Thursday, October 19, 2017

More Thursday Male Beauty

Virginia 2017 Elections - Political Endorsements

The following are excerpts from my column in the October, 2017, issue of VEER Magazine. (I write a monthly column)  To read the full column (and many other timely columns, look for VEER on news stands now. across Hampton Roads.  Here are the excerpts:
With Virginia's off year elections, LGBT Virginians find themselves confronted with crucial decisions at the ballot box every year.  But this year may be more critical than most given the war against LGBT Americans being relentlessly waged by the Trump/Pence regime in Washington, D.C.  On top of some of the already egregious measures - e.g., rolling back LGBT protections and intervening in a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to argue that existing federal civil rights laws do not apply to LGBT individuals - the Trump regime representative to the United Nations recently voted against a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that condemns the death penalty for those found guilty of committing consensual same-sex sexual acts.  In voting against the resolution, the American delegation joined with Islamic countries such as Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.   One way to create a firewall against such anti-LGBT animus is to elect LGBT allied candidates to the offices of Governor, Attorney General and Lt. Governor on November 7, 2017.    As has become increasingly the case, the allies to the LGBT community in Virginia among elected officials are almost without exception the Democrat candidates.  
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR.   My endorsement goes to Democrat, Ralph Northam.  There are numerous reasons to endorse Democrat Ralph Northam over his challenger, former lobbyist Ed Gillespie, a/k/a "Enron Ed," but Dr. Northam's strong support for LGBT community and our civil rights, including our right to marry the person we love, certainly is a powerful factor.  No American citizen should have to worry one election cycle to the next about whether or not their civil rights will be abrogated or restricted based on the results of the coming election, yet that is the reality faced by LGBT Virginians, especially given the offensive being waged against us by the Trump White House.
 Just like the dishonesty and disingenuousness we see daily from the Trump/Pence regime, Ed Gillespie has tried to have it both ways and lied while speaking out of both sides of his mouth on LGBT rights and other issues.  Late last month, desperate to secure the endorsement of the Northern Virginia Business Political Action Committee, the PAC for the Northern Virginia Chamber, Gillespie privately promised to veto any anti-transgender bathroom that might come to him if he is elected governor.  Not surprisingly, that privately made promise is directly opposite of the many promises Gillespie, like Trump, has made to the evangelical Christians who wield huge influence within the GOP base in Virginia.  This Christian extremist influence is best embodied by The Family Foundation ("TFF"), a virulently anti-gay, anti-transgender organization that vigorously opposes any legal protections for LGBT Virginians and which, if given its way, would bring back the sodomy laws struck down in 2003 by the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas.  Equally disturbing is Gillespie's repeated promises to Christian right extremists about his dedication to protecting their "religious freedom."  Sadly, this religious freedom ruse has become the standard Republican double speak which means Gillespie will protect the right of Christofascists' to discriminate against others based on real or claimed "religious belief." Stated another way, Gillespie supports license to discriminate laws veiled behind a smoke screen of "protecting religious freedom."  As icing on the cake, Gillespie believes in "traditional marriage" and is no fan or supporter of same sex marriage.
 In sharp contrast to each of Gillespie's positions, Ralph Northam has consistently supported LGBT rights initiatives, ran for the office of Lt. Governor on a platform that openly supported same sex marriage, and believes that real or feigned religious belief should not be a license to discriminate against or mistreat other citizens, be it in the form of refusing service to LGBT customers or refusing them housing. No one should be exempt from the scope of non-discrimination laws. If Gillespie's embrace of the larger GOP anti-LGBT rights agenda isn't enough to cause you to vote for Ralph Northam, then one should consider Gillespie's dangerous positions on health care, gun control and or fiscal responsibility.  . . . . Gillespie promises a 10% across the board tax cut if elected.  This tax cut would cause well over a $1.3 billion budget deficit for Virginia according to reports published by the Washington Post.  On his campaign website Gillespie claims that this would equate to a $1,300 tax cut to a family of four.  Like most GOP projections this claim does not seem to match mathematical reality.  My husband and I with our two wage earner incomes and CPA generated returns would see nowhere near this large of a cut in our annual state taxes.  One can only wonder what Gillespie considers to be a "typical family.”  By my calculation it would mean only those families making over perhaps approximately $200,000+ per year would realize the tax cut Gillespie promises. The very wealthy would be the big winners. 
On gun control, Ralph Northam is again the better candidate.  With America still reeling from the mass murder in Las Vegas earlier this month and the Pulse night club massacre still in the minds of many in the LGBT community, it is important to be aware of Ed Gillespie's opposition to sensible gun control laws.   In fact, earlier this year, Gillespie (and GOP Attorney General candidate John Adams) bragged about his top ratings from the NRA.  In sharp contrast to Gillespie, Ralph Northam received an "F" rating from the NRA, an organization that is little more than a front for gun manufacturers.  As a former military physician, Northam knows all too well what automatic weapons can do to the human body in the wrong hands and supports both a ban on the sale of assault weapons and other common sense legislation to reduce the carnage  from gun violence.  Remember those ratings when you vote in November and vote for Ralph Northam (and Mark Herring who is similarly disliked by the NRA). On healthcare, Gillespie is a supporter of the failed Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act and despite promises to the contrary sees no problem with thousands of Virginians losing health insurance coverage.
OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL: My endorsement goes to Democrat, Mark Herring.  Since taking office in January, 2014, Mark Herring has been a steadfast supporter of the constitutional rights of all Virginians, including LGBT Virginians, as evidenced by his refusal to defend Virginia's unconstitutional ban on same sex marriage, a ban based on far right religious belief rather than the concept of equal protection under the law.  Similarly, Herring has opposed Republican efforts to employ voter ID laws to disenfranchise minority voters.  Herring's opponent, John Adams hypocritically whines that Herring has allowed "politics" to influence his actions as Attorney General, yet Adams, if elected, would bring back a religious right and white supremacist political agenda not seen since Ken Cuccinelli left office.   Adams would do all in his power reverse the McAuliffe/Northam/Herring effort to "make sure that Virginia is business-friendly and welcoming to all."
 Demonstrating Herring's effectiveness over the last almost four years, in endorsing Herring, the Northern Virginia Business Political Action Committee stated “General Herring has ably served the Commonwealth, just as he did serving Northern Virginia in the Senate and Loudoun County on the Board of Supervisors,” . . . . “He has a record of leadership on a host of key business issues important to the Northern Virginia Chamber, including his unwavering support for the landmark HB2313 transportation plan, and his commitment to modernize Virginia’s regulatory framework to prepare the Commonwealth for the emerging technologies that will lead private sector growth in the 21st century.”
 Adams' attacks on Herring simply are not true and ultimately reflect his own bias against equality for all Virginians, those who are LGBT in particular.  Adams supports a ban on same-sex marriage and has stated that "“I have a religious faith that tells me that marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. That’s what I believe.”  As the Washington Post this past summer noted, Adams even longs for a Trump packed Supreme Court that can reverse the 2015 ruling in Obergefell.  He also supports voter ID laws that have little or nothing to do with perverting voter fraud, but which instead, are aimed at stopping "those people" from voting, so draw your own conclusions as to whether the label "racist" applies to Adams.   
Like Ed Gillespie, Adams is also very big on "religious freedom" laws and the myth that American Christians are being persecuted.  Adams' vision of religious freedom does NOT include religious freedom for gays, Muslims, Hindus or other non-Christians despite his dishonest posturing that he would represent all Virginians.  And yes, he supported the toxic Hobby Lobby decision (he worked on the case for free of charge Hobby Lobby when it opposed contraception coverage in health care plans).  It goes without saying that Adams counts as friends and endorsers a veritable who's who of right extreme wing Republicans. Vote for Mark Herring on November 7, 2017. OFFICE OF LLIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:  My endorsement goes to Democrat Justin Fairfax.  Justin Fairfax, the Democrat candidate, tracks the positions of Ralph Northam and Mark Herring: expand healthcare coverage to poor and working class families, common sense gun control laws, increased efforts to clean the Chesapeake Bay and policies to address climate change and rising sea levels.  He also backs common sense women's reproductive rights policies, equal pay for equal work, and marriage equality and non-discrimination protections for hard working LGBT Virginians. Fairfax opposes Republican efforts to dismantle America's healthcare laws and leave hundreds of thousands of Virginians without health care coverage.
 Similar contrasts exist between Fairfax, and Republican, Jill Vogel, as note in the other statewide races. Like Adams, Vogel is an extremist and was the sponsor of one of the bills (SB484) during the McDonnell governorship that would have forced women seeking abortions to undergo forced invasive trans-vaginal ultra sounds.  This effort subjected Virginia to national and international ridicule and proved that Vogel is no moderate despite the deceptive effort on her campaign website.  A review of Vogel's "issues" are a warmed over version of those of Gillespie and Adams and appear aimed at deceiving voters from realizing her true right wing, reverse Robin Hood agenda, best embodied by Gillespie's tax cut promise that will disproportionately reward the very wealthy while bankrupting Virginia.
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 underscores the dangers of not voting and the danger posed by Republican government control of all branches of government. We cannot allow a similar disaster to happen in Virginia.  

Big Pharma - Drug Dealers in Lab Coats

Last weekend the Washington Post and “60 Minutes” did a major public service and reported that pharmaceutical lobbyists had manipulated Congress to hamstring the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Just as frightening, Donald Trump intended to name big Pharma's point man in Congress to be his new drug czar until the scathing coverage derailed that effort and Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino, withdrew his name from consideration.  The crisis of deaths from opioids is a prime example of why strict government regulation is needed because sadly in too many corporate board rooms the only thing that matters is money - even when it comes from actions that lead to needless deaths. Rather than rail against petty anti dealers and increase the arrests on users of small amounts of marijuana, Trump and the ever despicable Jeff Sessions need to go after big Pharma which not only has become a merchant of death but also overcharges everyday Americans on virtually a daily basis.  A column in the New York Times looks at the underlying cause for the opioid crisis.  Here are highlights:
For decades, America has waged an ineffective war on drug pushers and drug lords, from Bronx street corners to Medellin, Colombia, regarding them as among the most contemptible specimens of humanity.
One reason our efforts have failed is we ignored the biggest drug pushers of all: American pharmaceutical companies.
Our policy was: You get 15 people hooked on opioids, and you’re a thug who deserves to rot in hell; you get 150,000 people hooked, and you’re a marketing genius who deserves a huge bonus.
Big Pharma should be writhing in embarrassment this week after The Washington Post and “60 Minutes” reported that pharmaceutical lobbyists had manipulated Congress to hamstring the Drug Enforcement Administration. But the abuse goes far beyond that: The industry systematically manipulated the entire country for 25 years, and its executives are responsible for many of the 64,000 deaths of Americans last year from drugs — more than the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam and Iraq wars combined.
The opioid crisis unfolded because greedy people — Latin drug lords and American pharma executives alike — lost their humanity when they saw the astounding profits that could be made.
Today, 75 percent of people with opioid addictions began with prescription painkillers. The slide starts not on a street corner, but in a doctor’s office.
That’s because pharmaceutical companies in the 1990s sought to promote opioid painkillers as new blockbuster drugs. Company executives accused doctors of often undertreating pain (there was something to this, but pharma executives contrived to turn it into a crisis that they could monetize). The companies backed front organizations like the American Pain Foundation, which purported to speak on behalf of suffering patients.
The opioid promoters hailed opioids as “safe and effective,” and they particularly encouraged opioids for returning veterans — one reason so many veterans have suffered addictions.
Drug companies employed roughly the same strategy as street-corner pushers: Get somebody hooked and business will take care of itself. So last year, Americans received 236 million opioid prescriptions — that’s about one bottle for every adult.
[T]he Sackler family, owner of the company that makes OxyContin, joined Forbes’s list of richest American families in 2015, with $14 billion.
It’s maddening that the public narrative is still often about an opioid crisis fueled by the personal weakness and irresponsibility of users. No, it’s fueled primarily by the greed and irresponsibility of drug lords — including the kind who inhabit executive suites. The Washington Post quoted a former D.E.A. official as referring to pharmaceutical company representatives as “drug dealers in lab coats.”
Our pattern of opioid addiction points to a tragedy, driven by the greed of some of America’s leading companies and business executives, systematically manipulating doctors and patients and killing people on a scale that terrorists could never dream of.
There’s a lot of talk in the Trump administration about lifting regulations to free up the dynamism of corporations. Really? You want to see the consequences of unfettered pharma? Go visit a cemetery.

Trump Shouldn’t Be President

One of the standard bloviating points for Republicans is to talk about "supporting our troops" and "supporting our men in uniform."  When it comes to putting words into action, with a few exceptions Congressional Republicans never follow through.  Be it sending troops to war without proper equipment and armor as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan or cutting veterans' benefits (or somewhat similarly cutting funding to the State Department for security and then whining and throwing conniption fits over Benghazi), Republicans time and again confirm the old axiom that "talk is cheap."   Of course, Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, has taken dishonesty and disrespect for our members of the military to new heights as he displayed utter callousness toward the widow of a young soldier, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger - for Fox News viewers, Niger is a country in West Africa.  

Perhaps I take such things more personally than Der Trumpenführer who never served in the military (thanks to questionable deferments) or ever had family members in the military.  While, thankfully, I did not lose a family member, we came very, very close when one of my sons-in-law was badly wounded in Afghanistan on his THIRD deployment to that hell hole.   He languished for three days at Bagram Airbase before he was finally flown out to Germany (and then to Texas) to receive much needed medical care only after Democrat U.S. Senator from Virginia, Mark Warner's office got involved at my request.  Frankly, I am over the lying and dishonesty of the majority of Republicans when comes to supporting and respecting our men and women in uniform.  Der Trumpenführer could whine and tweet about NFL players "disrespecting our troops" yet his callousness and broken promises toward gold star families speaks volumes.  

A piece in the Washington Post looks at the situation of Sgt. Johnson after Trump lied about his unacceptable behavior.  Here are highlights: 
The mother of a soldier killed in an ambush in Africa said Wednesday that President Trump “did disrespect my son” with remarks in a condolence telephone call.
Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that she was present during the call from the White House on Tuesday to Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson. She also stood by an account of the call from Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) that Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”
“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Jones-Johnson said.  Trump lashed back at Wilson. He denied her account in a Twitter message Wednesday.
But as is always the case with Trump, the family of Sgt. Johnson are not alone in the disrespect and mistreatment they have received at the hands of the foul individual in the White House.  A piece Talking Points Memo looks at Trump's broken promise to Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, killed in Afghanistan.  Here are excerpts:
Another simply bizarre new thread in the Trump bereavement call story. The Post called the families of service members who’ve died in the line of duty since Trump became President. There were some good stories, some bad; some had never heard from the President. There were a lot of what you might call Trumpian moments. But the really bizarre story was his conversation with Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, killed in Afghanistan. 
Trump told him he’d send him a personal check for $25,000. Not standard and complicated, inasmuch as presumably the President isn’t going to cut everyone a check. But it’s not unprecedented. I believe I remember that there are records of President Obama sending sums of money to private citizens who were struggling.  But then Trump forgot about it.
Trump apparently told Baldridge he’d have the White House staff set up an online fundraiser for Baldridge too. But then nothing happened.
So it certainly sounds like the check was sent after the Post started asking questions, in other words, sort of like how the Niger calls shook out.
The bottom line is that Trump is unfit for his office in so many ways that it is difficult to count them all.  Worse yet, as these stories underscore, he doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself.  If working class whites who voted for Trump think he gives a rat's ass about them, they are utter and total fools.   When Trump attacked Khizr Khan before the 2016 presidential election, anyone decent and moral should have known all they needed to know about Trump and should have voted for anyone other than Trump.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Quote of the Day - What's Wrong With Republicans

I typically disagree with almost everything columnist Ross Douthat says and believes, not the least because he sees religion, especially "conservative" Christianity,  as a positive good, whereas I see it as a net evil.  Much of the success of the Republican Party has been because of playing upon the hatred and bigotry that I see as being synonymous with right wing Christianity in America.  While Douthat still hasn't woken up to the reality of the negative effects of religion, he seems to have woken up to the evils of today's Republican Party under Der Trumpenführer: 
Thirteen years ago, in the midst of a different Republican administration, the liberal book of the moment was Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” In answering his title’s question, Frank argued that hardworking heartland Americans were being duped by a Republican Party that whipped up culture-war frenzy to disguise its plutocratic aims. Middle-class and working-class Republican voters, he insisted, were voting against their own economic self-interest and getting worse than nothing in return.
Trump has essentially become the Frankian caricature in full, draping the rhetoric of populism over an agenda that so far offers little or nothing to the middle class, making appeals to the religious right that are notable in their cynicism, and rallying his base through culture-war controversies distinguished mostly by their ginned-up phoniness.
What’s the matter with the Republican Party? Many things, but right now above all this: Far too many Trump supporters, far too many conservatives, have seen the then-inaccurate caricature that Frank painted 13 years ago brought to blaring, Technicolor life by Trump — and they’ve decided to become part of the caricature themselves, become exactly what their enemies and critics said they were, become a movement of plutocrats and grievance-mongers with an ever-weaker understanding of the common good.

McCain and Biden Form Alliance Against Trumpism

Sadly, many Republicans refuse to recognize that the betrayed America's core values when they voted for the Donald Trump/Mike Pence ticket almost a year ago.  Honesty, decency, a respect for the rule of law and the rights of all citizens were thrown on the trash heap by Trump supporters.  The ravings of a malignant narcissist via Twitter are now a daily occurrence.  Meanwhile, Pence is pushing a theocratic agenda that exalts the rights of Christian extremists while denigrating the rights of religious freedom for everyone else.  Ignorance is embraced, science and objective fact are rejected, and America no longer is respected and looked up to by the rest of the world. Traveling in the United Kingdom, the husband and I experienced just how low America has fallen with an unfit madman in the White House.  A few Republicans are speaking out and belatedly resisting the ugliness that is Trumpism.  John McCain, who admittedly has made his share of mistakes over the years, including picking the idiot of Wasilla, Sarah Palin as his VP running mate, is one such Republican.  As the Washington Post reports McCain and other true patriots are forming alliances to resist the evil that is the Trump/Pence regime.  Here are story highlights:
John McCain and Joe Biden have been on opposite sides of many crucial national security debates over the past 30 years.
From Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria, the Arizona Republican and the Delaware Democrat clashed over the scope of the American military mission and the efficacy of reaching for diplomatic resolutions for these war-torn nations. They maintained a genuine friendship through 22 years of service together in the Senate and then Biden’s eight years as vice president. Yet theirs was a fierce, principled rivalry.
On Monday night, in the cradle of liberty, those disputes disappeared as Biden presented the Liberty Medal to McCain at the National Constitution Center, a nonprofit organization that touts bipartisanship and sits across the street from Independence Hall.
Another reality has also brought them together: President Trump, whose global outlook has helped crystallize just how closely aligned these two elder statesmen really are.
“We believed in our country, and in our country’s indispensability to international peace and stability and to the progress of humanity,” McCain said, growing unusually emotional at times during the address.
McCain pivoted into a full-frontal attack on those who “refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last, best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism.” He did not mention Trump by name, but the implication was clear, and it brought a standing ovation from a crowd that included Democratic and Republican members of Congress from the region.
Now, McCain and Biden are on the same side, battling the isolationism that Trump has avowed and that has been most clearly articulated by his onetime chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.
In his first nine months in office, Trump has withdrawn the United States from a Pacific Rim trade deal, the Paris climate accords and a cultural organization at the United Nations, while also signaling opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and new sanctions against Moscow.
[O]verall they reveal Trump’s broad intention to live up to his “America First” presidential campaign of 2016 — a repudiation of all that McCain and Biden have pressed for 40 years.
The speech prompted the president [Trump] to issue an immediate threat: “People have to be careful because at some point, I fight back,” Trump said in an interview Tuesday with WMAL, a D.C. radio station.
McCain wiped away tears as Biden spoke of his son’s adoration for the Arizona senator, a symbolic forging of their alliance. They will, for now, set aside their old disputes on how to engage the world and instead take up a mutual fight against those who want to withdraw from global leadership.
Biden read from an old McCain speech to sum up the new approach, saying that the United States should always be an “international beacon of liberty and a defender of the dignity of all human beings, and the right to freedom and justice.”  “That’s what it’s always been for four decades,” Biden said.
 Yes, you noted correctly that I will not give Trump the title of president.  He's NOT my president and is the antithesis of what a president - or any decent human being - should be. Kudos to McCain and Biden.

The GOP Is No Party for Honest, Honorable Men

A column in the New York Times hits a home run in my view when it comes to looking at the rank dishonesty and moral bankruptcy of today's Republican Party. There was a time when the Republican Party prided itself on honesty, education, respect for science and honorable behavior.  That was the Republican Party of my grandparents and parents and even my days as a GOP committee member.  Now, neither I nor my ancestors simply would recognize today's Republican Party compared to what it once was.   What happened? As I have noted many times before, the defining change in the GOP took place when the evangelical Christians - the Christofascists, if you will - hijacked the party base.  Numerous studies have found that the Christofascists lie with abandon and take the view that anything that furthers their theocratic agenda is justified, including lying constantly and deliberately.  

Now, that mentality permeates the Republican Party.  Donald Trump and Mike Pence personify this deliberate dishonesty. Sadly, many other Republicans, including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have also embraced outright lying and dishonesty.  But the dishonesty is not limited to the Republican Party at the national level.  In the current Virginia election campaigns, all three of the Republican statewide candidates are lying  and know full well that they are lying.  Ed Gillespie whines about the cost of Confederate monument that will cut funds for public education, but totally ignores his proposed tax cuts that would leave Virginia with a 1.4 billion budget deficit which would be catastrophic to public education funding.  As long as the wealthy get a huge tax cut, trashing public education is perfectly fine with Gillespie.  GOP Attorney General candidate John Adams is no better than Gillespie.  It recent ads, Adams whines that Democrat Mark Herring is lying about him even though Herrings ads about Adams' shady clients is 100% accurate.  The same dishonesty plagues GOP Lt. Governor candidate Jill Vogel.  Like the leaders of Christofascist "family values" organizations, nowadays, if a Republican's lips are moving, the safest assumption is that they are lying.   Here are column highlights:
According to a new CBS News poll, almost 60 percent of the American public believes that the current Republican tax plan favors the wealthy. Some people see this number as a sign that the plan is in trouble; I see it as a sign that Republican lies are working far better than they deserve to.
For the plan does indeed favor the wealthy — overwhelmingly, undeniably. It’s shocking that as many as 40 percent of Americans don’t realize this.
It’s not difficult to see how the plan is tilted toward the very top. The main elements of the plan are a cut in top individual tax rates; a cut in corporate taxes; an end to the estate tax; and the creation of a big new loophole that will allow wealthy individuals to pretend that they are small businesses, and get a preferential tax rate. All of these overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, mainly the top 1 percent.
There are also some measures affecting middle-class families, but they’re relatively small change — and some of them would actually raise taxes. Over all, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that by 2027 almost 80 percent of the gains from the plan would go to the top 1 percent, just 12 percent of the gains to the middle 60 percent of Americans — and that more than a quarter of middle-class families would actually see their taxes go up.
The questions we should be asking instead are why Republicans are pushing this so hard, and how they can hope to get away with it.
Bear in mind that there is essentially no popular constituency demanding tax cuts for the rich. By a large margin, the general public wants to see taxes on corporations and the wealthy go up, not down; even Republicans are divided, with only a modest margin in favor of cuts.
Yet tax cuts for the rich are the overriding objective of the modern G.O.P. They were the principal motivation for the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, since that would also mean repealing the high-income taxes that pay for it; from Republicans’ point of view, depriving millions of health care was just a minor side benefit. And now tax cuts for the wealthy are pretty much the only thing left on the G.O.P.’s legislative agenda.
In fact, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the hope for tax cuts is the main thing keeping congressional Republicans in line behind Donald Trump. They know he’s unfit for office, and many worry about his mental stability. But they’ll back him as long as they think he might get those tax cuts through.
So what’s behind this priority? Follow the money. Big donors are furious at missing out on the $700 billion in tax cuts that were supposed to come out of Obamacare repeal. If they don’t get big bucks out of tax “reform,” they might close their pocketbooks for the 2018 midterm elections.
[H]ow can an administration that pretends to be populist, to stand up for ordinary (white) working people, sell such elitist policies?
The answer is a strategy based entirely on lies. And I mean entirely: The Trump administration and its allies are lying about every aspect of their tax plan.
I’m not talking about dubious interpretations of evidence or misleading presentation of the facts — the kind of thing the Bush administration used to specialize in. I’m talking about flat-out, easily refuted lies, like the claim that America has the world’s highest taxes (among rich countries, we have close to the lowest), or the claim that estate taxes are a huge burden on small business (almost no small businesses pay any estate tax).
[C]an they really get away with this? A lot depends on how the news media handles it. If an administration spokesperson declares that up is down, will news reports simply say “so-and-so says up is down, but Democrats disagree,” or will they also report that up is not, in fact, down? I wish I were confident about the answer to that question.
One thing we know for sure, however, is that a great majority of Republican politicians know perfectly well that their party is lying about its tax plan — and every even halfway competent economist aligned with the party definitely understands what’s going on.
What this means is that everyone who goes along with this plan, or even remains silent in the face of the campaign of mass dissimulation, is complicit — is in effect an accomplice to the most dishonest political selling job in American history.
Do not fall for Republican lies at either the national level.  Instead, send a loud message to the GOP. Get out and vote a straigh Democrat ticket on November 7, 2017 - Ralph Northam for Governor, Mark Herring for Attorney General, and Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor.  Then follow through and vote Democrat in the 2018 mid-term federal elections. 

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1