Thoughts as we close out a tough year

Quite a weekend: 38th wedding anniversary with Amy on Friday and 70th birthday on Sunday. Time does, indeed, fly.

Of course, celebrations took a backseat to assignments and work.  Amy and I hope to finally celebrate both these moments in our lives with seafood and lobster Monday before I head back into the final two weeks of 2017 to wrap up a busy and chaotic year.

I shot over 3,000 images this weekend on assignments for BH Media, prepared many for use in newspapers and the web while editing stories about our national government and what many consider a mess in Washington that keeps getting worse.

The deadline for registering for insurance under the Affordable Care Act arrived Friday.  For Amy, her premiums for the insurance plan called Obamacare increased six-fold for the six months she has left before going on Medicare on July 1 of next year.

Yet even with the increase, her insurance — which includes dental and a modest co-pay and deductible — is less than I pay for Medicare and supplemental.  It appears that 2018 could be the last year for the Affordable Care Act since the so-called “tax reform” act that Congress is expected to pass this week includes a repeal of a requirement to have any form of insurance.

Speaking of the  “tax reform” act, it is more accurately called “welfare for the super rich” act since it gives the largest increases to those who make over $600,000 a year hits the vanishing “middle class” with more taxes and adds trillion more to the national debt.

Reducing the national debt used once was the battle cry of the party that controls Congress, the White House and probably the Supreme Court in the near future. Extreme partisanship killed any concern for driving the nation into more and more debt.

I worked for the Republicans for several years in the 1980s — first as a Congressional aide and later as a political operative on Congressional, Senate and presidential campaigns.  The first thing I learned during that period was that like in war, truth is the first casualty of politics.

Later, as vice president for political programs for the nation’s largest trade association — the National Association of Realtors — we pushed tax deductions for interest on mortgage payments as a prime goal.  That deduction took a hit in the tax “reform” act that will become law of the land.

I walked away from politics the same year I quite drinking.  Both turned my brain into mush, my values into political irrelevance and truth into a disposable commodity.

In his book, 1984, George Orwell wrote “in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary.”  Considering the growth of “fact checking” services that pour over comments and speeches by our president and other electing leaders, the need for a new revolution grows by the hour.

Both the presidency and Congress rank at the lowest points in history for support or acceptance by the public at large in America.  PolitiFact, which collects and collates false statements by our leaders, says Donald Trump lies 70 percent of the time and only four percent are “completely true” while 11 percent are “mostly true.”

In his own autobiography, Trump called his use of “truthful hyperbole” as a flagrant truth-stretching technique that he often used to close deals.

He used that technique to denigrate and question the honesty of anyone who questions his disregard for the truth, including the “fake news” media that he claims is lying about his lies.

I’ve spent most of my life working in the two areas — media and politics — that brings disgust and doubts from the public at large.  Yet it is the role of media to correct the record of untruths, misstatement and lies of a crooked governmental system that runs on hyperbole, propaganda and outright lies.

Ironic?  Damn right it is.  Impossible?  Time will tell.

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