Monday, February 20, 2017

What's Wrong With Trump


Carnage

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Trump Holds A Pep Rally And Continues To Lie

(This tweet by Chelsea Clinton is in response to Trump's lie at his pep rally.)

The narcissist-in-chief has been very unhappy lately. His administration is in chaos and full of leaks, courts have ruled against him, the truth is starting to come out about his Russian ties, and the polls show most people think he is dishonest and don't approve of the job he is doing.

A rational person would buckle down and make necessary changes, but Trump is not a rational individual. He decided instead to feed his own ego by holding a pep rally -- an event where only the most rabid trumpistas could attend. That event was held on Saturday in Florida. I guess it accomplished its purpose, because Trump continued to lie and the crowd loved it.

Sadly, he even told lies that could easily be disproved. Perhaps the stupidest was about Sweden. Trump said:

“You look at what’s happening. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”

What's wrong with that? Nothing happened on Friday in Sweden, or any other recent day. There was no terrorist attack (or activity of any kind). And there hasn't been for years now. Trump was just lying to try and justify his muslim ban executive orders -- much like the whopper his aides told about a massacre in Bowling Green.

While Trump's fans enjoyed the untrue story, you can bet the Swedes did not. Sweden is an ally, and even sent troops to Afghanistan to support the American war in that country. They are not going to like Trump telling lies about their country to enhance his own political standing in the U.S. It's just one more diplomatic blunder that makes our own allies leery of the United States (much like the blunders with Mexico, Australia, Germany, Canada, etc.).

It's not that Trump stretches the truth a little to protect this country -- most presidents have done that. It's that lying is his choice to defend almost everything he does, and it hurts the country instead of helping. The only thing it helps is his own ego (which was the purpose of the Saturday pep rally).

I guess we should be thankful that Trump doesn't lie all the time -- but just when he opens his mouth to speak.

Anti-Semitic

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

More Say Trump Will Hurt Respect For U.S. In The World


Will the rest of the world respect us more four years from now (after the four year term of Donald Trump)? A large plurality of Americans (46%) say NO, while only 28% say yes. The public thinks it is far more likely that Trump will damage the world's respect for the United States by a whopping 18 point margin.

And that view is shared by both sexes, all racial/ethnic groups, three out of four age groups, and two out of three political groups. Only those 65 and older (43% to 39%) and Republicans (65% to 14%) think Trump will enhance the reputation of this country in the next four years.

These numbers are from a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between February 12th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,283 registered voters, with a 3.1 point margin of error.

The chart below, from that same poll, shows Trump's job approval rating is still upside-down.


To Hide The Truth

Political Cartoon is by Sean Delonas at seandelonas.com.

Housing Discrimination Contributes To Big Racial Wealth Gap



I have posted a lot about the wealth gap between the rich and the rest of America. It is huge and it is still growing. But there is another wealth gap in this country -- the gap between Whites and Blacks. This pernicious wealth gap is not closing, and the reason is continuing discrimination.

Much of that gap is due to lower wages/income for Blacks compared to Whites, and a much higher unemployment rate among Blacks. But there is another factor that is a major cause -- housing discrimination.

Some may have thought that housing discrimination was eliminated when it was outlawed in the late 1960's. It was not. Like the discrimination that continues in education, the business community, and the justice system, discrimination in housing persists -- and it contributes to the inability of Blacks to accumulate wealth in this country.

The following article on this subject is by Janelle Jones at the Economic Policy Institute. It is worth reading by those who think equality is an important concept in a free country.

Wealth is a crucially important measure of economic health. Wealth allows families to transfer income earned in the past to meet spending demands in the future, such as by building up savings to finance a child’s college education. Wealth also provides a buffer of economic security against periods of unemployment, or risk-taking, like starting a business. And wealth is needed to finance a comfortable retirement or provide an inheritance to children. In order to construct wealth, a number of building blocks are required. Steady well-paid employment during one’s working life is important, as it allows for a decent standard of living plus the ability to save. Also, access to well-functioning financial markets that provide a healthy rate of return on savings without undue risks is crucial.
Failures in the provision of these building blocks to the African-American population have led to an enormous racial wealth gap. The racial wealth gap is much larger than the wage or income gap by race. Average wealth for white families is seven times higher than average wealth for black families. Worse still, median white wealth (wealth for the family in the exact middle of the overall distribution—wealthier than half of all families and less-wealthy than half) is twelve times higher than median black wealth. More than one in four black households have zero or negative net worth, compared to less than one in ten white families without wealth, which explains the large differences in the racial wealth gap at the mean and median.  These raw differences persist, and are growing, even after taking age, household structure, education level, income, or occupation into account.
Overall, housing equity makes up about two-thirds of all wealth for the typical (median) household. In short, for median families, the racial wealth gap is primarily a housing wealth gap. This is no accident. Besides facing discrimination in employment and wage-setting, for generations even those African-American families that did manage to earn decent incomes were barred from accessing the most important financial market for typical families: the housing market. Housing policies that prevented blacks from acquiring land, created redlining and restrictive covenants, and encouraged lending discrimination reinforced the racial wealth gap for decades. Richard Rothstein’s forthcoming book The Color of Law documents exactly how such policies at all levels of government robbed black families and communities of wealth.
Even as much de jure discrimination in housing was dismantled by public policy, de facto segregation and the legacy of wealth non-accumulation kept the racial wealth gap from closing. During the housing bubble that was the disastrous run-up to the Great Recession, the exposure to predatory, high-interest, and high-leverage mortgages led to an absolute wealth disaster for African-American families when the bubble burst. In the aftermath of the bubble’s burst, black unemployment rates rose to levels twice as high as white unemployment, leading to higher rates of delinquency and foreclosure for black families. And the sluggish recovery has only made matters worse, as home values recover at different rates across racial lines.
The role of policy in creating and maintaining the racial wealth gap makes it clear just how difficult it will be to close the gap through the individual choices and behaviors of African-Americans. Educational attainment, the right occupation, and full-time employment are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for building wealth (and even equalizing these between races would be nothing short of miraculous). The typical black family with a head of household working full time has less wealth than the typical white family whose head of household is unemployed. This outcome holds for black families regardless of the time and money spent on educational upgrading. Median wealth for black families whose head has a college degree, for example, has only one-eighth the wealth of the median white family whose head has a college degree. Even the typical black family with a graduate or professional degree had more than $200,000 less wealth than a comparable white family. This is not surprising given that my previous research with John Schmitt has found a college degree really is no guarantee.
Malign social policy has created and maintained the racial wealth gap, and only a progressive reorientation of this policy can close it. 

Fake News ?

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at darrinbell.com.

The 1% Thanks You


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Invention


See, Hear, & Speak No Evil (Of Trump)

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at darrinbell.com.

Americans Are Warmer To All Religious Groups But One



The charts above are from a survey by the Pew Research Center between January 9th and 23rd. They questioned 4,248 adults, and the survey has a margin of error of 2.5 points.

It shows the view of religious groups by the public in the United States. A "warm" feeling (favorable) would be shown by a larger number and be toward the top of the chart, whereas a "cold" (unfavorable) rating would be represented by a lower number and be toward the bottom of the chart.

I found it interesting that every single religious group, except one, had increased in favorability with the public -- and that was true of both Democrats and Republicans. That group was not muslims -- it was evangelical christians. The evangelical christians didn't lose any favorability, but didn't gain any either.

Three years ago, evangelical christians had a 61 rating from the public, and it still does. The rating from Democrats (53) and from Republicans (71) also remained steady.

Groups that are normally considered unpopular in this country did grow in favorability. Among the general population atheists grew from 41 to 50, and muslims grew from 40 to 48 -- both significant growth figures. Among Democrats the atheists grew from 46 to 57, and the muslims grew from 47 to 56. The same was true among Republicans, where atheists grew from 34 to 43 and muslims grew from 33 to 39.

Why did the evangelical christians not grow in favorability? Could it be because they are trying hard to force their religious views on all Americans, while other religious groups simply want to be free to worship (or not worship) as they please? I think so. Their effort to turn their religious views into law is not winning them any new friends.

Fun House

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Koterba in the Omaha World-Herald.

4 Out Of 5 Americans Want NATO Alliance Maintained



Donald Trump has said that NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is no longer relevant, and he has intimated that the United States may not honor its NATO obligations -- and may even withdraw from it. But Trump's crazy view is not shared by the American people.

Among the public in the U.S., NATO has 80% support (people who believe the alliance should be maintained). These people view NATO as important, not only for the protection of Europe, but also the United States. That 80% support is the highest its been in the last two decades. And the support cuts across political lines -- with 97% Democratic support, 69% Republican support, and the support of 74% of Independents.

It's just one more area (among many) where Trump is out-of-step with the American people.

These charts are from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between February 1st and 5th of a random national sample of 485 adults, with a margin of error of 6 points.

The Media

Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart at cagle.com.

Rather Says Russian Scandal Could Be As Big As Watergate


The following post from Dan Rather is well worth reading and thinking about:

Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now. On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour. And we may look back and see, in the end, that it is at least as big as Watergate. It may become the measure by which all future scandals are judged. It has all the necessary ingredients, and that is chilling.
When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche, but for most of the time my fellow reporters and I were chasing down the story as it rumbled along with a low-grade intensity. We never were quite sure how much we would find out about what really happened. In the end, the truth emerged into the light, and President Nixon descended into infamy.
This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows. Each piece of news demands new questions. We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: "What did the President know, and when did he know it?" New reporting suggests that Mr. Trump knew for weeks. We can all remember the General Michael Flynn's speech from the Republican National Convention - "Lock her up!" in regards to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had done one tenth of what Mr. Flynn had done, she likely would be in jail. And it isn't just Mr. Flynn, how far does this go?
The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies - can't we finally all agree to call them lies - long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration's assertions for far too long.
We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth. If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction. It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.

Sociopath

Political Cartoon is by Arend van Dam at cagle.com.

Nietzsche On Religion


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sound Familiar ?


Bad Hombres ?

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in the Los Angeles Times.

More Bad News For An Incredibly Unpopular President


It just keeps getting worse for Donald Trump. He wants the public to believe that he's a popular president, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Gallup Poll has been polling Americans on presidential job approval ratings in mid-February of their first terms since 1953. Every president prior to Donald Trump, regardless of political party, has had a majority job approval. The average job approval rating was 61%.

Donald Trump is the ONLY president since 1953 (64 years) that does NOT have majority job approval. His job approval is only 40% -- 21 points below the average.

That means Trump is the most unpopular president in more than a half century -- and if Gallup had been polling prior to 1953, it would probably make Trump the most unpopular for a much longer period than that.

The latest Gallup Poll was done between February 13th and 15th of a random national sample of 1,527 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

Amateur Hour

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Open Letter From Mental Health Professionals On Trump

(Cartoon image is by Arend Van Dam at cagle.com.)

The following open letter, sent to the New York Times, is from 35 mental health professionals -- warning Americans of the mental problems displayed by Trump's behavior.

To the Editor:
Charles M. Blow (columnnytimes.com, Feb. 9) describes Donald Trump’s constant need “to grind the opposition underfoot.” As mental health professionals, we share Mr. Blow’s concern.
Silence from the country’s mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.
Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).
In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.
Lance Dodes, M.D.
Joseph Schachter, M.D., Ph.D.
Susan Radant, Ph.D.
Judith Schachter, M.D.
Jules Kerman, M.D., Ph.D
Jeffrey Seitelman, M.D., Ph.D.
Henry Friedman, M.D.
Babak Roshanaei-Moghaddam, MD
David Cooper, Ph.D.
Dena Sorbo, LCSW, BCD
Joseph Reppen, Ph.D.
Ernest Wallwork, Ph.D.
Judith E. Vida, M.D.
Richard Reichbart, J.D., Ph.D.
Joseph Abrahams, M.D.
Leslie Schweitzer-Miller, M.D.
Cheryl Y. Goodrich, Ph.D.
Lourdes Henares-Levy, M.D.
Alexandra Rolde, M.D.
Dr. med. Helen Schoenhals Hart
Eva D. Papiasvili, Ph.D.
Mali Mann, M.D.
Phyllis Tyson, Ph.D.
Era A. Loewenstein, Ph.D.
Marianna Adler, Ph.D.
Henry Nunberg, M.D.
Marc R. Hirsch, Ph.D.
Lora Heims Tessman, Ph.D.
Monisha Nayar-Akhtar, Ph.D.
Victoria Schreiber, M.A., L.M.S.W.
Penny M Freedman, Ph.D.
Merton A. Shill, JD. LLM., PhD.
Helen K. Gediman, Ph.D.
Michael P. Kowitt, Ph.D. 
Leonard Glass, M.D.

Two (Failed) States

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Donald Trump Should Stop Telling This Easily Exposed Lie


Donald Trump's recent press conference was full of lies. That's no surprise. Lies are his first line of defense when questioned. But there is one lie that he has told repeatedly, and it is a lie that is easily exposed. Any child with a computer and 30 seconds to kill can expose it. And it would not be exposed by opinion or by polls, but by cold hard facts.

Trump has said several times since the election that his electoral college victory was a record-breaking one -- one larger than that of any other president. That's not even close to the truth. When you look at the electoral vote percentages of the presidents in the 58 elections held, Trump's electoral college percentage (56.5%) only ranks 46th. That means that in 45 elections the winner got a higher electoral college percentage than Trump did.

Trump did alter the lie a bit in the latest press conference. This time he said "it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan". That's still a lie. In the seven other elections since Reagan, Trump's percentage was only higher that George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

In the other five election (George H.W. Bush in 1988, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012), the winning candidate received a significantly higher percentage of electoral college votes than Trump did (see chart above).

By telling this lie, Trump is trying to make himself look good and claim he has a mandate. It accomplishes neither. It just reinforces the public's view that Trump is dishonest and untrustworthy.

Twitter Fiend

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

Elizabeth Warren's Comment On The Defeat Of Puzder

The following is the e-mail Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) sent to her supporters regarding the defeat of Trump's choice for Labor Secretary (Andrew Puzder).

Most of the time I get a news alert, I’m afraid to look at my phone.

But yesterday we got some good news. Really good news, in fact. Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor – Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s CEO Andrew Puzder – withdrew his nomination for Secretary of Labor.

Mr. Puzder has made his fortune squeezing his workers – the very same workers he would have been charged with protecting at the Department of Labor. His burger company has an appalling record of labor law abuse and the most discrimination lawsuits of any major burger chain – the same labor laws he’d be in charge of enforcing at the Department of Labor.

In short: Donald Trump was going to put a person in charge of the Department of Labor who has total contempt for American workers. 

All across the country, workers got the word out about Mr. Puzder’s business record. Labor unions held rallies and protests in front of his restaurants. We shared the stories of brave Carl’s Jr workers who came forward and spoke about how they had been victims of wage theft and unfair scheduling. We made sure the press paid attention, and even Republican Senators couldn't look away. Thanks to grassroots organizing, we turned up the heat so much that Mr. Puzder had to get out of the kitchen.

I’ll be honest: We can’t stop most of Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees. We just don’t have the votes – and most of the Republicans seem to have no problem rubber-stamping a team of billionaires and bankers.   

But yesterday proved: When we get out there and fight, we can make a real difference. And today, the world is a little better place without Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor.

This is why we fight. We can do this.

Thanks for being a part of this,

Elizabeth


Seeing Russia

Political Cartoon is by Andy Marlette in the Pensacola News-Journal.

We Were Warned


Friday, February 17, 2017

Get Over It ?


Copy Sent

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

New Survey Shows Trump's Numbers Are NOT Improving








These charts are from a new survey done by the Pew Research Center between February 7th and 12th of a random national sample of 1,503 adults, with a margin of error of 2.9 points.

It shows that the Trump administration is still not recovering from its very rough start. He's the only recent president to not have majority job approval in February of their first term (his is only 39%). He's also the only president to not have majority approval from Independents.

The public simply doesn't like the way he's started his presidency, and doesn't support most of his executive actions. With the Russian scandal now breaking, there is very little chance for improving his numbers. This is a troubled presidency, and the troubles are all created by the policies and personality of Donald Trump.

These seven charts illustrate pretty well the depths of Trump's troubles.

Vlad's Pet

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Irish Bookmaker Sets Trump Impeachment Odds At 2/1


It seems that Europeans want to bet on Donald Trump, and the Irish bookmaker PADDYPOWER has over 100 bets you can make about Trump. Some are silly, like the 300/1 odds that Trump will give Putin the White House as a sign of appreciation. Others are not. They are giving 5/1 odds that Trump will be officially accused of collusion with Russia.

And the odds are even better that Trump will be impeached. Those odds are 2/1 (meaning you would only make two dollars for every one dollar bet).

You can go here to see the odds on other Trump bets.

One Flag

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

Lifelong GOP Judge Calls For Trump To Be Impeached

The following article was written by Mark P. Painter (pictured), a lifelong Republican and a judge for 30 years in Ohio. It was written for cincinnati.com.

As Charles P. Pierce said in Esquire last week, “I swear, it's like we elected the Clampetts, if the Clampetts were grifters.”
A president of the United States, on the official POTUS Twitter feed, assails a department store for dropping his daughter’s merchandise. On the same day, the Pentagon is looking to rent space in the Trump Tower. Trump’s son travels to Uganda to make a Trump business deal. And, of course, foreign diplomats will stay at the Trump Hotel. The cash comes marching in.
The phony legalisms Trump has said he used to “separate” himself from his businesses – though he still owns them and his sons are running them – will be cited to make this all acceptable. Horsefeathers. No ethical expert could say with a straight face that this is not a classic conflict of interest.
In any time except our post-factual era, no office holder, much less the president, could get away with any one of the dozens of dazzlingly illegal things Trump has already done. They would forfeit office immediately.
The leader of the band of Mad Hatters occupying the White House has already insulted allied world leaders, issued illegal and badly written orders, impugned a “so-called” judge appointed by his own party, and appointed the least-qualified cabinet ever. The first secretary of state was Thomas Jefferson. Trump appointed a big-oil executive with close ties to Russia. The first treasury secretary was Alexander Hamilton. Trump appointed a former Goldman Sachs exec who got rich foreclosing on homeowners. The national security advisor lasted 24 days.
And all that’s just at the time I write this. Who knows what happens next. Each new day is a new nightmare. We are still trying to digest one breathtaking assault on America when another is signed, issued, or Tweeted. All this amid constant lies. Constant. Lies.
I am a lifelong Republican. I voted for every Republican presidential candidate from 1968 to 2004. But I have watched what once was a sane, center-right party go off the rails, first to the extreme right, then to wherever Trump is, which is in another universe.
It’s tough, but we must end this dangerous presidency. Trump must be impeached and removed with all haste. But only Congress can initiate the process.
Our congressman, Steve Chabot, has been busy defending Trump from the media, which is simply reporting Trump’s machinations. It’s time for him to man-up and start drafting the articles of impeachment. As I remember, he did it for Clinton for far less than Trump has already done.
After the election, many hoped that Trump would “grow up” into the job – that he couldn’t possibly be as bad as some thought. Well, it’s gone the other way. The bully has become a more entitled bully. Anyone disagreeing is attacked. Policy is announced in illiterate tweets.
Basic American values – free speech, the rule of law, separation of powers, even common decency – are unknown in this White House. We now have a president who has no concept of separation of powers, or why we have three branches of government. If he knew anything about the Constitution, he would know the framers envisioned just the situation we have now – a would-be dictator. They provided checks and balances – such as an independent judiciary to protect us from presidential tyranny.
Enabling a bully is always a mistake. As soon as the Tweet on Nordstrom’s came out, I said that the Republicans would defend the indefensible, and their talking point would be “a father supporting his daughter.” It wasn’t an hour later that Rep Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told CNN it “didn’t bother him.” But even Chaffetz had to choke when Kellyanne Conway urged people to buy Ivanka Trump’s shoes.
All the above bothers me and should appall all Americans. We must admit we have elected a president who has immediately proved himself to be a grifter, a pathological liar, a mean-spirited bully and dangerous to American values. This not-ready-for-prime-time show is too dangerous to continue. America is at stake.
If you need help drafting those articles of impeachment, Steve, I am available.

Tips

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

Grifter-In-Chief