn what we now call “classical conditioning.” Pavlov was already aware that his dogs would salivate, an unconditioned response, whenever he brought them food. But then he noticed that his dogs would salivate whenever he entered the room, regardless of whether he had food for them.
He found that though the unconditioned stimulus (which was food) would provide causation for the unconditioned response (which was salivation), and then he could manipulate it by adjusting the stimulus. What we most closely associate with Pavlovian response is that over time and through classical conditioning, Pavlov was able to elicit salivation from his dogs by simply ringing a bell.
Over in Trumplandia, and despite the insistence of President Trump that there’s “No WH chaos!,” things have been tough. Imagine a half dozen or so push notifications from your twitter app every single day alerting you to the fact that your boss has just tweeted something appalling, something that has just made your job needlessly more difficult. Apparently this president’s twitter activities have been deemed unconditioned stimuli. While we can’t know what their unconditioned responses might have been: palpitations, panic attacks, deep sighs, fleeting existential crises (?) — apparently many of them have decided to ignore the bell by ignoring the president’s twitter feed altogether. And some are just ignoring President Trump, in his entirety.
Former Justice Department official Jack Goldsmith writes via LAWFARE,“As for impotence, Trump has accomplished nothing beyond conservative judicial appointments. His administration is otherwise a comedy of errors in the exercise of executive power. What is most remarkable is the extent to which his senior officials act as if Trump were not the chief executive. Never has a president been so regularly ignored or contradicted by his own officials. I’m not talking about so-called “deep state” bureaucrats. I’m talking about senior officials in the Justice Department and the military and intelligence and foreign affairs agencies. And they are not just ignoring or contradicting him in private. They are doing so in public for all the world to see.”
Ding. Ding. Ding.