Deference to propaganda at the Washington Post: We've encountered some excellent work in the past twenty-four hours.
On last night's Hardball, Joy Reid did an excellent job listing the particulars of Donald J. Trump's apparent authoritarianism.
(For ourselves, we know of no reason to assume that Trump won't achieve a successful putsch, given the way the nation has been tribalized, in large part on our own liberal team's watch.)
Reid didn't labor alone. In this morning's New York Times, Shanita Hubbard offers a superbly sane-and-balanced account of growing up female in (New York City's) public housing, sexual harassment-wise. We rarely see such analytical humanity and sanity.
We'd also recommend this:
In his weekly post for New York magazine, Andrew Sullivan offers a fascinating account of the role testosterone plays in our lives. We can't evaluate Sullivan's science, but he opens the door toward a fuller discussion of the stories of harassment and assault which are suddenly being told, after eons of silence.
We recommend all that work! We'd balance it against Rachel Maddow's groaning account, last Monday night, of the state of the chase after Vice President Pence; with her incompetent account of the Alabama Senate results, offered two nights later; and with the front-page report on the GOP tax plan in today's Washington Post.
We hope to discuss Maddow's presentations next week. Especially given her branding as our most brilliant progressive voice, her program's gross incompetence only becomes more and more striking.
For today, though, let's ponder that front-page report in the Washington Post, in which we're absurdly told that the current GOP tax proposal evolved from an initial proposal which featured "working-class roots."
Where do they get these people? The Post report carries the bylines of four different reporters. A fifth reporter "contributed." Presumably, an editor was involved.
With that many cooks preparing the broth, did no one recoil from the sheer absurdity of this ridiculous passage?
PAIETTA ET AL (12/16/17): Many of the changes made late in the negotiations would benefit businesses and the wealthy, but Rubio’s last-minute demands pulled the package back a bit more toward its working-class roots.Rubio's intervention pulled the bill "back...toward its working-class roots?" Except as a nod to GOP propaganda, that is, of course, an utterly foolish remark.
Except within the realm of GOP propaganda, this proposal never had any significant "working-class roots." Earlier in their report, the scribes had suggested something different through this muddle-mouthed overview:
PAIETTA: The bill was originally pitched as a sweeping tax cut for the middle class, but it changed over the course of several months as Republicans demanded a variety of alterations.Please note the muddle there! As they start, the scribes only say that the bill was "pitched"—that is, was peddled or pimped—"as a sweeping tax cut for the rich." But then, when they say it was "changed" from its original form, they make it sound like that "original pitch" was an accurate account of the bill before it was changed.
That was the scribes' original overview of the tax proposal. Later, they made their absurd reference to the way the bill has recently been pulled back "toward its working-class roots."
How absurd is that representation? As they continued from there, the reporters described some of the various ways the bill has been altered of late. In this, their fuller passage, note the elements which existed in the original bill:
PAIETTA ET AL (12/16/17): Many of the changes made late in the negotiations would benefit businesses and the wealthy, but Rubio’s last-minute demands pulled the package back a bit more toward its working-class roots.To what extent did this bill have "working-class roots?" To what extent were "the changes Republicans initially sought" aimed at us lumpen and proles?
Republicans had proposed to expand the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000, but the benefits formula they’d planned to use would have capped it for many low- and moderate-income families at $1,100.
Many of the changes to the tax code that Republicans initially sought were dialed back or removed.
They had proposed allowing multinational companies to bring cash held overseas back to the United States at a 12 percent tax rate, but they raised the rate to 15.5 percent in the final agreement as a way to generate more revenue.
They opted against imposing taxes that would have hit graduate students, and they did not strip away tax benefits for families who adopt children.
They had proposed to eliminate the estate tax and the alternative-minimum tax for individuals, but those changes proved too costly, and the final plan would exempt more families from these taxes but not get rid of them.
To this extent: The GOP had initially proposed taxing graduate students! They'd also proposed "strip[ping] away tax benefits for families who adopt children."
Initially, they proposed eliminating the estate tax altogether, and also the AMT! They'd proposed a 12 percent tax rate for multinationals bringing money back into the country.
And not only that! They were so fixated on helping the working man or woman that their proposal would have expanded the child care tax credit by only $100 for many low- and moderate-income families, while wealthier families got more. Plainly, their initial bill had been a working-class dream!
Citizens, please! Whatever you think of the final proposal, the GOP never proposed "a sweeping tax cut for the middle class." The original bill's "working-class roots" were non-existent, except within the realm of disingenuous GOP sales pitches—that is to say, within the realm of propaganda.
Except within that familiar realm, this plan was always aimed at the rich—but so what? This morning, five reporters and an editor couldn't stop themselves from borrowing from that propaganda as they muddied their account of this multivariate plan.
Originally, the plan was so heavily aimed at the working class that it aimed to eliminate the estate tax altogether! This is the logic which prevails when mainstream, upper-end reporters feel the need to bow to GOP propaganda.
Their initial overview passage was skillfully muddled; their later passage was a ridiculous sham. So it goes when mainstream reporters feel the need to give power its due.
We want you to see what Rachel said about the Russia probe last Monday night. We want you to see her technical bungling in Wednesday night's report.
We think liberals need to see how bad the work tends to be on that show. That said, we thought this morning's front-page report deserved to be given preference.
In a classic knee-jerk reaction, propaganda was given wide berth in today's report. That said, budget matters have been presented this way for decades now. This helps explain why our tax code is a joke; why our health care spending is characterized by looting on a remarkable scale.
Five reporters and an editor couldn't help themselves! Anthropologists say this may be the best our limited species can do.