This week in The Texas Monthly, I learn a troubling profile of Tim Dunn, a 68-year-old billionaire Texas oilman and lavish financier for right-wing extremists within the state.

“Prior to now two years,” Russell Gold writes, “Dunn has turn into the most important particular person supply of marketing campaign cash within the state by far.” He has spent, by way of his political motion committee, thousands and thousands of {dollars} concentrating on Republicans who don’t meet his ideological litmus exams of opposition to public colleges, opposition to renewable power and help for tax cuts and draconian anti-abortion legal guidelines.

A pastor who as soon as stated that solely Christians ought to maintain management positions in authorities, Dunn sees himself as somebody who’s on a non secular mission of kinds and has devoted his time and wealth to imposing his ultraconservative politics and fundamentalist beliefs on as many Texans as doable.

I extremely advocate studying your entire profile, which is a complete have a look at a really highly effective man. I used to be disturbed. There may be his wealth and affect, sure. However there may be additionally his worldview, captured within the opening scene of the piece. Dunn makes an unfavorable comparability between human societies and bee hives:

“When all people does what they do greatest for the hive, it prospers,” he stated. “If you happen to’re a guard, then be a guard. If you happen to’re a scout, be a scout.” Dunn then contrasted the cooperation of the hive with the inexorable tumult of recent politics. “Why do individuals hate politics?” he requested. “All people’s making all of it about themselves,” he stated. “Does it create concord? Are individuals there making an attempt to serve the physique with their presents? That’s why you hate it. It’s an instance of what to not do.”

By itself, this passage reads as pretty innocuous. However when learn with Dunn in thoughts — an easy Christian nationalist whose allies in Texas politics are main the cost to ban books, suppress the rights of L.G.B.T.Q. Texans and prohibit reproductive well being care — it takes on a extra ominous forged.

The passage, in that context, appears to seize the angle of a person who doesn’t imagine in democratic freedom — a freedom rooted in political and social equality — as a lot as he believes within the freedom of the grasp, which is to say the liberty to rule and subordinate others. It’s a tyrannical freedom, one which rests on the concept the world is nothing however a set of overlapping hierarchies, and that if you don’t sit on the high of 1, then you definately have to be made to serve those that do. You’ll discover freedom inside your function, and nowhere else.

This isn’t a brand new or overseas conception of freedom — it is extremely a lot part of the American political custom, one of many extra dissonant notes in our collective heritage. The difficulty, right now, is twofold. First, we now have a robust political motion, led by Donald Trump, that defines itself when it comes to this freedom. And second, we’ve allowed such a grotesque accumulation of wealth that figures like Dunn can wield super affect over the political system.

I’ve written earlier than that the struggle to save lots of American democracy will contain greater than beating Trump on the poll field. Discovering methods to radically restrict the political attain of the tremendous rich is a part of what I imply.


My Tuesday column was on Trump’s apparent deficiencies as he runs for one more time period within the White Home.

It’s not that there aren’t reputable causes to be involved about Biden’s age. He’s already the oldest particular person to serve within the Oval Workplace. The difficulty right here is one in all proportion and consequence. Biden could also be unable to do the job in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later; Trump, it appears to me, already is. A type of is much more regarding than the opposite.

My Friday column was on what I’m calling the Trump mulligan — the extent to which he’s not held accountable for the occasions of his personal presidency.

Why does Trump get this mulligan on his presidency? I believe it owes lots to his superstar persona. Though Trump has not been on a serious display in Hollywood since 2015, when he was fired from NBC’s “The Apprentice,” he nonetheless retains the superstar standing he cultivated over many years in movie and tv. He’s a politician — he was, once more, president of america — however he’s not perceived as a politician. He’s seen, even now, as exterior of or one way or the other transcending conventional politics.


I took this picture in Bridgeport, Conn., final November, throughout somewhat free time I had earlier than a lecture that night.


I don’t have a lot so as to add to this recipe, which is from the Cooking Section of The New York Occasions. I’ll say that it’s best to be at liberty to scale back the salt, particularly when you’re somebody who wants to look at your sodium consumption. It’s nice by itself as a most important, however you could possibly additionally serve it as a aspect together with a fish masala.

Elements

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 pound candy potatoes (about 2 medium candy potatoes), peeled and minimize into ¾-inch cubes

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons Thai pink curry paste

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 (1-inch) piece recent ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 pink chile, equivalent to Fresno or serrano, halved, seeds and ribs eliminated, then minced

  • 1 teaspoon floor turmeric

  • 1 cup pink lentils, rinsed

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable inventory

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra to style

  • 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

  • 1 (4- to 5-ounce) bag child spinach

  • ½ lime, juiced

  • Recent cilantro leaves, for serving

  • Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, for serving (optionally available)

Instructions

In a Dutch oven or pot, warmth 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the candy potatoes and cook dinner, stirring sometimes, till browned throughout, 5 to 7 minutes. Switch the browned candy potatoes to a plate and put aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and set the warmth to medium-low. Add the onion and cook dinner, stirring sometimes, till translucent, 4 to six minutes. Add the curry paste, garlic, ginger, chile and turmeric, and cook dinner till aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the lentils, inventory, salt and browned candy potatoes to the pot and convey to a boil over excessive. Decrease the warmth and simmer, uncovered, stirring sometimes, till the lentils are simply tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and simmer, stirring sometimes, till the liquid has lowered and the lentils are creamy and falling aside, 15 to twenty minutes.

Add the spinach and stir till simply wilted, 2 to three minutes. Off the warmth, stir within the lime juice and season with salt to style.

Divide amongst shallow bowls and high with cilantro and coconut flakes, if utilizing.


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