Trump has pulled out all of the stops feeding the hateful fantasies of a large racist and fearful chunk of the white population. Many, the Tea Party component, are what Trump represents, but why are so many of the party elites along for the ride. Paul Krugman suggests the tax rate on the upper class is key. Money trumps morality.
One answer is that these were never men and women of principle. I know that many in the news media are still determined to portray Mr. Ryan, in particular, as an honest man serious about policy, but his actual policy proposals have always been transparent con jobs.
Another answer is that in an era of intense partisanship, the greatest risk facing many Republican politicians isn’t that of losing in the general election, it’s that of losing to an extremist primary challenger. This makes them afraid to cross Mr. Trump, whose ugliness channels the true feelings of the party’s base.
But there’s a third answer, which can be summarized in one number: 34.
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Some religious organizations like it both ways - to discriminate and then to claim they are being discriminated against if someone calls them on their discrimination. BYU has been trying to get into a more prestigious athletic conference. It turns out their parent church has some rather harsh anti LGBT policies and that may be an issue.
This uptick in celebrities peddling brand messages on their personal accounts, light on explicit disclosure, has not gone unnoticed by the US government. The Federal Trade Commission is planning to get tougher: Users need to be clear when they are getting paid to promote something, and hashtags like #ad, #sp, #sponsored — common forms of identification — are not always enough. The agency will be putting the onus on the advertisers to make sure they comply, according to Michael Ostheimer, a deputy in the FTC’s Ad Practices Division. It is a move that could make the posts seem less authentic, reducing their impact.
“We’ve been interested in deceptive endorsements for decades and this is a new way in which they are appearing,” he said. “We believe consumers put stock in endorsements and we want to make sure they are not being deceived.”
This means more cases like the one against Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc., which last month settled with the FTC over charges that it deceived customers by paying internet influencers such as PewDiePie — who has about 50 million followers on YouTube — to promote the video game Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor with positive reviews, without disclosing that they were paid and told how to promote it. In March, the FTC issued a complaint against Lord & Taylor for paying fashion influencers to create posts about one of its dresses on Instagram, without disclosing that the retailer paid them and gave them the dresses for free. Any compensation, including free products, should be disclosed, the FTC says.
Meanwhile, another Trump disaster was brewing. Eastern Air Lines, which had been struggling, put its northeastern air shuttle up for sale. Trump persuaded the banks to lend him $380 million to purchase the route, and in June 1989 the Trump Shuttle began flying.
Trump introduced the airline with his usual style—by insulting the competition. At an elegant event at Logan Airport in Boston, Trump took the stage and suggested that the other airline with a northeastern shuttle, Pan Am, flew unsafe planes. Pan Am didn’t have enough cash, he said, and so it couldn’t spend as much as the Trump Shuttle on maintenance. “I’m not criticizing Pan Am,” Trump told the assembled crowd. “I’m just speaking facts.” But Trump offered no proof, and others in the airline industry seethed; talking about possible crashes was bad for everyone’s business.
He promised to transform his shuttle into a luxury service—bathroom fixtures were colored gold, and the plane interiors were decked out with mahogany veneer. He was spending $1 million to update each of the planes, which were individually worth only $4 million. With those changes, he boasted, he would increase the shuttle’s market share from 55 to 75 percent.
But just like with casinos, Trump was in a business he knew nothing about. Customers on a one-hour flight from Washington to New York didn’t want luxury; they wanted reliability and competitive prices.
Trump Shuttle never turned a profit. But it didn’t have much of a chance; even as he was preening about his successes, Trump’s businesses were falling apart and would soon bring the shuttle crashing down with them.