Naomi Klein insists Donald Trump is acting out a deeply complicated theory that makes the "deep state" look like a coffee-klatsch and which only she can explain (even Noam Chomsky would be out of his depth) across three books and some 20 years.
Charlie Pierce puts the opposite case (without even referencing Klein) neatly and succinctly: follow the money.
For a long time, I didn't believe that the president* would bring all this down on himself just to hide the fact that he isn't as rich as he says he is, but now I'm less sure. I think, maybe, that's what's at the bottom of everything else. I think he isn't that rich, so he and the family business allegedly needed freshly laundered Russian money to keep the business—and his image—afloat. Then, of course, the bill came due from Moscow, and that required another set of malodorous transactions which, in turn, required that they be concealed by another set of malodorous transactions, including the firing of James Comey, and so on.It's not about shock and its not about "intersectionality" or how "all our movements are interconnected" (she means activist movements, not physical ones, to be clear), or even how Justin Trudeau is a "hollow brand" too (just like Trump; and as a dual Canadian-American citizen, she alone has returned alive to tell us this). And it's not about three books and 20 years of conspiracy theorizing it took for her to tell us Trump is not just an idiot but a walking "shock-creation machine." It's simply about the words of wisdom William Goldman put in the mouth of "Deep Throat" for that movie about Watergate (search in vain for it in the works of Woodstein): "Follow the money."
God, the tax returns. If he'd only released the tax returns, and the people had gotten a look at how he does business and how much he's really worth, it's likely none of this happens. Of course, it's also likely he doesn't become president* either, but, what the hell, all indications are he doesn't much like the job, anyway, at least not enough to learn the basics of how to do it properly.
In any event, it appears that we're all going to get a crash course in the crooked side of high finance—like we need another one of those—and in identifying all the various fauna in the wild kingdom of the international real estate game. I love those teachable moments. Truly, I do.
Trump's only raison d'être is money. It's all he understands, lives for, and pursues. He's running the Presidency like it was another business licensing the Trump brand. Mueller is reportedly investigating money laundering by Trump associates. Sometime back Pierce noted that Mueller had added an expert on such prosecutions to his team; now we know why.
Follow the money. It's just that simple. Follow the money. Everything about this will resolve to that.
This is America, after all. "It's money that matters/in the U.S.A.!"