Fast Dispatch: Taxes, Death and the Media

The big news of the last few days:

Are the Mormons Baptizing the Dead?

Some Mormons (Church of Latter Day Saints, or LDS) have been baptizing holocaust victims and the dead ancestors of famous people… regardless of the religious beliefs of those individuals during life.

This isn’t a new practice. Mormons believe that “Proxy Baptisms”, baptisms on a live person as proxy for the dead, can give the departed the option of accepting or rejecting it, and as baptism is (to them) a requirement for salvation, this is a mercy.

The Mormon Church had disallowed this, except for direct ancestors, in 1995.  It’s only news now due to the new report showing it is still occurring. Many non-Mormon members consider it a form of sacrilege or desecration. Anne Frank, Adolph Hitler, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe and the Queen Mother were baptized by some Mormons in this practice.

The Media on the Media on Trump

This trend almost escaped the Reality Dispatch filters, because the Media and (President) Donald Trump are both permanent fixtures in the news cycle. But an odd bump got flagged… the big news since the tax cuts were passed is…

  1. The Media reporting that maybe Trump has had some successes (focusing on the tax cuts, judicial appointments, beating Isis…)
  2. Followed by the Media reporting (syndicated…) on the Media beginning to acknowledge that Trump has had some successes.
  3. And opinions on the reports of under-reports.

Other than some cites, we’re not doing an “analysis” of this. It seems a bit narcissistic of the media.

The Tax Cuts

President Trump has passed a tax reform bill.  This is big news, which Reality Dispatch has covered in decent depth already. This is still dominating the news cycle as reporters read either the bill or an analysis of it, resulting in the following shocking (to them) revelations:

  • The rich are hit hard in this bill, especially those with high state property and income taxes.
  • And the rich also get socked hard… because of that new mortgage interest deduction cap.
  • The child tax credit increase is quite large for most families.

(Again, refer to our last Dispatch for details/citations.)

There is still the ambient noise of the losing side, in this case the left claiming that taxing less is the same as the rich “looting the treasury”, regardless of both the above and that letting someone keep their property isn’t quite the same as them taking yours.

Banned Words

This is another “news story” that is becoming bigger the further we get from it. The Washington Post reported, erroneously, that the Trump Administration had told the CDC not to use certain words. This went viral, becoming a topic in op-ed rants, property-damaging protests and late-night talk shows. Despite the Director of the CDC, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, stating, last Sunday, that it wasn’t true.

What happened?

  • Internal bureaucrats – the people who know how to get budgets passed at the CDC, and more specifically, not the Trump administration – apparently suggested that two expressions not be used as-is in budget requests, because they tend to result in debates. They didn’t censor the ideas or even actually the words, but did suggest that not using those particular words would make for easier passage. These were:
    1. science based
    2. evidence based

    and were to be replaced with a proper sentence (see below.)

  • The falsely-reported banned words were “fetus,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
  • A subsequent report claims that ideas were not banned, but that rather than use words that could trigger debate, a clearer phrase be used… specifically, instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based”, to state “C.D.C. bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” Purely to increase the likelihood of getting funded.
  • As with the tax cut fall-out, this is now getting media-on-media attention as to why the Media (e.g. NPR, CNN) did not try to verify the Washington Post article before reporting on it, and why the Washington Post did not second-source the article.
  • In summary, an internal memo at the CDC to ease the passage of the budget was mis-reported as being an edict from the Trump administration banning a bunch of words, and that inaccurate report went viral resulting in breathless hyperbole and protests… with no actual grounding in fact.

Reality Dispatch. Because Facts Still Matter.

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