Archive

October 17th, 2016

What Donald Trump Is Right About

    Astonishingly, Donald Trump is right about something!

    After recently being caught on a 2005 tape gloating about sexual assaults, Trump issued an unapologetic apology in which he focused on the “big difference” between words and actions. And he has a point.

    But there’s abundant evidence that Trump has indulged in not just scurrilous rhetoric, but also in heinous actions. Several more women have stepped forward to offer on-the-record accounts of having been aggressively groped or kissed by Trump against their will, right after he met them.

    I also find entirely credible the allegations of Jill Harth, a former business partner of Trump’s, that he assaulted her in 1992 and 1993. Equally credible is the assertion by a former Miss Utah that Trump inappropriately kissed beauty contestants on the lips.

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What a court got wrong about dreadlocks and race

    Is it unlawful race discrimination for a company to ban dreadlocks in the workplace? In a decision that has become a topic of debate among law professors, a federal appeals court said no last month. The case is so important because the court defined race as biology, emphasizing "immutable characteristics" as the subject of anti-discrimination law. But for more than 75 years, scholars have understood that race is as much or more a matter of culture than it is about biological reality. The decision in EEOC v. Catastrophic Management Solutions is therefore built on quicksand -- and it's a mistake to embrace it, even if on some level the result might seem like common sense.

    In 2010, Chastity Jones applied to work as a customer service representative for Catastrophic Management Solutions. The job would not have involved any in-person contact with customers; she would be sitting at a computer in a call center.

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Trump just said he doesn't 'believe' he's losing women. He's wrong.

    In the wake of the sex tape revelations, more polls are showing Donald Trump sinking fast, even as Republican anxiety is mounting over what the GOP's ongoing crack-up could mean for the party's chances of holding the Senate and the House. But Donald Trump insists everything is just fine.

    Indeed, Trump made two remarkable assertions in a new interview with Bill O'Reilly: First, with Paul Ryan and other Republicans deserting him, Trump claimed he doesn't even want Ryan's support at this point. And second, he said his chief vulnerability -- his awful performance among female voters -- may not exist. That latter exchange is remarkable:

    O'REILLY: You're behind with women.

    TRUMP: I'm not sure I believe that.

    O'REILLY: Whether you believe it or not, that's what the polling says.

    TRUMP: Yeah.

    O'REILLY: Do you have any plan to speak to women directly?

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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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