Archive

October 17th, 2016

Trump disaster allows GOP to slide on tax policy

    In a kinder, gentler, alternate universe, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the Republican nominee for president. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is out stumping for Kasich and plotting the education and immigration policies that he'll pursue in the vice president's office. (Substitute Sen. Marco Rubio in the veep slot if you prefer; I went with the Floridian who demonstrated superior character.)

    With the electoral votes of Ohio and Florida in the bag, and two decent, smart, sunny-side-up conservatives on the trail, the GOP ticket is cruising comfortably toward the White House.

    Meanwhile, if anyone in the political world cares -- and in our alternate reality, they don't -- Donald Trump is preoccupied with a new reality-television show in which he gives away cash prizes to poor young women who excel in science. (The show is part of a settlement of a class-action suit against Trump.)

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The GOP's Trumpian moment of truth

    What is the Republican Party?

    Suddenly, this has become one of the central questions of the 2016 campaign. It's not simply a matter of whether the GOP is the party of Donald Trump or the party of Paul Ryan. It is also an issue of whether Republican congressional leaders have any connection with the seething grass roots whose anger they stoked during the Obama years but always hoped to contain. Trump is the product of their colossal miscalculations.

    And then there are the ruminations of millions of quiet Republicans -- local business people and doctors and lawyers and coaches and teachers. They are looking on as the political institution to which they have long been loyal is refashioned into a house of bizarre horrors so utterly distant from their sober, community-minded and, in the truest sense of the word, conservative approach to life.

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Reflections on two wildly different tax proposals

    Donald Trump's tax plan gives rich households -- those in the top 1 percent, with an average income of $2.4 million -- a tax cut of $215,000 next year and more than $300,000 once it's fully phased in.

    Hillary Clinton raises taxes on those same households by $118,000 initially and $164,000 upon full phase-in.

    Trump's plan loses $6.2 trillion in revenue over a decade.

    Clinton's plan raises $1.4 trillion.

    Trump's plan cuts the corporate tax rate by more than half, and it allows the top rate on many partnerships and other "pass-through" businesses to go from a 40 percent rate today to a 15 percent rate.

    Clinton hasn't yet proposed any changes to corporate tax rates, but she makes it harder and more expensive for U.S. multinational businesses to "invert" (incorporate abroad to avoid U.S. taxes), eliminates tax subsidies for fossil fuels, and imposes a "risk fee" on large, highly leveraged banks, as well as a tax on high-frequency traders who cancel big-batch orders.

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New Bill Clinton Biography Deserves More Credit

    Any way you look at it, Bill and Hillary Clinton are among the incomprehensible wonders of the political world. Reading my friend and former co-author Joe Conason's new book, "Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton," one thought recurred: Is it even possible to grasp the essence of this brilliant, mercurial, many-sided man, and his equally enigmatic and deeply ambitious wife -- much less to fully comprehend their passionate alliance?

    Maybe not. Indeed, reading a peevish, small-minded Washington Post review of Conason's book by one Carla Anne Robbins, I wondered if the journalistic phenomenon I call "The Clinton Rules" isn't mainly a defensive reaction.

    See, if the former president of the United States, aged 70, can devote his time between heart surgeries to exhausting tours of remote African villages checking on the Clinton Health Access Initiative' progress in saving millions of children from the ravages of HIV/AIDS, then what's your excuse?

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My Trump-Like Bully

    Last May, The New York Times reported on a pattern of Donald Trump’s vulgar behavior with women. Trump refuted every last accusation.

    It’s only now that a video of Trump’s inappropriate behavior in action has come to light that the nation believes he’s the type of man that several women have alleged him to be.

    Another recent article described how Donald Trump triggers victims of domestic abuse. I am a trauma survivor and an abuse victim, and I’ve been triggered by the GOP candidate myself.

    Trump and my bully share the same playbook.

    My bully, Alan Hutchison, was my supervisor at work. I was 25 and working at a medical software company, Epic Systems. He was my senior on a project at a hospital.

    The project was ambitious, but I was more than competent at my job. I’d just gotten a stellar performance review.

    Trump and my bully exhibited similar personality traits. The difference is that my tormentor, who was gay, had no interest in grabbing my genitals.

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'Just a little touching': My own pastor excused my sexual assault

    When I hear Donald Trump talk about grabbing a woman by the p***, I can feel his hand on my vagina. I can feel the weight of his body against my breasts. I can see his sickly smile, the "thank you" he throws my way when he's finished. I can imagine it - quite vividly - because it happened to me at the hands of a co-worker.

    Every day it happens to countless women. It's been happening to me for 20 years.

    The first time, I was a naïve 9-year-old girl. It was my first year riding the school bus and my first week in a new public school. With the residue of South Carolina summer still warming the air, I got off my bus and started walking the sticky, humid half-mile home.

    With my house in sight, I heard a truck barreling up behind me. Then the yelling started. I was already just over 5 feet tall, and I looked to be at least 13 years old. For these men, that was old enough. Their first pass was a blur of crude shouts I could barely hear above the blood pulsing in my ears. I felt my face flame with shame.

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I'm one of the Central Park Five. Donald Trump won't leave me alone.

    For 27 years, I've been in Donald Trump's crosshairs.

    I'm a member of the Central Park Five, a group of teenagers imprisoned for a brutal sexual assault in Central Park in 1989. When we were arrested, the police deprived us of food, drink or sleep for more than 24 hours. Under duress, four of us falsely confessed. Though we were innocent, we spent our formative years in prison, branded as rapists.

    During our trial, it seemed as if every New Yorker had an opinion. But no one took it further than Trump. He called for blood in the most public way possible. Trump used his money to take out full-page ads in all of the city's major newspapers, calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York.

    During that time, our families tried to shield us from what was going on in the media, but we still found out about Trump's ad. My initial thought was, "Who is this guy?" I was terrified that I might be executed for a crime I didn't commit.

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How young Republican women react to Trump

    The New York Young Republican Club gathered to watch Sunday night's presidential debate at Madison Square Tavern, near Penn Station. The club opted for a different location than the first debate watch, held next to a gentlemen's cabaret called Lace. A little advance work can go a long way.

    People began arriving at the bar's basement party room around seven o'clock, two hours before the debate. Not all were club members. Crystal and Lindsay, independents visiting from California, admitted sotto voce they were supporting Hillary Clinton.

    "Don't tell anyone," said Crystal, "but we couldn't get into the Regal Theater in Union Square," where the debate would be playing on a big screen. What about the Young Democrats' party? "We didn't even bother to try."

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Don't worry about sex robots. They won't ruin sex.

    The HBO series "Westworld," which debuted last week to huge numbers, tells the story of a country-western theme park populated by androids. Because this is HBO, there's plenty of sex -- the machines are programmed to acquiesce to all of the guests' needs, which are usually violent and/or sexual, and the park hosts a bordello staffed by a robot madam and robot prostitutes. And because it's a science-fiction narrative about robots and sex, the show has stirred long-standing concerns about what havoc technology could bring to bear on our sex lives.

    From Alicia Vikander's pillow-lipped android Ava in "Ex Machina" to Scarlett Johansson's sultry iOS assistant in "Her," pop culture has long been fascinated by the idea of humans copulating with robots. While the sexbots in question are occasionally male (remember Jude Law's dreamy gigolo in "A.I."?), these fantasies are largely female-centric, depicting a future in which multi-orgasmic female robots will submit to men's sexual whims at a push of the button.

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October 16th

Trump says he'll put Clinton in jail. It's a threat that should terrify us.

    In the first half of the second presidential debate in St. Louis, Donald Trump said that if he won the election, he was "going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into [Hillary Clinton's] situation," thereby providing millions of viewers with an almost dictionary definition of an un-American moment.

    When Thomas Jefferson was elected to the presidency in 1801, it was the first time a political party had transferred power to an opposing party through the political process. He characterized that moment in a letter to a friend as one in which "the order and good sense displayed in this recovery from delusion, and in the momentous crisis which lately arose, really bespeak a strength of character in our nation which augurs well for the duration of our Republic" and took the time to say in his inaugural address that "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists."

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