At the center of this story is a mystery that will propel the rest of the inquiry: What was Trump so worried about that it made him deny contacts with Russia and denounce attempts to investigate those contacts? What was he afraid might emerge?
Was it the 30-year history of his dealings with Russian business and political leaders in his attempts to do big business deals, described in a recent column? Was it the help Russian operatives were offering in dishing dirt on his opponent, Hillary Clinton, as documented in the email correspondence of Donald Trump Jr., and in Mueller’s plea agreement several weeks ago with campaign aide George Papadopoulos?
What was Trump afraid of? Week by week, more pieces of this puzzle emerge.
Flynn was after emails. Collusion. That’s what I think.
Trump would win big under his tax plan. But the betrayal runs much deeper than that
During the campaign, Trump told a story, mainly aimed at working-class whites in places that have gotten pulverized amid the globalizing economy and the brutal aftermath of a financial crash caused by reckless elite financial gamesmanship that left the top 1 percent relatively unscathed. That story went like this: I’m not like other politicians (Republicans included) or like other members of that financial elite. They have conspired with one another to fleece you blind. I got filthy rich milking the system. I will put my knowledge of how we elites engorged ourselves to work for you.
This is what Trump meant when he openly admitted during the campaign that “I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible,” when he said that not paying income taxes “makes me smart,” and when he flatly declared that big donors “are in total control” of the presidential candidates, his GOP rivals included. “I was on the other side all my life and I’ve always made large contributions,” Trump said, “and I’m the only one up here that’s going to be able to fix that system.” In other words, people like me have gotten rich by buying the politicians and getting them to rig the system in our favor, and I have the inside knowledge of the scam to put things right.
Now Trump and the politicians, working together, are set to pass a tax plan that will lavish enormous benefits on people like Trump — and in key ways further rigs the system on their behalf.
Wealthy Republican donors in the Northeast are closing their wallets, livid with the party for supporting a federal tax overhaul that penalizes their lifestyle and, in their view, abandons core tenets of conservative fiscal policy.
In gruff phone calls and angry emails, loyal GOP financiers have declined invitations to fundraisers and refused meetings with prominent Republican officials. The rejection has been especially acute in New York, a liberal bastion, but a major source of the party’s campaign cash.
Kick Against the Pricks
About those chopped-down potentates and lords: many of them, one couldn’t help but notice, were not the most attractive specimens on the block: bulbous, jowly men; fat men who told women they needed to lose weight; ugly men drawn to industries organized around female appearance. Men with weird hair. Is it wrong of me to bring this up? We do, after all, move through the world as embodied creatures. I wondered what it felt like, if you’re such a guy, one who’s managed to accrue some significant portion of power in the world but you’re still you—coercing sex out of underlings. When you look in the mirror, is it a great white hunter you see staring back, with women as your game of choice? Sure you’ve won, you’re on top, but isn’t every win a tiny jab of confirmation about your a priori loathsomeness? If sexual domination assuages something for certain men, is it because somewhere inside lives a puny threatened runt, and extracting sexual compliance is some form of recompense? One woman, who’d fought off the advances of a naked, pleading film producer, recalled that he thereupon broke into tears and said she’d “rejected him because he was fat.”
The mantra lately heard across the land is that sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it’s about power. I wonder if this underthinks the situation: Is the man who won’t stop talking about sex a man convinced of his power, or one who’s desperate to impress you with his prowess? Failing to notice the precariousness of power encourages compliance, especially among the women targeted. If recent events tell us anything, it’s that power is a social agreement, not a stable entity. The despots had power because they did things that were socially valued and profitable, but the terms of the agreement can shift abruptly. (Force is different from power, which we’ll get to.)
There’s a lot more to this article, which is a must read.
1 in 4 men don't think exposing themselves constitutes sexual harassment, survey finds
Perhaps not surprisingly, men and women are not on the same page when it comes to what constitutes sexual harassment, a survey by the Barna Group found.
The research group asked over 1,000 Americans "What do you think counts as sexual harassment?" in an online survey. They were told to select all that apply.
Gee, I wonder why men get into trouble.
Apparently Republicans want to kick the middle class in the face
It’s not enough to give money to rich people. Apparently, Republicans want to kick the poor and middle class in the face, too.
I used to think the Republican Party’s obsession with top-heavy tax cuts was about pleasing wealthy donors and maybe also fulfilling some misguided Randian fantasy. If the poor and middle class happened to be collateral damage, so be it.
But it’s starting to look like shafting the little guy has become a feature, not a bug, of the GOP’s budget-busting tax plan.
The New York Times and Why White Supremacy Isn’t News
We don’t need to question grocery-shopping neo-Nazis about racism in America. We need to question powerful white men and women who support bigotry
Repeat after me: White supremacy is American as apple pie. It has been a force at the center of our politics and this country’s social and religious norms since before its founding. It’s why men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson could literally put their lives on the line in the cause of liberty and write that all men are created equal while owning and raping dark-skinned people…
White supremacy has been so powerful and prevalent and long-lasting because it has always been the norm and largely propped up and supported by “normal” people, people who do the routine things William Anthony Hovater was described as doing in that New York Times piece. Normal people, including those who eventually out themselves as neo-Nazis and those who don’t, have always provided the energy for white supremacy. It’s not happenstance that an ungodly number of racial disparities exist in every industry and walk of life in a country that supposedly rewards merit and hard work like no other, and that white people, even poor white people, find themselves on the positive side of those divides.
That’s why countless attempts by countless journalists at countless publications desperate to understand why neo-Nazis feel emboldened by Donald Trump and why the majority of white voters supported him have simply glossed over this country’s racial history. The stories seem written as though America’s history did not exist. That’s why they could keep arguing the absurd: that what we are experiencing is the result of economic angst instead of the desperate flailing of a group of Americans who don’t want to see the country’s demographics continue diversifying. That’s the irony of the New York Times’ piece. It tried to center the most obvious form of white supremacy—calling it out specifically—but instead prioritized normalcy.
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