Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Way It's Always Been

My Initial Take On The First 2016 Presidential Debate

(The photo of Clinton and Trump at the debate is from cnn.com.)

The first presidential debate is over. My initial reaction is that Hillary Clinton did much better than I expected her to do -- and Donald Trump did much worse than I expected him to do. I thought Trump would try to act more presidential, and refrain from his urge to go off on tangents. But evidently, Trump really can't control himself.

Trump continually interrupted Clinton during her allotted time, making snide remarks and trying to steal her time. Clinton did not do that. Perhaps most important, Clinton answered every question asked of her, while Trump answered almost none of the questions directed to him -- probably because he had no answer for many of those questions. Instead, he tried to turn every question into an opportunity to attack Clinton.

The most amusing moment of the debate was when Trump tried to question Clinton's temperament, saying she was the one with a temperament problem. It was amusing because the hour and a half debate showed just the opposite. Clinton was composed and rational, while Trump was manic and argumentative.

In short, the first debate was a huge victory for Hillary Clinton -- and it wasn't even close.

After The Debate

Political Cartoon is by Andy Marlette.

Racism Exhibited By Young People Is Very Disappointing

From Think Progress:

School officials are investigating a group of white North Dakota college students after they posted a picture of themselves in blackface with the caption “Black lives matter.”
According to Raw Story, a group of female students at the University of North Dakota (UND) are facing potential reprimand after the image was uploaded to Facebook. The incident comes just days after three other white UND students reportedly stole the phone of an African American student, locked her out of her own dorm room, took a picture of themselves laughing, and then posted the image to Snapchat with the caption “Locked the black bitch out.”
“I am appalled that within 48 hours two photos with racially-charged messages have been posted on social media and associated with the UND campus community,” university president Mark Kennedy, according to Raw Story. “It is abundantly clear that we have much work to do at the University of North Dakota in educating our students, and the entire university community on issues related to diversity, inclusion, and respect for others.”
Wearing blackface, once common among turn-of-the-century performers who mocked black people in their shows, is now widely condemned as racist. Yet the practice has become a major issue on college campuses: just this month, a student at Quinnipiac University was expelled for posting a Snapchat photo of a white woman in blackface with the caption “black lives matter,” as was a white Kansas State University student who posted a Snapchat image of white students flashing faux gang signs while wearing dark facial masks with the caption “finally feels good to be a n***a.” Similarly, students at Fairfield University were heavily criticized in February for hosting a “ghetto” party; although no one was reported as wearing blackface, attendees wore baggy clothes and held bottles of 40 oz. Coors Light.

Obviously, we have a serious problem with racism in this country, and sadly, it is not just among older Americans who grew up under a racist system. It seems that those older Americans have been pretty effective in teaching some young people that racism is acceptable.

This is not true of all young people. In fact, I believe the younger generation (commonly called "millennials") are the least racist generation this country has ever had. They give me hope that someday, probably long after I am dead, this country might finally stamp out racism.

For a while after the upheaval of the 1960s and the passage of the three Civil Rights Laws, it was not socially acceptable to be openly racist. They racists did not go away, but they went underground and only expressed their sick views to others that shared them. That gave the illusion that this country had progressed further in establishing equality that it really had done.

But those racists were horrified at the election of President Obama. They came out from under their rocks in droves, and once again started to proudly and openly display their sick views. They became even bolder when they realized that the Republican Party had nominated a presidential candidate who agreed with their racist views. Now they seem to have passed on their depraved views to at least a small portion of our newest generation.

I hope these young people will realize the error of their thinking as they grow older. If not, they will pass their racism on to another generation of Americans -- and that is unacceptable.


Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at hellertoon.com.

A Majority Of Voters Think Trump Would Be Terrible President

Some presidential polls have shown recently that the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is getting closer. I'm not ready to get worried, because I'm convinced that most Americans understand that Trump would be a terrible president. And that view is somewhat verified by this recent poll (see the chart above), which shows that 51% of voters think he would make a poor / terrible president (while only 39% think that of Clinton).

This Gallup Poll was done between September 14th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,033 adults, and has a 4 point margin of error.


Political Cartoon is by Barry Deutsch at leftycartoons.com.

Another Conservative Newspaper Backs Hillary Clinton

This has been a strange election year. Normally, conservative newspapers are quick to endorse the Republican presidential candidate, even if that candidate was not the one they preferred. But this year, many of them are horrified with their GOP's nominee, Donald Trump, and they are reluctantly crossing the aisle to back a Democrat. It started with the Dallas Morning News, and others have followed suit. The latest is the Cincinnati Enquirer. Here is what their editorial board has written:

Presidential elections should be about who’s the best candidate, not who’s the least flawed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case this year.
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the most unpopular pair of presidential candidates in American history, both have troubled relationships with truth and transparency. Trump, despite all of his bluster about wanting to “make America great again,” has exploited and expanded our internal divisions. Clinton’s arrogance and unwillingness to admit wrongdoing have made her a divisive and distrusted figure as well.
The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century – a tradition this editorial board doesn’t take lightly. But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst.
That’s why there is only one choice when we elect a president in November: Hillary Clinton.
Clinton is a known commodity with a proven track record of governing. As senator of New York, she earned respect in Congress by working across the aisle and crafting bills with conservative lawmakers. She helped 9/11 first responders get the care they needed after suffering health effects from their time at Ground Zero, and helped expand health care and family leave for military families. Clinton has spent more than 40 years fighting for women's and children's rights. As first lady, she unsuccessfully fought for universal health care but helped to create the Children's Health Insurance Program that provides health care to more than 8 million kids today. She has been a proponent of closing the gender wage gap and has stood up for LGBT rights domestically and internationally, including advocating for marriage equality.
Trump is a clear and present danger to our country. He has no history of governance that should engender any confidence from voters. Trump has no foreign policy experience, and the fact that he doesn't recognize it – instead insisting that, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do" – is even more troubling. His wild threats to blow Iranian ships out of the water if they make rude gestures at U.S. ships is just the type of reckless, cowboy diplomacy Americans should fear from a Trump presidency. Clinton has been criticized as being hawkish but has shown a measured approach to the world's problems. Do we really want someone in charge of our military and nuclear codes who has an impulse control problem? The fact that so many top military and national security officials are not supporting Trump speaks volumes.
Clinton, meanwhile, was a competent secretary of state, with far stronger diplomatic skills than she gets credit for. Yes, mistakes were made in Benghazi, and it was tragic that four Americans lost their lives in the 2012 terror attacks on the U.S. consulate there. But the incident was never the diabolical conspiracy that Republicans wanted us to believe, and Clinton was absolved of blame after lengthy investigations. As the nation's top diplomat, Clinton was well-traveled, visiting numerous countries and restoring U.S. influence internationally. She was part of President Barack Obama's inner circle when the decision was made to go after and kill Osama bin Laden and negotiated U.N. sanctions that led to the Iran nuclear deal.
Her presidential campaign has been an inclusive one, reflected by the diversity of her supporters. She has even moved to the left on health care, expressing a willingness to consider Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer "Medicare for all" health care plan. Clinton has talked about building bridges, not walls, and has a plan to keep immigrant families together with a path to citizenship.
We have our issues with Clinton. Her reluctance to acknowledge her poor judgment in using a private email server and mishandling classified information is troubling. So is her lack of transparency. We were critical of her 275-day streak without a press conference, which just ended this month. And she should have removed herself from or restructured the Clinton Foundation after allegations arose that foreign entities were trading monetary donations for political influence and special access.
But our reservations about Clinton pale in comparison to our fears about Trump.
This editorial board has been consistent in its criticism of his policies and temperament beginning with the Republican primary. We've condemned his childish insults; offensive remarks to women, Hispanics and African-Americans; and the way he has played on many Americans' fears and prejudices to further himself politically. Trump brands himself as an outsider untainted by special interests, but we see a man utterly corrupted by self-interest. His narcissistic bid for the presidency is more about making himself great than America. Trump tears our country and many of its people down with his words so that he can build himself up. What else are we left to believe about a man who tells the American public that he alone can fix what ails us?
While Clinton has been relentlessly challenged about her honesty, Trump was the primary propagator of arguably the biggest lie of the past eight years: that Obama wasn't born in the United States. Trump has played fast and loose with the support of white supremacist groups. He has praised some of our country's most dangerous enemies – see Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Saddam Hussein – while insulting a sitting president, our military generals, a Gold Star family and prisoners of war like Sen. John McCain. Of late, Trump has toned down his divisive rhetoric, sticking to carefully constructed scripts and teleprompters. But going two weeks without saying something misogynistic, racist or xenophobic is hardly a qualification for the most important job in the world. Why should anyone believe that a Trump presidency would look markedly different from his offensive, erratic, stance-shifting presidential campaign?
Some believe Trump's business acumen would make him the better choice to move America's slow recovery into a full stride. It’s true that he has created jobs, but he also has sent many overseas and left a trail of unpaid contractors in his wake. His refusal to release his tax returns draws into question both Trump’s true income and whether he is paying his fair share of taxes. Even if you consider Trump a successful businessman, running a government is not the same as being the CEO of a company. The United States cannot file bankruptcy to avoid paying its debts.
Trump’s rise through a crowded Republican primary field as well as Sanders' impressive challenge on the Democratic side make clear that the American people yearn for a change in our current state of politics. However, our country needs to seek thoughtful change, not just change for the sake of change. Four years is plenty of time to do enough damage that it could take America years to recover from, if at all.
In these uncertain times, America needs a brave leader, not bravado. Real solutions, not paper-thin promises. A clear eye toward the future, not a cynical appeal to the good old days.
Hillary Clinton has her faults, certainly, but she has spent a lifetime working to improve the lives of Americans both inside and outside of Washington. It's time to elect the first female U.S. president – not because she's a woman, but because she's hands-down the most qualified choice.

Skittles Analogy

Political Cartoon is by Drew Sheneman in the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

GOP Supports Military-Industrial Complex - Not The Troops

Monday, September 26, 2016


1/3 Of Voters Say Debates Important To Decide Their Vote

This chart blew me away. I thought, as most polls have reported, that the number of undecided voters was below 15%. This Wall Street Journal / NBC News Poll suggests that about 34% of the population says how the candidates do in the debates will determine how they might vote. Could this really be true? Could a third of all voters still be trying to make up their mind between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Or are they just saying that to make themselves seem more thoughtful and unbiased?

Personally, I don't understand why the whole country isn't rising up in opposition to the disaster that is Donald Trump. Isn't it already obvious who the best candidate is?

Open Season

Political Cartoon is by Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star.

U.S. Corporations Do NOT Need A Tax Cut

Republicans, and their presidential candidate, want to lower the income tax rate on U.S. corporations to 14%-15% from the current rate (about 35%). They claim the rate is too high and gives foreign companies an advantage. The truth is that almost no U.S. corporation pays that top rate, and many pay nothing at all in spite of making billions in profits, and most U.S. corporations actually pay less in taxes than their foreign competitors.

The Republicans also claim that lowering the corporate tax rate will create millions of jobs -- even though those corporations are already sitting on trillions of dollars, and there has never been any proof that the tax rate has any effect on job creation.

There is no real reason to lower the top tax rate for corporations. They currently enjoy one of the lowest tax rates since World War II, and most avoid paying even that. They used to account for over 32% of the federal governments tax revenues, but now only account for less than 11% -- a 21 point drop since 1952.

In the last few decades, thanks to tax subsidies, tax loopholes, and regulations that let them park money overseas to avoid paying taxes, the Republicans have fixed it so corporations no longer have to pay their fair share of tax revenues -- but they still enjoy all the advantages and protections of being an American company.

Just peruse all of these charts (from the Economic Policy Institute). I think you'll see that corporations, especially the huge domestic and multi-national corporations do NOT need a tax cut. What is needed is to make these corporations pay their fair share of tax revenues.

Of course, that won't happen as long as the Republicans retain enough power to stop it. That is why they must be voted out of power in November.

The Recant Trump Should Do

Political Cartoon is by Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The Wage Gap Between Blacks And Whites Is Growing

The income gap between the richest Americans and the rest of America has received a lot of attention since the Bush recession. It is as large as it was just before the Great Depression, and it is still growing. It's a serious problem that needs to be addressed before we become a third world country -- a country of just "haves" and "have nots".

But there is another pay gap that is equally disturbing. It is the wage gap between Blacks and Whites, and as the charts above show (from the Economic Policy Institute), it also continues to grow. Back in 1979, Whites earned an average of 18.1% more than Blacks. That has now climbed to 26.7% -- a rise of 8.6 points.

This is just one more illustration of the racial problems that still plague this country. In a truly equal country, there shouldn't be any wage gap between Blacks and Whites at all, and the fact that the gap is still growing shows the racial problem in the workplace is not being addressed.

There may not be a way to fully eradicate racism among individuals, but the same shouldn't be true of our institutions. Racism seems to be built into our social institutions like our schools, law enforcement agencies, and justice system -- and as these charts show, in our workplaces.

It is time we stop denying the institutional racism is this country -- and fix it!

On The Warpath

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

Kirk Douglas Speaks About America And The 2016 Election

(This image of Kirk Douglas is from abcnews.go.com.)

The following op-ed piece was written for The Huffington Post by the legendary Kirk Douglas.

I am in my 100th year.  When I was born in 1916 in Amsterdam, New York, Woodrow Wilson was our president.
My parents, who could not speak or write English, were emigrants from Russia.  They were part of a wave of more than two million Jews that fled the Czar’s murderous pogroms at the beginning of the 20th Century.  They sought a better life for their family in a magical country where, they believed, the streets were literally paved with gold.
What they did not realize until after they arrived was that those beautiful words carved into the Statute of Liberty in New York Harbor: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,” did not apply equally to allnew Americans.  Russians, Poles, Italians, Irish and, particularly Catholics and Jews, felt the stigma of being treated as aliens, as foreigners who would never become “real Americans.”
They say there is nothing new under the sun.  Since I was born, our planet has traveled around it one hundred times.  With each orbit, I’ve watched our country and our world evolve in ways that would have been unimaginable to my parents – and continue to amaze me with each passing year.
In my lifetime, American women won the right to vote, and one is finally the candidate of a major political party. An Irish-American Catholic became president.  Perhaps, most incredibly, an African-American is our president today.  
The longer I’ve lived, the less I’ve been surprised by the inevitability of change, and how I’ve rejoiced that so many of the changes I’ve seen have been good.
Yet, I’ve also lived through the horrors of a Great Depression and two World Wars, the second of which was started by a man who promised that he would restore his country it to its former greatness.
I was 16 when that man came to power in 1933.  For almost a decade before his rise he was laughed at ― not taken seriously.  He was seen as a buffoon who couldn’t possibly deceive an educated, civilized population with his nationalistic, hateful rhetoric.
The “experts” dismissed him as a joke.  They were wrong.
A few weeks ago we heard words spoken in Arizona that my wife, Anne, who grew up in Germany, said chilled her to the bone.  They could also have been spoken in 1933: 
“We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate. It is our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish here…[including] new screening tests for all applicants that include an ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values…”
These are not the American values that we fought in World War II to protect.
Until now, I believed I had finally seen everything under the sun.  But this was the kind of fear-mongering I have never before witnessed from a major U.S. presidential candidate in my lifetime.  
I have lived a long, good life. I will not be here to see the consequences if this evil takes root in our country.  But your children and mine will be.  And their children.  And their children’s children. 
All of us still yearn to remain free. It is what we stand for as a country.  I have always been deeply proud to be an American. In the time I have left, I pray that will never change.  In our democracy, the decision to remain free is ours to make.
My 100th birthday is exactly one month and one day after the next presidential election. I’d like to celebrate it by blowing out the candles on my cake, then whistling “Happy Days Are Here Again.” 
As my beloved friend Lauren Bacall once said, “You know how to whistle don’t you?  You just put your lips together and blow.” 

Orange RINO

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

Caveman Culture

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Could We Eliminate Poverty In The U.S.? - YES!

(The chart above is from the Economic Policy Institute.)

Could the United States eliminate poverty within its borders? It's an interesting question. Sadly, too many Americans don't think we could. They will quote the saying that "the poor will always be with us". They think it would take a prohibitive tax rate to eliminate poverty -- a rate that the working and middle class could not afford to pay. They believe the best we could do is for the government to provide a subsistence level for the poor.

I believe they are wrong. The United States is the richest country on Earth, and the richest country that has ever existed in the world. We have the economic means to eliminate poverty, and we could do it without a lot of new government spending. All we need is the moral and political will to do so.

How could it be done? Well, look at the chart above. It shows that 65% of the poor have the ability to work, while 35% do not (children, students, the disabled, seniors). Of that 65%, 63% are already working. They just aren't paid enough to lift them out of poverty. That in itself is shameful. No one willing to work hard should have to live in poverty.

We could lift the working poor out of poverty by simply raising the minimum wage to a livable level (like $15 an hour), and index it to the level of inflation so they don't slip back into poverty. That wouldn't cost anything in new taxes or government spending. In fact, it would save money, because taxpayers would no longer have to subsidize these people through government assistance.

The truth is that far too many corporations and businesses don't adequately pay their workers. They rely on taxpayers to pay what they should be paying themselves. But taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing the payroll of private companies.

Then we could address the 37% who could work, but aren't. Republicans would have you believe these people don't want to work -- that they are lazy and want to live off the government. That is bullshit. No one wants the stigma of having to live off government assistance -- and believe me, our politicians have made sure those receiving assistance are stigmatized as much as possible. These people would love to have a job paying them a livable wage.

This should be dealt with through effective job creation and job training. This would require some government spending, but would actually or nearly pay for itself by also getting these people off of the government dole.

That leaves only the 35% who are unable to work. Seniors living in poverty could be lifted out of poverty by expanding Social Security benefits. This would not require higher income taxes, since Social Security is paid for through payroll taxes (FICA tax). That payroll tax revenue could be increased by simply raising the cap on income subject to that tax (or eliminating it). This would require the rich and upper middle class to pay more, but would not affect the huge majority of workers at all.

That leaves us with the disabled that can't work and children and students. Those will always be with us, but there is no reason they should have to live in poverty. The children who have parents will be lifted out of poverty by requiring a living wage for their parents. The rest could be lifted out of poverty through more government assistance (using the funds saved by the measures above). And if it required a little more money, we have a bloated military budget that could be trimmed without affecting national defense.

We have the money to eliminate poverty in this country, and it could be done without massive new spending by the government. All we need is the will to do it.

Doing It Ourselves

Political Cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Who Supports Free Trade (You Might Be Surprised)

The general belief is that Republicans are in favor of free trade and Democrats are against it. And in Congress, that is how it has worked. Congressional Republicans have voted to support free trade agreements, and any opposition to those agreements has come from congressional Democrats.

But this may surprise you -- the bases of both parties don't necessarily agree with their congressional representatives. Only 18% of Republicans say free trade has helped, while 47% say it has hurt. For Democrats, 24% say it has hurt, while 33% say it has helped. That seems backward, and it surprises me.

Now you might think the party with a plurality favoring free trade would not be worried about the growing income equality (since free trade helps the rich) -- and the party with a plurality opposing free trade would want action taken to reduce the income gap. But that would be too simple, and untrue.

It turns out that 86% of Democrats (who have a plurality supporting free trade) believe the huge income gap is a serious problem, and 61% want Congress to take action to narrow the gap. On the other hand, only 50% of Republicans (who have a plurality opposing free trade) think the income gap is a serious problem, and only 17% want Congress to take action to narrow it.

The charts above are from the recent Politico / Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Survey -- done between August 31st and September 4th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of 3.7 points.

A Lot To Lose

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Americans Split On Obamacare - Want Public Option Added

The charts above are from the recent Politico / Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Survey -- done between August 31st and September 4th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of 3.7 points.

Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) has been in effect for a couple of years now. Over 20 million Americans now have health insurance that did not have it before, people with pre-existing conditions can't be denied insurance or charged rates they couldn't afford, students up to age 26 can stay under their parents insurance plan, there is no longer a cap on medical care that insurance will pay for, and 80% of insurance premiums must go to pay for medical care. Those are all good things, and a big improvement over the system before Obamacare was passed.

So, what do Americans think of Obamacare? It turns out that the American public is split, with 47% saying it is working well and 47% saying it is not working well -- with 83% of Democrats saying it is working well and 80% of Republicans (and 56% of Independents) saying it is working poorly.

What is wrong? Why isn't there huge support (since Obamacare has been a significant improvement over the old system)? It turns out that many don't think it has gone far enough. It hasn't covered enough people, and it hasn't reduced the cost of medical care.

About 54% of the general public (with 75% of Democrats and 52% of Independents) would like to see a public option offered. Only the Republicans oppose that, with 60% opposing a public option. Most believe Americans should be able to opt for a government insurance plan (like Medicare) to get away from the greedy insurance companies who care more for their bottom line than for patient health.

Americans are also unhappy with the cost of health care -- and they should be, since Americans pay more per capita for health care than any other developed nation. The general public, Democrats and Independents mainly place the blame for the cost on drug companies and insurance companies. Once again, Republicans are out-of-step with everyone else, most of them blaming the federal government.


Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

A Plea To Young Voters - "Your Vote Matters"

The following article is by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times. It is directed at young voters -- especially those who are considering a vote for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party (or Jill Stein of the Green Party). He urges these young voters to make their vote count, because their votes do matter (and could determine whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is our next president). Krugman writes:

Does it make sense to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president? Sure, as long as you believe two things. First, you have to believe that it makes no difference at all whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump moves into the White House — because one of them will. Second, you have to believe that America will be better off in the long run if we eliminate environmental regulation, abolish the income tax, do away with public schools, and dismantle Social Security and Medicare — which is what the Libertarian platform calls for.
But do 29 percent of Americans between 18 and 34 believe these things? I doubt it. Yet that, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll, is the share of millennial voters who say that they would vote for Mr. Johnson if the election took place now. And the preponderance of young Americans who say they’ll back Mr. Johnson or Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, appear to be citizens who would support Mrs. Clinton in a two-way race; including the minor party candidates cuts her margin among young voters from 21 points to just 5.
So I’d like to make a plea to young Americans: your vote matters, so please take it seriously.
Why are minor candidates seemingly drawing so much support this year? Very little of it, I suspect, reflects support for their policy positions. How many people have actually read the Libertarian platform? But if you’re thinking of voting Johnson, you really should. It’s a remarkable document.
As I said, it calls for abolition of the income tax and the privatization of almost everything the government does, including education. “We would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government.” And if parents don’t want their children educated, or want them indoctrinated in a cult, or put them to work in a sweatshop instead of learning to read? Not our problem.
What really struck me, however, was what the platform says about the environment. It opposes any kind of regulation; instead, it argues that we can rely on the courts. Is a giant corporation poisoning the air you breathe or the water you drink? Just sue: “Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required.” Ordinary citizens against teams of high-priced corporate lawyers — what could go wrong?
It’s really hard to believe that young voters who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary think any of this is a good idea. But Mr. Johnson and Ms. Stein have received essentially no media scrutiny, so that voters have no idea what they stand for. And their parties’ names sound nice: who among us is against liberty? The truth, that the Libertarian Party essentially stands for a return to all the worst abuses of the Gilded Age, is not out there.
Meanwhile, of course, it does make a huge difference which of the two realistic prospects for the presidency wins, and not just because of the difference in their temperaments and the degree to which they respect or have contempt for democratic norms. Their policy positions are drastically different, too.
True, much of what Mr. Trump says is incoherent: in his policy proposals, trillion dollar tax breaks are here today, gone tomorrow, back the day after. But anyone who calls him a “populist” isn’t looking at the general thrust of his ideas, or at whom he has chosen as economic advisers. Mr. Trump’s brain trust, such as it is, is composed of hard-line, right-wing supply-siders — whom even Republican economists have called “charlatans and cranks” — for whom low taxes on the rich are the overwhelming priority.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton has staked out the most progressive policy positions ever advocated by a presidential candidate. There’s no reason to believe that these positions are insincere, that she would revert to 1990s policies in office: What some are now calling the “new liberal economics”has sunk deep roots in the Democratic Party, and dominates the ranks of Mrs. Clinton’s advisers.
Now, maybe you don’t care. Maybe you consider center-left policies just as bad as hard-right policies. And maybe you have somehow managed to reconcile that disdain with tolerance for libertarian free-market mania. If so, by all means vote for Mr. Johnson.
But don’t vote for a minor-party candidate to make a statement. Nobody cares.
Remember, George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000, but somehow ended up in the White House anyway in part thanks to the Nader vote — and nonetheless proceeded to govern as if he had won a landslide. Can you really imagine a triumphant Mr. Trump showing restraint out of respect for all those libertarian votes?
Your vote matters, and you should act accordingly — which means thinking seriously about what you want to see happen to America.

An Excuse - Not A Threat

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

Misguided Belief

Saturday, September 24, 2016

We Can't Have Both

Clinton Has 6 Point Edge In Two New National Polls

The McClatchy / Marist Poll was done between September 15th and 20th of a random national sample of 758 likely voters, and has a 3.6 point margin of error.

The AP-GfK Poll was done between September 15th and 19th of a random national sample of 1,251 likely voters, and has a margin of error of 2.5 points.

LWB (Living While Black)

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

Clinton Has 9-10 Point Lead In Texas' Largest County

Harris County, the county that contains Houston, is the Texas county with the largest population -- more than 16% of the population in the whole state. It matters what happens in Houston and the other large cities in the state, because that's where a majority of the population live. And if Houston is any indicator, then Texas might really be turning purple this year.

As the chart above shows, Hillary Clinton has a 10 point lead over Donald Trump among Harris county registered voters, and a 9 point lead with likely voters. President Obama carried Harris county in 2008 and 2012, but not by a margin even close to this. In 2008, Obama's margin over McCain was only 1.63 points (50.45% to 48.82%). In 2012, Obama's margin over Romney was even smaller -- a mere 0.08 points (49.39% to 49.31%). This huge margin for Clinton in Harris county could mean the race is much closer statewide than in the last few elections.

The chart above was made from the results in a new University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs Poll -- done between September 1st and 20th of a random sample of 550 Harris county registered voters, and has a margin of error of 4 points.

Blowing Up The Deficit

Political Cartoon is by Scott Santis in the Chicago Tribune.

Many Believe Trump Would Misuse Presidential Power

(The caricature of Donald Trump above is by DonkeyHotey.)

It seems that a significant percentage of Americans believe Donald Trump would abuse his presidential powers if elected. And it's not just Democrats. Many Independents and Republicans also believe that.

The answers posted below are from a Lincoln Leadership Initiative / SurveyMonkey Poll that was done between September 16th and 21st of a random national sample of 1,051 registered voters, with a 4 point margin of error.

Among the survey findings, respondents said if Trump is elected president there would be a:

  • 46 percent chance that Trump would authorize the use of a nuclear device against ISIS or another foreign enemy;
  • 54 percent chance the U.S. government would default on its debt;
  • 65 percent chance Trump would use the powers of his office against a political opponent;
  • 54 percent chance Trump would create a database to track all Muslims in the U.S.;
  • 53 percent chance Trump would order the military to target the families of terrorists;
  • 44 percent chance Trump would authorize internment camps for illegal immigrants; and
  • 65 percent chance there would be race riots in major U.S. cities.

Trump supporters shared many of those same concerns, with his supporters predicting a:

  • 22 percent chance that Trump would authorize the use of a nuclear weapon;
  • 33 percent chance the U.S. government would default on its debt;
  • 32 percent chance Trump would use the powers of his office against a political opponent;
  • 48 percent chance Trump would create a database to track all Muslims in the U.S.;
  • 29 percent chance Trump would order the military to target the families of terrorists;
  • 32 percent chance Trump would authorize internment camps for illegal immigrants; and
  • 36 percent chance there would be race riots in major U.S. cities.


Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at gocomics.com.