(The following updated column has only tacit approval from the National Union of Friendly Americans (NUFA). The column isn’t necessarily unfriendly, just a little bossy. Still we like its message simply because it deals directly with so many knuckleheads but we like friendly to a fault, even when dealing with knuckleheads.)

I’ll talk, you listen.

As a youngster I loved that phrase, put forth back in the sixties and seventies by a fairly audacious sports columnist in the St. Paul Pioneer Press by the name of Don Riley. No matter where I was, if a Pioneer Press was available I bought it just to see what he was poking at.

My esteemed colleague The Masked Fan knows exactly who I’m talking about. Riley would mainly talk about sports, of course, but he wasn’t afraid to wade into other social or political events of the day. The Masked Fan is the bearer of that tradition.

Don Riley, these times are made for you.

I’ll talk, you listen.

As we wade deeper and deeper into the morass of not telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth it appears so evident that purveyors of misinformation have held sway in this country for decades at the very least. The backers of the New Conservative Neanderthal Party (NCNP), formerly the republicans, have had a problem with telling the truth for years. The NCNP and its minions have no problem making things up if the talking points obfuscate the truth and win an election! The election of Donald Rumpt, Payosa Loco, the Crazy Clown, are ample proof of that and nothing has changed as we head toward November. I’m sure the Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s and the Fox News gang didn’t expect to be in cahoots with Rumpt or Breitbart News but that’s the hole the electorate fell into after years of propaganda aimed at the white folks and the middle class and the folks who just don’t seem to think things through for themselves very often. A whole batch of people apparently seem just fine to let other people come up with ideas and opinions for them and then lead them to pasture.

That’s not at all what Don Riley meant when he said "I’ll talk, you listen." Old Don was saying, you bunch of boobs, you’ve been had and I’ll explain how.

So that’s what I’m saying now. You bunch of boobs, you’ve been had.

Cut the crap with the fake news. Journalists navigate by the newspaperman’s North Star, the conviction that there is such a thing as objective truth as explained in a recent column by David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Shribman wrote that objective truth can be discovered and delivered “through dispassionate hard work and passionate good faith, and that the product of that effort, if thoroughly documented, would be accepted as truth.

“Mr. Trump has turned that accepted truth on its head, sowing doubts about the veracity of news reporting by promoting the notion that the mainstream media spews ‘fake news.’ Employing an evocative, sinister phrase dating to the French Revolution and embraced by Lenin and his Soviet successors, he has declared that great portions of the press are the ‘enemy of the people.’”

I’ll talk, you listen.

We have a tax cut plan that was concocted behind doors, without the professional advice of economists, lawyers or accountants and it's added a trillion a year to the national debt. Now the coronavirus swoops in and we'll toss another 2 trillion into the mix, just to save working people and the economy from calamity. Tax cuts in time of plenty! Nothing can stop the booming economy--except maybe an unexpected pandemic. 

The false notion that you can simply cut taxes until there’s nothing left and expect to have a functioning civil society of 326 million people is ludicrous. The history of tax reform is one of diminishing results for the people of this country. Take a little wander into the history of our tax system. The tax burden for the wealthy and corporations has been slashed through the years and has left us with the fiscal inequality of a banana republic. The constant lowering of tax rates, primarily for the wealthy and corporations, has left the burden on the shoulders of the working class and future generations, many of whom believe that cutting taxes is a good thing, yes a good thing, when we have faltering infrastructure and educational debt, increasing poverty and the most expensive health care system in the developed world.

I’ll talk, you listen, said old Don Riley!