Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Eleanor


Manchester Is Attacked By Cowardly Criminals - Not Muslims

(Photo is from video on the BBC News.)

It has happened again. This time it was a cowardly criminal attacking young people leaving a concert in Manchester, England. At least 22 were killed by a bomb blast, and more than 50 others were wounded.

This was a horrible tragedy, and I hope all who had anything to do with it are hunted down and severely punished. But we need to be careful not to let our politicians use the tragedy for their own nefarious purposes. There are those (Donald Trump and his ilk) who would have you believe this is another example of a war between muslims and christians.

That is not true. We must remember that these terrorists have killed far more muslims than christians in their illegal lust for power. They may hide behind religion (like certain other groups hide behind their's -- KKK, white militias, etc.), but they do not represent muslims. if they did, they would not be slaughtering muslims at a greater rate than anyone else.

It also is not a war between those from the Middle East and Western nations. These same terrorists that have struck in the West have killed far more people in the Middle East than in all Western nations combined.

I make no excuses for the criminals committing terrorist acts, and I want them to get the punishment they so richly deserve. Just don't let demagogues convince you that this is a religious or ethnic war. It never has been, and painting it as such just demonizes innocent people and spreads hate. It's bigotry, and we don't need that.

Vermin

Political Cartoon is by Randy Bush in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Ossoff Seems To Be Leading In Georgia's 6th District Runoff


Georgia's 6th Congressional District run-off is now only about 3 weeks away (June 20th). While this has been a safe Republican district for a long time now, Democrats have high hopes of putting it in the blue column this year -- and there's some evidence they might have a chance to do that.

The latest poll done of 6th District voters is the SurveyUSA / WXIA-TV Poll -- done between May 16th and 20th of a district sample of 700 registered voters, with a 4.3 point margin of error. It shows Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Karen Handel by 7 points (51% to 44%). Of those who say they have already voted, Ossoff leads by 12 points. This seems to suggest that Ossoff's supporters are more enthusiastic than Handel's supporters.

I wouldn't get too excited though. There's a bit of time before the actual voting day, and as I said, this has always been a pretty safe district for Republicans. Handel is leading among older voters and white voters, and those two groups tend to outvote their counterparts.

This is still going to be a close election, and won't be decided by any 7 points. It's going to come down to who can get their voters to the polls (and not who's leading in public opinion polls). If Ossoff can pull this off though, it could signal a bad time for Republicans in next year's election -- and verify that there's a lot of anti-Trump feeling in the country.

Bad Guy

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in the Augusta Chronicle.

Most Think Trump Acts Only For His Own Benefit


This poll should worry the hell out of the Republicans, because they have tied themselves so closely to Donald Trump. It turns out that a majority of Americans don't think Donald Trump acts for the good of the country -- but only for his own benefit.

There's good reason for people thinking that. The Republican health plan, which he eagerly supported, gave the rich huge tax cuts while taking health care away from millions of people (and raising prices for all people). His budget plan would do much the same thing.

His budget would hurt the poor, the working class, and even the middle class by making huge cuts in many domestic programs (food stamps, Medicaid, Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, welfare, Social Security for the disabled, etc.), so the rich (and the corporations can have even bigger tax cuts). It is obvious to anyone who looks that Trump is acting for the benefit of himself (and his rich friends).

If this perception is not changed soon, the Republicans can expect the 2018 election to be a disaster.

The chart above was made from results of a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on May 17th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Trump Budget

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Can Democrats Pull Off A Wave Election In 2018 ?


This country is in serious trouble with Trump in the White House and Republicans controlling Congress. Democrats need to regain control of at least one house of Congress, and ideally, both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It would take a "wave" election to do that. Can Democrats pull that off in 2018? Maybe.

Here is part of a nice article on the possibility of a wave election in 2018. It was written by Ben Kamisar and Lisa Hagen for The Hill. They write:

Democrats are increasingly bullish about the prospect of a wave election in 2018 amid backlash against the passage of the House GOP’s ObamaCare replacement bill and the snowballing revelations coming out of the White House.
Nonpartisan election handicappers have begun to shift the House further away from the Republican majority, in part due to President Trump’s tepid approval ratings and the FBI’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
While Republicans and ballot forecasters stress that there’s still 18 months to go until the midterm elections, most concede that the trend lines are ominous.
“Anyone who thinks the House isn’t in play is kidding themselves,” a former GOP aide told The Hill.
“The House healthcare bill is full of landmines and the constant White House drama Republicans have to defend is destroying any ability we have to be on offense or talk about a positive message.”
Democrats have an uphill climb to flipping 24 seats and winning the House, given that gerrymandering and extreme polarization have reduced the number of swing districts nationwide.
But the recent cycle of negative headlines for the White House — which included Trump’s controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey — could be creating a perfect political storm.
Democrats are increasingly bullish about the prospect of a wave election in 2018 amid backlash against the passage of the House GOP’s ObamaCare replacement bill and the snowballing revelations coming out of the White House.
Nonpartisan election handicappers have begun to shift the House further away from the Republican majority, in part due to President Trump’s tepid approval ratings and the FBI’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
While Republicans and ballot forecasters stress that there’s still 18 months to go until the midterm elections, most concede that the trend lines are ominous.
“Anyone who thinks the House isn’t in play is kidding themselves,” a former GOP aide told The Hill.
“The House healthcare bill is full of landmines and the constant White House drama Republicans have to defend is destroying any ability we have to be on offense or talk about a positive message.”
Democrats have an uphill climb to flipping 24 seats and winning the House, given that gerrymandering and extreme polarization have reduced the number of swing districts nationwide.
But the recent cycle of negative headlines for the White House — which included Trump’s controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey — could be creating a perfect political storm.
One early test will come in the special elections in Montana and Georgia, where Democrats are hoping to score early victories and build momentum.
“The storm clouds that normally hover above a wave election seem to be forming, which is incompetence, scandal and seeming to be out of touch,” a former aide to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) told The Hill.
“You’ve got small clouds there that are getting bigger every day.”
Even before Trump’s difficulties, Republicans had reason to worry about 2018.
Off-year elections have not traditionally been kind to the party in power; in the last three midterm cycles, the party controlling the White House lost a double-digit number of House seats.
Going on the offensive, the DCCC has announced the expansion of its 2018 targets, increasing the number to 79 GOP-held districts.
It’s a strategy that mirrors the Democrats’ 2006 playbook, when then-DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel helped the party pick up 31 House seats and regain the majority after more than a decade out of power.
“Given where Trump’s approval ratings is, we can guarantee that Republicans will lose seats — the question is, how many?” said Geoffrey Skelley, an associate editor at Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
One early clue to the 2018 elections can be found on the generic ballot, which is seen as a bellwether of party strength.
Democrats are, on average, leading Republicans by 7 points when voters are asked which party they prefer in the upcoming elections, according to Friday’s RealClearPolitics average.
That average didn’t include a recent Quinnipiac University poll that put Democrats up by 16 points when participants were asked which party should win control of the House in 2018.
The generic ballot numbers for House Republicans now are worse than the numbers Democrats were seeing when President Barack Obama was in the White House.

Harder Than He Thought

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

Offensive


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Truth From Truman


Trump Hasn't Drained The "Swamp" - He's Filled It

(This image of a "swamp" monster is by DonkeyHotey.)

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump used a very vivid image -- an image of Washington being a swamp infested by monsters who care only for their own gain. He promised his supporters that he would drain that swamp. That's a promise he seems to have forgotten since taking office.

Instead of draining that swamp, Trump has filled his administration with Wall Streeters, corporate CEO's, and an army of lobbyists. Those lobbyists are of special concern to the Office of Government Ethics, since many of them have slid into government jobs without being exposed to the glare of media publicity -- and they were concerned enough to ask the Trump administration for the waivers they issued to allow those lobbyists to get government jobs (waivers that are necessary before a lobbyist can work for our government).

The Office of Government Ethics wanted to know who those lobbyists were and what jobs they got, so they could be watched to see if they used their government job to benefit the companies they had lobbied for.

What was the response of the Trump administration? They have refused to produce the waivers signed by Donald Trump to allow those lobbyists to get government jobs. Trump and his cronies don't want the American public to know how many lobbyists got government jobs (and what those jobs were). They don't want the public to know that they not only failed to drain the swamp, but filled the swamp with many new and voracious predators.

Why aren't these waivers open to not only the Office of Government Ethics, but also to the general public. Doesn't the public have the right to know how many lobbyists were given government jobs, and who those lobbyists are?

This is just more evidence that the administration of Donald Trump is the most corrupt administration in modern history.

At The Wall

Political cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Trump Job Approval Among Republicans Has Dropped


The chart above is from the daily tracking of Donald Trump's job approval by the Reuters / Ipsos Poll. They survey people each day, and report the results of a five-day rolling average. This latest average of just Republicans involved a five day total of more than 16,400 respondents.

The result showed a significant drop in approval among Republicans from last week to this week. Last week about 82.9% approved, while that dropped to 75.2% this week -- a drop of 7.7 points.

Will the downward trend continue? It might, as more comes out about Trump's Russia connections (not to mention his health care and budget plans). Remember, Republicans were not all Trumpistas. Those who preferred another candidate in the primaries could decide that Trump is hurting their party and abandon him.

We'll just have to wait and see, but I thought you readers might find these numbers interesting.

Toady

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

Did Sanders Also Benefit From "Russian Connections" ?

(Caricature of Bernie Sanders is by DonkeyHotey.)

It has become obvious that Donald Trump has many connections to Russia, and benefitted greatly from Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But he may not be the only presidential candidate that did so. Bernie Sanders also has connections to Russia, and definitely benefitted from Russian hacking in the 2016 campaign. Consider this article by Trevor LaFauci at The People's View:

Paul Manafort has been in the news a bit recently. 

Manafort, the man who "played a limited role" as Donald Trump's campaign manager is currently under fire after it was revealed that he secretly worked to advance the agenda of Vladimir Putin in Russia. Already, the Trump White House is furiously attempting to distance itself from Manafort as the Russian scandal becomes more and more serious by the day. 

But Manafort was not the only American political consultant in 2016 who had a checkered history of muddying the waters of international politics. In 2009 Manafort was working to help improve the image of pro-Russian Ukranian politician Viktor Yanukovych in an effort to make the presidential nominee seem more accessible, and thus more palatable, to the American Congress. Joining Manafort in that effort was an American consultant named Tad Devine, a man who himself had a dubious history of foreign intervention. Among Devine's highlights is having worked for exiled Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in 2002 as well as ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2005. Devine then worked for Yanukovych from 2006 up until he was elected president of Ukraine in 2010. Like both Lozada and Zelaya, Yanukovych has since been removed from power and he currently resides in exile in Russia and just happens to be wanted for treason in Ukraine. 


In addition to having supported corrupt politicians abroad, Devine has also supported unsuccessful presidential candidates here at home. Devine had increasing roles in the campaigns of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bob Kerry, Al Gore, and John Kerry. After having previously worked on actual successful campaigns for Bernie Sanders' 1996 congressional run as well as his 2006 senatorial run, Devine officially joined Sanders' presidential campaign as a senior advisor in May of 2015. Over the course of the next fourteen months, Devine not only became one of the mouthpieces of the campaign but was also able to net himself a pretty penny. According to Slate, through both his consulting work as well as his work with Old Time Media, Devine was able to net himself roughly $10 million through his work on the campaign. For a campaign that prided itself as going to fight for the little guy, Devine, an establishment political consultant and friend of Bernie Sanders, seemed perfectly content to pocket millions of dollars.

But Devine's hefty payday might not have been paid for entirely by gullible Americans giving $27 each. Throughout the Democratic primary, the Sanders campaign was cited for FEC violations on three separate occasions including a mysterious $10 million donation from a single address in Washington, DC. Despite consistent calls for financial transparency on the campaign trail, the Sanders campaign was exceedingly secretive when it came to its own finances. After twice filing for extensions from the FEC, the Sanders campaign ultimately decided to forgo its final financial disclosure statement in June citing the fact that campaign was no longer active. This decision was accompanied by the news that Sanders himself had purchased a $575,000 home in August, much to the dismay of his loyal followers. The home would be the third residence for Sanders, someone who railed against a system that increasingly favored the millionaires and billionaires of our country. 

Yet these financial gains for both Devine and Sanders would never have been possible had it not been for the millions of campaign contributions that came their way. And the only way to get campaign contributions is to convince your supporters you might actually have a chance to win. Luckily for Devine and Sanders, they had some foreign friends who were willing to step in. As reported by Rachel Maddow late on Tuesday, there existed an army of Russian bots who were weaponized to influence our election. Many of them took to various social media sites to discredit and disrupt Hillary Clinton's campaign and thus, enegize potential Bernie Sanders supporters. Knowing that Clinton had been a target of right-wing media smears for a quarter-century, all the bots had to do was plant this seed to potential Sanders supporters, many of whom had no experience in politics, to get them onboard with the Sanders campaign. By doing this, Sanders and Devine were able to successfully pocket millions of dollars all while pretending to be champions of the common man. 

In addition to all this, the Sanders campaign was able to magically avoid any public assault from Wikileaks. While Julian Assange's hacker group directly targeted the Clinton campaign, Sanders and his team not only avoided any cyberwarfare but also were able to benefit from the attacks in claiming they were victims of an alleged conspiracy against them. In fact, this played out nicely to the Sanders narrative that everyone was against them despite the fact that the campaign was found guilty of stealing data from the Clinton campaign ahead of the first primaries. Wikileaks clearly had a dog in the race that that dog just happened to be anyone but Hillary Clinton. The fact that Wikileaks released its first batch of emails a mere three days before the Democratic National Convention was no coincidence and was designed to cause as much chaos as possible at a point in time when Sanders had no reasonable expectation of being the nominee. This was truly a last ditch effort by Russia to avoid Hillary Clinton being presidential nominee for the Democratic Party.

So Bernie Sanders hired a political consultant with pro-Russia experience, had a mysterious unidentified campaign donation, had numerous Russian agents working on behalf of his campaign, and benefitted from Russian-backed Wikileaks. At a time when a public investigation is centering on the Trump administration, the question begs to be asked: what was Bernie Sanders' role in all this? Was Russia simply using Sanders and his supporters as willing stooges in their effots to bring down Hillary Clinton? Or did Sanders have knowledge of their involvement? Who gave Sanders that mysterious $10 million donation? Why did he refuse to submit his final FEC filing? And why has Bernie Sanders remained silent as the Trump Administration has become more and more corrupt in its dealings with Russia? 

To paraphrase Congressman Adam Schiff, all of these Russian connections might be a coincidence for a person like Bernie Sanders. Or there might actually be an intentional collusion between the two parties. At this point though, this issue needs to be raised. Sanders' silence on any and all Russian-related issues since the election is deepy troubling at a time when his supporters still believe him to be a savior of the party. As groups like Justice Democrats try to undermine the Democratic Party by attempting to primary candidates they don't beleive to be progressive enough, there needs to be a thorough discussion about Sanders' potential involvement with a foreign adversary that direclty infringed upon the sovereignty of our nation.  As someone who directly benefitted from Russian interference, both politically and monetarily, Sanders owes us all, not just Democrats, an explanation for everthing that has happened. 

At this point, it's the least he can do. 

The Witch Being Hunted

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

America First


Monday, May 22, 2017

Recipe For Trump


Public Does Not Look Favorably On The GOP Congress




These charts are from a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 13th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,298 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.2 points.

It shows that the Republican-dominated Congress may be even more unpopular than Donald Trump. Their job approval rating is only 11% while 55% disapprove -- a huge gap of 44 points. And it is Republicans who are getting most of the blame for the inability of Congress to accomplish anything. About 45% blame the Republicans, while only 15% blame the Democrats -- a gap of 30 points.

If the election was held today for Congress, about 40% would vote Democratic and 33% would vote Republican -- a significant 7 point gap. The GOP has more than a year to turn things around, but if they continue down their current path, the 2018 election could turn out very badly for them.

Big Baby

Political Cartoon is by Stuart Carlson at carlsontoons.com.

Trump Still Unable To Improve His Job Approval Rating



These are the two latest polls on the job approval of Donald Trump. He still has a very poor rating -- 39% to 51% in one poll, and 39% to 53% in the other poll. He seems incapable of improving his numbers -- probably because he keeps shooting himself in the foot with his statements and tweets.

The top chart is from the Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 13th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,298 registered voters), with a 3.2 point margin of error.

The bottom chart is from the Monmouth University Poll -- done between May 13th and 17th of a random national sample of 1,002 adults, with a 3.1 point margin of error.

In Trouble

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in the Augusta Chronicle.

Confidence In American Institutions Is Very Low


Chart shows the information contained in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 13th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,298 registered voters), with a 3.2 point margin of error. It shows the percentage of the public that say they have a great deal or a lot of confidence in these American institutions. These are not great numbers, and show a lack of trust by the public in most of our institutions.

Fingers Crossed

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

Corporations Do NOT Need A Tax Cut


From Josh Bivins at the Economic Policy Institute:

It is often claimed that American corporate tax rates are much-higher than our international peers, and that this has harmed U.S. corporations’ competitiveness. However, these claims are both factually incorrect and economically meaningless. On the facts, while the statutory corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, after loopholes and deductions, the effective tax rate that corporations pay is only 14 percent.  On the economics, even if U.S. corporations werepaying higher taxes than their international peers, cutting these rates will do nothing to help the vast majority of American families, but will exacerbate inequality by boosting the post-tax incomes of owners and managers of corporations.

To help most American families, corporate tax proposals should focus on increasing, not decreasing, the taxes paid by corporations. The corporate tax system is so riddled with loopholes that it raises far too little revenue and doesn’t contribute enough to the need of the federal government to honor existing commitments to social insurance, income support, and public investment. If policymakers are going to push corporate “tax reform,” they should focus on requiring corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
For more on how cutting corporate taxes will hurt American families, read EPI’s recent research.

Jeff Session's America

Political cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson at philly.com.

Potential Treason


Sunday, May 21, 2017

New Commandment


Biblical Literalism Is At A Record Low In The U.S.




The charts above are from the Gallup Poll. They show that a record low percentage of Americans view the bible as the literal word of god -- dropping from 38% in 1976 to only 24% currently. Also at a record level (a record high) is the percentage who believe the bible is just a book of fables written by men -- climbing from 13% in 1976 to 26% currently. It marks the first time in the Gallup Poll where the number saying it's a book of fables is larger than the number saying it's the literal word of god. Note that the belief in literalism has dropped in every gender, age, and religious group.

The latest Gallup Poll on this subject was done between May 3rd and 7th of a random national sample of 1,011 adults, with a margin of error of 4 points.

Obstructing Justice

Political cartoon is by Sabir Nazar at cagle.com.

White Racism Dropped Slightly During Obama Administration



The charts above are from the Gallup Poll. Here is Gallup's explanation of how they reached the numbers displayed in their charts:

Our review found eight questions that were asked in 2004 and 2007 -- before Obama -- and then again in 2015 and 2016 -- during the Obama years. These questions, combined, provide what we believe is a reasonable measure of racial resentment. Analyzing responses from the two earlier surveys and comparing those with the responses from the two later surveys provides the needed divide between pre-Obama and Obama-era attitudes.
The questions are as follows:
  1. In general, do you think that blacks have as good a chance as whites in your community to get any kind of job for which they are qualified, or don't you think they have as good a chance?
  2. In general, do you think that black children have as good a chance as white children in your community to get a good education, or don't you think they have as good a chance?
  3. Again, in general, do you think that blacks have as good a chance as whites in your community to get any housing they can afford, or don't you think they have as good a chance?
  4. Just your impression, are blacks in your community treated less fairly than whites in the following situations?
    • On the job/At work
    • In neighborhood shops
    • In stores downtown/In the shopping mall
    • In restaurants/bars/theaters/other entertainment places
    • In dealing with the police, such as traffic incidents
We looked only at respondents who identified their race as white. The racially resentful answer to each question is the one where the respondent does not believe blacks are treated unfairly and/or that they do have equal opportunities. The interpretation of these responses as racially resentful derives from other scholarly research in this area. Whites who say that blacks have as good a chance as whites to get jobs, schooling and housing, and who think blacks are treated just as fairly as whites across the list of five situations are racially unsympathetic. If racial resentment rose during the Obama years, the assumption is that whites would have become less sympathetic about blacks' situation in American society -- or, in other words, more racially resentful.
The analysis uses the mean of the eight items to construct a racial resentment scale that gives a score to each respondent. The top overall score of "1" means the person answered in the unsympathetic, resentful direction on all eight questions, and "0" means they answered all eight in the other direction.
The charts show that the Obama administration did have an effect on racism among whites in this country. Racism dropped among whites in the general population, among Independents, and among Democrats. The only group that did not show a drop in racist attitudes was Republicans.
It is good that racism dropped, but it didn't drop nearly enough. In a country that claims to offer equal rights and opportunity to all races and ethnicities, the racist index show be close to 0.0. But it isn't. In fact, it is above 0.5 for all groups (including Democrats). 
That shows that racism is still a big problem in the United States -- and any claim to the contrary is delusional.

Witch Hunt

Political cartoon is by Randy Bush in the Pittsburg Tribune-Review.

Trump Is Searching For Ways To Block The Special Counsel

When the Special Coulee was appointed to investigate the Trump campaign (and administration) ties to Russia, Trump tried to play it off as of no concern to him. That is just not true. That appointment scares the hell out of Trump, and he is desperately searching for ways to impede the Special Counsel's investigation.

The following is part of a very revealing article by Julia Edwards Ainsley at Reuters.com:

The Trump administration is exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule to undermine the special counsel investigation into ties between President Donald Trump's campaign team and Russia, two people familiar with White House thinking said on Friday.
Trump has said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's hiring of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation "hurts our country terribly." 
Within hours of Mueller's appointment on Wednesday, the White House began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year after their hiring, the sources said. 
An executive order signed by Trump in January extended that period to two years.
Mueller's former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who met with a Russian bank executive in December, and the president's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is a subject of a federal investigation.
Legal experts said the ethics rule can be waived by the Justice Department, which appointed Mueller. He did not represent Kushner or Manafort directly at his former law firm.
If the department did not grant a waiver, Mueller would be barred from investigating Kushner or Manafort, and this could greatly diminish the scope of the probe, experts said.
The Justice Department is already reviewing Mueller's background as well as any potential conflicts of interest, said department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.
Even if the Justice Department granted a waiver, the White House would consider using the ethics rule to create doubt about Mueller's ability to do his job fairly, the sources said. Administration legal advisers have been asked to determine if there is a basis for this. 
Under this strategy, the sources said the administration would raise the issue in press conferences and public statements.
Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution. 

But the administration is now mainly focused on placing a cloud over his reputation for independence, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

Blaming Obama

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

Burden Of Proof


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Why Not In The U.S. ?


Picking Joe Lieberman As FBI Director Would Show A Serious Lack Of Judgement (And Competence) By Trump

(This photo, from Politico, is of Joe Lieberman appearing at the 2008 Republican National Convention with Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham.)

Donald Trump showed a serious lack of judgement in firing James Comes as FBI Director. While he just did it to impede the FBI's investigation into his administration regarding ties to Russia (which he as much as admitted both to NBC's Lester Holt and to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador), he actually thought Democrats would see it as a bipartisan reaching out to them.

He was shocked when both congressional Democrats and rank-and-file Democrats across the nation blasted the Comey firing. Democrats, while they were not happy with Comey, knew he wasn't fired because of that. They understood it was just an effort by Trump to impede the investigation of him and his aides -- and they didn't like it a bit. It showed that Trump has a fundamental lack of political judgement, and that calls into question his competence to serve as president.

Now he seems poised to repeat that same lack of judgement. He will soon pick Comey's replacement as FBI Director. And the strong rumor from White House sources is that the pick will be former senator Joe Lieberman.

Once again, he seems to think this would be a choice that would please Democrats (since Lieberman was elected to the Senate as a Democrat), and be viewed as a bipartisan choice. He is WRONG!

Joe Lieberman is not respected within the Democratic Party. In fact, he is almost universally despised by most Democrats. They remember that as a senator he could not be depended upon to vote to uphold Democratic Party ideals and beliefs. And they remember him as a turncoat, who appeared at the 2008 Republican National Convention to support John McCain -- showing a lack of respect for the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama.

What would Democrats really want? They want the new FBI Director to be a career law enforcement person, who has not shown a preference for either political party. Democrats would view that kind of pick as bipartisan. They don't want any politician (of either party) chosen.

If Trump chooses Lieberman, it will be another serious lapse of judgement -- and it will further call into question his competence to be president.

Travel Ban

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Most American Adults Worry About Trump's Mental Health



The charts above were made using information in a new SurveyUSA Poll -- done on May 17th of a national sample of 1,500 adults.

The top chart shows that only 26% of Americans think Trump sees the world as it is, while a majority of 56% think Trump loses touch with reality at times. And that is the opinion generally across all gender, age, and racial/ethnic lines.

The second chart gets a bit more specific -- asking respondents their opinion of Trump's mental health. About 42% say his mental health is good (24%) or excellent (18%), while a majority of 51% say his mental health is only fair (18%) or poor (33%).

Those are some terrible numbers, especially for a president who has been in office less than 6 months. Most seem to think we have elected a nut. As the chart below shows, they also don't think he can be trusted to keep the nation's most sensitive secrets. That's the opinion of 52% of Americans, while only 33% think he can be trusted with those secrets.


Witch Hunt ?

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

Trump's Average Job Approval Is At A Record Low



These two charts are from RealClearPolitics. The top chart shows all of the most recent polls on Donald Trump's job approval. It also gives the average of all those polls. The bottom chart shows that job approval average since Trump was sworn in.

Note that Trump's current job approval is at a record low of 39.7%, and his job disapproval is at a record high of 54.7%.

This is tearing Trump up, since his narcissism demands that he be viewed as popular and doing a great job. Unfortunately, for him, he is presiding over a White House in chaos -- and he keeps shooting himself in the foot with his tweets and statements. In addition, he continues to push an agenda that most Americans don't like -- and he continues to lie about that agenda (and nearly everything else).

If this continues (and there's no reason to believe it won't), Trump could well leave office as the most unpopular president in modern times -- making even Bush II and Nixon look good by comparison.