Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Trump Turns on Michael 'Misha 10 Units' Cohen

Here is a very interesting development which may seem gossipy but goes to the heart of our story. The National Enquirer, which has emerged as a de facto arm of the Trump political operation, has a front page story this week attacking Michael Cohen’s “secrets and lies.” Given the relationship between Trump and the Enquirer, that’s a pretty clear indication that Trump is turning on his most loyal and obsequious servant.

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Meet Robin Hanson, Opponent of 'Sex Inequality'

The massacre last week in Toronto has spurred a public conversation about so-called “incels,” a subculture of self-described “involuntarily celibate” men. To say that misogyny is fairly endemic in this community is something of an understatement. In the case of Alek Minassian, it appears to have led to mass murder.

Over the weekend, as I read various pieces of commentary, I got pulled more deeply than I wanted to go into the intricacies of the subculture. A central concept is “sexual market value” — yes, I know — which is a metric by which incels express anger at women who they believe are as sexually unappealing as they are and yet nonetheless refuse to have sex with them. One proposed policy is to have the government assign each person a sexual market value (so no one can deny their actual value). People can only have sex with people of their own value. And for women, the more partners they have, the further their market value number falls. (A sort of big data of slut-shaming.) So basically, the more sexually active a woman becomes the greater obligation she incurs to have sex with the least sexually appealing men. The only way to up her “score” is through exercise. Basically in the incel social taxonomy a sexually active woman gets caught in this Black Mirror-type dystopia of alternating bouts of servicing sexually enraged losers and logging nonstop hours at the gym but never getting ahead of the curve. (It really is blue-sky policy formation in the form of nearly murderous sexualized rage.)

Needless to say, these are some pretty enraged and f’d up dudes, probably all the more so as they marinate in the rage of kindred spirits on forums like 4chan and Reddit. But the whole story took a bit of a different turn when I noticed that a tenured economist at George Mason University was basically endorsing at least the premises of this argument. I was reminded of this this afternoon when I saw this entirely separate article about how the Koch Brothers were apparently allowed to give hiring and evaluation input in the George Mason econ department in exchange for their donations to the University.

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The Birth of Godly Trump, the Humble Teacher

You may have seen some of these paintings already. I’d seen maybe half of them floating around social media over recent months. They’re the work of a painter from Utah named Jon McNaughton. (You can find all his work for sale here.) He specializes in a sort of kitschy painting focusing on patriotic and Christian themes. They have a very didactic bent. People from wildly different eras of history side by side in highly didactic group portraits. So you’ll have Jesus being shunned at the podium in the House of Representatives or this painting of Moses with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Antonin Scalia, Phyllis Schlafly and others.

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What To Do With Your Money

TPM Reader JG on today’s “extra” edition of The Josh Marshall Podcast with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) …

Just finished listening to this episode. I appreciate you bringing on not just journalists or SMEs, but also elected officials who have a voice that can help galvanize our efforts.

By far the best part came at the end: “Let’s say I have $200-300 to contribute over the course of the election cycle. How do I contribute most effectively?”

Holy shit, that’s the question right there. I’m politically aware and I vote. But I also have a bit of extra cash that I don’t contribute because where the hell am I supposed to send it?

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Key New Details Here

The fact that this taxicab family that is joined at the hip to Michael Cohen and his people is getting into the legal weed business is immaterial to me. But there’s a lot of key new information about the Michael Cohen money web in this new article from the AP. I’ll follow up later with an explainer on what it seems to mean. For now, if you’re following this story, give this a read.

So Much To Digest

Is it Michael Cohen’s naked dependence on Donald Trump (and Trump’s predictably awful treatment of him) or the dispute over how much legal work Cohen was really doing for Trump that is the main takeaway from the big new Cohen profile? I can’t decide.

New Podcast Episode

This week on The Josh Marshall Podcast I talk to journalist Ronan Farrow. We talk about his #metoo reporting and his new book War on Peace, about the decline of American diplomacy and global influence not just under Trump but going back decades into the late 20th century. Check it out.

Publishing Stuff

Here I write mainly about politics and only occasionally about digital publishing. If you’re interested in that side of what I do, I went on the Digiday podcast to talk about it. Click here to listen.