- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

“Thank you for C-SPAN.”

That four-word phrase is the mantra of many loyal C-SPAN fans who tune in — and call in — to the public affairs network for its daily talk shows, public forums, analysis and agenda-free coverage of Congress, the White House plus key political and historical fare. The intrepid C-SPAN will celebrate its 40th anniversary before the next presidential election. This week, however, the network is marking the 20th year for C-SPAN Radio, which went on the air Oct. 9, 1997, and continues to provide 24-hour, commercial-free programming.

The radio broadcast is available online via podcasts and a snappy free app — or via Sirius XM, iTunes, Amazon, Google and other sources. For all its modernity, C-SPAN radio — like its televised side — maintains an old school calling to inform the public with facts and context.

“Our mission is so much like it was from Day One: to let people see the process for themselves, from gavel to gavel. It can be not-so-exciting from time to time. But we let them make up their own minds,” says Brian Lamb, who co-founded the network in 1979.

While live TV coverage of President Trump at a rally is hard to beat, C-SPAN Radio has its own cachet.

“Radio is ubiquitous. It’s everywhere, and it’s a perfect medium for the long-form content we do. You form a vision in your mind the second you turn on a radio — what someone looks like, where they’re sitting, what they’re dressed like. You’re forced to think about it,” Mr. Lamb observes. “More importantly you’re forced to listen.”

Find C-SPAN Radio here

YAY: GOP AND CONSERVATIVES UNITE ON TAX REFORM

There’s some harmony happening. No, really. Tax reform is garnering warm backing from establishment Republicans and conservative stalwarts alike, and they are letting their legislative joy be known.

“Our current tax code may be complicated, but reforming it shouldn’t be. 2017 is the year it’s going to happen,” says House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

He is convinced — like President Trump — that filing one’s taxes could be done on a postcard someday. Mr. Ryan also is supporting the Republican Party’s ambitious new outreach for tax reform via FairandSimple.gop, which clearly explains the framework and Mr. Trump’s four commonsense principles behind it all. The GOP is briskly countering the standard Democratic narrative that the new plan is “just a tax cut for the rich” and benefits corporations rather than families.

Meanwhile, a coalition of 30 conservative groups have issued an open letter heralding their support for the reform and offering applause for — yes — party unity and leadership — citing Mr. Ryan; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

“Congress has a historic opportunity to give Americans the simpler, fairer tax code they deserve and for too long have been denied. We commend the unified framework put forth by the White House and congressional leaders, including Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, Chairman Brady, and Chairman Hatch. It’s past time to give tax relief to American middle-class wage earners and allow job creators to compete,” the groups write.

They include: the Faith & Freedom Coalition, Citizens United, the Independent Women’s Forum, Tea Party Patriots, the National Taxpayers Union, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Log Cabin Republicans, the Hispanic Leadership Fund, the 60 Plus Association and the American Action Network.

CONDI’S ADVICE

Is a reputation for being “unpredictable” helpful for President Trump? Well, yes, says former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — who also offers advice.

“Unpredictable is OK. You want, however, to watch your rhetoric. I can remember in crisis after crisis, rhetoric gets hotter and hotter, escalates more and more and more. Really, it just puts an environment around the problem that makes it hard to solve,” Ms. Rice told Fox News host Dana Perino on Tuesday.

“I fully understand what the president’s saying — the North Koreans with the nuclear weapons — unacceptable. The North Korean leader is a rather odd character. The United States will not accept it, but having said that, I think it’s time to step back and let the diplomacy work,” she said.

And a programming note: Amid caterwaul from critics and hostile media, Mr. Trump gets a chance on Wednesday to sit down and talk shop with veteran Fox News host Sean Hannity on tax reform, immigration and other pivotal issues. Airtime is 9 p.m. EDT.

ONE FOR THE PUPS

Heroic hounds visit Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Five top U.S. military dogs will be recognized by American Humane “for extraordinary valor and service to their country” in an awards ceremony on Capitol Hill. The award: the K-9 Medal of Honor.

Recognized for their service: Alphie, a black Labrador retriever who served in combat and on the home front as an explosives-detection dog; Coffee, a chocolate Lab and bomb sniffer who served three tours in Afghanistan with the Army; Capa, a German shepherd and explosives-detection canine who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom; Ranger, a black Lab who served with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq, specializing in IED detection; and the late Gabe, a yellow Lab who served in more than 200 combat missions in Iraq as a specialized Army search dog, who will be honored in memoriam.

Among the human fans attending: TSA Administrator Davis Pekoske, American Humane President and CEO Robin Ganzert, Marine Lt. Gen. Brian D. Beaudreault, retired Marine Col. Scott Campbell and Marine veteran LCpl. Jeff DeYoung.

POLL DU JOUR

81 percent of Americans support lowering the “pass through” tax rate of small business to 25 percent, as outlined by the GOP tax reform; 91 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats agree.

64 percent support doubling the standard deduction for tax filers in the GOP plan; 77 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent support cutting the number of tax brackets from seven to three; 75 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent support lowering the business income tax rate to 25 percent; 81 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Investors Business Daily/TIPP poll of 887 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 2-Oct. 8.

• Caterwaul and doggerel to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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