Friday, December 15, 2017

Depriving The Vulnerable

Farenthold Won't Seek Re-Election - But He Should Resign

(Photo of Rep. Blake Farenthold is from Crossroads Today at ABC Newscenter 25.)

One of the more egregious sexual harassers in the U.S. Congress is Rep. Blake Farenthold (who represents District 27 in Texas). He was accused by one of his aides of repeated sexual harassment, and when she complained about it, he fired her. The taxpayers wound up paying the woman $84,000 to settle her claim out of court.

Farenthold tried at first to deny that the claims were true. But now other aides have come forward to verify them. It seems that sexual harassment, laced with repeated temper tantrums, were commonplace in Farenthold's office. Farenthold also tried to avoid repercussions by saying he would repay the $84,000, but that just dodges the real issue -- that sexual harassers and abusers have no place in the U.S. Congress.

Now he is trying a different approach. He has announced that he will not seek re-election in the 2018 midterm elections. That is also unacceptable! It means he will continue to serve in the House for more than another year (until his replacement is sworn in January of 2019).

I am not alone in my demand that Farenthold resign. A new poll (see above) shows that 60% of the public thinks he should resign, while only 6% say he should not resign. And that includes 57% of the Republican base believing he should resign. The public doesn't want sex harassers and abuser from either party serving in the United States Congress. And they are right -- allowing these sex offenders to continue to serve puts a black mark on our government, and gives the impression that such behavior is at least somewhat acceptable.

It is time for his Republican cohorts in Congress to speak up and demand his resignation. So far, their silence has been deafening. They were quick to demand the resignation of Democratic Rep. Conyers for similar behavior (and he did resign). Was that just hypocritical party politics? Shouldn't the same rules apply to members of both parties?

The chart above reflects the results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between December 10th and 12th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,338 registered voters), and has a 3.5 point margin of error.

A Sparse Tree For Middle Class

Political Cartoon is by R.J. Matson in Roll Call.

Trump's Still Facing Problems Over Sex Allegations

When he was elected, Donald Trump probably thought the allegations against him by women accusing him of sexual abuse and harassment were over. If so, then he was wrong. Those allegations are alive and well, and a recent poll showed that 70% of Americans want Congress to investigate the allegations.

Part of this is because sexual harassment and abuse have become headline news lately as powerful men in the entertainment, news and political sectors have been accused and lost their jobs. And part is because Trump gleefully jumped into the fray by tweeting about the sexual charges of others (Democrats, media, and entertainment industry). He must have thought the presidency made him immune, even though his sex allegations are as bad or worse than those made against others.

But he is not immune, and the public is still concerned about Trump's sexual crimes. This is verified by two new polls on the subject. They show that between 53% to 58% of the public believes the women making the accusations against Trump. And perhaps even more troubling for Trump, about 53% to to 57% think Trump should resign if those charges are true. The polls are:

Rasmussen Poll -- done on December 12th and 13th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Public Policy Polling -- done on December 11th and 12th of a random national sample of 862 registered voters, with a 3.3 point margin of error.

A Gift For The Rich

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

The Public Is Not Buying The GOP Lies About Tax Reform

The Republicans seem to think if they repeat the outrageous lie that their tax reform plan is for the middle class, then eventually the public will believe it -- and that once workers see the tiny increase in their pay checks, they will forget the massive tax cuts received by the wealthy and the corporations. In other words, they think the American public is stupid.

They need to listen to the public though, and not just their Trump-loving base. The general public doesn't like the GOP tax reform plan at all. About 55% disapprove of it, while only 26% approve. The public knows who the biggest beneficiaries of the plan are. About 65% say it benefits the wealthy the most -- only 21% say it benefits the middle class and a tiny 4% say it benefits low income workers.

The Republicans may get this odious bill through Congress and signed by Trump, but it won't save them in the 2018 election. It will just convince voters that Republicans care only for the rich and corporations.

The charts above are from the new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between December 6th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,211 voters, with a 3.5 point margin of error.

Souls Already Sold

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

2018 Is Looking Like A Repeat Of 2010 - Only In Reverse

This image from an 1877 Harper's Weekly seems particularly apropos to the situation Republicans find themselves in today. They are desperately clinging to majorities in the House and Senate which could easily disappear in the midterm elections next year -- and their base keeps nominating extremist and very unsuitable candidates (which the general public doesn't want).

John Bresnahan and Elana Schor have written a great piece at on the dilemma the GOP finds itself in. Here is part of what they have written:

A first-term president and unpopular congressional leaders are pushing a controversial legislative agenda that sparks a nationwide movement from the infuriated opposition. Retirements are suddenly putting the majority’s safe seats in play. Party leaders jam major legislation through Congress on a partisan vote, and are in such a hurry to pass it they’re rewriting it by hand hours before a vote. They lose control of their message and can't find an easy way to get back on track.

Then comes a stunning upset in a Senate special election for a seat the majority party had controlled for decades.

That year was 2010, when Republican Scott Brown’s upset win in the Massachusetts' Senate race to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy previewed a tea party-fueled Republican revolution that swept the GOP into power on Capitol Hill.

But after Democrat Doug Jones’ upset in Alabama on Tuesday, it could also describe the political trajectory of 2017 — except with Democrats instead of Republicans on the winning side. . . .

Republicans ended up winning 63 House seats and six Senate seats in 2010, essentially wiping out a Democratic majority on Capitol Hill. It was a stunning result that no one thought possible in 2008, when former President Barack Obama led Democrats to a historic victory.

This year, President Donald Trump — who has the worst poll numbers of any president this early in his term — is leading House and Senate Republicans into a midterm election where their majorities are clearly at play. And Jones’ victory on Tuesday left other Republicans wondering if it’s their turn to get wiped out by an angry electorate fed up with Trump and the GOP. . . .

Trump’s poll numbers are clearly scaring Republicans on Capitol Hill. He has a 24-point negative poll rating (32 favorable, 56 unfavorable), according to the latest Monmouth University poll. Obama never was this far down in the polls, and former President George W. Bush only reached those depths in his second term, amid a barrage of dismal news on the Iraq war and Republican scandals.

But it’s the generic “Republican vs. Democrat” poll that is most concerning for Republicans. Right now, Democrats have a 15-point lead, Monmouth said. For comparison, when Democrats won the House in 2006, they had a 10.5-point lead in the generic poll. . . .

One key similarity between this year’s political landscape and 2010 is the emergence of a network of anti-Trump resistance groups that swarmed GOP town halls earlier this year to fight against the party’s Obamacare repeal plans. Parts of the liberal resistance were consciously modeled on the tea party — but unlike the tea party, Democratic moderates have largely escaped the left’s ire this year.

Partisan Bias

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The 5 Stages Of Trumpism

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Only The Rich Matter (To Republicans)

Americans Say Trump Belongs On Santa's Naughty List

Thought I would bring you this humorous poll -- although it could be taken as just another opportunity for the public to express their displeasure over Donald Trump. The poll asked respondents whether Santa should put Trump on his naughty or nice list. Except for Republicans and those over 65, Trump didn't do well (with most thinking he should go on the naughty list. Among all people, 35% want him on the nice list and 65% think he belongs on the naughty list. It looks like Trump gets a lump of coal this year!

These results are from the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between December 10th and 12th of a random sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3.5 points.

Not Enough Coal

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

7 Charts Illustrating The Public's Very Low Opinion Of Trump

The charts above are from a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between December 6th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,211 voters, with a 3.5 point margin of error.

They paint the portrait of a president in deep trouble -- a man the public doesn't respect or trust.

A Great Wish

Political Cartoon is by Gary Varvel in the Indianapolis Star.

"Rock Bottom Is No Impediment" For Donald Trump

From the USA Today Editorial Board:

With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president's smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men. Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her "wherever," he didn't mean her nose.  

And as is the case with all of Trump's digital provocations, the president's words were deliberate. He pours the gasoline of sexist language and lights the match gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame in a country reeling from the #MeToo moment.   

A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.  

This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.  

Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed. . . 

If recent history is any guide, the unique awfulness of the Trump era in U.S. politics is only going to get worse. Trump’s utter lack of morality, ethics and simple humanity has been underscored during his 11 months in office. . . 

The nation doesn’t seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed. But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great.

He Can't Ride That Horse

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

How Democracy Dies

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Don't Believe The Lie

Alabama Elects Democrat Jones - Rejects GOP Pedophile

I owe many people in Alabama my sincere apology. I was convinced that the very red state would vote to send a pedophile to the United States Senate. They did not!

On Tuesday, in a very close election, the voters in Alabama rejected Republican candidate Roy Moore and elected the Democratic candidate Doug Jones.

How did it happen? Well, we can thank especially two groups. Black voters went to the polls in record numbers for an off-year or special election to reward Jones for his years of fighting for civil rights. Jones only had a 1.5 point winning margin, which could not have happened without the large turnout of Black voters.

And some Republican voters simply could not bring themselves to vote for Moore (because of his many faults), so they cast a write-in vote. There were enough write-in votes that could have caused a Republican victory if a candidate other than Moore had been on the GOP ticket. The difference between Jones and Moore was 20,715 votes, and there were 22,819 write-in votes.

Here is the final tabulation:

Doug Jones (D)...............671,151 (49.9%)
Roy Moore (R)...............650,436 (48.4%)
Write-in votes...............22,819 (1.7%)


Not Mistakes (But Lies!)

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Trump Wins For "Biggest Lie Of The Year" (Of Course!)

Every year, Politifact asks their readers to vote for the "Biggest Lie Of The Year". The results for this year are in the chart above. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Donald Trump is the winner -- and it wasn't even close! He won for his insistence that the Trump/ Russia collaboration story was fake (and made up by Democrats).

Twelve A Day

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Six Charts Showing How Bad The GOP Tax Bill Is For U.S.

The Republicans, and Donald Trump, have been repeatedly lying to Americans about their tax bill. They claim the bill will be good for the middle class and bad for the wealthy. That is just the opposite of the truth.

These six charts from the Center On Budget And Policy Priorities shows the truth. This is a very bad bill for most Americans. It will give the rich massive (and unneeded) tax cuts, while punishing the working and middle classes.


Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at

Trump Will Allow Employers To Steal Worker's Tips

(Caricature of Donald Trump us by DonkeyHotey.)

Donald Trump has his products made in other countries that abuse workers with low wages, has imported workers for his U.S. entities to avoid pay decent wages, has stiffed many contractors that did work for him, and has conned many out of thousands of dollars with a fake "university". His moral compass points in only one direction -- toward greed! It shouldn't surprise us then that he now wants to allow employer's to steal the tips of their workers.

From the Economic Policy Institute:

Today (12/4/2017) the Trump administration took their first major step towards allowing employers to legally take tips earned by the workers they employ. The Department of Labor released a proposed rule rescinding portions of its tip regulations, including current restrictions on “tip pooling”—which would mean that, for example, restaurants would be able to pool the tips servers receive and share them with untipped employees such as cooks and dishwashers. But, crucially, the rule doesn’t actually require that employers distribute pooled tips to workers. Under the administration’s proposed rule, as long as the tipped workers earn minimum wage, the employer can legally pocket those tips.
And what we know for sure is that, often, they will do just that. Recent researchsuggests that the total wages stolen from workers due to minimum wage violations exceeds $15 billion each year, and workers in restaurants and bars are much more likely to suffer minimum wage violations than workers in other industries. With that much illegal wage theft currently taking place, it seems obvious that when employers can legally pocket the tips earned by their employees, many will do so.
It is worth noting how deeply unusual it is that there are no actual estimates in the proposal of the amount of money that would be shifted from workers to employers as a result of the rule, even though data that researchers use all the time are available to produce them. The requirements that agencies must follow during the rulemaking process are very clear, and among them is that agencies must assess all quantifiable costs and benefits “to the fullest extent that these can be usefully estimated.” When there is uncertainty about a quantifiable cost or benefit, agencies typically do something like provide a range—they don’t forgo providing an estimate altogether. It is obvious why the department left out the required estimate: this rule is bad for workers, and any estimate would have made that crystal clear.
Make no mistake: as a result of this rule, workers will take home less, and their loss will be employers’ gain. And Trump’s DOL is willing to break the requirements of the rulemaking process to attempt to hide that fact.

Evidence ?

Political Cartoon is by Barry Deutsch at


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Firearms Not Needed

Moral Choice For Alabama Republicans - Stay Home Today

Many decent Republicans in Alabama have a dilemma facing them today. They are die-hard Republicans, who have never voted for a Democrat and cannot bring themselves to do so -- but they have a pedophile (who doesn't believe in the Constitution) running on the Republican ticket. What are they to do?

I understand the dilemma. I am a die-hard Democrat, who has never voted for a Republican (and never will). What would I do if a truly despicable person was the Democratic candidate in a race? I could not vote Republican, but I would not vote for that Democrat either. In an election with other races to be determined, I would leave that race unmarked on my ballot -- and if that was the only race on the ballot, I would stay home. Morality would demand that.

And morality demands the same from die-hard Alabama Republicans today. If you can't bring yourself to vote for the Democrat, I understand. Don't do it. But if you really have the values you claim to have, you shouldn't be able to vote for the pedophile who would trash our Constitution either. You should just sty home today. Isn't that the only moral and decent choice.

Meanwhile, it's becoming impossible to predict what will happen in the Alabama senate race. The polls are all over the place. Three new polls have been released (see below). Two predict a win for Moore, while the third predicts Jones will win. It's anyone's guess as to what will happen.

The Gravis Marketing Poll was done between December 5th and 8th of a random sample of 1,254 Alabama likely voters, with a 2.8 point margin of error.

The Trafalgar Group Poll was done on December 6th and 7th of a random sample of 1,419 likely Alabama voters, and has a margin of error of 3.12 points.

The Fox News Poll was done between December 7th and 10th of a random sample of 1,408 registered Alabama voters, with a margin of error of 2.5 points (including 1,127 likely voters with a margin of error of 3 points).