Monday, December 11, 2017

We See Who You Are

I recall seeing an adage somewhere that said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

That’s what I have in mind when I see the Republican Party apparatus promoting and defending Roy Moore.

That Moore is a sham religious con man is a given. Apparently, everyone in Alabama knew it too, at least in the local malls. When so many people come out of the blue to tell a similar story, (with some offering evidence), none of whom have anything to gain from it, you have to figure that something is there. It’s not even novel anymore when some anti-gay crusader gets caught having gay sex, or morality-pushing judges or senators get caught nose-deep in extra-marital affairs. It’s almost trite.

And now, given the choice between jumping through hoops to support a pedophile or embodying the values they loudly and publicly promote, these are some hoop-jumping bastards.

The only thing that matters to the GOP leaders, no matter who they have to get into bed with, is the accumulation and maintenance of political power. That’s what they’re showing us right now and we’d best believe it.

Even without the salacious scandal, Roy Moore has shown us who he is. This is a guy who has directly and indirectly espoused racism, sexism, disregard for the Constitution and established law.
You know what he’s talking about, don’t you? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. And is there any non-racist basis that this pair of legislative acts is problematic? (And I mean a reason that outweighs the disenfranchisement of tens of millions of US citizens, rather than nebulous perceived indignities felt by those who were no longer allowed to suppress the rights of others for their own gain.)
Moore said, "You know people don't understand how some of these amendments have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended."

And there it is; the paean to Constitutional originalism. Keep in mind that this is conservatism 101… the idea that the Constitution is a static document, to be applied exactly as it was written, much like religious fundamentalists look at the bible. This view allows no room for the advancement of knowledge, philosophy, and science that occurred in the subsequent 240-odd years.

Further, keep in mind that in that original document, a black man counted as 3/5 or a person. And if you were to listen to what they say behind closed doors, that’s what the Republicans would like as well. They tell us that every time they push efforts to combat “voter fraud.”

Next, look at the rights of women. The 19th amendment was needed to give women the right to vote, long after it was given to black men. This is also something Moore obviously would like to see repealed.

And looking at the efforts conservatives have made to dominate and control women and their reproduction decisions, this appears to be a GOP platform item as well. They seek to substitute their own judgment for that of pregnant women by erecting barrier after barrier to not only abortion but basic birth control. They fight insurance that could be used to pay for it, they fight to cut food and medical aid to children, and they shrink from anything to equalize pay rates between men and women.  The only logical conclusion is that they too are in favor of the domestication of women.

The only area the Republicans see for the Constitution to grow and adapt is in making this country a Christian theocracy. See, they have to deal with one unavoidable obstacle:
It’s funny how they don’t see adding official religion to the country’s foundation as an attack on the Constitution. As Roy Moore often says, “God’s will supersedes the laws of man,” which is scary as shit, coming from a (former) judge.

The Republicans are showing us who they are, right now. And when I say that, I’m mostly talking about GOP political leadership. We’ll know more about how the “rank and file” think later this week when the Alabama Senate election is conducted.

Republicans know they need that seat and they’ve said as much. Trump is campaigning outwardly to this end and has taken to smearing Moore’s opponent, calling him, of all things, “soft on crime.”
Money is pouring in from the donor base, who also know how important it is to their interests that the Senate they’ve bought remains in their possession. Do you think the Koch Brothers care if the junior senator from Alabama liked to bone high school girls? Hell no. They only care about getting their taxes cut and reducing any monetary or environmental roadblock to greater profits. There is no human cost as far as the Kochs are concerned; we are a commodity to buy, sell and use for their own benefit, just like every other natural resource on the planet.

To address the deficit their new tax bill will create, the Republicans will be coming after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid next year. That’s not a secret either. And they’re doing that because that’s what the Koch Brothers and other barons of industry want.

The Republicans are showing us who they are… Callous, conscienceless, greedy, misogynist, racist, anti-scientific, evolution-denying, hypocritical motherfuckers. They don’t even hide it anymore.

We need to accept what they’re telling us and act to fight them.

Or else “us” and “them” will be one and the same… Ignorant. Except “Them” will be loaded and living large, and “Us,” will be broke and scrambling.

We can start by consigning the Judge Creeper to the dustbin of history.

Monday, December 4, 2017

When in Doubt, Check it Out

I got a text from my nephew last week, from his freshman dorm at Penn State. He wanted to know if I think aliens exist. Apparently, he’d watched a video that illustrated the evidence that mankind may not be the only intelligent beings in the galaxy. (I’m talking about centuries-old paintings of spacecraft and alien figures appearing on ancient ruins, not local yokels who claim to have been abducted.)

The video covered several bases, from heavily guarded Area 51 to supposed secret holdings of the Vatican library.

Now, I’m certainly no expert on unexplained phenomena but I have an open mind when it comes to the great unknown. But as a card-carrying skeptic, I want to see evidence and investigate alternative theories.

In this case, I think that with the mind-boggling vastness of space, it’s awfully self-absorbed of us to think we’re the only ones out here, and that’s how I answered his question.

I also pointed out that the church probably wants to keep a lid on all things extra-terrestrial, so to maintain the illusion that we’re God’s only chosen beings, made in his image.

See, this is where faith and science diverge. Religion has its tenets and looks for evidence to back it up. Science looks at the evidence and draws conclusions based on the evidence. And if the evidence changes or new evidence is uncovered, the conclusion adapts. It’s the scientific way. 
So when a scientific conclusion changes after a period of time, that’s not a flaw, it’s a design feature.

It’s the same with journalism.

Proper journalism investigates an issue (or person) and then the story becomes the result of what they find out. And when a journalist gets a story wrong? Heads roll. Just ask Dan Rather. Or more recently, Brian Ross.

Hack journalism (like that of Fox “News” and other propaganda sites like Breitbart) is much like religion in that it starts with the story it wants and then looks for select evidence to back it up while discarding evidence that doesn’t.
And what is considered solid evidence?

That is a relevant question because not all “evidence” is created equal. One must look at where it came from, how it was obtained, and who profits from its existence.

If you’re talking about a video about aliens, I’d want to know who’s producing it? Have they produced any other work that’s credible? Do they have anything to gain (besides clicks) by convincing you that aliens exist?

Personally, I’d think that having a named NASA scientist’s testimony on the existence of space life carries a lot more weight than that of the average schmo.

(And speaking of NASA, I’d love to know more about this alleged space bacteria supposedly found on the International Space Station.)

If you’re talking about a news story, evidence from sources varies greatly. That’s why responsible journalism requires multiple sources, plus a close look at motivations. A good reporter doesn’t take anyone’s word for anything.

As it’s often told, the first thing you learn in journalism school is that if your mother tells you she loves you, you’d better confirm it with another source.

You couldn’t ask for a better example of that than what was provided by the Washington Post when they shut down sham “sting-video” producer, James O’Keefe, who sent one of his minions into their offices to report being raped by Roy Moore.

O’Keefe is the guy behind the dishonestly edited ACORN videos and dishonestly edited Planned Parenthood “they’re selling baby parts” videos. His MO is to send people into offices of those he wishes to smear and have them secretly record conversations, which he then edits until they completely misrepresent the conversation and appear to incriminate the target.

The Washington Post was having none of it. They listened to the woman’s story over a series of meetings and noticed some inconsistencies, so they checked her out. And once they observed her walking into the James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas” offices, they had even more reason to check into her background.

Now here’s where it hits close to home.

It turned out that Sweetpea’s older brother used to date this woman, many years ago. They bought a house together, which he soon abandoned because “she was a nut job.”

He didn’t know about her affiliation with O’Keefe or anything about her recent notoriety until he was contacted by the Washington Post and asked about her. When they called him, they referred to him by his common name used by friends, rather than legal name, so they were obviously referred his way by another third party.

This is journalism at its finest. They dug deep into a prospective source’s background, to see if she was on the level.  The Post wrote up the entire story, soup to nuts, exposing the attempted smear job. I’d say these conservative con artists were counting on the Post acting like Fox “News” and just running anything that bolsters their corporate philosophy or tears down their rival’s. They never considered that a legitimate news outlet does its homework before publishing.

And then when O’Keefe released an edited smidgeon of his minion’s conversation with the reporter, the Post released the complete audio, which shows how it was edited to change context. Again.

Journalism is under attack in this country. Irresponsible outlets like Fox “News” and AM talk radio has blurred the line between news/ journalism and opinion, to the point that no one believes anything. Then people like President 45 use that blurring to refute truthful reporting when it makes him look bad.

Every day, when you read the news online or watch TV, you must be a skeptical consumer. Look at the news sources. If you’ve never heard of the website, you have no reason to trust it. And the fact that they’re pushing something you may want to believe, should hold no weight. All news outlets are not created equal.

Sometimes, they’re shining examples of journalism done right, like the Washington Post.

Other times, they’re no more reliable than the town drunk hollering at the end of the bar, like Fox “News,” or other agents of disinformation like Project Veritas.

There is news and there is fake news. For the good of the country, please make sure you know how to tell which is which.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Don't Count on Impeachment

Don’t even think about all the calls for the president’s impeachment; it won’t change a thing, except that the sideshow leaves town. Even if Robert Mueller’s investigation brings down his whole team, all of the noxious ideas spewing from Washington will continue

Because he’s the president, everything that’s going on in Washington is being laid at Trump’s feet, but that’s not necessarily the case. What Trump is trying to do comes right from the mainstream GOP leaders and will continue whether he is president or not.

For example, there’s the leadership tussle at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Director of the CFPB resigned recently and named his chief of staff as his interim successor, as stated in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act (which established the Bureau). That successor is to remain in charge until the president formally nominates someone and that person is approved by the Senate.

Meanwhile, Trump named his own interim director, Mick Mulvaney, who is his current director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney has also called the CFPB a “sad, sick joke.” As with other organizations that they deem "business-unfriendly, Trump has appointed a “leader” whose top job is to neuter, defang and destroy the organization he’s running.

Remember that the CFPB’s sole purpose is making sure that the public is not being screwed by banks and providing remedies like class action suits when they are. Ask yourself why the Republicans are siding with banks instead of you.

There shouldn’t even be a discussion of who is going to be in charge for the near future. Dodd-Frank spells it out clearly. Elizabeth Warren has been sharing the text of the bill on Facebook. It’s not at all ambiguous. But President Trump is not concerned with what the law says; he wants what he wants and that’s what all the GOP leadership wants… to make things more prosperous for the upper class.

But impeaching Trump does nothing to protect the CFPB. Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and all the boys will step in and continue the process of milking the American public for every dollar they can squeeze out. And they’ll do it without wearing the clown shoes. As long as Trump is in there, every minute they spend trying to keep a lid on his baser instincts is a minute they’re not spending trying to screw us.

Same issue with Net Neutrality… a concept that simply means that internet providers do not have the right to pick and choose what content they provide to consumers or charge based on the type of content delivered. The Obama Administration, via the FCC, classified the internet as a utility, not unlike the gas and electric companies. The power company cannot charge you one price for operating your TV and another for your stove.

This move was hailed far and wide by the internet-using public and decried by Republican leadership as over-regulation. (Whenever there’s a regulation in favor of the general public at the expense of big business, they call it over-regulation.)

The new FCC leader just announced a proposal to roll back Net Neutrality and allow ISPs to self-determine their method of billing, by removing the utility aspect of the internet. At the moment, ISPs like Comcast are falling all over themselves saying they “have no plans” to change the way we buy internet service.

But you’d better believe they’ll have plans once the change becomes official. There’s a reason they’re all fighting so hard to repeal Net Neutrality and it’s not because of some high-minded concept. They’ll want to make your internet service just like cable service… bundles, packages, pay-per-view… It would all be legal with the new federal guidelines.
Without Net Neutrality, your internet service options could look like this.

Impeaching Trump changes none of that. The rest of the GOP leadership has been fighting Net Neutrality since before The Donald even thought about running for office. It’s another situation where big business gets bigger and richer and we end-users pay the price.

And if media consolidation continues like it has been, there may some websites your provider won’t let you access at any price. Right now, Time Inc. just agreed to be bought by an entity backed by the Koch Brothers. And CNN is being aggressively pursued by Rupert Murdoch, with help from the Trump Administration. They are holding up a merger of Time Warner with AT&T until they sell off CNN and other assets.
It’s not like we have that much media ownership diversity right now.

If you have Rupert Murdoch, the source behind the conservative juggernaut that is Fox “News,” running the show, do you think he’s not going to influence content decisions of his new internet provider?

And forget about CNN ever being legitimate again. In one move, he’ll have silenced a respected provider of inconvenient facts and most prominent critic of his Fox empire.
They can block, restrict or extort for a price, the access to progressive sites, political enemies,
None of these activities originate with Donald Trump and they will not cease if he’s booted out.

This is what Republicans do when they have the carte blanche of operating the executive and legislative bodies. The only legitimate course of action we have is the 2018 and 2020 elections.

People need to make sure they’re registered, right now. Republican state governments are actively trying to “purge their voter rolls of fraud,” or in other words, those likely to vote Democratic. They know they’re pissing off a lot of the electorate and they’ve already gerrymandered the House into their own virtual kingdom, but the last thing they want is a swarm of angry voters showing up to vote.

Look for urban voting centers to be eliminated, licensing agencies to close, fees for IDs to increase and misinformation to blossom as to where and when to vote.

Think that can’t happen? It already has, in red states all over the country.

They don’t care about our voice, they don’t count our votes, they ignore our overwhelming will for common sense regulation, be it guns to abortion to birth control. To Republicans, we are nothing but a source of income; a resource to be wrung dry, a commodity to be bought and sold.

We need to speak up in a loud voice, that we will no longer stand for it. And we must do it at the polls.

That’s the only way that counts.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Odd Bits - The Funneling Upward Edition

More Lying
I want you to keep in mind that every time a Republican refers to the current legislative abomination as a “middle-class tax cut,” they are lying through their teeth. (Much in the same way they called an environmental bill that loosened pollution rules The Clear Skies Act, which did absolutely nothing to make the skies clearer.) It’s all in the name of conning you into thinking you’re getting part of the pie.

As I’ve said before, their primary concern is to get a massive tax cut for businesses and the top 1%. Anything aimed at the middle class will be the minimum amount necessary to get the bill passed. In other words, the scraps.

And they know they have to hurry. Republican control of the executive and legislative branches may end at any time, depending on who gets swept into or out of office on the wave of a scandal.

Notice that the tax cuts for the rich are made permanent, while the scraps for the lower and middle classes expire in a few years. That alone tells you where their priorities are. (They ain’t with you and me.)

Also, notice how they’re giving us the scraps with one hand while taking them back with the other. Sure, we may benefit from a higher standard deduction, but they also end deductions for state tax and other deductions commonly used by us non-rich. End result will often be a wash.  Meanwhile, there is no check or closing of loopholes surrounding the cuts for the highest earners.

They’re also trying to do an end-around on crippling the ACA by ending the mandatory insurance requirement. That saves money on the cost of the bill but results in millions of people losing their insurance when the rates go up to accommodate the loss of premiums.

That section might not make the cut, however, because the same senators who shot down the health care bills before might do so again (unless they can be threatened or browbeaten into submission by the party machinery and rich donors.) At least two, Flake and McCain, have nothing to lose, due to their not seeking re-election. And if they don’t vote before the Alabama election, they might lose another vote there.

I’m not optimistic on that front. If it starts to look like the Democrat is in line to win the seat, I expect the state GOP to pull something like delaying the election. They don’t care how bad it looks; Koch Brothers want their tax cut, appearances be damned. (It’s the same way they were impervious to public pressure when they stalled a Supreme Court nomination for 10 months. Their benefactors’ voice is the only ones they hear.)

That deafening silence you hear? That’s coming from the deficit-hawk tea baggers, who proclaimed for the last 8 years that increasing the deficit was the road to ruin. They should probably issue a retroactive disclaimer that deficits are just fine as long as rich, white people are getting their taxes cut.

Just watch, if this bill passes and the deficit balloons, these simpering bastards will start looking for social programs to cut, which has always been the other half of their goal. They’re not going to cut a dollar from the defense budget, believe me… only programs that help the lower and middle class will be in jeopardy.

And the idea that businesses are going to plunge their new-found revenues into more jobs and higher wages? A group of CEOs shot that one down last week. It was almost laughable. An administration flak asked a roomful of corporate CEOs, how many of you “plan to increase your company’s capital investments?” Only a few hands went up.

Why? Companies are already massively profitable. They can push their cash anywhere they choose right now, but it’s better for them if their profit margin is higher. So, you don’t see that kind of investment now and you won’t see it later if this tax bill passes.

That right there undercuts every rationale the Republicans are using to trick you into supporting a tax plan that screws you just to benefit them. This plan is simply a way to take money from the Have Nots and move it to the Haves.

Rest in Peace
There were a couple of well-known deaths in the news over the weekend.

Most upsetting to me was the loss of AC/DC founder and rhythm guitarist, Malcolm Young. He had been suffering from dementia and related ailments since 2014. 
I’ve written about my life-long love of AC/DC before. People usually know his younger brother, eternally schoolboy-suited Angus Young, as the focal point and face of the band, but Malcolm was the heart. As the rhythm guitarist, he created some of the most monumental and powerful guitar riffs in rock and roll.  You know the songs…

You Shook Me, Dirty Deeds, Highway to Hell, TNT, Whole Lotta Rosie, Let There Be Rock, and so many others… they’re all songs you know the instant they come on, due to that signature riff, which was played (and probably written) by Malcolm Young.

Writing hooks that catchy and that powerful… it’s not easy. Sure AC/DC is loud and primitive, but they’ve always had that big hook that goes straight to your groove center and that’s something I find sorely lacking in modern music.

Mister Young will be missed, by a legion of old metalheads, like me.

Director’s DVD Commentary: How cool are my parents when on Sunday, my 79-year old dad sent me a condolences text for Malcolm Young? I must have raised them right.

Rot in Hell
In happier news, cancer on mankind, Charles Manson, died in prison this weekend.

It’s about time. Now we can be spared his regular moments in the spotlight every time he comes up for parole. As if THAT was ever going to happen.

It’s funny though, about the timing. Last month, I just re-read the book Helter Skelter, which is an account of the whole Manson saga as written by the prosecutor who put them all in jail. (I’d seen a TV movie based on the book, back in the early 80s, I think, then read the book a few years later.)

What struck me the most during my re-examination of the story, was how horribly the LAPD botched the investigation. They literally had one of the murder weapons in their possession for months, without knowing about it. And they neglected to investigate the area where it was found, or else they would have located incriminating, bloody clothing as well. A news crew found this stash when they followed the lead themselves.

The prosecutor also lamented his troubles in getting them to, well, DO anything. He’d give them leads to check out, based on his interviews with the Manson clan or associates, then check back weeks later to find they hadn’t worked on any of them.

You’d think that a case of such notoriety would have gotten people off their butts, but they seemed entirely indifferent. It’s a wonder he got convictions on ANY of the killers, let alone the guy who never actually killed anyone himself.

The trial itself was a real three-ring circus. Because Manson was not allowed to represent himself, he hired a lawyer known for his dilatory tactics, like objecting to everything the prosecution said and did. Manson repeatedly disrupted hearings, to the point where he was forbidden from attending. He followed the proceedings from a side room.

His three co-defendants, each with their own counsel, caused numerous disruptions as well, which Manson was assumed to have orchestrated.

As a boy, I remember reading about the murders in our Time/Life Year in Review annuals. I found them fascinating as well as horrifying. It all seemed so exotic, and I guess it was. It’s not like we’ve ever seen anything like that ever since.

Anyway, we’re shut of the likes of Charlie Manson now. The world is a better place without him.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

I said ‘Honey I’ll live with ya for the rest of mah life,’
She said ‘No huggy, no kissy ‘til you make me your wife.’
Oh honey, mah baby, don’t put my love up on no shelf.
She said, ‘Don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself.’”

Was no one paying attention to the Georgia Satellites back in 1986? It would have saved everyone so much aggravation. Or least listen to your mother…

Now Harvey, don’t touch, and for Pete’s sake put that thing away. Nobody wants to see that…”

I guess the famous quote is true: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ~Sir John Dalberg-Acton

What we have going on in America is an epidemic of uncontrolled ego and power, manifesting itself in boorish and sometimes criminal behavior and it’s allllll coming to light.

The publicized cases seem to be the famously powerful… movie producers, politicians, directors, high-powered actors and comedians… and I’m sure it runs deeper than that, up to the not-so-famous men of business and industry.

Anywhere there are men who feel they’re beyond reproach, we’re finding men who feel the need to reach out and touch someone. Lady-someones, mostly.

If I were a powerful mogul with shenanigans like that in my past, I’d be trembling in my designer wingtips. That’s the thing with a movement like we’re seeing; the more that comes out, the more people are emboldened to tell their own stories.

People have always known about the Hollywood stories; I mean, we even know the term for it: The Casting Couch. Personally, I always thought that was a thing of the past; something relegated to the old movie studios of the 40s and 50s. Obviously, I was mistaken. A chorus of actresses is telling us that it’s still very much a “thing.”

To me, it’s telling to see how these stories play across the political landscape.

When the Weinstein stories started coming out, Fox “News” was all over it, to the point you thought the guy’s name was “Democratic Fundraiser Harvey Weinstein,” or “Hillary Clinton Donor Harvey Weinstein.” All the knives came out for the “Hollywood Elite,” which is dog-whistle for “no-good, uppity liberals.”

Then the Roy Moore story came out. Whole different story.
If true,” huh? Yeah, that’s an important distinction, but only when a conservative white man is accused. Because, after all, the biggest tragedy of them all is one innocent white guy out a hundred guilty ones, getting punished.

Contrast that to the “law and order” death penalty advocates, where if one innocent black man is killed along with a hundred guilty ones, that’s just the cost of doing business, because he probably did something else no one knows about.

When a Democrat screws up, other Democrats boot him off the team.  Just ask Anthony Weiner.
But just listen to the alibis for Roy Moore. They’re even trotting out biblical quotes to rationalize molesting a 14-year old girl. And then while they’re sharpening their knives for the victims, they incredulously ask why they didn’t come forward sooner?

Why do you think, Gomer? Because you and your Bible-thumping buddies are about to make their lives a living hell.

One more just came out today. A woman who, when she was a 16-year old waitress, let Moore (who was the local district attorney), give her a ride home from work and on the way, he felt her up and tried to force her head onto his crotch. Her story coming out is only possible by the existence of the first four stories.

Moore is most famous as the judge who insisted on posting the Ten Commandments on the courthouse walls and was removed from the bench for defying the Supreme Court on the matter.  I wonder which commandment says to sexually assault a minor.

What the hell is up with Alabama anyway? I saw an article that said they Roy Moore revelations made Alabama evangelical Christians 40% more likely to vote for him.

Alabama: Throwing off the learning curve since the 1800s. It’s the only state were molesting a minor makes a politician more relatable.

You know, every time you turn around, there’s another story about a woman who’s been murdered by her husband or boyfriend. Cops don’t even pretend to look for anyone else unless the significant other is on video elsewhere at the time of the crime. And even then, he probably hired someone to do it for him.

Between getting beaten, raped, killed, sexually assaulted, mentally abused, cat-called, black-balled, and paid seventy cents on the dollar, I don’t see how we even propagate the species anymore. If I were a woman, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near men, let alone live with one.

It’s a testament to Woman’s limitless capacity for forgiveness and seeing the good in people that we Man can even find someone to tolerate him.


And speaking of tolerating lower lifeforms, Happy Birthday to Sweetpea. This man thanks his lucky stars every day that she puts up with him.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Professional Wrestling has Nothing on Fox "News"

If you’ve read me for very long, you know I take a lot of shots at Fox “News.” Every one of them is deserved. They are not a news service at all; they are the media mouthpiece for the Republican party. Their only mission is to create and maintain a conservative voting bloc by any means necessary.

If a Democrat discovered a vaccine for cancer and offered it for free to the world, they would call him a Socialist and condemn him for undermining the free market. That’s how skewed a world vision they have. No Democrat has ever, nor will ever, take an action that merits their approval.

While they rarely come straight out and present bald-faced lies as news, they more often skew the context of news stories by slanting graphics or omitting mitigating facts or anything that would lessen the conservative outrage they are trying to whip up.

These tactics have been uncovered and parsed at various other sites. But up until recently, I didn’t know how “canned” their interview and debate segments were until I read this article by former Fox talking head, Tobin Smith.

If you have any friends or relatives who swear by the veracity of Fox “News,” you should click and read the article right now because it shows how every moment of every panel segment is carefully scripted so that the conservatives trounce the liberals in the most psychologically satisfying way.

It is the professional wrestling of the talking head genre, without a genuine moment to be seen.

Here’s how they do it…

They start with hand-picking the actors to play the liberal parts. The liberal panelist will always play to liberal stereotypes. They’ll be geeky, condescending, unattractive and usually a person of color or obvious ethnicity.

These actors will roll out the most strained liberal arguments… they’re practically straw men made flesh… AND, the entire argument will be provided to the conservative commentator in advance.

The faux-liberals will do their thing, guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of the target audience, who are, as Roger Ailes put it, white “men from age 55 to dead.” Then the last word goes to the conservative closer, who comes in and tears the liberal argument to shreds.

It is carefully directed to rile the conservative base and then flood them with “My team won” endorphins as their guy logs a convincing win using time-worn conservative talking points. It’s not at all different to the feeling of watching your favorite football team stage a comeback to best their biggest rival.

Every word of it is a psychological ploy, designed to play on the biases of their base. And now this isn’t just speculation, it’s a fact, coming from a former participant.

Sure, Fox backers may claim, “It’s just a disgruntled former employee.”

If so, where are the lawsuits? Smith’s article came out in May. If his disclosure was untrue, you’d expect them to sue. But the last thing they want is for their production techniques to become common knowledge.

Smith also describes the rampant sexism that flows through the organization.

Granted, it’s not difficult to tell what their physical standards are for female on-air talent. They’re all gorgeous, long-haired (usually blonde) model-types. That’s not an accident.

But for former network head, Roger Ailes, that often wasn’t good enough. From the Smith column:

Many times when I was on set Roger would call down from his 2nd-floor office packed with TV screens to tell female anchors during breaks (“I have a call for you from the Second Floor) to “tart it up — tits up and necklines down.

For the non-endowed female anchors, this meant being required to wear an uplifting “water-bra” while on set to meet Roger’s idea of what a female host on Fox should look like.

“The older the hosts got, the bigger the water bra and the longer the hair/eyelash extensions got too.”

Is it any wonder that one female host after another filed sexual harassment or discrimination suits?
The choreography also extended to the hosted shows, like O’Reilly or Hannity. If you didn’t argue the points they wanted, in the way they wanted, you ceased to get call-backs. So when you think you’re seeing an impromptu interview or discussion, it’s already been informally scripted and agreed upon.

Red State Theater; that’s all it is.

I remember reading something about this by comedian Al Franken, back before he was Senator Al Franken. In his book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” he talked about the Fox show “Hannity and Colmes.” This was supposed to be a point/counterpoint kind of show with a liberal (Colmes) and conservative (Hannity) battling out the day’s news.

Franken was often disturbed by the performance of Colmes, who never “won” and rarely brought up important, salient points to discredit Hannity.

One time, Franken met Colmes face to face and offered his assistance. He offered a couple of effective facts, counters, and debunkings for future use on Hannity’s assertions.

Colmes’s response?  “That's not the format of our show.”

Franken was like, “Why not, it’s your job to be the liberal, isn’t it?”

No, his job was to be the punching bag who lets Hannity say whatever he wants.

The last thing Fox “News” is going to allow is a liberal to make sense on their network.

If Democrats are to make any progress in the upcoming elections, the effect of Fox “News” must be mitigated. There are vast segments of the country who get their news from Fox and only Fox. They’ve convinced their viewership that any news source that contradicts Fox is by definition, promoting fake news.

Most aren’t equipped to combat the onslaught of misinformation projected at them daily. They are psychologically outgunned by the master-level persuasion techniques wielded by Fox.

The only hope is that they’ll listen to one of their own… a guy for whom they used to cheer.

Scroll back up and click the link to the Tobin Smith column. Become familiar with the contents. Bookmark it if you can. Use it the next time that friend or relative tells you about something they heard on Fox.

Fox “News” is basically lying to every single one of its viewers. They are putting on a fake version of a live discussion panel show. They are to real news as professional wrestling is to Olympic wrestling; a scripted, truth-free imitation of a genuine product and Tobin Smith has proof.

Spread the word.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Please Excuse my Lack of Optimism

My last couple posts have been of a personal nature, so let’s see what’s going on around town.

Indictments
Special Prosecutor Mueller has taken his first public steps in unraveling the Trump campaign/Russia issues with an indictment of Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign advisor.

Manafort’s charges don’t have anything to do with the campaign just yet, but it’s not hard to project that he’ll be squeezed for information. Nonetheless, the Whitehouse is doing backflips to try to redirect blame as well as the public’s attention.

Trump is still flogging the Crooked Hillary Colluded with the Russians theory, which makes perfect Trump sense that she would seek to get cozy with the very people who were proven to have bought millions of dollars’ worth of ads to turn people against her.

Folks, this is going to be a three-ring shit show of the highest caliber, as the prosecutors slowly build their case and the Administration does everything in its power to discredit and distract. Look for the bombs to fly any minute, because only a no-good commie would try to prosecute the president during wartime, right?
I don’t plan to follow this story molecule by molecule… I’ll wait for Mueller to finish his job. Anything we think we know at this stage is speculation. Let the man take the deal and play his hand before we start keeping score.

In the meantime, there are other things worth discussing, like:

Cuts to our 401k
One of the ways the Republican Congress is trying to pay for their tax cut is by limiting how much we can put in our 401k accounts, pre-tax. They’re talking about lowering the current limit of $18,000 per year to $2400.

That’s right. First, they came for our company pensions and replaced them with 401ks, so that companies could avoid paying for the retirement they’d promised its workers. The bigger companies offered a corporate match, up to 4-6%, and as a greater incentive, it was pre-tax. The theory was that we’d pony up more for our retirement if it could lower our taxes now.

Now they’re coming for the rest of it.

If there was ever a clearer picture of the Republican ideology, this is it. They want to gut the retirement plans of the middle class in order to fund giant tax cuts for the 1%. That is today’s Republican.

In return, they say the 1% will turn around and stimulate the economy by creating more jobs and paying higher salaries, despite this having never happened before in the last 60 years.

Trump has stated via Twitter and his post-campaign rallies that they are not going to cut 401ks. In response, Paul Ryan said that we shouldn’t listen to the president on budgetary matters, thus letting us all know that Congressional Republicans do not feel bound by the president’s statements or promises.

The only thing the Republicans feel bound by are the Koch brothers and they want their tax cut. And I’m sure they’d like not to have to contribute any more to employee 401ks than they have to.

Nor do they care to contribute to the:

ACA
Republicans are now intentionally sabotaging Obamacare in a deliberate effort to make it fail. They are injecting massive uncertainty into the insurance industry by withholding the subsidy payments that prop up the whole operation.

Trump calls them “bailouts,” but that’s a heavily slanted word. They are really contractually obligated payments to subsidize insurance for the poor. The insurance companies did their part; they offered policies at reduced rates on the promise of receiving these funds. The government is trying to renege.

Making these payments are not a bailout, they are upholding the government’s promise. But Trump knows that his base hates the idea of a “bailout” for anything… Banks, car companies, sinking ships, you name it. This is what they'd like to see in its place:

Beginning the Neutering of the CFPB
In another perfectly Republican congressional action, the GOP stripped the public of the right to file a class action suit against banks. Banks can now go back to when they could concoct fine-print clauses tying customers to in-house arbitration to address all wrongdoings. In other words, that’s like playing a ballgame where the other team provides the park, equipment, umpires, your teammates, AND writes the rulebook.

The class action allowance was a mainstay of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Republicans have been trying to shit-can ever since it was created.

Once again, congressional Republicans take bold action to protect banks from customers they have wronged. (In most cases, intentionally wronged, like opening millions of fraudulent accounts under customers’ names.)

You might ask, “Aren’t they afraid of being voted out by a pissed off public?

Hell no. First of all, they have Fox “News” out there explaining to the base how all these actions are GOOD for us, appearances be damned. 

Second, congressional districts are gerrymandered beyond belief. It would take a massive revolt of the base to turn the House.

And third, in states where the GOP has governmental control, (and that’s most of them), they are busy stripping names from (likely Democratic) voter rolls for specious reasons. And as a second prong, they are instituting scores of hoops to jump through, like voter IDs, to register (or re-register) to vote.

Well what’s wrong with IDs?” you may ask.  The deal is that they disallow any IDs they feel are tied to Democratic voters, like university IDs, library cards, or MENSA memberships. Gun licenses are valid though… They also raise the cost of obtaining the official IDs.

While we twiddle from one distraction after another, tawdry sideshow after salacious accusation, the Republicans are quietly stacking the deck. They get in, they change the rules of getting in and then spend their public “service” careers funneling money upward to those who have the most.

That’s why I’m not optimistic about regime change anytime soon. Even with a Trump impeachment or arrest, we’d still have Mike Pence or Paul Ryan. Both are minions of the Koch brothers, especially Pence. They’ll get the Republican middle and lower class-destroying agenda passed without stepping on their own dicks because they’re not trying to be popular and populist.

They don’t give a shit what We the People think; they answer only to their corporate masters.

Would that our voices matter as much as corporate dollars…

Monday, October 23, 2017

The "C" Word

After months, if not years, of dread anticipation, it was finally time to confront a colonoscopy. (Yes, it’s that C-word. If you prefer not to deal with today’s subject matter, best to get out now.)

At my first meeting with my new primary care doctor, late this summer, I finally consented to go under the pipe, only six years overdue. And once I got a look at the instruction sheet, the dread began.

It wasn’t the dread of the procedure; it was the preparations. And not even the incessant pooping… it was the fasting that had me the most worried. A whole day (and part of the next), without food? That was gonna suck so hard.

Director’s DVD Commentary: Obviously, I knew I was going to write about the experience, but even that entailed some dread because it’s already been done. In fact, one of the funniest things I ever read was a 2008 column by my humor-writing idol, Dave Barry, about his colonoscopy. You’ve probably read it too. A condensed version of the column has been floating around on email for years. In fact, you should probably skip my post and go read his.

Also, my close, personal friend, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, included a chapter about her colonoscopy in her book, Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares. (Go buy it!) So that precludes me from merely dropping every pooping pun I can think of into a post.

But if you stick around, I’ll doo my best. (Sorry.)

I selected a Friday for "C-Day" because normally work from home on Thursdays and Fridays, and I could begin the prep on Thursday without having to take the day off. (And without having to penguin-walk through the office to the men’s room every 15 minutes. Heaven help anyone who would dare to stop me to chat.)

During the preceding week, I was on a restricted diet. Among other things, I was to avoid seeds, nuts, fresh or fibrous vegetables, and fruit. None of this would be terribly restrictive; in fact, that was mostly my usual diet (before Sweetpea).

But I also had to give up coconut, mushrooms, and salami/pepperoni; the latter three really put a damper on pizza night. And avoiding coconut meant I had to stop working on the German chocolate cake Sweetpea made me at the beginning of the month.

The Day Before C-Day (B-Day, I guess) finally rolled around so the time for the “fast” had begun. The previous night, I filled up on leftover pork roast and mashed potatoes. I knew that would have to hold me awhile because all I was allowed to put in my mouth Thursday were clear liquids (water, tea, soda, vodka), hard candy and jello. Red and purple-dyed drinks were forbidden. So I had my supplies in order:  
Since cherry and grape were out, I went with anti-freeze blue.

I was surprised that this was over-the-counter stuff. I figured they’d keep it in the back with the Sudafed. It would be easier on the public after a meth lab explosion rather than one from explosive laxatives.

The Gatorade was another dilemma. Again avoiding reds and purples, most of what was left was green and yellow-tinged stuff, which I wasn’t really feeling, and I already had some blue-screen blue. So I went with this odd white-cherry concoction. Think there are any natural flavors in there?

I was leaving nothing to chance.

And, of course, I must have in-house entertainment. Between my tablet/iPhone, a half-read Playboy, and my mirror-accessed TV, I would be able to spend hours on the hopper before becoming bored or having my legs fall asleep.

The instructions said to take the Dulcolax tabs at 3:00 PM and then starting at 5:00, to begin drinking 8-ounces of Miralax every 15 minutes until it was three quarters gone. Then at 11:00 PM, take the remainder.

I was not OK with this. I at least wanted a chance to sleep away some of the starvation, but this guaranteed I’d be up into the wee hours. So I decided to start the drill a little earlier than that.

So I took the Dulcolax an hour earlier, at 2:00, right after “lunch:”
Not a color found in nature. Just Bomb Pops.

Nothing happened for the next two hours. I wasn’t sure if that was normal or not… I figured it was like the Advance Team, in there to soften up the enemy for the full assault.

At 4:00 I mixed up the Miralax and we were off to the races. The powder mixture made it a little thick, but it was rather tasty. Good choice, going with the Glacier Cherry Gatorade.

Second shot at 4:20. No activity. Third at 4:35. Nothing. Fourth at 4:50. Nada. I’m beginning to fear the explosion to come. Fifth at 5:10. At least I’m wasn’t hungry anymore. Sixth shot at 5:30. That was supposed to be the stopping point until I finished the last two glasses later on. I went to check the Miralax bottle, to make sure it wasn’t some kind of internal sealant. But literally two minutes after that last glass, the dam began to crack. About freaking time…

5:48: Now things are opening up and the flood waters are raging. 6:02. 6:20. So far, no worse than an ordinary bout of the runs; not the firehose Dave Barry led me to believe was waiting.

7:00. It took a while since the last event. I wondered if I should start the rest of the Miralax. I decided I should wait.  7:15… the waters are raging. But where is the substance? All that pork and potatoes last night have to turn up somewhere… Who knew Miralax was also an industrial-grade solvent?

Next event was 8:15 and I seem to be tapped out.  I figured it was time to hit the remaining potion. No way I was waiting until later that night, only to have it kick in at 2:00 AM.

9:00, 9:50, more hot sauce. Around 11:25, watching the end of “Spiderman: Homecoming,” I nearly committed the cardinal sin… I almost farted. Luckily I caught it in time before I had to bleach my sofa.

I wound up the night with one more trip right before bed, around midnight, and found I had finally reached the prized “clear” stage. (And you can thank me later for not describing the full-color spectrum of the preceding stages.)

Because my brother’s office is literally a minute away from the doctor’s office, I had him give me a ride in. He said he’d pick me up at 9:00, which meant I got a solid night’s sleep until I got up at 8:00.

I was worried, though… the first potty trip of the day showed I’d surrendered the coveted “clear” status. Luckily I didn’t have to worry for long; the second trip brought me back to clear. I tried one more time right before we left, just to be sure, but I was finally tapped out. I think maybe dust came out.

Once at the hospital, I was checked in and gowned in no time. They told me not to even bother with trying to tie it in the back, which was fine with me. The last thing I needed was a dislocated shoulder from trying to tie up that torture device.

As per my usual custom, I tried to be charming and fun with the nurse who got me ready. I always want the medical staff to love me, just in case anything goes wrong. Same with the anesthesiologist… He was in charge of making sure I remember nothing about the ordeal, so I don’t want him doing a half-assed job.

Right before they wheeled me in, I asked if he could stow my phone under the gurney, with the rest of my stuff.  He said, “Are you sure you don’t want to take a selfie first?”

That cracked my shit up for the next five minutes. I was like, “That would be the most epic Facebook update ever!

I said, “I can just see it… me laying on my side, gown on, IVs in, all the doctors cheesin’ behind me, everyone giving a big Thumbs Up!”

All we’d need is a selfie-stick. Or a camera-shy intern.

I added, “Just wait until the selfie generation starts aging into colonoscopies. This is gonna happen, you just wait.

We were both still chuckling when the doctor came in and my guy goes, “He wants to take a selfie with us!”

I was like, “KIDDING!  I was KIDDING!” I’m pretty sure they had more important things to do.

So they got me all arranged, lying on my left side… bottom leg straight, top leg bent, and gown pulled over my hip leaving buns exposed to the various people hustling in and out of the room.

The anesthesiologist was right in front of me so I looked up and said, “I’m feeling entirely too conscious right now.”

He said, “But you're NOT conscious. This is all just a dream.”

Who knew these guys were such comedians? I said, “I hope not because this is the worst dream ever! I could be on a beach somewhere but here I am, HERE, with all of YOU…”

And then a moment later… I was OUT. There was no hazy awareness of anything; I was knocked right the hell out. One minute I’m laughing with the anesthesiologist and the next, the doctor is telling me it was over and all results were negative. No polyps, no nothing. 

See you in ten years,” she said.

Sweetpea had just arrived and they led her right in. This was the second time in five months she’s seen me in a gown on a hospital bed. After about 15 minutes of letting me get my head together, we were sent on our way, discharge papers in hand.

Later, as I was looking through the documents, I saw the analysis of my colorectal health. It seems they have a scoring system… There are three segments and each is graded on a 1-3 scale.  I had one 2 and two 3s, for a “Boston Bowel Preparation Scale” of 8 out of 9. I felt like I just pitched a one-hitter and won the Colon World Series.

Next thing I gotta do is talk to my buddies and see what their scores are. You know us guys… once there’s a score involved, everything becomes a competition.

So then I turned the page and I’m immediately confronted with… Pictures!  Full-color pictures of my colon! Jesus! They could have at least put a warning page in there. You don’t just spring something like that on a guy…

No, I will not include the pictures here.  You’re welcome.

So, now that’s all done and not only were there no medical issues, it really eliminated all the fear and anxiety about the process.

I’m just amazed that there were no findings. I figured, with all the meat and drink I consume, there had to be something wrong in there. Now they’ve gone and encouraged my behavior.

After spending the day emptying out my colon, I can now spend the next ten years filling it up again!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Not So Grand Theft

Q: How do you create a conservative?

A: Rob a liberal.

That’s the old joke, isn’t it? I got to test that hypothesis a couple weeks back, when I had some stuff stolen from my car, in the parking lot right outside my place.

I got in the car that morning and I immediately felt like something was wrong. I looked down into the storage compartment under my sound system and saw that my sunglasses were gone.

Normally that could have meant that I just left them at work or in the apartment, but I hadn’t worn them anytime recently. I looked to my right and saw that the passenger-side door was unlocked.

That gave me pause. I knew that I only flicked the “unlock” button on my key fob once, which should only unlock the driver’s side door. (Two pushes unlocks all doors.)

With that, I began to take inventory, to see what else was gone. I opened the top section of the center console. Coin container: there. USB charging cords for phone and MP3 player: there. Burger King coupons: there. (Phew!)

Then I opened the lower compartment and what I saw broke my heart.

Bastards stole my CD case!

Can you imagine that? And these weren’t even retail CDs… these were 13 homemade mix CDs full of dinosaur rock and blues, with cute little graphics inserts I designed and printed myself. What kind of car burglars would want something like that?? It’s not like they can sell them… My only guess is that they probably didn’t even look inside the case.

I checked my glove box and my car docs were still there, but I didn’t see the emergency knife I kept there. I have one of those fold-out knives with a 3” blade, a blade-slot in the handle to cut a seatbelt, should I be dangling upside down, and a steel point on the end of the handle, to break the glass should the car be under water after I cut off the seatbelt.
A week later I ended up finding the knife wedged between the seat and seat back of the passenger seat, but not until I had already ordered another one. I also thought they got my large golf umbrella, but I found that stuck in the back of the trunk.

Other casualties? A lint roller.

Sweetpea had just given me the lint roller, to combat the onslaught of second-hand dog hair that was invading my car. I hadn’t even opened it yet.

They leave the knife, phone accessories, and several bucks in change and assorted crap in my trunk, but take cheap, drugstore sunglasses, homemade CDs, and a lint roller? WTF?
Who the hell would want these? (Outside of The Burgh, that is…)

I wondered how they got in; I ALWAYS lock my doors and there was no sign of break-in… and where? I mean, they could have stolen that stuff when my car was parked at Sweetpea’s house the night before and I might not have noticed when I came home after dark. But I managed to put it all together.

It came down to that one-push unlocking. The passenger door was open that morning and I didn’t open it. I’m very conscientious about locking up when I visit Sweetpea. Her neighborhood has seen better days.

And I lock up the car at home too; I always have, especially ever since I had my car burgled for spare change about 10 years ago, in my parking lot.

In the end, it was pizza that did me in.

When I went to see Sweetpea that night after work, we got take-out pizza. I took home the leftovers, still in the big pizza box. When I pulled into my lot, I had to wrangle my laptop back out from behind the passenger seat, along with the pizza box on the passenger seat, plus another container of leftovers. Obviously, amid all that wrangling, I forgot to lock my doors.

You’d think if you left your door unlocked just once, you might get a “bye” on it. But that one time I left the door open was the one time some schmo came looking for an easy score.

Or was it?

Now I think it’s more like some dude (or dudes) troll the parking lots regularly, looking for cars left unlocked just that “one time.” Strolling through lot after lot in the middle of the night would be easy as pie. Mine is such a quiet neighborhood, literally nothing is going on outside. I swear, anytime I come home after dark, like 9:30 PM, it might as well be 3:00 AM.

So, I reordered my knife, as I said, plus another pair of shades and a new CD case. Sweetpea suggested I put a cheap stick-on label on the case and mark it: “HOMEMADE ROCK COLLECTIONS 1980-95,” like it’s part of a whole set of other cases. That should repel any CD thief under the age of 40.

But it’s the loss of the CDs that really hurt. I spent a lot of time and effort putting those together. Luckily, I still have the graphics inserts with song listings on my PC so I can recreate the collection. And I have plenty of blank discs. It’s just going to take some time.

Also, I’m going to have to repurchase some of the MP3s, because a lot of the songs I’d burned had copy-protection on them. Then once I upgraded to a newer PC, those files no longer play, nor can I burn them to CDs.

Oh well, live and learn.

At least that pizza was good…

But did the experience turn me into a conservative?

Please. This was chump change compared to the robbery the current conservative administration is proposing for the middle and lower classes. 

If only we could just lock the doors to keep out the Koch Brothers.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Taxing My Patience

Remember how there used to be a Tea Party who got howling mad about any increase to the deficit? I sure do. I wrote about it from way back in 2009 to clear up to this year that they were only concerned about the deficit because it wasn’t one of “their guys” in charge of the spending.

Trump’s new tax plan is destined to explode the deficit. Even without the details laid in, it’s going to be break-the-bank expensive.

Anyone see any Teabaggers out in the street demonstrating? Anyone hear any Tea Party senators making anti-deficit spending speeches on the Senate floor? Any Tea Party representatives railing against increasing the deficit into any microphone they can find?
Of course not. Because it’s their guy doing the spending and for some unfathomable reason, spiking the deficit to give the country’s top earners a tax cut seems like a good idea to them. (Probably because they’ve been funded by the Koch Brothers all along, and the Kochs want tax cuts.)
If there are going to be any offsets, look for them to come from programs used by the middle and lower classes.

Perhaps they actually believe it when the GOP says this tax cut is targeting the middle class. But all you have to do is look at the ideas they’re talking about and it’s as plain as day that the only people upon whom this will have a positive effect are the top 1%.
I mean, repealing the Estate Tax alone affects around 200 people in the entire country… the richest of the rich.

Or perhaps they believe it when they’re told that giving tax cuts to the rich will trickle down into more jobs and better pay, when everyone with at least a couple of brain cells left and who were alive in the 80s knows that when Reagan cut taxes for the upper crust, there was no glut of jobs or higher wages. There was a recession.
And when George W. Bush doled out a huge tax cut to the wealthy, they pocketed the dough and paid out higher bonuses to the executives. There was no job creation, only the Great Recession of 2008.

When Kansas and Wisconsin enacted the Republican Nirvana of slashing tax rates to business and the upper class, the states’ economies dove straight into the dumpster, where they remain.

Tax cuts for the rich DO. NOT. LEAD. TO. MORE. JOBS. It’s just the excuse they use to get you to continue to vote Republican. How many times must this play out before we catch on to the ruse?
On the other hand, Minnesota raised taxes for the upper class and cut taxes for middle and lower classes. Know what happened? Booming economy. Schools are properly funded and performing to high standards. It’s pretty much the opposite of Kansas.
Republicans love to talk about how we have the largest corporate tax rate in the world. (We don’t, but why let facts get in the way?) But even if it were true that we did have the highest rate in the world, why would it matter if no one actually pays that rate? With all the loopholes and gimmicks corporations use to reduce their tax burden, the official rate is irrelevant. The biggest companies pay a lower percentage than you or I do.

I would have no issue with lowering the corporate tax rate if they could ensure that would be the amount the companies paid. But they’re not talking about closing the loopholes, are they? Not seriously.  

However they stack it, there is no scenario where corporations are going to pay more than they do now. Such a proposal would be killed in an instant by big business lobbyists.

They can hype it as a boon to the middle class as long as they like. Just remember the ultimate truth… This tax cut isn’t for us. We’re just getting enough to wet our beaks.

The real meat goes to the richest people in America. It’s the Republican way.